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My segue into a career in the beauty industry was an obvious path given the obsession that started when I was 12 years old. I still remember those first products that piqued my lifelong interest — a Lancôme Juicy Tube, an eyeshadow palette from Clarins, and Clinique’s Black Honey lipstick which still exists but is literally always sold out. Since my professional involvement in beauty began, I have always loved the aspect of testing anything and everything that makes its way to me. (As I write this I am staring at my desk which has around 30 new products I am intent on trying.) There are, however, eight products that I continue to come back to and stock up on regardless of the new products I uncover. Recently, I realized that I’m actually so loyal to these products that I’ve been using them for at least 10 years. Now I’m going to share with you the wisdom that has come with (my) age.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
Shop now: $29 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $36); sephora.com
I have dabbled with toners beyond the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads — for a while I even used the infamously stinky Biologique Recherche P50 — but I always come back to this. My skin is unpredictably sensitive but it also gets congested very quickly. Toner is not only the first product I use every morning, but it’s also the foundation of my skincare routine — the other products just don’t matter as much without it. This one does everything I could hope for. One swipe across my face leaves my skin feeling clean and tight but not stripped. There is no stinging sensation or irritation, and it absorbs quickly into my skin so I can move onto the rest of my routine.
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water
Back in my day (but really) makeup removers were tricky. There were the wipes which even before the revelation that they are not so good for your skin, irritated my complexion and there were cream removers that were more like face washes than anything else. The prospect of an affordable and incredibly gentle remover with a water-like consistency was a revelation. I use a reusable cotton pad, place it on the pump, and drench it before swiping it gently across my face. The makeup, debris, and built-up product come off and my skin is left hydrated and soothed.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir Face Mist
Shop now: $39 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $49); sephora.com
This is a multipurpose product. Before the advent of COVID, the Beauty Elixir Face Mist could function as a toner, a refreshing spray, and a makeup setting spray. Recently it’s also been a useful trick battling maskne, thanks to the antibacterial and astringent ingredients mint and rose. My personal use has always been as the last step in my makeup routine — to set and awaken my face before I step out the door. Recently, I have been keeping a mini bottle in my purse to try and keep the breakouts at bay.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Shop now: $19 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $24); sephora.com
I am an eyeshadow fiend but I also have hooded eyes. My eye makeup creases super quickly and the problem becomes worse throughout the day as my eyes become… greasy for lack of a better word. This primer is like spackle: It goes on my lids and dries almost immediately. It not only grips onto the eyeshadow that’s applied afterward, but it also amplifies the pigment. When I first started using the Primer Potion an eyeshadow primer was not commonplace. Although there are endless options now, I always come back to this.
Nars Orgasm Blush
Shop now: $24 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $30); sephora.com
Even now, I think blush is the most mystifying makeup product. The wrong shade or application and you ended up looking like Bette Davis in Baby Jane or Loonette from The Big Comfy Couch. This is one of the only universal, foolproof blushes I have ever come across and that is accounting for both shade and texture. The sparkles are, in my opinion, delicate and catch light which adds extra dimension to your face. Orgasm is also incredibly buildable, so it can be used for a demure swipe of color or a bold blush.
MAC Teddy Lipstick
Mac’s Teddy lipstick is actually a shade I inherited from my mother. I have vivid memories of watching her bring down the sun visor and quickly apply a coat of lipstick before we hopped out of the car. It’s the perfect subtle mauve shade and the formula of MAC lipstick is infamously phenomenal. This shade makes me feel like I have a plush Lily Rose Depp-like pout.
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara
Shop now: $21 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $26); sephora.com
Benefit isn’t just a company with a legacy product, it’s a legacy brand. Probably its most famous product, according to the brand’s Benetint lip stain, was actually first created in the 1970s for an exotic dancer, but that is not the product I am here to talk to you about. Instead, I would like to bring your attention to the They’re Real! Mascara. The spiky bristles on the wand keep my lashes from clumping and get closer to the root of my eyelashes than any other mascara I’ve tried. The formula itself is also exceptional — my lashes always look feathery and long.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Concealer Pen
Shop now: $30 with code GIFTEASY (Originally $38); sephora.com
I used to be unable to leave the house without the Touche Éclat Pen on my person. I use it in the morning under my eye to make myself look bright eyed and bushy tailed regardless of the actual hours of sleep I get. But it’s also a great concealer, when you find the perfect shade the formula eventually becomes seamless with your skin.