The makeup market can be daunting: New products launch every week, there are thousands of reviews to wade through, and all you want is a
good mascara, dammit. And all the great options can be tempting, turning a routine trip to Sephora into a shopping spree that ends with you leaving the store with four shopping bags full of makeup products and a collection so large it could rival a professional makeup artist’s.
My advice: Look at your makeup collection as a stash of products that can take you not only through the summer, but through every season. Whether you want to pare down the products you already own for a more minimalist-friendly collection or you’re just looking to get the perfect summer face with brand-new goods that’ll also be useful six months from now, these must-haves will help you do it.
From a lightweight foundation to products that’ll get you out the door quickly and stay in place all day, it’s easy to switch up your look with just a few staples. To avoid the stress of navigating the plethora of options online and in stores, here are some of the best items to stash in your beauty arsenal.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1
Since its inception, Fenty Beauty has been a leader in creating products for every skin tone, and that includes the brand’s lip gloss. The Fenty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow is a universal shade that you can wear on its own as a soft gloss or on top of other colors to add shine. It’s super versatile: Wear it in the daytime with a natural look, or try it at night with a smoky eye.
Not every item in your makeup kit needs to cost a pretty penny. Lash Paradise is
often cited as a less expensive dupe for Too Faced’s best-selling Better Than Sex, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality. It features a formula that gives you buildable volume and added length, and at half the price, you won’t have to empty your wallet to replace it when it runs dry. 3
While there’s nothing wrong with a full-coverage moment, skin care products that allow the skin to breathe are the move. Complexion Rescue provides sheer to light coverage that’s enough to even out the complexion, and you can always spot conceal other areas that need a bit of extra coverage. And with SPF 30, it gives you added sun protection, too.
If you splurge on one thing, make it a Pat McGrath palette. The shadows in the Bronze Seduction palette are intensely pigmented and creamy, allowing them to glide seamlessly over the lid. Plus, it includes multiple neutral tones for everyday use. And if you want to kick your look up a notch for a night out, try a wash of the shade Blitz Flame all over the lid or along the bottom lashline.
Beauty Bakerie’s adorable, confection-themed products are reason enough to buy them, but the Flour Setting Powder is a particular standout. While it can be used for baking (and is *chef’s kiss* for it), the powder also mattifies areas where you might see oil pop up throughout the day. Use a fluffy brush to apply the product lightly in your oily areas to stop shine — and as an added bonus, it helps blur pores, giving your entire complexion a soft appearance.
Blotting papers are a must-have purse item thanks to their ability to remove shine and oil without disrupting your makeup. Tatcha’s papers not only absorb oil, they’re also slightly larger than others on the market — meaning you won’t have to waste four papers for your entire face. Plus, they’re approved by
Meghan Markle’s own makeup artist, Daniel Martin. 7
For those looking to cut down on the time spent on their beauty routine, Gimme Brow is fast, easy, and effective. The fiber-based gel gives more fullness to your brows with one sweep of the spoolie, and it’ll keep your arches groomed and in place throughout the day.
There’s no better glow-getting setting spray than MAC’s Fix+ — not only does it set your makeup and remove cakiness, you can also use it a ton of other ways. Use it to turn a pigment into an eyeliner by wetting the color, or intensify an eyeshadow by spritzing your brush before application. There’s a reason this is a
cult classic. 9
If you really want to embrace a glow, though, you need BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector, a multi-purpose product that works for the cheeks and eyes. Using a light hand and a fluffy brush, give yourself a subtle glow along the tops of your cheekbones, or layer the product for a see-you-from-across-the-room highlight. You can also add the powder to the inner corners of your eyes for a brightening effect, or simply sweep it across your lid for some shimmer.
Whether you want to go full Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala or just love a natural, sheer flush, Cloud Paint can give it to you. Glossier’s cream blush is easily and quickly applied with fingers, and thanks to its buildable formula, you can switch up your look from a heavy flush to just a tint of color. Most importantly, the cream formula allows you to keep your complexion fresh and glowing without forfeiting staying power.
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