My Monday Face is a series here on Cocoon that covers my ever-growing obsession with beauty products and how I use them for fun, even on Mondays.

In this first installment of My Monday Face, I figured I might as well cover the basics. I like to think that I’m experimental with my makeup, but for the most part, I slog through my morning and slap the same old things on my face. Something brownish on the eyes, pinkish on the cheeks and lips.

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(From upper left, clockwise): NYX Single Eyeshadow in Tryst, elf Contouring Blush and Bronzer Cream Duo in St. Lucia, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip in Miami Strip, Nivea Lemon and Olive Lip Balm, NYX Single Eyeshadow in Maybe Later, Colourpop Blush in Between the Sheets, NYX Microbrow Pencil in Black, L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in Black, Tweezerman Eyelash Curler

Before all of the pictured products are applied, I try to remember to slather on some Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Broad Spectrum Sunscreen (not pictured). Last summer, I developed an allergy to chemical suncreens (I was a rashy, crackly red mess in Florence for a few days. Not cute.) and have since then been trying out some different mineral sunscreens (the ones with zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide instead). The one I’m using currently is okay but still not ideal. I’m not wearing it in below pictures because it leaves a bit of a white cast, which doesn’t photograph well. If you have any recommendations for mineral sunscreens that blend well, let me know! Until then, this works just fine keeping me from those nasty UV rays.

After sunscreen and popping in my contacts, I always do my brows first. Often, I end up going out with just brows on because I can’t be bothered to do anything else. I was born with hardly any eyebrow hair, so it’s an important step for me. I started using NYX’s microbrow pencil a few months ago, and it’s been great so far—just waxy enough, extremely long-lasting, and the right thinness for drawing in those little fake hairs.

I usually skip the whole base makeup situation because my face always ends up touching plenty of things throughout the day (I work with children), and I’ve reconciled myself to my dark, puffy eyebags. My next priority is blush, so I can look less like I stayed up all night calculating the minimum grade I can get on my tests and still pass. My daily favorite is Colourpop’s Between the Sheets, a nudey-rose matte blush that wears so well on the skin. The thing about blush is that no one notices when it’s there, but everyone does when it’s not. Magic? Methinks.

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If I still have time after blush, it is a blessed day indeed. I define my cheekbones with an inch-long swipe of the cream bronzer in elf’s duo – a longtime staple – and tone down the warmth by blending that with a NYX shadow in Tryst, a matte, cool toned grey-brown perfect for getting that contour on. I then start my favorite ritual—highlighting! I swipe elf’s shadow stick in Little Miss Thing – a shimmery, smooth golden champagne – on the usual spots: the tops of my cheekbones, tip of the nose, top of the nose between the eyes, inner tear ducts, and cupid’s bow. I blend the cream highlight with a generous dusting of my most prized product, Physicians Formula shimmer strip in Miami Strip. I cannot sing the praises of this product enough. It gives the most “wow” glow I’ve ever seen, but none of it is chunky or unnatural in any way. None of my pictures do this highlight justice.

This eye look isn’t really a “lewk.” It’s just NYX’s Maybe Later all over the lid and after a curl from the trusty Tweezerman, L’Oreal Voluminous on both the upper and lower lashes. I slather on some Nivea lip balm – the lemon and olive flavor; I’ve tried them all and this one’s by far the best in hydration and scent – and often call it a day there. If I’m feeling ~extra fancy~, I usually go for any lip product by NYX (can you tell I love them?). I’m wearing the NYX retractable lip liner in Nude Pink here.

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And that’s all for my basic Monday face! There’s not much to it besides my tried-and-true, everyday products. It’s strangely comforting to default on the good old my-face-but-better look. More Monday faces coming soon!