Wearing a face mask has changed the way we do a lot of things, including our makeup. With half our faces covered while out in public, it seems silly to buff out some bronzer or swipe on some lipstick. That’s why people have been trying more creative eye makeup looks. If you’re searching for an easy way to make your eyes pop while wearing a mask, thousands of Amazon shoppers recommend the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect mascara.
With more than 73,000 rave five-star ratings, it’s officially Amazon’s best-selling beauty product (beating out the popular Revlon One-Step hair dryer). And according to the brand, the Essence mascara is so popular that a tube of it sells every 10 seconds. The reason people love it so much? As the name implies, it’s like wearing false eyelashes, but without going through the trouble of adhering them. The gluten- and cruelty-free mascara comes with a tapered fibre brush that separates lashes while simultaneously giving them dramatic length and volume.
In fact, many reviewers have crowned it the “best mascara,” and some say they even prefer it to high-end options.
“When I tell you that I’m a mascara snob, I’m not even remotely kidding,” one reviewer wrote. “I spend a small fortune on mascara. My go-to is usually Dior or Pat McGrath… and then I found this. It volumizes, lengthens, and the brush is heaven! And it’s super buildable. I’ll never wear anything else again! Seriously, just get it. You won’t regret it!”
Another chimed in, “This mascara is amazing. I was spending so much on other mascaras, but decided to try this one because of the price. I had zero expectations and was so surprised to love this one more than the $30 mascaras I had been using.”
Essence claims the mascara won’t clump, flake, or fade throughout the day— and the majority of shoppers seem to agree.
“This is the best mascara ever,” another reviewer wrote. “It goes on easily, [has] perfect coloring, and [I] love the way the handle is designed — [it] makes it easy to grip the product while putting it on. [It] stays on all day [with] no smudges or smears. Also, you can’t beat the low price.”
At $5 a tube, the Essence mascara is one of the most affordable on the market. The brand also sells three other mascaras that are almost as popular, which you can get in a pack of 4 for just under $20. If you’re looking for a way to give your lashes some dramatic length, add a tube of the Essence Princess Lash Effect mascara to your cart on Amazon.
Almost 1.6 million jars of the moisturizer sell each year.
If you came up with a Venn diagram of popular beauty brands and those doing good things for society, the overlap wouldn’t be huge. The number’s growing, but it’s tough to find a brand that commits to donating more than, say, one percent of profits to a cause — and when they do, it’s often from a single specialized product or sale, not their overall bottom line. This year, skincare brand First Aid Beauty effectively said screw that, and made good on its burgeoning popularity by saving 24 people from crushing student loan debt.
If you’re not familiar with the brand, you’ve been missing out on one of Amazon, Sephora, and Ulta’s perennial best-sellers. According to First Aid Beauty, more than 1,575,000 jars of the brand’s Ultra Repair Cream are sold each year, which equals one every 20 seconds — and if you take a look at the moisturizer’s reviews and its ranking as one of Amazon’s best-selling body creams, it’s easy to see why.
One Amazon shopper wrote that the cream saved their skin after a move to Colorado, where the lack of humidity left them “breaking out like a teenager.” After incorporating the Ultra Repair Cream into their routine, they say their skin is the healthiest and clearest it’s ever been. Others agree that the cream is “by far one of the best moisturizers” they’ve ever used, and more call it a “miracle cream” that soothes spots expensive creams, serums, exfoliants, and steroid creams can’t touch. It’s incredibly effective for eczema in particular, 158 reviewers say, and for allergic reactions like those from face masks.
Seeing First Aid Beauty reinvest money in its customers is the best kind of payback. This past February the brand announced its commitment to paying off $1 million of student loan debts through its FAB AID initiative, with 10 percent of proceeds from a special edition FAB AID Ultra Repair Cream added on top of that million dollar contribution. Last week, the brand announced its 24 winners, and that it’d be wiping out almost $1.3 million in student loans.
The reactions alone are enough to make your skin glow. One recipient with $91,765 paid off said, “You have no idea how much this means to me. I feel like I just lost this weight that I’ve been carrying for so long,” while another person with $17,680 paid off said the freedom is going to launch her further on her “calling” to become a nurse and advocate for the Hispanic community.
The combination of an excellent product with a fantastic cause is unbeatable — it feels like the skincare equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate. First Aid Beauty is continuing the program into 2021, and expanding eligibility to include residents of the US and Canada who have or will graduate from an undergraduate program from January 2011 to August 2021. There’s no purchase necessary to enter, but if you’re looking for a winter “miracle balm” that leaves aggravated skin silky and baby soft, on top of funding a good cause — look no further.
