Eye makeup is a big MUST for me. Just ask Bob. He knows we'll be hitting Taco Bueno's drive-through for lunch if I'm ever au natural. After all, you never know who you might run into inside!
So whether I'm working at home or stepping out, I rely on eye makeup heroes like these. Besides rescuing your look with a touch of glam, my latest finds are easy to use and stay put morning to midnight. Some combine skincare and makeup benefits, some are for sensitive eyes and some are super-affordable drugstore buys.
To play up your peepers, you've gotta start with a blank canvas. That's why I reach for concealer first. I like one that helps hide the dark circles under my eyes while fighting those pesky fine lines such as:
Merle Norman Dual Action Concealer - Smarter than your average concealer, this anti-aging formula evens my skin tone, brightens and helps minimize lines. Dabbing the wand under my eyes and on my lids gives me great coverage, moisturizes my skin so it looks smooth and makes a nice eye shadow base.
There are six shades ranging from light (my go-to) to medium dark so it's simple to find one right for your complexion. Plus, the sensitive-eye friendly color lasts all day without fading. ($18 for .3 ounces at Merle Norman Studios; visit MerleNorman.com for locations)
Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal - Another champ at camouflaging problems, this dermatologist-tested newbie covers dark circles and fine lines around your eyes with color-correcting minerals. In addition to hiding trouble spots, patting on a small bead of this multitasker helps condition skin.
One bead's all you need for both eyes so a little goes a long way. It contains marine collagen to soften and slow the appearance of aging as well as white rose and chamomile extracts to sooth irritations. The light shade does wonders for me but you can also choose medium, tan or dark depending on your skin tone. ($34 for .33 ounces at Kohls.com and Kohl's beauty counters)
Our lids often start to sag as we get older so it's important for us Boomer babes to pick subtle eye shadows. I'm wild about these neutral-based sets because they make it simple to pair the right shades.
Pur Minerals Perfect Fit Eye Shadow Trios - Designed to give your eyes a lift, these sweet palettes team three companion shades that help smooth lines and creases. You can choose from nine combinations, each including a light, medium and dark shadow. I love alternating between tan-centered Classic Beauty, taupe-inspired Little Miss Perfect and deeper-hued Jetsetter. The colors go on soft, stay put and help your lids look firmer. Plus, their small size makes these compacts wonderful for travel. ($26 for .11 ounces at PurMinerals.com)
jane iredale City Nights Celebrate Limited Edition Eye Shadow Trio Palette - Perfect for fall, this chic collection contains three date night-worthy shadows. Pretty matt pearl Mist, the largest of the threesome, is stunning alone. But you can up the drama by pairing it with one or both detail shades: Port, a port wine with a slight shimmer, and Toast, a toasted caramel.
They're easy to blend, sensitivity-tested and made to last and last with no creasing. Plus, they come in an elegant rose gold mirrored compact with a sponge-tipped applicator. What a treasure! No wonder this palette's already sold out online! ($35 for .21 ounces at Jane Iredale retailers; check JaneIredale.com for locations)
Mally Citychick In The Buff Eye Shadow Palette - This do-it-all eye shadow kit packs everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you need for gorgeous lids. There's a large, creamy primer that ups the staying power of any color you choose plus 11 neutral shades ranging from nude to deep brown. With so many options, it's easy to keep things basic, add detail in the crease or along the lash line even fill in your brows. The exotic, green snakeskin case also includes a full-size, double-ended brush for application/blending (bonus!) and a large mirror. ($50 for .1 ounce primer and .4 ounces shadow at MallyBeauty.com and QVC.com)
Since heavy eye shadows are a no-no for aging eyes, eyeliner is essential for definition. Worried about staying in line? Pick up a gel liner or liquid marker like one of these, use short strokes and you can forget mistakes. They glide on easily without any tugging and dry instantly.
Mary Kay Gel Eyeliner - This lightweight, creamy formula makes it simple to draw fine or bold lines depending on your mood. Ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested, it's ideal for contact lens wearers like my sister Pam or anyone with sensitive eyes.
