Beauty Favorites: Summer 2015

A few months ago I rebranded my website, and during that process I retired my old blog and started this new one.

Honestly? I didn't think anyone would notice (or care) that the old blog had been Disappeared because it was a bit of a hot mess.

I was wrong! A few of you have been wondering what happened to my old "Beauty Favorites" post. Sorry, guys! It's gone :(  

As a peace offering ... Here's a new one, with fresh favorites!

But before we get into the details, how about some background info.

I'm just going to come right out and say it:

My name is Lauren Layne and I'm a beauty junkie. 

I'm not sure how it happened. I was not a glamorous child (and you should read this as: I was a supremely awkward kid). I didn't wear any make-up in high school, partially because I don't think my mom would have allowed it, but mostly because it didn't really occur to me.

College was similarly low-maintenance, although I did learn to embrace mascara and the occasional concealer (whaaat's up, chin acne!)

And then my twenties happened, and I sort of "discovered" makeup. Nothing crazy -- I'm not adventurous by nature, so my embrace of cosmetics was subdued in color, but it was feisty in enthusiasm. 

For the longest time, I've felt weird admitting this. There's a definite badge of honor associated with celebrating "natural beauty," and the "makeup-free selfie," I am all for that, but in prowling around on the inter-webs over the past decade, I've also encountered a side-effect: a very subtle shaming of make-up lovers.

I wrestled with it for awhile. Wondered if all the bloggers and commentary was right, and if my deep love for my foundation stemmed from a fundamental self-esteem problem.

But dudes ... I'm in my thirties now and I am le tired of second-guessing what I like.

And I like wearing make-up. It makes me feel pretty and I like feeling pretty, and if any of you are roaring about how I'm setting back the women's movement, I'm just gonna come right out and say that I don't think my love of bronzer is the problem.

Whoops. Getting off track. Okay, let's talk about makeup.


Who's your beauty muse? Olivia Palermo & Kate Middleton. I like that you can't really "see" their makeup (with the exception of Kate's sometimes too thick black liner). They just look pretty and polished so you see THEM instead of the makeup.

Do you wear makeup every day? Mostly, although I'm not neurotic about it. If I don't feel like it, I don't.

How much makeup do you have? Bags and bags? A Caboodle?! Actually, hardly any. What you see here is about the extent of it. When I say I'm a beauty junkie, it's more about quality than quantity.

You can only apply one item in the morning. What is it? Foundation.

Do you have a "look"? Classic, baby.

You've only got designer brands here. Any drug-store dupes? Ack, sorry, no! If I knew of cheaper equivalents, I'd be buying them myself! Here's the thing: I've spent SO MUCH money on drugstore makeup over the years, only to have it make me break out, or the eyeshadow falls out of the pan, or colors are all wrong, or the lipgloss smells funny ... I find that I end up spending less overall when I spend a bit more on the individual items that I love. The exception is mascara -- drug store mascara is amazing, especially Maybelline!

LL's Makeup Bag


This is a quick, ill-planned selfie (black hair, black wall, black shirt, REALLY?!) but this is my every-day makeup routine, wearing all the goodness I list in this post :) It's also the exact products of everything I'm wearing in my headshot (told ya I was a creature of habit) although I did add a bit more black shadow around my lash line for that one.

This is a quick, ill-planned selfie (black hair, black wall, black shirt, REALLY?!) but this is my every-day makeup routine, wearing all the goodness I list in this post :)

It's also the exact products of everything I'm wearing in my headshot (told ya I was a creature of habit) although I did add a bit more black shadow around my lash line for that one.

Foundation: I'm an "almost" daily foundation wearer. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the "flawless face" look. That being said, I do get the fear some people have of foundation! It's very easy to go horribly wrong and end up feeling like you're wearing mask, or getting cake-face, or worse, the dreaded two-tone line between your face and your neck. It's taken me years to find one that I love, and at the moment I'm pretty smitten with Lancome's Teint Miracle. It's dewy without being shiny, full-coverage without being heavy, and their color range is spot-on for me. I'd like to think it makes my face look like me ... but, um, better.

Powder: I've spent 10+ years shunning powder. I had it in my head that this was the culprit behind so many "cake faces," and read so many articles about how if you were trying to go for a "natural" look (which I was), to avoid the powder. So I avoided the powder. And then I proceeded to try foundation after foundation after foundation desperately seeking that "natural but flawless" look that and failing. Guess what? I needed powder. While I was restocking my foundation at Nordstrom a month ago, I mentioned off hand to the Lancome rep that I loved the formula, but that I wished it lasted just a bit longer, especially in the summer. She said, "Well what powder are you using?" I poo-pooed her away, and she was like, "No, seriously, you need powder. I'll show you!" Game changer. There was the flawless face I'd been looking for, AND it lasted all day. I bought Lancome's Dual Finish Versatile Powder then and there, and never looked back (also, when I met up with my husband after (he didn't know I'd gone shopping), he said "wow, your skin looks really good today!" Good husband. Very good. Now just don't look at the Visa bill ...

