A peek inside the cosmetics case

Martha Stewart /

Makeup is one of life’s great enhancers — a smooth application of a tinted primer, a soft brush of bronzer, a thin line of eyeliner, a light coat of mascara, and you are ready to step out of the house looking really good and feeling fresh and pretty.

My daily ritual is one that has evolved over time and after many television makeup sessions with some very talented makeup artists. I have developed a modern routine and an ability to look polished with a minimum of effort and time. It begins with a clean face, well moisturized with tonic, serums and a rich day cream. I pop in my contact lenses and get started.

Because of my natural curiosity about new and better products, I enjoy experimenting with different colors and techniques. I change the assortment of makeup to fit the season, the tone of my skin and the formality of the events I have to attend.

It’s important to remember that no amount of makeup, no matter how artfully applied, can cover up uncared-for skin, so I have regular facials — at least once a month — and I am meticulous about cleansing my skin every morning and evening, no matter how tired I might be, or if I’ve been flying all night. That part of my routine never changes.

I take a long shower each morning, dedicating a good 20 minutes to my skin routine, so my makeup regimen needs to be fast and foolproof — less than 10 minutes from beginning to end.

Face

Protection from the sun is a must. Sunscreen is the first layer before my makeup, so I use a sheer formula with a substantial SPF: Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($32, skinceuticals.com).

I want my skin to feel dry and smooth so my fingers glide across it. AmorePacific’s Moisture Bound Tinted Treatment Moisturizer ($70, sephora .com) lets them do just that. I apply it all over with a MAC Cosmetics 187 Duo Fibre face brush ($42, maccosmetics.com), which leaves a sheer finish. On weekends, this and a touch of bronzer are all I wear on my face.

For a more done-up look, I put a drop of Cle de Peau Refining Fluid Foundation ($120, neimanmarcus.com) on the back of my hand — a very light application — and use the same MAC brush to apply it all over my face. I use a color slightly darker than my skin tone.

A little dab of Yves Saint Laurent “Touche Eclat” Radiant Touch ($40, yslbeautyus.com) goes under the eyes and at the base of the nose to hide any marks or shadows. A bit more on the eyelid, patted down with my finger, provides a great base for eye shadow.

Setting powder is something I save for night or when I’m having my makeup done for TV. Just a light dusting of Dior Diorskin Loose Powder ($49, dior.com) with a soft brush like the Shu Uemura Natural Brush 27 ($65, shu uemura-usa.com).

I don’t know what I’d do without Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder ($36, bobbibrown cosmetics.com) I like that it isn’t too shimmery. I sweep it over my cheekbones, temples, decollete and along the bottom of my jawline to add dimension.

When I feel I still need a subtle touch of color, I smile and apply Lancome Blush Subtil in Cosmopolitan Pink ($30, lancome-usa.com) to the apples of my cheeks.

Eyes

Bobbi Brown’s Limited Edition Basic Eye Palette contained shades that were perfect for me. Unfortunately, the company no longer makes it, so I fill its customizable palette with the original four shades: Mahogany, Cement, Navajo and Heather Mauve ($94, bobbibrowncosmetics.com). For every day, I just apply a bit of the Heather Mauve, using Stila’s No. 15 Double-Sided Crease and Liner Brush ($32, stilacosmetics.com).

Liquid liner is quick and easy. No black for me; I prefer a rich, chocolate brown like L’Oreal Paris Lineur Intense Defining Liquid Liner Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Earthen Rock Brown ($8.50, loreal parisusa.com), drawn along the upper lid line, close to the lashes.

Always curl lashes before applying mascara; I use Shu Uemura’s Eyelash Curler ($20, shuuemura-usa.com). To keep the overall look soft, I use a subtle black-brown shade of mascara and just tip my lashes. I prefer hypoallergenic formulas like Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16, clinique.com).

I use a MAC Cosmetics Eye Brows pencil in Fling ($15, maccosmetics.com) to fill in spare areas. Finding the shade that’s closest to the true color of your eyebrow delivers the most natural look.

Lips

I gravitate toward neutral shades, but for special occasions, I prefer some extra color. A beautiful bright red, like Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Pirate ($34, chanel.com) is classic, sophisticated and fun. I pair it with Precision Lip Definer in Rouge Profond ($29; chanel.com).

A subtle hint of color is the most flattering. My go-to shade is a dusty rose. First, I line my lips with Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip No. 2C ($18, sephora.com); then I use a lip brush to apply Maybelline Color-sensational Lipstick, in Nearly There ($7.50, may belline.com) all over.

Whether worn alone or over lipstick, Buxom Big&Healthy Lip Polish ($19, sephora.com) plumps up lips and adds shine.