Beauty Fashion illustration

The 10 makeup products I can’t live without

January 26, 2018
Alessia Landi Beauty Fashion illustration watercolour

All my friends know that I am a total beauty junkie. My obsession with makeup and beauty stuff in general started when I was about 13 years old and never stopped.

My mom hoped it would just be a temporary teen obsession but as the closets in the bathroom got more and more filled with eyeshadows, foundations and blushers, she kind of lost hope (she never stopped telling me I buy too much crap though…).

My relationship with beauty products is a pathologic mix between hoarder and compulsive tester. I can never get enough of new textures, colours, formulations… And very often you would hear me go like ”this product is amaaaaazing it’s the best thing EVER” just to dump it on a hidden corner of the bathroom cabinet a couple of months later, when the next hot thing would come on the shelves of my favourite beauty store.
When it comes to beauty, I’m definitely a cheater and totally not monogamous. I couldn’t do anything about it, the world is too full of beautiful makeup and skincare things that deserve my love.

But you know, even the most reckless serial makeup heartbreakers grow up one day and as I got older I definitely started to cherish my beauty relationships more.

One day in a MAC store, while buying the eye pencil in “Teddy”, it suddenly struck me: “Jeez, I am buying this pencil for the third time. What happened to me??”.

And since then, the list of the products I found and never left has been growing. It could be that I am older, or that my time and budget has definitely shrunk since the days I didn’t have to pay for rent, food and credit card bills (the latter being a particularly painful one) but one thing is for certain: this makeup Casanova has finally found some true love out there.

This is the list of the products that I already re-purchased, that I will keep buying and that I would recommend to anyone, hand on fire:

