I consider my makeup essentials to be products that I can’t do a full face of makeup without. I might switch out certain other products depending on the look I’m going for that day, but these are what I always grab for, regardless of my daily makeup preferences. Some of these products, I’ve been using for years, and some I’ve only discovered relatively recently but don’t understand how I could have ever been without them. I might have tried some similar products here and there but ultimately, I come running back to my essentials either because they’re formulated better, easier to use, or just easier to get my hands on.
NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown: I’ve reviewed this brow pencil in a previous post, so I’m not going to harp on much more about it. In short, this is the best brow pencil I’ve ever tried, the formula isn’t too waxy or dry, it has a natural gray undertone, you get a good amount of product, pencil is neither too fine nor too thick, it’s retractable, and inexpensive. The shape of the pencil makes it nice for outlining the brows, creating shape, and also filling them in. If you see these in your shade while you’re at the drugstore make sure to give them a try, and get more than one because it’s rare to find a display that isn’t picked over.
wet n wild Ultimate Brow Kit in Ash Brown + e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit in Dark: In all honesty, I’d rather have just one brow powder that matches me, or have shades that I can mix to get my perfect shade in one palette that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but until I find the one, I’ll continue to mix the powders from the wet n wild and e.l.f. brow kits. The two powders in the wet n wild brow kit are either too dark or too light, mixing them still gives me a shade that’s too dark even though they have the perfect gray undertone. The powder in the e.l.f. brow kit just doesn’t have the right undertone, but mixing all three shades gives me my perfect match. I don’t use the waxes from either of the palettes (I usually scoop them out and throw them away) they make my brows look greasy, and even if they didn’t, I prefer brow gel.
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Transparent: This has replaced my Anastasia Clear Brow Gel, while I still love the Anastasia one, I find that I don’t need the heavy duty hold if I just stay on top of keeping my brows in shape. This brow gel gives nice hold without making my brows crunchy, and stiff, you can still go back in and brush your brows after the gel has set and your brows will stay in place. I really like the brush on the Brow Stylist Plumper because it’s small, so you can go in and define and shape your brows while setting them, and it doesn’t mess up whatever product you have underneath.
M.A.C Prep + Prime Highlighter in Peach Lustre: I’m surprised that M.A.C doesn’t market this as a color corrector because it’s so much better than the Bobbi Brown Corrector. The formulation of this product is stellar, it’s not too emollient that it creases, and slides around especially under the eyes, but it’s not drying either, it’s not thick, yet has great coverage, and staying power. If you’re darker skinned, like an NW45 – 50 and maybe even darker, you might be hesitant to try this because the color is not as orange as other correctors meant for dark skin, but it truly corrects dark under eyes, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation around the face, it also brightens in an understated way. I apply this on top of my foundation, then blend it out with a damp sponge, you can wear concealer over it if you want, but I find that it gives enough coverage to warrant skipping that step. The pen-style packaging with the built in brush makes it easy to apply.
e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in Turks & Caicos: This is another product that I’ve written about in a previous post, I always refer to it as the best $3 I’ve ever spent. This is a good bronzer especially if you have dark skin, and have issues with finding ones that will actually show up on your skin. It doesn’t have an overly red undertone, and it doesn’t look orange on the skin, it has a nice neutral undertone that’s great for adding some light definition, and a natural sun-kissed look to the skin. I apply it lightly around my temples and in the contours of my cheeks, I also use this in my crease and on my lids when I don’t feel like wearing eyeshadow (which is almost all the time), it’s an effortless way to add color and definition to my lids. If I feel like wearing shadow, I’ll usually have this in my crease as a transition shade. This bronzer does have shimmer in it, but it isn’t too noticeable on the skin, and I don’t use the blush, it’s too light for my skin.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Shadow Stick in Bulletproof Beige: I’m a big fan of shadow sticks, they’re easy to use, and can cut your eyeshadow application time in half. The Rimmel shadow sticks are my favorites because even though they don’t have a large color selection like the NYX jumbo pencils, the colors are well thought out, and the formula is great. They have a good selection of matte, and shimmery (that aren’t packed with chunky glitter) shades, they have great color payoff, are creamy but not greasy, and don’t slide around. They apply nicely over powder, and I’ve found that these are very long wearing, my one tip with these is to work quickly when if you’re going to blend with these because they set quickly and will not budge. If you have dark skin, and want a champagne shade for highlighting the eyes, the shade Bulletproof Beige is perfect because it’s not too cool that it looks ashy, but not too warm that it’s gold.
