Monday, September 23, 2013

Minimalist Natural Makeup

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently expanded my makeup collection. When I started wearing makeup at about age 18, I stuck with the basics -- mineral concealer, foundation, and blush. And really, the only one I used consistently was the foundation. I shied away from wearing more makeup because I wanted to avoid the artificial "made-up" look at all costs! 

However, recent reflection and reading left me wanting to improve my skin care regimen and makeup routine. I became optimistic that I could use more makeup without the dreaded artificial look, and so set about finding products that would meet my criteria.

What are my criteria?

  1. Natural. First and foremost. Anything that I slather on my skin undergoes a rather vigorous inspection of ingredients. I usually check the Skin Deep Database; while it doesn't have every product I look up, it does give me a good starting point (plus, even if it doesn't have a specific product, you can still look up individiual ingredients).
  2. Economical. By economical, I do not mean "as cheap as possible." My first criteria kind of precludes that possibility, since I've yet to find a truly natural product that's as cheap as a Walmart store brand! But while I'm willing to invest a little in my skin, I can't afford pricey night creams or luxe lip colors! Fortunately, I have found products that fit into my budget. I paid much less for my natural products than I would have spent at Sephora, and I can still feel good about what I'm putting on my skin. 
  3. Minimal. I don't want five different moisturizers, a dozen eye shadows, and three concealers -- because that means I have to store them somewhere. This helps with my second criteria, because I'm not buying endless variants of the products I already have. I expect my products to multi-task as much as possible (I don't want one moisturizer for my eyelids, one for my cheekbones, and another for my chin). Plus, fewer options means that I spend less time deciding what to use every morning!

Before we go on, I should warn you that words like "highlighting" and "contouring" do not exist my makeup vocabulary. Really, what I want is a "no makeup" look that takes a few minutes to achieve with a bare minimum of products and tools. I'm talking a little blemish cover (when necessary) and a relatively even skin tone. So for those of you who are artistic or actually have a clue about how to apply makeup, my little show-and-tell will probably be useless.

Also, my goal in applying makeup is to try to enhance what my face already has going. I do not want to drastically alter my appearance! I remember my husband mentioning that he stopped by a family friend's house as a teenager, and almost didn't recognize the makeup-less woman who answered the door because she normally wore quite a bit of makeup. I don't want to feel like I need to "put on my face" whenever I appear in public. I also don't want to feel smothered under layers and layers of products. I want my children kissing my cheeks, not my makeup! Just for the record, I'm not suggesting I'm an authority on how much makeup one should wear; this is simply my personal preference.

With that in mind, here's a look at my current collection of products:


The only products missing from this picture would be my Reviva Labs Rosewater and the mineral makeup compact I keep in my bag  -- I took these pictures while "modeling" my new makeup bag, and my 8oz. bottle of rosewater was a bit large for my bag! I'll have to put some in a smaller bottle for travel purposes.

And here are my brushes:

From left to right: eyeshadow brush, eyeliner, eyebrow brush/lash separator,
blush brush, and complexion brush.

Yes, I have a very minimal brush collection! I do have one concealer brush from Everyday Minerals that's not pictured. The rest are all inexpensive e.l.f. brushes available at Walmart, but I've been quite satisfied. My makeup routine is simple, and I've found that this is all I currently need. I was skeptical about the eyebrow brush, but have actually found it quite useful -- I have rather thick eyebrows, and the little brush keeps them tamed. I rarely use the lash separator side.

Now, on to specific products -- I'll provide links to the specific items I purchased, as well as the prices I paid (often less than the price listed in the link, as prices change and I had a coupon code when I ordered):

MOISTURIZER: CSI Argan oil -- $7.29 
I'd not used Argan Oil as a moisturizer before, and I must say that I love it! Even though $7 for 1 oz. is cheap compared to high-end products, it seemed a bit spendy to me. However, a little goes a long way, and I'm thrilled with the product itself. It leaves my skin smooth but not greasy, it has no odor, and I love knowing it's gentle enough to use on my face. I think I can find it slightly cheaper next time, if I buy a 2 oz. bottle. I use this twice daily, before makeup application in the morning and just before bed.

