January 24, 2022 5:16 AM   Subscribe

[Vanity filter] I only use the same few make up products. There are so many brands I see online, and I can't figure out which ones are actually worth trying so I just stick to my old faithfuls. Which is fine, but trying new make-up products is fun, and I'd be interested to know what more knowledgeable people are enjoying. What make-up products are you loving? Especially interested in hearing from people of colour, with oily skin.

So the things I use are:
MAC liquid eyeliner
Trinny London serum foundation for oily skin
Glossier cloud paint blush
Glossier generation G lipstick

I am not interested in looking very 'done', so not interested in contouring, dramatic eye-make up or lipstick etc, my goal is to look like me, but a little better.

I really like wearing blush, it is my favourite thing but the Glossier blush is the only one that seems to stay on all day, even when I wear a mask. I also like the Glossier lipstick, I like that they are matte but sheer. But they don't have a very extensive colour selection. I don't know of any other comparable products. But I'm sure they exist.

I have really short, straight eyelashes, but any mascara I wear turns me into a raccoon mere hours later, so I don't bother with mascara at all.

I'm late 30s, my skin is ok, some acne-caused hyperpigmentation, but nothing too bad.

I am happy enough with my make-up routine but would love to know if there are good alternatives for the brands/products above, just to give an injection of fun into an everyday activity.

I see so many brands advertised on social media, especially products fronted/owned/founded(?) by celebrities, and they all look really nice, but I don't know if they are actually supposed to be good. I read online reviews, but they just seem universally positive all the time and I'm not sure I trust that. Also, and I might be wrong here, but a LOT of make-up I see advertised on my algorithms seems aimed at people with dry skin who want to attain that 'dewy' look. It looks beautiful on them, but I worry that given my oily skin it would just make me look greasy.

I'm interested in knowing what is ACTUALLY good/worth buying/trying. So, what have you been enjoying lately/would you recommend to someone with my skin type? Alternately, what would you avoid?
posted by unicorn chaser to Shopping (20 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I’ll be watching the replies in this thread! I think makeup is cool but I’m totally overwhelmed by all the options so I mostly stick to the same few products. The ones below are my lifesavers. For context, I’m a pale-skinned white person with oily and sensitive skin and some hyperpigmentation and acne.

My go-to foundation is The Ordinary Serum Foundation — it’s a good foundation, but the real magic is that it’s about $7 for a bottle which is about 1/6 the price of any other decent foundation I’ve found.

I brush on translucent setting powder after my foundation when I want to reduce shine, but I don’t have a favorite brand.

I have thick bushy eyebrows so I use Benefit Cosmetics 24-hour clear brow gel to tame them — this was a recent discovery for me and it makes a huge difference to my overall appearance and together-ness. I actually like my thick eyebrows now that they look neatly groomed!
posted by mekily at 5:31 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

For skincare, it's worth doing a lot of free reading on Paula's Choice. For makeup, I'd go to her other site Beautypedia, but I'd also check out Makeup Alley, and various Reddit subsites, where I've recently been noticing a lot of obsessive (and therefore often credible) expertise in things like makeup, skincare and more. Rihanna's relatively new company Fenty Beauty has repeatedly gotten good reviews for its makeup, which comes in a vast range of colors. Finally, for application nobody can beat Lisa Eldridge who is a top makeup artist, and unbelievably skillful. I would not follow her for skincare advice, but for technique it's worth taking a look at one of her videos, if only to understand what you can really do with makeup.
posted by Violet Blue at 5:39 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]

My favorite new product is this serum foundation. SPF40, many shades to choose from. It's clean and hydrates. It's like a bb cream but even more health benefits. Only downside is the smell. It smells a little like benzoin.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:49 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

i love to play with makeup but I hate the full-face highlight/contour/carved out brow/fake eyelash/matte liquid lipstick look popularized by certain celebs and social media influencers

the makeup brand that has completely changed my life during the panny isnudestix

I absolutely love their "bloom" blushes — they are soooo dewy, they stay on forever, are easy to blend, and can be applied with your fingers or the attached blending brush (there is also a matte blush line)

their eye pencils are similar — super blendable, they come in both nude/sheer shades and some brighter/more fun colors, and once they dry down they DO NOT MOVE. it is like the easiest-to-use makeup I have ever found.

