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Growing up, I would sit by my mom as she put on her makeup, carefully studying the techniques she used to seamlessly blend her eyeshadow and fill out her eyebrows. I've watched endless YouTube videos and TikToks from beauty influencers, memorizing their tips and tricks for mastering the art of applying eyeliner and contour, for matching shades to your skin tone, for understanding which looks work best for your face shape— and so on and so forth. And yet, the struggle remains ever-so-real each and every day I try to put on makeup.
I've bought more brushes and beauty products than I would care to admit, all in hopes of trying to find a magical item that would make applying makeup easier. But at some point, I started simplifying my beauty routine, finding products that I could easily apply and blend with my fingertips, or came with applicators that took out extra steps.
This simplification of my beauty routine may have been in part from wanting to avoid the hassle of washing my makeup brushes, as well as giving up on trying to replicate complicated makeup techniques that take years of practice. But regardless, as Cassie Howard said in Euphoria, "You guys can all judge me if you want, but I have never, ever been happier."
If you can relate to my makeup struggles, I've got you, bestie. Whether you're going for a natural, glowing everyday look or girls-night-out-esque full glam, these products are sure to give you that "wow!" factor, so you're looking and feeling your best from day to night.
IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Fuill Coverage Foundation with SPF 50+
CC creams are my go-to choice of foundation for my everyday beauty routine— I've found that they aren't as heavy on my skin, often come with SPF protection and are easy to apply with fingers. This CC+ cream with SPF 50+ from IT Cosmetics melts into your skin, delivering full-coverage foundation, hydrating and anti-aging serum and sun protection.
Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint with Hyaluronic Acid + Squalane
Another amazing foundation substitute that is especially perfect for those who are always on the go is skin tints. These deliver lightweight coverage and a subtle, radiant glow that's the definition of "my skin but better." This sheer skin tint from Summer Fridays provide a natural-looking finish, and it also includes skin-loving ingredients like hylaluronic acid, squalane, vitamin E and avocado oils.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
As someone who seems to have permanent eye bags no matter how much she presses snooze, concealer is an essential part of my makeup routine. I've been using this Nars creamy concealer since I was in high school (when my skin was at peak sensitivity). I absolutely love that this doesn't break out my skin even with consistent use, and the applicator makes it easy to use— simply dab a little bit over your areas of concern and blend it out with your fingers.
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30
This TikTok-loved color correcting treatment is perfect for those who are looking to neutralize the look of redness and even out the overall tone of their skin. The cream is colored green, and it transforms to beige as you apply it to your skin. Not to mention, a little goes a long way, so if you're curious about the product without wanting to commit to a large size, you can grab the mini size here for $21.
Stila Correct & Perfect All-In-One Color Correcting Palette
Makeup is a form of art, and this all-in-one color correcting palette is a case in point. It features five sheer-to-medium, buildable color-correcting creams that will help you achieve flexible coverage while neutralizing skin concerns like redness, hyperpigmentation and dark circles/spots. Simply choose the color you need, and use your finger to apply the color until the area is neutralized.
Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Tinted Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
Brows can make or break any beauty look, so it's really important to find a reliable brow product. This cult-fave tinted volumizing eyebrow gel creates natural-looking fullness and definition with just a few swipes. The custom tiny, tapered brush provides an easy, mess-proof application, so you won't need any extra brushes or products to be at the top of your brow game.
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
I love glitter, especially when it's in the form of eyeshadow. Unfortunately, I've found that whenever I try to use a brush to put on powdered glitter eyeshadow, more sparkles end up on the brush and table than my eyelids. This liquid glitter eyeshadow is one of my favorite eye products— I love how it glides on effortlessly, can be blended out easily with my finger and then dries down smotthly to lock in maximum sparkle with minimal fallout.
Kaja Eye Bento Bouncy Eyeshadow Trio
If I had to describe this Kaja eyeshadow trio compact in one word, it would be "brilliant." These bite-sized, creamy, powder eyeshadows are available in trios of shiimmer or combinations of matte and shimmer shades, so you can tailor your looks each day. They're perfect for quick, easy eye looks on the go, and they apply effortlessly with your fingertips.
Lancôme Lash Idôle Lash-Lifting & Volumizing Mascara
Mascara is a pretty straightforward makeup product that doesn't require much else, apart from an eyelash curler. If you're looking to take out that extra step of curling your lashes (and potentially pinching your eyelids on accident— ouch!), this lash-lifting and volumizing mascara is about to be your new best friend. What sets it apart from all the other mascaras on the market is the curved wand that pushes up and fans out lashes for instant lift, length, and fanne-out volume without clumps.
Kaja Wink Stamp Original Waterproof Wing Eyeliner Stamp & Pen
On the other hand, eyeliner is one of the hardest and most intimidating steps of makeup to master. It requires a steady hand, confidence and endless trial and error— and even then, the chances of each side coming out perfectly even are next to none. In short, eyeliners are the bane of my makeup routine, no matter how much I wish I practice. This double-sided wing eyeliner stamp and pen takes away all of this stress and worry, making it super easy to get your best winged eyeliner each and every time. Simply stamp, line, repeat and wink.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
This Fenty Beauty contour stick is buildable, lightweight and most of all, blendable. After putting on your foundation base, swipe the contour stick onto your skin and blend it all out with your fingers to create the perfect look. For optimal, smooth application, the brand also recommends using your fingers to warm the product on the back of your hand before tapping it onto your skin.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
This Rare Beauty liquid blush has taken over the TikTok beauty community, and for good reason. It's gorgeously pigmented, super buildable and available in a range of colors that have matte and dewy finishes. All of these features come together for an oh-so-easy application process— just dab a few drops on your cheeks (a little truly goes a long way with this blush!) and blend it out.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Kilawatt Freestyle Highlighter
Fenty Beauty never disappoints, and the same goes for this Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter. This long-wearing, cream-powder highlighter comes in a variety of shade duos that help create a subtle sheen or supercharged shimmer, making it the sweet cherry on top to any makeup look. The ultra-smooth, creamy texture is optimal for smooth application, so you can easily use your fingertips to tap, tap, tap your way to that "wow!" beauty factor.
Kaja Face Bento Cream Bronzer, Powder Blush & Highlighter Sculpting Trio
If you want a product that does it all, look no further, This pocket-sized bronzer, blush and highlighter palette stack applies like butter and blends effortlessly into a cream-to-powder finish. In addition to the ultra-portable design, this compact trio is infused with mango seed butter to help the formulas blend seamlessly while moisturizing your skin.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
This Urban Decay makeup setting spray is one of the most well-known beauty products on the market, and for good reason. Not only is it super easy to use, it keeps makeup fresh, smudge-proof and transfer resistant for up to 16 hours, according to the brand. It uses patented Temperature Control Technology to lock in your glam so you're looking and feeling your best all day and night.
Looking to shop more amazing beauty finds? Check out our roundup of the best cream eyeshadow sticks starting at $2 to simplify your makeup routine.
—Originally published Feb. 22, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. PT