Hair and Makeup

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These are all videos I’ve found helpful! If you’re just getting started with makeup, I recommend watching Lisa Eldridge‘s demos and reading through A Dusty Old Bat’s guides to makeup on reddit.

  • FrmHeadToToe: How to shape your eyebrows. This is sooo old but she goes into a lot of detail on how you can use your own face proportions to figure out which areas to tweeze.
  • Alexandra Anele: How to apply brow pomade – This one is specifically for Anastasia Beverly Hills dipbrow but they technique can be used to get a more natural application with any pomade.
  • Jade the Libra: How to do a blogger tier messy bun (I don’t do the backcombing or curling prep steps, but I only can make this work if I have a lot of salt spray and styling paste in my hair to texturize it, even if it’s third or fourth day hair)
  • Alexandra Anele: Blush placement – comparison cheekbone vs center of cheek application
  • Robert Welsh: How to apply undereye concealer – I more or less do this instead of the triangle thing everyone was doing circa 2014
  • Wayne Goss: Eyeshadow placement – My eyeshadow looked a lot more natural when I followed this tip for how far out to blend it.
  • Lisa Eldridge: Multiple ways to apply one lipstick and How to make dark lipstick wearable – Stretch your lipstick collection! I used to have a zillion lip products, but in my last declutter and throwing out a bunch of expired stuff I’m down to 4 lipsticks and a gloss (though I’m looking to add a deep vampy option and a rust color). Also helpful if you have some colors that are too dark for your everyday preference that you wanna use up.


  • The Cut: How to trim your own bangs
  • eraser_dust on reddit: More than monolids – Descriptions of different types of eye shapes common in East Asian people and makeup bloggers with those eye shapes.
  • Musical Houses: Determining Your Undertone for Asians – The beauty blog Of Faces and Fingers has a really well-illustrated post on how you can tell if you’re warm-toned, cool-toned, etc using Asian people as examples. Not all Asians are warm toned. The concepts are applicable to anyone, though, since the method is photo-comparison-based.


I have combination skin and I think my skin undertone is mostly neutral leaning slightly warm/golden.

I usually go with a more minimal or sheered out look, and I tend to focus on cheeks or lips instead of eyes for everyday. I apply everything except for brow pomade with my fingers or with the included spoolie/doefoot applicators.

And yes, I did start using makeup in the early 2010s πŸ™ƒ

Face / Base

Trader Joe’s Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum – I use this as a primer, usually just around my t-zone and any dry areas. I previously used the Smashbox Photo Finish primer but this one is cheaper (both have Cyclopentsiloxane as the first ingredient).

Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm (brownish red) – blends out really well, and I like this color as a sort of combo blush/contour and usually apply it in combination with the Besame cream rouge or whatever lipstick I’m using, with the cloud paint going more towards the back/high points of my cheeks.

Besame Cosmetics Crimson Cream Rouge – This is my go-to for both a lip tint and cream blush. It looks super bright in the tin, but it sheers out to a really cute rosy glow.

Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35 Sunscreen in shade 3.5 – I was git got by their influencer marketing blitz combined with a buy 1 get 1 free sale. I actually didn’t end up using the shade 4 that I got as the 3.5 worked nicely. This does even out some skin tone and gives a slight dewy finish, and it doesn’t oxidize horribly on me. I apply this with my fingers, after moisturizer and a separate sunscreen and (if I feel like I need it) primer.

Make Up Forever Full Cover Concealer in Sand 7 – I’m on my 3rd or 4th tube of this. I use it to even out redness or hyperpigmented areas, mostly around my chin and nose. I also use it on my undereye shadows, although mine are not terribly dark.

Eyes and Brows

Glossier Boy Brow eyebrow gel in black – this stuff is great. Pretty forgiving as long as you use a light enough hand that the brush doesn’t touch your skin. If you’re interested in starting to use brow makeup, this is an easy starting point.

Urban Decay Original Primer Potion – it works so I’ve just kept using it since the first one I got with my Naked 1 palette. I find it does tend to dry out before I can use it up since I don’t do eyeshadow looks most days. I find I will usually still have at least some transfer though, as it is hard to avoid with monoliids.

Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Demolition (deep brown) – I mostly like this because it doesn’t look nearly as gross as a true black liner when it starts smudging. If I need liners for Halloween looks, I’ve found the Wet n Wild ones solid for the price, but the UD liner is a lot smoother going on.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony – the brow gel is great for some quick definition, but this is what really gives the brows a polished look. I usually apply a thin line on the bottom of my brows with a small angled brush, with a little extra to define the tails, and then blend it upward/out with a spoolie. I am not convinced I will ever actually use up the tub.

Urban Decay Naked 1 Palette – I bought this secondhand from someone when I was in college and am still working through it. Very annoyed that it was discontinued, but at this rate I will probably use it up sometime around 2040. For my medium neutral-slightly warm(?) skin tone I find the shade range is useful as there are not too many light tones.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow single in “Lounge” (pretty sure this is discontinued, here for reference) – a duochrome eyeshadow with a reddish purple base with a green shift. I like this as a one-and-done shadow when I’m feeling a little alt or dramatic. There is a similar shade in the reformulated Wet n Wild comfort zone palette but it didn’t look as nice in swatches.


Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick – This is by far the nicest lipstick formula I have ever tried. Goes on super smooth and comfortable, and the finish wears off pretty evenly. Is it literally 10x better than the Wet n Wild lipsticks? No. But worth it if you’re looking for a luxury product or an idea for your birthday wish list. I use Jazz (deep red) – Muse (tawny pink, good MLBB shade) – Myth (berry). All of them I also use as a cream blush.

Lip liners – I’m not very picky about these. I currently have a clear one from Urban Decay that works fine though it is a bit dry going on. I’ve used Wet n Wild liners in the past that were serviceable. I typically only use this for ~events~.

Besame Cosmetics Crimson Cream Rouge – This is my go-to for both a lip tint and cream blush. It looks super bright in the tin, but it sheers out to a really cute rosy glow.

Wet n Wild Megalast lip color in Cinnamon Spice – For $3 this is great. I feel like it’s more of a slightly berry red color on me and/or the color gets a bit darker over time, but especially with any lip liner the staying power is respectable for the price. Cherry Bomb and Stoplight Red from this line are also nice, but I don’t have any in my collection currently.

Lisa Eldridge Gloss Embrace in Myth – Very pigmented and great staying power for a gloss. I like this color for a bit of a berry stained look. It looks nice either with just a touch or full coverage application. I don’t use lip gloss enough I feel inclined to try any of the other shades.


I have combination skin with an oily t-zone and occasional flaky/patchy bits. I don’t have much acne anymore, usually just 1-2 zits during PMS. I am not much of a skincare junkie, so I just have the basics.

Trader Joe’s Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer – A straightforward moisturizer that doesn’t dry down sticky. The first two ingredients are water and aloe vera leaf juice, so it feels nice and soothing. I use this at night and in the morning under makeup.

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+ – the Ultra Sheer liquid daily sunscreen was discontinued, and this was the closest thing. I’m not the fan of the ginger additive but it still does the job. There is always some sunscreen that globs up in the pump after using it, so you need to be careful on the first pump as it has a tendency to splatter.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA – I don’t use this as often as I should, but I find that it helps clear any flaky sections of skin. I apply this in the evening after cleansing and before moisturizer.

Clinique Take the Day Off cleansing balm – this is mostly safflower oil, so it will remove EVERYTHING. I love that the formula rinses off without strictly needing a second cleanser. I like using this to feel like I removed all sunscreen and other gunk even if I didn’t wear makeup.

For a body sunscreen, I like the very light and dry texture of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-greasy Sunscreen Stick SPF 70


Rahua Enchanted Island Salt Spray – Bumble & Bumble and Not Your Mother’s salt sprays are also perfectly serviceable, but I like the less sticky consistency of this when it dries and it smells amazing.

Reverie Rake Styling Balm – I apply this onto the lower half of damp hair after showering and then blow dry. It creates a piecier texture and makes putting my hair up easier.

Curved bobby pins – I’ve found these stay in better than the standard flat pins.

Rahua Leave-in Treatment – I use this more as a texturizer/styling paste interchangeably with the Reverie Styling Paste, although I find the latter has more hold as it is actually intended for that purpose. Reverie breaks me out if I use it on my bangs, so I apply a little of this onto wet bangs to get a piecey look right after washing. This has a weird smell but I’ve gotten used to it.

Spin pins – if you have a lot of hair, these corkscrew pins are more efficient than bobby pins at holding your hair in a bun or updo.