If you're like me, your makeup drawer contains a whole slew of junk, most of which you don't use — brushes someone convinced you were essential or lip glosses from seasons past — as well as items you do use, but know you shouldn't. Like that three-year-old mascara (because there's still a little bit left) or the gunky cream bronzer you just can't seem to toss. I solicited the help of model-turned-makeup artist Joanna Hathcock, who advises, "If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it." She also says certain things — notably mascara and anything else with a wand — should be thrown out after three to six months, makeup brushes should get the heave-ho when the hairs start to fall out, and everything else should get the smell test (you'll know). Loose powders are really the only thing with real longevity — and even these should be replaced every two years.
Having thrown out a good portion of my makeup, I chatted with the Dallas-based artist about the bare essentials for day and night.
MC: Let's start with brushes.
JH: You want to have two medium-large fluffy brushes, one for bronzer and blush and the other for translucent powder or pressed mineral base. A narrow angled brush can be used for eye liner and for your eyebrows — but you have to clean it in between. Then you'll want a smudger shadow brush and one medium semi-fluffy tapered brush for blending. I like to use a concealer brush for precise placement, but you can use your fingers if you make sure your hands are really clean.
MC: How often should you clean your brushes?
JH: At least every two weeks — and every week on brushes carrying emollient products. You can use shampoo and then lay them flat to dry on a towel; if you stand them up, the water goes into the glue (used in most low to moderately priced brushes) and can make them fall apart faster.
MC: What's the first thing you should put on your skin?
JH: I don't like foundation, so, some combination of tinted moisturizer, pressed mineral base concealer, and translucent powder for the T-zone is best for evening out your skin tone. And if you're oily, carry oil-absorbing sheets or some kind of anti-shine powder.
MC: What are your thoughts on blush versus bronzer?
JH: Bronzer is essential when your face is lighter than your body, and it's great to look a little more sun-kissed in the spring. Just make sure to use a light hand and choose a bronzer that's not too shimmery — bronzer is SO easy to overdo! I like a little blush on the apples of the cheeks, too, but that's a matter of preference.
MC: How important are your eyebrows?
JH: Eyebrows are the frame of the face and of the eyes. When there's something strong and clean framing the eyes, you just look more put-together. That could mean filling them in, thinning them out, or just using a little clear eyebrow gel to keep them in place.
MC: What do you recommend for eyes?
JH: The one basic staple is mascara in black or brown. Don't get waterproof unless your eyes tend to water (or you feel you really need it!), as it's tough to take off at night. One step beyond that is adding a slightly shimmery neutral, in a rosy-champagne or warm taupe color. Take a brush or your (clean) finger and sweep it across your lid.
MC: What about eyeliner? Is it a no-no during the day?
JH: Someone with a medium to deeper complexion might need eyeliner to intensify their eyes, but you definitely want to keep eyeliner on the upper lid for day. I like powder rather than pencils because it's softer and easier to get right into the lash line.
MC: What are the essentials for lips? If you had to pick just three, what would they be?
JH: One sheer, shimmery gloss, which is universally flattering. A lipstick (again sheer) or tinted lip balm without a shimmer that's one shade deeper than your natural color. And clear gloss. What I love to do is layer lip glosses and liners to create more color options.
MC: What trends are you seeing for spring?
JH: Bronzed, healthy-looking skin is really in. Opt for something that gives a glow without too much shimmer and brush it on where the sun hits: The top of your forehead, across your upper cheekbones and the bridge of your nose, a swipe on your chin and on your brow bones. For eyes, I'm seeing watercolor-like washes of cool pastel colors. For lips, red and coral are really strong.
MC: What are the items you just can't live without?
JH: Everyone has something that they feel they need to feel like they have a face, or to feel polished. It could be mascara, concealer, lip gloss, blush. For me, it's evening out my skin tone and adding a touch of color. I use Mineral Fusion Pressed Base, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat for around the eyes, and Bare Minerals Blush.
MC: Are there any great multiuse products out there?
JH: Convertible Color from Stila, a cream blush/lip combo, and Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain are both really popular.
MC: Is there anything that everyone should avoid?
JH: Glitter. It doesn't look good on anyone, at any age over 13.
IN HER BAG:
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat ($38.50) for around the eyes
bareMinerals Blush; $18
Clean & Clear's Oil Absorbing Sheets; $5.29: You can find these at any drugstore. I also love Palladio Rice Paper Blotting Tissues, which come in natural and warm to add a little color.
Sonia Kashuk's Bronzer Duo is a great creamy bronzer/blush duo, and Nars Highlighting/Bronzing Blush Duo in Orgasm/Laguna is a gorgeous powder set.
Physicians Formula's Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer has just a touch of shimmer.
Bobbi Brown's Lip Gloss in tangerine is great for this season.
Instant Mineral SPF 30 by Peter Thomas Roth: I use it to maintain my sun protection throughout the day without messing up my makeup.
Learn how to Streamline Your Skincare Routine here.