Before I get started on this, please understand that I am no MUA. My cosmetic abilities (if you could call them that) are strictly limited to applying mascara and struggling to blend my foundation in – though I blame that on a lack of market for pale reddy-purplish-white toned skin. It’s really hard to find a foundation that will be a perfect colour match to your skin when your face is *generally* white but your arms and legs are covered in red blotches and your hands are literally purple. As in corpse-coloured purple.
Due to my lack of skill and precision when it comes to putting shit on my face, I alternate between two looks. The first: foundation, powder, eyebrows crudely filled in a bit, mascara and Vaseline. The second: the same, but with a single shade of eyeshadow.
So, my makeup is very minimal. Alas, this collection is not going to feature a miraculously high-pigmented rainbow of eyeshadows, nor 50 lipsticks in different finishes and colours. Furthermore, because of who I am as a person, the mean price of the contents of my makeup bag is roughly £5.59. So, I do apologise if this was not what you came for.
Before I get stuck into it, every product I’m about to pull out of my makeup bag is cruelty-free and vegan (apart from the Born Lippy lip gloss, which contains beeswax – I’ll address this later in the post). As a stickler for routine, I will peruse my makeup bag in a strategic manner…
I have only started using primer relatively recently after I was informed that it would help me with my blending problem. This one from the Body Shop certainly did the trick.
Given I have never had any experience with primers before this one, regrettably I am unable to compare it to others. That said, it is a super popular product so I can’t be the only one who likes it. It leaves the skin really smooth, which makes the process of putting foundation on a whole lot easier. One thing I ought to mention is that the consistency is really odd – it’s a bit like a mix between jelly and toothpaste. Whilst this primer is teetering off the upper end of pricey for me, I have justified it because it certainly does the job.
Sometimes, under the direction of a friend, I try dealing with the red and purple pigments in my skin with a colour corrector. I must be honest with you, I’m not sure I have quite got the gist of the colour correcting, but this palette is a beginner-friendly price of £4.00.
It’s about emphasising your best bits, not hiding your flaws.
I like the foundation because it’s really light. I hate feeling like I have makeup on, and I get really self-conscious about looking cakey, because, unlike many of the beautiful people of the world, I am not very good at wearing makeup. That said, if you’re having a bad skin day, it’s easily buildable (and that’s saying something coming from me). I wear the second-lightest shade, ‘Bora Bora Tiare 012’. The lightest shade might be a truer match for my natural skin tone, but 012 has more of a yellow undertone, which I think does a better job of masking my natural reddy-purpley-ness. It’s £16, which is one of the most expensive foundation I’ve ever worn, but I find you do pay a bit more at The Body Shop’s cruelty-free ethos, so it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
As for the BB cream, I was recommended this by a friend, and after checking it out on the Body Shop’s website, I noticed that they had the second-lightest ’01’ shade priced at £2 (!!!) whereas all the other shades were £12. So, I did the sensible thing – and ordered 6 tubes.
Like the primer, it takes a bit of getting used to in that it comes out white, but as you apply it something magical happens and it adapts to your skin tone. This reduces my issues with blending a great deal, although I must note that I find I can only really wear this when I have fake tan on, as it doesn’t seem to go quite light enough for my natural skin. This isn’t really a problem though, as I tend to have fake tan on most of the time. This BB cream also has little glittery bits (the voice of an expert) in it, which really enhances tanned skin.
Easy on the eyes.
After observing the Anastasia Beverly Hills craze, I looked into getting myself one of the Dipbrow Pomades, but the price made me cringe so I looked around for an alternative. I found a BRILLIANT dupe in this £5.99 brow cream by Superdrug’s B. brand. I like Superdrug for 3 reasons: they’re cheaper than Boots, they take student discount and (unlike Boots) their own brand stuff is all cruelty-free/vegan. After over-plucking my eyebrows when I was 13 to the point where my brows started in-line with the middle of my eye, I have been hesitant to touch them since. Now, they’re a bit unruly and all over the place but I kinda like them that way. This cream is great for just evening out the thickness, and it’s really easy to apply with the right brushes.
Now, about 6 minutes into my makeup application routine, onto the fun stuff. Does anyone remember e.l.f.? When I stumbled across the brand on the Superdrug website one day it rang a bell. I remembered playing with my mum’s powders and brown mascara (why was that a thing?) when I was younger and I distinctly remembered the peculiar brand name (8 yo me never worked out it was an acronym for “Eyes, Lips, Face” and rather assumed it was named after the Will Ferrell movie).
Overcome by nostalgia, I ordered myself a new mascara and a little pot of blush and I’m glad I did, because, for the price, the mascara is amazing, and the blush/highlighter combo is nicely glowy without being super glittery. Once I’ve finished my Body Shop foundation, I plan on trying e.l.f’s Flawless Finish Foundation.
For eyeshadow, I cheat and use my bronzer, which is this one from Revolution and is just £2. Since I have tried and failed to do a blended cut-crease and other more adventurous eye looks, I have found I’m best sticking to a bit of bronzer on the lid and on the lower lash line. Using the bronzer gives me more room in my makeup bag for other products I’m no good at using!
Day to day, I tend to get a makeup wipe and get rid of any foundation on my lips and dab a little balm on top, as I have been blessed with naturally very red lips. I have forever been an avid user of Vaseline, using it for everything from lips to highlighter (why?) and eyelash-care a la Georgia from Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging. Given my penchant for the little metal pots, once I went vegan I began my search for an alternative that wasn’t manufactured by Unilever. I tried Superdrug’s own brand with high hopes, but ironically, it was very very drying after the initial application. I picked up the little green Lip Saviour pot (pictured) at the tills at Primark for £1 – I can’t stress enough how good this little pot of cruelty-free jelly is!
I would just like to say a quick congrats if you’ve made it this far – this post has become much longer than anticipated…
I like to compensate for the plainness of the rest of my face by making the most of my lips. Ironically, I am pretty good at applying red lipstick, and I use the Soft Matte Lip Creams from NYX. They’re £6 each, highly pigmented and they last for ages. I recommend. Now, as promised: lip gloss. About two years ago I was looking for stocking fillers in The Body Shop and they had a 3-for-2 offer on their Born Lippy glosses. I bought Strawberry, Satsuma and Watermelon – I kept and use a little bit of the strawberry one for blush as well, and I gave my sister the satsuma one and the watermelon one, which she uses for as dewy highlighter too; they both work really well as duel-purpose products. But as I said earlier, they contain beeswax, something I admittedly didn’t check before purchasing.
I went vegan about 6 months after purchasing and using these glosses, but I decided to use these until they’re empty and then, I will not repurchase them. It’s all down to personal preference of course, and whilst I understand others might see me using a lip gloss that contains an animal product contradictory, it’s my personal choice, and I am conscious not to buy one again, instead finding a totally vegan alternative. To put it briefly, I see veganism as living a cruelty-free and animal-free lifestyle as far as it is feasible and realistic; yes, I could bin the lip glosses, but for me the lifestyle extends beyond the animals and is about my personal environmental impact holistically, so I would rather use the gloss until it is gone, and recycle the container, rather than just throw a perfectly good product away! #Sustainability and zero waste n all that.