6 Makeup Applicators That Don’t Suck

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An Ode to Brown Shadow

Revlon in Rich Sable

You know that tired old magazine question they always ask celebrities or models: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one makeup product, what would it be? The question never specifies why you would want a cosmetics product on a desert island. Are there other stranded people on the island? Is this a Lost situation? Are the other people hot?

The idea of needing makeup in deserted exile is probably pretty silly for most people. But the true beauty addicts know: it’s almost impossible to choose just one. Hell, even if nobody is around, what if I get rescued? By cute Coast Guard guys? What if I come across a reflective surface and get scarred for life? What if I just get bored and want to look cute for no particular reason? I SHOULD HAVE THAT RIGHT. I mean, I’m stranded, for god’s sake. Let me have this.

So while Chapstick and mascara are some pretty solid contenders, I’m pretty sure I’d have to go with a nice matte brown shadow. I use that stuff for everything. A smoky brown eye is my daily go-to, I fill in my eyebrows with an angled brush if I’m out of brow pencil, and it’s perfect for contouring under my cheekbones (subtlety is key here — fan brush or angled blush brush, shade out the hollows of your cheeks and blend the shit out of it — or risk looking like you got caught in a Stevie Nicks music video from the ’80s).

You gotta love a product that can multi-task that well. And it doesn’t even need to be a super high-end brand. I’ve used shadows from Maybelline, Revlon, and Cover Girl, and they work just as well as anything from Bobbi Brown, Lancome, or Laura Mercier. Just make sure it’s matte. Your eyebrows will look weird if they’re all sparkly. Ditto your contouring.

What can’t you live without?