Makeup for the Beauty Challenged

I have gone on record many times to say how basic my “makeup routine” actually is (or lack thereof, really). Seems these days everyone is a YouTube or Instagram makeup guru/celebrity, and I’m still sopping Vaseline on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I know my eye makeup and lipsticks, so I’m not completely illiterate, but my actual face stuff is seriously slacking. That has more to do with my sensitive skin than anything else. Plus I don’t think it’s necessary to use a billion products for one look. I personally like to keep it simple. I don’t wear makeup Sunday through Thursday because I’m lazy and my skin can’t handle that much cake, but instead of mooching off Momma Islam, I decided to invest in some big girl paint. Also, while I’m trying very hard to buy natural, organic, animal-cruelty-free products, I wear makeup for dramatic looks and you just can’t achieve those looks in that domain. Please let me know if y’all know of any awesome organic, all-natural, animal-cruelty-free cosmetic brands, aside from Tarte, Aveda, Lush, etc.!

Here’s the Beauty Haul:


Urban Decay Naked2 ($52 Sephora): TBH I bought this palette just for ‘Blackout’ because I’m a black eyeshadow fiend. Is it worth it? Yeah. I loved my first Naked palette, and this one is more dramatic than that. It’s also highly pigmented which is always necessary. Oh, and it came with a free lip gloss thingy. Winning.

Make Up For Ever ‘Mist & Fix’ ($12 Sephora): So I hesitate to try brands I’m not familiar with or products that are totally out of my element, but I decided to try a setting spray for shits & giggles. I’ve been warned that many setting sprays, such as the Urban Decay one, use derivatives of butane which is really harsh on the skin, so if I remember correctly, this Make Up For Ever one was a safe bet. Honestly, it’s okay. I don’t see a huge difference, since I have dry skin, so makeup stays on normally, I suppose it might work better in the sticky summers? Also, I’ve heard shitty things about this brand…thoughts?

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette ($49 Sephora): I saw this at Sephora and I don’t know if it was the lighting or what, but the glitter shadows were epic. I like neutral shades and this had matte neutrals with their glitter counterparts. I loved it. Although there is some fallout and they aren’t as pigmented as Urban Decay, these colors are great for my Indian clothes. I definitely suggest using an eyeshadow primer first.

Ben Nye Banana Powder ($15 Amazon): I never ever YouTube makeup tutorials, I don’t know why, I just never think to do it, but I have been following Irene Sarah Mahmud (@irenesarah) on Instagram and she introduced me to this powder. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what it’s for, but you are suppose to slap it on post-foundation. I haven’t tried it yet, and have been warned that it’s really tricky to work with. Anyways, I bought the 1.5 oz bottle on Amazon just to try!

NYX ‘Highlight & Contour’ Powder ($9 Nordstrom Rack): I never thought to check beauty stuff at Nordstrom Rack, but damn y’all, they have some decent stuff! I really like this contouring powder. Contouring reminds me of putting undertones on a canvas, or is as important as gesso (for my fellow oil-painting nerds). Contouring is not hard at all, just study where the light hits your face and apply the dark and light powders accordingly, or you can YouTube some tutorials. I really like how straight-forward it is in one compact. Like I said, keeping it simple.

-Sephora Liquid Eyeliner in ‘Matte Black’ ($12 Sephora): I’ve been skimming through a variety of eye liners lately looking for something really dark and matte black. This one is good, but there’s something lacking. It’s good because it has a small brush tip with a pot base. It doesn’t go all runny and allows for precision. I like it, but I feel like there’s something better. Still, it’s only $12, so I can’t complain.

Stila ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Bronzer ($9 Nordstrom Rack): Another one of my cheap, beloved finds. I have a very pale complexion, with high cheekbones, so this thing does an epic number on my face. It’s not too dark, but enough to compliment the NYX Highlight & Contour compact. I live by this thing. And it’s cheap. So yes.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer ($10 Sephora): I got the tiny bottle because again, I hate committing to full-sized products, but so far, I’m not regretting it. This stuff works really well. It’s light, airy, and doesn’t feel like too much cake. And, from what I gage, primers are important!

