Do you remember the first time you were allowed to wear makeup? For many people (myself included), it was such an exciting time that inspired a very "grown-up" feeling. I got to start off slow in my preteen years with lip gloss and a lot of body glitter. When I turned 13, I got the green light to go all out with my makeup (to a certain extent).
When it was time for the big day—i.e., the day I got to buy makeup—I remember being so excited to head to the mall makeup counter and try every single thing. Since my mom was paying, she took me straight to the Clinique counter, a brand that she used, and still uses, exclusively.
The salespeople at the counter were so enthusiastic and excited for my first makeup foray. I tried everything from concealers and foundations to eye shadows and lipsticks. After almost two hours, I left with a bag full of makeup and a pep in my step.
They say you never forget your first, and although that can refer to something that doesn't have anything to do with makeup whatsoever, I'm still going to apply it in this story. I never forgot my first makeup brand, and I'm still wearing it at 32 years old. So I guess you can say I've been a Clinique stan for almost 20 years, which makes me feel like I'm still 13 and like I'm a grown-up woman at the same time.
What do I love so much about Clinique? I always know exactly what I'm getting. My skin is normal but is also prone to sensitivity and dryness, and I've never experienced any irritation with the products. Everything is well-made, long-lasting, and long wearing. It may not be as buzzy or trendy as some of the flashier makeup brands out there, but it's always made me look and feel glam on days when I really want to step things up in the makeup department and look and feel natural and effortless during everyday moments. It's just nice to know that you can depend on something, right?
While my initial teenage makeup haul was strictly Clinique, I did have a couple of trendy items that all teens in the early aughts had to have—Urban Decay eye shadows, MAC's Lipglass, and Lancôme's Juicy Tubes, for example. The same can be said for my present-day makeup inventory.
Some trends have come and gone for me, but I've been going back to the same Clinique products ever since. The products and brands are much more varied now, and I do have new favorites and holy-grail products, but I still always keep my Clinique go-tos in my rotation.
So as an ode to Clinique, my first makeup love, here are my favorites.
I've written about using this BB cream for the last 10 years after my mom introduced me to the world of BB and CC creams. I normally wear it in the place of foundation since it provides just the right amount of coverage for me and is super lightweight. I also love that it comes with SPF protection.
When Clinique introduced the Chubby Stick a couple of years ago, I was immediately hooked. It's like a super-pigmented lip balm and leaves a nice natural tint.
I always struggle with the dark circles under my eyes, so I like using this concealer to brighten and de-puff the area.
While I normally buy my eye shadows from different brands, I like to keep this duo in my makeup bag because it's perfect for everyday wear. The complementary colors make it so easy to blend and contour.
One of my first makeup purchases was a powder blush from Clinique. This one wasn't the first version I tried, but it's become my absolute favorite. The color is so natural looking yet buildable. Also, it looks like a flower, which I find very adorable.
Whenever I see this green case I get so nostalgic—it's nice to know that, while some things can change, some things stay the same! I like using this powder to finish off my makeup if I want more of a matte look.
I love that this bronzer doesn't give me any orangey, fake-tan vibes. It looks very natural—like I've been sun-kissed without the scary UV rays. A little bit goes a long way for me.
I keep this mascara in rotation because it's pretty good at making my lashes look longer and thicker. It's so easy to apply and never clumps.
I always struggle with eyeliner because I'm impatient and not very precise. This pencil is foolproof for me. It glides on easily and doesn't smudge. There's also a smudge tool at the end of the pencil so you can blend.
This lipstick has staying power and a velvety finish. It also doesn't feel too cakey or heavy. My favorite shade is the berry one.
I had to include this tool on the list. I've had this brush for years, and it's still as good as new. I'm able to blend foundation or concealer in so easily.
Clinique was not only my first makeup brand, but it was also my first skincare brand. My mom has been a loyal Clinique skincare user for what seems like pretty much my whole life, and she's turned me on to a lot of the products. These are the ones I've been using for years.
This is another product that just fills me with nostalgia and takes me back to being a teen (in the best way possible). It's just always worked for my skin, leaving it moisturized and soft for hours on end.
When I want to refresh my skin, I use this exfoliating product. It's gentle, yet it does a good job of getting rid of dead skin cells and dirt.
I made this recent discovery when I spent the night at my mom's house and forgot to bring some of my toiletries with me. I'm so obsessed with this jelly moisturizer. It's so lightweight, cooling, and hydrating. I love using it when my skin is especially dried out and irritated.
This is another moisturizing powerhouse for me. The gel-cream formula sinks into the skin so quickly and feels so soothing.
I never used a cleansing balm before I got a sample of this, and I'm a convert. I use this when I have a full face of makeup on and need to get everything off easily without stripping my skin.
When my eyes are feeling tired or puffy, this rollerball does the trick. When I massage it on my eye area, it feels like a nice little treat.
This mineral sunscreen provides so much protection against UVA and UVB rays. It also doesn't feel too heavy or greasy, so it's good for both everyday use and when you're at the beach or pool.