Elsie’s Clean Makeup Routine

It’s been a while since I shared my clean makeup routine here, and I have changed things up quite a bit. I LOVE trying new products, and the clean beauty space has been exploding with great products for the past several years.

With this update, I finally am using both a clean foundation and concealer (which in the past was an area I had trouble making clean swaps).

I also found some really amazing brow products recently that have made a big difference!

I am a true fan of using clean beauty whenever possible, and I think this is the cleanest my routine has been so far!

OK, ready to jump in? I tried to minimize this as much as possible, so what I am showing here is my favorite (or most used) product from every category. I could definitely do it twice as big, but these are my absolute favorites!!!

I am going to note the exact colors I use in case you are curious or you happen to be in the market for something similar.

Primer: I am loving Vapour Essential Daily Primer. I can tell a big difference when I use it (and when I don’t) for how smooth my makeup goes on, so I never skip it anymore.

Foundation: This past year I tried SO many foundations. I became obsessed. I really wanted one that makes my skin feel glowy and had SPF built in, since I tend to be lazy on SPF.

I used to say I wore sunscreen, but after having two children with albinism I now realize I BARELY wore sunscreen. It’s like when you say you drink green juice, but really you have one glass a month.

Anyway, Super Serum Skin Tint by ILIA has nice coverage and blends so well with my skin. I use shade ST5.

Concealer: Kosas Revealer Concealer. I have under eye circles, and this does the trick without being too heavy or fake looking. Over time, I have been embracing the less is more makeup mentality. I am leaning more on products that create a more natural effect. I use shade 03.

Side note: Kosas has my other favorite foundation, as well. It’s very oily so I usually mix it with another brand. But I like the moisture.

Concealer brushes: I wanted to try these oval makeup brushes for a long time and I LOVE THEM. To me, they are even better than beauty blenders. I feel like my makeup is the most blended it’s ever been!

Here’s a swatch so you can see the texture of the three products. I use these every day.

Vapour Essential Daily Primer / ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint / Kosas Revealer Concealer

Brows: For my brows, I am loving KUSH Fiber Brow. I use it to create a bit more volume. My brows are pretty small, so the products that add fake little brow hairs (like this teeny little wand does) are great for me! It looks real. I use the color Herb.

Next, I use Anastasia Brow Wiz to fill in my brows “bald spots” and darken them overall. I have been using the method of adding lots of little lines and it does create a more realistic effect, especially since my brows need to be lengthened on the ends. I use the color Auburn.

Mascara: I haven’t had eyelash extensions since last March. However, I have had time to try out every single clean mascara, and I have to say—ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara is IT for me. You can see the wand in the photo above.

For whatever reason, this helps my lashes not get clumpy like the fuller wands can. I do a LOT of layers of mascara (3-4, drying between each layer) to get my lashes as dark and full as I can.

Eyeshadow: I don’t use eyeshadow every day, but when I do I prefer warm colors and a light shimmery color, and ILIA’s Necessary Eyeshadow Palette does the job for me! I use the Warm Nude palette.

Eyeliner: For the first time in my ENTIRE adult life, I am not wearing much eyeliner. And when I do wear eyeliner, I have not been doing gigantic cat eyes (which used to be my thing).

I’m sure I will go back to that look eventually, but for now I’m enjoying a natural look. Anyway, Clean Line Gel Liner from ILIA is really nice for a natural look! I use the color Twilight.

Bronzer: This is just a good, classic bronzer for doing a teeny bit of contouring or trying to get your neck to match your face. I don’t use bronzer every day—just on a need-to basis. I use the color Golden Hour.

Highlighting Bronzer: This highlighter by LAWLESS is nice to add a little shimmer as a final step over my makeup. It’s really pretty.

Liquid Blush: I am obsessed with liquid blush—it’s definitely my go-to. I love how it blends. If I had to cut it down to only blush, I would keep Cloud Paint from Glossier. I really like the shade Dusk, as it works well for my skin tone.

Peachy Blush: This blush by Beautycounter makes me feel like I look “more awake,” so I use a ton of it, especially when I’m sleep deprived. With certain outfits, I think it’s really pretty. I use the color Nectar.

Lip Crayon: I use Bite’s Creamy Matte Lip Crayon to line my lips. Sometimes I put on lipstick after, or I just gloss. It make my lips look more defined and bigger. I don’t do heavy or dark lipstick, so this is the darkest color I wear. I use the color Hard Cider.

