- Some cult products are simply so good that everyone should own them at least once in their lifetime.
- We asked INSIDER employees from across the world to share the makeup and skin-care products that everyone needs to try.
- Here are the 17 products everyone who wears makeup should own.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Most people have a bucket list packed with adventures they plan to go on and things they hope to achieve.
But for those who wear makeup, a beauty bucket list is a must-have too.
There are some cult products that are simply so good that everyone should own them at least once in their lifetime.
We asked INSIDER employees from across the world to dish on their all-time favourite makeup and skin-care products – as well as the best splurge-worthy and under-the-radar picks – that should grace everyone’s makeup bag or bathroom counter.
Here are the 17 things every makeup-wearing person should own:
A good moisturizer.
The most popular item among INSIDER employees was a good moisturizer.
Rosie, 29 from London, said: “I think person should have a good moisturizer that doesn’t necessarily just focus on promises to reduce to decrease ageing etc.
Madison, 22 from New York, agreed. “Not only does it hydrate your skin for the time being, it makes a difference in the long term as well. If you have great skin, everything else is just extra that you can play with without worrying.”
Katya, 22 from New Jersey, agreed that “a good and reliable face cream” is “where it all starts,” adding that she’s a fan of Fresh Rose Deep Hydrating Moisturizer ($42).
Rosie is a fan of Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion ($11.19), which she says “is great for problem and sensitive skin and is non-comedogenic meaning it doesn’t block pores (even the richer body cream, which I use on my face for a more intense moisturiser). Also, Mask of Magnaminty from LUSH ($14.95).”
Madison, meanwhile, vouches for Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer ($22) “for both daily use and then layering it for a thicker cream around my eyes at night,” while Natalie, 32 from Brooklyn, says Tacha’s Water Cream ($68) is great for her “super oily/sensitive/acne prone skin,” as well as the more budget-friendly Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel ($17.19)
Alison, 28 from London, swears by Clinique’s Moisture Surge line, which she called “light-weight but super hydrating. It’s a gel that sits really nicely under makeup and is the only thing that consistently helps my dry skin without clogging pores.” Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($28) also got a mention by Marissa, 22 from New Jersey, who called it “my favorite/best product for everyday use (for anyone).”
New Yorker Megan, 30, says that “even if you have acne or oily skin, dehydrating your skin is one of the worst things you can do, according to my dermatologist.” To keep hers supple, she loves Naturopathica’s Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream ($59).
Last but not least, 52-year-old Matthew DeBord of New Jersey added that “every man should have a good moisturizer,” too, and that he’s a personal fan of the Original Moisturizer from Bulldog ($9.99) for his face and Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($8.99) “for everything else.”
An impactful mascara.
Shivani, 22 from New York City, said: “Mascara makes you look alive and awake even when you feel like you’re not. It’s the one makeup product I would never leave home without.”
She says BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara from Benefit ($25) is her favourite, while both Rachel, 26 from London, and 25-year-old Emma from Brooklyn, cite Benefit’s They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara ($25) as a must have.
“It does truly wondrous things to your eyelashes,” Emma said. “Like, the name 100% lives up to the hype.”
“Wven if you’re not wearing any other makeup, mascara can transform you,” Rachel added.
Julie, 40 from New York, is a fan of Too Faced “Better Than False Lashes” in Extreme Black ($35) “because it’s cheaper than false lashes and works just as well,” while Rebecca, 24 from Brooklyn, swears by simple Maybelline.
A good sunscreen.
“While it might seem pretty boring, I honestly think SPF is the most underrated beauty product there is,” said Qayyah, 25 from London. “Obviously it prevents premature ageing but it can also prevent skin cancer. I try to wear a light SPF most days. I usually use Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Silky Cream SPF 15 ($48) very, very sparingly.”
Mikala, 25 from Los Angeles, said she’s a fan of Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50 from Clinique ($19.50). “It’s so lightweight, doesn’t give you the white overcast, it actually has a yellow/orange tint out of the bottle and makes your skin look a little better/fresher almost like a CC cream but even less coverage, and we all need to wear sunscreen so it helps that it gives you a little something extra.”
27-year-old Becky from San Francisco, meanwhile, loves Supergoop, adding: “If it feels nice on your face, you’re more likely to wear it.”
Herrine, 24 from New York, believes sunscreen is “an easy and relatively inexpensive product that will prevent your skin from premature aging and sun spots,” and vouches for La Roche-Posay Ultra-Light Anthelios Face Sunscreen SPF 60 ($29.99). “It’s great to wear every day and is light enough to wear under foundation,” she said.
Shona, 32 from London added: “I have a habit of buying expensive makeup, but I don’t think women should in any way feel obliged to do that. Sunscreen will, however, counteract skin damage. I use Soltan SPF 30 or Nivea Sun SPF 30.“
A perfect red lipstick.
Chloe, 28 from New York, believes everyone who wears makeup should own a good lipstick.
“I find putting on lipstick can change your entire mood,” she said. “For a matte lipstick, I like Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick. It’s cheap ($14) and stays put. If you’re willing to splurge, I also love Chanel’s Rouge Allure Intense Long-Wear Lip Colour ($38) for a red lip.”