Blush: I have naturally rosy (read: red, blotchy) cheeks, so I've always been pretty wary of blush, and, I still skip it some days if I'm already feeling like I have plenty of color. When I am in the mood, I love Chanel's Orchid Rose (a lovely light shimmery purple/pink). I've had the same container for like 3+ years, so hopefully that bad boy doesn't go rancid or something. Unfortunately, they've discontinued the color, so I'll have to find a new favorite when this one runs out, but I figure I have another decade or so ...

Bronzer: Bronzer is one of the few makeup categories that I swap out with the season. For summer, I use more of a shimmer than I do in the fall/winter months, and at the moment I'm a huge fan of Nars Casino. (note, Casino is quite dark, so my fairer friends might prefer Laguna which is also lovely and a bit lighter).


Eyeshadow: Make-up aficionados out there are probably nodding knowingly as I say that I use one of the Naked palates (fitting for a romance author, no?!). The original Naked palette became an immediate cult favorite, although I could never pull the trigger because the colors seemed a bit warm for my liking. Alas. Naked 2 came out with some cooler shades, and a happy marriage was made. All the Naked collections include an assortment of neutrals (no bright blues here), and it's very slowly replaced all my other eyeshadows. It has everything I need for a polished, everyday look, but enough darker colors that I can go smokier for evening if I'm in the mood. It's hard to describe the magic of this shadow collection. I've had people tell me "I'm lucky I don't have to wear eye makeup" while I'm wearing this. That's how delightful subtle this is.

Wasn't kidding about the wand being like whaaat?!

Wasn't kidding about the wand being like whaaat?!

Mascara: Ack. I've been a long time proponent of drug store mascaras, never finding an expensive department store version that was worth the price, so it pains me to say that Lancome (they've been impressing me lately) has set the bar REALLY high with their Grandiose Wide-Angle Fan Effect (who the heck comes up with these names). The formula is great for thick dramatic lashes, but the real show-stopper is the wand. It has this angled brush thing that I was super skeptical of at first, but it's so great that now I'm worried I own't be able to go back to a "regular" wand. Here's hoping my beloved Maybelline jumps on the angled-wand bandwagon!

Eyeliner: You may have noticed that there's no eyeliner in my picture. That's because I don't wear any. I don't really like it. Liquid liner is a bit too precise for my liking, I've never been able to figure out why there are so many fans of gel liner, and while pencil liner is closer to the look I'm going for, it always goes on more intense than I want, no matter how carefully I sharpen it. Instead I use an angled shadow brush and use a black shadow in my upper lash line and dark gray shadow along the lower lash line. (all from the Naked 2 palette).


Same products as pictured above, except this time with all the palettes "open" so you can see the colors.

Same products as pictured above, except this time with all the palettes "open" so you can see the colors.

Lipstick: I only posted a picture of one lipstick, but the truth is I have two Bobbi Brown pink lipstick colors that are nearly identical, and I use interchangably (one's in my purse, one's in my computer bag). The one pictured here is Sandwash Pink and is a long time favorite (also happens to be a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge!). The other is Pale Pink, which lately I've been loving a bit more. They're both light, "my lips but better" pinks, but Sandwash looks a bit more bubble gum on me, and Pale Pink's a bit more natural. I also need to do an honorable mention to Ulta's Pink Chocolate lipstick that I bought on a whim because it was cheap, and looked like the perfect nude. Alas, it is the perfect nude! I didn't picture it here because it's just a touch too light for me in my summer tan state, but it'll be making a reappearance in fall for sure.

Gloss: Not a huge gloss fan. I don't love the look, and I hate the feel even more. But for the rare occasion when I do want gloss, I've been using MAC's Ample Pink for about a decade now. Perfect neutral pink for day time, but also looks awesome with a smoky eye for night.

Pencil: Nothing against lip pencil, it's just that I rarely remember to put it on, and I tend to lose these like nobody's business. I currently have zero in my possession (unless they're like under the bed or something) and no plans to repurchase. Although, i do feel like I should mention ... if you're part of the Layne Nation on Facebook, you probably know that I recently tried my FIRST EVER red lipstick. I bought Nars "Dragon Girl" lip pencil (rumored to be a favorite of Taylor Swift), and man, I LOVED IT. I'm still a neutral-lip girl at heart, but I'm definitely keeping that one around for when I want to feel diva and fabulous.

Okay, that's it for my makeup bag. What are YOUR must-haves???

Lauren Layne

New York, NY, USA

USA Today Bestselling Author & Lifestyle Blogger.