Products, Oh Overwhelming Products

A month or so after I had Gabe a group photo was taken at work. When I saw the finished product I thought, “Oh my. I have no lips!” And that was the first time I had an inkling that a little makeup might go a long way. I’m not in the makeup-every-day-camp. I am mostly lazy and lost when it comes to products of any kind. I do have a desperation to never be someone who people think looks “sick” or “tired” if I’m not wearing any makeup. I prefer to set expectations low and let my naturally peaches and cream complexion do the rest. But! I think at a certain age, a little touch here and there could/would/might/probably do wonders.

I’ve always admired cat eyes and always wanted them but do not have the patience or skill to achieve such things. Also false eye lashes. I would wear them every single day if it didn’t take a team to put them on me and didn’t pull out my normal eyelashes over time. Is there a lipstick/gloss that doesn’t feel like wet glue? I would like to try one if it exists.

BB/CC cream. I use one by Olay. I mean, a little concealer in a lotion? With SPF? And magic redness corrector? Why yes, I think I can do that. I have heard great things about the smashbox version, but have yet to try it. I also have a hard time handing over a chunk of change for anything beauty related. Maybe that’s why I look old.

Or maybe it is because after I lost all of my hair, I noticed a sprouting of new and unwelcome grey hairs. I had maybe 1 silver-y hair before having Gabe, and then a few months after giving birth – POOF! Wiry, grey sprouts. Nothing worth even pondering getting my hair colored, but still a little like wtf? WTF body – you are a beacon of awesomeness! Don’t go grey on me now!

Another super weird thing that happened after I lost all of my hair – the texture of my hair totally changed. My somewhat frizzy/wavy hair became totally fluffy and terrible without the usual weight of my thick hair. My head was totally unmanageable. I would blow dry and it would look nice for about 2 seconds until I got to work and then POOF. HORRIBLE HAIR DAY EVERY DAY. Ugh. I suffered with this hair issue for several months, until I finally went to target and spent $25 bucks on a hair mask. It’s like my hair has a new lease on life. Do you have fluffy hair? BUY A HAIR MASK! Run, run to target or walgreens or wherever and buy it! Use it 1-2 times a week, the jar will last you forever, but you will be struck dumb and mute by the awesomeness that happens afterwards.

Anyways, all of this is to say: I bought a Birchbox subscription! Because I really know nothing about beauty products, but I want to know more! I want to feel confident walking into a Sephora, instead of intimidated and always worried I’m going to accidently knock over a row of concealers and then walk out the story spending $150 on some jar of something I can’t remember how to use or where it’s supposed to go because I was too focused on active listening as the sales lady pitched me. Thank you to Maris for the awesome suggestion. I need help. My newest eye shadow is from 2008. That particular eye shadow is also the only eye shadow I have ever bought myself, AND is a shimmery nude. Because that is the kind of beauty risk taker I am!

So watch out world! My latest Birchbox is on its way! Who knows what kind of styling balm or I don’t even know what could be smeared upon my body in the next few weeks. I’m probably going to be awesome, just a warning.

Do you have a beauty secret you would like to share lame-o me? What is your go-to? What is your morning regimen? Mine involves making sure there isn’t anything in my teeth and attempting to do something I’ve seen on pinterest to my hair. When do you feel the most attractive? That’s a toughy. Sometimes it is when I’m in my sweatpants and sometimes it is when my hair is being seriously kick ass. Ok, probably most of the time my attractiveness-o-meter is tied to my hair. It is what it is.

29 thoughts on “Products, Oh Overwhelming Products”

  1. I’ve had friends who’ve subscribed to Birchbox, and REALLY like it! Good suggestion, Maris.

    I am odd in that I’m a little bit of a beauty junkie but also a SLAVE to my beauty routine. Putting on makeup takes me all of 5 minutes, because I’m so used to doing all the steps. Under-eye concealor, bit of BB cream, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, eye liner, mascara, GO!

    I’ve also recently decided that I only want to use paraben-free products, which…well, SOME are really easy to find. Others are an ongoing journey (like mascara).

    I definitely feel my most attractive when I have my “normal” amount of makeup on. Anything less and I don’t feel together—and oddly enough, anything MORE and I think I look awful. I hate too much makeup on my face.

    1. Paraben-free mascara…try Josie Maran – I *think* it’s paraben-free, most of her products are and I am LOVING the pressed powder foundation I got a couple weeks ago. And the cheek color. And the argan oil, although in the future I will buy a different brand of it because the Josie Maran is mucho $$$.

