NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown (x2): This is one of my all-time favorite products. Before I discovered this brow pencil, I was using the Anatasia Brow Wiz, which was great, but far too expensive for so little product. I found that I was going through it quite quickly because the pencil was so fine that I had to use a lot of it to fill in my brows. I’m not one to only fill in sparse areas, I tend to do a full reshape. I used up 2 of those before I realized that it was madness ($21 a pop), and was on the search for something more reasonable, and just as good. Long story short, ever since I found this NYX one (for less than a fourth of the price of the Anastasia one, with 3 times more product), I haven’t turned back. The texture is neither too soft nor too hard, the pencil isn’t too fine or too thick, it’s not excessively waxy (so it stays put), doesn’t make the brows look/feel greasy, or make the hairs stick together, and you don’t have to sharpen it. I also love that the shade that I use has a slight gray undertone instead of a red/greenish one. It’s just an overall great formula, I have given a few to my sister (who previously used the M.A.C brow pencil) and she loves it.
The only con about this brow pencil is that on many occasions when I tried to repurchase it online, or even when I happened to see a NYX display, a lot of the shades (especially dark brown) were sold out. I tend to buy 4/5 at a time, so that I won’t run out of it, and be without backups, I assume others do the same. I have even tried to find other drugstore alternatives within the same price range, but have not been impressed with my findings.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel (x2): This is another one of my holy grail products, I have exclusively used this brow gel for a little over 3 years. If you have brows that don’t stay in place because you don’t always keep them in shape, due to being curly, or because they frizz up when it’s humid, this is the brow gel to try. It tames brow hair without making them crunchy, the consistency is neither too watery nor too thick, it doesn’t make my brow hair look glossy, and it doesn’t flake. I have also found that when I use this product after filling in my brows, it doesn’t disturb the product underneath.
A few cons: if you like to fill your brows quite intricately, and want to keep it looking detailed/perfected when you set your brows, you might find that the brush is too large for that level of precision. It might take some getting used to. It is also a little bit pricey for just being a clear brow gel, however, I think the price is pretty good for the quality, and for how long it lasts (3-4 months with everyday use).
NYC Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder (Translucent): This was the first white translucent powder that I ever tried, at the time, I was looking for ways to deal with my foundations oxidizing, I read somewhere that white translucent powders work well to fix this issue. I wanted to see if the tip works, but didn’t feel like spending a lot. End of story, the tip works, and I was pleasantly surprised by this powder. The texture is smooth, not chalky at all, and is easy to blend. It sets my foundation without giving me any additional coverage. I find that the best way to use this powder is to pour a small amount into the cover, spread it around in a thin layer, then apply it in a pressing motion with a damp makeup sponge under the eyes, or anywhere else where you need your makeup to stay in place, dust of the excess with a small fluffy brush, then use a large fluffy brush to apply the powder on areas like the neck/jaw. Doing this sets the foundation without moving it around, and lessens the likelihood of getting that horrid white cast. Yes, there are nicer translucent powders out there (and I have discussed them in a previous post), but I think this one is an awesome one from the drugstore (haven’t tried the pressed version or the other shade, so can’t speak on them), and it’s less than $4. I think it might have been discontinued, I haven’t been finding it in stores lately, but I believe it’s still sold online.
L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes: Definitely one of my favorite mascaras, it has plastic bristles, and I find that it pairs quite well with the wetness of the mascara. This is not one of those mascaras that needs to dry out a little before you can see good results. It gives the lashes some nice definition, and volume, and as the name suggests, makes you look like you have a lot of lashes. The brush isn’t excessively large, but I think that people who prefer smaller brushes like the one on L’Oreal telescopic (another fave) won’t care too much for this, but it’s still worth a shot. The only con I have with this product, is that you’ll know when this mascara has dried up only when you have put in on your lashes, and by the middle of the day, you have dried up mascara flakes on your face. How unpleasant.
Maybellline Volum’Express Falsies Big Eyes: This is a double ended mascara, one end has a larger brush for the top lashes, and the other has a smaller brush for the lower lashes. I didn’t love this mascara, but it wasn’t bad. I think it’s really just a matter of preference, I prefer the brush on the original falsies, the brush on this one is oddly shaped, and that in combination with how dry the formula of this mascara was, didn’t work so well for me. I also didn’t particularly like the brush for the lower lashes, something about it, the dryness of the mascara, distance from the brush to the handle of the mascara (or a combination of all 3) just didn’t work, however, when used on the top lashes, it really got to the roots and gave nice length, and definition.
Sedona Lace Dome Contour Brush (FB 05): I know that brushes aren’t really considered “empties material”, but I had to get rid of this one. I’ve had this brush for a little over 2 years, and in that time, I didn’t even use it that much, mainly because it started to shed immediately after I washed it for the first time. Not only that, the glue that held the brush hairs in the ferrule began to loosen, and roll towards the tip of the brush, so not only was I constantly picking off the glue from the brush hairs, the hairs would shed in large chunks, and it only got worse every time I washed this brush (which was all of 3 times). Absolutely dreadful.
Aside from the shedding issue, I actually like this brush, because I think the size and shape of it makes it perfectly suited for a multitude of tasks i.e. applying foundation, blush, contour, or bronzer. For this reason, I have bought the synthetic version of it, so far, it’s holding up really well (3 washes, no shedding at all). Plus, the synthetic version works better with more formulas like liquids, and creams.
Jordana Easyliner for Lips in Coco Loco, Tawny, Plush Plum, and Baby Berry: The Jordana easyliners for lips are my favorite liners of all time, they are the only ones I use, because they are retractable, inexpensive, and come in a lots of colors, so I can pair them with different lipsticks. Coco Loco is a dark brown with a slight reddish undertone, I tend to use it regardless of what lip color I choose. I’ll either use it to outline my lips whether I’m wearing a red, pink, or purple lip, or fill in my entire lip with it when I’m wearing brown or nude lipsticks, or any other lip color that is too light for my skin. Tawny is a mix of light brown and pink, and I think it’s great to wear under muted pinks, or to add some pink to dark brown or overly peachy lipsticks. Plush Plum is a dark red with a brown undertone, it’s almost burgundy, and it is my go-to liner to wear under red lipsticks regardless of shade or undertone, I also use it under purples to make them more flattering for my skin. Baby Berry is a medium toned pink that is perfect to wear under pink, brown, and mauve lipsticks. Even though I have way more liners, these are my most used ones, on a normal day I’m most likely using at least one of them.
M.A.C Fix+ (now called Prep + Prime Fix+): I don’t think this product is an essential, but like I said in a previous post, it’s nice to have handy if you’ve over powdered, and need to add some glow back to the skin, it’s definitely hydrating, and can be used to refresh makeup throughout the day. I will not be repurchasing it because I think it’s too expensive for what it does, and for the amount of product you get, it also doesn’t set makeup. I find that when I spray it on after putting on eye makeup, it makes certain eyeshadows crease, it also makes matte gel or liquid liner look shiny, and faded. Overall, this product has its merits, and M.A.C has recently formulated this to come in different scents like coconut, cucumber, among others, so I would say try it out if you feel like splurging.