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Ultimate Sephora Shopping Guide, Part I: Makeup

Here she is: my ultimate Sephora shopping guide! I’ve wanted to put this together for a long time now. To be honest, I could probably keep adding things, but here we are. I have personally tried and loved every single thing on this list; they are tested and approved! I’m sharing new loves and long time favorites. I'm also linking all the of the swatches and get ready with me content that I can share for each product so you can see products close up and in action!

Sale Dates:

Rouge 20% off - 10/30-11/9

VIB 15% off - 11/3-11/9

Insider 10% off - 11/5-11/9

There are several brands whose products I love but I’m not currently promoting on my page. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me discuss brands that I will not support until I see measurable changes to the inclusivity of their shade ranges, marketing, and business practices. That means a lot of my favorite products are not listed here, but I gotta walk the walk.

A note on my skin type + preferences: I have combo skin with oily t-zone and pigmentation issues. I look for products that are hydrating, brightening, and soothing. My skin tone is light-medium with neutral golden/olive undertones. I look for light-medium coverage with a natural finish. I tend to go for glowy, simple, yet sophisticated looks, and I play with occasional pops of color.

Lastly, I encourage you all to shop intentionally and responsibly. While I love to indulge in beauty, I never want the consumerism to take over on any of my pages. You do not need to go into debt for beauty products. Also, 10-20% off does not include added tax. This is a precarious time in the world, so take extra good care of yourselves and your finances.

Table of Contents:


Base Products

Cream Cheek Products

Powder Cheek Products

Eye Products

Lip Products

Tools & Misc.

*press samples

Disclosures - This page does use affiliate links.



Smashbox Primerizer - This is honestly just a really nice, hydrating priming moisturizer. It contains glycerine to hydrate, plus niacinamide, urea, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine too hydrate and treat the skin. This does contain dimethicone, but I’ve never had issues with it pilling. It’s also fragrance free, so a really nice way to hydrate the skin before makeup. I would actually use this in lieu of daytime moisturizer and under SPF, personally! This is also one of those rare products with which it’s cheaper to buy the mini .5 oz for $15 rather than the full size 1 oz. for $42!

Smashbox Primer Water - This may be a controversial opinion, but I actually like this better than the cult favorite Mac Fix+ mist. It has a much finer mist, even with the mini bottles. I enjoy the bottle so much that I’ve refilled empty bottles with other products so I can keep using the mist mechanism. It’s really hydrating and melts makeup into the skin without being greasy. It says it contains fragrance, but I honestly smell nothing when I use it.

You can see the primer water in action here!


Dior Backstage Foundation (worn on the right) - This is my all-time favorite foundation for a skin-like finish. I love everything about it. It is a very liquid-y foundation that I usually apply with a brush. It has a very adjustable/buildable coverage, but starts out light/medium. The finish is natural, and when my oils break through mid-day it doesn’t break down or sink into pores or get gunky. Because it gives such a skin-like, you can add more in certain places with your finger and tap it on, and it’s still pretty undetectable. I also think that Dior has a better shade offering than most high-end brands, and they do POC undertones particularly well. I wear the shade 2WO (shown below) year-round. I do find the squeezey tube gets a bit messy, but I overall like the minimal, lightweight packaging. At $40, it’s a luxury steal, and about $28 cheaper than the next foundation I’m about to share.

You can see me using it here and swatches here!

Pat McGrath Foundation - This is luminous but not oily, lightweight on the skin but has really decent coverage, medium buildable. This may even be my new fall/winter foundation. It is seriously stunning on the skin. There are many mixed reviews out there for this foundation. I can see why. I think runnier foundations especially can wear really differently on different skin types. This has the runniness that my favorite foundation, the Dior Backstage, has; it will run down the back of your hand. The Pat McGrath foundation is ever so slightly thicker, and has more coverage. I wear shade LM14 (shown above), but will pick up a lighter shade for winter.

I have swatches of it in my swatches highlight here!

Armani Power Fabric Concealer - My all time favorite under-eye concealer, hands down. To me, what it unique about this concealer is its consistency. It is very thin in texture, but uncompromising in pigmentation. It gives nice medium/buildable coverage, but doesn’t add any heaviness or texture to the under-eye. In fact, on me, it really smooths out my under-eye. I apply it lightly with a beauty sponge and it never fails me; it spreads with ease. While I like light/medium coverage when it comes to foundations, I like higher coverage in concealers. I would rather apply a small amount of a thin, pigmented concealer like this than apply a heavy amount of a low coverage concealer. It also works beautifully on the face. I wear shades 5 and 5.5, depending on the season. The shade offering isn’t huge, but they do offer a variety of undertones, which I appreciate.

