MUST READ: My Top Beauty Picks

While my blog might often reflect my more contemplative side, those who know me well know I love all things beauty. I have trouble staying away from the makeup aisle at CVS and Sephora is my kryptonite. That being said, I am always trying different beauty products. I’d like to share with you some of my top picks.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

This stuff is magical. There is nothing worse than spending the time to do your eyeshadow, only to find that halfway through the day your eye makeup is now sliding down your face. With UD’s primer potion, that will never happen again. This fall, I went to an outdoor music festival; I endured 90 degree heat for a whole day, sweated more than I probably have in my entire life, and woke up the next morning with my eye makeup still intact. It’s that good. Also, it lasts forever because you don’t have to use much. I don’t wear eye makeup without it.

Dior DiorShow Mascara in Black

Yes, this is a splurge. A major splurge. $25 for mascara, you ask? Does it apply itself to my eyelashes and give me the power of X-Ray vision? Well, no. But just about. I discovered DiorShow during one of my many Sephora excursions. I was skeptical, but I tried it, and now I am so in love. The brush is kinda big which is weird to get used to at first, but it leaves your lashes almost clumpless and long. Like super long. Like fake lashes long. And it does that without sacrificing volume. For some, it might be a little dramatic for daily wear, in which case it would make an awesome “night out” splurge. For those of you that are looking for a more reasonably priced option…

L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara (or any drugstore)

Voluminous is my favorite drugstore mascara by far. I rotate between this and DiorShow. While it might be a little intense for some, I love how dramatic it makes my lashes. It’s super dark and gives my lashes awesome volume and length. The lengthening effect isn’t as dramatic as Dior’s, but the volume is better. My only qualm about this mascara is it can be a bit clumpy at times, but that’s easily avoided by wiping the brush off occasionally on a tissue. For the price, it’s awesome. A must have for any New Year’s look you’re going for.

bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Broad Spectrum Powder (or Sephora or Ulta)

Bareminerals products started as a splurge and soon became a staple for me. I have combination skin and I used to be a devout liquid foundation user. I have always been acne-prone, but I had no idea how much that was connected to my makeup until I started using bareMinerals. Since I started using it, my skin has cleared up tremendously. Bareminerals goes on smooth and makes my skin look more evenly toned, but in a way that makes it look like I’m not using makeup at all. It feels light and stays on relatively well. It doesn’t have the sticking power that liquid foundation might, which is to be expected, but because it’s so natural, even when it starts to wear off, it’s not noticeable. Basically, it’s everything the infomercial claims. Which is a first.

Also recommended in the bareMinerals line: Prime Time Oil Control Foundation Primer, Mineral Veil in Original, Ready Blush, Warmth All-Over Face Color.

Benefit Cosmetics Total Moisture Facial Cream

I originally got this as a free sample when I bought something else at Ulta. My roommate and I decided to try it out one night, and we were HOOKED. Basically, we stood in front of the mirror for an hour going, “No, YOU look more glowy!” This was perhaps the most delicious thing I’ve ever put on my face. While I haven’t bought one in full-size yet, I completely intend to soon. It feels like thick cream you might put on dry feet or something, so at first I was super skeptical. I’m prone to breakouts, and so I was sure it was going to clog my pores. I was wrong. It quickly absorbed and left my skin feeling amazingly moisturized and gave me a super glowy complexion. Especially with the harsh East Coast cold, my face is often very dry in the winter. This instantly hydrated my skin without feeling heavy or making my face greasy. I know it’s super expensive….but if you have Christmas gift cards, might be the place to use them. It’s also sold at some Macy’s.

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm (or any other drugstore)


If the price of Burt’s Bees makes you sad, this is an excellent replacement. My issue with Burt’s, even though I love it, is that unless it’s in a warm room or in your pocket for awhile, it can be hard to spread on your lips. Baby Lips doesn’t have to melt to go on well. It makes my lips feel super soft, as promised, has SPF, and even comes in tints (I use the cherry-flavored one). The only downside is that the original (the pink and blue one) doesn’t have such a pleasant taste. Obviously, I don’t eat it, but even just having a little on your lips isn’t super yummy. I do like using it under lipstick for a more muted look, though. Overall, an awesome lip balm for the money.

And finally, even though it’s not a makeup pick…

Steve Madden Fleece Lined Leggings in Black

I’ve only been able to find them in-store at Marshall’s, but these have quickly become my winter go-to. They’re warm, not see-through, and really slimming. I wear them all the time with tunic tops or dresses, and even just around the house with hoodies. When it comes to leggings, I’ve learned that spending the money is actually worth it. These are far from the spandex-ey, see-through type you’d get for cheaper.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but glamour is never out of season. As you choose where to spend your menagerie of holiday gift picks, I hope this list proves helpful. What’s your must-have beauty product? What do you think of my faves? Comment below!


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