5 Minimalist Makeup Marvels You Might Want To Try

Published in: Chanel, Eyes, Laura Mercier, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Yves Saint Laurent

5 Minimalist Makeup Marvels



It’s not just for Smurfs anymore.

This time of year it also describes my appetite for makeup, as in not wanting to wear a ton of it on my face, and if your makeup cravings are also leaning toward the minimal side, here are five of my current favorite minimalist makeup products.

These are all in active minimalist makeup rotation right now.

1. The marvelous MAC Paints! ($20 each)

MAC Paints

The MAC Paints

These $20 cream shadows dry to a powder finish and come in five natural-looking neutral shades.

If you don’t blend them out perfectly, no worries, because the colors are all pretty low contrast, so you can’t really mess up — or, rather, if you do, you can’t really tell.

Perfect for people who are frequently running behind (she said, raising her hand in the air while saying, “Ooh! Ooh! Like me.”).

All five shades also have a hint of a sheen to ’em (it’s very subtle and nothing dramatic like a frost), which makes them quite forgiving of fine lines — something I greatly appreciate.

MAC Paint Swatches from the left: Bamboom, Stilife, Untitled, Sublime Nature and Bare Canvas

MAC Paint swatches from the left in Bamboom, Stilife, Untitled, Sublime Nature and Bare Canvas

Beyond all of that, they’re also just straight-up easy to use. Creamier and more viscous than many other cream shadows like the MAC Paint Pots, they’re a breeze to spread and blend.

Just squeeze a small amount from the tube, and pat and blend that on your lids with your fingers. You can even skip primer with them if you want. I usually do (saves time).

My favorite color? Golden beige Bamboom.

I also love that name (although Bare Canvas is also pretty cool).

2. The Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks ($28 each)

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks

No, these sticks do not contain caviar (as far as I can tell). If the MAC Paints are for work, then Laura’s Caviar Sticks are for fun. 🙂

These cream shadow sticks come in a wide range of colors and finishes, from mellow mattes to shimmering jewels.

Like the MAC Paints, brushes are totally optional. I usually just swipe one of the shades (Rosegold is my personal fave) directly on my lids, and then blend out the edges with a finger.

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks Swatches from the left: Cocoa, Moonlight, Rosegold, Copper and Burnished Bronze

A handful of Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks from the left in Cocoa, Moonlight, Rosegold, Copper and Burnished Bronze

Because they glide on the skin and contain oodles of pigment, one layer is usually enough. You can literally be done with your eyeshadow in less than a minute.

3. Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Blush Volupte Lips & Cheek Color ($40 each)

YSL Kiss & Blush

YSL Kiss & Blush

These multitasking morsels are kind of expensive, but they are multitasking (wait, I already said that). The Kiss & Blushes beautify both lips and cheeks.

They feel like a mousse…

No, not like Mickey. 🙂 It’s pronounced moooooose. LOL! They blend quickly and easily on bare skin or atop foundation.

And the icing on the cake? They last a really long time. I get from 6-8 hours from them as a blush on my cheeks, and 4-5 hours from them on my lips.

They come in 12 shades, with my favorite minimal makeup ones being the more neutral colors, like 07 Corail Affranchi, 08 Pink Hedoniste, 09 Rose Epicurien and 12 Mocha Garconne.

YSL Kiss & Blush Swatches from the left: 07 Corail Affranchi, 08 Pink Hedoniste, 09 Rose Epicurien and 12 Mocha Garconne

YSL Kiss & Blush Swatches from the left: 07 Corail Affranchi, 08 Pink Hedoniste, 09 Rose Epicurien and 12 Mocha Garconne

And if you get a hankerin’ for something bright, check out bright pink 01 Fuchsia Desinvolte.

Ooh! That one adds a lot of life to lips and cheeks. Apply a couple coats of mascara, and seriously, you’re done.

4. MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara ($16)

MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara

MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara

Speaking of mascaras, MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash is my favorite mascara in the entire MAC line, and it’s also great for minimal makeup looks.

I love the brush. It’s just so tiny and easy to wield.

Those big Shrek-sized mascara brushes tend to leave a ton of excess product on my lids and lash lines that I end up having to clean, but Gigablack Lash’s little brush doesn’t do that, yet it still grabs every last lash hair, so my lashes look super separated and stretched.

I use this on both my upper and lower lashes, and the formula lasts all day long without flaking or smudging.

Ding-ding-ding! Winner, winner, (veggie) chicken dinner.

5. Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner ($32)

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof

These waterproof liners have been saving my butt lately. They excel at thickening lash lines, and they have magical powers…

OK, not really, but they do sort of make your eyes look bigger. 🙂

First, they’re twist-ups, so no need to sharpen (YES!), and the skinny tip is really easy to get between your individual lashes (WOOT!).


Second, the long-lasting formula means, again, no primer (if you don’t want to).

Third, my water lines are weirdly sensitive (much like myself, LOL!), especially when it comes to waterproof and long-lasting liners, but this stuff? For whatever reason, I can totally tolerate it.

