Inspired by Into The Gloss’ “Top Shelfie” series.

By Kat Holleran

photo by Kat Holleran

I started wearing makeup at the ripe age of eleven. My self-conscious, fifth grade self was plagued with acne and I begged my mother to let me wear something to cover it up. She used Clinique, so of course I did too. We settled on a cream concealer and pressed powder compact that I could use to cover up my facial insecurities. Obviously everyone noticed and commented on it—especially the boys. They just didn’t get it yet, and would point out that my skin was really “dry” or that I had “something on my face” (which they didn’t know was poorly applied, caked on makeup).

Then came middle school, or as I like to call it: the eyeliner episode. During these defining years, I experimented with copious amounts of drug store eyeliner on both my top and bottom waterlines. And also, shamefully, pink mascara.

Thankfully I am now older, wiser, and better off thanks to the helpful employees at the Sephora and Nordstrom makeup counters, as well as the dutiful writers at Into The Gloss.


Before I wash my face, I wipe it off with Bioderma’s Sensible H2O solution that I got at a pharmacy in Italy, but you can also order it on Amazon. It’s pretty similar to a micellar water and does a great job removing makeup and making my skin feel clean. After that, I’ll scrub my face with ExfoliKate once a day from Kate Sommerville, and then I’ll wash my face with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. I love it because it’s affordable and has a thick, milky texture that feels great in the morning and after a long day.

At night, I’ll wait until my face is totally dry and then use a retinol cream. I use Retin-A, prescribed by my dermatologist, but you can get retinol creams over the counter at drug stores. Retinoids are really special because they increase new skin cell growth which helps your skin regenerate, and keeps it from becoming dull and developing wrinkles. After that soaks in I’ll use Chanel Solution 10, which I also use as a primer before doing my makeup. If I have any dry patches on my skin, I put coconut oil on it overnight.

Photo by Kat Holleran


For foundation I use Chanel Vitalumière Aqua, which provides a really nice, light coverage (almost like a tinted moisturizer) and has SPF 15. Then I’ll go in with whatever concealer I have on hand and cover up my under eyes and any red spots I have. I recently started using the Clinique sculpting contour Chubby Stick—it provides a really natural shadow and blends beautifully with a Beauty Blender. If I’m getting more dressed up I’ll throw on some blush. My mom got me a limited edition Chanel blush for Christmas a few years ago and I still have it because I hardly ever use blush.

When I want a dewey look, I’ll highlight with Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone from their limited edition Black Tie Set and brush over that with Hourglass Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent.

For eyes I just stick to the basics with Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara and Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Brown which does an incredible job filling in the brows but keeping it natural. I usually won’t use eyeliner or eyeshadow, but when I do I just use whatever I have around from sets or gifts.

Before I go here’s one of my favorite, recently discovered beauty secrets: a few times a week I will break open a capsule of Activated Charcoal and dust it onto a wet toothbrush and brush my teeth with it. Every time after I do this, my teeth are visibly whiter—it’s awesome. Don’t believe me? Try it.

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