Covergirl Clump Crusher Extensions Lashblast in Very Black: I was hesitant to try this because I wasn’t a fan of the other lashblast mascaras, but I really wanted a mascara with a curved brush for some reason. Truly, this mascara isn’t great on its own, it’s nice if you want really defined, natural looking lashes, I’m not one for false lashes or overly dramatic lashes, but this was too natural even for me. I find that this product really shines when it’s paired with other mascaras, and it’s especially great to wear on the lower lashes. I find that I like it better paired with volumizing mascaras, especially the ones that tend to clump and don’t give much length or definition, like my all time fave, L’Oreal Voluminous. So, I’ll start with the volumizing mascara first, then go over it with Clump Crusher (I use the convex side of the brush), and it separates the lashes, and adds length, but doesn’t make me lose volume. I also love to use Clump Crusher on my lower lashes because it defines and lengthens them, but I don’t end up with runny mascara or flakes under my eyes by the end of the day. The formula is on the dryer side, but not so dry that you can only get like three uses out of it. Also, I haven’t noticed that there’s any difference between the regular Clump Crusher, and the Clump Crusher Extensions, I usually just buy whichever one I see first.
e.l.f. Radiance Enhancer in Sunrise: This highlighter is so underrated, I never see it being raved about in the beauty community, but it’s so good especially for being only $3! Just like the Rimmel shadow stick, if you’re dark, and want a champagne highlighter, this one won’t look ashy or gold on you. The formula is great, very creamy, pigmented, and isn’t filled with chunky glitter. It definitely comes out of the pen quite thick but you can sheer it out by applying a little at a time, and blending it in with a stippling brush or your fingers. Once it sets, it doesn’t budge, and it doesn’t just sit on top of your skin, it blends in and looks natural, but gives off a nice glow when light reflects off of it. You could also layer a powder highlighter over it, and it won’t get cake-y, it goes on well over both liquid and powder foundation, but I can’t speak to how well this will look on your skin if you have texture issues, large pores, etc.
Jordana Easyliner for Lips in Coco Loco, Baby Berry, and Plush Plum: The Jordana easyliners for lips are my favorite lip liners of all time, I exclusively use these, because they are retractable, inexpensive, and come in a lots of shades, so I can pair them with different lipsticks. With these liners, I never have issues with my lipstick bleeding outside of my lips, and because I fill in my entire lip with them, I don’t have to worry about my lipstick wearing off in the center of lips, because I have the stain from the liners as backup. I would probably buy every color they make if I could buy them all in stores. Coco Loco is a dark brown with a slight reddish undertone, I tend to use it regardless of whatever lip color I choose. I’ll either use it to outline my lips whether I’m wearing a red, pink, or purple lip, or fill in my entire lip with it when I’m wearing brown or nude lipsticks, or any other lip color that is too light for my skin. Plush Plum is a dark red with a brown undertone, it’s almost burgundy, if I’m wearing a red lipstick, then I’m most likely wearing this as a liner, regardless of the undertone of the lipstick, I also use it under dark purples to make them more flattering for my skin. Baby Berry is a medium toned pink that is perfect to wear under pink, brown, and mauve lipsticks. Even though I have way more liners, these are my most used ones, If I’m wearing lipstick, then I’m most likely wearing at least one of these three.
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Setting Powder – Pressed: If I’m wearing foundation, I don’t leave the house without this powder. I started using it as a setting powder, and it definitely works well for that, but now I just throw in my purse to touch up my makeup if I’m going to be out for at least three hours. I’m not into blotting papers, I’d rather just powder whenever I get oily. This powder refreshes your makeup because it mattifies without making you look you have on any powder. It’s the most undetectable powder I’ve ever used, you put it on, and it feels like nothing but gives an ever so subtle glow, I don’t know how they did it. The only con about this product is that when you first get it, you have to scrape off the top layer (which is really wasteful considering it’s $36) to get the powder to work, but afterwards, it works like a charm, and lasts you ages (I’m still using the same one from this post). I’ve also tried the loose version, and it’s incomparable, too chalky, obvious on the skin, definitely not translucent, returned it. I also love the thin, sleek packaging of this powder, it could easily fit into a clutch, plus it has a good sized mirror.
What are some of your makeup essentials? Let me know in the comments, sharing is caring :)!