I remember my first makeup set like it was a first kiss–white, creamy eyeliner from New York Color; bright purple mascara from my all-time favorite store, Limited Too; and silver Wet & Wild lipstick. It was the height of “Clueless” mania, and my main goal was to look like I was from “The Valley,” despite being in rural Wisconsin.

I had always been fascinated with makeup and the application–I pored over past issues of YM and Seventeen that I got from older babysitters. As I entered middle school, my tastes evolved and I transitioned to Maybelline Full & Soft mascara and matte Cover Girl powder. My mom, a Great Lash devotee, allowed me to wear pretty much whatever I wanted and felt that it allowed me to express myself. By the time I was in high school, I had a Caboodle full of bright lip glosses, purple eye shadow (hey, it was the early 2000s) and fun nail polish.

Now, my makeup routine is pretty natural. I like to put on some liquid eyeliner or a bright lip on special nights, but for the most part, it’s tame. I’ve graduated from my high school makeup and now obsess over Bare Minerals, Benefit and Tarte. I’m a frequenter of my local Sephora, like most 26-year-olds.

I do wear makeup daily and made a few emergency trips to CVS when I forget to put on mascara to grab a trusty tube of Full & Soft.

A made-up face makes me feel bold, confident, and, more importantly, polished. I feel like I conquered the first part of the day and now I’m ready for anything. Bring it.

And, like Natasha Scripture mentioned in her recent New York Times article, “with red lips, I often feel like I can rule the world.”

What product do you use that makes you feel your best? Tell us in the comments!