Contrary to what you may think, we don’t come equipped with all the knowledge in the beauty world—not without a little digging and some elbow grease first. When a new product launches, we do our research, connect with MUAs, stylists and derms, read reviews and even go through our very own QA process. We face mask in the office bathroom, flick our liner at our desks, swipe on a dozen lipsticks and even make the place smell like polish (yes, we get funny looks).
And while many products pass the Makeup.com test, there are a few that make their way into our personal beauty kits. Curious to see what our editors can’t live without? Read on! Some of these faves may even be your personal go-tos.
While my makeup style hasn’t evolved much since high school, I will say my application process (and product selection) definitely got an upgrade. My routine has pretty much always consisted of a coverage option (and by that I mean I used to apply a heavy dose of foundation that was a few shades too dark), concealer, blush, bronzer, and mascara—with a few tweaks here and there. I’ve since dropped the foundation for BB or CC cream and ditched the blush-bronzer combo for a contouring palette and strobing stick.
All my embarrassing moments aside, I consider myself to be more of a skin first, makeup second kinda gal. I stick to the same “no makeup makeup” look on the daily (with brushed up brows, of course) and add on from there depending on the occasion.
1. Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Cream: If highlighter and foundation had a baby, this would be it. This CC cream instantly evens out my skin tone and leaves it with a dewy, rosy flush. If I’m looking for a little extra boost in coverage, I just mix a small amount in with my Naked Skin Foundation. No flat matte looks in my facial portfolio!
1. YSL Touche Éclat: On that same note, I use this concealer-meets-highlighter pen to illuminate my under eye area. As you can tell, glowing skin is my makeup mantra.
3. NYX Professional Makeup Bright Idea Illuminating Stick: To top it all off, I swipe the Chardonnay Shimmer shade along my cheekbones, brow bone and Cupid’s bow. I love finding pigmented beauty buys that don’t cost a fortune!
4. Urban Decay Perversion Mascara: Anyone that knows me knows that I’m obsessed with lashes, and my tattoo proves it. When I’m not rocking my lash extensions, I need a mascara that makes me feel like I am, and Perversion is it.
5. L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper: Glowing skin, long lashes and on-point brows—what more could you need? The Stylist Plumper makes achieving bushy brows a breeze (and a swipe).
I live for statement makeup, but I’ve learned to not make too many statements at one time. I’ll try a bold lip (think glitter, wine-colored or even wearable lip art) in a heartbeat, but I always try to pair my experimental lip looks with bare lids and just a coat of volumizing mascara to highlight my lipstick and balance my overall look.
When I do go for colorful eye shadow or liner, I pair it with a pink or nude lip to bring the attention up to my eyes. For me, makeup is a balancing act.
1. Urban Decay Naked Skin One & Done: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a full-coverage foundation girl, but that all changed when I tried this. One & Done won me over almost instantly because of its texture, and the sheer coverage evens out my complexion while still looking completely natural.
2. NYX Professional Makeup Gotcha Covered Concealer: If a concealer can cover my dark acne scars, it’s definitely a keeper. I love the texture and it blends well with the rest of my makeup.
3. NYX Professional Makeup Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Soft Spoken: I literally wear this lipstick at least six days a week. The color is the perfect natural nude for my skin tone, and is my go-to shade whenever I wear bright eye shadow.
4. Lancôme Grandiôse Liner: The sapphire blue shade is such a striking color! I turn to this whenever I want to have a little fun with my eye makeup, but don’t have time to do a full on shadow look.
5. YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll: I finally found a mascara that does it all—lengthens, volumizes, and most importantly, it even gets the little straggler lashes in the inner corners.
The two words that best describe my makeup style are classic, yet bold. I'll never veer away from timeless looks like the cat eye. But even still, I like to revamp these classics from time to time so my look remains anything but predictable. For instance, my latest obsession is orange lipstick. Pairing winged eyeliner with red lipstick would be expected, but sub in an orange lippie, and you've got yourself a conversation starter.
1. La Roche-Posay Rosaliac CC Cream: This product is the best I've found for concealing my facial redness while still being gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. And the coverage is great, too. It's not heavy or cakey, yet it covers everything I want it to.
2. NYX Professional Makeup Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Orange County: I didn't realize how much I loved the color orange until I tried this lipstick at a NYX store opening earlier this year. Since then I've bought two beautiful orange-hued dresses just to match this fiery lippie!
3. Lancôme Grandiôse Liner: I love bold graphic eyeliner looks, but achieving them can be tough. This product lends a helping hand with its 35-degree bendable wand, making it the most precise way to apply liquid liner.
4. NYX Professional Makeup Makeup Tinted Brow Mascara in Blonde: The blonde shade is perfect for my hair and skin tone. Because the color is nice and light, I never have to worry about having "angry brows."
5. Maybelline Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara: I've been using this mascara since high school—no joke! This is my go-to product for lashes that are long, full and soft (it truly lives up to its name). I'd be beside myself if Maybelline ever decided to discontinue this holy grail product.
What are your five holy grail beauty products? Share your essentials in the comments below!
About the Author: Diana creates on-trend beauty content for Makeup.com readers. She stays up-to-date on the latest beauty news and product launches and tests every makeup item that comes through the door. As an employee of L’Oréal, Diana writes stories about beauty products across the entire brand portfolio.