Top Ten Makeup Products of 2017

January is a hard month for a lot of people, and I can see why. But I have learned to actually really like it as I think back on the past year and plan ahead for the current one.

I’m a makeup artist, but I also use a lot of skincare, haircare, and other things in my line of work and day to day life. I debated about having just makeup in my Top Ten Favorites or incorporating other goodies, but thought I’d see if everyone wanted to read about my other favorites, too. I’ll be just posting my top ten makeup products today, but if you’d like to see my other favs, let me know either in a comment here on my blog or on my Instagram or Facebook.

So here are my top ten favorite makeup products from 2017. Click on the underlined name and go to the website to read more reviews from other people and see that I’m not the only one in love.

Disclaimer: These are products I loved most in 2017. They aren’t necessarily products I first tried in 2017 or that came out in 2017, though that’s the case with a few. I also didn’t try to make sure I had one of everything you’d use on your face. As you can see, I didn’t include a blush. Do I have a favorite blush? Yes. But these are just my top ten favorites in general. You get it…

  1. Lorea’l Telescopic Mascara in Carbon Black- $9.99

No lash extensions or liner, no falsies. Just the two products pictured.

This is my all time favorite mascara. I use it on every single client and on myself. It’s been a favorite of mine since high school and every time I venture out to a different or new mascara, I always come CRAWLING back. You’ll like this mascara if you like a wet formula and lots of length in your lashes. it also has a rubber bristled brush that takes a little bit of getting used to, but give it a try. The trick with this mascara is to wiggle the bristles against the base of your lash line and continue wiggling as you pull the wand up to the tip of your lashes. This mascara will clump really easily if you go in guns ‘a blazing, so let the formula do the work for you. One, MAYBE two coats is all you need. And if you want that extra va-voom, or this mascara is giving you ALLLL the length, but isn’t giving you quite the volume you like, pair it with Lancome Cils Booster Lash Primer.

2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – $30.00

This formula is worth every penny!! If you blend it out immediately after you apply it, you get a great light to medium coverage and if you let it set down for about a minute before blending it out, you can get a full coverage concealer. (A tip for any concealer, really.) I’ve tried all the “dupes” for this concealer and this is just an awesome product. It has a beautiful, skin-like finish and I’m fairly happy with the color range. If you have incredibly dark skin, you may have a harder time finding a tone to be a skin tone match, but I’ve been lucky with this concealer on even my darkest (and I’ve worked with VERY dark skinned clients) when used to highlight or used under the eye. I’ve never met a skin type that doesn’t tolerate this concealer and that’s not something I can say for many others.

3.  Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer – $14.99 

This is a great product and it smells like a tropical vacation. The scent doesn’t stay on your skin after the product is applied but it surprises (and delights) me every time I open the compact.  This blends like a dream, can be used wet or dry, and even though it has a sheen, it’s not sparkly. The sheen is great for keeping the finish skin-like and keeping you from that “muddy” or dirty look that bronzer can create when it’s too matte. This is a true bronzer, and does not work to contour and the shade range isn’t great if your skin is dark. However, they’re working on broadening the shade range currently, so watch for that! This bronzer also has an added bonus of skin loving benefits. Murumuru Butter, which is what this bronzer is made with, has antibacterial properties and my sensitive, acne prone skin has never broken out from using this.

4. Mac Extra Dimension Skin Finish in Soft Frost (Highlighter) – $34

Not my face, totally googled it.

One thing I’ve loved this year is an opalescent finish to a highlight or blush or eyeshadow or lipgloss or anything I can justify. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I LOVE it. When I use it on clients whether it’s a costume shoot or a bride, they’re always really impressed and I get complimented on it all the time. When that purple/pink opal shift catches the light, it’s the best! This is my favorite highlighter for that look.

5. Ardell Demi Wispies and 301 or 318 Accents – About $4

(Me) wearing Demi Wispies
Model wearing Demi Wispies-Hair and Makeup by Me. Photo by Bre Curtis.
An awkward zoomed in photo of my eye with 301 Accents.

