Stef’s Top Ten Beauty Must-Haves for Every Girl!

When I first met Stef five years ago, I was pretty homely. I had no idea that nail polish could be awesome, that there was such a thing as tinted moisturizer, or that Sephora was such a magical place (now those Gilmore Girls references make sense!). Whenever I have a beauty product question or problem I run straight to Stef or her sister, Katie. Those girls know their stuff. So, I asked her to come up with her top 10 beauty must-haves for every girl. And she did! It’s so nice to have good friends that will help you out during NaBloPoMo. 🙂 Without further ado, I give you Stephanie.

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1. Volumizing Mascara. It brightens up your entire face and can make you look put-together even when you don’t have any other makeup on. Please use two or more coats! Stef’s favorites:

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! for a softer look
Benefit They’re Real for a more dramatic look
$On a budget: Maybelline Full and Soft or Cover Girl Lashblast

2. Tinted Moisturizer. I am not a foundation kinda girl. Unless you have extreme redness, lots of acne scarring or dark sun spots, I feel like full coverage foundation can stay at home. Stef’s favorites:

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is nice and hydrating
Tarte Smooth Operator has good coverage
Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer has SPF 30!
$On a budget: Cover Girl CG Smoothers is nice and sheer

3. Highlighter. If you want your face to look dull please do not use highlighter. If you want to look AMAHZING, put a tiny bit of highlighter on the tops of your cheek bones out to your temples (also cupid’s bow, inner corner of eyes, littttle bit on bridge of nose). Stef’s favorites:

Benefit Girl Meets Pearl gives the most beautiful glow! Since it’s subtle you can be generous with this product
Benefit High Beam – a little goes a long way
Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer gives a very natural sheen

4. Bronzer. It keeps your face from looking flat and one-dimensional. Putting bronzer where the sun would naturally hit you really brings life to your face (high on the forehead into your hairline, down into your temples and sides of your face, a little on your chin and nose). Stef’s favorites:

Benefit Dallas gives “an outdoor glow for an indoor gal.” This one works best for me since I have fair pink skin
Benefit Hoola is a true, matte, basic bronzer and not orange, which can be hard to come by in a bronzer
I’ve never actually used Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna but it’s probably the most popular bronzer in the world.

5. Foundation Primer. Primer is a base for your base! It makes your foundation/tinted moisturizer go on sooo smoothly and, depending on what your needs are and which primer you choose, can make your foundation last all day, minimize pores, or give you a dewy glow. Stef’s favorites:

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is one of the most popular ones out there. It is your basic silica-based (read: glidey) primer and is a great place to start.Smashbox Photo Finish also comes in Light, Hydrating, Color-correcting, Luminizing, Dark Spot-correcting, Bronzing, and more!

Benefit The POREfessional is great for oily skin with large pores
Tarte Clean Slate Flawless 12-hr Brightening Primer is lovely for dry, dull skin

6. Basic champagne/nude/taupe eyeshadow. Every girl needs a perfect eyeshadow she can wear on its own applied just with her finger! Stef’s favorites:

Stila eyeshadow in Kitten. A pressed eyeshadow that goes on very smoothly and is pigmented enough that you only need a little
Bare Minerals loose eyeshadow in Celestine is just too pretty for words
$On a budget: Maybelline Color Tattoo cream gel shadow in Bad to the Bronze is very long lasting, one of my favorite recent makeup discoveries.

7. Cream/liquid/gel blush. Powder blush is fine. But so predictable and boring! I love using non-traditional blush because I feel like it looks like it’s part of my skin, rather that something I just brushed on. These faves can be used on bare skin before foundation/tinted moisturizer or after:

Benefit Benetint/Posietint/Chachatint are liquid cheek stains in red, pink and coral respectively
theBalm Stainiac is gel stain that gives a “hint of tint”
Tarte Cheek Stain is one of my favorite beauty products of all. Dab, dab, dab and you have the perfect flush.
It even comes in a color called Flush!

8. Dry Shampoo. It’s magic! It makes dirty hair clean and clean hair dirty! It’s true that it’s better not to wash your hair everyday for its health and strength, but I get oily! On “second-day hair” I put some of this magic powder on my scalp/roots and it gives life back to my hair and also a fresh scent. On days where my hair is freshly washed and dried, but limp and blah, this magic powder gives me some oomph! Stef’s only preferred dry shampoo:

Stila Hair Refresher – comes in two scents and one bottle lasts a year.

9. Concealer. Find the perfect concealer that covers your flaws without looking too overdone or cakey. Stef’s favorites:

Benefit Erase paste is great for all over the face. Covers dark under eye circles as well as dark spots/redness/blemishes on the face.
Benefit Eye Bright is one of my secret weapons. You know that little hollow between the inner corner of your eye and your nose? It can be pretty dark and shadowy from your eyebrow down to your under eye area. Brighten that hollow, purple/gray spot up with this chunky, pink pencil and it really wakes up your eyes
$On a budget: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser is actually my everyday concealer

10. Brow definers. Please define your eyebrows! They frame your eyes and you look weird without them…or with too much of them.

If you have sparse or blonde brows, your fix could be as easy as taking an ashy eyeshadow and filling in spots. Not too much please! Use an eyebrow brush; they are stiff and angled to do the job. Get a cheap one; they are pretty much all the same. Here is a Sonia Kashuk one from Target
Tweezers. Keep ‘em clean with no stragglers! The only ones I’ve used for years and years are the Tweezerman Slant Tweezers. They are the best and you get free lifetime sharpening!
Brow gel. Unless you have perfectly smooth, perfectly shaped eyebrows you’ll need something to keep them tamed. I have yet to find the perfect brow gel but you can get inexpensive clear (or tinted) brow gel at drugstores and even clear mascara will work.

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Thanks, Stef! 🙂

Have any make-up that you can’t do without? Personally, I’m addicted to the L’Oreal BB cream.  Leave it in the comments!

– Amy

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