Minimal Makeup Bag: If I Could Only Keep One in Every Category

Even though I love beauty, I often feel like my collection got a bit out of hand recently and I wish that I had much less variety in some of the categories. In turn, I thought it’d be fun to go through my collection and pick one product in each category that I would keep if I had to only choose one. Now I wanted to be quite free with the selection so I didn’t exclude limited edition products or only picked the products I’ve used the most in that category. I am however excluding past favourites that didn’t get re-purchased (yet) because I still have some self-restraint.


Primer: Chanel Le Blanc Illuminating Base in Lys

I often forget to put on primers even though I love the idea of illuminating bases but like I mentioned, I wanted this list to be a true reflection of what I would pick and not be limited to most used products. I have quite sallow complexion and the silver shift really counteracts that and of course, adds a beautiful luminousity to the skin at the same time. I’m not sure if this colour is still available but I’ve linked in shade Orchidée which would give a similar effect.

Foundation: Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation in 0.1

I am not a die hard foundation wearer but out of all the ones in my collection, this one still reigns as a favourite. It’s a perfect match, has fantastic coverage, natural finish and lasts great throughout the day. I have dry skin and I wouldn’t say this would look perfect if I didn’t prepare my skin but as long as I do the bare minimum it looks pretty damn close and you really don’t need a lot to get high medium coverage out of it.

Concealer: Fenty Pro Filt’r Concealer in 130

I use concealer a lot more than foundation and definitely feel more opinionated on the subject (my ranking post here). My favourite still continues to be the Fenty one. This isn’t my favourite concealer shade wise but it’s definitely a strong favourite formula wise. I only ever use concealer under the eyes where I have quite a lot of purple discolouration and this one is a creamy formula that offers high medium coverage and doesn’t look cakey under the eyes. Compared to all my other concealers, this is the one I know I can always rely on.

Powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light

I have dry skin but I hate the feeling of unset foundation so these powders are perfect for me. They set the makeup but add a slight blurring effect to the skin and because my main concern is texture, I definitely enjoy the effect. One of these compacts also lasts me well over a year and I’m happy to just continue repurchasing this once I run out.


Contour: YSL Couture Duo in Rosy Contouring

Now welcome to the discontinued part of this post. I get why this was discontinued/limited edition because I don’t think the idea of rosy contouring is popular with most skin tones but it works a treat on my fair skin. The tone of the contour powder is a balance of grey and pink tones but adds dimension to my faces without looking muddy like most contour powders that are either too yellow and or too grey. It’s a stiff formula that applied with a dense brush requires virtually no blending and once this is gone, I’d be desperate to find a replacement.

Bronzer: Kevyn Aucoin Neo Bronzer in Sunrise Light

I have quite a bit of variety in this category in my collection and quite a few that have a beautiful formula but average shade and vice versa. While this one is my personal favourite, once again I think the rosiness is an acquired taste and will only works as a bronzer on warmer skin tones. I refrained from mentioning runner ups in previous categories but I need to make an exception here. The Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Terra has been a long favourite in my collection however since I got my latest compact the bronzer has been reformulated so I can’t say how they compare. For me, Sunrise Light is perfect in its formula and shade. The formula is stiffer but still easy to pick up with softer brushes and the shade offers you a variety of shimmer to matte but gives an overall soft satin look. It’s definitely one of those that don’t look over the top but just seamlessly blend into the skin.

Blusher: Surratt Artistique Blusher in La Rosée du Soir

Chanel Joues Contraste in Accent will always have a special place in my heart but now that it’s finally gone, I don’t really have strong feelings on any of the leftover blushers in my collection. La Rosée du Soir is the newest addition and I decided to pick it because it has the most beautiful formula. It’s a satin finish, the powder is extremely finely milled and it just goes on beautifully on the cheek.

Highlighter: Chanel Le Signe du Lion Highlighter in Or Rose

This highlighter formula is hands down my absolute favourite. I might have purchased it because I’m a proud Leo but I fell in love of it because of the glossy effect it gives off on the skin. It’s also my favourite highlight shade, it leans pink but is light enough and extremely reflective. I’m not sure if you can still get this shade but the Or Blanc colour is still available on the Chanel website (linked above). It’s also a dense formula that has no kick up in the pan and never fades throughout the day so it’s perfect in every way possible.


L-R: Tom Ford Sous Le Sable, Chanel Warm Memories

Eyeshadow Quad: Tom Ford Eye Quad in Sous Le Sable + Chanel Eye Quad in Warm Memories

Let’s just say that for this category which is one of my favourite categories, I decided to go with a neutral and more ‘colourful’ variation. I think by now it’s been established that Sous Le Sable is what I wished Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk was. The quad features three mattes which have a nice variety in depth and good balance of warm and cool undertones. The shimmer copper is something I would kill for five years ago but I actually like that it features a copper and not a lighter variation of Mac Sable because it adds a bit of variety in my collection. If I had to get rid of all my mattes, I would be happy just keeping these because that’s all I’d ever use. I would say this palette is a neutral rosy palette that leans slightly cool in the mattes and warm in the shimmer.

