Step One: Admitting You Have a Problem by Amber Mark

IMG_2470Confession time….  I’m a product addict.  I blame the internet.  I’ve already told you about all the vintage/retro/pinup blogs I read but I also love reading blogs about make up and hair and I watch quite a few You Tube Channels.  Of course I see someone using a product and I think “I have to try that!”  I want to share some of my favorite finds and I’ll share a few of my favorite beauty You Tubers.

I’m not devoted to a “brand” – I know some people will ONLY wear Cover Girl, some will ONLY wear Dior, etc.  I’ve tried everything from the super cheap drug store brands to the super not cheap Sephora type products.   I don’t think anyone should devote themselves to a brand.  Everyone’s skin is different – my skin has changed as I’ve gotten older (my now 31 year old skin is totally different than my 21 year old skin was) – your make up and hair products definitely need to evolve as you evolve.  My current skin type is dry in the winter yet also oily at times (I know this sounds weird but it is true!) and in the summer the dryness thankfully goes away and I’m just stuck with occasional oily skin particularly in the humidity.  I would say my skin is somewhat sensitive (if hubby gives me a kiss his stubble turns me red right away).  I don’t get acne much anymore (there are a few perks to getting old ha!) – I can almost pinpoint when I’ll get a zit – if I eat milk chocolate or sometimes before my period (FYI – if you get acne on your chin it’s likely hormonal and that’s exactly where I get the “period” zits).

As far as skincare goes – I’m simple.  I’ve experimented with a ton of different cleansers, creams, etc.  Most of these things are not cheap because the beauty industry knows we’re all striving to look younger by slapping on cleansing creams, exfoliating creams, wrinkle creams, you name it.  The routine I have that works for me is:  I wash my face morning and night with Cetaphil (  At night before bed I slather my face and hair in coconut oil.  I love this stuff and I recommend it to everyone.   I get a big jar of it at Trader Joe’s for $6.  I also use it as a body lotion in the winter.  It does wonders for dry skin.  If you want to do a deep conditioning treatment for your hair slather it in oil, wrap it in plastic wrap and turn the hair dryer on it for a bit.  Sit for awhile and then wash (it may take a couple washes).  I do this treatment about once a month.  If I have a pimple brewing I use a shot of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Serum (,default,pd.html).  It’s expensive but I try to find it on eBay for less.  A bottle lasts quite awhile as I only use it as a spot treatment.   My only morning routine for my skin is a moisturizer with sunscreen if I’m going to be outside for an extended period of time.  I don’t have a particular favorite right now.. still on the hunt!

Now, I wear a full face of make up every day – I love it.   My routine goes like this:  foundation primer, concealer, foundation, eye shadow primer, eye shadow, eye liner, eyelash curler, mascara, brows, contouring, blush, highlighter, lips.  Whew!!  Sounds like a lot, yes?  It’s really not – I can do a full face in probably 15 minutes if I’m not getting fancy with my eyes and lips.  If I’m getting fancy it might take me 20-30 minutes.  Now for the products I like….

I have found that foundation primer makes a difference for me.  It keeps my foundation looking matte and not oily.  I have tried a ton of primers in all price ranges.  The one I liked best was Smashbox foundation primer from Sephora to the tune of $35-$49 for 1.7 ounces.   Well then I found my favorite thing ever – I read on a blog (I can’t even remember which one) about Monistat Chafing Gel (yes you read that right) – some brilliant person figured out that the chafing gel had pretty much the same ingredients as the Smashbox primer.  I get the Monistat Chafing Gel for $6.17 for 1.5 ounces.   You can all thank me later.

I’m still searching for the perfect concealer.  I have dark circles under my eyes and occasional redness around my nose and on my cheeks.  I would love to hear what concealers you all love.  It’s difficult finding something that gives full coverage without settling into fine lines.   The concealers I’m currently using are: Stila (, Lancome (ôME%20EFFACERNES%20-%20Waterproof%20Protective%20Undereye%20Concealer%20P54438&skuId=135301&productId=P54438&_requestid=147815), and MakeUp Forever (  Again, I have them in a rotation because none are totally blowing me away.

