By Tomboy KC | Image by David Engelhardt courtesy of Suzy Gerstein
With the endless product on the market and the constant recommendations from friends, family and some random person you mostly don’t know on the internet, sometimes it’s hard to discern what is actually worth having on your top shelf. But that’s OK. And that’s why there’s this Top Five column, the place where professional make-up artists like Suzy Gerstein – who has worked on shoots with the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Patrick Demarchelier, and whose work has graced the faces of celebrities such as Leighton Meester and Christy Turlington, to name a few – can weed through the chaff for us and tell us what we should be keeping at immediate reach. So what is Suzy’s Top Five? Keep reading to find out.
- “A great face oil to even out the skin tone and give that glowy, flawless finish that radiates from underneath makeup. I love Lina Hanson Global Face Serum, and for sensitive skin, her Baby Serum.
- A mid-weight foundation with build-able coverage that doubles as concealer in a pinch. I love Koh Gen Doh Moisture Foundation. A little trick for using it to cover blemishes: sprinkle a dash of translucent powder (Koh Gen Do makes a great one) in your palm and mix with equal parts foundation to thicken the product where more coverage is desired. Using a small brush, paint just a dot of the mixture (in a shade that matches your skin perfectly) right over the top of your blemish and pat to blend with your fingertips.
- Cream Cheek Color that doubles as lip tint. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek is my number one must-have in this category. Beloved is a rosy red shade that works on just about every skin tone and perks the face right up immediately. It looks very bright in the container but blends out beautifully to lend just the perfect amount of life and structure to the face. Apply a little (with fingertips or fluffy synthetic brush) across the nose too and at the top of the forehead/ down the sides of the neck and onto the clavicles for a really beautiful, believable flush.
- Speaking of structure, well-groomed (read: not over-groomed) brows are an imperative element to making up the face – one that no makeup bag should be without. If yours are sparse and you need a little fill, a tinted product like Glossier Boy Brow is fantastic. If you have plenty of luck in the natural brow hair department but just need subtle grooming, L’occitaine Organic Shea Butter is your friend. Just dab over brows and comb up and out to optically lift the face and reveal the brows’ natural arch. This product is great as well because it also works as a lip balm (not too shiny), a cuticle treatment and even a hair pomade in a pinch. I love a multi-use item. While we are on the topic of brows, I know this is probably bringing up the product count to over 5, but every face is different so I’m just giving you options…if you have really pale or puny lashes and can’t live without your mascara, a slightly old mascara works great as both a lash thickener and a brow fill. Just be sure to wipe most of the product through the brows before combing the spoolie wand through. The dryness of the formula tends to hold brow hairs in place and the little bit of pigment it leaves behind really strengthens and subtly tints the brow.
- Tatcha Japanese Beauty Papers. I use these for taking down excess shine in the t-zone as they pick up the oil I don’t want, but leave behind the softest, most lovely glow. They don’t move the makeup either- somehow they just set it as a powder would but without any of the buildup. I also use them to blot down a strongly applied lipstick when I want to take it down to a stain. And I have been known to use them as eyeshadow shields when I am really going to town and creating a dark smoky eye but don’t want to disturb foundation and concealer with shadow fall-out. This is a brilliant, brilliant product I would be lost without.
If I could add one bonus product (for extra credit?!), it would be a face mist. After I’ve blotted the face, I am never without RL Linden’s intoxicatingly scented Thousand Petal Mist. This stuff is magic- the most delicately, divinely scented mist I have ever tried. And I think I’ve pretty much tried them all. I use it throughout the day to revive tired skin, rehydrate (it contains nourishing Jojoba oil) and generally just pick up my spirits when I am feeling low. I keep the travel sized one in my kit and the full sized one at home.”
— Suzy Gerstein
Every face is different so I’m just giving you options…