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A Peek Inside Carmindy’s Makeup Bag

For 10 years, Carmindy Bowyer helped women see themselves through a lens they weren’t always comfortable with. She asked women to embrace their unique beauty on the TLC show What Not to Wear. “The gift of the show was that I was able to be a miniature therapist and a makeup artist at the same time,” says the 46-year-old New Yorker who is best known only by her first name.

“That first time I would sit down with a person, she’d tell me what she really didn’t like about herself, and we’d start talking about that out of the gate. I always asked, ‘Why don’t you like that?’ Because I don’t see it. I see each person through ‘Carmindy’ vision — I see something totally different. I pick out what’s beautiful. The minute you sit down, I see all the good stuff.”

For Carmindy, women’s unique features are meant to be highlighted, not sketched, plucked, and contoured into a cloned ideal — a movement that’s reached a fever pitch in the beauty industry. “My philosophy when it comes to makeup at any age: Approach beauty after self-realization — not before,” she says. “For instance, right now YouTube, tutorials tell you what’s wrong with you and how to contour that ‘flaw’ into some perfect way of looking. What’s unique about us should be celebrated; we shouldn’t be cloning ourselves. That’s what I’m going to try to change.”

Here, we asked Carmindy, who will be sharing her morale-boosting beauty tips every other week on our Instagram, to reveal the contents of her makeup bag — and she even threw in a few extras (Domino sugar? Yes!) for added measure.

carmindy carmindizing highlighter

Carmindy Co. Carmindizing Champagne Highlighter

“This is from my old makeup line (I’m working on a new one; stay tuned!), but there are a few companies that make similar products, like Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up cream-to powder highlighter. I use this in my Five-Minute Face System, and it’s been my signature trick for over 20 years. You apply it under the eyebrows, on the inside corners of the eyes and on top of the cheekbones to restore radiance and make your skin glow. It’s my secret weapon.”

perfect duo mascara

DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection Mascara

“As we age, mascara tends to smear, travel, and smudge much easier than when we were younger — mainly because our eyelids become a bit relaxed. (I don’t like to say droopy.) Also, if we get hot flashes and sweat, or if our lashes aren’t as naturally curled up as they once were, regular mascara can be a total mess. I don’t like waterproof mascara, as it’s really tough to remove and can be harsh on lashes. This mascara never smudges or budges during the day; it seals onto your lashes yet releases easily when washed with warm water, making eye makeup remover unnecessary. Genius.” Available at, $18.50.

latisse lash growth serum

Latisse Lash Growth Serum

“At 46, my lashes are starting to thin, just like my hair. Using this product keeps my lashes long and lush, and I also use it off-label on my brows to keep them from thinning, too.” To find a doctor near you, go to

mac blot powder

MAC Blot Powder

“I carry this with me everywhere I go (with whatever lip product I choose for the day). Face powder should serve just two purposes for a modern, clean look: It should erase shine and set your foundation without leaving an additional layer on the skin. This light-as-air powder acts like blotting papers in a powder compact form. It’s invisible so it doesn’t ever look cakey; it won’t visibly age you.” Available at, $27.

creme de la mer

La Mer Crème de la Mer

“My skin is as dry as the desert, and this rich cream is the only thing that keeps it hydrated properly. I use it as an eye cream, face cream, and neck cream. It’s amazing for dry, parched skin. I caught my boyfriend stealing it once and putting it around his eyes at night, so I made him buy his own! Now, I know its pricey, and it’s been debunked as not worth the money. However, I must have drunk the Kool-Aid, because I swear it’s the only moisturizer that works for me! I save on other products and splurge on this one so I can justify the price tag.” Available at, $315 for 2 oz.

skinceuticals retinol 1.0

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0

“This product offers a high concentration of retinol for an over-the-counter cream and is used to treat aging and photo-damaged skin. I love the beach and water sports, so I’m often in the sun. Even though I use high SPF, the sun is sneaky and it does take its toll over the years. It’s my belief you shouldn’t change what you love doing in life, but you can combat the results from an outdoor lifestyle. This serum diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimizes blotchiness, and visibly reduces pore size, keeping skin looking fresh.” Available at, $76.

domino sugar

Domino Sugar

“It’s the one and only face and body scrub that I use. It’s cheap and easy and exfoliates better than any other scrub I’ve tried. Simply lather up your face with your regular cleanser and then take a handful of sugar and buff and polish your skin into sweet smoothness. It dissolves in water, so it’s never harsh like scrubs containing nutshells can be. I discovered this awesome tip from my grandmother when I was a kid.” Available at grocery stores nationwide.

Photos: Headshot, Jason Rodgers; all others courtesy of the companies

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