What I Bring To The Table

Most people have a makeup bag for their personal use, but I have a makeup table. If you’re going to do something, do it big, right? I have a coffee table in my bedroom, and it is covered with the products I use most often. I have seen a lot of “What I Have In My Makeup Bag” videos, so I thought I’d do my version via this blog.

I’m going to share with you the products I have been using lately. Some are old favorites, others are new crushes. I am always trying new things, and have a box filled with samples on the table, because I like to switch things up. I refuse to get stuck in a beauty rut–I think that is the kiss of death for a makeup artist.

I have currently have three moisturizers that I’ve been using. Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti Sun Damage Daily Moisture Lotion was my summer moisturizer. It has an SPF 28 and I believe is targeted to oily skin (which my combination skin definitely is in the summer), so it worked well for me. I recently started using a heavier moisturizer because my skin will become dry as the colder weather comes in. It’s a mini-jar of Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital. It feels nice on my skin and does a good job moisturizing, but I don’t love the perfume-y scent. And my go-to moisturizer has been CVS Oil Free Moisturizer in SPF 15. It’s not fancy, but it’s a good basic.

I have done several eye primer tests over the years, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance is still the best, in my opinion. So I always have one of those on the table.

My current face primer is the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. Love it. I don’t use it every day, but if I am going to have my makeup on for several hours, it’s a must.

One of my essential products, for both my personal and professional kits, is the POREfessional pore minimizer by Benefit. This stuff is magic. It really mattifies the skin and gives the appearance of smaller pores. I use it on my t-zone.

I have a few foundations on the table and I usually mix them to create the shade and coverage I want. I have NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation, MAC Face & Body Foundation and Benefit Hello Flawless. I also have a Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. When I use a Face & Body, I set it with the Hello Flawless powder foundation, because I like more of a medium coverage. The Sheer Glow Foundation is on the thick side, so I like to cut it with the thinner Make Up For Ever Face & Body. If I am just going for a run or don’t have time to do a full face of makeup, I wear the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer alone, but I usually mix that with a Face and Body. (I wear something with SPF when I go for a run during the day, because the sun is out, and I’m all set with sun damage and pigmentation.)

I do my initial undereye concealer with MAC Select Coverup (with a thin layer of moisturizer underneath). It is a cream concealer that sets to a powder, but it can still look a little shiny after it dries, so I set that with my pressed powder. I find that the Select Coverup can get a little cakey if you put too many layers on, so if I need to touch up later in the day, I use Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer. It doesn’t last as long on its own, but it has good staying power when layered over the Select Coverup. If I am having a real dark circles day, I use Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener instead of a moisturizer, prior to applying my initial concealer.

To set my foundation, I use MAC Blot Powder. It’s only a visitor to the table, though–its real home is in my purse, because my t-zone usually needs a couple of touchups during the day.

To contour or bronze, I use NARS bronzer in Laguna. I currently have three powder blushes in rotation–Benefit Dandelion (a pretty soft pink), Make Up For Ever Sculpting Blush in 22 (peach) and NARS blush in Orgasm (peachy pink with shimmer).

For eyeshadow, I often reach for NARS Duo in Madrague. This duo contains a cream and a caramel color. It stays in my travel bag, since it is compact and a great go-to combination. I keep the Coastal Scents 88 Color Palette on the table, since it contains most every eyeshadow color I would want to use. The shadows don’t have the greatest staying power or pigment, but if I know I will only be wearing makeup for three or four hours, they do the job.

I have three pencil eyeliners currently on the table. MAC Kohl eyeliner in Smoulder, Topshop Kohl in Saddle and Covergirl Liquiline Blast in Blue Boom. Smoulder is my favorite inky black liner for the waterline. I also keep one in my purse, because let’s face it, waterline liner needs to be touched up. You can read my recent review of Saddle (in “In The Name of the Father, The Son and The Holy Eyeliner”), but I’ll just say I love that eyeliner for almost any liner purpose. I use Blue Boom on my waterline as an alternative to black or brown. Sometimes I want a pop of color on my eyes, but don’t want to do a full on colorful eye, so the waterline liner is perfect.

To fill in my brows, I use a matte dark brown shadow from the Coastal Scents palette.

