Valentine’s Day is coming up! While I am not a big fan of this holiday (or anything overly romantic for that matter), I do think it is a great excuse to send someone flowers, cook a special meal with your significant other (or BFF!) and (of course!) have a little extra fun in the bedroom.

For those of you planning a date with your s/o, I put together a list of my must have long-wear, no-smudge makeup. These products have been put to the test time after time and continue to out-preform alternatives!

This v-day, I encourage you to take my must-have high-performance beauty products for a spin. Remember that sex and makeup alike should make *you* feel confident–never do anything you don’t enjoy because someone else is pressuring you to.

Tarte Shape Tape concealer: When you’re with your boo, you want your natural glow–and that afterglow!–to show through as much as possible. So, ditch your normal foundation for something with lighter coverage, then address any problem areas with a medium- to full-coverage concealer.

Glossier Lash Slick: Unlike some of the other lovely ladies in my life, I was not blessed with naturally long or full lashes. So, I rely on mascara (and falsies) quite a bit. This is frustrating, considering almost all the mascaras I’ve tried (including those loved by some of the most influential names in beauty) smudge, flake or just plain don’t work on me.

Glossier (finally) launched a mascara last year, and I still find myself going back to it time after time. Of course I’ve tried a few others in between, but none have impressed me the way Lash Slick does. The revolutionary formula lasts through allergy attacks, tears brought-on by binge-watching military homecoming videos and (duh!) psychical activity. The best part? It’s not technically a waterproof mascara, so removal is mess-free and easy.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick (Celebrity Skin) & Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint (Unbotton): We all have our go-to liquid lipsticks; it is truly a matter of personal preference. My favorite long-wear formulas are from Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty.

As far as matte liquid lips go, I gravitate towards nude shades because rich, dark shades and bright berries tend to be a little streaky and all-around difficult to use. Celebrity Skin by Jeffree Star Cosmetics has a natural pink undertone, while Unbutton by Fenty Beauty is a peachy nude. Once dried down, both stay in place all day without any smudging. And they are so lightweight, they truly feel like nothing is even there!

Glossier Cloud Paint: One of the most popular blush formulas on the market, Cloud Paint is anything but traditional. The first-of-it’s-kind gel consistency makes application so simple–no brushes necessary. This also allows for maximum staying power, and somehow, it looks better the longer it stays on.

All the shades are well-loved throughout the beauty industry. My personal favs are Dusk (for a quick contour), Dawn (for that cute sunburnt effect) and Haze (for that just-ran-two-miles flush).

theBalm Dew Manizers: I bought Bonnie-Dew Manizer on a whim and ended up falling in love! The lightweight creamy formula can’t be beat; it dries down perfectly *without* sacrificing any of the glow.

Although theBalm is famous for its Powder highlight formulas, known as the Lou Manizers, I opted for the liquid version and don’t regret it one bit! Bonnie-Dew is a classic gold glow, but Mary-Dew (the pearl shade) is beautiful, as well.

Glossier Lidstar: What Cloud Paint does for the cheeks, Lidstar does for the eyes. It is a mousse-y formula with buildable color payoff that lasts 12 hours without smudging or creasing. I like to apply with the wand, then blend with my fingers.

As far as the shade range goes, I gravitate towards Lily (lilac with blue and violet reflects), Cub (rose gold with warm reflects) and Fawn (cool gray/brown with violet and white-gold reflects). Whenever I use Lidstar, I always add the shade Moon (cream with opal reflects) to my inner corners and brow bone so that my eyes really pop.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Liquid Frost: The best part about this product is that it is easy to use all over the body–not just the face! For an otherworldly top-to-tow glow, I reach for my Liquid Frost in Canary Bling, a pale gold that accentuates a tan and any muscle definition.

When I’m wearing an outfit that leaves my legs or collarbones bare, I absolutely love the extra glow this product gives me. The shimmer effect is super-intense, and the formula itself is silky and dries down quickly.

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Over the weekend I started experimenting with the Morphe x James Charles palette. After a few days of playing around and admittedly failing at a couple other, more intricate looks, I came up with this hot pink statement eye! I’m so in love with the results.

Although the palette is definitely intimidating (I mean, have you seen what James Charles himself can create?), it was not as difficult to work with as I thought it would be—a pleasant surprise for someone like me who loves makeup, but isn’t a true artist. I found that the pressed pigments are, in fact, fairly easy to use when first stamped on with a dense brush (in the area where you want pigment to be darkest), then blended out with a fluffy brush. My brushes from Real Techniques worked great!

I cannot wait to create a wide range of looks–from classic glam to multicolor gradients–with this beautiful and one-of-kind palette. Until then, I hope you enjoy today’s monochrome eye! The bright pink pigment is so intense, I could not be more obsessed. 😉

Products I used:

  • Glamglow Glowstarter in Nude Glow
  • Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi
  • Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in G9
  • Tarte Shape Tape concealer in Light Neutral
  • Fenty Beauty Matte Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha
  • BECCA Be A Light Face Palette in Light/Medium
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Paaarty
  • Dose Of Colors Desi x Katy highlighter in Fuego
  • Morphe x James Charles palette (shades Pinkity Drinkity, Skip and Face)
  • ColourPop Jelly Much Shadow in No Rest For The Vivid
  • Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
  • Benefit BADgal BANG! mascara (bottom lashes only)
  • MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Shimmer in Goldlite
  • Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil in Contour
  • Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Unbutton
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Late last year I discovered Los Angeles-based brand Joyrich. A fun streetwear label with plenty of unisex pieces (and a prime location on Melrose Avenue), Joyrich has caught the attention of model Luna Sobrino, YouTuber stars Ethan and Grayson Dolan and robot/influencer @lilmiquela.

