What makes your melanin pop? What makes your skin tone glow? What drys out skin and what brings it back to life? With so many beauty products on the market, it can be hard to decipher what items are worthy enough of taking up proper real estate in your beauty bag or medicine cabinet. Never fear! We’ve played the matching game and ranked the top nine beauty products that you can leverage within your own beauty routine to bring forth the best you.
1) Beauty Blender
Do yourself a favor and leave patchy, streaky, and unblended makeup in the past by investing in a beauty blender. Sure, brushes are great for makeup application, but unless you were blessed with the flawless, streak-free hands of Jackie Aina, then a beauty blender is the way to go. Because the sponge is wet, it allows you to apply your makeup evenly and smoothly. To save money, skip the original beauty blender and grab a duo Real Techniques set at Ulta for half the cost of one original beauty blender!
2) Primer and Finishing Spray
Getting nails done at the salon: base primer coat, base coat, 2nd base coat, topcoat. Results: nails last a full week. Doing your nails at home by yourself: skip base primer coat, add 2 base coats, and skip topcoat. Results: nails start to chip in 3 days.
The same principle applies to your makeup. If you simply apply makeup to your face (especially foundation and eye shadow), you won’t get much of a lasting look because you are missing a base primer and a setting spray. Face primers like the Hourglass Veil primer and the NYX pore filler help to create a smooth base for you to apply your makeup, then setting sprays like the Scandinavia setting spray and the Urban Decay setting spray help to keep your makeup in place through the night!
3) Bentonite Clay Mask
This holy grail is mother earth’s gift to you and me and the cure for vacuuming out our skins’ impurities. If you have gunk in your skin, then this is the remedy you’ve been searching high and low for. Bentonite clay forms from the weathering of volcanic ash in the presence of water. You can either use the clay with water or you can use it with apple cider vinegar for a thorough deep pore-cleansing mask.
4) A Stellar Eyebrow Product
If there’s one thing every woman should have, it’s a pair of sculpted eyebrows. Cosmetic companies have come up with many ways for you to achieve this coveted set of sculpted eyebrows with brow pencils, brow gels, brow powders, brow mascara, stick on brows, brow pomade, etc. I find MAC’s eyeshadow in “handwritten” to be the most foul proof, long-lasting, and economical option. I’ve had my pot of eye shadow for almost two years now and I’ve used it religiously everyday—a little bit really goes a long way, and the powder does not leave you with the dreaded shiny eyebrows after three hours of wear, nor does it get solid hard like a brow gel or brow pomade would after a year.
If there’s another thing every woman should have, it’s glowy skin. Typically, after applying foundation or powder, the face looks a bit one-dimensional and it looses its natural high and low points. Highlighter is a great and subtle way to bring back dimension to the face without having to go overboard and partake in extreme highlighting and contouring. Nars’ Albatross is the fairy godmother that will transform your skin into a canvas dipped in gold with one swipe of your finger.
6) Shea Moisture Kukui Youth Infusing Face and Neck Cream
Skincare is and should always be a part of a great beauty routine. As per usual, Shea moisture came through with a potent, moisturizing, and affordable face cream that smells amazing. The youth infusing cream actually has very very tiny reflective particles in it but you’ll have to be sitting in front of direct sunlight and looking into a magnifying mirror to even catch a glimpse of the reflective particles—so no need to panic, you won’t be looking like a disco ball if you use this face cream, but your skin will thank you for the moisture and love. Also, the cream does not live a tacky feeling after or make your face oily!
7) Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation
The search is over. A foundation that lasts all day, night, (and even into day two on those crazy nights!) doesn’t crease, and on top of that, has a diverse shade range has arrived. EL’s Double Wear has been on the market for some time now but they recently expanded their already diverse shade range to include more variety of shades for women of color. This foundation works well for all skin types and especially well for oily skin because it dries to a lovely matte finish. To avoid the foundation clinging to dry spots for dry skin, use a moisture-infusing primer or a moisturizing face cream beforehand. For normal and oily skin types, your regular face primers should pair well with the foundation.
8) Carol’s Daughter Marguerites Magic Hairdress
For my natural sistahs, relaxed sistahs, transitioning sistahs, and locked sistahs that consistently struggle with dry hair no matter how much we moisturize, Carol’s Daughter came through with this buttery goodness. It works wonders to infuse your dry tresses with intense moisture. One tip while using the Marguerites cream is to spritz your hair lightly with water, and then apply the product first to the ends of your hair which are usually the most damaged or dry, then work your way up your strands or locs. The water will help the cream absorb better into your hair instead of applying it directly to your hair and having the product simply sitting on your hair. A little product goes a long way and surprisingly, this is the only hair product that I still haven’t used up half of the bottle of!
9) A Bold Lipstick
I swear by Vaseline on my lips on a daily basis, but when I am going out, my lipstick choices fall into one of three color shades: red, purple, or brown. For purple, Heroine paired with Nightmoth is always a winner, for red, Ruby Woo paired with Chestnut comes in as a close second, and finally for those days when you want to channel the 90s and transform into Poetic Justice, Chocotease offers the smoothest chocolate brown liquid lipstick application that won’t leave your lips crackled.
Need more beauty recommendations? Check out our list of beauty gurus that every woman of color should follow on YouTube.