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We try scores of beauty/skincare products…but-what we end up using till the container is empty= that is a product that gets the major love. It works and it works for our active lifestyle-(outdoors, endurance sports)…as well as quality (passing  the urban sophisticate test) and, a MUST- practical to use.

Like our wardrobe- we take high/low approach to this…as there are loads of inexpensive products ---and plenty of pricey items that are worth it. IMO.

                                                                  Eye MakeUp

With all the watery environments and sweat induced activities-we're always bemused by claims of "waterproof" makeup. Yeah, right.

 The first test we did 2.5 years back was with MakeUp Forever's at that time fairly new AquaLiner $23-in Dragon Lagoon Green-a bold toned liquid eyeliner that goes on easily enough with the provided thin brush-and sets fast. Waterproof tough was put to the test- as we were going to jump off a ferry and swim to the Statue of Liberty in the choppy New York Harbor. (Organized by NYC SWIM-not a random jaunt).

Well, the liner held up perfectly--def. surviving the swirling currents and our freestyle stroke, No wonder the continued popularity of the liquid Aqua Liners in this makeup line- itself originally launched for pros (and drag queens we thought -when we lived in Paris, back in the day).

MakeUp Forever also gets major eco bonus points for selling refillable lipstick and eyeshadow palettes that cuts down on landfill waste. A lot of professional lines without the glitzy marketing campaigns do this (Alcone-a fab go to source with e-commerce, carefully curated for savvy NYC makeup artists, fyi.).

Our latest waterproof test-was -SeneGence's  EyeSense black eyeliner-from this niche brand we discovered at a event. Durability was put to the test-as not only did the makeup have to survive a marathon we had on our agenda -we were curious if it survived the post race loooong shower.
Answer-it did, flawlessly. EyeSense sets fast, is a deep inky black-and very liquidy eyeliner texture. It comes with a super thin -easy to use brush-  that can draw a barely visible (or thick for drama) line between lashes- a feat tougher to do with thicker formulations, imo.

Other peeper decorative elements we use-Maybelline's glammy Color Tattoo Metal Eye Studio eyeshadow (widely available)-comes in a screw cap jar (nicely durable packaging unlike powder palettes we are always dropping/breaking). We apply just a tiny tiny bit of the cream gel eyeshadow with our pinky finger over eyelids. It is very spreadable for a thin wash of color or when we want a more intense look-we apply slightly more. It kinda dries to a glossy powder finish but for hours long crease-less, non-crepe/non-aging wear we have to smooth it out over a moisture sandwich on our eyelids by applying a minuscule dab of moisturizer before and after-on top of. The color holds up well- though we have yet to demo during an Ironman competition. Our eye creme of choice-the completely non-irritating ZO Skin Health Olluminate Eye Repair, expensive but worth the $130-the jar lasting us 11 months-and counting. There is some ingredient(s)-scent maybe (a turn-off usually anyways), even in organic eye treatment products- that burn/itch us. This does not. 

For a variety of color pops (38 shades!!!), from the value priced pro's line that is grabbing the consumer market- we LOVE the vegan and cruelty free-Obsessive Compulsive Loose Colour Concentrates $14

Deeply pigmented, micro-refined mineral powders…not waterproof but very long lasting…multi-task- not just on eyelids. A little goes a long way, fyi. AND maybe we shouldn't- but the generously sized .08 ounce powder lasts a super long time. We have been using- for 2 years now- a bright lime green (Wasabi  Chartreuse) tone we pair with purple liner that make our green eyes pop...

Getting off (dissolving) waterproof maquillage-especially mascara (no fav brand here-more of a brush decision)- needs a different removal process than a fast splash.We are practically out of the no rinse needed Napoleon Perdis  Marshmallow Foam Makeup remover $25, fashion week backstage staple, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré $16 and She Uemera  Original Premium Cleansing Oil- at $77-a bit pricey (all) but neither leaves a slick trace behind in case we want to re-apply makeup---yet our skin is hydrated, not stripped-and then we don't need a separate moisturizer. PLUS a little of all products- goes a very long way. 

Budget babes- when we were in college, living in Africa- -we used a few drops  of the basic any brand, multi-tasker- Baby Oil on a cotton ball. Agreed-it easily removes the serious waterproof eye makeup and last forever lipsticks too (the best selling CoverGirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor and SeneGence's LipSense-lead/wax free fyi-our go to brands) ---but we only use the non-irritating Baby Oil during the dry winter months now…otherwise it's a bit too greasy.


Everyday/night-our lips get ridiculously dry so in practically every jacket with a pocket that we wear-and every hauler we use-fancy or gym bags, we stash a moisturizer for our smackers so as never without.

Our go to super long lasting, moisturizing lip balms are the petroleum free Classic Organic Lip Balm by Badger (our BF uses too),  Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrient® by Intelligent Nutrients, Elemental Herbs All Good Lips™ ($3.50-USDA Certified Organic too)- and super cheap, mass merch available, 

LypSyl Intense Protection.