NYX Eye Set ($5.99 Target): I got this really awesome and cheap set on clearance at Target. I bought it mostly for the eyelashes, but everything else is really good too! It includes:

  • 2 Eyeshadows in ‘Golden Amber’ which is a brown/bronze shimmery shadow and ‘Skin Tight’ which is a peachy color with gold shimmer
  • NYX Glam Liner in #05 which is a glitter black (not too black though)
  • NYX Eyelashes in #110 ‘Illumination’-I never put on eyelashes unless it’s a big event, so these are really full. I use an easy method. First take the eyelashes and wrap them around the tip of your finger to stretch them out and make them more loose for the bend of your eyelid, apply clear or black glue to the rim of the eyelash and put it along the top of your eyelashes. I just use the end of a brush to push it down in place. You can always go back and dab glue on top or use heavy duty liquid liner to keep it in place too!

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Liner in ‘Baked’ ($8.97 Nordstrom Rack): Another epic & cheap find, this glitter gold liner is perfect for my more bold eye looks. It’s a tad runny, and because I like high-impact eyes, it takes a few applications to get enough of the glitter going, but the precision brush is perfect.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Poison ($12 Sephora): I have yet to try this, but I have heard only good things. From what I’m learning about primer, I think this will be a good investment, especially for my Naked2 experimentation. Let’s see!

LA Girl Pro Conceal in ‘Natural’ and ‘Creamy Beige’ ($1.99 from As part of my organic natural makeup thing, I actually bought concealer from Tarte, which is one of my fav brands. I love how their stuff feels, but I was not feeling their concealer. It wasn’t enough coverage and was just odd. Now I don’t use liquid foundation or anything, so this whole thing was new to me. My mom never let me put anything on my blemishes like concealer because she said it would make it worse, which is true. However, these cheap and effective LA Girl Pro Conceal tubes are so incredible. I get full coverage, and they are easy to work with, but light enough to not aggravate my skin. I am obsessed!

Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Genius Kit’ in ‘Brunette’ ($24 Ulta): Of all the things I bought, this is one of my most favorite. Initially I was skeptical of how this one-size-fits-all kit would work with my brow shade. My hair isn’t black, it’s a lighter brown, so I didn’t want to look like a clown with overly sculpted brows. Plus I like ’em thick ‘n bushy. The filler powder was perfect, and the brush it comes with is everything. So much precision. I don’t use the eyebrow primer it comes with (again, simplicity is key), but it’s totally worth the price.

L’Oreal Extra Volume Mascara ($8.99 Ulta): This mascara I bought from Ulta. Honestly, I’m not too picky about mascaras, which is ironic because if anything, I’ll wear that. Maybe because I haven’t found an epic one yet, but this one is not bad. I hate rubber bristles, or the flat-ridge comb ones. I need a nice, full brush type one. This works for me, so far.

BeautyBlender ($19.99 Nordstrom’s):
Ah, the BeautyBlender. I’ve used both the Ulta brand blender sponge ($4.99) and the Urban Outfitters Dynamic Duo sponges ($10), so I wasn’t dying to try this out. It was free to me because I have a Nordy’s card and you get like $20 for every $2,000 you spend, so why not right? So far, I like it, but there’s an influx of knock-offs and equally effective sponges on the market that they all kinda look the same to my untrained eye. I guess the BeautyBlender packaging is cuter, if that counts for anything? But $20 for a tiny, pink sponge? Really?

MAC Matte Lipsticks in ‘Heroine’, ‘Relentlessly Red’, and ‘Instigator’ ($15 each MAC): Tied with my obsession for dark smokey eyes, is my obsession for unconventional, matte lipsticks. These 3 lipstick were some of the hardest to find. I was wait-listed at nearly every MAC store in the DFW area until I finally found them. ‘Heroine’ is a matte purple shade, and ‘Relentlessly Red’ is a bright, almost coral red matte color. Both are part of the permanent shade of matte lipsticks. ‘Instigator’, however, was part of the limited edition “Punk Couture” MAC collection, and was the hardest to find. I honestly don’t even know how, but my fiance found it and bought it for me. I believe he spent almost $40 for this gothic, burnt cherry-almost black shade, and while I know he probably thinks it’s too much, I love it. I love them all. MAC lipsticks can do no wrong.

That probably was a lot of reading, but I rarely talk about makeup. I thought it would be useful to look at these beauty finds from a non-junkie perspective. Hopefully it was worth your time! If not, I apologize, and feel free to let me know. Also, if you have any suggestions for other products, brands, etc., drop me a comment and let me know as well!



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