I have a slight obsession with makeup. A slight obsession that has overtaken my bathroom to the point where I literally have no counterspace available. I hoard makeup and I love trying new things. I have shades of lipstick that I’ve probably only worn once, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t “have to have it!” when I first laid eyes on it.
This parenting gig that I’ve become slave to during the days sometimes leaves me so time-crunched that I don’t actually wear makeup everyday (if you have young kids, you can probably relate), but in my earlier 20s, I wouldn’t have left the house without a full face on. I’m no beauty expert—by any means— but I’ve found a few products that have become my “holy grail” that I find myself repeatedly using and will continue to buy time and time again. Some might have a lofty pricetag, but they are worth every penny!
7 “Holy Grail” Must-Have Beauty Products
This foundation is AMAZING for oily skin. If you’re like me and your foundation gets incredibly shiny throughout the day (even in the winter… even with loads of “oil-absorbing” powder), this is the one for you. I’ve tried several handfuls of the foundations at Sephora and MAC and this one beats them all. If you have oily or combination skin, this works wonderfully for a velvety-matte finish that lasts all day… and you don’t need powder. Since it’s a liquid-to-powder formula and it sets pretty quickly, I recommend applying it with a super-soft foundation brush rather than using your fingertips or a Beauty Blender. The only cons I’ve found with these foundations is that they tend to run very yellow (or very pink, if you’re looking at the pink tones). It can be difficult to find an exact match or a neutral shade, but they do blend in well once applied. Purchase it at Sephora.com.
Urban Decay Naked3 — $54
If you’re beauty obsessed, then you’ve probably already heard all the raves about Urban Decay’s Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette. Everyone’s doing it and everyone loves it. Of all the Naked palettes, this one is by far my favorite. When it first came out, I was a little shy of what seemed like a palette full of pink-undertoned shadows, but it’s the palette I reach for the most for day-to-day wear. The shadows are very warm and two of the set’s matte shades, Limit and Nooner, are my go-tos. Highly pigmented, they last all day on me, and they’re great for blending with other shades or warming up your look. Purchase it at Sephora.com.
This. Palette. Is. Gorgeous. This was an in-store impluse purchase for me solely for the golden, shimmery, peachy-pink blush in Glisten that’s included right in the middle. One swipe and I was hooked. The blush is absolutely beautiful. It’s a bit sheer, but has just the right amount of warmth and subtle pink tones to brighten up my face and give me a youthful look. At first I was a bit ‘meh-ed’ at the surrounding shadows, but they have become a staple for me! I love the soft, matte texture and they have some serious staying powder. Sweet Tea and Peach Poppy mimics the palette of a sunset on my eyes. The set is a limited edition, so pick one up quickly before it’s discontinued! Purchase it at Sephora.com.
A contour palette to put all other contour palettes to shame! I much prefer contour powders over creams because they’re very forgiving if you’re still learning the contouring-ropes. And if you’re in a hurry, just a couple of quick swipes can still get the job done without a bunch of blending and setting. The top row of light colors are great for highlighting… you’ll have one neutral, one yellow based (great for undereye circles) and a shimmery highlighter for points-of-interest like your cheekbones or cupid’s bow. The bottom row can be a bit dark, even in the light-to-medium option, but are great for contouring cheekbones, or you can use them as on-the-go bronzers. Purchase it at Sephora.com.
I’m a big fan of Too Faced’s Melteds. I don’t own all of the shades, yet, but I probably will soon! The two I reach for the most are Melted Nude and Melted Peony. Both are beautiful on their own, but for my fair skin, they are gorgeous mixed together. All of the Melteds go on super smooth, but dry to a pretty matte finish without being too dry on your lips. I find that they have pretty good staying power too, especially when coupled with a good liner. Melted Nude is perfect for lightening up shades that are a bit dark or for adding dimension or an ombre look in the center of the lip. I’m not as crazy about the Melted Metals, but the original formula is wonderful. And a little goes a REALLY long way! Purchase them at Sephora.com.
NYX Slim Lip Pencil — $3.49
They may be cheap, but I love them! I have a huge stash of NYX Slim Lip Pencils and other than a couple of waterproof red liners from other brands, these are all I use. I especially love their lighter, more neutral shades. I am very picky with lip liners; most brands tend to bleed on me, or worse, they dry out my lips or come off very unevenly. Compared side-by-side with some of the boutique makeup brands I’ve tried, these $3.49 little babies win almost everytime. Purchase them at Ulta.com.
I tend to prefer matte lip looks, but when I reach for a gloss it’s almost always my bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipglosses. I have several favorite shades and I love them all. The formula is very nice without being sticky or runny and they have a subtle sweet-mint smell to them that I love. They give a good shine, are great for layering over lipstick, and some of them have really nice pigment to them (like the pink mauve which looks pretty all on its own). Purchase them at Sephora.com.