My 5 Current Favorite Beauty Products

I make no pretenses that I’m some makeup or beauty guru (you’re looking at my blog and thinking, “No kidding, Janssen”).

But last year, after months of seeing pictures of myself and thinking, “My skin does not look 17 anymore,” I decided I was ready to take my makeup routine a little more seriously.

I don’t like wearing a lot of makeup and I really don’t want it to take up very much of my time, but after six months of experimenting with some different products and slowly getting the hang of how to actually wear makeup like a grown-up, here are the five products that make me happy every single morning.

(Sadly, none of these are mascara, because I have yet to find a mascara that totally blows me away, but once my current one runs out, I’m planning on giving the Boots No7 Stay Perfect Mascara a spin because one of my friends who is way more of a makeup connoisseur than I am highly recommended it).

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A handful of really great beauty products for makeup minimalists
  1. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 – I was using bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, recommended to me by one of the epmloyees at Sephora, which I liked, but then one of my Sephora purchases came with a sample of the this Smashbox BB cream and I used it once and was immediately sold. It goes on so smoothly, weighs nothing, and evens everything out. I’ve used other foundations that I felt like made my skin slowly worse over time, and this one, after six months, my skin looks BETTER, not worse. 
  2. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 – I got this in the PopSugar MustHave box back in July and it was kind of fun and I figured a little extra SPF couldn’t hurt me. But then after a few months, I forgot to put it on one morning after I’d put on my makeup and when I happened to look in the mirror after lunch, I was like, “What happened to all my makeup?!” It seriously keeps everything in place (it says to reapply every couple of hours which I’ve done exactly never. Once in the morning and that’s it).
  3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Duo Brow Powder Merrick raves about this and after having used a different one for a while, I’m in agreement. And an angled brush makes all the difference. 
  4. bareMinerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil-Balm in Tangerine Pop – I got a set of three colors of these lip oil balms and I was like, “well, I’m never going to be using this bright orange one, obviously.” And then I tried it on one morning and it immediately became my favorite. Despite the lurid casing, it goes on pretty neutral and just makes me look a little more awake but not made up. I always put this $5 lip balm on beforehand and it is the BEST. 
  5. bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Raise the Bar – I got this at Alt Summit a couple of years ago and it is my all-time favorite lipstick. It’s a little dark for summer wear, I think, but when I got it back out in November, I was like “oh yeah, this is the best lipstick ever.” 
And I have a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so if you have any makeup recommendations, I’ll happily accept them all. 

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  • Reply Michelle January 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    My all time favorite mascara is Maybelline New York's Lash Sensational – Full Fan Effect. It goes on so well, and it doesn't start flaking off by the end of the day. I've actually worn the same mascara for several days and it still looks just as good the next day, which is basically the best for me because taking off mascara is the worst in my book. It's a brand you can find at Walmart but it's the best $7 I've ever spent on any makeup.

  • Reply Madeleine Reeves January 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Looking 17 is overrated! I think your skin is gorgeous. Do you have any skin care routine suggestions or product recommendations for washes, moisturizers, etc.?

    I'm a relatively new reader and love your blog! You have such a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  • Reply Samantha Seufert January 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Erase Paste by Benefit is my favorite thing from Sephora. Does wonders to cover up under eye circles and brighten under eye (I also use it on my top lids if I'm putting on eyeshadow).

    Also, the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil is awesome, but looks like you've got brows figured out. 🙂

  • Reply Alison January 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I finally broke down and bought myself one of the Urban Decay Naked eye shadow palettes. I also got help learning how to apply eye shadow (for my eye shape). I don't know why I waited so long! I've learned to ask hair and makeup professionals for help and recommendations. They love to share their expertise, and the right product with lessons makes such a difference.

  • Reply Whit January 15, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I got excema ON MY FACE after I moved to Arizona. If you ever have problems like that, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream moisturizer (I got the stuff in the tub) cleared it up fast. Much better than the steroids from the doctor and Sephora is much more fun to visit than the doctor's.
    Laura Mercier concealer is also awesome.

  • Reply Jessica January 15, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I'm far from a make-up guru myself, but I do love Lancome's High Definition mascara. I used drugstore brands for years until I got a free sample – life changing!

  • Reply Julie January 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I love your blog so much and think you always look so well put together. My favorite part is all your book recommendations, but it's fun to hear about other things too. Thank you for these recommendations. My mascara recommendation is to buy more frequently. I feel like when it is a fresh container it goes on and looks so much better than after a couple weeks. I like Almay brand

    • Reply Laura January 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      I read some time ago that using contact solution helps refresh mascara during the short term. I tried it and I'm a believer. Just a few drops and a little spin of the wand and tada!

  • Reply Paige Flamm January 15, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Clinique's Lash Doubling Mascara is the best (in my opinion). I have the Tarte Light Camera Lashes one, and the Benefit Roller Lash Right now, but when they run out, I think I'm going back to Clinque. I've used that one since high school (perks of having a mom who managed the makeup department a Macy's), and it's my all time favorite.

  • Reply allie J. January 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I love the Neutrogena Healthy Volume mascara, it seems to be a really great volumizer for a drugstore/target brand! I'll have to check out that supergoop setting spray, I've never used a setting spray before (and I should).

  • Reply Ashlee F January 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I've been loving that BB Cream too. It's definitely a favorite on the days when I don't want to wear a gallon of makeup. haha

    -Ashlee Michelle

  • Reply Alysa Stewart January 16, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I am now loyal to Clinique 24 hour lash power mascara. I heard it recommended on A Blog About Love, and happened to be needing some. I will never ever go back to drugstore mascara. That stuff is magical. It stays on great and comes off with warm water only, no soap or remover needed! Woo!

  • Reply Alysa Stewart January 16, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I am now loyal to Clinique 24 hour lash power mascara. I heard it recommended on A Blog About Love, and happened to be needing some. I will never ever go back to drugstore mascara. That stuff is magical. It stays on great and comes off with warm water only, no soap or remover needed! Woo!

  • Reply Selena Pallas January 16, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Here's a question, what do you use to wash your face?

    • Reply Janssen January 21, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      I use the Target knock-off of Cetaphil face wash!

  • Reply Jodi January 16, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Ah makeup, I never know what to do about that. Part of me has a hard time using stuff I'm sure is toxic in some way or another, but a (probably bigger) part of me wants to just look good whatever. I think my real problem is deciding if I care enough about my makeup to want to spend so much on fancier stuff. Somedays I am so tired of feeling blah, and most days I can't imagine spending so much on a foundation (that I use like once a week). Sigh. I guess it doesn't help that I know very little about the world of makeup.

  • Reply Miranda R January 17, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Estée Lauder
    Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara is the BEST. Totally worth the expense.

  • Reply Michelle January 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I see you've already accumulated tons of mascara recommendations, but I'll add mine: L'Oreal Voluminous (I usually do waterproof). I have a hard time spending lots on mascara since I wear it everyday (thus going through it regularly). I've been very happy with it (I've used it for several years now), it looks good and doesn't irritate my eyes like some cheap brands.

  • Reply Monica Packer January 25, 2016 at 6:21 am

    OK, we had a favorite things party a month ago and I got my friend's pick–she knows EVERYTHING about makeup, but is a total natural beauty. You see her, not her makeup. Anyway, she brought Dior mascara that is absolutely amazing. Diorshow Iconic, I believe it's called, in a silver vessel. You'll love it.

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