The main focus of your morning routine should be hydration, plus setting the stage for the day with protection against whatever elements your skin is going to come into contact with.
Although most of the world is still abiding by shelter-in-place or social distance mandates, our day-to-day routines right now still impact our skin, from wearing a face mask regularly to the endless Zoom work calls you’re doing all day long. And if you’re anything like me, not adhering to proper posture and resting your chin on your hands instead.
“You may believe that most of the skin damage you get is caused by sun exposure and outdoor pollution, but the World Health Organization has now determined that indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution,” says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare. “Consider what you’re doing during the day and what elements you may be facing when you’re applying your skincare products in the morning.”
Step 1: Cleanser
Using a gentle cleanser in the morning is important for any skin type, concern, etc.
“Cleansers for sensitive skin in particular should have a creamy or milky formulation,” says Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, who also notes that any topical treatments can have a bit of a drying effect at first. “I love Cetaphil milky cleanser because it gently cleanses without drying or stripping your skin’s moisture barrier.”
Step 2: Any topical treatment
“Differin is the only topical that can be applied day or night,” says MacGregor, but it should always be applied to skin directly after cleansing and patting — never rubbing — skin dry.
“Use only a pea-sized amount of Differin gel around your entire face,” recommends MacGregor. Then gently massage until the gel is absorbed.
Step 3: Serum
A hydrating serum is a great option for morning to ensure the skin is moisturized. MacGregor’s favorite, Alto Defense Serum by Skin Better, offers a generous mix of antioxidants, fatty acids, and ceramides. These powerhouse ingredients build a saran wrap-like cover over the skin, which protect from dryness and free radicals, plus it soothes inflammation and the appearance of skin redness. Remember: Hydrated skin is happy skin.
Step 4: Eye Gel
An eye gel can de-puff smooth out the under-eye area, which will make makeup application easier. Tap Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel around the upper and lower eye area with your fingertip to calm and hydrate skin.
Step 5: Moisturizer
Once your serum and eye gel are fully absorbed, follow up with a lightweight, but seriously hydrating moisturizer to further prime and prep your skin for the day ahead.
When it comes to the best ingredients in a moisturizer to satisfy thirsty skin, “look for barrier repair ingredients, like fatty acids and squalane,” recommends Alexiades, as a healthy skin barrier is essential to smooth, hydrated skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 are the most popular fatty acids. Although common plant, nut and seed oils, like sunflower, safflower, flaxseed, and rose-hip seed, also have high concentrations of omega acids, so keep an eye out for those ingredients, too.
But before you settle on a morning moisturizer, evaluate whether stress is also affecting your skin’s oil production, causing your face to look extra shiny by lunchtime.
“If moisturizers with those ingredients are too creamy and your skin is oily, consider Theraplex HydroLotion or CeraVe moisturizing cream,” says MacGregor, adding that these formulations were specifically designed for sensitive skin.
Step 6: SPF
“You should finish off with SPF,” says Dr. Ellen Marmur, dermatologist and founder of Marmur Metamorphosis Skincare. “No matter the time of the year, this ingredient should always be a factor in your routine in order to fully protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays.”
Active topicals (like Differin) that work to increase cell turnover tend to also increase photosensitivity, says Alexiades, making daily sunscreen applications an absolute must.
Marmur suggests using a mineral sunscreen with zinc or titanium dioxide, which sits on top of skin instead of getting absorbed. EltaMD’s UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is a sunscreen beloved by beauty editors and dermatologists alike.
Nighttime Skincare Routine
At night, Dr. Marmur says that your primary concern should be repairing and rejuvenating your skin.
“Your skin needs to be nourished morning and night,” adds Dr. Ciraldo. “But nighttime is when you should address your personal skin issues.”
Plus, let’s be realistic: Who has time to do a face mask when they’re getting ready in the morning?
Step 1: Cleanser
You’ve probably heard how important it is not to sleep with your makeup on, so unsurprisingly, cleansing your face should be the first step in your nighttime routine, but which cleanser you reach for depends on your skin type.
“People with normal to dry skin should choose a hydrating cleanser,” says Alexiades. “If you strip the skin with an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser, it may be too dry and the Differin gel will further peel the skin and result in itchiness and flaking.”
If you have oily skin, “a sulfur or acid cleanser may be okay to prep the skin before your topicals,” she explains, while noting that with serious breakouts, a medicated cleanser may be prescribed and should only be used at night.