 We use all - on their own---or over Nars Velvet Matte Lip  Pencil (in an red-orangish Red Square or Dragon Girl)-a creamy super fast, long lasting, easy to swipe on thick pencil with a cult following- that is worth the $25.

We've been reading scores of how-tos that recommend putting concealer around lips-or covering lips with foundation prior to application-for lipstick that stays put and won't creep out of lip lines. Might work but the advice is too many steps for us and besides, it  can taste awful. One of the reasons we use lipstick that does not budge and eschew glosses in general- is so we (and the BF) doen't eat it/taste any of it and our hair won't stick. Plus we read clips on that less than lovely stat that on average, we swallow something like 3.7 -7 lbs of lipstick/year/lifetime, whatever. Yech.

Sunscreen, Primer

A lot of skin's aging results from unprotected skin exposure to the sun. We can say FOR SURE to that ---we can tell by looking at our age group female competitors when we do triathlons…a race where the swim waves (the first leg of this three sport competition) are started by age groups/gender. Sure, there is a genetic and ethnic component to aging skin  -skinwise. But who applies serious sunscreen continuously-it shows up- with less wrinkles, better textured skin---visible differences we notice- starting with gals in their early 30s. Already.

For broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB rays) that holds up in competition-and for hours of it-we initially slather on Beyond Coastal Natural Sunscreen SPF30+ before we even put on our race uniform. The zinc oxide/titanium dioxide combo-unique mix to the brand (we asked)-rubs in fairly clear too so it is okay to use on darker skin tones. A non-irritating formula which helps when using on a face that's about to sweat up - this brand that surfers swear by-nicely holds up though like all water resistant brands-is given an 80 minute effective time label.  We are sure the fishes appreciate the highly influential Environmental Working Group 2013 Top Pick - not having all the chemicals in their living environment too-washing off the humans.

Another sunscreen on our list to use on our next Ironman-and one we wish was stocked at all the water stations right alongside the Gatorade- is the new Wet Skin  SPF45+ by Neutrogena that comes in a creamy formula- in a 3oz tube. The company's Helioplex® mix of  ingredients- is unique, we guess…but what we really like about this broad sunscreen protection---the application ease -especially in the sweaty summer months. Wet Skin goes on wet skin and sticks (in a matter of speaking)-and during T1 or T2 (transition from one sport to the next…)-there's not time to towel off when going for a PR.

Missing-spray sunscreens-we def. feel the particles or vapors get in our lungs and irritate-so we AVOID and avoid people around us pre-race that are in the act of using too.

When we go out -just around the town-we use the physical block (vs chemical) Tizo 3 SPF 40 or MD Solar Sciences Tinted Creme SPF 30-both creamy formula sunscreens-widely available online ($40-$32 range though discounts abound)…on our face.
Not exactly household name brands - we love how they are totally non greasy-good for all skin types-and impart not only enough tinted light coverage -but also allows for smooth foundation application afterwards, if we want. Not all sunscreens do that.
Note: the BB and CC creams flooding the market do serve up SPF broad sunscreen protection-but for us, we need a bit too much formula to get adequate sun protection-our priority---and therefore the amount needed from a BB and CC-a bit too much of them is required, for that.  SO we stick with sunscreen …applied after we smooth on a thin anti-aging, sinks in fast- serum from Swiss companies Alpeor or La Colline, Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum though currently we are out of :( and very $-or our gym bag staple-  the more affordable Origins Plantscription $55.

As for primers-we're too lazy/have no time- and if skin is in good shape-why bother. IMO: Quality of foundations these days…high and low priced ---go on well enough on their own and how may good for the skin ingredients do we really need piled on at one time.

However…when we want flawlessness personified…or just didn't get enough sleep-oddly enough, we found  ReGenica's Facial Rejuvenation Complex Post Procedure   (a mouthful)… amazing. (Our review of other products).The clear gel is packaged in a pump bottle like a primer we were trying out….but we used a nickel size of this healing product by mistake. It dries in about 20 seconds…and our foundation went on super easy. And lo and behold-our blotched out, puffy skin dialed down to look like we had time for serious REM cycles. Available online (we found priced $120-$150) ReGenica™ has some serious double blind white paper down-loadable, doctor names attached, studies-to back up anti-aging claims…which we find a lot more convincing than most marketing claims from cosmetic companies.

In the USA-most products -except sunscreens- don't come with an expiration date---and we always wondered about the shelf life-and once open-how effective the ingredients would remain-of products esp. given the costs. Airless pump bottles and smart packaging help retain integrity…but we still got a range of answers when we even got an answer-anywhere from 6 months to two years, once open -the smaller number for creamy emollient formulas. Obvi-store NOT in humid bathrooms---cooler, dryer environments not exposed to direct sunlight is key.