All right folks, just in time for Friday afternoon and any weekend shopping, here’s your makeup survival guide for RWA. There are many things you want to accomplish at RWA but your mascara melting is not one of them. Keep in mind that you want to be able to go from day to night easily and also that there will be lots of pictures. You don’t want to do what I did last year and pull off a Jersey Shore look with your face (we’re going to pretend there are no pictures).

Or maybe you do.

Either way, here’s a few products that I absolutely swear by for conferences, life in the motorpool and yes, some are even Iraq tested (for the three times in Iraq that I wore makeup).


You cannot go wrong with Smashbox eyelid primer. You dab a few spots of this on your eye lids and I promise you, unless your skin is as slick as the bottom of a bottle of baby oil, that eye shadow is going to stick. I’ve used this product in the Fort Hood summer and yes, by the end of the day, unless I’ve been rubbing the heck out of your eyes, the makeup is still there (and no, I’m not wearing cat eye makeup in the motorpool).

My favorite eye shadow is actually a kit from Urban Decay: the Naked Palette and the Naked Too palette. Really great colors, diverse textures and also great to layer when going from day to night. You can also never go wrong with Bobbi Brown. That line has a few palettes that are specifically about going from day to night and they’re wonderful (Deirdre Knight can also vouch for the awesome sauce that is Bobbi Brown). The thing I love about Bobbi Brown makeup is that the whole intent of the entire makeup line is NOT to make you look made up but to help you look your best for whatever age you are. So while you might panic at some of the looks on the Smashbox page, there are no wild and crazy looks on Bobbi Brown.

Eyeliners are 100% Bobbi Brown longwear, either the little pots or the new sticks. They go on and stay on. If you’re looking for an alternative, MAC has a long wear eye liner that I used in Iraq (twice) that has many of the same colors and is a teeny bit less expensive.
Mascara: I am super picky about mascara. I always have problems with it running. Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Smashbox all have great mascaras that hold up well (except for in the shower, then no so much).


My absolute go to lip conditioner is not a lip product at all. Brace yourselves: Lansinoh. Yes you read that right. The cream that breastfeeding mothers use for sore nipples is THE BEST lip treatment on the planet (unless you’re allergic to wool then never mind). It does have a little bit of a taste but it doesn’t bother me. I put this on at night and during the day to keep lips smooth and healthy. If you don’t want to carry around that massive tube, take an old lip gloss tube and pry out the stopper, then heat up the lanolin in the microwave until it’s runny and you can pour it right in. Add in a tube that’s not completely empty and you’ve got a great conditioner plus color. Seriuosly, it might be weird but once you use it, you’ll never buy another lip balm again (unless of course the taste gets to you).

For color, I am all lip gloss all the time. I love Bobbi Brown glosses because they’re so creamy and they leave my lips softer. All time favorite color is Clinique’s Black Honey. It’s an awesomely warm berry color that looks great day or night.


Hands down, my favorite makeup primer is Smashbox Photo finish. On most days, I don’t wear primer but at RWA when you’re going non stop, you want the makeup you put on during the day to really last. This stuff does the trick. It also smoothes out complexion rough spots and helps foundation or tinted moisturizer really stay put.

Concealer: Repeat after me: we all can use a good under eye concealer! This is one area where it pays to spend a little extra money to get a rich and creamy under eye concealer. The last thing you want is to have your under eye are looking cakey. Preferred brands here are Laura Mercier Secret Concealers or Bobbi Brown for a great color palette range.

Foundation: I’m a huge fan of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer. It’s just the right amount of coverage for me and I never look cakey or blotchy. Plus it doesn’t dry me out, either.

Bronzer: A good friend of mine who used to work for Stila cosmetics taught me a great trick prior to my first RWA: don’t use bronzers. They usually end up having an orange tint to them and they’re then easier to spot. Instead, she recommends using a dark tinted powder foundation. I swear by L’Oreal’s powder foundations. You can get them in either cool or warm and they have a really good tint selection.

For blush, I’m back to Target as well: I Love the little Pixie cheek tints. They go on smooth and sheer and last a really long time. I also swear by ELF make up brushes. They’re inexpensive but really hold up.

Tying it all together: whatever products you end up using, RWA is not the time to be playing with your makeup. You want a look that makes you feel confident, cool and collected. If you’re worried that your eyes are too dark, you’re going to be distracted when talking to your dream agent. So my advice is that if you don’t wear a lot of makeup, spend the time to have a professional do it for you. If you’re on a budget, spend the money on good foundation and concealer. Those will go a long way to pulling together a clean, professional look and it will match your skin tone better than trying to do it yourself.

Remember Bobbi Brown’s adage: it’s not about looking young for your age. It’s about looking your best for your age. Or something like that. Either way, it’s my makeup motto!