  1. MAC eye kohl in “Teddy”
    In love since: 2009
    Purchased: 4 times
    Where can you find it: MAC stores and counters worldwide, online on
    Although brown makeup generally looks good on me, I noticed that many brown eye shadows and pencils tend to either look sort of dirty and muddy or have a red undertone that make you look tired. Well, the color of this pencil is THE PERFECT brown. I’ve tried many brown pencils and shadows since discovering Teddy, but never found a shade that could compare to this one: it’s a rich brown with some metallic pigment that make it multi-dimensional, without being too shiny. It suits any complexion and hair/eyes color, has a very long lasting finish and it is quite soft so it is easy to apply but not too creamy, so it doesn’t smudge or fade. I bring it around with me all the time and basically use it in 90% of my make-up looks.
  2. MAC blot powder
    In love since: 2008
    Purchased: I’ve lost count
    Where can you find it: MAC stores and counters worldwide, online on
    This powder has been a real staple since I discovered it ages ago and I keep re-purchasing it ever since. Although I used other powders that I like (one even made it to this list) nothing I’ve tried so far holds up to this winner. It is a lightweight formulation with almost no coverage, so its main purpose is to fix your makeup and, as the name suggests, blot your skin. Although I have a fairly dry skin, this powder has never had a cakey finish on me. I used it in all weather conditions, from a freezing windy New York Winter to the tropical humidity of Singapore, and the result has always been the same: silky finish, long lasting, blotting of T-zone without drying, make-up fixed perfectly and enhanced complexion homogeneity. Careful when you choose the color, as the name can be quite confusing: I use the shade “medium”, which is actually very pale and not medium at all (in the MAC skin color classification, I am NW15)!
  3. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Microfinishing pressed powder
    In love since: July 2017
    Purchased: 2 times
    Where can you find it: Sephora, Make Up For Ever stores/online and selected specialized stores worldwide
    I have temporarily replaced the MAC Blot Powder as my fixing powder of choice with this Make Up For Ever staple: I kinda like its fine texture and perfecting finish and as I am using quite a thick foundation at the moment, I find this works better than the MAC one. It gives a very beautiful transparent mattifying finish and perfections the texture of the skin, while fixing your foundation and blusher all day long. The thing I love the most about this powder is not only the product itself, but also the packaging: it is made in metal (instead of the traditional hard plastic) and it’s suuuuper sturdy, I tend to drag my favourite make-up everywhere in my bag and this never broke in a thousand pieces, like almost all my other powders.
  4. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara
    In love since: March 2017
    Purchased: 2 times
    Where can you find it: Sephora, Too Faced online and selected specialised stores worldwide
    This is by far the best mascara I’ve ever tried! I am a bit obsessed with mascara because I have quite short and blonde-ish lashes, but I find that long, thick and black lashes is the only thing you need (OK, together with blush actually) to look fresh and put together. This mascara does the trick perfectly for me as it volumizes and lengthens my lashes at once and has a very beautiful deep black color. I use the non-waterproof version, as I find waterproof mascaras to dry out too fast most of the times, but stays on perfectly all day (like, 24 hours!) without fading or smudging. I tried all the best mascaras out there (I was a very big fan of the Diorshow) but this one is definitely the winner.
  5. Urban Decay Primer Potion (Anti-aging)
    In love since: June 2016
    Purchased: 2 times
    Where can you find it: Sephora and selected specialised stores worldwide
    Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the best make-up purchase of all my life. I knew it was good, as it has been a massive unanimous holy grail in every makeup website and Youtube Channel for decades, but I couldn’t imagine how good it actually was. Simply, when you put it on it makes any eye make-up stay on forever. It seriously sticks everything together like glue, no creasing and no fading, every makeup look stays perfect until you actually decide to remove it. This is the secret to my infallible cat eye: many of you have asked me the secret of my eyeliner on Instagram Stories, well this is it. I use the anti-age version as it is transparent but still smoothes and uniforms the eye-lid. It is a little expensive, but it’s actually great value if you consider that I use it every day and still my first tube lasted a full year.
  6. Etude House Double Lasting Foundation SPF 30
    In love since: November 2016
    Purchased: 2 times
    Where can you find it: Etude House stores in Asia and on worldwide
    I am very picky with my foundations and it’s probably the makeup item I change most often, as I am always on the hunt for a better formulation. That is why I am very excited about this one, because since I tried it for the first time I stopped to look around for other foundations and I’ve been using this one ever since. It fulfills my three rules for the perfect makeup base: 1) Doesn’t freak out my skin (my skin is super sensitive, it’s truly a nightmare) 2) has the perfect color match for my skin tone in its range 3) it’s incredibly long lasting and has good coverage with a flattering satin finish, matte but not cakey. It has a very nice skin perfecting finish and it’s truly the only long-lasting foundation I’ve tried that is actually… well, long-lasting. Add the fact that it’s really cheap and you have perfection.
  1. Etude House Any Cushion All Day Perfect SPF 50++ BB foundation
    In love since: September 2016
    Purchased: 3 times (refill)
    Where can you find it: Etude House stores in Asia and on worldwide
    This is the only other base I use next to the Double Lasting foundation. It is an insanely good BB cushion foundation, I love the cushion format, because it’s hygienic and I can bring it anywhere with me. I also really like the airbrush-like finish achieved with its applicator pad. The finish is a medium coverage with a dewy, brightening and skin-perfecting effect. I bring it with me EVERYWHERE for re-touches and it’s the foundation of choice for my travels. The only thing I have to point out is that it’s quite moisturizing so I wouldn’t recommend it to people with combination or oily skin. But you can always try it out for yourself, as this is quite cheap and the good thing is that once you have the case you just need to re-purchase the refill (the whole compact is 24 US$, while the refill is 14 US$).
  2. MAC lipstick in “Russian Red”
    In love since: 2010
    Purchased: twice
    Where can you find it: MAC stores and counters worldwide, online on
    Because every girl needs a red lisptick in her make-up closet 😉
    Now, lipstick is a very subjective matter. The way shades suit different people varies humongously from person to person. But I can tell you, color aside, this is a wonderful lipstick: the staying power is the same as one of those liquid 24-hours lipsticks, but the finish is as creamy and silky as a normal one. It glides on effortlessly and has a very beautiful, rich color. I worn it several times for events and parties and even if I drink or eat it stays on for hours (in a whole night out, I usually need to retouch it only once, after dinner). This color is the perfect red in my opinion and, judging how many people are using it (it was created for Madonna in 1990, it’s the red lipstick worn by Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada and it’s Gwen Stefani’s signature lip color), it is also quite universal.
    Alessia Landi Fashion illustration makeup
    And to finish, two special mentions (I didn’t repurchase these yet, but it’s true love):
  3. Make Up Forever Artist Face Color
    In love since: October 2017
    Where can you find it: Sephora, Make Up For Ever stores/online and selected specialised stores worldwide
    BEST.BLUSH.EVER. Seriously guys, this stuff is insane. It’s the longest staying blush I have ever tried and believe me this is crazy important for me because I am pale as a ghost and I really don’t want to spend my days re-applying my blush every two hours to look alive. It’s a custom palette: you can choose three color pans between bronzers, highlighters and blush and mix-and-match as you wish. I chose a matte bronzer (shade S112), a matte blush (B208) and an highlighter (H102). All the colors are perfect for my skin tone, but I like the highlighter slightly less because it is not as finely milled and silky as I like my highlighters to be. If I could go back I’d probably choose two blushers instead. And another plus: it has the same metallic sturdy case as the HD powder, so I can bring it anywhere with me without risking to damage the powders. This stuff is da bomb, try it!
  4. Eyeshadows and baked blushes by KIKO make-up
    In love since: 2008
    Where can you find it: KIKO stores worldwide and on (except a few countries… Please KIKO come to Singapore!)
    When I visit my parents in Florence, I always do three things: eat pizza, drink countless an Aperol Spritz and shop at KIKO. Their make-up products are SO GOOD that even after so many years I still can’t believe they are so cheap (they price range goes from 3 euros for simple eyeshadows to about 30 euros for the most expensive items). I have tried many high end brands, but for my eyeshadows I now rely only on KIKO. They are super pigmented, easy to blend and long lasting. They come in different formulations and finishes and their color range is huge. They have some of the best neutrals out there. Definitely try it if you don’t know the brand already. I also love their baked blushes, I have two from their limited edition Christmas collections and they are amazing… I am actually scared to use them too often because they are discontinued and I won’t be able to re-purchase them!