The intense, jet-black color goes on smooth and lasts morning to night without smudging. Unlike some gel options I've tried, it comes with a serious applicator brush that adjusts to two sizes so you can choose the length most comfortable for you. Nice! ($18 for .15 ounces from Mary Kay consultants; visit MaryKay.com to locate one in your area)
Lorac Front of the Line Pro - Also a joy to use, Lorac's versatile liquid marker has a flexible tip that puts you in control. Use a light touch for a fine natural line. Increase the pressure to make a thicker statement.
Besides being ever-so-easy to apply, the water-resistant formula is a smart choice for girls like me who can get teary just by walking out in the sunshine or watching a sappy movie. This bestseller includes a special Polymer that keeps it from budging until bedtime. Then it comes right off with an oil makeup remover. I adore it in black but you can also opt for navy or charcoal. ($23 for .02 ounces at Loraccosmetics.com, Ulta and Ulta.com)
Laura Geller Beauty Eye Calligraphy Liquid Eyeliner Kit - Another favorite, Laura Geller's fab, three-in-one set speaks to anyone who enjoys playing with different looks (guilty!). Each of these liquid markers has a tip shaped to draw a certain type of line.
Whatever your choice, using these pens is so simple anyone can do it. And since the formula's water resistant, you don't have to fear feathering, smudging or running even if you get hot or misty eyed. ($30 for a set of 3 liquid markers at LauraGeller.com, Ulta, Ulta.com , QVC, QVC.com and Nordstrom.com)
Years ago, one of my older friends told me she had to draw on her brows and worried they'd disappear if she ever got caught in the rain. I thought that was crazy then. Now, I totally get it because my brows are so sparse I can barely find them.
So I'm very particular about brow fillers. I love the ones listed below because they make it simple to build natural-looking arches that frame your face and help you look younger, even when you start from practically nothing. And, although I haven't tried wearing them in the rain, they haven't disappointed me yet.
Worried about picking a color? Use your hair as a guide. Go a couple of shades lighter if you're brunette, a couple darker if you're blonde or silver headed. Or try taupe; it works for almost everyone.
Lorac Pro Brow Pencil - Working much like a mechanical pencil, this self-sharpening find has an ultra-thin tip for making tiny, hair-like marks that no one will guess aren't the real thing or long, thicker strokes for bold definition. On the opposite end, there's a slender brush handy for combing through brow hairs and blending color. You can choose from six, long-lasting shades ranging from blonde (my choice) to slate so you can easily find one that compliments your hair color. ($19 for.002 ounces at LoracCosmetics.com)
Mary Kay Brow Definer Pencil and Brow Gel - The creamy formula in this wooden pencil goes on smooth without skipping or pulling. Keep the tip sharp for stronger definition or let it soften for a more natural look. The blonde color gives my arches just the right amount of pop but you can also choose classic blonde or brunette.
I've gotten great results from this waterproof pick worn alone, but the pencil stays on even longer when topped off with clear Mary Kay Brow Gel. In addition to locking the color, it conditions your brows and holds them in place. Even better, it won't irritate sensitive skin or contact lens wearers, doesn't flake and leaves brows feeling soft not stiff and hard. ($11 for .04 ounce pencil; $10 for .27 ounce gel from Mary Kay consultants; visit MaryKay.com to locate one in your area)
Mally Brow Beauty Ultimate Brow Kit - Another all-in-one from Mally, this clever, four-piece set is a full tool box for beautiful brows. Use the firm tip on the double-ended wooden pencil to lengthen your arches and draw in hairs; fill in patchy spaces with the softer end. Smooth the color with the combination brow brush/comb. One end features a slim bristle-type brush; the other a wire comb that makes short work of separating lashes. Set the look with the included clear Brow Gel for soft hold and all-day staying power. There's even a pencil sharpener to complete the package.
The silky, gel pencil comes in three versatile shades: taupe, medium brown and sable. ($30 for .02 ounce pencil, brush/comb, .13 ounce gel and pencil sharpener at MallyBeauty.com and QVC.com)
Revitalash Hi-Def Tinted Brow Gel - A do-it-all option that's especially great for travel, Revitalash Tinted Brow Gel combines everything you need to groom, enhance and condition your arches in one helpful tube. This double-ended multitasker boasts tinted brow gel on one end; and a two-sided brow brush/comb on the other.
