I Try Hundreds of Makeup Products a Month—These Are the 14 I Always Recommend
Because the beauty editor life is #blessed, I get to try zillions of new makeup products every month. This is especially fun as someone who genuinely loved experimenting with makeup long before I got to do it professionally. Not all the products I try are worth buying or recommending, however. I've had run-ins with streaky foundations that broke me out, waxy lipsticks that made my lips peel, and goopy brow gels that caused my forehead to look like it was covered in mud. Disappointing makeup is a sad, sad thing. And as one responsible for making sure you never have to deal with it, I take my job quite seriously.
That's where this list of products comes in. Out of all the makeup I've tried over the years, these 14 lipsticks, highlighters, concealers, and more are the ones I swear are worth buying every time. Intrigued? Keep scrolling to discover one picky, makeup-devoted beauty editor's holy-grail recommendations.
If you're asking what foundation to buy, I'm automatically suggesting Koh Gen Do's impossibly lightweight, buildable, and newly formulated Aqua Foundation. Basically, every makeup artist I know is obsessed with this, and so am I, because better than any other product, it conceals blemishes, darkness, and unevenness while genuinely looking like real skin. I wish it came in more shades, but folks who work for the brand recently told me they're coming, so stay tuned.
Nars Orgasm is its most famous blush, but I actually like this one even better. A former Allure editor introduced me to it a couple years ago, and I have used it almost every day since, even after I dropped it on a concrete floor and shattered it to bits. The pigment stays on your face all day without ever fading; the taupe shade Olympia is incredibly natural and flattering and still warms up the skin. And I love that it comes with a little pan of setting powder to mattify your skin wherever needed.
Have I recommended this product enough? I mention Sisley's hydrating, shiny, blindingly pigmented lip color practically once a week on Byrdie because even though it's pricey, the fact that I wear some shade of it practically every day makes it worth the sticker price. My favourite thing is to apply the shade Coral on my lips, cheeks, and eyes for an easy monochromatic look—this move consistently yields more compliments than I know what to do with.
A fairly new but fervent obsession, this under-the-radar brow gel tints my brow hairs while keeping them in place however I choose to style them (which is usually brushed-up and wildly feathered) unlike any other. Whenever I wear it, people gush over my brows as if they naturally came that bushy and beautiful—little do they know, it's this $14 secret weapon in the shade Medium-Dark.
If you like comfortable and hydrating yet absurdly pigmented lip colours, this one needs to be in your life. No lipstick packs as much moisture or colour payoff; plus, it comes in a massive shade range, from bright oranges to deep berries to everyday pinky nudes and browns, like Underground, Poison, and LA Pink—my personal faves.
This tried-and-true concealer is news to no one, but if I didn't include it on this list, it'd feel dishonest. There is simply no other concealer on the market that offers a better shade range, coverage, blendability, or non-cakey texture.
Want people to flip out over how good your eye makeup looks all day and night? Because that's what happens when you wear this too-pretty-for-words liquid glitter, which you can use sparingly for just a hint of dazzle or slather all over your lids for an all-out party on your face. For a product so sparkly, it dries down and stays put shockingly well. The shade range is so pretty. For these reasons, it is the only glitter eye makeup I'll wear.
Winged liner is entirely too much trouble for me to mess with every day, but when feeling ambitious, I reach for this classic liquid pen nine times out of 10. The tip is fine, flexible, and easy to maneuver; the shade is black as night; the product doesn't dry out easily in the pen; and it stays on your face, totally budge-proof, for as long as you want. I've even slept in this stuff (not recommended) and had it stay in place.
Sure, there are expensive bronzers I love, but this Covergirl one is just as good. It has the same baked formula of so many pricier products, doesn't look orange, goes on really smooth, and stays all day. The only problem is I think it's almost totally sold-out online, though I think you should still be able to find it at the drugstore IRL.
Bad at doing a smoky eye or just too lazy to mess with all that shadow? Same. So instead, I just layer on a few shades of this creamy stick eye shadow—I get that same sultry effect without needing any cumbersome brushes or fancy skills.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I wear this cream shadow six out of seven days a week. The shade Opale is a perfectly blendable, buildable champagne hue, which you can either wear alone for a bit of natural brightness or pack on for major shimmer and/or blend with other shades. I also wear it in the inner corners which makes me look instantly awake and energised.
Every time someone asks what lipstick to wear on their wedding day, this is the first I recommend. The shade range is beautiful, the finish is matte and lasts for hours, but it actually feels comfortable on the lips and won't dry them out, flake, or pill.
Another trusty makeup pick that deserves a place on this list, Too Faced's iconic Better Than Sex Mascara is simply the best for its non-flaky formula and ability to make the lashes look long, full, and separated but never clumpy. It's not waterproof but also doesn't come off at the first sign of water. An all-in-all perfect mascara.
And for the grand finale: Of all the many brow pencils I have gotten my brow-obsessed hands on, this handy little sucker is the one I'd recommend to anyone. The pencil is smooth and easy-action, but it doesn't deposit too much pigment per stroke, and because it's so tiny, you can easily use it to create the look of real individual brow hairs. The included spoolie makes it easy to blend. It comes in six shades, which is comparatively quite a lot. Overall, it's simply the most solid brow pencil I've used, and I'm a huge fan.
Want more of my product recommendations? Next up, read So Weird: Every Time I Wear This Makeup Product, I Literally Get Hit on All Day.