You can see me using shade 5 here and swatched here!

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Concealer* - This is a very different concealer than the Armani. It’s higher coverage, slightly thicker, and more matte. This is more of a special occasion concealer that I’ll use for more glam makeup, longer makeup days, or for taking photos. If you’re a full coverage foundation person, this is for you. The shade 2W is actually a perfect match for me: light/medium with golden/yellow undertones that brightens my under eyes. A little goes a long way!

Nars Soft Matte Concealer - The best spot concealer, small but mighty. This is a thicker concealer that comes in a pot. Nothing covers up acne, scars, and pigmentation like this bad boy. I can’t fit my fingernails in the pot, so I dab this on with a brush to pinpoint conceal where needed. I’ll tap over that with a finger if I want to adjust the coverage or melt it into the skin. One pot will last you forever! I use the shade Custard (shown on the right) and sometimes Macadamia.

You can see me using the shade Macadamia here and the shade Custard here!

Becca Cosmetics Under Eye Brightening Corrector* - This is the only under eye corrector I’ve ever truly loved. The formula is thin but dewy, not so dewy that it will slide around, but enough to feel hydrating under the eyes. That bit of a dewiness gives it a very forgiving texture under the eyes, unlike some under eye correctors that I find a bit too waxy (like the Bobbi Brown one). It’s also not so pigmented that it needs a full coverage concealer over it to truly correct. I can even use this as my only eye product for the day.

There is a major caveat though, which is that there are only two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. And, well, I use Medium/Deep because the warmer undertones suit me best. Light/Medium is a bit too ashy and pink to suit my undertones. I can’t speak to how this performs on deeper skin tones, but I assume they would need something richer and deeper than the current selection. While I don’t love the Bobbi Brown formula, I do love the variety of shades that they have, and I hope Becca follows suit and extends this shade range.

You can see me using Medium/Deep here and here!

Sephora Collection Microsmooth Baked Powder Foundation - I first heard about this product from Alissa Ashley, and I think it’s so underrated! It’s a super finely milled powder foundation that can be used to set foundation or can be dusted all over the face for slight coverage. It has an almost pearly quality that gives the skin a very smooth appearance, blurring pores. Super lightweight. The shade Sand is a great match for me, not brightening but a good face shade match. And, I love that it’s a pressed powder. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with a loose powder, you know?

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray - If you want to help mask-proof your makeup, a setting spray like All Nighter will be your friend. Obviously it won't make your makeup totally budge-proof, but it will really help set your makeup and seal it in from humidity and wear. Use it at the very end of your makeup routine to lock everything in. If you want extra proofing, lightly powder on top of the spray. This is available in a bunch of holiday kits, like the Mini All Nighter Ornament.


Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush - This is a Fenty launch I loved, despite some mixed reviews. Rosé Latte (worn left)is rosy brown shade is deeper in pan than it applies on the cheeks (as with most cream blushes). I love rosy browns like this because they are the perfect multi-step shades to use as bronzer/blush hybrids. A one and done cheek product. I apply it as blush with a dense synthetic cheek brush over unset foundation and it blends beautifully. It’s sheer and dewy but buildable. Stays dewy but not too sticky. It is a little baby pan. She’s smol. $20 for .1 oz. Personally, I rarely use up cheek products, so I don’t mind paying less for less product. It’s more eco-friendly and less wasteful, especially considering cream products expire more quickly than powder. If I could purchase minis in all my favorite makeup, I would!

You can see me using Rosé Latte here, and a swatch of it here!

I also love the shade Fuego Flush for an orangey blush look (does contain micro glitters), and Drama Cla$$ for a surprisingly soft, baby pink/lilac cheek. They both look very intimidating in the pan, but they sheer out really well with fingers or a sponge.

Rare Beauty Liquid Blush - The liquid blushes, I think, are the hit from the brand. (I actually ended up returning the foundation from the line, which is a story for another time.) They brought out the liquid blushes in two formulas, dewy and matte. I have this blush in the shade Grateful, which is a cherry red in the dewy formula. It gives me a gorgeous, natural flush, but it has to be applied carefully. These are uber pigmented. The best way to apply a pigmented liquid blush like this is to tap it onto the back of your hand, spread it out evenly, pick it up with a brush and then tap onto the cheeks. Tap over with a sponge or with your foundation brush to even out or control the edges. This helps you build the color up evenly and with control. I haven’t tried the matte blush formula, but I’d like to! I also think Rare Beauty overall is priced very well; this blush is $20.

