My Holy Grail Makeup Products

Image of Rachel Sheldon
Rachel Sheldon

As I've mentioned before, I'm a skincare junkie.

But even before I was a skincare junkie, I was a definitive makeup junkie.

I'm talking subscribes-to-500-beauty-gurus-on-YouTube, buys-every-product-in-CVS, owns-12-shades-of-red-lipstick makeup junkie.

I started wearing makeup when I was a kid doing musical theater, when I purchased my first CoverGirl Country Woods eyeshadow palette (which I still use to this day because it's a great palette, screw bacteria) and black eyeliner. I started wearing small amounts of makeup to school as a preteen, and by high school I had fully realized my cosmetic obsession.

Over the years of wearing and trying out tons of new makeup, I have discovered some Holy Grail products that I will never be without.

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

This is my Holy Grail, can't-live-without-it foundation. I've repurchased it a few times over the years and though it's pricey, a tube lasts me forever. It's more medium coverage than full coverage in my opinion, but it never feels heavy on the skin and it leaves a smooth, flawless finish. It has never broken me out, which is why I'm so loyal to it. It also has SPF 15 in it, and it's full of natural ingredients. Though I'm always tempted to try out new foundations, this one is my tried and true. I wear the shade Ivory, which is perfect for super pale girls like me.

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

Another Holy Grail product from Tarte is their Amazonian BB cream (not to be confused with their other BB cream, which I haven't tried). I remember trying their Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer waaaaay back in the day and breaking out, so I was nervous to try this reformulated, repackaged version. However, it has quickly become a staple in my routine and I've repurchased it twice now, and gotten my mom and friends hooked on it too. Similar to the foundation, it's pricey but a tube lasts me ages. It has very light coverage, includes SPF 20 and doesn't break out my acne-prone, sensitive skin. I also wear the shade Ivory in this BB cream, which is my perfect match.

3. Tarte Clean Slate Poreless Primer

(This post is not sponsored by Tarte, I just freakin' love their products.) I've been using this primer for years and have repurchased it countless times, and I swear I'll never try another primer. Just like with all the other Tarte face products I use, it doesn't break me out and it leaves my skin feeling smooth and prepped for foundation or BB cream. It doesn't completely eliminate your pores, but it definitely lessens their appearance. It makes my makeup last a lot longer, and I definitely notice a difference if I forget to use this in the morning.

4. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry 

The entire line of Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks is amazing, but the shade Black Cherry is my personal favorite. It's an iconic deep, dark purplish shade that looks amazing on all skin tones. Most of my friends own this shade, and from the palest (i.e. me) to darkest skintones, we all look amazing in it. It's super vampy and perfect for the fall and winter seasons. The formula isn't drying and with a lip liner, it'll stay on for hours. You have to touch up after eating or drinking, but since it's not marketed as a long-wearing formula I forgive that. For an astoundingly long-wearing drugstore lipstick, check out the Maybelline SuperStay 24-Hour lip colors.

5. Glossier Boy Brow in Brown

Everyone has hopped on the Glossier bandwagon, and so have I. I wasn't a big fan of tinted brow gels until I met Boy Brow, and now my mind is forever changed. It adds the perfect amount of color to my brows and holds them in place all day while still looking natural and feathery. I like to use this brow gel with or without brow pencil underneath, and my little tube has lasted me several months. They also came out with a clear version, which I'd like to get my hands on too.

6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sin

I first discovered this eyeshadow in the UD Alice in Wonderland palette and absolutely fell in love with it. It's the perfect shimmery champagne color to use all over the lid, as an inner corner highlight, or as a highlight on any part of the face. I actually ended up purchasing a single shadow of this, which makes it officially the only eyeshadow I've repurchased to this day. The texture is smooth and buttery, and it lasts on the lids all day (I don't use primer, just concealer on my lids).

7. MAC Eyeshadow in Wedge

Used in the crease and along the lower lashline with Sin on the lid, this is my favorite eyeshadow combo of all time. I actually wore exclusively these two eyeshadow shades for about a year. Fun Fact: Wedge is the only single eyeshadow I've ever come close to finishing. As soon as I'm out, I will be running to the nearest MAC counter to repurchase because this shadow is amazing. It's the perfect warm medium brown matte, and I love using it in the crease by itself or to blend out a darker shade. It's so versatile, and can even be used as a brow powder for warm brunettes.

8. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

I've tried many a black liquid liner over the years and this is the best one, hands-down. It's super long-wearing and waterproof, and doesn't smudge at all (even if you're lazy like me and curl your lashes immediately after applying liner without waiting for it to dry). The felt tip is the perfect size and flexibility, making it the easiest to use of all the liners I've tried. It's a little pricey, but one liner lasted me almost a year with daily application before I had to repurchase, so it's worth the money. Just make sure you keep the cap on at all times! There are also tons of other colors if you're into colorful liner.

9. CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara

Though I often stray from this mascara to try other shiny, new ones, I will always return to it because it's hands-down the best mascara in the world. And it's from the drugstore! I have pretty wimpy lashes with zero curl, and this mascara always gives me fluttery, voluminous lashes that hold a curl all day. The brush is pretty large and plastic, so it can take some getting used to if you've only ever used natural bristle mascaras, but I find that it gives the best combination of insane volume, length, and separation. I use a Shu Uemura lash curler, then a coat or two of Lash Blast, and I'm good to go.

10. Nars Blush in Deep Throat 

Because I have rosacea on my cheeks, I'm incredibly picky with pink blushes. I don't want anything that will make my cheeks look patchy or flushed or too glittery - I want to look like I've been lightly frolicking in a field for an hour. This Nars blush gives me that look: it has a subtle shimmer, and the peachy-pink shade is perfect for my skintone. It's an expensive product, but I've been using mine regularly since high school and I still haven't finished it. 
I have tons of other products that are favorites, but not Holy Grail status. I'll be making a few round-up posts of favorite products in particular categories (concealer, lipstick, etc.) so look out for those if you want product recommendations that I love! 

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