Beauty for Blondes

Apologies to all brunettes and redheads:  today we’re talking about beauty for blondes. But maybe there will be a few good picks in here for you darker-haired lovelies too.

Can I tell you something? Makeup is an area where I feel like I’m always on uneven footing. Haven’t we all felt somewhat duped by makeup counter girls at department stores on occasion? (And does anyone else have stories of getting makeovers at the Clinique counter at the mall when they were 13 under tight supervision of their mother?) So in much the same way that you poke & prod through learning to do your own hair, figuring out your makeup routine seems to be just as ever-evolving.  My #1 tip for you? Check out the tutorials on Lisa Eldridge’s site. You just can’t beat watching a video of someone actually applying makeup and showing techniques.  Oh -you’ll adore this tutorial for a pale pinky look if you have super fair skin.

I love seeing what other beauty products people ACTUALLY use on a daily basis, don’t you? My drawers are overflowing with all kinds of things, but for my basic every day look, I have a pretty tight routine that I do (almost) every day. This isn’t to say that I’m low maintenance, BUT  I do it often enough that I can usually have it all done in 5 minutes. My main source of inspiration for this look comes from Cameron Diaz in The Holiday.  I could watch that movie day after day – and Cameron is particularly glowy and natural looking. I add my own twists to it here and there, but here’s the main gist — and I’ll talk more below specifically about each product and why I chose it.


ONE: This Bobbi Brown LongWear Cream eyeshadow is my new favorite product. As a longtime wearer of Stila’s Kitten eyeshadow (see #3), I was hesitant to branch out to try any other product, but this may even replace my beloved Kitten. It’s just so EASY to apply (no brushes needed – I’ll smudge the edges with a finger) and the color is gorgeous. And it really does wear all day long. I picked it up in Golden Pink.  This product is great if you just want to slap it on and go.

TWO: An eyelash curler (of any kind) is an absolute must. I didn’t show mascara here, but I curl my lashes everyday and then paint on the (black) mascara. If you’re a natural blonde, you most likely have light eyelashes and brows, so we have to pump up the contrast a little to help nature out. If I do nothing else in the morning when getting ready, I always curl my lashes and apply mascara.

THREE: For eyeshadows, Stila can’t be beat, and their #1 bestselling shade is the shimmery Kitten. I’ve been a fan for years and I love that you can use it as a base shade for lots of other looks. The only downside is that I’ve shattered several pans of it by dropping it, or traveling with it. So they’re a little fragile, but the Stila pigments in general are excellent. My definite favorite for actual eyeshadow. Plus, if you’re nervous about how to blend different shades, pick up one of their palettes (this one is a great starter set). I’ve found that they do a great job of pairing colors together and I never feel like the shades are totally out there. Natural & wearable.

FOUR: Most blondes are fairskinned, so you might need a little help in the blush department. While I do like a traditional powder blush, I find that  The Multiple by Nars is a product I reach for year-round to give a pretty, natural glow with a little bronzer to boot. Current favorite shades: South Beach, Maldives.  While they say you can use it on eyes and lips, I never do. It works best for me on the cheeks and is very blendable.

FIVE: Amp up those eyebrows. After trying out several different types of eyebrow items (powders, pencils, liners, etc.), I’m finally in love with the Sephora brand  Retractable Eyebrow Pencil.  At $12, it’s the perfect tiny size to have a whole lot of control. I never liked powders because they always felt too dark or heavy for me. Plus since this is retractable, you don’t ever have to worry about sharpening it.

SIX: Additionally I use a spoolie brush on my brows to tame the crazy hairs. No big recs here on what to buy – but I prefer a spoolie to the weird little comb that comes at the end of the eyebrow pencil (read: it’s useless).  Oh, need a good tutorial on how to do your brows, regardless of your haircolor? Lisa Eldridge is fantastic.

SEVEN: For the days when I want a little eyeliner, I reach for this Smashbox Limitless version w/ included sharpener (it’s in the cap!). I went through several retractable eyeliners (including the Stila one which I really wanted to love), but the problem I’ve had is that they’ve irritated my contact lenses. This one has proven to be perfect not only for my contacts but also because it’s so deliciously smudgeable. Layer it on lightly for an easy look and if you prefer, grab a flat brush to wing it up in the corners for the perfect cat-eye.

EIGHT: My most favorite nail shade (not really makeup related, but fun nonetheless) is Essie’s A Crewed Interest. Purrfection.

NINE: Finally, before you head out the door, slap on some of this pretty NARS Larger than Life lipgloss in Piree. It has a smooth, nonsticky feel (well, as non-sticky as a gloss can be) and the color is the palest natural pink.


Finally, one last tip that I read somewhere: if you’re feeling nervous about practicing with makeup, do it at night right before your typical bedtime routine (washing face, etc). That way, if you make a mistake (or in my case, end up looking like a clown), you don’t have the pressure of the day or getting out the door in the morning to stress you out about it. Take it all off w/ your regular makeup remover, and start anew.

Whew! That’s a lot of information, but I’m dying to know what your must-haves are. What do you use on a daily basis?

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  • Julie MacFadyen

    Thanks for the tips Rachel, I have similar colouring to you so always good to know what fellow blondes use! My routine is quite similar but I use slightly different products so have written down the ones you use to check out! Similar idea though – I love the benefit creaseless cream eyeshadows and use RSVP as my base – looks similar to the bobbi brown one. I then use some kind of brown powder (again like the benefit powders but also the smashbox powders) for my crease. Blush wise I go for one of the Tarte gel blushers – they come in cute pop up containers so really easy to swipe on. Also love a bit of benefit high beam for under my brow and cheekbones. Finally I am a big fan of benefit lipsticks (swoonderful is my fave shade) and Bobbi brown lipsticks (I have an amazing coral lippie – think it is called Guava) which is great for nights out!

    • RachelShingleton

      I tested out a few BB lipsticks but the one I wanted was sold out. Boo hiss. Now I need to get online to track it down. Anyway. Thanks for all the suggestions! I love hearing what other people use.

  • I’ve never seen Lisa Eldgridge’s tutorials before – she’s wonderful! I could listen to her talk all day with that beautiful accent, too. Thanks for sharing that great site! I’m going to check out the Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow, too!

    • RachelShingleton

      I could listen to her forever – someone in a comment thread on her site said she sounds like a princess. I kind of agree!

  • onefinea

    I’m a BIG fan of Lisa Eldridge. Her tutorials are the best! Your post was incredibly helpful. Thank you:) I’m naturally blonde, but I’ve been a brunette now for seven years. I always struggle with makeup because I am very fair with blue eyes. These are all fabulous and very natural looking suggestions. I guess I know how I’ll be spending my day off:)

    • RachelShingleton

      Thanks! Yeah, I got really inspired watching a few tutorials the other night and I now have to keep myself from buying a bunch of new makeup. 😉