I’ll be honest: I don’t look like a beauty writer. My makeup of choice tends to be the “no-makeup look,” easily achieved by, well, no makeup. (I’m literal like that.) But the truth is, sometimes a quick sweep, swipe or smudge makes me look–ok, feel–a little more J.Lo and a little less sleepless twin mom. Minus the glow, that is. And fierce cheekbones. And sexy, come-hither gaze. But we both have twins so we’re sorta similar, right? Right? Bueller?
5 PRODUCTS. 2 MINUTES. GO!
TINTED MOISTURIZER or BB CREAM
This is my take to a desert island, grab from a burning fire, can’t live without, holy grail product. The reason? It kills two, no five (or more!) birds with one stone by blurring the lines (pun intended) between makeup and skincare. For starters, it acts as a daily moisturizer (a godsend when my entire skin regimen = washing my face in the shower), and provides just the *right* amount of coverage (evens skin tone, masks redness, camouflages dark circles). And depending on the formula, it can prime for makeup, protect with SPF, or fight aging. I use this instead of foundation, and often ditch the concealer as well.
Shut up and take my money!: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 The original and still the best IMO. It leaves me looking dewy, not greasy, which is difficult since my skin often looks like it belongs to a hormonal, french fry-lovin’ teenager.
Yay! I can still afford preschool: e.l.f. BB cream Its powerful ingredient list screams high-end (vitamin E, jojoba, aloe, cucumber), but at $5.99, it costs less than open swim at Aquatech.
Surprised? I get it. Blush is often associated with clown-like circles or dynasty-esque streaks. So why on earth would I consider this an essential? The reason: it takes seconds to apply, yet it takes years off your face. My face looks flat and dull without it, and being someone with serious cheekbone envy, this helps. And keep in mind that blush comes in colors other than pink or red. A shade closer to your skin tone (soft coral, tawny peach, dusty rose, or deep mahogany) looks more natural and adds subtle warmth.
Shut up and take my money!: NARS Blush in Orgasm Thanks to its perfect not-quite-pink/not-quite-peach hue, this universally flattering blush has garnered a cult following, and inspired countless knockoffs. Also, its name is Orgasm. Need I say more?
Yay! I can still afford preschool: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso See “inspired countless knockoffs” above.
I practically had a unibrow when I was younger, but the 90s skinny brow trend (i.e. years of waxing, tweezing, and threading) left mine looking less than lush. Bold brows frame your face, open your eyes, and can transform your whole look STAT. Get ready to raise some brows, literally.
Shut up and take my money!: I was going to recommend Benefit’s bestselling Gimme Brow, but it was recently recalled. Luckily, the company launched ka-BROW! Cream-Gel Eyebrow Color with Brush and it’s just as good–if not better. The cap transforms into a full-length brush for extra precision, and the creamy gel formula won’t budge, smudge, or smear.
Yay! I can still afford preschool: Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara I don’t have the time or skills for a pencil, so luckily this wand-powered product takes 10 seconds to apply. A couple swipes (make sure to shape an arch) and...voila! Bonus: It’s almost an exact replica of Gimme Brow, but costs a whopping $2.99!
The most time-consuming beauty product by far is just. so. necessary. I don’t know what it is, but there is something uber-feminine about long, lush lashes. (Think about it: How do you differentiate a female cartoon bunny from a male one? Lashes.) Full fringe is so coveted, my friend once told me that she wouldn’t drive through Taco Bell sans mascara. Which is kinda weird since no one wants extra long nose or ear hair, but eye hair? Sign me up.
Shut up and take my money!: Lancome Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara An oldie-but-goodie, I like that this mascara isn’t overly dramatic, because being mistaken for Tammy Faye at Trader Joe’s is never a good thing.
Yay! I can still afford preschool: L’oreal Voluminous Original Mascara Due to my sensitive, infection-prone eyes, I usually shill out extra dough for prestige mascara. But when I can’t get to Sephora, I go to great lengths (get it?!) to grab this from the nearest drugstore.
For me, lip gloss is too sticky, and lipstick requires too much commitment (as evidenced by the fact that I have three kids with my lifelong partner but still haven’t said “I do”). On the other hand, a hydrating tint, with just a hint of color, looks ultra fresh, not overly fierce. Plus it fades gracefully, unlike lipstick which has to be reapplied constantly.
Shut up and take my money!: FRESH Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15
Seriously, this stuff is like crack. It tastes and smells so good that I just want to rub it all over my body and eat it–which you can technically do, as it’s totally natural and made from sugar. It comes in a dozen colors, including sheer, but Rosé Tinted makes your lips look like you nibbled on organic, sun-kissed Parisian raspberries (or something like that). My daughter uses it, my “husband” uses it, my dog uses it (ok that’s not true, but she would if she could because it’s just THAT good). Without sounding overly dramatic, YOU-HAVEN’T-LIVED-’TIL-YOU-TRIED-THIS, DROP-EVERYTHING-BUT-YOUR-BABY-AND-GET-IT-THIS-VERY-SECOND. I wish I were kidding.
Yay, I can still pay for preschool!: Burt’s Bees Lip Balm No intro needed. If you haven’t applied this at least once while reading this, you are about to pull it out of your pocket/purse/glove compartment in 3...2...1.
Desiree Marr was born and raised in Alameda, then left at 17, vowing she would never return unless she had kids (which she was 100% NOT having.) Fast forward 20 years, 3 cities, and 3 kids later, she realized that Alameda is pretty cool after all! She is now mom to daughter Saylor (4) and twin boys Hunter and Colton (16 months). In her past life, she worked in Manhattan as a fashion editor and stylist before returning to the Bay Area to write for Sephora. When she is not freelancing for brands such as Urban Decay and Uber, she is drowning in laundry and kissing her slobbery kids. (Seriously, why are they always wet?!) Her (sorta) husband, Mark, is the best hands-on dad imaginable and an amazing partner. In her “spare time” Desiree likes spinning, reading Yelp reviews, worrying, and drinking