One product, sooo many uses.
I have a love/hate relationship with the beauty industry.
I’m attracted to all the shiny new products, but I also get lost and frustrated at the exorbitant variety. No, I don’t believe I need six different products to highlight and contour my cheeks and chin. I’m too basic and time poor.
I’ve also recently changed my perspective about owning so much ‘stuff’. I’ve started consciously stopping myself from buying new things unless I really need them, because I’m tired of the clutter.
But while my collection of cosmetic ‘basics’ began as a humble bronzer, lip balm, concealer and lip liner, it’s steadily grown to a plethora of products spilling out of two large cosmetic bags. Those aren’t basics anymore. That’s a Kylie Jenner-worthy makeup line-up. And I’m no KJ.
So, in an effort to return to my minimalist roots, I challenged myself to return to my original product posse of just four items, and get creative using each one to perform the ultimate test: a full face of makeup. And whether you’re looking to get back to basics like me, just want to save some cash, or have a game plan next time you’re caught out at date’s place with only the canister of lip balm rolling around in the bottom of your handbag to turn to, the results of my challenge are sure to be life-changing. You’re welcome…
The strategy: Bronzer is the perfect multi-use product. It can contour all the angles of your face while looking natural and is the perfect hue for a nude lip and glowy eyeshadow. Word of caution, though: this is no time to be heavy-handed.
For a highlighted look, I dabbed a small amount on a flat brush and swept it across my face. I brushed upwards on my cheeks and forehead, downwards on my nose and chin, keeping it subtle for a freshly sun-kissed effect.
Next I used a small, fluffy eyeshadow brush swirled in the bronzer for my eyeshadow, and brushed a generous amount across my lids.
To finish up, I used my bronzer to create a dark nude lip. I smeared a bit of lip balm on my lips first to create a base, then dabbed a generous amount of the bronzer onto my index finger and patted it into my pout.
The verdict: At the end of the day, I was pleased with the overall appearance of my skin. I like a natural look and the bronzer stays in place well. Since I used a powder on my lips, it was quite drying so definitely layer on the balm.
Get the look with Clinique.
2. Lip balm
The strategy: For the ladies who seem to always have parched, cracked lips, I can relate. I’ve literally run back to my house to get lip balm when I’ve left for work without it. Over the years, I’ve discovered how to use this product in multiple ways.
In place of mascara, I rubbed a liberal amount of balm on the edge of my index finger and gently pinched it over my lashes, then ran it upwards for a slight curling, defining effect.
For on-point brows, I applied the clear balm across my brow line and combed it through with an old mascara wand (FYI: fingers would also work in the absence of a mascara wand). I’m infamous for wayward eyebrows diverting every which-way, so I never skip this step. It keeps everything in place.
For a little cheek definition, I used the balm as a highlighter, drawing a diagonal line along the higher portion of my cheek and gently patting in in with two fingers to blend.
The verdict: I actually really liked the simple effects with lip balm, though it didn’t last as long as the bronzer did, since I often forget to not touch my face, and absentmindedly swiped most of it off by lunchtime. Horrible habit, I know.
Get the look with Antipodes.
The strategy: Concealer is my cannot-live-without product because of my pesky acne. I’m not a fan of the full coverage foundation look everyday, so I tried concealer as a softer alternative. I applied a few strokes along my jawline, cheeks, under eyes, nose, and forehead and then blended.
Don’t skip over the lips. Applying concealer to my lips acted as a primer for my lipstick to last all day.
To my surprise, I also learned that concealer can add volume to lashes. I used my concealer with a wand applicator, scraped off the excess, and brushed it on like I would mascara. After it had dried, I applied a few strokes of dark mascara for the shade and was suitably impressed at how much fuller my lashes looked.
The verdict: Concealers usually have oil in them, so while I started the day looking fresh, by midday I needed to dab off the excess (a problem usually avoided with powder dusted over the top). On the plus side, my lipstick and lashes looked spot on all day long.
Get the look with Bobbi Brown.
4. Lip liner
The strategy: I still have memories of my mother rubbing red lipstick onto my cheeks before I sashayed out onto stage for my dance recitals. It may have worked for a performance, but for everyday wear, I’m not keen on looking like a doll. So for my final makeup test, I was very light-handed in applying lipliner to add a freshly pinched hue to my cheeks. To do so, I drew a small circle onto each cheek, shaded it in, and then rubbed it out evenly using the pads of my fingers to melt and blend it into my skin.
Another discovery I made during my makeup trials; an idea everyone needs to get on board with: pink eyeliner. I’m now obsessed and convinced it looks good with nearly every skin tone and eye shade. I used my pink lipliner to draw thick lines along my lashline for something fun and bold.
The final touch was obviously lining and shading in my lips. It obviously took a bit longer to fill in my pout with a liner than a lipstick, but was well worth it for the extra precise, crisp finish.
The verdict: This was a good all-day look that stood the test of my oily skin and hours at the office.
Get the look with MAC.
Comment: What alternative ways do you like to use your makeup?