Personally, since a little of this blush goes a long way, I would pick up the Best of Rare Beauty Lip & Cheek set or the Mini set to try out a few different products from the brand!

Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer (worn on the right) - I love this cream bronzer and it lives in my everyday makeup bag. I use the shade Macchiato in this line, which is the perfect yellow undertone, caramel sort of bronzer for light/medium skin tone. It’s not too warm or too cool, just pretty neutral on my skin tone. It is a sheer product, as others have noted, but I actually prefer that with cream cheek products because it allows you to build up pigmentation slowly. I use a brush to tap into the pan and then stipple onto the cheeks. It doesn’t dry down completely to a matte finish, but it has a natural finish. No shine or shimmers in this.

You can see me using the shade Macchiato here and here!

Marc Jacobs Dew Drops - If you want a glassy, skin-like highlighter, you should definitely turn to creams. One of my all time favorites is the shade Dew You from this range, a bright golden peach. It’s highly pigmented, so a tiny drop blended out with a brush or tapped onto the cheekbones with a damp sponge will do the trick. It can be sheered out for a more natural look, or at full opacity it will give you truly metallic coverage. Also, this bottle is huge and will last you a lifetime! There’s also a golden bronze shade called Tantalize that I think would look beautiful on deeper skin tones. These also come in some very cute holiday sets: the Dew Everything mini set, the Mist Matched set, the Glow Maintenance set, the Oui Mon Cherry set, and the Glow Show set.


Gucci Poudre de Beauté Éclat Soleil Bronzing Powder — I admit I bought this for the packaging. But just look at it. If you’re a luxury makeup lover like me, you understand why a release like this might make you weak at the knees. This is obviously an indulgence, and not a necessity, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. The formula is soft but not too powdery, and very blendable on the skin. I use the shade 03 medium, which is a golden bronzer with caramel undertones. It does contain a super fine pearlinesss throughout the formula. It is pretty pigmented, so I go in with a fluffy brush and a light hand. I'm also curious about the shade 02 as a cooler-toned contour shade.

You can see shade 03 medium in action here!

Laura Mercier Blush Color Infusion* (shown left) — While this isn’t a new release, I recently got my hands on this blush in the shade Fresco, which is a slightly neutral pink beige nude with a super fine shimmer running through it. It’s the perfect nude blush if you’re my skin tone or lighter. There are also several shades in this line that are far more pigmented and bright. Like all Laura Mercier products, the powder is super refined and melds with the skin beautifully. I've got my eyes on the shade Peach next!

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Contour Powder — An oldie but a goodie. This is actually the only true contour powder I have in my collection. I don’t contour regularly, but when I do, I turn to Kevyn Aucoin. This is a grey/ashy undertone, finely milled powder that will give you the illusion of a shadow on the face. Use with a fluffy brush and a light hand. I use the shade Medium.

You can see me using the contour powder here and here!


Large Eyeshadow Palettes

Pat McGrath Mothership V, Divine Rose I, Divine Rose II — It’s no secret that I love Pat McGrath. If you want to make one splurge purchase, I’d make it a Pat McGrath Mothership Palette. From packaging to formula, they are works of art. Her large Mothership palettes are also where you will find her “special shades” — textured, finely milled micro-sparkles in a baked formula. I have swatches of all three of these palettes in my swatches highlight!

Mothership V is a dream for warm neutral lovers; it is full of warm coppers, bronzes, and textured golden sparkle. You can see it in action here and here!

Divine Rose I creates the most daytime-appropriate/soft looks of all the Mothership Palettes, in my opinion, with the dusty rose, mauve, and peachy tones. You can see me using it here, and swatches here!

Divine Rose II (shown right) is distinct from her predecessor with its richly pigmented pinks, deeper purples, and that incredible green/purple/gold tai-chrome shade. You can see it in action here and swatched here!

Natasha Denona Biba Palette — I held out on buying Biba for almost a year after its release. I thought: “I have so many neutral eyeshadow palettes! Will I really use Biba that often?” The answer is yes. Something Natasha Denona does exceptionally well is develop nuanced color stories that are hyper-focused. She picks a color story and explores many different undertones, depths, and variations. Biba is a perfect study of neutrals. This is a mostly matte palette with three metallics to create an endless variety of neutral looks. It definitely leans warm overall, but the bottom row of cool tones balances it out.

You can see me using the Biba palette here!

