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What’s In My Beauty Bag: My Makeup Essentials

If I was stranded on a deserted island, you want to know what I would miss most? Sephora. I’m not kidding, have you been in there? It’s a magical place that I stay up at night thinking about. Jokes aside, I really love Sephora but I understand that makeup shopping can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. But over the past few years, I have experimented with dozens of makeup products and narrowed them down to the absolute essentials. These makeup products will up your beauty game, guaranteed, and help you achieve challenge styles such as smoky eyes, winged liner, and contouring. To make things a bit easier, I’ve broken down my favorites into categories, so if you’re just here for brushes you can scroll right down to the bottom of the page. 


Eyes are the windows of the face and to me, they are the features that I like to emphasize most. I like to do a smoky eye and a wing pretty much every single day, however, the style of the liner and the type of shadows dramatically take my beauty routine from day to night. Here are a few of my top picks for eyes.

A Matte Shadow Palette

My personal favorite matte palette is by Kat Von D, because the shadows are super pigmented and the shades suit nearly every skin tone, although, you can select a palette that’s best for you. What I love about this palette is that there is a good variety of neutral shades, you can easily create numerous subtle or dramatic looks from this one palette. This palette retails for $46 and it can be purchased on Sephora.com. 

A Shimmer Shadow Palette

Matte’s are great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to mix up your look with something a little more sparkly. I only recently bought the Naked 3 by Urban Decay but since then I’ve been totally obsessed. What I love about the Naked line in that each palette is specialized for a specific eye color and this specific palette is a perfect compliment to green and hazel eyes. The palette retails for $56 but it included the brush which is perfect for applying your base and transition shades. 

A Black Liquid Eyeliner 

I am liquid obsessed and it’s pretty rare to see me out without some form of eyeliner on. I have played around with different brands and styles of liquid eyeliner, yet I am surprised to say that my favorite one so far has been by Sephora! This pen is affordable, easy to use, and long lasting- what more could you ask for. Get yours at any Sephora location for $14, a total steal for a high-end brand. 


Any Product from Benefit’s New Brow Collection

When Benefit’s new brow collection was released, I was totally stoked. Not only do I love this brand and their adorable packaging, but I was excited that a company had finally come around with a brow line suited for different brow styles and needs. Whether you have thin brows, thick brows, prefer a natural brow or a dramatic one, there’s a product in this line for you! The packaging of this collection is extremely reminiscent of The Jetsons, it gives me a retro-futuristic vibe that hints that Benefit may have cracked the code on the future of brows. 


A Cream Concealer 

I have been using the tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof 12-Hour Concealer (what a mouthful) for over a year and I seriously don’t think I could go a day without it. It’s lightweight enough to cover dark circles without looking cakey yet has enough coverage to disguise pesky blemishes, plus the application is smooth and creamy. I dab mine down with a beauty blender to apply, however, clean fingers also do the trick. 

An Eye Primer

Now I’ve been known to use a lot of drug store primers in the past, but I can attest to Urban Decay’s primers being absolutely sensational. Now if you’re wondering, why the heck are primers necessary, they go outside on a hot, sweaty day and see what happens to your eyeshadow. Seriously for all the effort that we put into our eye makeup, let’s give those shadows a little more insurance. 


A Matte Nude Lipstick or Liquid Lipstick

While reds, pinks, and purples are fun to have in your makeup bag, I find nudes to be absolutely essential. They go with pretty much every single look and these days, there are tons of variety depending on your skin tone, whether you prefer more pink nudes or brown nudes, even what formula you like best. Pretty much every company has put out nude lip products but I am a sucker for a classic which is why I rely on Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II. I am obsessed with terracotta nudes and this formula is unbeatable (take that Jeffree!). 


A Beauty Blender

Alright, so you’re probably sick and tired of every beauty vlogger on the planet going on and on about how a Beauty Blender changed their lives and saved the world. Well, I agree with all of them and think that this product is pretty rad. This product gives your makeup an airbrushed look through even blending application and lasts way longer than any other sponge applicator. Just be sure to keep this product clean, you do not want to see what happens when these babies get too dirty.

A Blending Brush

My makeup game has GROWN so much since I updated a blending brush. Want to have eyeshadow that blends seamlessly from color to color? It’s all about the brush! Find a brush that diffuses the shadow into your skin and don’t worry about being afraid to invest, it’s worth it honey. I love my Sephora Pro Airbrush Crease Brush #31 because the blend is incredible and it’s perfect for people who struggle with precise application. 

A Flat Contour Brush

I will be the first one to admit that I am still trying to figure out contouring, yet once again it’s all about the brush. I like to use a flat blending brush when using powder because it allows for me to apply a sharp line and then blend out with the wider side. I’d try the tarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contour Brush if you think that this technique would work for you. 



Studying Abroad in Firenze, Italy. Current Vice President and Blog Mentor of Her Campus Hofstra. Contributing Writer and Intern at Inked Magazine. A writer of all things body modification, beards, veganism, and feminism related.
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