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Your makeup bag only has room for three items. What are they?

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This question is so hard for me to answer that I almost didn’t ask you guys to; my makeup loyalties are many. But off we go: number one with a bullet is BB Tinted moistiurizer from Tarte, which I bought over the winter  when I was breaking out badly with what I’m pretty sure was roseaca. I needed something with good coverage so I wouldn’t scare small children when I walked down the street, and it’s great on that front: it totally evens you out, and you can still see you skin, which is key. But the truly amazing thing about this stuff—and I almost don’t want to say this for fear I’ll jinx it—is that pretty much as soon as I started using it, my breakout started to clear. And it has not returned even once.  People have been complimenting me on my skin a lot these days and I tell them it’s because of all the green juice I drink (I drink so much green juice, and the gunky all-vegetable kind too).  But really, it’s this magic potion, I’m pretty sure.


I had never been able to pull off a true, classic red lip until I picked up this stain and now I’m obsessed. Somehow, the fact that it’s in a chubby pencil format and not an actual lipstick makes it less scary-pigmenty and ten times easier to apply.

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You know it has to be good, because the name is so annoying that there’s no way I’d use it if it wasn’t.


Posted on September 29th, 2014 49 Comments

49 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    I can’t live without that BB cream. I don’t know if it’s the Amazonian clay or what, but it cleared up my skin too. I’ve heard it’s being discontinued, but I hope that’s just a nasty rumor.

  2. Bex says:

    I’m going all Clinique: their anti-redness concealer, which covers up both zits and the dark circles under my eyes, their High-Impact Mascara in black, and a tube of almost lipstick in Black Honey.

  3. c.w. says:

    Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer mixed with ROC moisturizer.

    • Elisa says:

      A second vote for Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. I love it. To that I would add Clinique lash power mascara and Revlon spicy cinnamon lipstick.

  4. AmyM says:

    I’m going to go with Urban Decay Naked BB Cream, Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel (surprisingly makes more of a difference for me now than mascara), and a Tarte Lipsurgence crayon. Any color — I haven’t tried a bad one yet.

  5. Ozora says:

    Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry me, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, Cover Girl LashBlast mascara.

  6. Sara says:

    Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Lip Balm for Men, makes my lips look and feel moist, but leaves a dewey, not shiny,finish. Nars Matte Velvet Pencil in Bahama is almost the exact shade of my natural lip color, but just a bit rosier. It gives me the no-makeup look that I love, while adding some polish and evening out the skin tone. Make Up Forever Full Cover Concealer for my undereye darkness and bags. It lasts all day, even in humid weather and is one of the few concealers that don’t cause my eyes to get red and watery.

  7. y.k. says:

    ha! i’ve heard great things about that mascara but have not been able to buy b/c CANNot overcome that name!! why do companies do that?? but i guess it stands out…

  8. jhops says:

    I’ll second the recommendation for Urban Decay Naked BB Cream, although now I must also try the Tarte one above. I’ve newly discovered Smashbox Full Exposure mascara & it’s my dream formula – long lasting, non-flaking/-smearing, and not at all goopy or clumping. I’m also addicted to a Rimmel Stay Glossy lip gloss in a color I can’t share because the name has long-since smudged off the bottom of the tube. It’s a sheer darkish red, and it was the only color out of stock at my local Target last week, grrrr.

  9. Katie Lynn says:

    I would have to have my Benefit Erase Paste, Max Factor 1000 calorie mascara (in my fantasy where it still exists. I actually use Maybelline One by One), and my signature lip of Bonne Belle Dr Pepper lip balm. I’m never to be found without it.

    • JD says:

      I assume you mean 2000 calorie mascara, which is still distributed in the UK and available on Amazon. Thank God. All other mascaras are dead to me.

      • Katie Lynn says:

        Yes! That’s what I meant! It has been gone from the US for so long that I had forgotten the name and had to think REAL HARD to get even that much. Now off to Amazon. Take all my money!

  10. Femme50 says:

    Only 3 things? Harsh.
    I never leave the house w/o eyebrows, so Benefit’s Gimme Brow is essential. I also try not to leave the house w/o an upper lip, so a lip pencil is a given: these days it’s Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie in Thrilled. Finally, Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara because it’s a short, stubby size that fits in my smallest bags and while I hate to be w/o eyeliner, being w/o mascara is worse.
    I guess since I have neither brows nor lips at a Certain Age, I’m grateful I receive a lot of compliments on my skin, because I refuse to wear foundation. Lucky genes and water. Bourbon doesn’t seem to hurt.