A note about Natasha Denona’s mattes: I find they work best when you place color onto your eye, and then blend out the edges. Tap on the color before you sweep in small circles or windshield wiper motions. And one word of warning: many people, myself included, have had issues with the shade Spot, the black shade. It’s a creamy matte that, for me, shrunk in the pan over time and completely fell out of the pan. The brand replaced the shade for me, but didn’t respond when I asked if they had reformulated this shade to prevent the problem in the future. So, I’m not exactly confident that this problem won’t happen again.

Natasha Denona Gold Palette — This is a really particular color story; one obviously for gold lovers. I especially love the mustard-y tones in this palette. It creates all kinds of gold looks: yellow golds, champagne golds, bronzey golds, and a pop of teal in there to accentuate the yellow/green tones throughout. I also love that it contains a variety of Natasha Denona’s textures: mattes, shimmers, metallics, duo chromes, and chroma crystals.

You can see it in action here and here!

Natasha Denona Bronze Palette (left) — I love Natasha Denona’s midi palette format. The pans are smaller sizes and the palettes are half the price of her large palettes. Makes so much more sense to me. Bronze is the Natasha Denona palette for warm toned lovers. Overall, it leans very orangey and copper, with some pink shifts. The quality is every bit as stunning as the larger palettes. I will say, I wish this contained one or two lighter shades, a champagne or light gold, to balance out the mid-tone copper/bronzes.

You can see me creating a full eye look with the Bronze palette here!

Smaller Eyeshadow Palettes + Single Eyeshadows

Pat McGrath Holiday 2020 Celestial Divinity Luxe Quads - I recently picked up the Interstellar Icon quad (above) and I loved the look I created. I'm trying to tell myself I don't need the other two, but I'm definitely tempted. Risqué Rose will create really fun bright pink looks, while Fleur Fantasia is a pastel dream. Fleur Fantasia isn't on the Sephora website yet, but I'll update here if it shows up.

You can see me wearing Interstellar Icon here!

Marc Jacobs Eye-conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette — These are some of the most beloved eyeshadows in my collection. I think this formula is highly underrated. The mattes are soft, easy to use, and super beginner-friendly. There are a variety of mattes, satins, and shimmer/metallic options in each palette. Each palette has 7 shades total which make them very easy to wear and create looks.. The color stories are also so well-conceived and intuitive. The slim packaging is so appealing to me. My two favorites are Scandalust and Fantascene. Scandalust is the eyeshadow palette I’ve probably used the most in my collection because it has everything I need when I travel. Fantascene is a beautiful spring/summer palette to create pinky looks with. Glambition is a fantastic neutral beginners palette. I’m eyeing their holiday palette in Cherrific because, well, it’s cherry-themed!

You can see Fantascene in action here!

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Honeymoon — This is an ideal product for someone who appreciates a sophisticated eye look, but doesn’t want the fuss of a large palette. Or someone who just appreciates a touch of luxury. This quad has stood the test of time for me; I've reached for it consistently through the years, even as my eyeshadow palette collection has grown considerably. The color story is so balanced. The top two champagne and bronze are beautiful one-and-done shadows; I wear them blended out all over the lid all the time. I can create a more dramatic look by deepening the outer corner of the eye with the burgundy or the deep plum two shades. This quad is Tom Ford’s wet/dry formula — almost gel-like, super smooth and blendable when dry, and even more pigmented and metallic when wet. I've also been lusting after the quads in African Violet and Body Heat.

You can see me using Honeymoon here!

Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color in Golden Peach (shown left, far left swatch) — Another long-standing favorite for a one-and-done eye look. This is a duo with cream eyeshadow on bottom and a pressed glitter topper on top. The Tom Ford cream eyeshadow formula is slightly creamy, slightly moussey. It blends out like a dream and wears well throughout the day (over a primer, for my oily lids). You can apply with a brush or finger and sweep it all over the eye to create a super easy, luminous, sophisticated eye look. Golden Peach gives me a pink champagne sort of look all over the eye. The glitter topper is hard-pressed in the pan, and I find it’s best applied with a finger. It’s basically a sheer base with champagne micro-glitters. Because it’s so hard-pressed, there’s no fallout. Both products can be worn separately or together. Naked Bronze is also gorgeous for a more golden bronzey look.

You can see Golden Peach in action here and swatches here! Also swatched on the left above.

Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes (shown above) — If you only want the cream eyeshadow formula from Tom Ford, look to the cream eyeshadow pots. This is the same formula as the Cream and Powder Eye Colors, that moussey cream formula. I travel with these all the time because they create a sophisticated one-and-done eye look and they're so compact. I love Spice (right swatch above) for an everyday bronze; it looks deep in the pot but it sheers out on the eyes (for some reason it's OOS at Sephora but will update it if it comes back!). I look to Sphinx (middle swatch above) for a slightly more edgy duochrome peachy/gold with a bit more sparkle. I don't personally have Platinum, but it's very beloved neutral bronzey-taupe among neutral shade fans.

