Most of my life, I was pretty clueless when it came to makeup.

The extent of my knowledge was mixing different lip glosses together and thinking I was revolutionary for doing so. But then came 2011 and the era of watching several hundreds of YouTube tutorials with my best friend, and my makeup ways grew like a beautiful butterfly. As juniors in high school, my friend and I basically went ham in makeup experimenting and bought all kinds of colors and items from our local makeup shop.

If someone were to hack into my Photobooth library, they would be alarmed and slightly perturbed by the makeup tutorials my best friend and I would do with all this new knowledge a la YouTube.

At the peak of my trip down makeup lane, I became the go-to eyeliner girl and did most of my friends makeup for our graduation ceremony. I was flying high and proud, but by the time college came around and makeup styles escalated into contouring and strobing and shading, I was back to feeling like a newb.

Consequently, the new wave of makeup trends pushed me back into using just the basics and letting my bare face scare innocents on the streets.

That said, there are some makeup items from my glory days that I will take with me to the grave.

1. Benetint Rose-Tinted Cheek & Lip Stain is here to make you look more alive and radiant.

Y’all, if I could tattoo “I Love Benetint” on my arm, I would. Whenever quizzes ask me what makeup item I would take on a deserted island, I always answer this bottle of blood red blush. I don’t know why people don’t use blush more, but like renowned makeup artist to the stars, Lisa Eldridge, says, “A sweep of blusher is one of the fastest ways to make yourself look fresher and more alive… It can take you from lifeless to radiant in seconds.”

Alive and more radiant? Yes, please, and thanks.

I especially need to look alive when I wake up looking like a cast member of some zombie show. No joke, I have been told I am at my worst when I wake up. Therefore, I don’t know how I could exist as a human being without this product.

If you think blush is as simple as pinching your cheeks, you’re wrong. A: nobody has time to bruise their cheek for a five-second blush. B: it’s not the 1800s and you’re not a Jane Austen character. Truly, do yourself a favor and try this tint (just not on your lips cause this makes lips look like dried prunes).

Also, Sex and the City went through 50 bottles of this stuff every season. Look at that Carrie glow, and tell me you don’t think #goals.

2. Kiko Double Touch Lipstick makes me a braver, more courageous individual. 

Double Touch Lipstick 113

I literally sighed just thinking about this lipstick. For the longest time, I only used chapstick because I really believed lipstick didn’t work on me.

Then, in late 2014, I tried my friend’s Kiko Double Touch Lipstick in 104 Mauve, and I found that my lips looked so much better in a shade three degrees darker than mine. It didn’t look like I was wearing anything, and I swear I could have swum the Atlantic ocean and back without even the slightest hint of a smudge.

Obviously, I went ahead and bought three different additional colors, and I’d recommend them all: 113 Black Cherry, 114 Light Plum, and 111 Fire Red. The first color is the darkest I’ve ever worn, but Kiko just makes me a more brave, courageous individual, so what can I say?

3. Kiko MILANO Eye Pencil became my go-to the day I first saw that beautiful pencil.

I’m not done talking about Kiko, and honestly, someone should tell them to hire me as a sponsor or something, because I would shout about Kiko’s color potency from rooftops if given the chance.

One time, while I was in a Kiko store reloading on my aforementioned lipsticks, I noticed their colored eye pencils. I’ve always wanted to wear colored eyeliner, but every color I’d ever buy had the potency of a white Crayola crayon, and I didn’t want to spend another dime on a pencil I’d never use again. But because I was so enamored with Kiko’s lipsticks, and because they were 4 dollars a piece, I took the chance and bought a blue and a green eye pencil.

My pals, my friends… Kiko’s color potency. My god. I think for a solid five months I only wore the green eye pencil with my 113 Black Cherry lipstick. Literally, look at any photo of me from my time in Edinburgh, and you’ll see me wearing those two items alone. 

I have dark brown eyes, so the green eyeliner compliments my eyes in a way that people always admire (and my attention-seeking ass loves it). I don’t even wear any other eye makeup with it, not even mascara, because it stands on its own as an eye makeup look. The blue eyeliner, however, I wear with mascara as the color is so strong that I like to make my eyelashes a little darker. I am so happy with these two, and if it weren’t for my self-ban (aka the ban my bank account enforces) from buying any more makeup, I would go and buy the purple and dark blue colors immediately.

Soon, my sweet Kiko, soon…

4. You’ll always look like an angel kissed your face with GARYOB Liquid Highlighter in Shimmer


Okay, so confession: I don’t know how to contour at all. Even before the contour craze, I didn’t even use bronzer because I felt I always made myself look just slightly dirtier. So my face makeup routine was just blush.

But one night I was with my best friend, and her face was straight-up glowing like an angel had just kissed her face. It was so subtle that you couldn’t tell it was a glow from makeup ‒ I genuinely thought she was just particularly beautiful that day. But when I asked her, she said she was wearing GARYOB’s Liquid Highlighter, and she swore by it.

And because she and I ride the same makeup wave together, I trust every recommendation she makes.  

I bought this in 2013, and I still have it ‒ it’s still half full, even. This pot’s color is so strong and beautiful that a little goes a long way. After I’ve put on my blush, I just dab literally one time on my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, below my eyebrows and my cupid’s bow.

After doing this for two years, I found out this technique is basically what has now come to be dubbed “strobing”, so I feel pretty swell for being ahead of the game. 

5. You’ll always feel like an ethereal goddess with Laura Mercier Tinted Facial Moisturizer!

Okay, I know this one is costly, but this and Benetint are the two products I’ve used the longest and love the most. While I understand that foundation does amazing things and can be used for several purposes, I am not personally a fan of it. However, I want that general consistency foundation offers without any of the weight, and voilà: Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer.

I’ve used it since I started using makeup, and now that I’ve outgrown my adolescent skin (knock on wood, mashallah, spit, spit, spit), I reserve this for when I’m going out somewhere fancy schmancy.

When I combine this with Benetint and GARYOB Liquid Highlighter, I legit feel like an ethereal goddess. That combination is the one I will never grow out of, and it is what I will wear on my deathbed, mark my words.

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