Since I started working in the beauty industry and growing my social channels a few years ago, I’ve gotten asked so many times from friends, family, and Instagram followers what makeup I think is the absolute best! From complexion products to eyeliners, I thought I’d try to pull all of those recommendations together into one post for you to get ideas from! This post is perfect for the person who is looking to upgrade one or more parts of their everyday makeup routine! The links in this post are affiliate links which means I make a small commission on those sales, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra, so thank you if you shop through them!
*As a disclaimer, I have fair and normal skin, and I lean on the dry side during the winter months. When I recommend products, I will specify what skin type I recommend each one for in their descriptions! Also, we are all so different and have different skin types, so what I love, you may not, and vice versa!
A Great Base
Your base is literally your canvas. You can’t expect the end product to look like a masterpiece if the canvas starts out looking like crap. Base makeup– whether a primer, bb cream, foundation, or other cream product– is very important when it comes to achieving a great final look. HOWEVER, and I can’t stress this enough, skincare is the MOST important step in making your makeup look great and last longer.
Signs you need to change your skincare routine:
- Makeup is clinging to certain areas, suddenly hard to blend, or wearing off only in certain areas
- Breakouts or areas with lots of texture/tiny bumps
- Your skin feels “tight” or dry
- Excess oil appears throughout the day
Cream Complexion Products
This is easily my favorite foundation of all time. It’s the perfect balance of medium-full coverage and skin-like finish. It comes in 50+ shades and is one of the best shade ranges in beauty. I will wear it on my wedding day for sure!
I recommend it for anyone looking for medium-full coverage foundation who has normal or oily skin.
The name is definitely weird, but this formula is BOMB, and blush is so important if you want to achieve a real glow and add life back into your skin after foundation. I’m tired of the blush slander! NARS powder blushes, specifically Orgasm, became super popular with beauty influencers a few years ago, however I personally think they’re overrated. Their cream formula gives you a stunning skin-like finish while not being overly pigmented, so it’s easy to blend. I apply it by putting some on the back of my hand and using a wet beauty sponge to apply and blend. I have Orgasm and Portofino.
I recommend this to anyone looking for a natural skin-like cheek color that’s super easy to apply.
Tarte Shape Tape $27
This concealer is not for everybody, but boy is it for me hahahaha. It is full coverage, lasts all day, doesn’t crease (you have to set it w/ powder), and acts as a great eyeshadow base as well! I have not found another concealer that can cover these baggy eyes like Shape Tape. A decent dupe that I keep handy for when I’m running low on Shape Tape is the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer! It has a similar consistency and decent amount of coverage for a drugstore complexion product and it’s only $9.99
I recommend these concealers to the full coverage hoe who reaaally needs to catch up on sleep. The mascara + lip gloss community can move on to the next product.
Powder Complexion Products
This powder is SUPER smooth and truly a universal product that works for dry, normal, combo, and oily skin types. I use this to set my under eye concealer and use the excess to set the rest of my face without appearing powdery. I am wearing this powder in all of my Instagram pictures, so you can also see that there’s no issues with flashback! The original Translucent claims to be universal, however, there’s also a cool toned shade for light-medium skin tones and a warmer shade available for deeper skin tones.
I recommend this to anyone looking for a reliable setting powder that doesn’t make you look cakey, but mattifies and sets your makeup.
This powder is soooo gorgeous on the skin, and totally worth the hype. The formula is really luxurious and buttery smooth, and the finish is so stunning and just luminous enough to give a natural glow without looking shiny or sparkly in any way. I wouldn’t recommend using this to set your under eye, because it’s not meant for that and will look really odd since it’s not matte lol.
I recommend this to anyone with normal to dry skin looking for a more luxurious setting or finishing powder that doesn’t have a flat matte finish.
While this is definitely a splurge, blushes and bronzers, for me at least, last a loooong time. I’ve had my two Chanel blushes (Alezane & In Love) for 2+ years, and I’m not even close to running out. The formula is the perfect balance of showing up, but not being too pigmented and hard to blend. They have matte and luminous options, whatever your preference is! Mine are both the glowy formula, and it doesn’t look like chunky glitter on your face like other luminous blush formulas. If you can’t imagine spending $45 on blush, just think about all the times you repurchase mascaras, liners, concealers, etc throughout the year. When have you gone through a blush in under 6 months???
I recommend this for my bougie people looking to upgrade their cheek situation.
(Pictured: In Love)
Another favorite from Estee Lauder is their bronzer! This guy is HUGE and lasts me over a year! The medium shade is perfect for me, so easy to blend, and it isn’t orangey at all. The only downside to this product line is that there are only 3 shades and medium is the only one that I think is flattering since they discontinued Deep last year.. ( I used to work for the brand)
I recommend this for anyone with a light to medium skin tone looking for an easy to work with, flattering new bronzer!
