5 Ride or Die Beauty Products

Happy day, reader dearest!

This will be the last post of September. Wowza. Where has the month gone? September is traditionally the back to school, back to routine month, but this year? Maybe not so much.

Back-to is always a bumpy time. Transitions are not always easy, are they? This September has felt like back-to-me and back-to-simple, and bumpy along the way. I’ve been working hard on refining what I want in my world. That means clothes, stuff, schedules and committments. Choosing what I want more of in my world and what to release to make room for the more I need and want.

Since much of September was about simplicity and I want October to be about color, what better way to segue from one into the other than to chat about makeup? Specifically what colored makeup products do I throw on on a no-makeup-makeup day?

For me, and for a client when I do a 5-Minute Makeup during a color consultation, a no-makeup-makeup is all about defining and adding life/brightness. We’re not trying to create a flawless complexion or sculpt cheekbones. That’s lovely for photo shoots and special events. The everyday goal is to look like you. A well rested and bright you! Fast.

I was late to the skincare game. (Oh, the things I would tell my 30 year old self!) I regret that. But I’ve learned! Yes, I always start with moisturizer (WITH spf) and some serum. (I’m hooked on Beautycounter’s Vitamin C Serum. If you are looking to try it, I can connect you with my dealer…)

Otherwise for a quick and easy face (or on vaycay), you’ll find me with… (In order of application:)

BB/CC Cream

I like mine lightweight. Really lightweight. I want light coverage for see-through complexion smoothing. An extra dab under the eyes to lighten darkness. Like your skin only less uneven. Some freckles and veins showing through looks more real. Apply it however you like, dabs and fingers or dabs and a brush. I used to use the brush, but I’ve come to like how the warmth of my fingers helps thin and smooth whatever I apply.

Brow Pencil

Because as I get older, my brows are getting lighter and more sparse. I was never much of a brow plucker so it seems quite unfair! To add insult to injury, the individual hairs, although less tightly packed are much longer and have a mind of their own. Ugh. Sometimes I use brow pencil and stick them down with hairspray OR sometimes I’ll use a brow pomade to fill in the color and wrangle the wiley strays. I’m still looking for my dream product. I know I should try microblading. Ow. Sigh. Has anyone out there hennaed their brows?


I’ve never had long lush lashes. Not in my DNA. As a child, my lashes were mouse that faded to blonde at the tips. No worries, that’s why mascara exists! I’ve been wearing mascara forever. I really mean forever. I remember my mom putting mascara on my lashes for dance performances when I was a girl… Maybelline cake mascara in the red sliding plastic tray. Does anyone else out there remember that?

(My lashes HAVE grown longer and more lush since I’ve been using coconut oil to remove my eye makeup. Not sure if it’s causation or correlation, but I thought I’d share.)

Mama bought me my first tube of mascara and I remember her saying Once you start wearing mascara, it’s hard to stop. She was right. I don’t feel like myself without my lashes. Yes, I know I could get lash extensions, but that seems even more like a case of Once you start… And I don’t want a habit that expensive!

I’m religious about replacing my mascara every three months, or sooner. If I get an eye infection, the mascara drops immediately into the rubbish bin and I open a new one once the issue is cleared up. I’ll try whatever mascara looks interesting as long as it is dark brown or brownish-black and waterproof. For a review of other mascaras I’ve used, read this post.

Blush/Tinted Lip Balm

This is an either/or because when purchased properly, one can do the job of both! Choose an undertone and depth of color that flatters your personal coloring. A well applied blush lifts and lightens the face! We’re not talking sculpting here, just a wash of color.

Blush is having a revival this fall and winter, which is good, because the cold seasons are when we can all use a little extra lifting and lightening! I particularly like the all-in-one looks with the same color for blush, lids and even lips. (Dreamy for travel packing!) For the most natural look, a light swipe with a creamy or gel blush or tinted lip balm can work enlivening miracles. Note: In summer, I prefer a powder blush because Georgia = Ridiculous Heat + Humidity…

White Eyeshadow

An old theatre makeup technique. Dab a bit of white shadow at the inner corner of each eye. I like one with a little shimmer. I know, everyone tells us ladies of a certain age to avoid shimmer, but I’m not talking frosted blue shadow here and certainly NOT glitter! A little shimmer reflects light, making the eyes look more open and bright. Blush and a dab of white together make up for a multitude of sins… Or help fake a decent night’s sleep! If your coloring is warm, try a light peach. Look for one lighter than your skin tone.