I have swatches of Golden Peach, Sphinx, and Spice swatched above, respectively, and also here!

Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Eyeshadow Palette — Dior recently reformulated their eyeshadow quints and, wow, they are breathtaking. The formula is super soft and buttery. There are a variety of textures, from creamy mattes to smooth satins to metallic shimmer, and even micro-glitter shimmers — still very refined and elegant, of course. They are all pigment-rich, an aspect that was lacking in their previous formulation. They have brought out both neutral and colorful palettes, but I think their neutral offerings are truly exceptional and sophisticated in their nuanced color stories. I’m particularly enjoying Mitzah* (left), a warm tone lovers dream. I also have had a lot of fun playing with their blue palette, Denim*. If you love cool tones, Tutu, New Look, or Soft Cashmere may be up your alley. Sephora doesn’t have the shade Jungle, but if it does come into stock I think that’s the best of the bunch. I’ve also got my eye on Nude Dress for a slightly pinky neutral vibe and may pick it up in the sale.

You can see Mitzvah swatches and in action here!

Roen Beauty Eyeshadow Palettes* — This eyeshadow formula can be polarizing; some people (like me) love them, and some people don’t. It's very unique: highly textured, micro-glitters that give you an editorial wash of color and shine on the eyes, housed in a creamy, almost oily base. These are best applied with fingers as the heat of your finger will warm up and activate the formula to then melt onto your eyes. I do find these work best over a glitter glue or eyeshadow primer for my oily eye lids. These aren’t for the precise, high glam beauty lover; rather, they are for people who like a smudgy, sexy, blown-out sort of eye look. My personal favorites are the 75° Warm for warm tones, and 11:11 (shown right) for rosy tones. If you like cool tones, 52° Cool is for you.

You can see me using 75° Warm here and 11:11 here! I also created an IGTV tutorial on the Roen Beauty page with the 11:11 palette here!

If you're curious about the formula, you could pick up Disco, a twinkly champagne single eyeshadow, or Summer Disco, a warm gold.

Kaja Beauty Bento Bouncy Shimmer Eyeshadow Trio* So underrated, in my opinion! The shimmers all have very complex micro-glitters in them with different colors running through each shade. I think they're twinkly more than glittery. The color selection, I find, is pretty nuanced and sophisticated. They are overall a drier formula than we see trending on the market, but I actually think that lends itself to longevity and blendability on the eyes. You won’t find the creamy, almost wet feeling here. The mattes are drier but very finely milled, soft almost. They all apply well with a brush or fingers, though you might get a bit of fallout with the micro-glitters if you use a brush. My personal favorite is Orange Blossom, an all shimmer trio which I think is very unique. I'm also loving Spiked Ginger for a soft, everyday eye look.

Plus, how cute and compact are these? I’ll admit that before I tried Kaja Beauty, I wondered if the brand was too young or gimmicky for me. I’m happy to say that while they do embody the cutesiness of K beauty, they also deliver in performance.

You can see my whole Kaja Beauty Bento collection swatched here and in action here!

Shown left (top to bottom): Glowing Guava, Orange Blossom, Sparkling Rosé.

Liners, Mascara

Surratt Auto-Graphique Liquid Liner ($42 for liner; $18 for ink cartridge refill) —The Surratt Auto-Graphique Liquid Liner (worn on the right) is precision and artistry at its best. This is a refillable brush tip pen. The design is inspired by Japanese brushes. The tip is super fine and allows you to create precise strokes. The ink doesn’t bleed. It’s $42 for the component and an ink cartridges, and the refill ink cartridge is $18 after that. I love Brun Riche (brown) for everyday wear. I recently picked it up in Chat Noir (black) for more dramatic looks. It’s, quite simply, the best liquid eyeliner that I’ve tried. And I’ve tried a lot.

You can see it in action here and here!

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Alkaline — I want to highlight Alkaline specifically because I really like using a deep wine shade in lieu of brown or black to subtly amp up a look. That said, I love the formula of all of these pencils and have enjoyed them for years. They set and don’t smudge, which is pretty rare for my smaller eyes!

You can see me using Alkaline here!

They have so many shade options, but to call out some of my favorites: Whiskey is a great brown matte; Perversion is a classic black; and Electric Empire is a really fun metallic green.

Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof — This is one of the few high-end western mascaras that will hold a curl for my baby lashes, and won't smudge. The regular version unfortunately does smudge on me. It's a big natural bristle wand, but if I'm careful with application I get a really nice, fan-like voluminous effect on my lashes.


Benefit Brow Products - To be honest, most of my brow products are not from Sephora brands, but I do think Benefit does products in the brow category exceptionally well. I enjoy Gimme Brow gel in shade 5 for some definition, shading and volumizing. The 24-Hour Brow Setter in clear holds my brows up for that laminated look. And the Precisely My Brow Pencil in shade 6 is a great fine-tipped brow pencil.

You can see Gimme Brow in action here!

Roen Beauty vowBROW Pencil in Dark* - This is a perfect cool-tone dark brown/soft black. It’s a retractable skinny pencil with a spoolie. The formula is more waxy than creamy. I’s super easy to build a soft, bushy brow without going overboard on pigment. You can see me using it here!


Make Up Forever Artist Lip Pencil in Anywhere Caffeine (worn below) — My perfect nude lip pencil. It’s a slightly dusty rose with brown undertones. It goes with everything. This lip liner formula is on the drier side, which means that it is super long lasting. I wear it under lip glosses, lipsticks, lip oils, liquid lips. It’s perfect. The formula is also intended for eyes, lips, and brows, so it has a very extensive shade range. I’m picking up more pencils in the formula during the sale, specifically Endless Cacao and Wherever Walnut.

You can see Anywhere Caffeine in action here and here! Also wearing it below with the next product.

Fenty Gloss Bomb (worn left) — Fenty Glow remains my favorite my lips but better lip gloss shade. It’s just the perfect tint of rosy brown for me. The formula is juicy but not sticky. Fenty Glow does contain tiny glitter particles that just give the lips a wet look, not actually glittery. I also have Hot Chocolit, a brown toned gloss, that I love but I do feel slightly gritty glitter particles in that one when I press my lips together. I also have Glass Slipper, the clear shade. Do I need a Fenty clear gloss? No. Do I love it? Yes. Fenty also has a very cute holiday gloss set called the Glossy Posse Mini Gloss Bomb Set. So cute and very giftable!

I have swatches of Fenty Glow and Hot Chocolit in my swatches highlight on IG! You can see Fenty Glow in action here. And Hot Cholit in action here.

Bobbi Brown Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss* — This formula was a surprise to me because it actually has a sort of liquid lip balm texture. It’s a very smooth formula; you can definitely tell there are lots of nourishing oils in here. I have the shade Free Spirit, which is a pink beige that gives a sheer wash of color, definitely a my lips but better shade for me. It’s not as shiny as the Fenty Gloss Bomb because it is more like a gloss-treatment hybrid.

You can see Free Spirit in action here!

Roen Kiss My Liquid Lip Balm* (shown right)— Kiss My liquid lip balms come in 3 shades: Remi (a neutral light pink), Charlie (dusty rose), and Scout (berry), swatched top to bottom on the left. The formula is nourishing and comfortable, with the shine and cushion of a gel. Never sticky, bouncy on the lips, and buildable. They come with a pointy doe foot applicator that makes precise application around the lip line super easy. I also love pairing these with a lipliner. They do have a slight mintiness, but nothing too strong.

You can see me lip swatch all of these shades in an IGTV tutorial here!

Dior Lip Glow — I’ve lost count of how many tubes of this I’ve emptied over the years, but I would probably guess no less than 10. It’s a product that perpetually lives in my purse. I’ve used and loved the original Pink Glow shade the most because it gives me a juicy, slightly pink-tinted lip that, on me, looks very natural. It’s also a rare product that truly moisturizes my lips for hours. Something about this formula really coats the lips. I actually don’t have one in my possession right now and I really miss it, even in my huge collection of lip products. I’ve got my eye on the newer shade Rosewood!

Nars Oil-Infused Lip Tint (shown left) — I have this in the shade Laguna, which looks like a bronzer copper in the tube but sheers out just to slightly warm up the tone of the lips. It contains micro-shimmers that give the lips a sheen, but don’t translate as glittery on the lips. Just high shine. I love wearing this on its own as a gloss, or over a lip liner or lipstick for more pigment. Many brands are launching lip oils right now, but this is one of the more actually “oily” formulas I’ve tried, a sort of oil-gel hybrid. It actually hydrates my lips. I’d love to try out some of the other shades in this formula, including the newer Orgasm X shade.

You can see me using Laguna here and swatches here!

