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For the past few years I’ve been trying new products in my ongoing quest to discover clean makeup that works with my over-50 combination skin. As a formerly acne-prone person, I’m still getting used to not being afraid of moisturizer and surprising myself by loving a dewey finish. Up until my mid-40s, I banished anything remotely shiny from my arsenal. My younger self would have called it greasy, but these days I shock myself by adoring serums that leave a glowy finish.
Any makeup I use also needs to be easy with a capital E. Midlifers, myself at the top of the list, do not have time for complicated routines (that’s why I was so excited about our super easy smokey eye tutorial if you’re over 50).
But for every day, particularly during the daytime, I’m not bothering with a smokey eye, not even a super simple one. I want a minimal, natural look that takes less than 10 minutes. And I cracked it! I even timed it: 8 minutes and 42 seconds.
Here are the products I currently use on the daily, plus the step-by-step, simple process for when I want to look awake and put together—not glam, just like I care a little (not about what anyone else thinks but about how I feel).
This product has become an all-time favorite. It’s not cheap, but I’m willing to splurge because it’s like a million products in one. It not only provides the perfect amount of coverage (I’m not a fan of heavy foundation, but if you’re looking for that this may not be for you), but it’s also a sunscreen that shields skin from UVA, UVB, UVC, blue light, and pollution.
It also contains hyaluronic acid, plant-based squalane, and niacinamide, so it improves your skin meaning you might need the product less the more you wear it. It also seals in hydration, plumps skin, and boosts antioxidant effectiveness by 200%. Plus, it’s silicone-free, fragrance-free, chemical screen-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and safe for sensitive skin.
I’ve seen people on social media use just a few drops, but I find that to even out my skin tone and ensure that sun protection, I need six to eight drops. I put it everywhere, even on my neck and eyelids. Maybe I’m overdoing it but I’m OK with that.
I’m super late to the game on this one—it was a social media phenomenon a few years back. But that doesn’t make the product any less awesome. This particular shade is seriously plumifying for my skintone. It comes in 16 others so you’re sure to find one that works for you as well. Also, the application is silky smooth, it doesn’t bleed into the lines around my lips, and it lasts a long time. I just love it, period.
Lips, Cheeks, Eyes
I have fallen in love with this multi-use wonder. The instructions indicate that it’s for lips and cheeks, but I also use it on my eyes. I actually didn’t do that for the picture above, so add 15 seconds for that step (and you can see the results here, pardon the sweat). It stays pretty dewey on your cheeks, blending well with the Super Serum. On lips it becomes more matte and I just love the “Before Today” shade (but it comes in four others so there’s something for everyone).
I’ve tried a lot, A LOT, of brow pencils, and this one is the current reigning champ. I’m into the color, the super slim pencil, and the handy attached brush. It goes on easy and stays on until I take it off.
This one was a drugstore purchase, bought on a whim while traveling when I’d forgotten my brow pencil. I was in a rush and not focusing on clean ingredients as much as I normally would, but I was pleased to discover later that NYX is a cruelty-free brand. They are also continually working to increase their vegan offerings.
Conceal and Reveal
This is another product that is not just makeup, but also a skin treatment. It contains caffeine and pink algae to brighten, arnica and pro-vitamin B5 to soothe, and peptides and hyaluronic acid to plump. I use it under my eyes and also around my nose and mouth to camouflage dark and red patches. What I love most about it is it does not settle into the creases, and blends perfectly with my Ilia super serum.
My only complaint is I love using it so much that it tends to run out before I’m comfortable throwing down another $28!
I will admit I have mixed feelings about this product, but it has found a valued place in my daily routine.
I don’t like it on my bare skin—it feels dry, settles into lines and doesn’t blend well. But sometimes the Kosas Revealer Concealer and Ilia serum leave me wanting a little extra coverage and this does the job perfectly. After applying the skin tint and Kosas concealer it blends beautifully and provides the perfect amount of extra coverage at the corners of my eyes, on hyperpigmented spots, at the stubbornly red areas around my nose and chin, and the occasional blemish (why do I feel weirdly proud when I get them these days?).
The Il Makiage concealer is also oil-, paraben-, phthalate-, and cruelty-free, vegan, and comes in 30 shades.
And apparently, according to the video above, you can use it to achieve a facelift look?! Let me know if you try it.
I discovered this brand and product while researching my post about tubing mascaras. I love the beachy branding—I am a sucker for cool labels! But I was really sold when I discovered that Caliray was founded by Urban Decay founding partner Wende Zomnir, and is committed to clean ingredients eco consciousness. The vial is made 100% recycled ocean plastic and that pretty branding is painted on with low-impact inks. The box is 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
Now that I’ve been using it for a few months, I can report that the tubing technology makes this mascara more waterproof than anything I’ve used, and removing it never creates raccoon eyes. It comes off in tiny pieces that are easy to wipe away. I’m a total convert and will never, ever go back to regular mascara.
There you have it! What’s your go-to daily quick makeup routine?