Step 2: Any topical treatment
Just like in the morning, “a pea-sized amount of (in this case) Differin should be first on cleansed skin and then layer creamier formulations on top,” says MacGregor. Be sure to apply Differin all over your face rather than as a spot-treatment to defend against future breakouts.
Step 3: Serum
When treating acne with a topical product, there is truth to the “too much of a good thing” saying. Dr. Alexiades says to definitely avoid using retinol, Retin A, or other retinoids, and think twice before adding chemical exfoliants or peel pads to the mix. “If you use a benzoyl peroxide or acid, beware that your skin may get too raw, dry and inflamed,” she warns.
An ultra-nourishing and replenishing serum is your best — and safest — move for a bedtime serum after a topical. Go with a formula that has soothing, hydrating ingredients to bind moisture to skin without clogging pores, like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel.
Step 4: Eye Serum
“Always use an eye repair serum, since this is one of the more sensitive parts of the face and ages faster than other areas,” says Dr. Marmur. “People may habitually itch and rub their eyes during the day due to dryness or just pure stress.”Elemis’ Absolute Eye Serum is designed to reduce dark circles and puffiness while keeping the entire area soft and smooth.
Step 5: Moisturizer
Nighttime is when you can use a moisturizer that’s richer than what you would typically use in the morning. “This will keep your skin hydrated throughout the nighttime and ready for the morning,” explains Dr. Marmur. “Look for a moisturizer that’s oil-free in order to not add to the amount of natural oil your body produces when you’re sleeping.”
You may be inclined to believe the most transformative results come from expensive skincare products, but affordable options can be just as effective. This year, L’Oréal proved that to be true — one of its best-selling face creams earned the number one spot as the top-selling collagen moisturizer in America under $12.
As skin matures, it tends to produce less collagen, so the lightweight formula of the L’Oréal Collagen Face Moisturizer aims to rectify the loss by providing an instant surge of hydration, leaving skin smoother and more plump with consistent use. It can be applied both morning and night across the face, neck, and chest to smooth out deepening fine lines and wrinkles. Since the non-greasy anti-aging hero is non-comedogenic, it won’t ever clog up pores.
Nielsen data was used to determine that the moisturizer is a best-seller, and a number of Amazon shoppers swear by the anti-wrinkle treatment, too. The product has nearly 8,000 five-star ratings from them, with one reviewer claiming it’s “the best cream for anyone who wants to slow down the aging process.”
“I’m a very critical person and I must say that L’Oréal has killed it with this cream,” wrote another. “It actually makes my skin feel tighter without the feeling of uncomfort. The moisture in the cream really does what it says, it acts as a filler! And I can definitely tell the difference. This is going to be a part of my daily routine and I’m happy to say a part of my life moving forward!”
“Expensive creams don’t have a chance with how well this works,” said another. “The wrinkles on my forehead are no longer there, and the wrinkles on my chin are getting less and less noticeable. I will never need to change the facial cream I use again. I am 68, almost 69 years old, and my facial skin is now really soft, smooth and there are no blotches anywhere anymore.”
Oh boy, my eyebrows were a casualty of the early teens in the sense that when I say I tweezed them into one singular line of hair, it’s not at all an exaggeration.
After time passed and trends evolved, I finally decided it was time to restore the damage I’d done on my brows. Thankfully, my brows — through years of training — rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and now, I tend to them like the miracle story they are. That of course includes using a brow gel on the daily so they look their best.
And since I generally try to scale back my makeup-wearing days to care for my skin, I often prefer to restock my usual makeup staples from more budget-friendly options — which is exactly how I found my new holy-grail brow product, the NYX Cosmetics Control Freak Eyebrow Gel.
As is the case with most great makeup discoveries, I started with a Google search and ended up on Amazon. In my quest to find a dupe for my usual brow gel, I came across this NYX one thanks to the thousands of glowing reviews of the formula. Then, after spotting the $5 price tag, it was on my mind to purchase within seconds.
Since I first tried Glossier’s Boy Brow years ago, I’ve been sold on it. It gives my brows just enough hold without feeling sticky and locks them in place throughout the day unlike any formula I’d used before. But with a $16 price tag, I wasn’t above finding a dupe, which in and of itself gives me a high, if you will. And based on the reviews, it’s clear I’m not the only one who’s made this discovery.
