How To Wear Makeup In Your 30s, From Our Beautiful (Even / Especially When Bare-Faced) Pal Katherine


(Ed. Note: Katherine [KG] is my Ariel of Amazon, the pal I was lucky enough to meet at MyHabit and slog through the ol’ 9 – 5 with for a couple o’ glorious years. We’ve bummed ciggies from randos outside a Dallas hotel at 1am, we’ve polished off an unnecessary extra bottle of red in bathrobes whilst in Seattle, and we’ve put actual advertising spend behind the syndication of this ridiculous (-ly awesome) video documenting a few of our other, very serious work endeavors. I really miss seeing her every day, especially now that she and her husband moved back to Milwaukee so she could take a new, kick-ass job. ANYWAY. I digress. I reached out to KG to BEG her for some beauty and makeup tips, since the girl always looks gorgeous and luminous and my skin looks like a piece of roadkill since birthing Bailey, no matter what I put on it. She humored me, in a big way, below. Tried the routine with the products I do have so far this am and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!)

“First and foremost, I believe nothing is more important than finding the right face wash for your skin. I’ve tried loads, and when it’s wrong, it entirely affects how my makeup looks. I need something that is sensitive yet cleans the (actual) crap out of my skin since I’m prone to dryness/flaking in some places, and oil slicks in others. I’ve been using Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for years, and it has triumphed through birth control changes, moves, job changes, NYC smog, and other acne-inducing life-ness that has been tossed my way. The little bit of salicylic acid goes a long way to keep my pores clean. Again, trial and error, this step.

Next, I’ve recently discovered the magic that is Glossier Supers serums. There are three different ones, each with a different purpose. “Pure” is acne and red spot fighting, “Glow” does pretty much what it sounds like, and “Bounce” fixes dehydrated skin/hangover face. I get splotchy and tight right after I wash my face, and the Glow adds a sprinkle of fairy dust and makes everything ok. Apply the dropper straight on the skin and rub in with your fingertips, don’t waste any of this on a cotton swab.

Moisturizer? Pond’s Dry Skin Cream. People have made fun of me for a long time for using this. People have also told me I have really nice skin for a long time. So there.

K, I have a fourth step before makeup (I KNOW I KNOW), but this is the best primer I have ever used: Nivea Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm. Not a wrong link or typo. Makeup stays put, doesn’t go into cracks, and no, you don’t smell like a dude. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

On to makeup.


I have tried more makeup than what is probably acceptable. I’m some elite “VIB Rouge” status at Sephora which essentially means I spend some absurd amount of money. (I’ve refused to look up how much.) I look for things that feel light, natural, glowy… and, basically, yeah, I just strive to look like Gigi all the time. Even though there are a lot of products below, my routine takes about 10-15 minutes.

For starters, buy these three brushes. They are all you need.

  • All over power, for powder, cheek blush, etc., this is the best I have ever used.
  • This one for contour, hairline, and definition.
  • For eyes, this is a totally amenable brush good for a general single sweep or a complicated eye contour with no harsh edges.

My routine starts with a quick swipe of Glossier Haloscope on the top of my cheekbones up to the outer corner of my eye. (This isn’t the last highlighter of my process because I like my face to be seen from SPACE.) I prefer Quartz.

Next, foundation. Since I discovered it about five years ago, I have not strayed from Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, which is light, silky, and somehow manages to look better as the day goes on. It goes on best lightly with the fingertips first, then finessed with an egg/ beauty blender. (No brand preference on blenders.) I use 5.25.

After foundation, I apply a thin layer of concealer under my eyes, to the sides of and under my nose, and on any blemishes. This trick adds brightness that can get easily lost if you do this step before you apply foundation. You’ll find it sets in seamlessly as you finish your routine. I love this concealer by Make Up For Ever: very smooth application and has magical matching powers. I’ve used two different shades and they both have worked, but my favorite shade is Y33.

Next is bronzer/ contour. Guerlain’s Terracotta line is my new favorite bronzer. It’s very natural looking, and a little goes a long way. I use it under my cheekbones, along my hairline and a little under my jaw. Everyone keeps telling me how tan I look when I’m wearing it, and I will take that any day of the week. I like Number One (the shade is called brunettes). For evening, I go a little more dramatic and use the Kat Von D light and contour palette, which has no shimmer and truly acts like you are paining a canvas. Use sparingly.

This powder from Benefit is the best I have owned; it goes on silky and light, and it doesn’t collect in my AGING SKIN (sad face) throughout the day. I only use powder on my T-Zone, and I give myself a SUPER heavy swipe underneath the contour I’ve created on my cheeks. I let it set, then lightly blend it with the aforementioned MAC large blush brush, which adds a whole new dynamic dimension (especially for someone like me, who longs for super defined cheek and jaw bones). My color is: Me Vain? Champagne, and somehow it magically works whether I am tan or pasty. (I used it for wedding right after summer and throughout winter.)

Now back to highlighters. I use this powder from Becca in the color moonstone, and recommend it for anyone and everyone, regardless of your skin tone, whether pale or very dark. Use it on your cheekbones, under the eyebrows on your brow bone, in between boobs and across clavicle (Try it there, I swear it changes your look entirely especially in photos). Use the aforementioned MAC contour brush to apply.

This MAC cream blush is a staple I’ve been using for over eight years. A little less intense than the Becca stuff above, and better-suited for daytime. Favorite shade is Hush.

So, brows. I’m not being dramatic when I say the next product changed my life. It, at the very least, added time back into my day: I’d spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to fill in my naturally sparse eyebrows to achieve that perfectly full yet slightly undone look. This brow gel from Benefit accomplishes that in a few, well-placed swipes. It sticks to the existing hairs you have without looking fake or flaked, almost like a combo of a pencil and eyebrow extensions. (Let’s hope that’s never a thing.) To fix it up/perfect, I use an eyebrow pencil. Best eyebrow pencil: Anastasia brand – the thin pencil only. I tried the (new) fatter one recently and not only did I end up looking like Mr. Bean, it also dried out really fast, which was annoying given the price. I use the color Caramel.

In terms of eyeshadow, I have one palette from Urban Decay that I’ve been using for a long time because it, well, lasts a long time—and because it is the best. I use the colors Naked (day) or Buck (night) as a base, and finish with a swipe of Sidecar (day) or Smog (night). Other colors come in handy as needed.

Eyeliner: I’m a big fan of the casual cat eye. Night or day, no matter the reason. Only on the side corners of my eye. It changes your entire face. I’ve tried about 12 different brands and the best is still Sephora brand liquid eyeliner. (Sephora tried to change the brush up once to a spongey version which made me very sad but they recently went back to the OG mini paintbrush which is the BEST.)

I have two favorite mascaras. I put the Benefit one on first because it’s really defining, like a comb for your lashes (since mine grow essentially in every direction), then follow with two coats of the Stila for a super full look. I do not use a curler.

My new favorite lipstick is this Cream Lip Stain from Sephora: Put it on once, and you don’t need to reapply for hours, not even after eating and drinking. Every single time I wear the Always Red, I get compliments. The Marvelous Mauve is also amazing, and it’s a nice soft color that is much better quality than the Kylie brand. (Yeah, I’ve tried it, SHUT UP.)

This concealer crayon may be the most important thing on this list. It goes in your purse, and acts like Photoshop throughout the day. It’s essentially a correcting pencil you can swoop on top of any makeup or blemish with zero dryness, flaking or discoloration. I use the color Bisque.

Happy makeup-ing!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s