It has been an incredibly busy summer (I’m halfway through my internship) and I’m hoping that once school starts back, I’ll be back to a regular blogging schedule and can make some more improvements! I hope everyone’s having a great summer. It’s totally flying by! My birthday is this week (whoop whoop! 20!) so I’m hoping for a good week and excited to celebrate with some friends.
So, today’s blog is basically what’s in my beauty bag. Makeup, hair products, scrubs, and everything in between! I’m going to categorize everything by makeup, skin, and hair. To preface this, my skin type is combination oily/dry, but tends to lean more toward oily. My hair is wavy/curly with a coarse texture, and it also has a tendency to get oily sometimes. (See the pattern here, folks?) But, if your hair/skin doesn’t match mine, no worries! I use a combination of products that people of all skin/hair types can use.
So, I am a makeup hoarder, but not an expert. I don’t contour, or cut crease on my eyeshadow, or draw on my eyebrows, or whatever it is you do, but I know some great basic products. I like to stick with as close to a natural look as I can that’s pretty low-maintenance (for someone as high maintenance as me, at least). Some of this is a little pricey, but I have acne prone, sensitive skin, so I like to make sure I don’t risk a breakout with cheaper stuff. Most of this is a combination of Merle Norman (which I was raised on) and Urban Decay.
These are two Merle Norman primers I absolutely LOVE. The green one is an anti-redness primer. My face is naturally a little red on my cheeks, so this is a great balance. It’s not drying and it’s also oil-free, and layers great! The second is an anti-blemish primer I used during high school when I had heavy acne flare-ups. It’s very light, and helps treat your acne while you wear makeup. Win-win, am I right? It also layers very well, and it’s thin so it spreads easily. Neither of these have an atrocious smell, and the pricing isn’t on Merle’s website, but they’ll probably run ~$30.
Next is Urban Decay’s All Nighter foundation. This is a waterproof long-wear foundation for people with oily skin. I layer this with a powder (see below) and my face stays matte all day, which is something I had never been able to say before using this foundation. Naked Skin (their other foundation) is also great, but I prefer this one because I have naturally oily skin. It costs $40 a bottle, but the bottle lasts me around three months, and I wear makeup every day. It doesn’t take very much, and you get buildable coverage! I’m in love with this stuff.
I finish my foundation with a light dusting of Merle Norman’s Expert Finish makeup. It comes with a sponge and can be worn alone as a light coverage, and instructions say the sponge can be wet for a thicker, more buildable coverage, but I dust a little powder over my foundation to set it. It’s very light and comes in a ton of shades. I switch shades in between summer and winter. This will cost you around $30 as well, but it also lasts an incredibly long time, because it doesn’t take much!
Merle Norman has awesome blush. My summer shade is called Razzle Dazzle, and I go to Teakwood in the winter. It’s not heavy, and at $17, it won’t break the bank. You really can’t go wrong! There are lots of pretty hues to choose from, and the Merle Girls will help you find the best products for you and your skin tone/type!
I’m going to go ahead and lump these two products together. Merle Norman’s pro pen eyeliner is SO easy to use. It’s a liquid liner, but the tip is so precise it’s hard to mess up. I’m super clumsy, and not very good with eyeliner, but this stuff stays on throughout the day as well as being easy to apply with the pen shaped tip. It comes in black, brown, and a bluish tint (that I know of), and one pen lasts for such a long time, it’s crazy! I’ve had mine several months and the liquid is just as fresh as the day I opened it. I couple the Pro Pen with Wicked Lash mascara. Normally, I’ve always had to choose between lengthening and thickening mascara formulas. My lashes are pretty blah naturally, so I mean, why not have both? Wicked Lash delivers just that! It doesn’t run, and the brush is so easy to apply. It’s not cakey, or flakey, and it’s never clumped, in my experience. Both of these will run you close to ~$20 apiece.
This is the holy grail of my makeup bag, the much-raved about Naked palette. I shouldn’t have to do much explaining on this one, because literally everyone LOVES these. I was hesitant to spend $54 on eyeshadow, but it was SO worth it. I use mine every single day. My favorite shade is Sidecar (fourth from left). The neutrals pair perfectly with everything and blend well. A definite must-have for your makeup bag!