“I bought this because I ran out of Boy Brow and didn’t feel like paying for a refill,”said one Amazon shopper. “I’m SO glad I didn’t. I will be using this from now on. This holds brows in place and isn’t heavy. You only need to sweep over the brows one time and you’re good. For such an affordable product I’m seriously so impressed, I don’t usually buy cheap makeup but this has blown my mind and now I’m wondering why I’ve been spending so much money on products that might work as well as drugstore brands.”
I’d have to agree. The clear gel tames my brows into a natural and defined shape, and keeps them that way throughout the day without ever feeling heavy or sticky. And at a price tag that’s less than a latte, it’s one staple I plan on keeping in my makeup bag for a very long time.
Micellar water has received a lot of buzz in the beauty world thanks to its gentle yet effective cleaning powers, but it’s actually been many a French woman’s skincare staple since the ‘90s. The game-changing cleanser came to fruition as a solution to France’s harsh tap water, and it’s quickly become a multi-tasking beauty buy that’s a less harsh and less drying alternative to regular ol’ H2O and even makeup remover wipes.
There are a lot of well-praised micellar waters on the market, but few are as loved as Bioderma’s Micellar Cleansing Water. With a celebrity fan base that counts practically every A-lister imaginable, including Lucy Hale, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, and Khloe Kardashian, and mind-blowing sales stats that suggest one bottle is sold every two seconds, this French pharmacy favorite has rightfully earned its “world famous” title.
The popular micellar water is incredibly gentle on the epidermis, as it’s free of harsh oils, parabens, and alcohol that can mess with the skin’s natural pH, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective than other facial cleansers. In fact, Biorderma’s cleansing water promises to remove 99 percent of makeup and 98 percent of fine airborne pollutants that most average face washes and wipes miss. It effectively removes all impurities while still respecting the skin’s biological balance, and unlike some makeup remover wipes, micellar water, when applied on a soft cotton pad, requires significantly less rubbing, which means less irritation.
Bioderma’s micellar water has consistently been an Amazon best-seller, averaging a 4.7-star rating and close to 10,000 five-star reviews, with plenty of customers deeming it their “holy grail” skincare product. “The best micellar water, never looking back,” wrote one shopper. “Removes waterproof mascara and foundation quickly and easily without scrubbing… The formula is so gentle, it just feels like water and the scent is very, very mild. Did not irritate my very sensitive skin.”
If you’re a habitual nighttime lip-moisturizer, then this product is guaranteed to rock your routine. A cult-favorite of my friend group, this overnight lip mask is ultra-hydrating and buttery soft. It is less greasy than Vaseline or Aquaphor and offers a glossier, thicker texture that stays saturated throughout the night while also firming up those fine lines around your mouth.
Containing a mix of vitamin C and antioxidants, the Laneige Overnight Lip Sleeping Mask comes in five soothing flavors that are subtle but refreshing, including vanilla, berry, and sweet candy. Apart from being a friend-group favorite, this product is also a major hit with Sephora shoppers who’ve given it over 8,000 five-star reviews, with many citing chronically chapped lips and year-round use.
“This lip mask is a staple in my beauty regime,” said one reviewer. “I especially love it in the cooler months to keep my lips looking plump and moisturized, but love it equally as much in the summertime. Sometimes I use it as a gloss because I love the jelly texture!”
In polling my inner circle on their favorite features of the product, one agreed that she uses it in the daytime as well — including over lip tint or lipstick for a glossy finish. Another pointed to the unbelievable staying power this product has throughout the night, remarking that she wakes up with balmy lips that feel like she applied the product just an hour prior. This sustained saturation is a specialty of the Korean brand, which claims that the formula of this balm releases water onto your lips over an eight-hour release period, a proprietary technology they call Moisture Wrap.
Along with hydrating the skin around your lips, this mask is also proven to improve skin texture and elasticity. It can help firm up your skin and therefore decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so don’t be afraid to paint outside the lines in your application.
In addition to guaranteeing you supple lips for all seasons, the $22 price point of this mask doesn’t push your typical nighttime chapstick budget too far off the beaten path. For a formidable solution to your parched lips, visit the links below.
“Because E.L.F.’s makeup and skin-care offerings are incredibly affordable and effective, wanting to fill up your cart with everything the beauty brand has to offer is a little too tempting. (We’ve all be there.) Add in the fact that you can pick up the products at your local Target, Old Navy, and drugstores, and you’ll start wondering if E.L.F. wants you to directly deposit your paycheck into its account.“
“We rounded up some tried-and-true product picks from Allure editors to make shopping E.L.F.’s vast beauty selection a little easier, more efficient, and kinder to your wallet. You’re welcome. Many of our recommendations even have a Best of Beauty Awards and Readers’ Choice Awards to their names, like best eye shadow brush and best lipstick, so you know they’re going to be amazing additions to your beauty routine. Keep scrolling to see which highlighter, eye shadow palette, and skin-care products we swear by.”