Your brows frame your entire face, so finding a brow routine that flatters you and enhances your natural features is v important! I have two brow products that I use and love, one that defines and fills in my brows, and another that adds dimension and takes away that ~fuzzy brow~ look.
I use Brow Wiz in Taupe to define and fill in my brows and I love how easily the product glides on and that I’m not having to apply tons of pressure and losing brow hairs (which is a lot more common than you’d think with other pencils).
I have tried a lot of the other popular brow gels on the market from Benefit to Anastasia, and I always come back to this one from Chanel. I find that I love using this in Blonde to add definition back to my brows while not being too ~in your face~ and harsh. There are little fibers in the gel that add a liiiittle bit of volume, but the reason I love it so much is because it coats every brow hair, takes away the fuzzy brow look, and keeps them in place all day long. It only comes in blonde, brown, and clear, but I truly think everyone, with the exception of maybe redheads, can use either shade to achieve a really great, natural, defined brow using this as an enhancer.
I recommend this to anyone trying to up their brow game and add more definition back into their brows with a last step enhancer.
Eyes are beautiful, let’s just get that outta the way. When meeting new people, that’s often where our eyes go first, so defining and enhancing them can really accentuate the natural color and shape of your eyes!
A reliable, neutral everyday palette
This may seem like a basic pick, and I don’t think every Tarte palette has this formula, however I would say that this is truly one of the best neutral palettes you can own. The mattes are creamy, pigmented, and easily blendable, and the shimmers are smooth and have a really flattering metallic finish. Love the way that you can create three easy, different neutral looks by using each row as a different grouping. Not the biggest “upgrade” necessarily, but a great staple palette to have!
If you’re looking to splurge a little more, or you already have the Tartelette palette, this is a great option, and frankly so are all of her other palettes! Her matte formula is super creamy and easy to blend, and her shimmers have a beautiful metallic finish. These mid-sized $65 palettes they’ve been releasing recently give you access to her formula, while not coming with the $130 price tag her full size palettes retail for. (I want to clarify that the $65 palettes are NOT mini palettes, they are actually bigger than Tarte palettes)
I have loved this underrated liner for over 2 years now! Unlike many others, I tried and did NOT like the popular faves-the KVD Tattoo Liner and the Stila Stay All Day Liner. The KVD liner didn’t apply smoothly, AND it dried out after only a handful of uses. The Stila liner really wasn’t anything special in any department. The MAC Brushstroke liner makes it super easy to get a smooth line, and I find that the other two liners dry up way sooner than this one does. This liner has been my key to not only getting a great wing, but also being able to get an ultra thin line on my lash line when I don’t want the normal thick liner look.
(Tip: Turn it on its side and drag the top half of the tip along the crease where your lashes meet your lid to make your lashes appear thicker!)
I recommend this to literally anyone looking for a better liquid liner!
This mascara is ~magic~ and I have been obsessed with it for 2-3 years. It coats every lash, is great at separating, but also gives really great volume. The formula is great, but I think the very unique wand is what aids to getting it perfectly applied. I find even with two coats, there’s no clumping, and my lashes look longer, fuller, and more defined. This is truly a splurge I never mind purchasing, because it’s 100% worth it. Plus, other decent mascaras are only maybe $5 cheaper, so it’s not the most outrageous luxury makeup item to splurge on!
I recommend this to anyone with thin or thick lashes looking to try a mascara with volume that doesn’t clump or give you the “spider lash” look you get from Monsieur Big, Better Than Sex, and similar volume mascaras.
Setting sprays are key to making your makeup melt into your skin and not feel like it’s a separate layer of products sitting on top of your skin. I would say most setting sprays only serve that purpose, however some help keep your makeup looking fresh for longer. Below are my favorites!
Thiiiiis skin mist is EVERYTHING, and as I’m writing this, I’m reminded how I need to repurchase it! This totally lives up to the hype, and makes your makeup look SO skin like. If you feel like no matter what makeup you wear, you always look cakey or powdery– you need this. A little bit goes a long way, I usually only spray 3 times when I’m using this, one on each cheek and one on my forehead, because it’s easy to get carried away and appear oily or overly dewy. It really works lol.
I recommend this to anyone with normal to dry skin who’s looking for a way to make your skin look fresh and dewy after putting on a full face of makeup and struggling with the ~powdery~ look.
This setting spray has definitely stood the test of time, and my opinion is that it’s one of the only setting sprays on the market that actually prolongs the wear of your makeup, and doesn’t just take away the powdery vibe. I hesitated to add this spray to my list, because some of the ingredients are not the best for your skin, but I couldn’t ignore how well this product works and truly does what it ~sets~ out to do.
I recommend this to anyone looking for a reliable setting spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh longer and immediately make your makeup look more skin like.
Those are all of my favorite everyday makeup products! Hopefully it helped you get recommendations for products that can upgrade certain steps in your everyday routine you’re tired of or not impressed with! Let me know in the comments if I should do a similar post with only drugstore favorites or products for when you want to be more bold with color and glam! xoxo Em