MAKEUP PRIMER: Reviva Labs Makeup Primer -- $10.88
This was another product I'd never tried before, but I'm quite smitten now. A pea-sized squirt is more than enough for my entire face, and it has such a lusciously smooth feeling! However, I won't be purchasing this product again because it contains Vitamin A palmitate. Sadly, I didn't look up that ingredient before buying it! I think I'll finish the bottle, but when it runs out I'll probably replace it with 100% Pure Primer. I use this daily under my makeup.

LIPS: Honeybee Gardens Luscious Lip Gloss (Eternity) -- $6.47
I don't like wearing lip color, since my lips naturally have some color. I regularly use balm for moisture, but I do like having a gloss for a more dressed-up feel. I'm quite satisfied with this gloss (it has a lovely peppermint taste!), and will probably purchase it again in the future. I wear it about once a week.

MASCARA: Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara (Espresso) -- $7.19
Mascara was another new product for me, primarily because natural options have not really been available until recently (at least in my budget!). It has one or two ingredients that are iffy, but nothing higher than a "4" in the Skin Deep Database. I'm not concerned about it for occasional use. As far as the product itself, I've not had enough experience to be a good judge, but I'm personally satisfied. I haven't had clumping issues, and I like that it's easy to remove (but no smearing problems, either). It's a keeper. I use it about 4-5 days per week.

CONCEALER, FOUNDATION, AND BLUSH: Everyday Minerals -- approx. $5 - $12 each
I've been using Everyday Minerals ever since I started wearing makeup, and have yet to find mineral makeup at a better price. They used to have fantastic deals in by-gone days, but even now they're still quite affordable. I have the mint color corrector (my original large size! It lasts forever...), multi-tasking neutral foundation, and a blush in a shade similar to this. I'll probably find a different concealer when mine runs out (in about 10 years, by my calculations *wink*). I really like mineral makeup because I feel that I can easily control how much I put on. That's a big plus when you're trying to achieve a natural look.

As I mentioned before, I am not educated in art of makeup application. And quite honestly, that's okay with me. I use a complexion brush to dust on a light layer of foundation, a blush brush for my blush, and call it good. I use foundation and blush daily, and concealer as required.

EYESHADOW: Honeybee Gardens Chai ($4.58) and Flirtatious ($5.21); Cocoa powder
Yet another new product! I really don't apply my eyeshadow properly, since I just pick a color and dust it on my eyelids. But it works for me, and I'm quite pleased with the Honeybee Gardens eyeshadows. The cocoa powder was just a thought, and it seems to work just as well as the others! I wear eyeshadow 5-6 days a week.

EYE LINER: Honeybee Gardens Eye Liner (Belgian Chocolate) -- $5.66
More Honeybee Gardens! I'm quite a fan of their products now. I'm still learning the finer points of eye liner application, but so far, so good. I went with a brown eyeliner instead of black, because I felt it wouldn't stand out as much. I also bought a cheap $1 e.l.f. eye liner set at Walmart in order to get the sharpener! I use eyeliner daily, on about 2/3 of my upper lid only.

EYE LASH CURLER: Trim (?) -- $2.88
I can only dream of long, curly lashes. And while I admit I've mocked eyelash curlers in the past, I'm rather fond of mine now. Even something so simple can make me feel a bit more put together, and it takes less than a minute. I use it about 4-6 days per week.

SETTING SPRAY: Reviva Labs Facial Spray Rosewater (not pictured) -- $4.58
Now, I realize I could have made rosewater myself, but I decided to try it out before I invested the time and effort. The Reviva Labs Rosewater has a few more ingredients than I'd like, so I'll probably look for something simpler next time.

As for the rosewater itself, though, I'm sold! I've never like the scent of rose in the past, but apparently that's changed (fortunately). It's remarkably refreshing, and I've noticed that my makeup seems to stay put longer (and look better, to boot). I use rosewater once or twice daily -- a schpritz or two right after I apply makeup, and another after I moisturize at night.

TRAVEL COMPACT: Honeybee Gardens Powder Compact ($7.28) and Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder in Supernatural  ($6.92)
I was quite excited to find an affordable powder compact! Both the compact and the powder cost less than $15, and I'm very satisfied with the products. I keep the compact in my purse for touch-ups or last-minute application. The mineral powder stays put with a clever magnet, so it's easy to replace (though I have a feeling mine will last quite a while).

