Tuesday 20th February 2018
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My uniform, makeup edition


If I’m leaving the house, I’m wearing makeup. Doesn’t matter where I’m going or what I’m doing: I have headed, unbathed, many a morning in my jeans and sneaks and the tee I slept in, to the dog run with a face fully done, just because to do otherwise feels not quite imaginable to me at this stage in the game. Ten years ago I’d run out of the house with nothing but a swipe of the mascara wand. But you get older, your lashes thin, your cheeks no longer flush of their own volition. Beauty fades. It just does. I like to think of myself as drawing it back in.* The first thing I put on my face after washing it is Bobbi Brown BB Cream, which I switched to a while back because it has a higher SPF (35) than the BB Cream I previously used. It’s also an uncannily good match for my skin tone. In addition to which, you can see my actual skin underneath it, which is key: who can bear a foundation-y look?


Next up, I draw in my nonexistent brows with this pencil from YSL. Seriously, my brows are quite scant, so I need a product that doesn’t end up looking altogether fake, and somehow, this doesn’t.


For eyeliner these days I’m using this MAC color, a rich-but-not-too-dark brown that I picked up in the beauty closet when I visited Tribeca Mom at work not long ago. It goes on easier than most liners, and seems hard to screw up, which is key, because did I mention that I’m not especially good at applying makeup?


I am forever trying new mascaras, then going back to old favorites, and right now I’ve returned after an extended break to Better Than Sex mascara from Too Faced, even though I hate the name, because it delivers volume better than anything else I’ve ever tried.


I’m still very much liking the MAC lipstick I picked up (and wrote about) not long ago, but am back to using this really good red I acquired in August, because it reminds me of  the summer, which I’m already missing.


I could never make a go of most blushes without the results looking horribly artificial. But just a bit of this—and a little goes a seriously long way; I’ve had the same eensy bottle for over a year—imparts the nicest, most natural flush.


*I realize there is a big no-makeup movement going on at the moment, and that many people feel quite empowered by it. If that’s your thing, fantsatic. This is what works for me. 

Posted on October 26th, 2016 43 Comments

43 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    Unless I have a fancy occasion ( wedding, bar mitzvah, etc) I do not wear makeup. In fact I never really did apart from Chrissie Hynde style black eyeliner in college and an ill advised attempt to look more polished at my first law firm job.

    I’d love to say its part of some grand philosophy but the truth is I never learned to put the damn stuff on because whenever I tried I hated the way it felt on my skin. Plus I sweat and I mean all the time so I’m always washing my face and then I’d just have to reapply so I figured why bother.

    More power to people that can put on make and look and feel good in it. I often envy how well put together some people look every day. I am make up hopeless. Hair hopeless too, but that is for another time.

    • DeDe says:

      I confess to being similarly challenged. My mother had a very anti-makeup stance – she considered it “unnatual” and the women who wore it fake and therefore bad (seriously, not paraphrasing), so apart from mascara, I never learned how to apply it properly. I’m a disaster with eyeshadow and am confounded by eyeliner; every lipstick color ever looks wrong on me somehow. I would love to be able to at least wear a sheer foundation of some kind, but my skin is so finicky I just can’t. It won’t even permit me to wear sunscreen. So to all of you ladies who can do the makeup thing, I raise my puny little mascara wand.

    • Viajera says:

      I dislike most things too, even sunscreen although I make myself wear it. I did rather like mineral powder foundation though, because it felt so light. Trying it again one of these days is on my To Do list.

      • Viajera says:

        Though I may also try this BB, or the other one. I like the idea that it’s a little sheer so it’s harder to make a mistake with the blending. I have a feeling though it will still bug me.

  2. Farha says:

    I love a tinted moisturizer, especially with spf.
    Do you wear this without concealer?

    I’m also a big fan of Perricone MD products.

  3. c.w. says:

    My eyebrows are so faded and thin that I must wear eyebrow pencil (in my opinion). They are so sad I’m thinking of having them cosmetically tattooed.

    I also must wear under eye concealer because I’m…well…old.

    I also wear tinted moisturizer when I have to go out in the evening along with mascara and lipstick.

    Now that I am ancient I know I look less faded if I am wearing cosmetics ergo “better,” but now that I am ancient I’m also lazy.