  11. gablesgirl says:

    Three? You’re killing me girl. Ok, my new obsession is the Cover Girl/Oil of Olay foundation. Cover Girl Lash Blast. Chanel Rose Petale blush. (And Burt’s Bees Peony in the car)

  12. Tammy says:

    Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara, La Mer lip balm and Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer. Armani makes some really, really fantastic products. Expensive, but oh, so good.

  13. Kate says:

    I only need one: YSL Touche Eclat. My dark circles are epic.

    Given two more, I’ll take Maybelline Colour Tattoo shadow in the taupe shade (which I use to fill in my wispy brows) and either Benefit Watt’s Up highlighter (a bit of that on my lids and inside corners of the eye helps) or maybe a Fresh lip tint.

    But that’s mostly all I wear on the daily anyhow. Except some days, like last week when I did a full eyeshadow thing from a website plus lipstick and felt very fancy. Really, though, hit the dark circles and I feel okay.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Benefit Erase Paste #1. Rimmel Kate lipstick #111, the only red I’ve ever been able to wear. Nars Orgasm blush (cliche, I know. But still).

  15. Anon says:

    Chanel waterproof Inimitable mascara
    Jane Iredale Golden Glow mineral powder SPF 20
    Becca raspberry beach lip and cheek stain

  16. Lynn in Tucson says:

    I’ve never been able to pull off red lips, either. I will give that crayon a try.

    L’oreal Voluminous at the moment; an Almay under-eye concealer, now cancelled; and Qtica Intense Repair Lip Balm. I don’t leave home without it.

  17. Ann says:

    Must have Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation mixed with Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer (maybe I should try the BB version!!), Buxom black mascara (the brush gets every little lash and NO clumps), and NARS lipstick in Fast Ride! But I would cheat and add concealer! 🙂

  18. Suz says:

    L’oreal Voluminous in black, undereye concealer YSL Touche Eclat (red headed and therefore translucent – undereye circles since I was 12) and MAC Brun shadow smudged a bit on the top lid as liner.


    I look like a scary doll with red lips, but may give that red crayon a try. Am intrigued.

  19. Stakra says:

    My three items- 1. RMS uncoverup – easy on the skin (coconut oil based) but actually lasts. RMS eye shines. Shear colors that are pretty much foolproof for those of us that like to use our fingers and again no itchy eyes from irritants. Baume de Rose by Terry, lip balm that adds a touch of pink to the lips and a bonus of rose scent.

  20. Sarah says:

    Kim, what color is that Tarte crayon? I assume it’s the one called Fiery?

  21. LisaR says:

    Hi, replying for the first time but have enjoyed reading your blog for a while–also love all the great comments! Here are my three must haves:
    1. Cle De Peau concealer – pricey but worth it (covers without looking like makeup and lots of product in a tube).
    2. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink (great for both cheeks and lips).
    3. Make Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara (lots of volume with no clumps or smudges).

  22. Maggie says:

    LM tinted moisturizer, nars multiple for my cheeks and my new favorite: charlotte tilbury sparkly eye enhancer (the best).

  23. Linda Kerr says:

    Armani silk foundation, Bobbie Brown pot rouge (lips and cheeks!) and T. LeClerc powder.

  24. Mary Alice says:

    Armani Luminous silk foundation, Revlon Photoready Blush in Pinched, and Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.

  25. joannawnyc says:

    I thought 3 was too few but then I realized I actually only wear 3 makeup products at a time anyway since I had to give up mascara (dry eye issues, can’t wear anything around my eyes anymore, boohoo).

    Today those 3 were Dr Brandt’s BBMatte with shinerase tm, Temptu S/B Highlighter, and Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain. Oddly, I realize, all 3 were originally Birchbox samples, which makes me feel both a bit self-conscious, as though I am incapable of finding makeup on my own, and as though they should pay me to be a spokesperson.

    Alternately, it’s the BB cream with a YSL blush my mother in law sent me from the UK with a checkerboard of lilac pink and very slightly sparkly bronzer shades. It’s good because you can wear the shades separately or together, and as blush or eyeshadow. And then Burt’s Bees lip shimmer in Fig, which is pretty much a dead ringer for Black Honey (although I have a nubbin of that somewhere too).

  26. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    One that saved my sensitive rosacea prone skin this summer: Julie Hewitt Ora Mineral Mix Foundation, because it gives me natural coverage and yet lets my freckles show through (Her secret is to mist it with her Rose Water spray after applying, but I use Caudalie….but this is just a bonus tip, so it doesn’t count!). Two would be Josie Maran’s Argan Color Stick in Rosy because it’s great for lips and cheeks. And three would have to be a great waterproof mascara that I have, as yet, not discovered. Menopause makes even the toughest waterproofs cower, in my experience!