"That'll never work with my skimpy brows," was all I could think when I received this one for testing. Boy was I surprised! This talented, hypoallergenic gel excels at filling in sparse areas and extending your natural brows. It also shapes brow hairs, helps them look fuller and conditions so you don't have to worry about breakage.
Applying this smudge-proof, water-resistant formula in the a.m. means you can forget about your brows the rest of the day. Plus, the mineral tint goes on soft and flatters most hair colors. Want to go a little darker? Just add another coat. ($32 for .25 ounces at Revitalash.com)
This month, I'm celebrating five years cancer free. Yes! I was thrilled to complete chemotherapy in November 2009 then devastated when all my eyelashes immediately fell out. Hadn't losing my hair been torture enough?
Gluing on falsies every day for the next four, L-O-N-G months gave me a new appreciation for my natural fringe. I never want to go through that again! So today, I pamper my lashes with good-for-you formulas that make the most of what I've got.
jane iredale Purelash Extender & Conditioner - Jane Iredale's two-in-one eyelash primer and treatment encourages eyelash growth. Applying one coat of this algae extract-powered conditioning formula before mascara helps prevent splitting and breaking, thickens lashes and makes them stronger. It also helps mascara cling to individual lashes so you can use less.
I'm addicted to this lash-building first coat. In addition to making my lashes healthier, it separates them so they look lush and full and increases the WOW factor of any mascara. Since it shouldn't dry before you apply mascara, I put this white primer on the top and bottom lashes of one eye and follow it immediately with mascara before moving to my other eye. This must-have can also be used on eyebrows and worn alone at night as a lash treatment. ($17.50 for .3 ounces at janeiredale.com and select skincare specialists and beauty apothecaries worldwide)
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara - This wallet-friendly drugstore buy plumps lashes while protecting and conditioning them with olive extract, meadowfoam seed and sweet almond. Even my baby-fine bottom lashes look fuller after a stroke of the long, thin brush which easily separates and defines individual hairs. The moisturizing formula glides on without clumping and helps keep my lashes from becoming brittle and breaking. You don't have to fear smudging or flaking and it comes off easily with eye makeup remover.
I've enjoyed testing this sensitive-eye friendly pick in black but carbon black, an even darker shade, is on my wish list. It also comes in a rich black/brown color. ($7.49 for .21 ounces at Neutrogena.com and at food, drug and mass merchandisers nationwide)
Avon Big and Daring Volume Mascara - Another super-affordable option, this new cream gel coats lashes in a luxe blend of Avon Plumping Complex with Collagen, amino acids and proteins. The long, fat brush has wedge-shaped bristles to maximize separation and it's curved so you can pick up and cover every lash with ease.
I adore using this water-resistant formula on my upper lashes in particular because it takes them into much longer, thicker territory. It goes on clean without causing hairs to stick together and keeps my lashes looking lovely until bedtime without any need for touch ups. Plus, it comes off without a lot of rubbing and tugging when I use Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes. I'm hooked on the blackest black shade but it also comes in black and brown black. ($9 for .5 ounces through Avon Representatives. To find one, call 1-800-FOR-AVON or visit Avon.com.)
Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara - If you dream of big, bold lashes, you'll love this ultra-plumping, black formula from Mary Kay. Unlike some mascaras I've tested, there's no mess with this one. It amps up the volume without smudging or clumping thanks to a long, thin brush that boosts both top and finicky bottom fringe. Sweep on this glam go-to in the a.m. for beautiful coverage that doesn't budge until you reach for the eye makeup remover. Then it slides off without a struggle.
Ideal for those on the sensitive side, this ophthalmologist- and allergy-tested pick works for contact lens wears as well as those with sensitive skin. ($15 for .28 ounces from Mary Kay consultants; visit MaryKay.com to locate one in your area)
One of my favorite new tricks, Merle Norman Inner Eyeliner makes your baby blues look larger. Putting this creamy, skin-toned pencil on my top and bottom waterline after applying mascara is like a dose of much-needed sunshine. It brightens my eyes, helping me look more rested.
Designed to hold up on the inner eye line for 10 hours, this handy pencil is ophthalmologist tested and fragrance free so it won't irritate sensitive eyes. You can also use it to highlight your brow bone or the inner corners of your eyes. ($14 for .012 ounces at Merle Norman Studios; visit MerleNorman.com for locations)
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