I have oily skin, hooded eyes and I live in sweaty, humid Houston, so it is really hard to find makeup that doesn't transfer, sweat off, or look a blurry mess after a few hours. Nudestix offers a whole bunch of little mini kits, available both online and at Sephora and Ulta, so you could try it out without a huge commitment or buying a bunch of makeup you'll never use again.

mascara-wise, you might want to look into tubing mascara — it's a type formula that kind of has a latex-y texture instead of the traditional flaky formula. It doesn't flake off — it actually peels off with warm water. In addition to living in sweaty Houston, I also have really bad allergies and my eyes are often watery or irritated. It's not gonna give you that big dramatic mink false eyelashes look (which it sounds like you don't want anyway), but it'll define and open up your eyes. After using tubing mascara I will never go back to the old stuff. Right now my favorite brand is Clinique's Lash Power, also avail at Ulta.
posted by Brittanie at 6:29 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

You can find excellent makeup reviews and swatches over at Temptalia. She's an icon for makeup fans, and she conveniently lists dupes for every product she reviews-- a great way to find products with a similar finish or tone to ones you already like.

I'm a WOC (Glossier shade G5) with oily skin and a lot of love for a barely-there look. I have found that Beauty Pie offers a really nice cream blush with a similar effect to Cloud Paint. Bobbi Brown's Crushed Lip Color also has a similar staining affect to Gen G, with a much wider shade range that's better for highly pigmented lips like mine.

If you'd like to branch out into eyeshadow, I'd highly recommend picking up one of Viseart's Petit Pro palettes. Apricotine is my favourite for my very warm-toned skin. The shadows are really easy to work with for beginners and look beautiful with just a single shade all over the lid. I also don't wear mascara (or eyeliner) and I can attest Viseart looks great without it. The shadows also have an understated, second-skin quality that really compliments a natural makeup look -- even the shimmers.
posted by guessthis at 6:33 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]

I've never used Glossier, so I'm not sure if this product compares to the Generation G lipstick, but Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is a nice go-to if you want more of a "I'm wearing makeup!" look without the heaviness of conventional lipstick. I'm told the kids on the TikToks are talking about it, but it's one of those products that has been on "makeup must have" lists for 20+ years and that really is worth it. This is a good video showing off dupes and similar products.

I'm also a fan of Honest Beauty's tinted lip balms; IME tinted balms can be hit-or-miss, but this one applies evenly and gives a nice hint of color. My favorite shade is Fruit Punch.
posted by neushoorn at 6:33 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]

Some brands to check out: Milk, Fenty (this one is Rihanna’s and it’s actually excellent and has 50 million shades, I share your skepticism regarding celebrity brands), Beauty Bakerie. Milk has a cream blush that’s very similar to Cloud Paint and I believe they do have more colors. Depending on your panini caution level, I would go to Sephora and literally just browse. Find the sales associate with the makeup look you like best, or who has a similar skin tone to you, and describe to them what you’re looking for. Even better, if you have a Morphe store near you, the associates there are suuuuper helpful and they even have an extensive POC owned section.

I would consider adding brows to your routine - this can make a huge difference in your look and is super easy to do. My go-to brow brand is Anastasia Beverly Hills but I also really like Hourglass brow products. Benefit tries to market itself as the brow makeup people but I never like their brow stuff. If you already have eyebrows, awesome, just kinda brush them through with some clear brow gel and you’re done. If like me you are a victim of 90s overplucking, I love the Hourglass arch brow sculpting pencil - it’s chunky and forgiving and has a spoolie to blend very easily.

+1 to trying a tubing mascara and adding a translucent powder to reduce shine.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 7:31 AM on January 24

2nd tubing mascara - I had completely given up wearing mascara before, because it made me look like a raccoon and I despised removing it, but now I wear tubing mascara almost every day. It’s SO much easier to take off, but at the same time doesn’t smudge AT ALL.
posted by sillysally at 7:43 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

Thirding Temptalia!

I have really short, straight eyelashes, but any mascara I wear turns me into a raccoon mere hours later, so I don't bother with mascara at all.

Have you considered having your lashes dyed? You also don't mention brows but shaping and dying makes a huge difference in framing your face and looking finished. I think it's pretty low-maintenance, like 20 minutes once a month at a salon.

Brands that do not trend old people and are more in the Glossier category: Fenty (Rhianna), Rare Beauty (Selena Gomez)(I love the liquid blush), and Flower Beauty (Drew Barrymore). These are all celebrity brands but they are excellent. Flower Beauty I think maybe tracks best with the Glossier vibe and their lip products are big faves. They all also have inclusive shade ranges which a lot of brands do not.

