Julia’s Makeup Kit: The Heavy Lifters

My everyday routine is great for getting me out the door lickety split, but doesn’t do much for an evening out. Or, say, hundreds of professional photographs in daylight. Some of you may be planning to hire a makeup artist for your wedding, but you probably still have go-to products for a better-than-everyday look.  Most of mine are pricey, but since I don’t use them every day they last a loooong time. Your mileage may vary.


Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. It gives me a smooth, baby-soft glow and makes foundation application easy. But I find that wearing this every day makes my cranky, breakout-prone skin angry. I’ve tried the oil-free version and it’s just not as good. So I save the original formula for special occasions only and scrub hard after. Mine is a travel size, which could very well last forever.


Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation is my favorite. It’s a trick to blend it around your jawline, but if you want flawless, this is it. The trick is to keep it sheer and go back later with concealer for blemishes and undereye circles.


Which brings me to concealer. Those undereye circles I was talking about are no joke, but this Givenchy Mister Light concealer fixed me right up. The color and texture are perfection, with enough pigment to cover your sins. An easy way to check for color matching is to take a photo of yourself in natural daylight. You’ll be able to see right away if it’s not right.  Or you can try my personal favorite – check yourself out in the rearview mirror in your car.  You’d be surprised what you’ll see there but missed at your vanity.

Other concealers I’ve liked but not loved:


Benefit Boing Boing (awesome texture, but they only have a few colors and it tends to crease during the day), Laura Mercier (tends to crease, can look crepey if your skin is dry, but it’s mighty handy to have two concealers and a setting powder right there.)

If you’re going to do concealer, definitely finish with translucent powder or it will settle into your fine lines and make your mascara run. Not the regular powder you’d use on the rest of your face — colored powder makes the concealer look obvious. Transclucent, and the finer the particles the better. Use a cotton ball and be liberal. You can fluff off the excess with a brush when you do the rest of your face, but I usually leave it on while I do my eye makeup to catch any stray shadow, then buff it off before mascara.

All of that “preps the canvas” for blush and shadow and all the fun colored stuff that I’m still trying to figure out.

Do you have a special occasion routine? Are you applying your own makeup on the big day? Share your tips!