Nars Afterglow Lip Balm — I picked up a limited edition set of these from Nordstrom during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a few months ago, and I’ve been wearing them nonstop. This formula is surprisingly pigmented, especially the brighter, poppier corals and pinks. The nude shades are also beautiful. They are very comfortable on the lips. I don’t find them particularly hydrating after they wear off, but I don’t mind because they are easy to reapply in a pinch without a mirror. From the permanent line, I have the shade Orgasm. I've got my eye on the shade Torrid.

YSL Rouge Volupte Shine — Luxury in a tube. YSL lipstick packaging just really does it for me, you know? These are another glossy, sheer lip tint formula with a gorgeous curation of shades ranging from nudes to pinks to reds to orange. I recently emptied the shade Orange Perfecto and I really miss it. They also smell delicious, almost like watermelon? These are very dewy and hydrating on the lips, but I don’t find they moisturize over time. I don’t mind because I love reapplying this.

Gucci Beauty Rouge á Lévres Voile Sheer Lipstick in Agatha Orange (floral tube, shown right)— Everything I want in an orangey red lipstick! It’s a sheer formula that sort of melts into your lips. It’s hydrating but it doesn’t move around. It’s a true sheer lipstick - it’s more pigmented than a tinted lip balm. Plus, this little bit of luxury really makes me happy and boosts my mood. The packaging is a work of art with the vintage rose print and the gold beveled accents.

You can see me using Agatha Orange here and here! And swatches here, and above.

Gucci Beauty Rouge à Lèvres Voile Sheer Lipstick in Marguerite Jade — This is described as a “tawny brown sheer” that wears on my lips as a rosy brown. There’s also a touch of red in it. It’s one of those complex shades that’s tough to pin down. I’ve seen it on a number of different people, and I also think it’s the kind of shade that looks different on different people, depending on your skin tone. It’s a dark brown in the tube, but it sheers out beautifully.

You can see me using Marguerite Jade here!

Gucci Beauty Rouge à Lèvres Mat Matte Lipstick in They Met in Argentina (gold tube, shown above) — Another slice of luxury in an embossed gold tube. This is a very velvety matte, not too flat or drying. It is a high pigment formula that is soft on the lips. You will get full opacity with just a swipe or two. They Met in Argentina is a warm rosewood shade, but it has a bit of brightness in it that makes it pop, versus some other rosewoods that are more muted or earthy. I actually find this to be a really unique shade!

I've swatched They Met in Argentina here!

I personally plan on picking up more Gucci lipsticks in the sale — probably Penny Beige in the satin formula, or Goldie Red sheer. There's also a really cute set with a bottle of Gucci Bloom and the sheer lipstick in Goldie Red.

Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Sheer Colour Balm - These are a slightly waxier formula than, say, the Nars Afterglow lip balms. They start out sheer, but the color builds up quickly. The brighter shades, like Passion Flower, Wild Cherry, and Flesh 3 are quite pigmented and give the lips a definite tint. These actually do moisturizer my lips over time, and I find myself wanting to pick up more! I’m loving the formula—and, of course, I love the chic white packaging with gold accents.

I'm also dying to try her new Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in Nude Venus!

YSL Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain (worn on the left)- These are also the only liquid matte lip products I own and swear by. They have the consistency of a very thin stain, with the pigment, opacity, and longevity of a liquid lip. The formula is weightless on the lips but mighty, and packs a pigmented punch. Fades elegantly, leaves behind a sheer stain. And mask-proof!

The shade 1 Rouge Tatouage is a vibrant orangey pink red which leans slightly warmer on me. Shade 7 Nude Interdit (worn on the right) is a neutral beige. Shade 25 Beige Secret is a medium-toned rosy pink with a bit of brightness from the pink.

You can see me using 7 Nude Interdit here!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask - I have used this lip sleeping mask every night for 5+ years. It just does everything I need. It’s a thick balm in a pot that contains .7 oz of product, meaning it will last forever. You only need a small amount. It coats the lips and feels super cushiony. I wake up every morning with smooth, hydrated lips. I’ve also gotten my fiancé hooked on this; he specifically asks for it every night before bed. It comes with a cute little spatula for hygienic application, which I appreciate but always lose. My favorite flavors are Vanilla and Original - Berry. I also really want to try Gummy Bear!

Fresh Sugar Lip Balms* in Watermelon, Blood Orange, and Caramel - This is a potted lip balm that is just so satisfying and pleasant to use. It’s thinner than, say, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, but it’s still comforting and moisturizing on the lips. This doesn’t provide me long-lasting hydration, but I love the feeling of it on the lips so much that I find myself applying and reapplying all the time. Blood Orange and Watermelon also give me a juicy rosy tint. These are just delicious.