False lashes are a strange animal, am I right? As a working makeup artist, they’re just a tool of the trade. However, on clients who aren’t comfortable with them or haven’t used them before, they’re foreign and scary! In that case, I apply these accents and they’re a dream. Even my mom, who has the most sensitive eyes in the world, forgot they were even on. When I put them on brides, they always tell me how funny it was when they went to wash their face and they came off and they freaked out–because they forgot they were on and saw lashes staring at them from the bottom of the sink! They look great applied, but look like YOUR lashes are just amazing. If you love the false lash look (me too!) Demi Wispies are my (and most makeup artist’s) go-to. They are dramatic enough but able. The band is thin enough that they apply easily without popping off in that inner corner.

6. Mac Lipstick in Snob – $17.50

Here’s Snob in comparison to some other pink lip colors.
Model wearing Snob. Hair and Makeup by Me.


This is my favorite lipstick, ever. I wear it with so many different liners and use it on so many clients. It’s pink. It’s definitely pink. If you’re not into pink lipstick, who are you? I kid. But if you’re not into pink lipstick you won’t like this. But it’s my favorite and has been for years! Too pink for you? Try mixing it with my next favorite.

7. Maybelline Lipstick in 920 Nude Lust – $7.99

Not my photo
Model wearing Nude Lust. Makeup by me, Hair by Kaitlyn Muirbrook, Photo by Sheer Boudoir

This is my favorite nude lipstick. I keep four of these at all times. One is depotted in my kit for clients, one is in my vanity for myself, one is in my purse and one is on backup in my drawer. It’s such a great nude. It’s perfect to mix with a color when you need to mellow it out, it’s pretty alone, it’s pretty with a liner and it’s pretty with a gloss on top. Nude lipstick is such a tricky thing. Not too orange, not too pink, not too “concealer-y”. We don’t want it to look like we don’t have lips but we don’t want it to look brown, or we’d have picked a brown lipstick. I really love this one for fair-medium skin tones as a true nude, and dark skin tones as a bright nude.

8. Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil – $24


Hair and Makeup by Me. Brows are Good Proof by Benefit
Hair and Makeup by me. Brows are Goof Proof by Benefit. Photo by Keala J Photography

Okay, I can’t make this post a lesson on brows. But, this is a great pencil and it makes the job much easier and quicker. If you like a really precise, skinny pencil, this isn’t it. However, I’ve found it can do the job of a skinny precise pencil in half the time. I really like it! I’ve used it all year, and I’ve been through a few of them. I also love that it has a spoolie on the end to comb through!

9. Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation – $7.99

Makeup by Me. Foundation is Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless. Photo by Monique Samone Photography

First, I don’t think that this foundation is matte. I think it carries a nice satin finish. Second, I think it looks great on all skin types, and I’ve used it on the oiliest of the oily (me!!) and really dry skin as well. It’s very skin-like and also carries nice coverage and doesn’t get cakey when applied correctly. It also mixes really well with other foundations which I LOVE doing.

10. It Cosmetics CC+ Cream -$39

This CC cream is amazing. It’s one of my very favorite makeup products probably, ever. I don’t often use it on clients who will be photographed as it does contain sunscreen which can photograph poorly. But it’s an amazing everyday foundation. The coverage is phenomenal especially considering its a CC cream. I’m oily, and I really like it even though it does make me look really dewy. If you’re dry, you’ll also love it because it’s skin prep, moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation all in one.  It’s a great product that I’ve had really great luck with. The shade range has improved but still isn’t super inclusive. That being said, I’m able to successfully wear both Fair and Light, meaning the product does a pretty good job of adjusting to your own skin tone (something CC creams are great for!) and it mixes great with other foundations if you need to lighten or darken it slightly. I mix it with Maybelline Matte and Poreless every time I wear makeup!


And there you have it! My top ten! What were your favorites last year? Have you tried any of my favorites? Did you like them as much as I do? I want to know. Tell me everything!

About Me (You Asked For It…)

I took a poll on my Instagram Stories yesterday asking what my IG followers would rather read about in my first blog post on

I wish I hadn’t asked.

I asked if they’d rather read about a rundown of my favorite things from 2017, or read an About Me post. 76% of those who voted chose About Me and now I’m stuck here writing an About Me and I have no idea what to say.