Lipstick: Color Block Lipstick by ILIA is my favorite—I wear it often. It’s really pretty and natural. I use the color Amberlight.

Lip Gloss: I love Bite Plumping Lip Gloss. It’s a bit shimmery, but doesn’t look like full ’90s glitter (don’t be scared). It says it’s plumping, but I don’t notice anything in that department.

The color is really nice and it looks pretty as it wears off. I use the color Cider Donut.

ILIA Color Block Lipstick / Bite Creamy Matte Lip Crayon / Bite Plumping Lip Gloss

Vapour Essential Daily Primer / ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint / Kosas Revealer Concealer / Anastasia Brow Wiz / KUSH Fiber Brow / ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara / ILIA Necessary Eyeshadow Palette / ILIA Clean Line Gel Liner / LAWLESS Velvet Matte Bronzer / LAWLESS Lucid Skin Highlighter / Glossier Cloud Paint / ILIA Color Block Lipstick

OK … I know that probably felt like a lotttt of products, but I tried my best to minimize it. If you have any questions, I will answer them in the comments! xx- Elsie

P.S. If you’re unsure about when to get rid of makeup, check out our tips to know when to know it’s time to throw it out!

  • Hi Elsie! You should try the Lawless foundation someday. It’s amazing! I tried it after getting their blush and bronzer on your recommendation.

  • I love your posts about clean makeup and skin care, but please consider not promoting brands that are MLMs like Beautycounter. I understand they say they are not, because you can buy products directly from them as well as through their “consultants,” but wow what a way to sidestep that label with a technicality, and you’re supporting a predatory business practice regardless of how you purchase the product for them. I’ll admit I’m really sensitive about it because I’ve seen various MLMs (including Beautycounter) con my family members, friends and random high school classmates into becoming consultants under the guise that they will make money, that it makes them a small business owner etc. There are plenty of true small businesses to support, and wonderful clean makeup companies, but Beautycounter is not one of them.

  • Hi,

    I have small brows too and would love a more in depth brows post/tutorial. Going to check out the fiber gel!

  • I always love when y’all share non-toxic beauty recommendations! I’m kind of stuck on concealer right now (like you were!) so I’ll happily take a look at your product suggestion. Thank you!

    Hannah | The Outfit Repeater

  • Hi there! Thanks so much for this. I’m curious to know — How do you define “clean?” Are there particular criteria you use to make sure it meets a certain standard of non-toxic?

    And how is it regulated? I.e. How do you know it’s actually “clean” and not just marketing? Are there standards or an accreditation body? Thanks!

    • Hi K!
      I’m happy to geek out on this subject with you! You can use the EWG website to score products. It’s kind of tricky but that’s how we did it back when we were making our clean beauty box and our own products. They also have an app called “think dirty” that scores products for you.

      For me, my goal is always to get the cleanest I can per category (for example a “clean” skincare item for me would have a super low score, while a “clean” nail polish or hair dye is really just better than other nail polish available). I personally try to avoid synthetic fragrance (parfum) the most and have found it to be the most common “bad” ingredient found in most skincare and makeup.

      If you’re interested in a deep dive I highly recommend the book Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore. It was how I got started!


      • Thank you for your explanation on “clean”, Elsie. It is used so much lately and I appreciate the question being asked by K and your reply.

    • Hi! I use them for blending (foundation, concealer and even blush or bronzer sometimes) XX!

  • I love seeing your favorite clean beauty products! I recently tried ILIA based on your recommendation, and I love it—thank you! Please keep sharing your finds 🙂

    • Hi Ava! I’m so glad you like it and also thanks for the encouragement! It’s good to know these product review type posts are helpful. :))

  • Thanks for this updated clean beauty routine! It really helps a lot to see the swatches of the colors on your hand. Yay! Thanks so much.

  • Definitely going to look into some of these products! So question for you on lip color… do you have a really good recommendation for lip color that doesn’t come off on a face mask?

    • Hi! Clean beauty is not known for being the most smudge proof or having the most staying power. Also I gravitate toward more subtle lip looks because that’s what works for my face. So, no I have no idea :))

    • I don’t have a “clean” recommendation but any liquid lipstick will be quite transfer proof. Also, the outlast lipsticks from covergirl are a trasfer-proof formula that you wear a gloss over if you don’t want something matte like a regular liquid lipstick would be. The Sephora Cream Lip Stains are my favorite! Or the Maybelline Matte Inks 🙂

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