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My Beauty Routine: Elizabeth

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While it’s fun to read about the beauty habits of celebrities, I find it most helpful to learn about the beauty habits of women who have lifestyles, ages, or budgets similar to mine. In this series, I’ve asked amazing women I know to share their beauty routines. These are women from across the country, different ages, lifestyles, professions, and beauty/skincare priorities.
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Name: Elizabeth

Age: 45

Location: Arlington, Virginia

Profession: Diplomat (follow my style adventures on Instagram)

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Tell me a bit about your skincare and/or routine.

I am definitely a high maintenance person when it comes to hair and skincare. Now that I'm in my mid-40s, I feel like the time I invest in having well-maintained hair and skin saves me tons of time on a daily basis and lets me leave the house feeling my best (almost) every day.

Evening Routine:

Morning is all about getting my skin ready for makeup. In my current diplomatic assignment I appear on TV and am photographed and I want my makeup to hold up all day and starting with well-prepped skin is key.

  • Step One is to cleanse. Don't believe the hype that just a water rinse will do it – get the residual product, dead skin cells, and sweat off your skin. Get your circulation going with a little morning face massage with cleanser. I alternate between IS Clinical Cleansing Complex and Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher.
  • Step Two is toner and I always use Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love everything about this and it is the one product (apart from sunscreen, obviously) that I would take to a deserted island.
  • Step Three is serum and I alternate between IS Clinical Pro-Heal and IS Clinical Hydracool. These are the gold standards of skin care and the Pro-Heal gives me vitamin C to ensure my pigmentation stays in check. I've tried a bunch of Vitamin C serums and always come back to this one.
  • Step Four is a moisturizing sunscreen. I use Elta MD in the tinted version on my face and the clear version on my neck and chest. One note here that I always take my skin care down my neck and onto my chest. I want to try to avoid having a young(er) looking face and older(er) looking neck and chest. I also chug a big glass of water while I wait for the sunscreen to really settle before I start makeup.

Once my skin is prepped, I do the same makeup routine every day. It has really helped streamline my mornings and ensures I always have the same polished look where you see me and not my makeup. I call it my #facedresscode

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I start with my eyes and this takes 5 minutes of my overall 10 minute morning makeup routine.

  • Primer: I spread a thin layer of Nars ProPrime Smudgeproof eyeshadow base over my entire lid
  • Liner: I line my upper waterline with Nars Larger than Life Longwear Liner in Via Veneto. This gives my eyes a subtle definition that is quicker than liquid liner. I line my lower waterline with a nude pencil (a makeup artist trip to make the eyes pop) and use the Nars Longwear Liner in the Rue Bonaparte color.
  • Shadow: I use the Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage quad and do a basic application of the lightest shade all over my lid, a combo of the two middle shades in my crease, and I use the darkest shade with an angled brush to line my upper lid and the bottom third of my lower lids.
  • Brows: I use Trish McEvoy brow mascara to give my brows good definition. For a long time, I believed that since I have dark brows I didn't need to bother with this but it is a little step that makes a big impact on my finished face.
  • Mascara: I've tried so. many. mascaras. At all price points from the (ridiculously expensive and so not worth the money $72 Chantecaille) to the over-hyped “Better than Sex” to the iconic pink tube of Great Lash and the winner is L'Oreal's Lash Paradise. Good coverage, no flakes, no raccoon eyes, and a price that means I can replace the tube monthly and always have that fresh mascara feel.

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After eyes are done I concentrate on skin. I like a full coverage foundation and am a longtime Estee Lauder Double Wear user. I have tried the Armani, Dior, and Nars full coverage and buildable formulations but always come back to Double Wear. I apply with a brush.

I do a quick swipe of concealer (a mix of Dior Fix-It 2 in 1 Prime and Color Correct in Apricot and Cle De Peau concealer in medium) though I find I need very little post-filler.

Then a quick shadow under my cheekbones with the contour shade from Charlotte Tilbury's Instant Look in a Palate and then a pop of Nars Orgasm blush on the apples of my cheeks.

I finish with a very very light sweep of Make Up Forever HD powder in my T zone to set everything for the day.

Then I do lips. After lots of experimentation (are you sensing a theme!) I have settled on a combo of Trish McEvoy Essential Pencil in nude followed by Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink. This gives me good staying power and a consistent look that is polished and doesn't have people asking what lip color I'm wearing. I use Buxom Lip Polish gloss in Dolly since I love the minty tingle and can apply it without a mirror for a quick touch up.

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Has your skincare and/or beauty routine changed due to age, lifestyle, career, etc.?

The need for a consistent makeup look day in and day out led to the routine outlined above. I used to have drawers upon drawers of makeup and always felt like I was searching for “the right thing.” The decision to move to a #facedresscode was a great choice. I have a small kit now that is always at my fingertips and it has really streamlined my mornings.

What is the best skincare or beauty advice you ever got and from whom?

I am a devotee of British skincare guru Caroline Hirons (check out her blog) and follow her double cleaning instructions every night no matter how tired I am. It has literally been years since I missed washing my face at night, and I think it is one of the reasons my skin is (for the most part) even and predictable. I also see a dermatologist at least quarterly and for DMV folks, I highly recommend Dr. Lily Talakoub and Sarah Walker at McLean Dermatology. From skin checks to microneedling, filler to dermaplaning, I have been really impressed at what they have helped me achieve with skin that was the bane of my teenaged existence.

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What is your must-have holy grail beauty or skincare product?

Trentonin .025% for real skin smoothing results and Caudalie Beauty Elixir for hydration and a great “pick me up” spritz.

What is your biggest beauty or skincare regret or embarrassment?

I regret that it took me so long to embrace my fair skin and that I subjected it to ridiculous sunbathing (and even the occasional tanning booth in college – what was I thinking?) I am diligent now about sunscreen every day and am glad that I can (with the help of my dermatology team) reduce the effects of prior poor choices.

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What nugget of skincare or beauty wisdom do you wish you could give to your younger self?

Stay out of the sun, get a dermatologist you trust, and establish a makeup #facedresscode

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