“My Good Day Face” is a Mental series about the feel-good beauty products people use to boost their moods.
Heather Muir Maffei is both incredibly glam (lashes! contour! spray tan!) and completely down-to-earth: She talks openly about upper-lip hair, chin zits, and the perils of a facial from an inexperienced aesthetician—public pictures and all.
Anyone who follows her on Instagram knows she’s a family gal. Scroll and you’ll get to know Sal, her mom, who sells Mary Kay and sparked an interest in skincare; her husband, Dave, with whom she runs Halfsies Cookie Co.; her two Gerber-baby children (the faces!); and a giant dog named Apollo (RIP Chunk, the other Great Dane above).
As the beauty director of Real Simple, you’ll also see Muir Maffei testing Benefit mascara on a spaceship, attending an Elton John concert with Essie, and cavorting with Madonna, Jennifer Garner, and any other celeb who’s launched a beauty product in the past decade. Her early-morning treadmill streak sparked an IG GIF, #muirmademedoit, inspiring others to join in the a.m. fitness fun.
So it’s not surprising that Muir Maffei’s wholesome-glittery duality informs how she views beauty and mood: “To me, it’s important to love all of the sides to myself. I love waking up makeup-free and appreciating my skin and all of its imperfections,” she says. “After going makeup-free for so long during the pandemic, I really learned to love myself without makeup.
“Yet, there’s something about the transformative power of makeup,” she continues. “I think of it as my armor to facing the world.” This armor theory dovetails with a study published in Cogent Psychology examining the “lipstick effect” on academic performance. On a simulated exam, female undergraduates wearing makeup got higher grades than those who listened to positive music.
The key to getting such an esteem bump? “Finding the colors and textures that act as that immediate boost or good-mood-in-the-bottle truly makes all the difference,” says Muir Maffei. “That’s why I love what I do: Beauty and makeup are so much more than color; it’s all about how it makes you feel.” These are her pick-me-up picks.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, $64
“If I’ve learned anything from 16-plus years in the beauty industry, it’s that your makeup is only as good as the skincare you layer underneath it. While I test dozens of cleansers, toners, and creams every month (sorry, Dr. Dendy), I always prep my makeup with Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. The moisturizer is really thick yet it melts into skin, and despite my oily T-zone, it has yet to trigger a breakout.
“Instead, it immediately smoothes and plumps, doesn’t pill under foundation, and leaves skin with a blurred, Paris-filter-like sheen. It has a lengthy list of hero ingredients (hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, peptides, shea butter, and vitamin E), but it’s the morale boost I get after rubbing her in that keeps me coming back. And while I’m nursing and not getting Botox, it makes me feel good in my skin.”
Tarte Sugar Rush Easy On The Eyes Clay Liner in Bronze and Black, $20 each
“So apparently there’s this rule that once you’re a certain age, you’re supposed to stop using black liner because it’s too harsh. I say screw it and continue to rim my water lines with black, just as I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. Maybe I’m stuck in a rut or maybe I know how to make my hazel eyes pop (you decide). I’ve swiped every liner out there and this is the clear winner.
“I trace Bronze along my lower lash lines, then Black on my inner lines. The combo intensifies my eyes and makes me feel sexy. Even if I’m not having the best skin day or I’m not thrilled with my hair in that moment, this eye combo serves as instant confidence.”
Dibs Beauty Desert Island Duo in You Do You and Mood Boost, $32
“I used to be Team Powder, but after a few fine lines appeared and the pigment made itself right at home in them, I realized cream blush was more my jam. This is a dual-ended stick that features a creamy bronzer and blush. I contour with the bronzer, then dot the nudey-pink blush high on my cheekbones and across my nose, forming a ‘W’ (because all of the cool kids are doing it).
“There are a million pink cream blushes but this shade is just, well, perfect. It’s one of those shades that reads as happy. Even if I’m not feeling great—tired, annoyed, whatever—this blush helps me fake it until I make it. A quick blend with my fingertips, and I look well-rested and happy. It kind of tricks me into being in a better mood.”
Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil in Endless Cacao, $22
“After watching one of my favorite makeup artists, Katie Janes Hughes, use this pencil for years, I finally tried it for myself. It looks crazy dark in the package, but the cool matte brown contours lips like no other. I overdraw my lips ever so slightly with it, and, boom, I get the pouty, defined lips that pair perfectly with all of my favorite pinky-nude lipsticks. “
Soft Pink Lipstick
Follow Heather Muir Maffei on Instagram at @hmuir.
MENTAL NOTE: Oh hi there. Like we said above, “My Good Day Face” is a Mental series about the makeup and skin products people use to boost their moods. Yes, there are conflicting studies on whether makeup is good or bad psychologically, whether it can soothe or inflame anxiety and depression. If beauty causes you angst or feels like a form of pressure, step away! We love a beautiful bare face. But if applying moisturizer and lipstick helps your mental state by giving you a routine to follow, acting as meditation, inspiring creativity, or simply expressing your inner human, then: By. All. Means.
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