My Top Ten Beauty Products, Part 2

Picking up from my last post, here are the remaining five beauty products I can't live without.

L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara

This stuff is weird. I got my first tube in the mail from a L'Oreal press rep who was promoting the brand's new "little spiky ball" mascara, as I like to call it. I tried it out and wasn't impressed. It was really goopy and awkward, so I stuck it in the back of my makeup stash for months. Eventually, when my regular mascara ran out, I decide to give it another shot and ended up digging it. The key is to scrape the excess mascara that builds up on the base of the little spiky ball back into the tube. Then you're left with a nice even distribution. The ball actually does help get harder-to-reach lashes and makes mine look super long. I'd never found a mascara that affects lash length before, so now I'm hooked.

Benefit Silky Finish Lipstick

I've spend years searching for the perfect natural-looking lipstick. Something pale, pink and shimmery that makes my lips look pretty and not all made-up. Benefit's "Make Nice" is that color. It's my go-to shade when I'm heading to work, the grocery store or a low-key event where I'm don't want to look flashy. It's also the only lipstick that permanently lives in my handbag — that's how much I need it at the ready. Everyday lipstick is intensely personal — "Make Nice" could look horrible on everyone reading this — so I don't necessarily recommend that color, but I do suggest finding your own perfect casual shade. Benefit is awesome for that purpose. They carry tons of understated tones. Each tube is $18, but if you're wearing it every day, that's a small price to pay.

Aveda Uruku Eye Accent

I'm not married to this particular brand (which is good because it's discontinued), but I do always need to have some sort of neutral eye accent laying around. It's supposed to be used as an actual accent (by, for example, dabbing a bit on your upper lids), but I often spread it over my whole lid and use it as a kind of everyday, neutral eye shadow. I like that it's liquid, so I can just slick it on with my finger quickly, and I dig the slight shimmer it provides. When I'm wearing full-on going-out eyeshadow, I use it as a basecoat or primer. And oddly enough, one little tube lasts forever; I can't remember the last time I ran out of this stuff.

Maybelline Mineral Powder Illuminator

You know when you see pictures of celebrities on the red carpet and they have this gorgeous, healthy glow to their skin, like they're either secretly pregnant or somehow stole the complexion of a twelve-year-old? That's luminizor, bronzer or some other type of shimmery powder.

Even though she's starving to death, Kiera Knightley maintains a healthy glow with lots of luminizer.

I used to use bronzer until I realized that my skin just isn't tan enough to make it work, so I switched to Maybelline's Mineral Powder Illuminator, which has a light pink color perfect for my pasty pinkish complexion. I love this stuff. It's sort of like a toned-down blush that's so subtle you can use it every day, which I do. Rather than putting it all over my face like the directions recommend, I brush it across my cheekbones, giving them a slight pink glow with the tiniest hint of shimmer. Ditch the mini-brush that comes with the powder though; it sucks. Every woman needs to own a nice, proper set of brushes anyway (at minimum, a blush and eye shadow brush).

TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer

Okay, so this is basically just another lumanizer, but what can I say? I'm hooked on the stuff. This product is like a hardcore version of the Maybelline powder in that it's way more shimmery — you should only use it as an accent on top of your cheekbones, versus a blush. It's also an excellent eyeshadow accent, perfect for the outer corner of your upper lid where your eyebrows taper off (see Ms. Knightly's shimmery eyes). At $24 it's an investment, but you'll never use more than a few swipes at a time, so it'll last forever.

Next up: my top fashion products — and I'm not talking about clothes.

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