  4. caroline says:

    Totally get it. I’m really not s big makeup person..
    Not foundation, ever.
    However I’m not leaving the house without at least a little bb
    Here’s a lipstick question . do you use liner with a darker lip color?
    Can’t quite figure out how to pull it off and end up wearing burts bees.
    Bit worried red will bleed into the lines around my mouth..
    Starting to think I’m the only 50ish woman in any room I’m in without Botox or fillers..
    also I think the no make up movement is a glorious intervention for those who are beautifully young and wore to much to begin with.
    I’m just past that point.. sigh,

    • Yvonne says:

      I’m with you. I am 50 and I’m not a big wearer of makeup except for under eye concealer and lipstick. No Botox or fillers yet. But since I’ve recently seen some good work on a friend I’m considering it. Her face moves and she doesn’t have that puffy inflated look going on. That said I’m fine with the lines around my eyes and mouth. It’s the furrow between my eyes that goes back to childhood that bothers me more as I age. I think this is mostly because it doesn’t reflect how I feel on the inside. 5 years ago I would never have considered this but it’s interesting how I want the outside to reflect the good things on the inside. I’ve always thought if you feel good about yourself inside the then the outside won’t matter as much. It’s interesting to observe the shifts and to try and not judge myself too hard.

    • DeDe says:

      “I think the no make up movement is a glorious intervention for those who are beautifully young and wore to much to begin with.”


    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I used to be a makeup artist, so hopefully you don’t mind that I’m jumping in here with some advice: Use either a neutral lip pencil that matches your lip tone exactly (plenty to choose from at MAC or Bobbi Brown) OR, match your lipstick color. Either way, I recommend “correcting” after you’ve applied your lipcolor.

      I just discovered Bobbi Brown’s “Instant Confidence” in a stick that I use to fill in my ex-smoker’s lip lines and my worry crease between my eyes…Love it!

      • Caroline says:

        Thanks you for the tip Mama!
        I will give it a try. The neutral sounds easier to pull off.
        It’s funny, i draw and or paint almost daily,
        But when it comes to make up…clueless.

  5. Christina says:

    Please tell us how you apply that blush! I use the same bb cream (love it!), but that type of blush always ends up streaky on me and also ends up displacing my bb cream.

    How do you apply it?! Please advise!

    • KimFrance says:

      I swear there is no big trick. I just dab it on the “apple” of my cheek and rub.

      • Christina says:

        From another Christina, I do exactly the same as Kim. So easy! (And no other blush looks good on me either)

      • E. says:

        I love this blush, too, and it truly is easy to apply. It gives the most natural-looking flush. I also just dab and rub.

        Perricone’s Serum Foundation is another favorite. I have oily skin, and this doesn’t feel greasy and looks natural. Perricone products seem expensive, but a little goes a long way, so they’re more economical than they may seem.

  6. MariaO says:

    I’m lucky enough to have relatively thick brows and dark lashes, and wear glasses, so I don’t wear anything on my eyes.

    I just wear a bit of powder/makeup from Clinique (shiny nose syndrome) and then lipstick.

    But because I wear real lipstick (often red) people think I wear a lot of makeup. It is funny, because it is two products, applied as I run out the door!

  7. Maggie says:

    Make up makes my skin feel dirty and clogged, so aside from Cle de Peau concealer on my pimples and occasional lipgloss, I don’t wear it unless I’m going out at night where dressing up is involved. But I have thick brows and dark features, so I feel overly done with it on, anyway.

    While I like to pretend it’s a feminist stance against unrealistic beauty standards, I do other things like dye my hair, buy expensive shampoos, and spend too much on lotions and eye creams. But at least I enjoy those things (minus the time consuming dye jobs). Plus, I’m only 42, so who knows how I’ll feel later.

    • Jenny says:

      I think enjoyment is key. I dyed my hair starting at age 16, pretty much uninterrupted through age 40, because it was fun. Dying it to cover gray didn’t feel fun. It felt obligatory and oppressive to me, so I stopped doing it. I still love my elaborate skin care ritual, I love lipstick, and I was happy to do some laser stuff on my skin when I got a big bonus. I will leave the house without makeup for yoga, the grocery or dog walk or school run, and I enjoy feeling that I can, that I don’t owe anyone a made-up face. But most of the time, I’m made up.

    • Dana D says:

      I think Cle de Peau concealer is the best product ever. I also love Elta MD daily sunscreen (it’s very light).