      This Birchbox sounds like something I may need to look into! Thanks for sharing Lauren! As for product recommendations…I’m loving a shampoo called Big, it’s by Lush. Sea salt and other stuff, makes my hair feel so soft that sometimes I don’t even use any conditioner after, and helps add some volume back into my now-thinning hair (I don’t know why it’s starting to thin and it makes me so sad). I also LOVE the argan oil that I mentioned above – I use it on my face and neck and shoulders, and it has healed blemishes SO quickly, evened out my skin tone, my pores appear smaller, and even the wrinkles starting around my eyes seem to have faded a bit…although that’s a majorly subjective observation. If you don’t like argan oil, coconut oil is AMAZING. For everywhere, head to toe. And it lasts forever and is cheaper than argan oil.

      So I know those weren’t cosmetics recommendations; I’m still exploring a new world of cosmetics myself – I’m trying to go paraben- phthalate- gluten- and other preservatives and stabilizer- free, and finding the ones I like best just is going to take a while and is quite an investment. The good thing is that most of these products are returnable for full refund if it doesn’t work for you, so I’ve looked at a few different companies including Josie Maran and 100% Pure Cosmetics, and then a nail polish company whose name is escaping me at the moment.

      Anyway, can’t wait to read some reviews of your favorites (and least favorites) from Birchbox!

      1. Josie Maran was next on my list to try! I’ve tried both Tarte and BareMinerals so far….both “meh” on the mascara-front (although I like both those brands for other products).

  2. Preach it sister!! I always think I want to wear makeup but I’m too lazy to do it and then the second I do, I feel like everyone can tell and I look silly.

    Burt’s Bees has a really nice tinted balm that I like a lot and doesn’t feel like anything except regular chap stick.

    That’s all I got as far as suggestions, but I’m really excited about your birchbox!! Look forward to some reviews!

  3. I should put a vote in for elf products – so cheap and just as good as other drugstore brands. Most of their stuff is only $1, so if you stop using it after a few weeks, it’s not the end of the world.

    And I agree with Laura: I have such a make-up pattern that it takes about 5 minutes. Plus, I store my everyday make-up in a little bag by the sink, and keep all my other make-ups in a case in the linen closet that I can pull out when I want to play with it. It helps to keep my morning routine streamlined.

    My routine: Tinted moisturizer, primer on my nose and eyelids, undereye concealer, subtle highlight under the eye, more dramatic highlighter on cheekbones and under eyebrow and inner corner of eye, blush, lip stain (I love the big crayons and markers – not sticky at all), eyeliner on my waterline, different eyeliner on my upper lid, maskara – and the most important: liner for my eyebrows! (wow, that’s a lot – but seriously, 5 minutes)

    1. Oh man! The storage. Seriously, this is only a *slight* exaggeration when I say that my life was revolutionized when I bought a makeup case. Since everything has a place, I know exactly where it is to grab every morning…

    2. Add another one for the 5-min daily makeup routine: concealer, blush, taupe shadow, mascara, and I’ll probably throw some lip gloss on at some point during the day. For going out/dressing up, I’ll add a heavier eye w/ darker shadow and liner, bronzer, and mineral makeup powder foundation.

      At Sephora, I love, LOVE Benefit products. I have massive undereye circles, and a combo of the Boi-ing and Erase Paste works wonders, plus They’re Real mascara for my usually stubby lashes.

  4. Mascara. I have fine, thin, blonde eyelashes that fade into nothingness. As a result my eyes just fade back into my head most of the time. So the only bit of makeup that I use religiously is mascara. And to be honest, my favorite is Maybelline Great Lash – the basic, plain brush, waterproof standby. It stays on despite the oily skin around my eyes and a couple of swipes with the brush makes my eyes pop – and I look human again. šŸ™‚

  5. I also find myself in a makeup rut. Ugh. I was just talking to my significant other about this a few days ago. I love makeup and everything it entails and I do, in fact, think I am pretty good at it. But I lack time. I feel so much better about myself and have so much more confidence when I put myself together. But like the majority of the time I just cant find the time. I walk around feeling like a little hobbit, hoping no one will notice my makeup-less face. Hoping no one will notice that I desperately need a facial, haircut, multiple wax’s and hair dye. I haven’t looked this bad since…I don’t even know, maybe my awkward grade school or high school years. I might shed a little tear about that later.

    Also, why are beauty products so damn expensive? I am a slave to the “cat eye,” I like to think of it as my signature look. But the damn eye liner costs $25! Add in lotion, powder, eyebrow liner and mascara. We’re talking $100 at least! Not counting the products that I “just have to have” while perusing Sephora. Awhile back I came across this blog: She reviews drugstore brands and recommends amazingly inexpensive products. Maybe this might help?

  6. Beauty and everything that goes along with it can be so overwhelming. Every day when I get ready for work I make sure to do my makeup nicely, no matter what. It makes me feel put together even when I’m not feeling my best. I like the way I look when I do my makeup, so I make it a priority in the morning. My hair gets far less time, however mostly I just run a flat iron through it and it’s good.