I’ve gone back and forth with foundations – powder, liquid, liquid to powder.  Enough to make your head spin.  I have finally been consistently using Benefit’s Hello Flawless ( powder foundation.  It has nice buildable coverage.  I buff it on with a Kabuki brush (I use the e.l.f. Kabuki brush

Now for my eyes I always use Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer (  I swear by this.  It can be super humid and my eye shadow will not budge.  It does not crease.  Love, love, love.  And a little goes a long way so the tube lasts quite awhile.  I don’t get crazy with eye shadows.  I generally use very neutral colors.  I love the Urban Decay Naked Palette (they have 3 or 4 of them now).  I’ve had my Naked Palette for 2 years now so it obviously lasts a long time.   I get the most use out of my Basics Palette (

I stink at liquid liner.  I would love to perfect the cat eye but at this point I just haven’t gotten there.  I don’t have a specific brand of liquid eyeliner that I love.   I’m currently using Stila liquid liner and I like it however I’ve heard from others that they do not.   I do like Bobbi Brown Gel liner ( – the gel liner is way easier to apply if you don’t have a steady hand.  As far as mascara goes – I literally put on 2-4 different KINDS of mascara at a time.  I curl my lashes (I just started doing that a couple years ago – why did it take me 29 years to learn about curling eye lashes!?!) and I apply 1. Cover Girl Lash Perfection for volume ( 2. Buxom for more volume ( and sometimes 3. They’re Real for length (   If I’m putting on false lashes for a special occasion I find that Ardell brand lashes are inexpensive and look great!  After a run in with bad eyelash adhesive (I was pretty sure I pulled out all my lashes when I removed the falsies) I got online to search for a better adhesive.  I found the Duo brand to work great ( and my eyelashes didn’t stay attached to the falsies.

My natural brows are practically non existent.  The hair is very light brown and sparse.  And my hair is colored very dark brown so I fill my brows in.  I have tried high end brow products from Anastasia and they didn’t work for me.  I use either a CoverGirl brow pencil or my new favorite Jordana brow pencil ( that I just picked up at Walgreens.  I also go over the pencil with a small brush and brown powder to soften the pencil lines.  I love the Milani brow powder in Medium (

I’m starting to learn about contouring (thank you You Tube) as it can do amazing things for your face.  I actually use the light brown powder in the Milani brow powder kit to contour my nose and cheekbones.  Some people use bronzers but those are often shimmery and I don’t want shimmer for contouring.  I don’t have a specific blush that I love but what I’ve been using for awhile is a Revlon Cream Blush (  Once I contour and apply blush I buff my whole face with the kabuki to blend.  And then lastly I use the highlighter from the Milani brow kit and put it down the middle of my nose and on my cheekbones.  I’ve also used the Benefit highlighter ( but I find it difficult working with the liquid vs a powder.  If I’m doing up my eyes I’ll add the highlight to my brow bone and the inner corner of my eyes.

My lips on a day to day basis usually have chapstick on them, haha.  My lips are naturally pretty rosy so chapstick is all I need.  I also wear Revlon lip butters ( – they have almost a lip balm feel so I barely know I’m wearing them.  My favorite color is Pin Up Peach – it’s a very natural looking peachy pink color.  I wouldn’t say it is “long wearing” but it does the trick and I feel ok re-applying throughout the day as it is very much like a lip balm. Now if I’m getting all gussied up and I get the red lips out I have another routine.  I put a cheap concealer over the lips.  Then I line them with a drugstore red liner (nothing specific) and fill the lips in with the liner as well.  My favorite red lipstick right now is Lime Crime’s Red Velvet ( – the only thing I don’t like is it can leave your lips feeling very dry.

I think that’s everything!  I do have a bottle of Ben Nye’s MakeUp Sealer (  The jury is still out on this – I’ve only used it once or twice (last summer in the humidity) so I can’t really comment on how I feel about it.  I know other people swear by Model in a Bottle ( so I’ve been thinking about trying that out soon.

One thing I haven’t commented much about – brushes.  I know some people own TONS of make up brushes – not this girl.  I have a couple for eyeshadow application.  I have one small one for my brows and eyeliner (sometimes I use a brush to put dark brown shadow along my lower lash line) and I have one for lips.  I have the Kabuki brush for my foundation and a smaller foundation brush for the contouring and highlighting.

If you want to watch some great make up videos check out the following You Tube stars:  Kandee Johnson, Vintage Vanity (she also has great hair videos), Lisa FreemontStreet and Super Kawaii Mama

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my favorite products and routine.  I think we’d all love to hear what your favorite products and beauty tips/tricks are!

5 thoughts on “Step One: Admitting You Have a Problem by Amber Mark

  1. This was a great read! As for dark circles and red spots. I constantly have circles and red around my nostrils and in between my brows, I work a busy job and I am always moving. And honestly. benefit BOING covers up my red and circles perfectly!! I love it!!!

  2. Wow! I don’t know how you can use so much so fast. It usually takes me an hour to do my makeup.

    Usually I’m a Body Shop devotee, but when it comes to concealer, Thin Lizzy is the only stuff that works for me. It gives fantastic coverage and the Enchanted Rose shade is perfect for my skin.

  3. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

  4. Pingback: Smart, Sassy & Stylish: Pin Up Persuasion - The Dressed Aesthetic

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