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I know all of us were stuck inside for the better part of this year, but like a lot of people, I found things to do to calm my cabin fever. Was a lot of my quarantine spent in sweatpants, knee-deep in a Netflix marathon? Perhaps. However, even in quarantine and wearing a mask every time I leave my house, I was still able to experiment and try out a lot of new makeup! And lucky for me, I found some products to add to my all-time holy grail beauty list.

Concealer: e.l.f Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer Satin Finish – $6

I don’t wear foundation for the most part, so I rely on my concealer to be able to cover up acne, dark spots, and my under-eye area. My skin type is also dry-to-combination, so concealers often pill (when the product sticks and rolls together instead of blending into your skin) and emphasize any dry spots I have. This hydrating concealer from e.l.f provides a seamless blend and buildable coverage that doesn’t crease under the eyes or accentuate skin texture. Not to mention e.l.f’s famously low prices, this product is only $6 and is sold in most drugstores and Ulta’s. Great formula and it’s affordable? The instant holy grail.

Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – $9.99

Full disclosure, this is not a 2020 find. I’ve been using this mascara since I was 15. I can’t begin to think about how much money I’ve spent or how many pink tubes of this product I’ve bought since I’ve discovered it. The wand is perfect for fanning out and coating every separate lash, and the formula doesn’t smudge or flake under your eyes throughout the day. For me, this mascara lengthens and gives my lashes a curl that lasts until I take it off. I went out of my comfort zone this year and tried out a few different mascaras, but nothing came close to how consistently good this product has performed for me over the years.

Bronzer: Milk Makeup Mini Matte Bronzer Stick – $15

If I made one good quarantine purchase this year, it was a set from Milk Makeup that had mini, travel-sized versions of some of their most popular beauty and skincare products, this bronzer being one of them. Although there were some misses in the set overall (looking at you, Kush Mascara and Cooling Water), this bronzer became an instant summer staple for me. I usually put it on my cheekbones, forehead, and nose to create a contour that brightens and gives dimension to my face. The formula is super creamy and blends flawlessly into the skin to create a very natural sun-kissed look. Personally, a little bit of product goes a long way and even the mini bronzer has lasted me a long time. 

Blush: Milk Makeup Mini Glimmer Glow Oil Lip + Cheek – $15

Another great Milk Makeup product I found through the set of minis was their Lip + Cheek Glow Oil. As a lip oil, I don’t think it’s very hydrating and often accentuates any dry or chapped patches on my lips. However, as a blush, I love it! Like their bronzer, it gives a very subtle and natural color that gives an instantly fresh and ethereal look. Aside from the naturally-flushed pigment of the oil, the shimmer in it acts as a great highlighter on the cheekbones and nose.

Eyeshadow: Ellen Tracy Glamorous Contour Palette

I know I’ve found the ultimate drugstore gem when I Googled this product to get a price and all it said was I could only get it at CVS. My sister got this palette for me for my birthday this past summer, and despite quarantine being the perfect time to experiment with crazy eyeshadow looks, I was drawn towards natural tones this year. Technically, it’s a powder contour palette, but since I’m not a huge fan of powder contour, this was my go-to for my day-to-day eyeshadow. There are four different brown shades, ranging from a copper-red tone to a dark brown, and four different shimmers, so it’s very versatile for a light natural look or a smokey eye. All of the pigments blend like a dream on the eye, might I say even better than the more high-end eyeshadow palettes I have. A specific shimmer in the palette, called “Captivating” is my new holy grail for a highlighter that creates a blinding glow.

Eyebrows: Maybelline Brow Ultra Slim Defining Pencil – $7.99

I think everyone who wears makeup has that one step in their routine that makes them feel more like themselves when they put it on — mine is my eyebrows. Being a natural blonde comes with naturally blonde eyebrows, and to add insult to injury I have pretty sparse brows to begin with. So, imagine what a game-changer eyebrow pencils were to me when I discovered them. Because of this, I’ve gone through many different brands, both drugstore and mid-to-high-end, and out of all of them, this product is my favorite. The pencil is retractable and super slim so it’s really easy to be precise and make hair-like strokes, and there’s a spoolie on the end that further blends the color into your brows. The formula glides onto the skin with ease and isn’t patchy and does. not. budge! The amount of times I’ve fallen asleep with this product still on and woke up with my brows looking like they did the night before is both embarrassing to admit but shows how impressive the formula is.

Skincare: Curology – $40 & CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – $14

I started Curology in the summer of 2019 and comparing my skin from when I started to now is astonishing. I was dealing with a lot of breakouts when I started and after filling out their survey and getting a personalized formula fitted to my needs, soon my acne started to clear up. Although it wasn’t immediate, religiously using it in my nighttime skincare routine overtime paid off. I’ve been using it nightly ever since, and although I still get the occasional breakouts, my skin has drastically improved and the fact that it’s all in one product makes it very easy to keep up with and put on every night. Then, my tried and true for my dry skin, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. I think I have five tubs of this product on me at all times and I use it on my face and as a body lotion. It’s very hydrating but dries down matte so you don’t look too shiny or oily, and my skin just drinks it up when I put it on before makeup or as the final step of my PM skincare. It keeps my face moisturized throughout the day and my skin feels like the Sahara anytime I’ve tried to skip it.

I’ve been interested in makeup and skincare long before 2020, but quarantine made me want to branch out of my usual routine and products and try something new. Not every product I tried worked for me, but in the process, I found a lot of holy grails and new staples that I’ll add to my arsenal of favorite products. Obviously, makeup and skincare are very personal and what works for me may not work for you, but these are the products that I’ve found are the best of the best when it comes to my skin type and personal skincare and beauty needs.

Grace Bradley

U Maine '23

Hello all! My name is Grace and I'm a second-year Communications major with a desired minor in Journalism here at UMaine! Originally from Connecticut, but I wanted more trees! Biiig music, art, and politics gal. Give me every outlet of expression!!
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