    In the past though I’ve had someone remark “you’re so pretty, you shouldn’t wear so much makeup”. At the time I was on vacation at a cottage in Maine. Which was totally a weird comment to make at the time, since I wasn’t wearing anything but some powder and mascara. Either way it stuck with me because, what difference did it make to them? Wearing makeup makes me feel pretty, and going bare faced makes me self conscious. So I do what makes me feel good about myself. I hate those types of comments because then you start to feel insecure in your choice that made you feel secure in the first place!

    Just do what makes you feel good. I second the Burt’s Bee’s tinted chapstick things. The color is much richer than you expect, but it’s not sticky at all. It’s the only thing I tend to wear on my lips because the feeling of gloss/lipstick grosses me out.

    I hope your Birchbox turns out awesome and I can’t wait to read all about it!

  7. So, on a daily basis I do not normally wear any makeup at all, I am way too lazy. But I have recently forced myself to use an oil-free matifying moisturizer, and that-s huge progress, I used to hate cream.

    On special occasions, that is not often at all (going out, parties, interviews) I wear peach blush, a light peach, almost transparent lipstick (I like them from Estee Lauder, probably because it is what my mom used and the smell brings good memories), over a lip stain (Stila had some great ones), and some loose powder to avoid shine. Oh and dark brown eyeliner on my lower eyelid only. I also have a brown, eyeshadow but I am not so good at it. And oh how I would love to be able to do te cat eye.

    I also have fuzzy hair… I was always the lion in school plays. Hair mask is the best, and also a Mexican product called Sedal, They had some hilarious commercials with a lion taming its mane and it really works.

    As for feeling attractive… I think I always do when I am wearing a dress that fits well, it is when I feel the prettiest. But it is hard in the cold…

  8. My must-haves are: Urban Decay Naked Basics eyeshadow palette ( – almost all matte, all neutrals), Urban Decay eyeshadow primer ( – takes 2 seconds and makes shadow show up better and stay on all day), L’oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara ( and L’oreal Lineur Intense eye liner ( Skin stuff is way more dependent on the individual but I like Cover Girl tinted moisturizer (now called BB Cream but it isn’t a BB cream) and blush. I have also started using an Urban Decay setting spray which seems to help my makeup stay nice looking for longer.

  9. Hooray birchbox!

    I am a makeup fiend, but I hardly ever go buy new hair or skin products – that is why I like birchbox so much, it gives me the chance to try a bunch of things that I never would. I’ve got my morning prep time down to about 45 minutes, including shower and drying and straightening my hair. If I’m rolling out with second day hair that i toss back, its more like 20 minutes (including caffeine time). My day to day always includes tinted bb cream, mascara, and blush, and then i vary between liquid liner and a highlighter on my brow bone or pencil liner and variations of eyeshadow.

    This thing is my new favorite go-to: it adds some shimmer and emphasis, and brightens my face up. just takes a quick swipe and then smudge with my fingers, and good to go!

  10. My daily make up routine is BB cream, under eye concealer, curl eyelashes, mascara, blush. Oh and I always fill in my brows. Sometimes lipstick (I like the Revlon Just Bitten crayon looking things or MAC lipsticks). On weekends I often add cat eye liner (either with the MAC gel liner or the Maybelline liner that looks like a felt tip pen) and bright lipstick. Or I just wear bright lipstick and under eye concealer and curl my lashes.

    When I bother with eyeshadow, I love the Urban Decay Naked palette that Rachelle recommended above and the same primer šŸ™‚

  11. I had to google BB and CC creams… clearly I’m not in the product loop.

    I’ve been curling my eyelashes daily since I was 12 so I can not do without it. I swear it wakes up your face, so that’s my #1 item. I wear makeup every day to work. Just some bare minerals (been using for 7 years or so), bronzer/blush, and mascara. I don’t wear it much on the weekend (to give my skin time to breathe!) unless there is an outing like a party or something.

    I honestly believe bare minerals has the BEST coverage and is SO light that it doesn’t feel like it’s hurting my skin like a liquid makeup would. I have pretty good skin, but it’s nice to cover the pink cheeks sometimes and put some strategic color on the cheekbones. I can’t recommend it enough if you want to do the natural makeup thing.

    For lips, Fresh sugar lip treatment is fun- it’s tinted, has spf, and feels nice and smooth. It is pricey, but I got a free sample on my birthday last year from Sephora! When I finish it I may splurge the $25 for my favorite color.

    I can’t wait to read about different products that you try! Maybe you could also do some hair tutorials for us? I wear a ponytail to work 85% of the time and wouldn’t mind trying something else with my air-dried hair.

  12. Which hair mask are you using? My hair has been getting increasingly weird (hello, 30’s!), and I’d like to try something.