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Swatches from the left: Santal, Smoky Grey, Marron Glace and Taupe

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Swatches from the left in Santal, Smoky Grey, Marron Glace and Taupe

I like many of the shades, but bronzy Santal is my favorite one. It’s one of those good alternatives to black.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 15 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Love this post, Karen! I really enjoy low-maintenance/minimalist makeup. I have just one LM Caviar Stick but like it for its portability and ease of use. And, I LOVE the YSL Kiss and Blushes. They’re the first lip-and-cheek combo product that has worked well for me. I have an in-depth review of them on my blog if anyone is interested!
    Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup recently posted … Chanel Dentelle Precieuse Illuminating Powder Review & Swatches

  2. Chelsea says:

    Love Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof! I use Gris on a regular basis. I own a MAC Paint Pot that I use a lot on lazy days (Bare Study), but I like the packaging of the paints – less air and contamination!

    My biggest minimalist thing right now is the tinted sunscreen! I still need a little bit of concealer, but it makes my routine so easy!

    I’m kind of over the giant mascara brushes – I just get mascara EVERYWHERE, and it’s such a pain! I also find than I can still get big lashes without a ridiculously large brush.

    • Karen says:

      Ooh, I don’t think I have Gris. Might have to change that ASAP.

      Another fave of mine is Cassis. Have you seen it? It’s a really pretty dark plum.

      • Chelsea says:

        I don’t! I love plums! I used to have these plummy frames on my glasses, so I’d wear plum liner and mascara to go with it. I just got an eyeshadow in a similar color, maybe I’ll put that on as liner sometime!

  3. Sarah says:

    Karen, how waterproof is that MAC mascara? I have seen a lot of people on YouTube using it but am skeptical… everything smudges so easily on my hooded eyes! The only thing I’ve found so far that works for me is the Kiss Me Heroine Make mascara. Could the extended play gigablack lash be a good alternative? Thanks 🙂

  4. kwmechelle says:

    Hello from the country in GA. Geeze, I’ve been on vacay at my mom’s since the 4th and I BARELY have any reception at all. Can you believe she has dial-up internet??????!!!!! Totally missing my daily dose of beauty blog lovin’.

    Anywho, I have MAC’s Bamboom and I lurve’s it. I use it daily as a base for my eyeshadow. I find that it works well as a base for most of my eyeshadow. It seems to be great to enhance my eyeshadow, make the color last longer, and prevent creasing.

    Here’s hoping I can survive the next 3 weeks here. Gotta get my beauty blog fix in somehow…..

  5. Jill says:

    I love LM caviar sticks (amethyst my fave) Im excited about the new shades, but Ill need to load my purse with my other sticks to compare shades (Chanel moonlight– BB bronze before I buy. Ooh! I love that copper though!!

  6. Divya says:

    Im all for minimalist makeup! I love the eye shadow stick as well! just got a couple from Kiko and they are gooood! I agree, strains make everything pretty easy but I’m somehow not sold on the ysl ones yet!
    Divya recently posted … Hõla from Spain! | A Vacation Face

  7. Aditi says:

    I love the LM caviar sticks! (Fun fact – my husband thought they were some sort of food item and was extremely puzzled as to why I, a vegetarian, was indulging in caviar…hehehe).

    I’m dying (metaphorically, of course) to get my hands on the YSL kiss and blush! Pretty sure I need corail affranchi!

  8. Sylirael says:

    Oh Gods, I want all the things T_T…

    I have one caviar stick and love it (amethyst), but I wish I could afford more of the Chanel Stylo Yeux, and more than a few of those YSL Kiss and Blush beauties!
    Sylirael recently posted … A Party Rogue’s Legacy: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks in Icy Violet, Carnival Spirit and Pink Sizzle

  9. Kim says:

    In the summer, my “shadow” is usually Benefit’s Watt’s Up. It’s quick and gives me that little extra shimmer.

    I’ve only tried Becca’s Beach Tint for cheeks and lips and found them to be super-drying on my lips. Are YSL’s more moisturizing?

    Also, please stop showing Chanel stuff; you’re turning me into a fan and my wallet is not thanking me (actually, neither is Sephora!) 🙂

  10. fancie says:

    I’ve never tried the MAC paints before but they look really nice. The formula sounds perfect for me! I really want to try the YSL stains soon too. The color range is so pretty!
    fancie recently posted … Marc Jacobs Jazz(Berry) Highliner Gel Crayon Review

  11. Shantinn says:

    Oops…more stuff added to the shopping list!

    I’ve tried Sublime Nature paint bec of your tutorial. Now I have have to try moar!!!

  12. Katherine M says:

    Love this post, especially for the summer! The LM Caviar Stick in Rosegold has been sold out every time I’ve been to Sephora this year (ok, it DID come out about the same time as UD Naked 3). I found a sort-of dupe with one of NYX’s new shadow sticks in rose gold. Works well, but does need a primer for the really sticky days. I also really like Pixi in this peachy gold color – Pixi makes some great products. I like multitasking or quick makeup items to use because there are days where I’d like to look put together but don’t have a ton of time to do a blended eye look or contoured/highlighted foundation.

  13. Tee says:

    I love the products you have featured in this post. The MAC Paints are so pigmented and beautiful.

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