Even though I grew up in a household full of females and only two males (our poor Daddy dearest and our beloved beagle), I had to learn to do the girly stuff in life on my own. During my childhood and adolescence, I was raised to believe that traditionally feminine conventions like makeup, fashion and home economics came second to academics, if not even further down the established list of priorities. Consequently, I have mastered the art of microwaving and have somehow managed to steer clear of any and all trends, no matter how hard I try to keep up with fashion. However, I fortunately had the brilliant idea to consult YouTube during my early years in order to understand at least the basics of makeup. Over time, I’d like to think that I have evolved into a cosmetics guru—at least of the sort that involves minimal hassle and as few products as possible. When it comes to makeup, minimalism is my motto.

For a basic foundation, I prefer to use Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation to most others. This Micro-fil foundation saves me time on acne prevention products (it’s oil free) and milky Cleopatra-esque face creams (it’s oh-so hydrating). As a delightful bonus, its sheer to medium coverage comes across as au natural—I am a firm believer that only Marie Antoinette could pull off the cakey look (and eat it, too!).

Most people keep mascara in their purses, swearing by the power of this invention to transform one’s face at any point in the day. I, on the other hand, swear by blush. Blush is so very magical in that it has the power to light up one’s face, hiding tired lines and shadows, and can even double up as that something extra to make oneself decent post-work and pre-drinks if you’re on a tight schedule. I am a huge fan of MAC’s Powder Blush. The powder provides a natural glow and can be intensified if I want to use the Same one before going out to dinner—the less hassle, the better. It comes in 40 different shades, so you can easily find the perfect one for your specific skin tone.

During the daytime, I only wear eyeliner on my eyes—specifically Chanel’s Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner. Waterproof is an obviously necessary component, especially considering how I just graduated from college, leaving behind my cherished freedom and social life to adapt to early mornings and Microsoft Excel. This specific brand is also smudge-proof, an essential characteristic that any eyeliner connoisseur can attest to being God’s gift to man. Plus, it has a built-in sharpener, allowing you to cut corners and save on buying an additional beauty gizmo.

When I’m feeling really fancy, I like to use eye shadow. Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres is particularly perfect for this. It comes with four different colors, is dermatologist-tested and can withstand even extreme climates—a perk that is conducive to any season in any region. On top of all that, it’s smudge-proof, so you can avoid that embarrassing morning-after look that some products result in right after application.

Finally, there are the lips. Lips are tricky because they have to look good whether you’re smiling, talking or in mid-bite of that delicious everything bagel toasted with cream cheese. During the day, I’m a fan of Chanel’s Lèvres Scintillantes lip glosses. There are 39 shades that are sheer and seem to last forever. When it comes to nighttime, I lean towards deep, bold colors like Chanel’s Rouge Coco Lipstick in Cambon (blame it on my four years at New York University). This specific lipstick is lightweight and creamy. Best of all, it retains moisture so that you can safely avoid the tedious task of repeatedly applying lip balm and then re-applying lipstick.

– Shilpika Lahri


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