    1. I did use the Moroccan hair oil one but now I am using It’s 10! from Target. I had never heard of this brand of hair products all named after numbers before I saw it in their “salon hair product” section.

  13. I wear foundation, blush, and tinted lip gloss when I feel like making an effort. I never want it to be obvious that I forgot to put on makeup. I recently bought BB cream, after going, “wtf is bb cream?” while standing in the store and being totally unable to find any of my standard 15SPF face lotions. The problem is that it feels sticky and I’m reluctant to wear it. Anyway, tinted chapstick is the best thing ever. I like NYX brand. I agree on bare minerals, but it’s messy – I bought a Tart minerals compact last year and I like it fine, but it’s not as magical as my bare minerals finishing powder compact that I have. I’m annoyed at myself for letting the women at ulta talk me out of the bare minerals compact.

  14. My morning routine involves looking in the mirror for five seconds and figuring out if I need to pull my hair back or not.

    But I’m still curious about what you learn! I’ve been thinking lately that I should start doing better with creams and moisturizer, if nothing else. I am sort of tired of the bags under my eyes.

    1. Margosita, we are morning twins. This is what I would have written. One of my vague resolutions recently was to find a moisturizer/eye something that works and use it regularly. It hasn’t happened yet, but my mom gave me a couple tubes of Jan Marini 30spf moisturizer that I think I like, and isn’t super greasy. I haven’t gotten to the regular use part yet, though. And it doesnt do anything about eye-bags.

  15. It makes me actively sad that they do not do Birchbox subscriptions to Australia, because I would love that SO HARD.

    Two products to which I am a devoted slave:

    Revlon PhotoReady 3D Volume Mascara. Firmly convinced that this is the best mascara in the world. One coat looks great; three coats and you do not need false eyelashes, because you look like you’re already wearing them. Also, not expensive!

    This lip balm. It makes your lips look like you’re not wearing lip balm but also not invisible – something I also have a problem with because I’m so pale. I have it in “rose” but there are a bunch of colours. Slightly expensive for a lip balm but totally worth it. I actually used up my first one, and I never do that! (I usually get bored of a product long before I finish it.) Genuinely moisturising and lovely.–tinted-lip-balm

    I hope that helps! I wish I was in SF and we could go make up shopping together! <3 xx

  16. I am a no makeup user as well. My last eye shadow purchase was winter of 2010 and it looks lonely and sad. I sometimes used to try the whole curly my eyelashes/mascara routine but my eyelashes DO NOT like to curl, even with the nicest curler-so they looked droopy and sad with mascara on.

    My new favorite thing in the world… I splurge on fake eyelashes!!! I still dont wear ANY makeup, but I get compliments and stares on my eyes ALLLL the time. I get them done at Swink downtown, and after the initial $100 shell out, I get fills every 2-3 weeks for about $40 (and just a hour long appt) and love them. I’m never going back. Never.

    1. I am so fascinated by this!!! I want to see it in real life! Next time I am in town I am going to meet you for a drink just so I can stare at your eyelashes. #creepy #notcreepy

  17. I’m late to the makeup party, but I’m curious about what kind of bb cream you use. I purchased some last year and I think it’s sort of magical, but I don’t think I’ve found the brand that works best for me. For one thing, even the lightest option is still way too orange/tan for my very fair skin, so I can only where it in the summer, which is the time of year that I am least likely to wear makeup. It also feels really heavy and sticky, which makes me not want to put it on. I love how it evens out my skin tone, though. Help?

    1. I use Olay BB cream. I use their lightest options and it makes me look just a touch touch touch sunkissed. I think ultimately it looks the best after a bit of sheer powder over the top, really smooths things out.

  18. OOohhh i want in on the hair mask party!!! Putting it on the Target list! Im also part of the 5 min makeup routine party. Primer, foundation, bronzer on the cheeks, eyeliner and mascara, finishing spray and done! Eye shadow on a good day, when im not feeling so lazy. I also never wanted to look tired or sick when i didnt feel like putting on makeup for a day. Im not sure I still accomplish that but, luckily i have good genes and dont look too horrible without it. So everyone can suck it when i dont feel like wearing makeup, lol. Yes, im tired and didnt feel like putting on makeup, get over it šŸ˜‰ Im not sure what makes me feel most attractive, but when i feel the most squeaky clean and refreshed is when i microderm!! I LOVE IT!! Obsessed. I use Mary Kay for primer, foundation, finishing spray (gives a nice, smooth airbrushed look to my dry skin) and microderm-y goodness. Best money ever spent. And FDA approved šŸ˜‰

  19. This is so awesome!! I wore fake ones for my wedding last week (I had a bridesmaid who puts fake ones on herself every. single. day. put them on me for said wedding) and I loved them so much!! I would never go through putting them on everyday, and didnt know you could “get them done”…. now im so curious!!

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