OK this post is really huge, might take you all weekend to read it, but hope you enjoyed it! If you tried any of these products let me know what you think about them
And girls! I wear eyeliner every day but still have to find my Holy Grail liquid liner so if you have some favourites to suggest me please do so!

xx Al

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  • Reply Berit January 27, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Nice post… girl you are fast. Reminds me how life was without children 😱🤩😜 next time I’m in Italy I will try Kilo, and I will give number 5 and 6 a try. And I will purchase the MAC powder! As for the mascara I’m not sure, I have the Diorshow but it smudge anyway like any other mascara I tried. Still hopeless. 😕

    • Reply Al January 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Ahaha actually, this post has been in the making since last November :p I had to publish it because I was just keeping adding bits and pieces and updating, I would never publish otherwise! When I had my old blog I used to write just before posting, but now I can’t do it anymore… I usually write a draft when I’m inspired and then I keep it marinating until I have the right illustration.. Then I re-read, edit if necessary and post. Sometimes it takes months before I publish a post LOL, but I am trying to shorten it and post more often. You should try this too, maybe it will help you post on your blog more often? For the mascara, Sephora usually sells a mini travel version of the Too Faced one, you can maybe try that one! So it’s cheaper and you don’t feel like you’re wasting too much product/money if you don’t like it. I am lucky because usually mascara doesn’t smudge on my eyes (I guess I have very dry eyes? Don’t know, but I wear lenses so maybe that affects it too) but I find this one to last longer than the Diorshow. Let me know how you like the MAC powder! As for KIKO I think they have shops in Germany (for sure they sell online), check their website 😉

  • Reply Berit January 30, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Yes I doing it the same way, I write it then keep it in the folder until I have all the illustrations but then it happen that it will never be published because I couldn’t draw all what I want (I definitely want to much!!!!🤦‍♀️) I have still a review blogpost about fashion month September last year. 😂😂😂 now I’m busy to draw for the print of my 4th edition of postcards. Means I haven’t time for anything, not even to draw sone couture grown. When I finally have the time it will be to late to do a blog. I’m not using my time effectively.
    But yes, I also like your short blogposts and quick sketches. Really have to try. But first postcards, otherwise I will have never a chance to become a freelancer.
    Have a wonderful night Alessia 😊
    And thanks for the extra tips

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