Hello, everyone, and welcome to the second installment in my makeup interview series! Today I’m talking to my friend Aisling, who over the years has been my own personal makeup fairy (more on that in the interview)! Aisling (pronounced “Ashleen”) is a Brighton-based web designer originally from Calgary. She loves theatre, history, and cooking, and you can read all about her adventures on her blog, Aisybee.
1. How would you describe your style of makeup?
I would say it is quite “classic.” Maybe a step or two above “natural.” It’s not about being flashy for me, and I definitely have a “comfort zone” that I stay within. I mainly wear makeup to enhance and make myself feel a bit cuter!
2. Describe a makeup look that you would consider “classic” you.
I like a matte base (not dry though!), although I barely wear foundation or anything on my skin. I cannot go out without darkening my eyebrows — it is my one main weakness! For my eyes, I usually go with a lightening base, and a darker crease colour (I’m really into golds and bronzes lately), with black liquid eyeliner. I keep my blush fairly natural. I can take or leave lips, really. I will wear lip colour when going out, but I don’t wear it to work or anything.
3. What is the most recent product that you bought? What’s your most recent makeup discovery that you’re excited about?
I’m supposed to be on a no spend because I spend way too much on makeup that I don’t use! But, recently, I picked up a L’Oreal eyeshadow in the shade “Lumiere 500,” which is a warm gold, and it is so gorgeous. It’s totally worth it, as it’s quickly becoming a staple.
I’ve been getting into idea of holding on to products that I love, which means I have been buying less to experiment. But I recently picked up the Real Techniques Bold Metals contour brush, and I love it.
4. What are your 3 holy grail products?
Like I said, I do not go anywhere without my eyebrows! Two Christmases ago, I was a lot more boring with makeup and was firmly in my “matte neutral eyeshadow” phase, so you got me the Body Shop matte eyeshadow in Coconuts About You. I don’t know what drove me to try it as an eyebrow colour one day, but I did, and now it is easily my most used product.
Next up is the No. 7 Stay Perfect mascara. I have awful eyes. They’re blinky and watery and just a nightmare. So, I’ve never been able to use a mascara without it racooning nearly instantly. This mascara is a tubing mascara, so it basically wraps your eyelashes in… plasticky mascara. It sounds weird, but it never smudges, so basically it is a life saver!
And, obviously, my favourite black liquid eyeliner is the Stila Stay All Day. Nothing else works for me (again, picky eyes!). My life would be much worse without it.
5. What product do you think is worth the high price tag, and what product that you can find at the drugstore do you think is awesome?
The NARS eyeshadow primer, for sure for higher price tag. It’s brilliant.
For drugstore you cannot beat a good Sleek eyeshadow palette. Seriously. I’ve given away most of my higher end shadow palettes because they did not do the trick, whereas Sleek hits the mark every time. They also allow me to experiment more without breaking the bank. I have the Vintage Romance and Garden of Eden palettes and I love them.
6. About how long does your normal makeup routine take? What does it consist of? Do you do anything else while you do your makeup, like drink your morning coffee or watch TV?
My pre-work routine probably clocks in at about 15 minutes. I don’t do anything particularly fancy, but I do take my time a bit because it’s relaxing. I usually moisturize, maybe brush on some Mac Studio Fix Powder if my cheeks are a bit redder than I would like. Then I put on eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and fill my eyebrows. Then a bit of blush and I am good to go!
I will often put on a show or some music, but sometimes I just kind of sit in silence. Zen. Inner peace.
7. Where do you get makeup inspiration from? Are there any websites or YouTube channels you visit regularly? Any celebrities whose makeup you might draw inspiration from?
I follow Charlotte Hayward on social media. She does makeup for Emma Watson and I love her work. Other than that, my style is fairly simple, so I don’t need much in terms of “inspiration.” When I do branch out, it’s often something I’ve seen you post on Tumblr and have decided to give a go.
8. Do you feel that your makeup helps to convey your personality, or is a way in which you can visually and aesthetically construct a sense of self? What are you trying to convey through your makeup, if anything?
I wouldn’t say it has too much of an effect on me, actually. I like makeup, but I also am okay going without it. I often roll into work without a stitch on (other than my eyebrows… how many times can I stress this?). I definitely feel a bit cuter when I put in “effort” whether that be through makeup or by wearing a cute outfit, so I suppose it boosts my confidence a bit.
9. What is it that you like best about makeup?
I love discussing it with my friends, because it is such a personal thing and I think it can help tell a lot about a person. I love comparing products and perhaps being able to help a friend with a recommendation. I love seeing the people in my life feel more confident in themselves. I think spending a lot of time staring at your own face and getting to know yourself is a great thing. Women are shamed for “vanity” and are taught to reflect compliments, so I think the act of brazenly staring yourself in the face is so liberating and important.
