I’ve had a strange relationship with make-up. When girls in my eighth grade class were poster girls for Revlon, I was scavenging through my mom’s Clinique collection for anything I could use. I’d sneak mascara and liquid foundation into my bathroom and apply with the deftness of a child with pillows for hands.

No matter how much make-up I applied, my face looked the same. Like my junior-high friends, I was 13, but was trying to look like I was 18. It’s funny how we want to look older when we’re younger, and when we’re older we want to look younger. High school proved to be no different.

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I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up. The few times I did, my family laughed and asked me what I was doing to my face. I don’t know why I expected my parents to understand that I was a self-conscience teenager who just wanted to hide my ugly pimples and ruddy skin.

Instead of Revlon, my peers upgraded to Christian Dior and Lancome while I resorted to old make-up that my mom no longer needed. I’m surprised I didn’t get pink eye. I secretly put on make-up early in the morning in the girls’ bathroom after my dad had dropped me off at school.

College was no better and not even worth mentioning, except there is too much evidence floating around of me experimenting badly with make-up. Only in the last 10 years have I finally honed my make-up skills. I’ve wasted a lot of money on products I’ve only used once.

I’ve bought eyeshadow, blush and lipstick colors that only an 8″ inch doll named Barbie would look good in. I have finally stopped buying cosmetics on a whim. My train case is now a varied mountain of make-up products that work for me and haven’t let me down.

My routine is always the same, and everything has its place in the process.

Spackle

After applying moisturizer, I always apply primer. I’d never really paid attention to primer until I tried it three years ago and discovered the difference it made. Nothing goes on my face until I apply Laura Gellar’s Spackle. It goes on smooth and feels like an invisible layer of protection — a force field. As the name implies, Spackle fills in the unevenness to create a smoother finish. Through the help of primer, foundation stays on longer.

Bare Minerals

With kids screaming and dogs barking in the background, I need make-up that is idiot-proof. I don’t have a lot of time to stand in front of the mirror and admire myself. That’s why I’ve been using BareMinerals foundation for so long.

I simply brush the foundation on my face and voila! My red, discolored cheeks suddenly look even and my skin looks flawless. During the winter months, my skin is pale and sallow. In the summer, my naturally dark skin gets darker, unable to escape the South Florida sun. So I mix two different shades together and I now have a perfect match to my skin color. With natural SPF 15, this foundation is indispensable.

Nars Duo Eye shadow

I’ve bought cheap and expensive eyeshadow and was always disappointed. Sometimes I’d have to layer the eyeshadow on just to get a hint of color. Sometimes the eyeshadow flaked into my eye or I’d find bits of it fall under my lower lash. Then I tried Nars Duo Eyeshadow. The color is seamless and stays put. There’s a wide array of colors available to suit the most discernible eyelid.

Maybelline's

I’m addicted to eye liner. My motto is: the more, the better. I used to use liquid eyeliner, but because of my clumsy hands, I couldn’t draw a straight line. Maybelline’s Define-a-Line eye liner glides on smoothly and is easy to smudge. Unless I take a nap and rub my eyes vigorously, this eyeliner stays where I put it.

Anastasia's Brow Ex-press

I have naturally thick eyebrows. Everytime I get my brows plucked and threaded, my brow groomer stares at my eyebrows and smirks. To keep my brows looking well-groomed, I use Anastasia’s Brow Ex-press. Designed by brow guru Anastasia Soare, this brow kit has two different brow powders, wax, cream highlighter, angled brush and brow stencils. My tired face immediately perks up every time I use this, helping me look fresh and polished.

Christian Dior's Dior show BlackOut

Having experimented with more mascaras than I’d like to admit, I finally found one that doesn’t make my lashes look like hairy tarantula legs and doesn’t clump. Christian Dior’s Diorshow Black Out (waterproof version) opens up my eyes and make my lashes look lush and ready for day’s worth of activity.

Benefit's Benetint

For cheek color, I rely on two different blushes. For that just-pinched look, I use Benefit’s Benetint. This cheek stain adds a subtle hint of color and is perfect for the day. Too Faced Ooh La Rouge is the perfect compliment for nighttime. The blush is powdery and gives your cheeks a confident and feminine look.

Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips

BareEscentuals Buxom Lips is a great way to finish your look. A lip gloss that’s more than a stain, but not heavy like a matte lipstick, Buxom Lips adds clean, shiny color to the mouth and even gives your lips a little plump.

Now you know my secrets!

Pic of the Day: Road trips are always like this

Road trips are always like this