Warm Memories is my guilty pleasure here. I had to mention it because even though it was limited edition, it is the first palette (along with Elemental) from Chanel that I have been excited about since Lucia Pica took over. The colour story of this one completely drew me in and I really wish this was a permanent shade. I do love the plummy under tones of this and the orange in the palette is one that actually looks pretty on my eye and that’s coming from someone who hates orange anything. I liked the old Chanel eyeshadow formula too but these are definitely new and improved. As you might have guessed, if it’s pigmented, blendable and has no kick up in the pan, I’m all over it.

L-R: Nars Dolomites, Hourglass Arch Brow in Auburn, TF Brut Rose, Eye Duo: T – MAC Sable, B – ABH Red Earth

Eyeshadow Single: Mac Frost Eyeshadow in Sable + ABH Eyeshadow in Red Earth

I know I said one and if it had to be one I would just pick Sable but to be completely honest I wanted to put it in a palette and thought I might as well pick one shimmer and one matte. Sable is the only eyeshadow I’ve ever completely used up in my life and it is one for a reason. I love the Mac Frost formula because it’s pigmented, reflective but not filled with shimmer particles. Because it has so much reflectivity is works for an one eyeshadow look where it gives some definition to the socket and highlight in the inner corners. It’s a perfect mid tone shade for my preferences and the rosiness (a theme) is very flattering on my colouring. I decided to add Red Earth because I love to smudge darker reddish brown eyeshadow along the lashlines in lieu of eyeliner and this one is the favourite formula and tone wise in my collection with its balance of cool and warm undertones. In the picture, it looks super light for some reason but it’s actually dark enough for me to do so.

Eyeshadow Duo: Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Dolomites

Here’s a walk down the makeup memory lane. This limited edition duo from Nars is probably one of my favourite makeup products ever. The packaging is absolutely battered and the only reason I haven’t hit pan is because such was the old Nars formula. The lilac in the palette is what I would call a wearable lilac that has quite a bit of warmth to it while the reddish brown continues to the most beautiful reddish brown I’ve ever encountered. The brown is dark enough for me to smudge along the lash lines but it can also be applied lightly in the crease or built easily. Over the years I’ve tried to dupe this shade and while quite a few swatch similarly (Red Earth being one of them), there is something about this tone that flatters my eyes unlike any other shade.

Eyeliner: Tom Ford Emotionproof Eyeliner in Brut Rose

Like I mentioned, I prefer to use dark brown shades along the lashline for definition over eyeliners but I do love a bit of a light metallic colour in my waterline. My used up favourites were Chanel Le Stylo Yeux in Ambre Dore and Ardent but Brut Rose is actually it’s prettier sister. I haven’t tested the formula as much as the Chanel one but the Brut Rose shade is a big winner. I’ve been leaning towards more cool toned makeup looks compared to when I was using the Chanel shades and Brut Rose is a rosy champagne with a soft metallic finish that adds brightness to the eye and ties in the lower lash makeup to complete the look.

Eyebrow: Hourglass Arch Brow Pencil in Auburn

Something about Hourglass products that makes them last extremely long. This is a waxy and thicker pencil so again one lasts me way other a year. In general I do prefer the effect of the Mac Browset in Red Chestnut but I decided to stop buying it because I like to get every last bit out of the product. Pencils are also a lot easier to use for me and because of how waxy this one is, it stays put throughout the day. The slanted shape also makes filling in your eyebrows super quick and is a lot more foolproof than a micro pencil. Now even though more brands are now coming out with auburn shades and I haven’t tried them all, Hourglass Auburn is definitely a great shade for redheads.

Mascara: None

I don’t really care for mascara as far as making my lashes stand out so I only really pick the first burgundy mascara I can find on the market but I am yet to find out that I find worth repurchasing and wasn’t limited edition. I hate the look of black mascara against my skin and love how burgundy compliments my look. I would love to get a new one soon so please let me know if you have any suggestions.


L-R: Nars Morocco, Mac Half’N’Half, Chanel Hazelnut

Lipliner: Nars Precision Lip Pencil in Morocco

I am briefly mentioning this because even though lipliners are one category I would like to get rid of entirely in my collection this is by far the nicest formula I’ve encountered. It’s just a soft pencil without being overly creamy and definitely comfortable enough to wear without a lipstick on top.

T-B: Chanel Hazelnut, Mac Half’N’Half, Nars Morocco

Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Crayon Mat in Hazelnut + Mac Amplified Lipstick in Half’N’Half

I sort of cheated again here but I figured it’s only fair I pick a matte and a non-matte formula. One of my current collection, Hazelnut is my absolute favourite. The cool toned beige shade gives me Mac Styled in Sepia vibes but fair skin appropriate. The crayon application is also extremely convenient and while it is a matte finish, it’s more of that soft matte finish that feels very comfortable on the lips. Half’N’Half I chose because it’s one of those throw on lipsticks in my collection. It’s a browny nude that is Velvet Teddy’s non matte sister and because I used up both Velvet Teddy (and Nars Barbara which is my number one favourite lip product), it gets a mention here. I do prefer matte lipsticks so this one will never be number one but it’s not its fault.

Have you tried any of these? What would you pick if you had to only own one in each category?

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