An Archaeologist’s Beauty Toolkit

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You might be wondering what kind of makeup an archaeologist wears day to day on the site.  And the thing is, there’s no one real answer.  Some may say none at all, some may say just the basics, and some might want to show up full glam and ready to dig.  The great thing about makeup is that you can wear as little or as much as you want, and there are thousands of product options to ensure you’re looking your best, and your makeup stays on all day through whatever comes your way.  My personal philosophy is just enough to mask my imperfections, but not so much that it becomes a hassle and affects my ability to do work.  In this post, the complement to my last entry, I’ll be showing you some of the products that I use on a daily basis, and travel sized versions of products I use on more special occasions, like going out with friends or weekend trips to different cities.

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I’m a sucker for anything travel sized with cute packaging.  That’s why this primer, from Smashbox, caught my eye in the check out line at Sephora.  It’s the Photo Finish Foundation Primer, in the color correcting adjust shade of green.  In the world of color correcting, green is used to neutralize redness which makes it a great choice for an overall primer.  It saves me from wasting extra time concealing places like underneath my nose and on my chin where I tend to get red and blotchy throughout the day, and isn’t greasy feeling on the skin.  Although I don’t feel it does as much as other primers I’ve tried as far as increasing the longevity of the makeup, it does help keep everything in place throughout the day, which is essential when working outside.  And bonus: at $16 for the .5 oz travel size, and $39 for the 1 oz full, buying small ends up being more cost effective.

Tinted Moisturizer:

FullSizeRender(1) copy 4One of the greatest loves of my life is the Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream by BareMinerals.  Longest product name aside, this gel is incredibly lightweight and is practically undetectable on the skin.  It gives bare to light coverage, just enough to even out skin tone, and sinks beautifully into the skin when applied with a damp sponge.  As an added perk, it comes formulated with SPF 30, which, if you’ve read my other Toolkit post, you know is practically the first rule of archaeology, and stays on the skin for a surprising amount of time given the consistency of the product.  Plus, it’s an Allure Best of Beauty Award winner.  Mine is in the shade Opal 01 (“for the fairest porcelain skin with cool tones”), and while I discovered Sephora does offer a few shades in the travel size, it’s a way better deal to buy the full, especially if you’re planning on using it as a daily product.


FullSizeRender(7)Little known fact: I’ve been struggling with mild hormonal acne since I was 19, after it developed from taking a medication that apparently didn’t agree with me.  Because of that, concealer has become an absolute lifesaver.  I’m talking stranded on a desert island, can only bring one item lifesaver.  And being paler than printer paper, it’s hard to find a brand that makes one in a shade I can wear on its own without having it turn yellow and mark every single breakout with a big, makeup stamp.  Then, as if by an answered prayer, Urban Decay released their Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer.  The only full coverage item in my makeup bag, I use this product in the shade Fair Neutral for everything.  Dotting under my eyes to mask late night dark circles, spot concealing breakouts on my chin and lower jaw, and down the bridge of my nose to cover redness thanks to hay fever and seasonal allergies.  It doesn’t feel heavy, blends seamlessly with my skin, and doesn’t crease when set with a translucent powder.  I’ve gone through at least three tubes of it since they released, and out of all the concealers I’ve tried, this one is a forever repurchase.

And that’s it!  That’s my daily makeup for the excavation.  It seems simple, and that’s because it really is.  Takes less than 10 minutes, and that’s important when you have a 9am call time, a 30 minute walk to the site, and you have to be entirely ready to go, dressed, lunch and backpack packed, and down for breakfast which is served at 8am.  I have, however, slightly cheated by getting my eyelashes tinted before flying out, which saves me from putting on mascara every morning and risk having it flake off into my eyes out on the site.  Since both my eyelashes and eyebrows are bright blonde and barely visible naturally, at $30 for a brow and lash tint from Salon 730 in Fredericksburg, VA, it was worth it for 6 weeks of mascara free lashes and the vanity of still looking halfway #flawless from the moment I wake up.

Honorable Mentions:

For special occasions, like going out to one of the pubs or on a weekend getaway, I brought travel sized bronzer, blush, and highlight.

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The matte Hoola Bronzer from Benefit is compact, closes shut with a magnetic clasp, and doesn’t look orange or streaky.  Perfect for chucking into a downsized makeup bag!

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For highlight, I bought a travel sized version of Laura Mercier’s Matte Radiance Baked Powder in the shade 01.  While it doesn’t quite have the pigment I was hoping for, it does have a beautiful color and helps catch light on the tops of my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose in a natural, non-glittery way.

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For blush, you can never go wrong with NARS in the shade Orgasm.  It provides the perfect flush and works on an incredibly wide range of skin tones, which has helped it to earn the coveted cult favorite title from makeup lovers across the world.  Mine in particular came from one of the Sephora 500 point perk packages, but sadly, doesn’t come in a travel size.

Packing makeup is always a hassle, but at least on an excavation, there’s literally no pressure to look even remotely socially acceptable.  Just these simple products, along with brushes and an eyelash curler, work fine for me.  Skincare, on the other hand, demands far more attention and dedication.  How exactly do you pack for an extended stay, and still try and maintain the same routine so your skin doesn’t freak out from a combination of stress, gross airplane air, different water pressure and a change in diet?  That’s coming in another post, so stay tuned!

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