I use two mascaras on my top lashes–Dior Diorshow and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash. On my bottom lashes, I use Smoky Lash only.

I have three lipliners on the table–Covergirl Lip Perfection in Passion (for red lip days), MAC Lipliner in Subculture (matches my natural lip color) and a new one that I am trying, Vincent Longo Duo Lip Pencil in Lavender Lite/Grape. Lavender Lite is a subtle light purple-pink that works with one of my lip glosses (next section), and I wear the darker purple Grape as a lipstick (I color my lips in with it and top with a clear balm). I recently had some blue extensions put in my hair and the Grape lip color worked well with those.

The two lip glosses currently in rotation are Buxom Lips Lip Polish in Princess (a shimmery pink pearl, looks nice over Lavender Lite liner) and Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Baby Doll (soft pink shimmer). I always have a red lipstick on the table and right now it is MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger. I’ve got a bright pink MAC Lipstick, Girl About Town, on the table as well, although I haven’t worn it for a while. Looks like I just thought of a look for tomorrow…

If I want my makeup to really last, I spray on some Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. That stuff is phenomenal.

My face brushes are by Real Techniques, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. My eyeshadow brushes are a mix of Sonia Kashuk, CVS Essence of Beauty, and MAC. I use an angled brush from ELF for my brows. Lip brush is from Michael’s Craft Store. I use Bioderma Eye Makeup Remover, because it is so gentle on my eyes. I’ve got a pair of Ardell 117 False Lashes patiently waiting for my next night out, a Duo Eyelash Adhesive, and some small silver stars I sometimes lash glue near my eyes or on the tops of my cheekbones.

Also on the table are some hot rollers, a Global Beauty Flat Iron, Minardi Subdue Styling Cream (to calm down any frizz), Batiste Dry Shampoo, Lamaur VitaE Brushable Hold Hair Spray and a fine tooth comb so I can tease the crap out of my hair. The higher hair hair, the closer to God, right?

Of course, I do not use all of this stuff every day, but it is a good solid mix of products that give me plenty of options without having too many options. Because if I were to look at my professional makeup kit every day and decide what I wanted to do, I would never leave the house.

So, just some ideas for your own makeup bag. These are all products I like enough to use regularly, so I feel like I can vouch for them. I’m always looking for new products to join the table, so I would love to hear any recommendations you have!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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In The Name of the Father, The Son and The Holy Eyeliner: Topshop Eyeliner Review

If you are Catholic, a history buff, or an excellent Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy player, you may have heard of Saint Maria Goretti. I also have a cousin named Maria Goretti, who I consider to be the Patron Saint of Makeup Gifts. She mails me surprise makeup packages, like Lipstick Queen glosses, Sonia Kashuk eyeshadows and Kevyn Aucoin books. She also emails me links to great makeup articles and blogs.

My Saint Maria Goretti and I both share a love for beautiful makeup, quality skincare products, Sephora and YouTube tutorials done by Lisa Eldridge and the Pixiwoos. A few years ago, Saint Maria told me that having a makeup artist in the family was better than having a doctor in the family. Hence her nickname for me, Dr. Allison Barbera.

Saint Maria recently sent me a brown kohl pencil eyeliner from Topshop. It is in a color called Saddle, and we had both heard about it from a Pixiwooos review. It was on my mile long list of products to try, but before I had the chance to order it, it came to my mailbox one happy day.

I use brown eyeliner on some clients, but very rarely on my own eyes. I tend to go for black, because my eyes are brown and my lashes and eyebrows are black, so most browns just don’t do anything for me. But this Topshop eyeliner in Saddle is something special. The color is a deep bronze brown with red metallic undertones, and it is spectacular. It draws on easily, without pulling on the skin and is easy to smudge, if that’s the look you are going for. But I found that when I drew a more defined line, it still stayed in place. It works on the waterline too and although it is not waterproof, it holds up well. This eyeliner really changed my mind about wearing brown eyeliner.

Topshop products are available at Topshop stores (in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas), some Nordstrom stores, and us.topshop.com. Or, you could try praying to the Patron Saint of Makeup Gifts, the modern day Saint Maria Goretti, and maybe something wonderful will end up in your mailbox…

Have a beautiful day 🙂