Byrdie has a video series on their YouTube channel called Just Five Things, where celebrities, models, makeup artists and other industry pros share their top five beauty picks from their personal kits. These folks have access to lots of products, so when something lands on the top of their favorites list, it’s gotta be good.
Watching Just Five Things videos is a fun way to find new makeup, hair care and skin care to add to my beauty wish list, but it also makes me think about my own extensive stash. I love to buy and try new products, but there are everyday essentials in my makeup collection that I reach for time and again.
I love the idea of a signature, go-to makeup look each season; a routine that makes you feel great, and that you can knock out in 10 minutes to get out the door. (See: I hate mornings.) I think of this team of five products as a starting point for an everyday minimal routine: they work together beautifully to create an easy, glowing, fresh face for summer, with or without foundation.
1. A glowing skin prep-step.
Bobbi Brown Illuminating Moisture Balm in ‘Bare Glow’ gives the skin a boost of hydration and an instant, healthy glow. The effect is sophisticated and lovely: think pearlescent luminosity; not glitter or shimmery shine. This hydrating balm wears beautifully on its own to give bare skin a little sheen, under foundation as an illuminating primer, or patted onto the high points of the face as a subtle highlighter.
Want a drugstore alternative? Try this ‘Glotion’ Natural Glow Enhancer.
2. Natural finish, full-coverage concealer.
NARS Soft Matte Concealer is my favorite do-it-all, full-coverage coverup.If you’re matte-averse like me, don’t be put off by the name of this concealer; there’s nothing matte or dry about it. The potted formula sets to a natural satin finish that doesn’t crease — no setting powder required! — so it’s easy to apply on-the-go. This concealer lives in my handbag and saves the day on mornings that I rush out of the house without makeup and need something quick and easy to cover spots and dark circles.
(A hygiene side note: I always keep individually-wrapped antibacterial hand wipes in my bag to sanitize before I dip my fingers into any potted products.)
3. Tinted fiber brow gel.
I like brow products that fill in sparse areas, keep the hairs neat and tamed, and camouflage the grays that pop up from time to time. The new Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel does all of that in one quick step, with a tiny, dual-sided brush that loads the perfect amount of product for a mess-free application every time. The formula contains microfibers that bulk up brow hairs for a fuller look, and it holds brows in place all day without ever looking stiff or crunchy, or smudging or flaking. If you’re into unfussy, low-maintenance brows, you’ll love this stuff.
Drugstore alternative: try the tinted Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara. The color selection isn’t great and it doesn’t contain microfibers, but it gets the job done.
4. Matte cream bronzer.
As I get older and my skin changes, I find myself preferring cream products over powders. Cream bronzers can be tricky, but when you get the hang of them, you can’t beat the natural, sun-tanned effect on the skin.
My current favorite is the MILK Makeup Matte Bronzer in ‘Blaze’: it melts into the skin and stays put all day. I use a trick I learned from Jamie Paige to apply it: instead of swiping the product straight from the tube onto my face, I warm up the product by applying it to the back of my hand; then I load it on a brush or beautyblender and lightly swirl/dab it onto the high points of my face, slowly building up the color and blending out the edges until I’m happily bronzed.
This can also do double-duty as a cream eyeshadow: just swipe it into the crease for definition.
5. A nude lip and cheek duo.
It’s tough to find a lip/cheek multiple that works equally well for both applications: some are great on the cheeks but desert-dry on the lips; or perfect for lips but too greasy to hold up on the cheeks. Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils are the best of both in a convenient package, with great color payoff that lasts up to six hours. My favorite shade is ‘Belle’, a rose mauve nude: I pat it onto my cheeks with a fingertip, and quickly blend it into the skin for a natural flush, and draw it onto my lips straight from the pencil. These pencils come with a sharpener in the lid, which is super handy on-the-go.