And that's that! I'm quite content with my little collection, and find that I enjoy the simplicity of having only a few options. This is akin to my recent wardrobe makeover -- when I have less to choose from but I love what I do have, I'm ultimately happier. Even when I use everything in my makeup collection, I don't feel unnatural or artificial. While makeup is not a necessity to me, I've found that applying it in the morning (even if it's just foundation, blush, and a bit of eyeliner or mascara) makes me feel more dressed and intentional.

I'm curious -- what's in your makeup kit? I'd love to hear about your tips and favorite products!


  1. Hi Shannon,
    I enjoyed this post. I have FAR too much makeup, especially loose eyeshadow pigments. I used to be a fan of bright colors and more artistic makeup looks, but now as a mom, I find that I prefer a more natural look. Plus, my getting ready time in the morning is now very limited. My everyday staples are foundation, concealer, shimmery eyeshadow in a neutral shade, and tinted lip balm. I would love to try to use more natural products, like you do. Love your blog!


    1. Alyssa,

      Being a mom definitely keeps me on the "simple" path, too -- there's definitely something to be said for looks that require a minimum amount of time! :-) Thanks for sharing your staples!


  2. This was a really helpful post for me as I have recently been more open to the idea of using make up. The most I ever did was powder my nose once in a while but the last year or so I have been using foundation and powder, with occasional blush. For my brothers wedding earlier this year I bought a few more make up supplies but was not really happy with any of them - but they did at least pique my interest, so I have been looking into natural-ingredient natural-looking makeup options since then.

    I do not want to spend a lot on make up either, so it is very helpful to know what you use and what the products you purchased cost - I think I will have to try a few of them! I love the idea of rosewater. I use coconut oil for my moisturizer (and it has made SUCH a difference!)

    Thank you for a very helpful post!

    1. Sarah Jane,

      I'm so glad this could be of help! It's been a huge learning curve for me (and a lot of research to find suitable products). I'm grateful that there's so much more available now than there was even a few years ago!

      And I definitely recommend the rosewater -- it's such a lovely, old-fashioned concept, too!


  3. Shannon, I also thoroughly enjoyed this post too! I have been dabbling in makeup since I was 18 as well and now I am 22. So I am still new to wearing makeup. I have only been wearing foundation since 2012 and I do not wear it everyday. I find pressed powder foundation is my favorite. Currently I am using bare minerals, which was a pretty penny from Sephora. My sister recently found this makeup company that is family owned. So when I run out of my bare minerals pressed powder I will definitely purchase from Cowgirl dirt instead. :)

    Cowgirl dirt even has the option to get samples of their makeup sent to you in the mail. I thought that was really a great idea! Has anyone heard of them or used their makeup? Have you heard of them Shannon?

    God bless,

    1. Rebecca, thanks for stopping by! My Honeybee Gardens compact is my first experience with pressed powder, and I like it thus far. I'd kind of like to experiment more, but I'm scared of branching out when I'm happy with what I have. :-) I'll definitely have to look into Cowgirl Dirt, as I hadn't heard of them before -- thanks for mentioning them!


  4. I'm like you in that I like to just have a few products that are tried and tested and not have numerous pots and potions everywhere. I've had acne for years, and also very uneven skin tone, so I always wear foundation. My skin tone is very pale and it's almost impossible to find a foundation that is both non-greasy and not orangey in tone - the best I have found is Bobbi Brown's stick foundation. It's expensive but I've found it lasts ages, and for me it's worth it. I like a bit of blusher as well, but I've found blusher is one of those products where you don't really need to pay much to get something decent. I find liquid eyeliner and mascara really fun to use, and again, I don't really feel the need to splash out to be able to get something decent.

  5. Rachel, I agree that it's very difficult to find foundation that's not too orange! I'm not extremely fair (unlike my sister, who always has to buy "ivory" :-), but I'm definitely not *orange*. That's great that the Bobbi Brown works for you -- it can be hard to splurge, but it's so worth it when it really works!


    PS -- I hope you and baby are doing well; you must be getting close to the "finish" (or rather, "start") line! :-)


I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for stopping by!