What drew me to Joyrich first and foremost was the label’s ongoing collection with Playboy. I’m always quick to admit I love the art and the creative work that goes into the “gentlemen’s” magazine. (Over the past several years, it’s blown American Vogue out of the park. Plus, the articles are usually entertaining and sometimes full of useful information.)

While I love German designer Philipp Plein’s collaboration with Playboy as well, it is very pricey. That’s why I was so thrilled to find an affordable Playboy collection via Joyrich! On my last trip to LA in December, I popped in the Joyrich boutique while perusing Melrose and snagged a hot pink Playboy sweater on sale. There were a lot of great options, but I knew I’d get the most use out of this piece–I am always in some sort of crewneck knit this time of year. The hot pink color is a nice change of pace from my go-to neutrals (as well as a prime juxtaposition against cold, gray New York City, my home base).

During the somewhat mild January weather we had recently (45°f feels pretty warm when it was less than 5°f only a couple days prior), I paired the sweater with another LA-based favorite.

Are You Am I, the namesake label by blogger-turned-designer Rumi Neely, doesn’t have a single bad piece. Sure, certain designs may not be the most flattering on me, but everything I do own from AYAI is beautiful! For this look I decided to contrast the heavy, knit sweater with a smooth silk skirt in a natural champagne color called Fawn.

To polish off the entire outfit I chose my Fila Distuptor II sneakers in white. They tie in nicely to the sweater’s white details.

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I am forever inspired by celeb makeup artist Hung Vanngo! In my opinion his work is the perfect mix of classic glam and modern effortlessness. The way he pairs dramatic eye or lip looks with glowy, natural-looking skin just can’t be beat!

His work can be seen on the likes of Gisele Bündchen, Bella Hadid and Barbara Palvin. But some of my most favorite Hung Vanngo looks are those he’s done for model and actress Emily Ratajkowski.

Last April Hung Vanngo created the perfect cool-toned, 90s-inspired glam for EmRata at the premiere of her movie I Feel Pretty. This type of look is timeless (and beautiful for almost any occasion), so I decided to recreate it this weekend. The gray-brown color palette is a gorgeous option for the cold, winter months; I’m not too inspired to play with brighter shades this time of year, but it is still a nice change of pace from my usual warm red-browns.

Products I used:

  • Glamglow Glowstarter in Nude Glow
  • Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi
  • Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Medium
  • Tarte Shape Tape concealer in Light Neutral
  • Fenty Beauty Matte Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha
  • BECCA Be A Light Face Palette in Light/Medium
  • Benefit Rockateur Powder Blush
  • Benefit Watt’s Up! Cream-To-Powder Highlighter
  • ColourPop Cosmetics pressed powder eyeshadows in Take The Lead (crease, lower lash line), Cloud Nine (outer crease, lower lash line), Treat Yourself/Save It For Later (eyelids)
  • Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
  • Benefit BADgal BANG! mascara
  • Lilly Lashes in Dallas (vegan)
  • MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Shimmer in Goldlite
  • MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Stone
  • Dose Of Colors Velvet Lipstick in My Main
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I got the genius idea of sharing my “bottom shelf” (aka my not-so-glam products) from Into The Gloss a few weeks back. They may not be as photogenic as some of my other must-haves, but I still can’t do my thing without them.

Castor oil: Much thicker (and a lot less silky) than coconut oil, castor oil is nonetheless essential for healthy skin and hair. While it took some trial and error to get used to this product, I am wowed by the results! I put it on my lashes and brows before bed 3 to 4 nights per week, and on my roots/scalp about once a month. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is in my lashes–they have never looked fuller or healthier!

Freedom Natural Deodorant: My life is super busy and I am a relatively active person in general. I’m on my feet *a lot* during the week (including a 2.5-mile walk to and from work every day). So, a hardworking deodorant is a must.

Last year I discovered Freedom and I haven’t looked back! After trying other natural deodorants (including Schmidt’s), I was less-than-impressed. I saw Freedom on social media and decided to give it a try even though it is a little pricey.

Freedom works just as well as mainstream deodorants–without any of the harmful ingredients, such as aluminum. My personal fav is the peach scent, but Freedom also has lavender, mint, amber and unscented, which are great, too. I love keeping a travel-size Freedom in my purse, as well as one in my toiletries bag for traveling.

To combat the high prices, I stock-up whenever Freedom’s website has a sale.

Tarte Maracuja Oil: I’ve barely mentioned this product here on the blog or on social media, which is weird considering how much I love it.

Although at first I was a bit hesitant to use an oil on my face, Maracuja Oil’s benefits really drew me in, so I tried it anyway–and I am *so* happy I did!

It is intended to protect the skin from environmental aggressors and add an extra dose of moisture while increasing skin’s elasticity. But the first time I applied it, I couldn’t help but notice how clean my skin felt! And when I woke up the next morning, that clean feeling was still there–and perhaps even stronger than the night before.

After one use my skin also felt more firm and overall much healthier. I use it on my neck and chest, too.

Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner (unscented): Decidedly less glamorous than any of my other top-self mainstays, Witch Hazel is nonetheless a staple in my medicine cabinet. I prefer Thayer’s because it is affordable and full of trustworthy ingredients.

This multitasking formula gently removes any makeup or dirt cleanser leaves behind, while balancing and moisturizing the skin. One standard-size bottle lasts me what feels like forever.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes: My absolute favorite makeup wipes! This Parisian drugstore staple is just as good as Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Spa Water at nearly half the cost.

Each wipe is saturated with enough Bioderma micellar solution to remove makeup, as well as dirt and grime, which builds-up throughout the day. I don’t trust many micellar solutions (or cleansers in general) on the market, and Bioderma’s line definitely passes the test.

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