How About You?

Do you remember cake mascara? What are your everyday beauty products? Were you smart enough to start skincare early? Do you define your brows? Have you hennaed or microbladed them? Lash extensions? What self-care would you share with your younger self? What beauty products can’t you do without?

Make the world a more beautiful place! Share your wisdom and favorites here for all of us to get the skinny. Who knows, maybe we’ll find something amazing and new…

Stylishly yours,


  • Helen

    Hi Liz,
    After washing my face with Neutragena soap bar, it was time for the Nivea cream that was in a circular blue metal tin with white writing. Then the Pot of Gloss eyeshadow, the Maybelline fab-u-lash mascara and finishing with Caramel Kiss or Peppermint Kiss lippy ( can’t remember the brand).
    Times haven’t changed much, in my 70s now and still wear Maybelline mascara and lippy – but not Caramel Kiss!
    Love your work

    • Liz K

      I’ve got on Maybelline mascara today, Helen! And the smell of the Nivea cream (and milk) is still one of my favorites.

  • Lydia

    I’m a big makeup wearer! Go to is a bit of foundation, blush and mascara, but blush and mascara are hard to choose between for my number one.
    Finding a brownish-black mascara has become harder and harder lately, hasn’t it? My favorite L’Oréal mascara is now only available in black, blackest black and very black… don’t even ask me to guess the difference between those!!!

    • Liz K

      I’ve been wondering about all those blacks myself! The L’Oreal Voluminous mascara comes in Black Brown… That’s probably not your favorite, but at least it’s the same brand?

      • Lydia

        Would you know that the day after I complained about it I found both L’Oréal telescopic (big favorite!) and paradise in black brown! Maybe whining pays off sometimes 😂

        • Liz K

          LOL, Lydia! I always find the ones I want after I’ve bought another I don’t. The same works for lost things in my house…

  • Kathleen McDermott

    Oh, Maybelline cake mascara!! Absolutely loved it. Such a cute little red box and so fun to use. I often wish I had saved my high school makeup in my own little makeup museum. I’d add Yardley Pot O Gloss and that tiny little Heartbreaker barrel with highlighter, shadow and cake liner. I also loved the Bonne Bell Ten-0-Six Christmas special that include a card stock Santa on top of the bottle holding an assortment of Bonne Bell minis. But, back to the present. Your 5 are my 5. I morph from “there’s no hope” to “hey, I can still look pretty”. If only 2 allowed, I’d have to have lipstick and mascara. Eyelash curler also works wonders. (I’m now a 68-year-old teen.)

    • Liz K

      I would die without my eyelash curler! (Did that sound teen enough?) Thank you, Kathleen for visiting and commenting! I remember when the Bonne Bell minis were the bomb; now that’s all they have and the full sized ones are nowhere to be found. My favorite was watermelon… Yours?

      • Kathleen McDermott

        The “minis” I refer it are pre-mini! They were tiny (travel sizes) from their at-the-time (late 60s) limited array of products – White White, Cheek Stain (original red), liquid foundation (always in medium and far too dark for me), lip balm and a tiny Ten-O-Six astringent bottle (my favorite). Oh the joy!

  • Susan Strain

    I had my eyebrows tattooed nearly a year ago now. It is the best thing ever. As I wear glasses, penciling them in was a daily nightmare. Mine were gently shaded rather than micro-bladed, as apparently micro blading does not last as well on more mature skin and the fine hairs blur with time. Like your brows mine have plenty of hairs but were unruly and a bit asymmetrical. The adjusted symmetry makes your whole face look happier and all that is required is a waxing of the little hairs below the brows every couple of months. People are always complementing me on my lovely brows which are soft looking appropriate for my late 50’s face.

    • Liz K

      Thank you for sharing, Susan! I’ve been pondering the micro-blading vs. tattooing. I’m glad there are so many options. Except those choices create decision fatigue! LOL.

  • Lise

    At this moment in time the #1 essential is eyebrow pencil. It used to be mascara. Since I am now wearing specs more than contact lenses I don’t feel naked without mascara anymore. My current regular day routine is eyebrow pencil, a little blush and a light lipstick.

    • Liz K

      Wearing glasses makes a big difference in what must-haves you chooose! Thank you, Lise, for pointing that out! I know that when I wear my glasses (often during allergy season), I don’t worry as much about mascara…

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