The beauty industry produces new formulas, shades, and applicators at a rapid pace, guided by the twin forces of scientific discovery and savvy marketing. Realizing we can put film formers in makeup and make it last for a full day, for example, lines up perfectly with trends that favor long-wearing products, matte textures, and minimal fuss. The huge variety of products is already a strong lure for beauty addicts like me, but I'm also an American, and we have easy access to most brands. So like many bloggers, I buy and try a ton of products.
Despite the fact that I'm always testing something, I've managed to collect a small assortment of makeup that is, to my mind, irreplaceable. And no matter how much I try other foundations, brow pencils, and eyeliners, I always come back to the staples that have stuck with me since college. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it highlights some of the all-time favorites I've gladly spent my money on many times over.
Wearing MAC Face & Body foundation and Rebel lipstick, Milani Liquid Eyes eyeliner, Shu Uemura Hard Formula pencil in Seal Brown, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, and Wet n' Wild Brulee eyeshadow.
MAC Face & Body foundation -- Ah, yes, the product everybody is sick of hearing me talk about! I'm sorry, but no matter how many foundations I try (and I sample a ton), I always come back to Face & Body. The buildable light coverage and slightly dewy finish give me the my-skin-but-better look I adore, it feels weightless on the skin, and it lasts a surprisingly long time for something that isn't uber-matte. Any time I ask my mother what she thinks of the new foundation I'm testing, she always says, "It's _______, but I like the MAC one you wear the best." What mom says is law, my friends.
Shu Uemura Hard Formula Pencil in Seal Brown -- I often hesitate to recommend this brow pencil because it's so hard to get in the states now, but if you wanted to know the absolute queen of brow products? Yeah, it's this one. No matter how many other pencils, powders, and gels I try, I always come back to this one. Beyond the fact that a single Hard Formula pencil will last you for a freaking decade or more, this is the most versatile formula I've ever used. Supposedly, the oil from your brow hairs is needed for the pigment to show up, which means it's hard to overdo. You can absolutely use it for a heavier brow look, though, if you just keep applying it. And Seal Brown is the sort of cool taupe shade I always look for from other brands.
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer -- I decided to experiment with this product and have been using the Ivory shade lately, but really, my heart belongs to Radiant, the salmon-colored corrector. Blending a bit of this sheer, luminous formula with whatever concealer I'm using keeps my undereyes from looking dry and cakey. It also helps to bounce back a lot of light. As an added bonus, this is another lightweight product; my mom hates makeup she can feel on her face, but she wears the Medium shade without complaining.
Milani Liquid Eyes pencil -- I'm no longer as in to eye makeup as I was in college, but I still like to wear eyeliner, and the Milani Liquid Eyes pencils have been my go-tos for tightlining for at least a decade. I mean, I was buying these things when they were still called the Liquifeye pencils! They're incredibly smooth and richly pigmented, yet they also stick to the water line fairly well, meaning I get minimal smearing. No high end pencil liner has ever compared to this $5 beauty. The only downside? The formula is super soft, so you'll have to sharpen the pencil after every 2-3 uses.
MAC Strobe Cream -- How many tubes of this stuff have I actually gone through? It has to be at least three. I can kill a one ounce tub of this stuff annually because I use it for so many things: as a natural cheek highlight, as a glow-boosting moisturizer under my foundation, and as extra shimmer to mix in to my body lotion. MAC recently came out with a range of shades for this product, making it wearable for a variety of skintones.
MAC Lipsticks -- Let's be clear: MAC hasn't made my absolute favorite lipstick formula for about a year now. They've been usurped by Besame, because their lipstick formula is w389hvn2o3unrlasdjf AMAZING. That said, I still love MAC's Matte, Satin, and Amplified lipsticks, and their color selection is hard to beat. Also, it's always fun to get a free lipstick when you return 6 empty plastic products for the Back2MAC program; that's how I got Rebel! Which I...don't think really flatters me, but hey, I love the formula and it was free!
Wet n' Wild Color Icon eyeshadow in Brulee -- I'm on at least my second pan of this $2 eyeshadow, which is the perfect "nude lid" shade for me. The formula is quite soft, so it'll smash out of the pan easily, but that's a minor quibble. I like to use this when I'm wearing no other eye makeup to mask the blue veins on my lids and give me a more "finished" look. On the rare occasions when I wear stronger eye makeup, this is one of the only browbone shades I'll wear. I think Wet n' Wild has stopped making a lot of their eyeshadow singles, which is kind of a bummer, but this perfect pan is still readily available.
Becca Beach Tints -- The Beach Tints are my reference point for all other liquid blushes. If you can't compare to the Beach Tints even a bit? You're not worth my time. What always shocks me about this formula is how liquidy and blendable it is, and yet how much pigment you can get from the tiniest drop. They're great on bare skin or over foundation, which natural looks or more glamorous makeup. Watermelon is probably my most-used shade, since it's a medium pink that mirrors my natural flush, and I've actually used up a full tube of it.