Everyone loves a good glow, but if your oil glands are already over-producing, which results in a not-so-cute shiny t-zone, you want to stay away from super dewy foundations. Instead look for a matte, oil-free, water-based formula to balance-out your skin’s oil production. From the drugstore hero to the most luxurious formulas in the game, ward off a shiny forehead with these H20-happy foundations.
Dior Forever 24h Wear Matte Foundation
Introducing: An Instagram filter in a bottle. This foundation offers buildable-slash-medium coverage with a texture that feels velvety and smooth on your skin. The formula is full of pansy extract, which is a a super hydrating ingredient that will give dry skin a healthy glow.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
A Rihanna-approved foundation that diffuses every pore on your face and doesn’t move all damn day? Yes, please. Not to mention that I use this foundation frequently, because my T-zone loves to get super shiny, and the bottle lasts me so long.
This is the newest foundation the brand added to its lineup that beauty lovers can’t stop talking about at the moment. Everyone’s loving the silky-soft veil it leaves behind on the skin, covering dark spots, redness, and other ailments in seconds. Its oil-free blend of ingredients— ceramides, peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and squalane—are all magic words when it comes to boosting moisture.
The brand’s most natural-looking foundation, this sheer, easy-to-blend cream will give you medium to full coverage depending on how you layer it. Oil-free and formulated with coconut water and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moisturized, just be wary that it’s not too too dewy or hydrating if you have suuuper oily skin.
The mixture of hydrating and light-reflective elements in this Bobbi Brown formula will make your skin look especially dewy, plump, and radiant in the morning. It’s a favorite of beauty fiends who want more of a lightweight, sheer finish.
Milk Makeup’s easy applicator uses a tip that minimizes any exposure to air (meaning your foundation will stay fresher than ever) and eliminates drips that waste your precious money. Making the K-beauty blurring trend easier than ever, the product uses light-diffusing technology to create a poreless, airbrushed effect.
This formula is expensive, but not for nothing as it really does deliver on its “post-facial glow” promise. Made with mineral from the deep waters of Bretagne (fancy!), it brightens the skin by reflecting light to eradicate facial shadows, resulting in a glowy soft focus finish.
Burberry’s illuminating pearlescent primer can be worn on its own or mixed with foundation to create a dewy glow that never reads too shiny or sparkly. If you’re looking to add radiance to a dull winterized complexion before summer, this is your stuff.
Finding that happy medium between providing soft, yet solid coverage without drying out the skin, this water-like, gel-serum foundation works on ALL skin types and provides SPF 30 protection. Plus, it comes in a cool dropper bottle.
In more than 20 shades, you’re bound to find your perfect match with this super-blendable, long-wearing formula. It’s also very concentrated, so a little bit of product goes a long way, ensuring you get all the bank for you buck.
Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup Foundation
A beauty editor favorite, if you’re in the market for au naturale day-to-day coverage, this is your stuff. It has that “your skin, but better” look down to a science with a water-based gel formula that blurs away imperfections while delivering sheer to medium matte coverage.
This drugstore steal is notorious for being *amazing* for normal to very oily skin. Its fluid, silk-like texture goes on smoothly and will let your natural complexion show through while still diffusing uneven skin tone, blemishes, and T-zone shine. It also comes complete with SPF 17.
You don’t need to have expert false lash application skills to achieve a thick, long, dramatic lash look. The right volumizing mascara will do just that — no glue required. It will ensure your lashes are anything but subtle.
Plus, I have a quick application tip for you to help your lashes look as voluminous as possible. Before swiping the wand all the way through your lashes, start by wiggling the bristles into the base of your lashes and lightly stamping the mascara against your waterline. This simple step will help even the sparsest fringe look instantly fuller by filling in the gaps between your lashes. Afterward, you can proceed with your usual mascara application technique. Keep scrolling to discover 14 of the best volumizing mascaras to practice that tip with.
Maybelline New York The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
This affordable thickening mascara left its mark on New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020 at Christian Siriano, Jason Wu, and Naeem Khan, to name a few. Makeup artist Gato says he loves this washable formula for runway shows because it makes an impact but is easy to remove.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles has been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara since it launched. The reason? “It’s a great mascara that gives lashes a full, fluffy effect,” she says. “I can always count on it not to clog up fake lashes when I apply it over them, which happens a lot with other mascaras.”
