My mom’s a naturally beautiful hippie so she never, ever wore makeup. That also means she never taught me how to put on makeup. I’d like to say that I’m self-taught, but I actually took a makeup class in middle school. That led directly to a glam-goth phase in high school. Yeah.
Since then I’ve been trying to unlearn my teenaged techniques (shaved eyebrows?) and perfect the no-makeup makeup look. Here’s my current method:
Step 0: Wash my face with one part Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Soap diluted with one part water. Pat damp-dry.
Step 1: While my skin is still a bit wet, I moisturize with First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream. I have really dry skin that tends to get flakey unless I use a bit of this every day. For best results, I let the lotion soak in for a few moments while I change my clothes or style my hair.
Step 2: My friend Veronica turned me on to Laura Mercier’s awesome tinted moisturizer that also has SPF 20. It’s really sheer and I can build it up in layers on days that I need more coverage. I tend to have dark circles around my eyes, so I apply an extra layer to the inner corners and underneath. I prefer to buy the travel size.
Step 3: Eyelash curlers are the scariest looking beauty tool ever devised, but they don’t hurt at all when used properly (unlike fiendish tweezers). I leave a little space between the clamp and my lash line, otherwise it can tug uncomfortably. The idea is to crimp the eyelashes up into a vertical position. This makes them more prominent when viewed from the front and creates the effect of “opening up the eye.” Ten seconds on each eye does the trick. If you have a blow dryer handy you can warm the curler up a bit first and it will work even better. Make sure to test the temperature first so you don’t burn yourself!
Step 4: To make lashes really stand out, you have to pile on the product. Using a lash primer gets the same effect but without all the clumping. Maybelline makes this really great mascara kit that includes a primer, and I kinda comb out my lashes when applying it. While the primer sets, I go on to Step 5.
Step 5: Blush is my must-have product, along with tinted moisturizer. Nothing else is perks up a tired complexion like a couple of swipes blended into the apples of my cheeks. Unlike a powder, this cream blush from Make Up For Ever, has no shimmery stuff so it looks a lot more natural. I squeeze a pin-head sized amount onto the back of my hand, then use my fingertips to swirl it into my smiling mug. I used it nearly every day and it took me two years to get through one of those little bottles.
Step 6: White eyelashes are a really cool editorial look, but most days I prefer to darken them with the second part of Maybelline’s mascara kit. Although one day I forgot. No one at the office said anything. Go figure.
Step 7: I can’t handle lipstick. I always forget that it’s on and end up smearing it all over my face. I became a lip stain convert years ago with Benefit’s Benetint and I went through several of those teeny, rose-scented bottles. But a few months ago Ipsy sent me a sample of Josie Maran’s Lip Stain in Flamenco and I became a convert. The magic marker-like applicator delivers a really saturated red that lasts through my post-work workout. It’s easy to apply: just outline the lips first, then fill in the rest. No need to blot or apply a finish coat.
Step 8: I tend to get a bit sweaty during my 20 minute ride to work, but as long as I give myself a good dusting of translucent CoverGirl powder with Sephora’s travel brush, my face is a lot less damp by the time I arrive at the office. You can really pile on the powder pre-ride as most of it will absorb sweat and shed along the way.
Step 9: Ride a bike.
Step 10: Optional. The only downside of the lip stain is that it doesn’t coat your lips in a veil of sticky moisture that you have to reapply throughout the day. Usually my lips are fine as long as I remember to lotion up in the morning, but in occasional moments of dryness, I’ll use a swipe of Burt’s Bees tinted chap stick in Rhubarb to slick up.
Travel: All of these products fit into the quart-size zip-top bag that the TSA makes you carry your makeup in. You can even cut down further by eliminating the first lotion, and the lip stain does double duty as blush if you apply it with a damp finger.
Sephora has made experimenting with different products really easy and fun, and it’s definitely my favorite place to shop for makeup. Another great resource is Michelle Phan’s beauty subscription service Ipsy. They never fail to send me high-quality and interesting samples that usually end up in regular rotation. For $10 a month, you get four to five samples plus a cute little makeup bag. I used to subscribe to a couple other services, but Ipsy’s Glam Bag is the only one I’ve kept.
Got any bicycle beauty questions of your own? Let me know!