Today I’m going to take my readers (hey guys!) through my everyday styling routine and showcase some of my favourite vegan products.

Feel like you’re experiencing déja vu? You just might be. I did a post like this a little over a year ago, but that was before I was really confident with my photography skills and even had the know-how to actually set up portrait shots. My confidence in my skills has definitely changed drastically over the last year, but so has my makeup routine, so I thought I’d provide a more detailed and high-quality post into what my routine looks like most days!

For being a bit of a tomboy, I actually like makeup a lot — I just feel fairly comfortable not wearing it, so most people associate me as a “no makeup” kind of girl (hey, I’m always in a hurry). Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to wear makeup a little more consistently now that I’m doing more offsite meetings and events. And I’ve managed to find a routine that makes it look like I have my shit together without actually taking a ton of time, effort or know-how.

When I was 17, I read Carmindy’s The 5-Minute Face. Can you blame me for being addicted to that awful show What Not To Wear? Anyway, while the book is mostly useful for makeup novices (I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who knew more than a thing or two about makeup) it taught me a lot about the proper process and order for applying things and what each bit of makeup served. I base my routine off of that, skipping a few steps whenever I feel appropriate.

The best part is, all the products here are cruelty-free and vegan — though I’ll clarify that most (aside from ELF) are not from 100% vegan companies. I encourage people to always support 100% vegan companies when they are able to, of course, especially when they’re local and small-batch. For some of my favourite local Ontario vegan and eco-friendy products, check out my holiday gifts post (not just for the holidays)!

Anyway, here’s the ol’ routine. As always, none of these products are sponsored!

This is me with a clean face. Oof, look at that mug, will ya?

I always start with a freshly washed face, of course — I have pretty picky skin, so I’ve been diligent about taking care of my skin very well since I was young. Right now I’m using a bar of African black soap and Pacifica’s Cactus & Kale moisturizer, which is great for tired skin (which is my biggest issue).

If I have extra-extra time, I use a tinted moisturizer all over my face — I don’t bother with things like beauty blenders or stipple brushes unless I’m going to a super-duper fancy thing like a wedding. I just spread on my tinted moisturizer like a lotion. I like Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ OCC Tint because its texture allows me to apply it like that. Every day I use a heavy-duty concealer (Kat Von D’s Lock It concealer cream) under my eyes and on any problem areas like blemishes — then I set with a pressed translucent powder (I use the ELF studio line’s pressed powder — loose works just as well, but it’s a bit bulky for my makeup bag and I prefer something mess-free).

I’m a pale girl of Irish heritage, so I’m pretty careful about what (if any) bronzer I use. Instead I opt for a warm, peachy coral blush on my cheekbones, further back toward my temple (I keep it further away from the centre of my face to highlight my bone structure instead of my cheek-cheeks). I like ELF’s studio contouring blush/bronzer set, which is a great dupe for NARS’ Orgasm/Laguna (and no animals had to suffer, woohoo)! If it’s a summer day I might do a bit of all-over bronzer on my cheeks and nose for a nice glow, but the peachy tone of the blush works just fine for me.

Next, I make sure to give my eyebrows a very small boost. I’m not a fan of things like waxes and powders, just a simple pencil. Milani’s Easy Brow mechanical pencil is not only great because it has a brush included, but it’s one of the few drugstore brow products that doesn’t contain beeswax.

The key with brows is to not try and change the shape of your eyebrows. While the “full brows” trend of the last few years may have seemed like a relief to those of us who were victims of overplucking for years, as it turns out, over-filled and over-shaped brows can look just as ridiculous and ill-fitting for your face if not done correctly. This is why I like to use a pencil (rather than a gel) with a brush attached so I can just fill in my brows with very soft, hair-length strokes (do it like you’re sketching a picture!) and be on my way.

I don’t have a picture of my eyeliner routine because as it turns out, it’s really difficult to do your eyeliner without looking in the mirror. But here’s a trick I learned a long time ago — it’s way easier for me to put liquid eyeliner on after I’ve applied mascara, because it helps keep my line steady. I curl my eyelashes for about five seconds and run a very minimal mascara over it (ELF’s Beautifully Bare lash tint), then give it a few seconds to dry before swiping on a few straight lines of liquid eyeliner (Kat Von D’s Tattoo liner). I don’t bother with anything on my lower lashes — I went to high school around the heyday of Avril Lavigne and I’m pretty sure I’ve developed an adverse reaction to virtually any makeup on the lower lids. Yuuuuck!

Lip colour is something I like to fool around with from day to day — I like medium-coverage in pretty much all shades (I’ve even been known to rock black lips once in awhile). However, an easy go-to for me, being pale with blue undertones, is a berry-pink lipstick with a medium finish. I wear Benecos Natural Lipstick in Watermelon on days when I don’t know what else to wear, and the look is very “rock star meets sweetheart.”

I don’t like carrying a lot of makeup on me for touch-ups, so I’ve learned to start using setting spray. It helps keep my makeup in place and doesn’t feel stiff at all like I thought it would (I pictured hairspray on my face, basically). Again, I use ELF’s setting spray (can you tell I love this brand?) and just give a quick all-over spritz before heading out.

I’m currently in the stage of kind-of growing out my undercut (I like it, I just feel a need for a change) and am never quite sure what to do with my hair these days. I almost-never apply direct heat to it in the form of blow drying or straightening, but I do brush every night with a bamboo paddle brush and wash it once or twice a week to keep it clean (very greasy hair, here). Lately I’ve really been enjoying adding a bit of flexible hairspray and pushing it back to kind of a greaser look, which I feel brings a bit of androgyny to my look. I use Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz, which is a non-aerosol and vegan hairspray that doesn’t manage to feel yucky and stiff in my hair. Bonus!

Well, that’s my everyday routine — if it seems like a lot of steps, you can feel free to omit things like the eyeliner or the tinted moisturizer, but trust me, it’s not nearly as high-maintenance as it seems. This is a routine that favours the clumsy and the time-pressed.

What are some of your favourite vegan go-to products — anything from a 100% vegan/eco-friendly/responsible company you’d recommend?