Allure’s digital beauty reporter Devon Abelman has lost track of how many tubes of Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara she’s gone through. Because its formula veers on the drier side, quickly layer on the product for a luscious look that could easily be mistaken for lash extensions.
CoverGirl makes some of the internet’s highest-rated drugstore mascaras, so it’s no shocker that the masses love the recently released Exhibitionist Mascara too. That hourglass-shaped brush is loaded with long, dense bristles, so one coat can go a long, long way.
The Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara doesn’t just add drama to lashes, it also lengthens and helps them hold a curl. The versatile pick has won a Best of Beauty Award because you can add multiple layers without worrying about your lashes looking spidery.
Lattes, facials, and gummies aren’t the only things spiked with CBD oil lately. The Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara is too, and Los Angeles-based makeup artist Molly R. Stern is feeling it. “The brush is great and deposits a full lash every time,” she says.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Mai Quynh swears by the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara for serious lash volume. “I love the formula because it gives lashes a fullness without making them clumpy,” she says. “Also, it’s not flaky and I really love the smell!” Yes, you read that right. This is one of the few mascaras that doesn’t smell like paint.
Professional makeup artists and Allure editors alike often find themselves reaching for the beloved Dior Diorshow Mascara. Stoj, an MUA based in New York City, prefers it for an extreme-volume effect. “This mascara is enriched with microfibers to give you the most voluminous lashes,” he says.
As soon as you grace your lashes with the Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara, you’ll probably have the same reaction as New York City-based makeup artist Joseph Carrillo has every time he uses it: “It’s like wow, thicker, fuller, drama, sexy, sultry,” he says.
Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara
Allure’s digital assistant beauty editor Angela Trakoshis only had to try Fenty’s Full Frontal Mascara one time to know she was in it for the long haul. Thanks to the drastically different bristles on either side of its brush, you can swipe on one thin layer of mascara for length, or coat it on until you’ve reached full-volume capacity. “It normally takes me four coats of mascara to get my desired lash, but thanks to Rihanna, it now only takes two,” Trakoshis says.
This drugstore selection has won both a Best of Beauty Award and a Readers’ Choice Award for its glossy black formula and wand, which is decked out with supershort bristles that help fan out lashes. Be sure to twirl the wand as you sweep it through your lashes to take full advantage of its maximizing powers.
The first time New York City-based makeup artist Chiao-Li used Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara, she was shocked: “It really makes your lashes look super voluminous and doesn’t clump at all,” she says. “It’s my absolute favorite whenever I want to create great volume without using false lashes.” She recommends layering it over a coat of Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara for a longer-lasting curl and over-the-top vibe.
Just as its name suggests, Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara comes with a pretty beefy wand. Don’t be intimidated by its size. Allure’s digital deputy beauty director Sophia Panych believes it’s the key to nearly doubling the thickness of your lashes.
If you’ve ever lusted after Emily Ratajkowski or Shay Mitchell’s lashes, chances are Los Angeles-based makeup artist Patrick Ta raked Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara through their fringes. “This is one of the blackest mascaras I’ve ever used,” he says. “If you are looking for intense definition, you have to give this a try!”
These days, masks are as ubiquitous as hair tools and CBD-spiked skin care. Not surprisingly then, there’s been an influx of options hitting the mask market made specifically for your lips. Ahead, find 18 amazing lip masks of every variety — balms, gels, and sheets. Slather them on while you sleep, mid-commute, or before swiping on a bold lip you need to last all night. Get ready for smoother, softer-looking lips.
Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm
Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm isn’t technically called a mask, but it sure feels like one. The ultra-rich consistency coats lips in a blanket of soothing butters, including shea and murumuru, which are known to nourish dry skin. It also contains vegan waxes that make the formula extra thick and satisfying to use — especially if you’re struggling with severely dry or cracked lips. The subtle vanilla flavor definitely doesn’t hurt either.
Available in three lip-enhancing hues, Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask is perfect for anyone who loves a little tint to their lips. Infused with hyaluronic acid to quench dry lips, along with avocado, jojoba, and argan oils to lock in moisture, it leaves lip supple, soft, and smelling sweet.
Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask features hyaluronic acid and a blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts for their powerful antioxidant benefits. It not only smells sublime, but makes lips look plumper, softer, and smoother after just one use.
