The great thing about being funemployed is that I have all this time to spend on makeup, hair, skin, etc. The less great thing is that I have less motivation to do so when I’m up to my neck in CVs, cover letters, job descriptions, so on…but at least I look presentable at the odd interview I get invited to.
I might be in the midst of an existential crisis occasioned by the insanity of the current graduate job market, but I can’t overstate how much better I feel with a few products on my face. At a time in my life when – don’t laugh – sometimes I feel almost apologetic for existing in society because I actively contribute precisely nada, I might as well fake it until I make it; these are the products I reach for when my self-confidence is flagging and I’m seriously considering the myriad benefits of, well, claiming benefits. A round of applause for them please, everybody.
First to be congratulated: the concealers, which I generally use to cover my dark circles, the one true bane of my life.
L-R Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener – this carries on the good work of Touche Éclat. I love the brush application system and the formula is soft enough to blend in with your fingers without feeling like you’re tearing all that delicate skin to shreds.
Touche Éclat, shade 1.5 – is it a “cult classic” when everybody knows that this is the best thing since caffeine?
Laura Mercier Undercover Pot, shade UC-01 – The rosier shade of this is the perfect one to cover those pesky, persistent purple tones, especially applied with a concealer brush (I use the MAC one). The left hand one is slightly more difficult to manipulate, and needs warming up to leave the pot, but I use that on blemishes. There is a pot of powder below, to make sure it does what it’s told. Magic, I tell you.
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under-Eye Primer – of course I’d save the product I use first for last…just call it keeping you on your toes. The hydrating effect takes plenty of the “bagginess” out of the area, and makes applying the other products a much smoother process.
Next up: NARS Highlighting Illuminator in Copacabana and BeneTint
I don’t obsess about contouring because I don’t think it translates well to everyday wear – great for photos, less so for popping to Waitrose. That said, every bit of brightness helps, and the NARS illuminator is great for the brow bone and just beside the nose. Be warned: a little goes a long, long way. Ask me about the first time I tried it and ended up looking like I’d been dragged through 2005 backwards.
BeneTint: liquid gold for making me look (and feel) alive. I swear by the liquid formulation, and will generally choose it over powders.
Eyes: Hope you brought snacks, this is a long one.
NARS Eyebrow Pencil in Jodhpur: I do not and probably never will to aspire to Cara Delevingne levels of eyebrow game, but I won’t be caught dead with patchy, odd-looking things. This pencil agrees.
NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates: This isn’t, strictly speaking, an everyday product, but my quest to find the best liquid eyeliner ever may have just ended, and not just because I gave up on perfecting those wings. Lasts forever (I first tried it for grad ball, and a hurried application lasted through pitchers of Pimm’s, several rounds of Taylor Swift karaoke, and dancing in a packed marquee. Kudos, NARS), applies smoothly, can’t fault it — and trust me, I like finding faults in things.
BeneFit Roller Lash – another newcomer to the cosmetic repertoire, I was so hopelessly underwhelmed by They’re Real that I gave Benefit one last chance to shape up and remind me why it was the first makeup brand I really fell in love with. I think this fits the bill for my objectives – long, thick, black. I have these gorgeous, adorable, super-powered eyelash curlers and I’m prepared to use them, as long as my lashes are sufficiently lacquered without being “spidery”.
NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Empire – this is my second purchase. Ever since BeneFit discontinued Bad Gal in that gloriously chunky pencil, I’ve been hunting for a pencil that could measure up. This pulls a little, so a well-moisturised eye area is essential, and warming the pencil before application. Great for the upper water line (I will be forever grateful to the gorgeous ladies of Smashbox for this tip!) and upper lid. With a very, very light touch, you can use it for the lower lash line without looking like Marilyn Manson.
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics palette: I love the warmer tones of this palette on me better than its predecessor. It still has the problem of the powder making a desperate leap for freedom at every single opportunity (in fact, the first one of these I bought at the Sephora on 5th Ave had to go back because the entire black shade just exploded), so proceed with great caution, and many tissues.
Finally…my problem with nude lips may have reached crisis point.
Lipstick Queen lip pencil in Bare Nude (generally paired with the matching pencil, , Laura Mercier lipstick in Petal Pout, or NARS Odalisque) – my lips, but better and fuller.
NARS lip pencil in Bolero – my lips, but better, fuller, and slightly darker. Pairs with the matching pencil in Dolce Vita, but I’ve used it with MAC’s Party Line to great effect.
NARS lip gloss in Odalisque – keep your hair away from this one, oh my. A strong wind and you practically have a beard. I just can’t help it though, I love the colour.
Chanel lip gloss in Murmure – the prettiest petal pink, minimal stickiness.
And there we have it. My dedication to makeup and not looking like I’m dead may yet pull me out of the slump that is funemployment. These products are well-loved, ergo well-used, and the pictures show that. They’re not perfect, and I’m in two minds as to whether I should apologise for that. Just consider it evidence that they don’t hide away, please.
See? They can serve me well. (I’ve been asked to ignore the questionable choice in tie. You should, too.)