23-year-old Melina of Brooklyn added that lipstick is “super easy to apply and can automatically make you look put together, even if you have no other makeup on.”
“I love MAC lipstick in the color ‘Red Rock’ ($18.50) or Maybelline’s Color Sensational Lip Color in ‘Red Revival’ ($4.99), she said.
Another bold red fan, Paige, 22 from Staten Island, said owning the “perfect red lipstick” is a must. “NYX Matte Lipstick in Eden ($6) is a wonderful shade of red, it lasts through kisses and eating hamburgers and I always get compliments on it,” she said.
26-year-old New Yorker Alana swears by a berry red, however. “I personally think berry reds compliment almost any complexion,” she said. “I like Fenty’s MATTEMOISELLE In ‘Bright Berry’ ($18).”
An attention-grabbing brow pencil, gel, or powder.
24-year-old Corina from Queens said: “Brows frame the face so a brow pencil and/or brow gel is integral in my beauty routine. I can step out the door without foundation or concealer but I always touch up my thick brows for a look that’s actually natural/fresh-faced but polished.”
Her personal favourite is Maybelline’s Eyebrow Definer Pencil ($7.99) – “it’s got an angled pencil and a great spoolie for blending. And I also use Glossier’s Boy Brow brow gel ($16) to make sure the hairs are in place.”
“Defined brows change the entire look of someone’s face and draw more attention to the eyes,” Julia said.
“Alternatively, I also like using a matte eyeshadow that matches my brow color and angled brush. No specific eyeshadow brand is necessary, but I am currently using the Sigma Beauty eyeshadow ‘After Hours’ in their Warm Neutrals 2 Palette ($39) and the MAC 263 Small Angle Brush ($21).”
A healing eye cream.
“Eye cream prevents wrinkles and crow’s feet before they start,” according to Hilary, 33 from New York City. “I’ve used everything from Clinique ‘Pep Start’ to stuff I find at Whole Foods, like the Acure brand. Free samples from brands like Caudalie also work great.”
While some say eye creams are a “waste of money,” Hilary added: “I will still continue to use an extra cream around the eyes though, because – as the dermatologist in that article says – ‘as a moisturizer, an eye cream may increase water content of skin and temporarily improve the appearance of the skin.’ Yes please!”
A de-puffing eye mask.
Along with creams, “eye masks are a must after a night out or a night of little sleep,” according to 25-year-old New Yorker Carly.
“I keep them in my fridge and I swear the cold sensation under my eyes is incredible. Every woman needs some jelly eye masks to depuff and relax.”
A cheek-popping blush.
It took her a while to figure it out, but 28-year-old Brooklyn resident Ashley says she couldn’t live without her blush.
“It makes the face look more alive. I’ll do a powder in the winter, and then I alternate between Glossier’s Cloud Paints ($18) in the shades Haze and Puff in the summer.”
Quick and easy makeup remover wipes.
Kirsten, 29 from Queens, New York, says Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($4.99) are among her must-haves.
“Nothing assures me I get all of my makeup off my face like these inexpensive wipes and everything comes off easily and quick within seconds,” she said.
A hydrating facial serum.
“Skin is absolutely everything so taking care of your base is so much more important than the makeup you put on it,” said 23-year-old Nico of New York, who said a facial serum is a must in her repetoire.
“I recommend the Farmacy HONEYMOON GLOW AHA Resurfacing Night Serum with Hydrating Honey + Gentle Flower Acids ($58).”
A good BB/CC cream.
A staple item from 27-year-old New Yorker Tanya is “a good BB/CC cream.”
Ali, 28 from London, suggests bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel ($32) for something “lightweight but effective.”
A lasting eyeliner.
“Eyeliner is a miracle worker for when you’re tired,” according to Shana, 30 from New York City.
“For years I used Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22). It was a little bold though, and you obviously can’t use it under your eyes, so I’ve since moved on to Kevyn Aucoin’s Precision Eye Definer ($32) in Kobicha (Brown).”
A highlighter stick.
25-year-old Jennifer from New York City is a fan of a highlighter stick, particularly the one from Milk Makeup ($28) for a more natural, shimmering glow.
A perfume that suits you.
According to 32-year-old Rachel from Manhattan: “Everyone gives off different pheromones, so what smells great on one person may not work for the next. Find one that you love and test it on yourself before buying.
“Even when I’m not wearing a single swipe of makeup, one or two sprays of my perfume makes me feel amazing and ready to run into – or walk past – anyone.”
She added: “I personally use Chanel Chance Eau Tendre ($85). The Chance line has a ton of different scents, though, so I guess I would recommend someone going through the line to find what suits them best.”
A purifying clay mask.
Natalie, 32 from Brooklyn, raves: “The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($9.99) has done such wonders for my skin,” adding that she mixes it with “a little apple cider vinegar and water as a purifying mask.”
A blending concealer.
According to 26-year-old Alex from London, “everyone will need concealer at some point.”
“Right now I really like Cyber Colors Conceal & Correct Kit ($29), which I bought in Asia, because it has multiple colours that I can blend to find the right tone for my skin right now.”
A simple tub of Vaseline.
The secret product for 33-year-old Gili from Brooklyn? “Vaseline ($2.49), because it really works to keep your skin healthy.”