As I cleaned out my makeup bag this past weekend, I was reminded that I tend to waste a lot of money "testing" various beauty products. VIB Rouge, anyone?! Sure it's fun to play with makeup, but I start to get all red in the face when I think about the dollars invested in the next BEST thing. As I sorted through items to keep and toss, I thought about how many times I've actually bought multiples of a product. It's not often that this happens. I mean, it's got to be REALLY amazing or there's a good chance that I'm going to move on to something that gets better reviews. When I thought long and hard about my favorite products, I realized that it comes down to five products. While I don't consider myself an expert, I do know that I've done a lot of "research" on the topic.
- BENEFIT THEY'RE REAL! MASCARA // There's a reason this stuff gets rave reviews. I bought it when it first came out, and I haven't gone without a tube since. It lengthens, lifts, and separates your lashes like a boss.
- ESTEE LAUDER DOUBLE WEAR STAY-IN-PLACE MAKEUP // I have combination skin that tends to be pretty sensitive. I also have some acne scars on my cheeks that make me incredibly insecure. This foundation does a great job of hiding any imperfections and doesn't irritate my skin. The long-wearing formula is an added bonus! I've worn this while hiking (and sweating) in Hawaii. Even after an evening spin session, my makeup stays in place. In the Spring and Summer months, I like to mist my mug with Urban Decay's All-Nighter Spray to give the matte makeup a dewy finish.
- NARS LIPSTICK IN CATFIGHT // I should probably confess that I walked by Sephora every day on my way to work in Hawaii. I became a junkie, and I honestly kind of loved it. In search of an everyday lipstick shade, one of the beauty gurus turned me on to this pink and nude color. I was instantly smitten! The semi-matte formula is actually quite creamy (non-drying) and long-lasting. I love that it added subtle color to my lips, without the need to reapply.
- ESSIE NAIL POLISH IN CLAMBAKE // If this was the movie "Steel Magnolias," I'd proclaim Clambake my signature color. The creamy red-orange is nothing short of perfection. Even when I don other colors, I usually wish I would've stuck with it instead. It's not the easiest color to find in stores, but it's available online via Target. Funny enough, I found my latest bottle during a layover at the Atlanta airport. I have a rule where I must stop at all Essie displays, no matter the location—you know, just in case they've got m' shade. Much to my delight, they had it! I guess all those hours spent watching Real Housewives of Atlanta paid off. I feel like Nene was looking out for me. Thanks, Mrs. Leakes! Bloop.
- NARS RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER // I've never loved a concealer before, but I literally gush whenever I talk about this stuff. It's full coverage, doesn't crease, and works wonders when concealing blemishes. I dare someone to try and sway me on this one. It's worth every penny. While I stand by all five products listed, this is my top pick.
I realize most of these products range from $20-$30, so they aren't necessarily cheap. To me, they're worth the investment. For every dollar I've spent testing drugstore beauty brands, I've wasted an equal amount of money dabbling with high-end products. It all comes down to whatever works for YOU. I think we all want something that suits our needs and makes us feel more confident.
What are your Holy Grail products? Do tell.