Also I hate to be that person but have you considered Clinique's Black Honey lipstick? It seems like it would really suit your style.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:51 AM on January 24

+1 to every mention of Fenty here, the makeup is excellent, really high quality and you mention oily skin so I have to say, the skincare line has been great for my oily skin (there's a nice little trial set if you're thinking about giving it a whirl). I also have short eyelashes and this serum actually works for me, it's wild.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:09 AM on January 24

I've got a mix of oily and dry skin. Fenty is my always go-to for foundation (#360), mattifying products, lipsticks, eye liners, and brow penciils. I haven't tried their blushes, so I cannot vouch for them. I was initially skeptical of the hype around Fenty, but am completely on-board, now. The quality is excellent, the prices aren't outrageous, they have great sales, and the colors are absolutely perfect in-person and on-camera (no more weird grey cast in photos). For skin care, I'm a fan of The Ordinary and Philosophy.

In a pinch, if I need something quick or something to keep in your handbag for touchups, NYX is my drugstore favorite. Their colors are great with good range, their products wear very well, and they are incredibly inexpensive. Their Pore Filler and Micro Brow Pencil are truly amazing values given the results they provide.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:10 AM on January 24

POC with medium-light (N3 in MAC F&B) but dry skin here.

Surratt ruined me for all other blushes. It’s a powder so fine it feels creamy, super pigmented and yet blendable. I love Glossier Cloud Paint as a cream blush but Surratt has my heart in the powder category.

Check out the MAC Powder Kiss lipsticks if you like the sheer matte Glossier ones. They’re like Generation G but better imo—matte, a bit more opaque but not overwhelming, some nice colors in the range.

Nthing tubing mascara.

For eyeliner, I’d try a gel pencil like the Pixi or NYX ones if you don’t want to look too “done”. Liquid eyeliner has a more makeuppy look by nature. I like dark gray, taupe, or dark brown pencil liners for definition without looking too made up.

What color is your hair? I have naturally black hair and if you do too, I’d ignore the advice about dying your lashes or brows as I doubt that will make a difference. Brow pencil can be helpful but I just don’t think either mascara or brow stuff makes as huge a difference for most dark-haired POC as for most white people with lighter hair.
posted by music for skeletons at 9:00 AM on January 24

Came to suggest these brands: Kosas, Ilia, Kjaer Weis, and Rituel de Fille. I've also been very into Victoria Beckhams bitten lip tints this last year.
posted by coldbabyshrimp at 10:01 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Fellow short-lashed, raccoon-eye here. My daily wear is Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes which gives me zero raccoon eye but is also not very waterproof/hardy. For real non-smudging, crazy lasting power and curl, you want the Japanese Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl mascara, either the Waterproof or Advanced Film. This is my party/event/wedding mascara. It will not budge and you will need an oil-based remover for it, but it holds a curl like nothin' else.

Other low effort, high payoff products: Rare Beauty Liquid Blush (very pretty, go for the Radiant finishes and test them in store for color payoff - some are quite pigmented but in particular, depending on your skin tone, Hope is stunning and easy to work with), Rare Beauty Dewy Lip Balm, rms beauty Living Luminizer.
posted by rachaelfaith at 10:32 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Laura Mercier eye shadow sticks are amazing and long lasting and come in a variety of colors.
posted by bookworm4125 at 11:06 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

I’m popping in to say, if you live your foundation, don’t bother trying others. How about coloured eyeliner? If you usually go black, try purple, brown, navy, copper, green…. I like Gosh eyeliners, and Pixi. Fancy brands like urban decay are lovely, but expensive.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 11:54 AM on January 24

If you like Glossiers cloud paint blush, I suggest trying Colour Pop Cheek Dew. I bought it as an impulse buy at Ulta and love it. The color is buildable and goes on very light. It stays on my oily skin without creasing or flaking.

As other's have said above- tubing mascara! Its amazing and really STAYS.
posted by JennyJupiter at 2:45 PM on January 24

I was coming to recommend checking out LYS -- a Black-owned beauty brand that, while at Sephora, is actually fairly reasonably priced! I love their serum foundation, though perhaps you may not want to explore that if you don't like the dewier look, but they do have some other interesting products. I am also very tempted to try some of the Danessa Myricks Colorfix Eye, Cheek & Lip Cream Pigments -- they look very fun and are also versatile and good for the handbag, so to speak.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 4:40 AM on January 25

Seconding the Laura Mercier caviar eye shadow sticks, they are really good with lots of both basic and fun colours. Mac Face and Body sheer foundation is a favorite amongst makeup artists, it is water-based, dewey, a 'your skin but better'. Mac strobe cream is another product from them that gets a lot of love.
posted by nanook at 11:25 AM on January 25

If you dig the idea of the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks but do not have Laura Mercier budget, KIKO makes a dupe.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:22 AM on January 26

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