      Since my hair is long and I do not dye or straighten it, I do wear make-up…tinted BB stuff, liner and non-glittery shadow, mascara, and sometimes blush. I want to avoid the full-on sixties flower-child look.

      But I am just enough of a flower child to search now for products with the least amount of toxicity and I check the EWG website all the time. I do have to admit, however, that if Shiseido started putting rat poison in the Cle de Peau, I’d probably still buy it.

      Best stuff around, especially if one is going for the no-makeup look…(and on the weekends, I’ll often just use that with the sunscreen)

      • Maggie says:

        Seriously, it is THE best. My skin’s pretty decent but I get a giant crater zit practically every cycle, and this concealer hides them easily and doesn’t budge. I actually freaked out recently because I went to LA and left it at home (I generally carry it everywhere but had switched out purses).

  8. ella says:

    Can we talk about that mascara? Because I love the formula, but oh how I hate that wand. The broad tip ruins my accuracy and I feel like I’m putting mascara on with a club. Maybe it’s my small eyes that are the problem, but I hate that wand so much I can’t bring myself to buy again.

  9. Viajera says:

    I don’t think any of this is excessive, and even if I did, I agree you should ignore people and do as you like!

  10. Adrien says:

    I wear makeup every day, even if I’m just running to the grocery store. At minimum – BB cream, concealer, mascara, eyebrows, lip gloss. If I go barefaced I just look unwell.

    And what is this terrible thing that’s happening to my eyebrows in my mid-40s? I never used to have to fill them in and now they’re vanishing before my eyes.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Try Castor Oil applied with a q-tip every night to your brows. I just read this on Kim’s friend and Lucky mag co-hort Andrea Linett’s blog. I’m going to try it and ditch the super-expensive brow products.

  11. Bex says:

    My eyebrows are still plenty thick, but several of the hairs have turned WHITE, so I’ve been darkening them with Boy Brow from Glossier. It makes a huge difference.

  12. Judy says:

    Kim, what color of the eyebrow pencil do you have/recommend? (I have reddish brown hair and practically no brows left.) Thanks!

  13. Knitter says:

    I like Lancome BB cream; it’s what I use as a foundation. It gives me good coverage without being heavy. Sephora eyebrow pencil, Smashbox cream blush, Perricone lipstick, Lancome cream eye shadows in very natural colors, and a different brand of mascara every time I buy one. Right now, it’s Marc Jacobs. It’s ok but it gets clumpy fast.

  14. y.k. says:

    i love makeup. putting it on is one of my favorite parts of the day because it’s so damn effective. people are often amazed I wear any (i think because i dont wear lipstick just burts bees ) so i take that as a good sign.
    i use concealer, primer, tinted sunscreen, eye primer, 3 shades of eye shadow, eye pencil, eye brow pencil, clear brow mascara (this is a thing lol), lash primer&mascara. &fake lashes for night stuff if i have time. I’m a big fan of primer. 😊

  15. Amy in StL says:

    Just this year, I started wearing bb cream and foundation regularly. My skin doesn’t look as peaches and cream perfect as it did in my 20s and 30s and my flushed cheeks aren’t as flushed anymore; it’s true. But I love Butter London eyeliner. It’s the easiest to apply and comes in great colors, try it!

  16. Evalyn says:

    I never leave the house without BB cream or foundation, concealer, eye liner, mascara, a bit of eyeshadow, blush, and my brows done. I even wear makeup to workout.

  17. S says:

    My beautiful, glamorous in that 1950s Liz Taylor kind of way grandmother used to say that before she could leave the house (or even her bedroom) she had to “put her face on.” When we were small my sisters and I were a little anxious about this — did our grandma not have a face all the time? Now that I’m of a certain age — 50 last month — I get it. Without makeup my face just sort of… fades away. There are no eyes, no brows, no lips — just a mottled beige sameness with puffy bags in the middle. Back in the day I wore makeup to look pretty, or I didn’t wear any at all and looked pretty anyway. Now I wear makeup to look human. That sounds so harsh but that’s really how I think of it: bringing my face back from the void into face-ness and form with the magic of eyeliner and all the rest of it.

    I expect that in a couple of decades either all this will no longer work and/or that I will no longer care. My grandmother stopped caring, at the end. And she was still so beautiful, and looked even better than Liz.

