Margo Tested and Approved

I've been doing a lot of shopping lately and the only reason I've noticed is because it's been for stuff outside my usual staples. It got me to thinking about what I buy and buy again because I like it so much. So here's a list of make-up I've tried, like and continue to buy. Just not in the near future--I'm all shopped out.

Make-Up/Foundation: I'm not a big make-up person but foundation does have its uses, especially for someone like me who spends lots of time indoors and has that telltale pallor. I tried a few brands (Clinique, Bobbie Brown, drugstore disasters) but I've always gone back to Prescriptives. I've been a fan of their foundation for years and did the whole color matching thing and even, for a while, would get mine custom blended. Now I'm a devoted fan of Traceless and buy it in bulk when I happen by it at a discount make-up store. For a while they made a very nice compact creme foundation, Liquid Touch, that was quick to put on and blend and offered great coverage for those days when I needed more, but they junked it. I heard from a sales person that they're redoing the Exact Matchsticks (cream foundation in stick form) so I'm hoping they make the formula a little like Liquid Touch but in, uh, stick form.

Make-Up/Mascara: I've tried a few, from Chanel to Yves St. Laurent and found a great one at the drugstore from L'Oreal, but wouldn't you know it, they stopped making it. Since then I've been lost in a sea of lash disappointments. I even went as far as to return a tube of Prescriptives False Lashes to Nordstrom because I couldn't stomach tossing a $20 because it just ended up being too smudgy. All I want is something that thickens, but is light and flexible and Almay's One Coat Nourishing Mascara has come the closest to giving me what I want out in a mascara.

Make-Up/Lipstick: I'm more of a lip balm kind of gal (surprise) so it takes a lot, actually very little, for me to become a real fan of lipstick. I've never been one for a bold matte lip and the more natural the color the better. Shameless plug alert: Curious about how I pick my lipstick shade? Check out Life Over Easy, page 139, this October.) There's only one lipstick I've actually used down to the very bottom, eking out the last bit of color with a lip brush--Lorac's Sheer Lipstick in Just Kissed. To be honest, Just Kissed is a second runner to my all time and discontinued Lorac favorite, Naturally Demi, but it's close enough that Just Kissed is the only tube of lipstick I own and continue to buy when it runs out.

Make-Up/Primer: I used to think primers were a bunch of hooey and just yet another layer of gook to put on your face (after serum, moisturizer, sunscreen...) but decided to give primer a try after to moving back to L.A. and having to deal with hotter weather. Since I don't wear powder, I needed something to control shine and keep what little make-up I do wear in place. So it just happened I'd picked up the latest issue of Allure and read a good review of Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer. This stuff works! It doesn't feel heavy, even on top of a layer of moisturizers and sunscreen. It controls shine and makes putting on foundation a little smoother.

Make-Up/Blush: I have to admit, blush is where I get promiscuous. I'm loyal to no brand and this is the only item I'll buy because it looks interesting and will promise me a hint of color with minimal muss and fuss. That being said, I don't do powder blush--too much work. I like creams, gels and tints. Currently, I own at least six or seven different types of blush and none have one a consistent place in my heart, I actually layer a few on top of each other. So until then, I'm open to marketing pitches and magazine ads. Sad, but true.

Make-Up/Concealer: In my search for the perfect under eye concealer I have traveled far and stupid. Here's where a person can waste a lot of money on empty promises. I've found two that deliver but only one that I can justify stocking. Laura Mercier. Her Secret Concealer has a slight yellow tint that gets the job done on under eye circles (which I have in abundance) and it lasts a long time, if you apply it with a concealer brush. The other that really works and is worth the splurge is Yves St. Laurent's Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter (top). The minus on the YSL wand is that it works almost too good for itself which means you end up wanting to use more and you don't get a lot of product for your buck so it gets spendy to keep it around.

Make-Up/Eyes: I'm a eye make up dork. The only thing I can really manage is mascara so that means no eye shadow or liner clutter up my make-up drawer. (Not that I haven't tried, I just haven't developed the skills and doubt I ever will.) But that doesn't mean I let my eyes go bare when I have a reason to care. When I want to look a little more polished I reach for yet another Laura Mercier product, Eye Basics in Wheat (left). It works for me because it doesn't really add color so much as smooth out the shade of my lids and I can put it on with my fingers, a big plus for someone as inept as myself. And, like Secret Concealer, it lasts forever.

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