Over the years, I have put a lot of time and thought into making makeup easy. Easy is key, because if something is difficult, I won’t do it, and I suspect others won’t either. And I believe that looking one’s basic best—or “Level Best” as I say—should be something a woman can depend on every day as she faces the world, not something only to be enjoyed on special occasions with a pro's help.
At the heart of my line is the Makeup Planner which I came up with on vacation with my husband in Italy. My makeup was scattered all around the hotel sink. He took one look and said, There has to be a better way.
After years of hearing women complain of makeup excess and disorder a light bulb went off. I began devising a system that would simplify the way a woman chooses, applies and houses her makeup. Originally inspired by my Franklin day planner, the finished product was a revelation—my Makeup Planner system: magnetic pages that could be customized and refilled to no end, a binder that enables makeup to be organized in the order it is applied, sleeves to keep brushes alongside colors, room for extras and an all-around zipper for instant portability.
When assembling your ultimate cosmetic case, I think every woman should own the following products:
So many women focus on the under-eye area, but it's just as important to correct a dark or discolored eyelid with an upper-eye brightener that also doubles as a shadow primer.
Eyeliner may be one of the most popular beauty items but its true power is underrated. I love to dot a waterproof gel eye liner pencil between lashes—not on the waterline—before lining above lashes. To do this hold the pencil upright beneath the upper lashes and press and wiggle the liner between lashes along the lash line. This creates a look of natural definition. Applied traditionally above lashes, eyeliner has the power to transform the whole mood of your makeup application. I love to lift and elongate the look of the eye by extending liner beyond the outer corner and flicking it up and out for the perfect winged look.
An undereye corrector with brightening properties will not only conceal darkness ("circles") coming from beneath skin's surface but correct shadowing caused by hollow/sunken areas around the eye. Applied in what I call my Triangle of Light™—an inverted triangle under each eye extending from the inner corner of the eye, straight down the side of the nose, up to the upper cheekbone and across underneath the lower lash line—it will also brighten the center of your face and enhance your cheekbones (see video below for a demo). Pat gently into skin until blended.
Even Skin® is the ultimate feature enhancer. Whether you like a liquid, cream or powder foundation or are a Beauty Balm or Tinted Moisturizer kind of girl, evening out skin's tone is essential to looking one's best. Choose the texture you prefer in a formula that effectively corrects uneven tone while letting skin's natural beauty shine through.
Powder is essential to setting foundation for long-wear while prepping skin's surface for a seamless application of face color. It also seals in face color to ensure it's perfectly blended and extend its wear. Choose a colorless powder unless you want more coverage.
Bronzer warms the complexion while enhancing the facial structure when applied from a C into a 3 shape from forehead to temple to cheekbone to jawline.
Blush instantly brightens the complexion with a pop of color on the high apple of the cheek—the fullest point when you smile.
If brows are sparse, brow color is essential, instantly framing the eyes and dressing up the face. Always start by measuring where you want your brow to begin, arch and end. Begin: In line with the side of your nose and the inner corner of your eye. Arch: In line with the side of your nose and your pupil. End: In line with the side of your nose and the outer corner of your eye.
Some form of Lip Color is essential to completing any look. Whether you want to dress it up or dress it down, the texture you choose is just as important as the color. My number one piece of advice regarding lip color is to be mindful that dark shades can be aging, so look at yourself objectively to see if your lip color is aging you.
The brushes you use determine the look you achieve so any "ultimate cosmetic case" must have at least a few high-quality multifunction brushes for a great makeup application.
Fragrance is the "final unseen accessory" that sets the mood of your style and even your day. Always keep a scent in your case that expresses how you are feeling.