10. Why do you wear makeup?
Again, it’s about feeling cute and making an effort for me. I like to look put together, so when I have the time and energy to do so, I’m totally on board! I definitely don’t do anything that would be considered “transforming” or even particularly expressive. I am just attracted to traditionally “feminine” things, I suppose.
11. When did you first start wearing makeup regularly? When did it become an interest for you, i.e. something you actively wanted to talk about, read about, etc?
I’m unsure if I would qualify as wearing it “regularly” now, because I am so sporadic, and it really depends on my mood. But I’ve been collecting makeup for about 5 years. I think after I first discovered the Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner in 2012 or 2013 I kind of started getting into it a bit more.
12. I have personally benefited from your pickiness when it comes to makeup; you’ve passed a lot of stuff onto me, including plenty of high-end products. How do you decide what to keep? What types of products are you most likely to buy, and what types of products do you think you’re most discerning about? And what are some products that you had high hopes for but that ultimately disappointed you?
For me, I love makeup, but I want it to be very stress free and easy. I like to try new things, but I also like to be confident in my choices, so if I don’t like something I get rid of it. Basically my ideal is to be able to go to my collection of carefully curated products that I know I LOVE and be able to throw whatever on my face and leave feeling adorable and confident.
Most of my splurges are on products like powders and blushes, because I can feel fairly confident that they will work for me without needing to try them very much. I’m less likely to buy a lip product simply because I am not a huge fan of them in general. There are standouts, of course.
My main downfall is that, despite being a designer, I can often misjudge colour. And I suppose sometimes I want to own a hyped product simply because of the hype. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been disappointed by the quality of a higher end product. For example, the Naked 3 palette and the Hourglass blush which both live with you now… both were great quality, but the colours were wrong for me. But I’m glad that I took the risk and tried new things and branched out a bit, despite the products not working for me. It’s nice to experiment. And I love that I can pass some of these things on to people it will work for. You saw the struggle I went through before handing my Naked 3 palette over to you, but I’ve never regretted it since, because it made you so happy and you will benefit from it in a way I never would have. So, I got to try a product I wanted to try, and it didn’t work out, but it still gets to be enjoyed by someone who will love it and… I really love that aspect of makeup.
13. I know that you tend to favour higher end brands and like a good splurge now and then. Let us live vicariously through you: what are some luxury products that you could not live without?
Yes, yes, I do have my special high-end favourites.
I always talk about my Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Walk of Shame, and I am such a bad influence since I basically made you buy one as well, but I really love it. And for me to love a lip product, that is a very big deal. But it almost seems like it was made for me. It’s a fairly neutral red in a matte finish with amazing packaging. It appeals to me on every level!
Less talked about is the combo of my new RT Bold Metals contour brush and the Kevyn Aucoin sculpting powder. I live in this strange land where I am quite pale but also warm toned, and I also prefer powder products on my face over cream ones, so it took me forever to find a contour that would work for me. I love this bad boy though. I don’t contour very often, so this is for special occasions only!
I have both the Hourglass Ambient Lighting and Ambient Blush palettes and I truly adore them. It’s nice to be able to try 3 different shades of each product and they’re all beautiful, and always surprising. I had a full sized Ambient Blush previously (as you know since you now own it!) but it pulled too red (and my cheeks already suffer from quite a bit of redness, especially in winter) so it was not great, even with a stippling brush and a light hand. So, I decided to get the blush palette, even though I was a bit iffy about the peachy colour… well, joke’s on me because the peachy colour is by far my favourite!
One of my biggest indulgences is buying a tub of Lush’s Gorgeous moisturizer each winter. I have chronically dry skin, so I use their Ultrabland cleanser year round but in the winter I need a little extra, and nothing I’ve tried compares to Gorgeous. It is very expensive, but it does last most of the year for me and I think it is worth every penny.
14. You’re a very social person, a classic extravert, and you enjoy makeup. Do these things ever intersect? How do you feel about makeup as a tool to facilitate bonding? Obviously there is the beauty blogging/vlogging community, but what about in the corporeal world?
I love talking about makeup with people, so yes, I will pipe up and talk or offer a suggestion when I encounter other people. I’ve started going to more blogging events, so it is kind of crossing over into the real world, since a lot of women blog about makeup, although I do not. But yeah, I think it’s like any hobby. I will obviously bond with people who share my interests, whether it be design, photography, baking… it’s all just another form of creation and expression and I love it!
Thank you so much for your thoughts (and beautiful pictures), Aisling!
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