  18. Tiffany says:

    Now that I’ve let my grey hair grow out, I don’t feel happy without makeup on – I don’t wear foundation, just sunscreen or occasionally BB, but I do wear undereye concealer, taupe eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush and lipstick, every day. Just last week I had my eyebrows micro bladed and an eyelash ‘lift’ (the old eyelash perm reinvented) and I’m NEVER going back. I don’t even have to wear mascara any more … I swear having my brows done (they were a terrible shape, genetically) has taken five years off me …

  19. Susanna says:

    The older I get, the more makeup I wear and the less makeup I look like I wear. I want to be so artful that I’m mistaken for one of those women who aren’t wearing any makeup at all, whereas when I was young it was fun to occasionally do a bold lip or eye. Now, one of my cardinal rules is no red or dark lipstick, only subtle “my lips but better” pinks/nudes. No liner or shadow, both because I’m bad at it and also because they only serve to emphasize my aging eyes. I do wear mascara and I recently found a fantastic concealer (was given a feee Sephora sample) by a brand I’d never heard of–It cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye. The stuff goes on like spackle but in a good way. It’s truly opaque without looking masklike, and it doesn’t settle into creases. I have dark skin on my lids and all around my eyes, so I use it for the whole eye area, and my eyes haven’t looked this bright in years.

    For foundation I love the new formulation of Makeup Forever’s Face and Body Foundation, Water Blend. It’s very sheer and natural.

  20. RebeccaNYC says:

    so funny, becauseafter being completely barefaced all summer, at a certain point in the fall, all of a sudden I feel the need to put on some makeup, even if I am just going to Pure Barre. Normally it’s just a BB cream (which to me is MAJOR FOUNDATION) and some mascara, but still…MAKEUP!! and my husband always wants to know who’s at that Pure Barre class, anyway? Of course, my aim is always to look like I have no makeup on at all, but I can never fool the husband.

  21. pamb says:

    I agree that as we age we just need a little more oomph. Notice how the celebs embracing the no makeup thing are youngsters?

    I’m still dealing with pimples as I get wrinkles, so a barefaced face is no longer doable. A light foundation, blush, two coats of mascara, gel eyeliner and lipstick are daily basics. If I have the time, eye shadow and brow groomer.

    And ALWAYS fragrance. Even if unshowered (especially unshowered;)

  22. Susanna says:

    Do those of you who use a BB or CC cream (for the life of me I can’t figure out the difference) find that they are a realistic substitute for a moisturizer? I get that they’re used instead of foundation, but I feel like I’d still want to put on a moisturizer first…

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I have both, but I like the way the CC Cream covers the redness from my rosacea. Yes. I do my skincare routine underneath my CC first, including a bit of moisturizer. It makes it all go on smoother, and I need the moisture. Only use the BB/CC where you need it! (Hence, the need for a perfect match!).

    • LMM says:

      Yes, I do, because I need the extra layer for moisture/smoothness/extra sun protection.

  23. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I’m one that loves every part of applying makeup, choosing new colors and experimenting since my hair is going grey, finding new launches, and splurging on lip colors. My routine is fairly simple tho, with the goal being more “definition” – not looking made-up. Cc cream, or stick Foundation only where needed, Brows by Benefit “Gimme Brow”, black mascara, Vapour Multistick in “courtesan” on cheeks and lips. Done! Liner for nights out or events.

  24. LMM says:

    I love makeup and always have; applying it makes me happy and choosing products in the morning is a beloved ritual.

    That said, I love seeing what other people consider their most basic, essential routine, like this. Mascara and brows have become much more key for me, too, as I’ve aged. Right now my essentials are bb cream, mascara, brow gel (Sephora’s Brow Builder, amazing), cheek tint (Milk’s Perk, great fresh coral color) and some kind of lip gloss or lipstick. I’ll do eyeshadow for events and a wash of something sheer for work too.

  25. liz says:

    I feel naked without bronzer but I never ever wear on weekends. I like to give my skin a break.

  26. AmyM says:

    When I worked in an office, I used to wear a full face of make-up every day. Now that I freelance from home, I only wear it if I’m meeting clients or socializing. For day-to-day running around I’ve become comfortable being mostly bare-faced (to my surprise), with the exception of brow gel and tinted lip balm. I still love playing with make-up however and buy more than I’ll ever wear. I just ordered some Bite Beauty Multi Sticks that allegedly can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks. If true, might be a game changer.