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How To Do The Most: A Makeup Routine


Controversial opinion: I love wearing a full-ass makeup look in the summer. Why? Because I’m sun-kissed, hopped up on vitamin D, feeling positive about this weather and ready to get after it. Before the days of having a bookshelf in my home office dedicated to housing my skincare, I set up a tall 9-drawer storage unit to hold my makeup “collection” (stockpile). Full transparency—the volume of product is intense and I have investigated and experimented with every last one. From the moment I apply a new pigment to my face my mind races with possibility and from there, it is welcomed into my daily beauty session. I like to set aside as much time as possible so I have room to make magic but also improve each go-around. Progress! Makeup is fun when you embrace the endless possibilities.


Step zero is to set up my vanity in good lighting and bring forth the vision for my face-to-be. My pregame of choice is the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer to create a (seemingly) flawless base and support my foundation to live to its fullest potential. Before I even get to the fun stuff, this balances my overall tone and texture and gives me that eight-glasses-of-water-a-day glow factor.


I’m in a pretttttty $AuCy relationship with the Koh Gen Do Moisture foundation. My major requirements are that my skin maintains a fresh radiance and that in daylight, it is unclear if I’m a vampire or just have a fabulous facialist (the answer is: both, but also, this foundation). I draw a series of strategic lines on from the tube and use the Tom Ford Foundation Brush to blend it out, carefully and methodically from the center outwards. The final touch is to use my fingers to add a little body heat and make sure it is invisible.


From here, I’m looking to create for depth AKA cheekbones AKA slowly transform into Angelina Jolie with each swipe of bronzer. The most gratifying face palette that has ever reached my routine is the Tom Ford Soleil Contouring Compact. This special goddess of a human known as Morgan Von Steen came by my desk one day, casually setting down the heavy, clearly luxe packaging and through her smirk whispered, "I don’t know anyone who will appreciate this more." The formula on this product is nuts, it’s somehow HIGHLY pigmented and natural (??), creating the most radiant and illuminated, lit from within, smooched-by-a-beach-vacation flush.

Eyes 'n' brows

We could just call it a day here but I feel like an impostor without the weight of waxy product on my eyeholes TBH... My first step is to always make sure my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is right and tight from Glossier Boy Brow to Gucci undereye bags with a Beauty Blender (I made a sideways peace sign when I finished typing this bc if u can’t laugh at yourself no one will). Then I use my same bronzer with a fluffy eyeshadow brush in the crease of my lid AND my lower lashies—this warms it up and makes sure things look blurry and therefore sexy.

The following best-of-the-best eyeball products you should not sleep on: the matte black Surratt Lash Curler (#1 out of about 10 I’ve tried) and the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara which gives me the fattest, thick eyelashes I could possibly dream up. (Both Top 25 award winners, don't ya know.) I like to go about dark eyeliner in a way that feels uncomplicated to everyone but in reality, it’s systematic on my end of things. I take my favorite liner (Kat Von D, Skully) and only put it on the outermost edge of my eye in a “<” shape and smudge it out very carefully with my finger. I had no idea this was a lip liner for weeks of using it (oopsies!) but that explains its above-average matte—yet creamy—velvet texture. Is she Kate Moss??? No one can tell at this point.


The most thrilling part of my makeup journey is blotting and slowly layering on a highly pigmented color that matches my energy that day. If I’ve already had coffee and I’m feeling jacked tf up on life, I love a cool-toned, fluorescent hot pink like Radish from Bite Beauty. If we’re talking quiet confidence or I am hungover and want to look fresh, orange-red is the vibe, like Jungle Queen by Lipstick Queen. As I blot a bright lip on and slowly blur each layer with my fingers towards the edges to look slightly undone, I slowly transform into my best self and like to take these moments to think about my intentions for the day. The finger-blurring method is key to a bright lip looking effortless and ~juicy~.

Finishing Touches

Lastly, I shut my eyes, pump a light misting of the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist packed with good face vitamins, and exhale into my day feeling like 10 million doll-hairs. The thing that really makes my heart glow about makeup is the ability to have complete control of my outward facing energy. There’s a little thing called raising your vibration (your positive energy) and the way you do this is a little different for every individual human bean but I’ve learned as an adult, this ~30 minutes alone with my colorful pigments at my vanity provides the self-love I need to give the world my best, highest frequency, most shiny and sparkly version of me. Happy face painting! XO

—Sam Wilson

Photographed by the author.