My Spring Makeup Essentials + Giveaway

Kara Manos - Politics of Pretty

Kara's Essentials Spring 2014 - Politics of Pretty

Kara Manos - Politics of Pretty

Kara Manos - Politics of Pretty

Every now and then, I like to go through my archive of beauty product reviews and I always wonder why I ever stopped using about that product I raved about six months ago. But that’s the thing. Beauty routines change. New products and formulas come along, and sometimes, you realize later on that maybe there’s a better (and cheaper) version out there. I had fun putting together my list of spring makeup essentials and comparing it to last year’s routine, but it was nice to see which products and tools of the trade continue to make the cut. Read on for my spring makeup essentials for eyes, lips and face and a special giveaway featuring my favorite luxe sunscreen!

I’ve been very good about applying eye cream in the morning and at night thanks to my new Darphin Stimulskin Plus Divine Eye Cream (c/o Neiman Marcus). In my book, any $136 eye cream HAS to be good. And it is. The shea and mango butter makes it equal parts effective and soothing. While I still use my Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Linen to cover up any redness, I find that my NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is slightly more effective for keeping my powder eye color in tact. I’ve been switching between my bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow 2.0 in The Inspiration and my new Stila Not So Nude Palette (it’s only $20 at Ulta!). Right now I’m all about using eyeshadow as liner and this palette offers so many options. This season, I’m all about cocktailing my mascara (stay tuned for a separate post on that). Lately I’ve been coating my lashes in CoverGirl LastBlast Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara for an easy daytime look. Sometimes I layer it with Benefit They’re Real Mascara. I’m nearing an empty tube of my NARS Creamy Concealer because I love it just that much. I apply it with my dampened Beautyblender for an airbrush finish.

My current lip balm of choice: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy (c/o). I wasn’t originally a fan of the minty scent but it definitely soothes chapped lips and doesn’t require frequent reapplication. While moving, I rediscovered an old favorite, Bobbi Brown Brightening Lip Gloss in Popsicle. It’s my go-to every day color. I recently just splurged on another NARS lipstick in Heat Wave (its power-staying formula is the best).

Before we dive in to makeup… let’s talk skin. I am all about my at-home Sunday spa day. You’ve heard me talk about Bliss Micro Magic before and I still use it to this day. I mean you can really feel it working. Of all the luxe daily moisturizers I’ve tested since I launched this blog, I even shocked myself that I found a winner in Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over Gel Moisturizer (c/o POPSUGAR and Olay; why? See my review here). My current SPF of choice: Blush Med’s Sun-Tastic SPF 45 (c/o). I love its light cucumber scent and it doubles as a moisturizer (which will make my summer beauty routine easy peasy). I rarely wear foundation so BB cream has been my go-to. Right now I’m using a deluxe sample size version of Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream SPF 45+. The coverage is just as awesome as its hydrating formula. The coverage is just as awesome as its hydrating formula. After watching all these instructional videos on contouring, I recently splurged on the NARS Contour Brush #21 and I swear, it was worth every penny. I feel like The Body Shop is my hidden gem for shopping for makeup. I love their Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder (c/o), which has a matte finish (I’m not a big fan of shimmery bronzers unless it’s a body bronzer). For a rosy glow, I like to apply a cream-based blush first (like Benefit’s Fine One One or Stila Convertible Color Compact in Petunia) and then swipe on a silky powder like Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop for a perfect long-wearing luminous finish.

A little birdie at Blush Med knows how much I love my Sun-Tastic SPF 45 that they have graciously donated three of them (valued at $50 each!) to give away to three lucky Politics of Pretty readers. Giveaway ends Friday at midnight. Good luck!

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What are your go-to spring makeup and skin essentials?

Photography by Kate Ann