Henné’s Organics Lip Mask is made with ultra-nourishing oils like rosehip, avocado, sweet orange peel, and jojoba (that’s four of many) and comes from a brand fully devoted to lip care, so you know it’s legit. Its light, citrus-and-vanilla scent sends it over the edge. The best part? Leave it on as you choose — lip masks like this one don’t have a limit since their sole purpose is to soothe, plump, and moisturize.
Sara Happ is renowned for her sublime lip treatments and The Sweet Clay Lip Mask is no exception. Comprised of deep-cleansing bentonite clay, nourishing shea butter, and an Ayurvedic herb known as Swertiamarin sourced from the Himalayas, this mask means business. Its bubblegum-pink hue will makes your lips look like you’ve caked them in icing while you wear it, but that’s a bonus if you ask me. Apply it weekly — or nightly — for soft and supple lips that appear visibly smoother after one use.
Thick, luxurious, and super hydrating, this clear, jelly-like balm is like a deep conditioning treatment for your lips: Agave nectar and lanolin provide a dose of long-lasting moisture, while a hefty dose of antioxidants (literally three times the amount found in a serving of red wine) protect your pout from the elements. It’s best worn as an overnight mask, but the formula also comes in two super-pretty sheer, glossy shades (a gold-flecked rose and a cool, pinkish red) for daytime wear.
Klavuu’s Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack comes highly recommended by Allure’s digital reporter Devon Abelman, who lauds it for its weightless formula and ability to bring dry, dehydrated lips back to a happy and balanced state. Enriched with avocado, sweet almond, and apricot seed oils, this Korean beauty treatment leaves lips looking and feeling instantly more moisturized after a mere five minutes.
For less than a Lincoln you can score the Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask, which soothes and hydrates with meadowfoam and sweet almond oils. It’s also 100 percent natural for those of you who prefer a green option.
Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is an all-time Allure editor favorite. Its über-thick formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream, and works its magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight. Come morning, lips look and feel soft, bouncy, and supple as ever. It also comes in a vanilla version, if that’s more up your alley.
While Jouer isn’t typically known for skin-care offerings, its new Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask is a true standout I couldn’t not mention. Jam-packed with ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil, as well as hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture, lips feel quenched for days after using it. Leave it on while you snooze for kitten-soft lips when you wake — or use in place of an ultra-thick balm for the ultimate luxury lip-care experience.
KNC Beauty’s All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask contains vitamin E, rose oil, and hydrating cherry extract to help plump fine lines and deeply moisturize the lips. You might remember Emma Stone’s pre-Globes selfie wearing the jelly-like lip patch, which was recommended by her makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, in order to prep the actor’s lips for the big night. Needless to say, if it’s approved by Emma and her MUA, you can bet it won’t be a letdown.
Patchology’s FlashPatch Lip Gels are similar to that of KNC’s in that they adhere to your lips, feel cool to the touch, and look slightly sheet mask-esque. The biodegradable patches feature soothing green tea extract, redness-reducing niacinamide, and peptides to help enhance elasticity and promote collagen production.
Flower Beauty’s Petal Pout Lip Mask, which just launched, is already a fast favorite. It’s portable, affordable, and, most importantly, infused with decadent mango and coconut butters to repair chapped and flaking lips.
Clinique’s Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask not only comes in this unarguably cute, millennial-pink tube, but it also works like a charm on winter-worn lips. Moisturizing ingredients, like murumuru seed butter, hydrogenated castor oil, and sea whip extract go the extra mile to hydrate and simultaneously plump lips while you sleep.
Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips is as delicious as its name implies. Chock full of nourishing ingredients like mango butter, coconut oil, and cocoa, with a creamy (not sticky!) consistency, it’s worth the splurge. Blanket your lips with a hefty coat of the stuff before bed and come morning, you’ll wake with supple, hydrated lips.
Kaplan MD’s Perfect Pout Duo feels like a dream on lips. The pillow-like balm is whipped to a dreamy, gel-cream consistency and is made of reparative ingredients like seabuckthorn berry extract and sunflower seed wax to nourish lips while you snooze.