    • Meg says:

      Bobbi Brown makes a fabulous waterproof mascara–I think it’s marketed as “smudge proof” but I have worn that stuff to wedding, funerals, and hospitals and it doesn’t budge. They have another formulation, so make sure you’re getting the waterproof one. Also: I’m past menopause, too, and this mascara never lets me down even though my eyelashes are thinner than before.

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        I used to use it, Meg, but stopped for some reason ( Perhaps because I stopped receiving it gratis when I quit freelancing as a MUA for Bobbi Brown. But I LOVE her products!). Thx! 🙂

  27. christin says:

    Mac pro-line concealer is good.
    Perricone MD no foundation serum (tinted and SPF 30 so kind of an all-in-one for casual days).
    Nars lipstick in dolce vita. This colour is basically my lip colour but better. I’m almost finished it so it better be still available!

  28. Heather says:

    I’m in complete agreement about Tarte BB Creme: it’s also quite moisturizing but doesn’t make me greasy. Since you’ve already covered it, I’ll give you my other three:
    1) Anastasia Brow Wiz in ash blonde made me actually love my eyebrows: it fills them in so naturally and really seems to wake up al my features
    2) Benefit Yes They’re Real mascara: mascara always seems to just slip off my lashes and this one stays put pretty well, plus it never clumps.
    3) Bite Beauty Lipstick: I can’t say enough about bite and have too many colors to select just one, but my favorite comes from Bite Beauty Lip Lab, where they will create a custom color for you. If you’re in NYC, it’s definitely worth a trip.

    • Beffgus says:

      I want to go there so badly! I envision it being like the Wonka factory, but for lipstick addicts.

  29. Lori says:

    (1) Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia. This is enough darker than my natural lip color to be interesting, yet subtle enough that I can apply without a mirror.

    (2) YSL Touche Eclat Concealer in Radiant Silk. This color (1.5) is relatively new and a godsend for me. Previously the available colors were too light or too dark. This one, for people who are fair but not super fair, is just right.

    (3) Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara. Provides length with clumping or flaking. A great every day mascara.

  30. Helen says:

    Lancôme Définicils
    Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer (clear)
    Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick in Carmenere

  31. Sara says:

    I was so tempted to say all lipsticks, I’m not going to lie.

    1) Garnier BB Cream for Oily/Combination skin – it’s no frills and light coverage but for some reason it just…does something magical to my skin. Light enough for everyday, but looks polished enough for more full on looks.

    2) Maybelline Master Precise Liner – Naturally need a liquid liner, this one has a super fine tip and is black as black, perfect for a simple wing

    3) NARS Audacious lipstick in Rita – I just bought this as my staple red and I am 100% and totally in love with how it feels on the lips and how it looks and I could wear a red lip with everything

  32. Tina Kat Courtney says:

    Oh! So hard and so fun at the same time.

    My three are:

    1) Benefit Porefessional – it does wonders to even out my skin and hide those pesky pores

    2) Dior Diorshow mascara – for maximum vavavavoom

    3) NARS cream glitter lip gloss – works on top of ANY color or by itself. Cannot leave home without a glitter SOMEwhere on my bod.


  33. Valerie says:

    Three is really difficult. However, I MUST cover my skin every day, and I MUST do my brows. My extra slot I guess I’ll give to mascara even though it would kill me to leave off blush and lip.

    That being said…

    1. Garnier BB cream oily/combo. I love this especially in the summer because it gives a lot of coverage and I can use it without moisturizer, which makes it quick and easy. Plus, it stays put.

    2. Maybelline brow pencil (the cheapie 2 pack) in blonde. I like this much better than the Benefit Gimme Brow I splurged on. It looks natural and I can fill in wherever and for as much as I need. Bonus: it’s like $4 for two!

    3. Loreal mascara. They’re always good and at a good price, too. My current favorite is the Miss Manga.

  34. Graygrrrl says:

    I’ve got to second (third? tenth?) BB Cream. It’s a must. Also mascara. I’m obsessed with L’oreal Miss Manga. Third, my Maybelline Baby Lips

  35. LMM says:

    Josie Maran tinted moisturizer, Cover Girl Clump Crusher mascara, Buxom lip cream in Pink Lady.

  36. Linda Kenyon says:

    I’m never without Clinique’s Black Honey Almost-Lipstick,and Jergen’s “Original” hand lotion. I’m practically clinically compulsive about keeping my lips and hands moisturized. Those, and a smokey pencil eye-liner make me ready to face the world.