Everyone needs a little lipstick. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “Go put on a little lipstick, you need some color.” It’s a Southern thing, I’m practically sure of it. Merle Norman has some amazing lip products. On the left, you have a lip exfoliator and lip conditioner. The exfoliator gets rid of the dead skin on your lips, leaving them smooth and ready for lipstick. It’s amazing, trust me. ($18) The lip conditioner is designed to soothe your lips after exfoliation. It has a pleasant smell and goes on very well. It’s also SPF 15! ($18) Use those to prep your lips for these other great products. On the top, you have liquid lipcolor. This is my new favorite thing, y’all! It’s lipstick that goes on like a gloss and dries. And trust me, it doesn’t budge, nor is it drying. It comes in a variety of colors (not too sure about pricing on this one, probably anywhere from $18-$25) and are perfect to stash in a purse! The bottom right hand corner are lip polishes, which are basically just shimmery lip glosses. I think I have all of them by now, literally. They go on over any lipstick to give a little extra shimmer and pop of color. It has a light vanilla scent, and doesn’t dry out your lips. It does stay a little stickier than the rest, so if you don’t like the texture of lip gloss, this probably isn’t for you. I love layering these over my lipsticks! (Probably run close to $20)
So if you’re anywhere in the social media atmosphere, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Kylie Jenner lip kits. Although Keeping Up with the Kardashians is my guilty pleasure, I never really had the urge to order a lip kit… until I saw Khloe’s collaboration come out. The colors were so vivid and right up my alley! I knew I had to try. I ordered on the second restock, and they arrived promptly a few days later. So, here’s my review: these are BRIGHT. Super bright. It took a little while getting used to, but I LOVE them. (I guess they’re magical and gave me Kardashian Konfidence!) They smell like cake batter (an addiction of mine) and are easy to apply. BUT, when they dry, they don’t budge. The only time mine really came off was when I was eating and drinking, and even then, it was barely noticeable. I’m thinking these will pair perfectly with Lilly! It comes with three matte liquid lipsticks that swipe on in a gloss formula, then dry. I don’t even feel like I’m wearing lipstick! It isn’t drying and it looks great. Just make sure you swipe on an even application. It also comes with one gloss, which isn’t as sticky as the MN lip polishes, and would layer well over the muted shade. See all the shades below! The price tag on this is $40, which seems steep, but then again, you’re basically getting 4 lipsticks for $10 a pop, which is definitely not bad.
This clarifying clay mask from Merle Norman is a lifesaver. It’s great for people with oily skin! Anytime I have something big coming up (job interview, date, etc.) I go get a facial and do this to help prevent breakouts, and treat my breakouts! Of course, even if you don’t have acne this product is amazing. It’s cooling and pulls out the dirt and oil from your skin. At around $30, it’s worth every penny. Forget those charcoal masks that are so painful to pull off, this is where it’s at.
Miracol, as its name suggests, is a miracle. It shrinks your pores and works great as a spot treatment. I’ve even used this on my boyfriend, and it’s helped him. I use this in conjunction with the clay mask to shrink my pores and draw out any blackheads or treat any zits. It has a slight odor to it, but it’s not terrible. This is my go-to, as well as my aunt’s go-to. I could not live without this. It’s applied as a cream that dries on your face, and is then washed off with warm water, but… I like to peel it off, even though I shouldn’t. My face feels so much cleaner after I use this! It’ll cost right around $30 too.
#Throwback. I still depend on these to get pesky blackheads out of my nose. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? These are tried and true. I never really use the face strips, but I always use them on my nose and it’s fascinating to see what comes out (I’m also a Dr.PimplePopper fan!) so that’s a plus for me, at least. These are fairly inexpensive, especially if you catch them on sale at Ulta. I’ve seen them as cheap as $6 a box, just depending on quantity.
When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I’ve run the gamut of products. Tresemme, Matrix, Biolage, OGX, Garnier, Paul Mitchell… you name it, I’ve probably tried it. When Ulta had their last big sale, I grabbed these babies and my hair has not been the same since. It’s an oatmeal and honey formula that smells absolutely amazing, not to mention has been insanely good for my hair. I have naturally curly/wavy/finger in a light socket hair, so it’s normally pretty frizzy and unmanageable. Ever since I’ve been using this shampoo, my hair has been so much more manageable, shinier, less frizzy, and so much softer. I love all of Tigi/Bed Head’s products, so I’m not exactly sure why I never thought to use their shampoo and conditioner sooner!
My Mom brought home a bottle of this from the beauty shop (as we call them in the South) and I’ve been hooked ever since! This is Hair Food, by Thrix. It’s a leave in conditioner that fights frizz and humidity, and acts as a curl activator. I can’t say enough good things about it! My hair doesn’t frizz all day with this stuff. It’s only $16 a bottle at my salon, but sadly, has to be bought through a salon. I’d suggest finding it, because it’s worth it!
Bed Head’s Masterpiece hairspray is so amazing. As the bottle says, it adds shine and smells phenomenal! It stays all day without giving your hair a wet look, or being sticky. It brushes out really easily, too, without tangling your hair! Ulta is running a deal on it now where you can get 2 bottles for $22 (normally $23 for one bottle) so try it while you can!
Lastly, drybar’s detox dry shampoo is AMAZING. I use the kind specifically for brunettes (pictured above) and it’s perfect! It smells so good and leaves my hair clean. I was using Not Your Mother’s, but I didn’t really love it and it left a weird residue in my brush, along with making my hair look gray. The brunette dry shampoo keeps my hair its natural color, but will get on your hands and maybe shirt if you aren’t careful. Luckily, it washes right out with warm water and soap! It’s not just for brunettes, either. See the original here! This dry shampoo will change your life. (Also, there’s a free gift with purchase for either of these right now at Ulta!)
I hope my reviews of these products help you out if you’ve been looking to try something new, or just want to see what this post is all about! Look for some exciting stuff coming on the blog, and as always, follow along on Instagram @laureninpearls! Until next time!