E.L.F. Luminous Poreless Putty Primer
Unlike the original version, which has a slightly mattifying effect, E.L.F.’s Luminous Poreless Putty Primer leaves the skin with a subtle dewy finish whether you choose to wear it alone or under makeup. So if you want to minimize the appearance of your pores and get a radiant glow, look no further than this primer.
If you’ve never experienced the wonders of a peeling gel, allow this Best of Beauty winner to be your introduction. Straight out of the pump, it looks like a clear gel. However, when you start rubbing it onto skin, it turns into little balls. Why? The Gentle Peeling Exfoliant picks up the dead skin cells and other grime on your face and rolls it up like eraser dust. It’s incredibly satisfying and leaves skin smooth and radiant.
The Best of Beauty-winning Cream Contour Palette contains four different matte creams — a trio of bronzes (taupe, fawn, and caramel) and one yellow-beige hue for brightening. Each are rich and intensely pigmented but once blended out, they seamlessly melt into skin for a natural-looking sculpted finish.
E.L.F.’s SuperBrighten Peel Pads may not cost you much — and yet, they actually rival some of their more expensive competitors on the market. Formulated with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), citrus (from lemon peel oil and lemon fruit extract), and witch hazel, these exfoliating treatment pads work by gently buffing away excess dead skin, which, in turn, gives the appearance of a more radiant complexion.
Washing your makeup tools doesn’t have to be a chore. Keep the Solid Sponge Cleanser near your sink, so you remember to dip dirty brushes and sponges directly into it when they need a washing. (There’s something soothing about swirling them around the charcoal-infused disc.)
Along with pristine brushes, your skin will love that you’re cleaning your brushes with the detoxifying ingredient, as it’s been said to help prevent future breakouts. And let’s be real, we’ll take all the help we can get.
Not even E.L.F. is immune to the holographic makeup hype. These color-shifting powders may look petal pink and lilac in the pan, but when brushed onto cheekbones, they transform into a hot pink and sky blue.
Made with watermelon fruit extract (yum), glycerin, and castor oil, E.L.F.’s Jelly Pop Water Gel Moisturizer soothes redness and re-hydrates parched skin in one fell swoop. It’s also super-fast-absorbing, making it an especially great option for the summer months when we’re sweating more and tend to favor lighter products.
Available in eight different shade options, E.L.F.’s Bite Size Eye Shadow Palettes (as in the same ones that went viral on TikTok earlier this year) make creating a put-together eye look easy as pie. The quad shown here is “cream & sugar” and contains a combination of neutral-toned, shimmery and matte shadows that work on almost every skin tone. Plus, the formula of these shadows is über-opaque, yet also so easy to blend.
Allure editors aren’t the only ones obsessed with E.L.F.’s Moisturizing Lipstick in Velvet Rope — our readers are, too. Velvet Rope, which is a cherry red with a golden sheen, won a Readers’ Choice Award this year for its creamy, hydrating formula that lasts all day long.
Read our guide to the best glow-givers of the year yet? If so, then you already know E.L.F.’s best-selling Baked Highlighter made the cut.
Despite technically being a powder, its ultra-buttery, featherlight formula melts into the skin like it’s nothing and never looks cakey worn on top of foundation and concealer. It also contains skin-loving ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, and apricot seed oils, which is a nice added bonus.
Blending eye shadow ain’t easy. The Beautifully Precise Eyeshadow Brush No. 201, which recently won a Best of Beauty Award, will do all the work for you with as little effort as possible. You can pack color onto your lids with the short, dense bristles before sweeping the fluffy ends over the edges to soften them in seconds.
With all the latest palettes packed with terracotta and peach shades, the E.L.F. Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Palette has a much-welcomed mix of both warm- and cool-toned hues. On the right side, you have a peachy cream, blue-toned gray, and more neutral shades for laying down a clean base. Or, of course, you can wear just one by itself for a more minimalist look.
On the left side, you have a gorgeous teal, sapphire blue, and soft black for making your smoky eye fantasies a reality. (Hence the name Holy Smokes.) You can make sure they are all blended well with the shades situated in the middle of the palette.