I thought this would be an easy post. Who knows me better than, well, me!? There are so many ways an About Me can come across so now I’m just stressed. I thought about doing “5 Things About Me” or posting a picture of me and my family or just copying and pasting the About Me from my website. But every time I started typing that stuff, I lost my voice and felt really…lame. Professional? Yes. But it wasn’t quite right. I wrote and deleted three different posts, and then decided to just write, and see what would happen. So here I am. Writing. And seeing what will happen.

This isn’t my actual desk. I’m actually typing from the couch with a toddler on my lap. My life isn’t this pretty.

I probably shouldn’t preface the post with all of that, but in the spirit of this being an About Me, there’s your first introduction.

I’ll probably consistently give you too much information.  I’ll get too personal. Or too detailed. Or too…much.

But that’s me.

I’m imperfect.

I’m also a makeup artist. You can read a more professional About Me on my website, here. But the quick rundown is this: I love my job, I love makeup, I’m pretty good at it, and I love to talk about it.  I’ve been working as a makeup artist since 2012.  When I say that, sometimes people say, “Oh, so pretty recently?” And then I say, “Yeah, about 6 years.” And then they say, “Oh, right.” And I watch their faces do some math in their head and re-think their life choices because they didn’t realize 2012 was a full 6 years ago and where did the time go and they start to feel like they really need to get their life together and get on some sort of meal plan or something.


I got to the point a few years ago when I realized that being a makeup artist was no longer a “side job” and my work freelancing was cutting into my time devoted to my “real job”. The jump to having makeup be my actual, full time, real job, that I use to pay the bills, and there is not another job to fall back on to pay the bills, was scary as hell. It still scares me. But I bet on myself, and I’m really blessed that I get to make a living doing something I love so much.

This one actually is me.

In addition to being a makeup artist, I’m also a mother. I have 3 kids and I love being a mom and it’s also really exhausting and I also want to run away a lot of the time, but that’s motherhood for you. It’s a package of really difficult and exhausting true happiness tied with a bow that used to be pretty but someone smudged it with their sticky fingers so it’s still kind of pretty from a distance but it’s mostly stained and you really need a new one but why buy a new bow when someone else will smudge it with sticky fingers and THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. But I love it. Really.

#motherhood amiright?!

Oh, my poor husband. I’m also a wife. I almost forgot to mention that. My husband is the greatest. He’s supported me so much and always tells me he’s proud of me. He sits with me while I study the photos and looks I’ve done from shoots and he says nice things and asks nice questions and always tells me to go for it. He’s a mechanic. We are so opposite in so many ways but he’s also my best friend. Like in the real way where I’d rather hang out with him than with anyone else. He brings me home chips and salsa when I’ve had a tough day on set or a tough day changing diapers…either way he knows what’s up and takes good care of me. He’s all about the surprise Diet Coke and candy bar and date night in to fix all the problems.

He’s my chips and salsa soul mate.

I might get personal and I might get artsy and I might talk a lot. I’m excited to have a forum where I can connect to my clients as well as people whose faces I’ve never touched. Instagram has been that forum for me and will continue to be in a lot of ways but Instagram is meant to be snippets. Here you get the whole burrito! (I know the saying is enchilada but I hate enchiladas. Don’t talk to me about how enchiladas are just mini burritos because I don’t have time for that.) I also love taquitos but I don’t feel it would have worked here as a great metaphor.

I love makeup and art and I also love the opportunity to break it all down and keep it real. I hope that’s what this platform can become. I hope to talk about makeup but I hope it’s more than that too. I hope we can discuss the industry and trends and controversies and tips and tricks and I hope I can post about projects I’m working on and hear what you think-the good and the bad (but be nice…). I’m a professional working makeup artist but I guess there is more to me than all that. I’m a writer, I’m a mother and wife, I’m a business owner and I’m also irreverent and opinionated I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I can do everyone’s makeup though.

I’m also the queen of run-on sentences on purpose so hopefully you’re into that.

So here is my little home on the internet.

(I’ll try to add lots of pictures so that it doesn’t get boring.)

Well, I sat down to write and this is what happened. This is what happens when you vote “About Me”.