By Janet Kelly
REMEMBER when it became a kind of a popular parlor game to imagine what you’d want/need if you happened to get stranded on a desert island? Despite the chances of that happening— unless you’re Tom Hanks in the 2000 film Cast Away or more recently, Matt Damon on Mars—are slim to none.
On a far more frivolous level, I’ve been thinking about the cosmetics I can’t /don’t want to do without on an everyday basis. In my unruly stash, products do come and go, but two have remained constant—concealer and highlighter. Mascara comes in third but currently I have no uncontested favorite.
Over the past, say, 15 years, I’ve been faithful to Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat’s Radiant Under-Eye Concealer . Although the formula has changed along with the name, I don’t see any appreciable difference. When I first began using it, YSL offered about four or five shades; now there are 15 to choose from. I stick with porcelain, which has a pinkish undertone, and beige, which is slightly darker, during the summer. Even though it contains hyaluronic acid—which can help boost skin moisture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—I use a little moisturizer under it so it goes on more smoothly. It also contains caffeine to reduce under-eye puffiness and swelling, as well as antioxidant Vitamin E and calendula oil, which has skin-soothing properties.
On first use, you have to click the pen a few times to get the liquid flowing into the brush applicator. After that, a click or two lets you dispense the amount you need onto the very fine, pointy-shaped brush. Some concealers I’ve used have sponge-like applicator tips, which invariably get gloppy after a month or two. The one drawback to YSL’s concealer is you can’t see how much product you have left; the only sign that you’ve run out is when you click, nothing more comes out. But it lasts a long time (I usually keep one for six months), and I use it not only around my eyes, but also to camouflage any other dark spots on my face and around my nose.
My other, more recent favorite comes from Westman Atelier, the company founded by makeup-artist-to-the-models-and-stars, Gucci Westman. I first noticed her line about five years ago on a random afternoon trip to the much-missed cosmetics floor of Barneys New York. If there were ever a place that could make you believe in the magic of makeup, this was it. Anyway, I fell for a couple of Westman products, notably the Lit Up Highlighter, a translucent gel that gives your face a dewy—not shiny–look. Gucci advises (in her videos) dabbing it on with your fingers onto tops of cheeks, cheekbones, on cupid’s bow and tear ducts. I wear it under or over a matte foundation or just by itself if I’m heading out early in the morning when I really need some oomph to perk up my face.