What’s in my Makeup Bag: The Essentials vs. the Extras

Makeup is my kryptonite. I’m always seeing new products while shopping, browsing social media or talking to other beauty-obsessed people. I can spend hours on YouTube looking at different tutorials and reviews.

But with a seemingly endless amount of promising products on the shelves, who has the time and money to try them all? Lucky for you, (in my totally not biased opinion) my go-to makeup products are pretty rad and will let you get the most bang out of your buck.

Why listen to what I have to say? While I’m no makeup artist, a few years ago I got to put my self-confessed addiction to use working with Seventeen Magazine as a Beauty Guru for their 2013 Prom Committee. Though I was young and still had so much to learn, that experience alone gave me the encouragement I needed to pursue my love for makeup and fashion and combine it with my love for writing (and here I am)!

I’m a lover of both drugstore and high-end products but I’d like to think I’ve mastered what’s worth the splurge and what you can get for a steal. Here are my makeup bag go-to’s if you’re looking for new products to add to your own!

My everyday (full face) makeup look.

The Essentials:

1. Rimmel Lasting Finish 25HR Foundation

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This foundation is my holy grail. For about $6, it gives a flawless full coverage without looking caked-on. It also has amazing staying power. However, rumor has it this product may be being discontinued. While they released a seemingly similar product, their Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation, after trying it myself I can say that it doesn’t give the same flawless and long lasting results. My runner-ups in the foundation department are Maybelline’s Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation and L’Oréal’s Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation which are only not my top choice due to them being almost twice the price of Rimmel’s at about $12 (why pay more for the same results?).

2. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer


Of course, I’m only 21 and don’t need makeup that is “age rewinding,” but I’ve sworn by this concealer for six years now. Like most people, I was on the hunt for a concealer that not only would cover up the occasional blemish but more importantly mask dark circles and bags under my eyes. Once I stumbled on this guy, I never looked back.

3. Sonia Kashuk Silicone Blender Sponge

https://www.target.com/p/sonia-kashuk-153-silicone-makeup-blender-sponge/-/A-52816555?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Health+Beauty+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Health+Beauty&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9003715&gclid=CjwKCAiAn5rUBRA3EiwAUCWb20UQ62pNu38Lx5lH9GBYO_9Je-GzeKpSgbh8rOae4yhid5__KmgNzBoC1U8QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.dsI used to swear by the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, which I still absolutely love, but it doesn’t compare to this new silicone blender. I’ve tried just about every form of applying foundation and none give the finish that a beauty blender does. The only annoying thing about the Real Techniques sponge is that after a while of using it, even with cleaning regularly, foundation would absorb into the sponge and I would need to buy a new one. Now with this silicone blender, no product is lost by being absorbed into the sponge, it’s super easy to clean and it will certainly last for years without wear.

4. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer

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Compared to the other makeup products in my go-to bag, this bronzer is a little bit more of an investment at $29. But, the amount of product you get will last you forever and I’ve found that this shade works great on my skin when I’m as pale as Casper and when I’m tan in the summer! All that’s needed is a few extra layers to build up the color.

5. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush


This blush is perfect for winter and no hassle. You apply it directly to your skin, blend it in with your fingers and have an instant flush!

6. Benefit Cosmetics High Beam Liquid Highlighter

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This is another investment I believe is worth every dollar. This highlight lasts for ages because a little bit goes a long way. I also love not having to carry another brush around in my bag and the fact that the liquid formula lasts longer than most powders I’ve tried.

7. NYX Tame & Frame Brow Pomade

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.50.48 PMBrows are one of those things that I consider essential that other people may not. I’d rather have my brows done than foundation, concealer or mascara. I think they make all the difference! While there are plenty of amazing high-end products out there, I’ve found that this $7 pomade does wonders when applied with an angled brush and then combed through (you can purchase one that’ll do the job from E.L.F for $3).

8. COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara

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I go through mascara so quickly I refuse to spend an excessive amount of money on a tube I’m going to need to buy again in another month. Luckily I found my holy grail thanks to COVERGIRL. This mascara gives the perfect balance between length and volume without clumping.

9. Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm

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The most moisturizing lip balm I’ve ever used: a necessity before applying any potential lip products.

The Extras:

1. E.L.F Makeup Mist & Set

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/makeup-mist-and-set/85023.html$4 to give your makeup the extra staying power it needs? Yes, please!

2. NYX Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer


This product will not only keep your eyeshadow from fading and creasing, but it’ll also help it appear its full and true color!

3. Too Faced’s Cat Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

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I chose to feature this eyeshadow palette because while it’s one of many that I love, this guy doubles up as an essential and an extra in my opinion. It’s super small and compact and provides just the right colors for you to put together both day and night looks. Even better? The packaging is tin making it more durable than your average palette and purrfect for travel!

4. Milani Cosmetics Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eyeliner

https://www.milanicosmetics.com/products/eye-tech-extreme-liquid-eyelinerIf you have a fear of liquid liner that’s keeping you from embracing the winged look you’ve always wanted to try; look no further! This guy has the perfect precision tip and glides on super smooth.

5. Wet n Wild MegaLast Retractable Eyeliner

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 5.15.17 PMI’ve found that splurging on an eyeliner pencil for your waterline so that it lasts longer just never adds up. No matter what the brand or price, all liners start to fade when applied to your waterline. The good news is this product is under $3 and with a partner-in-crime lasts the whole day. The key to long lasting liner is to set it with a black eyeshadow using a small flat-tip brush. I use a cheap eyeshadow by Jordana Cosmetics. There’s no need to spend lots of money here!

6. NYX Cosmetics Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 5.30.18 PMI love the concept of liquid lipsticks. I love how easily they apply and how they’re supposed to be long wearing. What I don’t like is the fact that so many dry out my lips and have them looking cracked by the end of the night! Not with these. The formula is long wearing and creamy keeping your lips moisturized throughout the night. Being around $7 each it’s easy to splurge on as many shades as you want guilt-free.

If you try any of my beauty must-haves, let me know! Here’s to your beautiful self (makeup or no makeup).

xoxo Nic


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