Shiseido Lash Curler ($22 for curler; $6 for refill pads) - The best lash curler for my eye shape. If your eye area is flatter (less curved) or you have more almond-shaped eyes, this is the one for you. Shiseido is a Japanese cosmetics company, so it makes sense. With this curler, I’m able to catch all of my lashes, from my outer corner to the tiny lashes in my inner corner. I like to hold at the base, then pump and release as I reach the ends of my lashes. There’s also a limited edition gold holiday edition lash curler that is super cute.

Beauty Blender - The beauty sponge, with good reason. I’ve tried tons of beauty sponges from different brands through the years, and none of them rival the Beauty Blender, in my opinion. They really got the texture and density of these sponges right. They are also durable and, with proper cleaning, drying, and care (I mean, wash it every day before and after use!), can last several months. I love the finish this gives me with thicker foundations, concealers, cream cheek products, and even powders. Personally, I like the Beauty Blender Nude and the Beauty Blender Pro. While they are spendy at full price ($20 full price, $16 on sale), they are available in a ton of different holiday sets which are a great value. It’s the best time to buy them or stock up! Personally I’m eyeing the Rocket to Flawless Blend & Cleanse Set, the Makeup Sponge + Liquid Cleanser Set, and the Besties Makeup Sponge and Cleanser Set.

Beauty Blender Liquid BlenderCleanser — I hate how good this is. If you’ve ever tried to wash Beauty Blender with regular hand soap only to find that the makeup stains aren’t budging, this is for you. I don’t know what’s in this liquid cleanser, but it absolutely drains your sponge of makeup. It’s free of dyes and is a gentle, soy based cleanser. It does have a fragrance that’s so slight I don’t even notice it. It also works great with my brushes. A little bit goes a very long way with this, too. It’s available in some of the holiday sets, like the Makeup Sponge + Liquid Cleanser Set!

Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Brush #56 (shown right) — The Sephora Collection brushes are fantastic, in my opinion. They are very well-made mid-range synthetic fiber brushes. #56 is my favorite brush for a variety of purposes. It’s called a foundation brush, and it works very well for that, but I also love it for cream cheek product application, blush especially. It’s densely packed with medium length, soft fibers. It has a dome shape and a small ferrule that makes it perfect for blending out all cream products.

You can see the brush in action here with a cream blush!

Sephora Collection Pro Contour Brush #79 — I love this brush for its designated purpose: contour application. It works well with both powder and cream formulas. The tapered shape helps diffuse product and hug the cheekbone. I don’t always apply contour, but I’m always happy with the result when I use this brush. I also use it for precision blush application.

Urban Decay Grind House Pencil Sharpener — You might not think you need a really good sharpener, until you try this one. Grind House gives me the sharpest, most precise tips for my pencil makeup. Other sharpeners often break off the tip if it gets too pointy; this one does not. It delivers precision every time. I have one for my eye pencils and one for lip pencils, to keep things sanitary.

Tweezerman — The best tweezers. Precise, sharp, great pressure. Can’t live without them. I like the flat edge tweezers, but they also make pointed tip tweezers for precision.

Sephora Pack It All Organizer — The best makeup travel bag I have when I need to, like the name says, pack it all! This thing holds so much. There are two pouches that fit perfectly into the bag, a small clear zipper pouch, as well as slots for brushes. It has a sturdy faux leather handle and it's very easy to clean. I use this especially when I'm traveling for special occasions. Recently I packed this for a wedding and I fit two Pat McGrath Mothership palettes, Tom Ford Honeymoon quad, two foundations, multiple concealers, powder, a face palette, two cream blushes, my regular everyday makeup, and multiple lip options. After two years of use, it still looks brand new.

Personally I’m eyeing some of the Surratt brushes! I’d love to try the Smoky Eye Brush Petite, and the Artistique Face Brush someday!


That's it! I'm making myself stop now. Part II: Skincare and Part III: Hair, Body, and Fragrance are all coming soon, so stay tuned!

*press samples

1 Comment

Preeti P
Preeti P
Oct 26, 2020

Right off the bat before even reading the whole thing, I just want to thank you for writing a full blown post as opposed to a social media post. I strongly believe that we as consumers are relying on quick bite sized content which does not do justice to a well rounded argument about why/why not a product works for someone which goes a long way in making educated decisions about investing in a product. Removing friction from consumer websites is also making it easier to stop-drop-shop. end-rant :/

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