Especially when purchasing pricier cosmetics, it's savvy for girls and women to discuss what works for them (and what looks pretty only in the packaging) before making the jump. While I don't ever look like a million bucks, I believe I've finally found a pretty reliable makeup routine after 7 years. Here are the products I use most...
Sonia Kashuk Makeup Brushes-- Inexpensive but sturdy and efficient. I've had mine for about 4 years now, and never have I found a shed bristle! (Available at Target)
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Smoothing Stick Concealer-- I prefer using concealer all over instead of foundation. The consistency is thicker but it only provides coverage where I need it; that way I avoid that caked-on look. I like this one because it blends really well and contains skin-healing Vitamin E. And once again, not expensive. ($6.99 at drugstores)
Rimmel Volume Flash The Max Bold Curves Mascara-- My eyelashes are sparse and don't naturally grow in a curve, so I've always had trouble finding a mascara that keeps lift after I use an eyelash curler. To my surprise, every Rimmel mascara I've tried has done an excellent job of thickening, lengthening, and curling. (About $5.99 at drugstores)
Loreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Loose Powder (About $8 at drugstores)
Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover ($5 at drugstores)
Loreal Telescopic Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Black (About $8 at drugstores)
VS Makeup Eyeshadow Quad-- Victoria's Secret's eyeshadow has become a fast favorite of mine; its texture is smooth while the color is bold. I usually wear a taupe or copper mixed with a darker brown, and I still have to take it off at the end of the day due to its long wear. ($16, victoriassecret.com)
VS Makeup Baked Mineral Bronzing Powder ($16, victoriassecret.com)
Worth the Splurge:
Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion in Diffuse-- Allow me to explain. I typically wouldn't drop $26 on a beauty product as seemingly trivial as luminizer. But trust me (and the 400+ user reviews on sephora.com) when I say this lotion will brighten your whole face and add life to a dull complexion. ($26, sephora.com)
Dior Rouge Dior Lipcolor in Star Fuschia-- I've recently become a big fan on lipstick, and this is any lippy lover's dream. The color is great for day when paired with mascara and for night when worn with glowy skin and bold liner. ($32, sephora.com)
NARS Blush in Dolce Vita-- If you've ever had trouble finding a blush that actually makes a difference, look no further than NARS. Their blush is truly unbeatable in that it lasts forever--it stays on your cheeks and there's a ton of product in the container. ($28, sephora.com)
Bebe Young Care Zartrose Lip Balm-- Hands down the best lip balm I've ever used. It's only sold in Europe (the last time I went I stocked up for both myself and friends), but you can score it online for a few extra bucks for shipping. Best part: the pretty rose and vanilla scent. ($2.99, ebay.com)
Revlon Eyelash Curler
Maybelline Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Blonde-- My eyebrows are quite possibly my most unfortunate facial feature (thanks, Dad); they're sparse on the ends, grow in the strangest shape, and my friend says they remind her of the Grinch. So it goes without saying that a dependable brow pencil is key. (About $5 at drugstores)
Q-Tips-- For all those eye makeup slip-ups, advises the girl with constantly shaky hands.
...what are your beauty essentials?