We’re in a major “no-makeup makeup” moment: matte lipsticks, a slight shimmer on the cheek, Glossier ads with girls who don’t look like they’re wearing makeup at all — just enhanced, somehow. I love the look — I even wrote an article about how to best achieve it. And when it comes to my daily makeup routine, I’ve found myself more often than not limiting my product choices so that my makeup looks as natural as humanly possible. But still: this can sometimes feel genuinely oppressive for someone who loves makeup as much as I do. It feels important to sometimes say yes to makeup — to go all in. To do a “yes-makeup makeup” look. I should say: When I say “yes-makeup makeup,” I’m not talking an extreme transformation with cut-crease eyeshadow and full-coverage foundation. I’m talking about something you can wear on a night out or on a day you want a little more glam. And in my opinion, the holiday season is the best time to take makeup risks or try out new products — not only do the holidays call for red and gold accents, but in my experience, winter months can benefit from any sort of brightness as a coping mechanism against the constant, depressing grey. So, here you are. The products I use when I’m saying an emphatic yes to makeup.
Though I’m addicted to spot concealing, when I go out at night I love to even out my complexion and give my skin a flawless finish with this Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation. It makes my skin look so velvety, smooth, and practically flawless. A little goes a long way, so I only use a dab of this and buff it out with a damp beauty blender. Though I don’t typically love wearing foundation throughout the day, this is purely because I don’t love the feeling of foundation on my skin. Sometimes I’ve even mix in a drop or two of the Kiehl’s Reviving Concentrate to thin the pigmentation out.
I’ve written about this pen from YSL before. If you’re suffering from dark circles, this pen is an absolute must try. After putting on eye cream (or if you’re having a foundation day, after putting on your foundation) apply this over the dark circles under your eyes. The consistency of this product is actually quite thin and blendable, so I use it liberally. While you can use this solo to cancel out darkness, I believe it works best underneath concealer. This makes the color correcting aspect of your concealer job about five times as effective.
After I use the color correcting pen, I go in with the the cult favorite Nars radiant creamy concealer. For all things concealing, am truly obsessed with this product. It’s not only incredible for under eyes — if you need to cancel out any blemishes, this stuff will seriously help you out. I mix together the shades Vanilla and Chantelle to get my exact shade.
I know this sounds really amateur but I’ve only really recently discovered just how big of a difference setting my under-eyes makes in the longevity of my makeup wear. For this, I use the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Finish powder, which is light but also, as stated in the name, has a blow-out, airbrush effect to the skin. When I spot conceal, I also sweep this powder lightly all across my face, focusing on the area in which I’ve done the majority of my concealing work, so that it doesn’t slide around. As you guys probably know by now, my skin is like a Sahara Desert, so finally finding a powder that doesn’t make my skin dry and flakey was major to me.
You guys, this bronzing-and-highlighting kit is so next level, I actually can’t believe how obsessed with it I am. My number one thing with bronzers is blend-ability, because truly nothing is less sexy than when you can see a big cloud of bronzer on someone’s cheeks. I know I’ve written about this before, but when it comes to a perfect but noticeably cheek-hollowing bronzer, this one takes the cake. Admittedly, she’s expensive and I’m so, so sorry about that. But I’m telling you, if you use her you’ll see how gorgeous and sculpted you’ll end up looking and understand why I consistently repurchase this when my bronzer runs out.
This highlighter … Truth be told, this highlight isn’t that easy to wear during the day. It’s just that it does have some sparkle and when the light hits you in a certain way you can totally see it’s on. This to me, personally defeats the purpose of a highlight as its real job is to make you look like you’re glowing from within. Having said that, this highlight at night is … unmatchable. When I’ve worn this, I’ve had people tell me I look “well rested”, “glowy”, and “radiant”… music to my ears. For a glam daylight highlighter, I like to use the Milk Makeup highlighter.
For eye shadow, I love using bronzy tones. When I’m wearing bronzer, having a similar shade on my eyes makes my whole look really nice and cohesive. There’s also something about the warmness in these shades that makes me look super healthy and well rested. This is one of my favorite tricks to help me look more alive throughout the day.
Even though this is supposed to be a natural “lip cheat,” this shade is this lovely nude-y brown that gives me that extra level of glam that I need to make me feel better in the mornings and throughout the day. Note: It’s matte and quick-drying but putting on lip liners with slippery lips can be tricky. So my pro tip is to apply chapstick, pat it in with your finger until it feels absorbed, then throw this one. I do this throughout the day when I’m reapplying as well.
For a perfectly messy brow, I love to use the, again, cult favorite Boy Brow from Glossier. If a spooly is too small my brows get a bit overly messy and if it’s too big they look too tame. Glossier provides the perfect in between size so that my brows look kept but nice and big.
Now, as you guys know, I’m not a huge mascara girl due to the fact that I love to rub it all off because I hate myself. However, when I’m wanting to feel a little more glamorous, having my eyes look nice and big can feel important. When I am feeling that way, I’ll use this Benefit They’re Real mascara. Out of all the mascaras I’ve tried, this one is the least problematic when it comes to my raccoon eyes.
The most important step to a yes-makeup makeup look is to set all the makeup you’ve put on at the end. This allows all your makeup to melt into one another and your skin, giving you that flawless, radiant finish. I have a few favorites for this, but my top is this Tatcha Dewy Mist.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.