We were inspired by our recent Best of Beauty event to take stock of our makeup kit and share our favorite go-tos. Check out our picks, then share your own tips and tricks in the comments below!
1. A soft eyeliner the color of your lashes or a little darker. Even if you’re not necessarily an eyeliner person, dotting between your upper lashes will really help to define and accentuate your eyes. We like to let the pencil dust our actual lashes too—it creates a subtle thickening effect at the base, making mascara optional. Make sure you choose a pencil that’s smooth enough to glide onto your delicate inner rims.
2. A good eyelash curler. Don’t even think about skipping this step—it makes all the difference. One quick pass with a good curler and your lashes will look longer, fuller, thicker, prettier. Just be gentle and wait for your mascara to dry completely or curl before you apply. (Wet mascara can make your curler stick to your lashes, yanking them out.) Then, get as close to the lash line as possible and give it several quick squeezes. Don’t press for longer than three seconds or you’ll get crimped, bent lashes—never a good look!
3. Concealer that matches your skin tone. You may have heard advice about choosing a concealer lighter than your complexion to better camouflage under eye circles, etc. But to cover blemishes, you really need something the same color as your skin—otherwise you’ll end up spotlighting your imperfections! To find a perfect match, swipe a few colors vertically across your cheek and choose the one that’s hardest to see.
4. Tweezers. You never want to be caught without them when you need them. Sometimes a stray hair appears out of nowhere and threatens to throw you off your game. Whether it’s on your nose, lip, or chin—it’s a one-second fix when you have the right tool to remove it—quite a bother otherwise.
5. Moisturizer. We’ve all had those days when we look in the mirror halfway through the day, and something’s off with our skin or makeup. It’s flaking a little—but when we try to smooth it, it flakes even more! Or worse: turns red. That’s why we’re firm believers in a secret weapon stash of moisturizer. With this in hand, you can soothe those sudden dry patches and freshen up on the go. Without it, you’ll be kicking yourself and cursing your skin.
6. Blush. You may think you can go without. We know the feeling. But we’ve learned from observing other women that blush really does make a difference! Try surveying the women in your workplace for a week, noting their makeup—are they wearing blush or aren’t they? We think you’ll see that the ones who make the prettiest impression are wearing it—and usually not too subtly. So why not you?! You can still do a natural look. Just choose a light pink or apricot shade with zero shimmer, smile, apply to the apples of your cheeks, then blend.
7. Highlighter. This takes technique, but once you have it down, you won’t want to leave the house without your trusty highlighter. Use it to create subtle effects. For example: to accentuate your cheekbones, swipe a bit of highlighter across the tops of your cheeks, just above your blush. To make your nose appear narrower, trace a thin line down to the tip and then blend.
8. Mascara. They say if you do just one thing, do mascara. We sort of feel that way about curling your lashes… And about dotting your upper rims with eyeliner… And while you’re at it, you may as well add mascara! To get every lash, we recommend you wiggle the wand (back and forth, horizontally) as you swipe gently upwards (vertically).
9. Lip balm. You are not allowed to apply lipstick until your lips are baby soft and fully moisturized—with no dry skin in sight! A quality lip balm should be in your kit at all times so you can reapply before every fresh coat of color. If your lips are chapped, restore them by generously applying balm at night and then gently massaging them with a toothbrush to exfoliate.
10. A perfect nude lipstick. You need this to finish an emphasis-on-the eyes look. With lots of liner and mascara, you want to play down your lip color to let your eyes really pop. You still want something polished—just low key. Put some time into finding your perfect nude shade. Stick with lightweight shades that still have hints of color in them—orange or rose—nothing with gray undertones, and nothing too opaque. If you have a fair complexion, try more of a pinkish statement nude. If you have a medium-to-olive complexion, play with peachy colors. If you have a dark complexion, look for caramel hues.
11. A perfect bold color lipstick. You need this to dress up your face when it’s otherwise au naturel. Right now strong orange, pink, and red pigments are hot—they look super fresh with just a swipe of mascara and a hit of blush. For fall, we expect lip shades to go a little deeper and darker. This is one item in your makeup kit that you may or may or not want to change with the times. We’d argue that bold lip color of your choice is never really out of style—it’s timeless as long as you make it work for you.
What’s your favorite makeup must-have? What’s your best beauty trick? If you could do just one thing before leaving the house, what would it be? Tell us in the comments below!