I have to confess something: I’m a Sephora VIB Rogue member. For the uninformed (and therefore fiscally intelligent among you) that means I spend enough money at Sephora annually to have a membership. I can’t really go into details; all I can say is it’s kind of like the Illuminati. Needless to say, I’ve fallen for every makeup trend that’s fallen into my lap including a “beautifying tonic,” which I now believe was nothing more than scented water. I just moved to a much smaller apartment and had to downsize everything, including my makeup drawer(s). Excluding the obvious (some type of foundation, mascara, here’s what I think is actually useful when you are limited by space, time, or, you know, money.
WORTH ITS SALT
Eyebrow pencil / gel / powder. Okay, to be honest, I have all three. I start with a powder, fill in the miniscule gaps between hairs with the pencil, and then coat the whole thing with a tinted gel to keep those hairs in place. I don’t even have sparse eyebrows naturally. Really, you only need one, but a strong brow punctuates the face like two flattering exclamation points that scream, “I’m put together! Look at my eyebrows!”
Highlighter: Make “C”s from under your (thick, luscious, defined) eyebrows and stop at the height of your cheekbone under your eye socket. You’ll look awake and a little bit more chiseled. I’m partial to Benefit’s watt’s up because it’s easy to use and since the formula isn’t liquid, it’s hard to overdo it.
Dry Shampoo: I cannot sing the praises of dry shampoo enough, and not only because I’m not particularly fond of washing my hair. Yes, dry shampoo cleans up oily roots but it also works as hairspray, volumizer, hair perfume (in case you were actually considering buying a hair perfume) and for that perfectly disheveled look that often takes more effort than any of us wants to admit.
Eyelash primer. Seriously. It’s like white mascara that’s supposed to somehow make your mascara better, or something. Save the money and apply your mascara correctly, wiggling the brush from the base of the lashes. Actually, let’s change this category to all primers: eye shadow primer, lipstick primer, face primer. If you’re really insecure that your makeup is going to come off, then perhaps some primer peace of mind could be worth it. Buy one primer and use it all over. Specialized primers target the weak and foolish among us.
Contouring Powder: 98% of humans do not know how to contour and end up looking like a reject from Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Unless you actually know how to use something, don’t waste your money. If you have a bronzer a that’s subtly darker than your skin tone, rub that on the hollows of your cheeks while making a duck face (the one you make in selfies) for a similar, more idiot-friendly approach.
More than 3 makeup brushes: Pat McGrath uses her fingers. Enough said.
Neck Cream: Your facial moisturizer will do just fine.
Cellulite Cream: These do not work. The only cure for cellulite is getting fit. Take a walk around the block or do lunges while you wait for the train, even if everyone is looking. We’re all aware that the cosmetics industry prays on insecurities, but this seems to be the worst offense to me. Cellulite creams make me sad.
BUT MAYBE… YOU HAVE ROOM FOR THESE
Eyelash curler: I’ve never found these particularly useful as my eyelashes, like my leg stubble, are a ‘plenty, but my lighter-lashed friends swear by theirs. Spend the extra $10 and get a good one.
Lip liner in the same color as your favorite lipstick: This, unlike lip primer, actually makes the stuff stay on longer and look better. Most brands have liner versions of their popular lipsticks. Apply it using the side, not the pointy tip, so the line is smudged and blends with the lipstick.
Mud Mask: More than any other beauty product, I’m a sucker for masks. Once I bought a yogurt-based overnight brightening mask, and though I smelled like the dairy aisle, no one noticed my increased brightness. I’m not a nut about all natural beauty products, but it does comfort me that people have been using mud to beautify for literally centuries. If you have relatively unproblematic skin, a mud mask makes it feel a bit cleaner and shinier. I put mine on before I get in the shower so it gets all steamy and I feel like I’m at a spa, then I wash it off and marvel at my clean pores.