Starskin DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask
Starskin’s DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask utilizes an innovative, coconut juice-derived, bio-cellulose technology that adheres to the lips seamlessly and feels similar in texture to Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask. Each one is submerged in a tropical-scented bath, which leaves lips looking and feeling juicier after just 15 minutes.
Before you scoff at the price of 111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo, allow me to explain why it’s worth the hefty price tag. For starters, the tiniest amount goes a long way (we’re talking the size of a pea or less here). It has also been scientifically tested (and proven effective) to give the illusion of having thicker, suppler lips after just a few uses. What’s more: It contains exfoliating ingredients, like lemon and orange peel oils, which naturally shed the top layer of skin to create an even-toned, softer surface.
Liquid eye shadows are among the trendiest makeup formulas right now, with new versions dropping from a variety of brands seemingly every week. Devotees favor them for their ease of use, blendability and intense color payoff. But there are a few key tricks to finding the right formula and applying it like a pro.
“When it comes to these formulas, a little goes a long way,” says makeup artist Beau Nelson. “The best way is to use a synthetic brush, apply thin layers and use the brush to buff edges for a clean transition.” Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes agrees, nothing that fingers are fine in a pinch, but “the oils in your fingers can often break up the oils in the product.” One major benefit of using a liquid shadow is that it doesn’t require the use of a primer: They “basically act as primers with color. They work well amazingly on their own, or even as a base for powder shadows,” explains Hughes.
Liquid eye shadows are also the unsung heroes of the makeup bag because of their versatility. Both makeup artists we consulted agree that the multi-tasking capabilities of these formulas are particularly impressive. “Metallic, pale and medium shades can look best as highlights. They can also act as blush — just mix a tiny bit of foundation to extend the product’s dry-down time,” says Nelson.
Now that you know how to apply them like a pro, here are the best expert-recommended liquid eye shadows to add to your collection. Read on to see (and shop) them all.
Danessa Myricks Beauty 24-Hour Cream ColorFix
Channel your inner artist with Danessa Myricks Beauty ColorFix 24-Hour Cream Color Matte. This ultra-long-wearing cream color can be safely used on lips, eyes, face, and body. ColorFix’s unique silicone-polymer base can be mixed to create custom colors and finishes.
Powder-finish formula (that doesn’t feel powdery) smooths on with a doe foot applicator. Silky, blendable color melts into skin, creating a pretty, diffused effect that lasts. A little bit adds some depth to the eye area; add more for a refined, modern wash of color. Comes in seven shades inspired by dreamy Southwest landscapes.
Illuminate your eyes with Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow by Stila Cosmetics. This lightweight and water-infused formula provides long-lasting coverage, without ever flaking. Boosted with mica, this highly-pigmented formula reflects the light around you, revealing a glowing appearance.
Creates a sheer veil of color that locks onto lids without creasing (so no need for primer). Ultrafine pigments are enveloped in a buttery base for a silky, blendable formula that swipes on easily. Comes in six shimmery, long-wearing shades.
This gel-based formula is long-lasting, quick-drying and 100% eye-catching! Formulated for comfortable wear and minimal fall out, this opaque liquid eyeshadow delivers high-impact, multi-dimensional glitters and pearls in a quick-drying gel base.
Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eye Shadow
Next level liquid glitter eyeshadow. Smith & Cult’s Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow features black micronized pigments that transform to a deeper metallic as you blend. Build color intensity and depth. Wear as a sparkling metallic or smudge for a smoky look.
As many of us become more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and what we’re putting our bodies through, we’re also becoming more aware of what we’re putting on our bodies. While the performance of natural makeup used to pale in comparison to products from our favorite makeup counters, there are many natural makeup brands creating products that are richly pigmented, apply beautifully, and wear as well as their more synthetic competitors. You may already be using some of them and don’t even know they’re all-natural.
But before I get into industry favourites, let’s get one thing straight: “Natural” doesn’t automatically mean a product is better or safer for you, as the FDA has nebulous criteria on just what constitutes a natural product (“natural” isn’t regulated for cosmetics, so it can be used purely as a marketing term). “There is no real definition of ‘natural’ in the U.S. beauty industry,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “As long as the bulk of your material is natural, you can say ‘natural-based.’ There is no regulation. The true naturals have seals like COSMOS Natural or Ecocert — European organizations that allow up to 5 percent synthetics.”
The FDA does not have a definition for the term “organic,” either, as it is not defined by either the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which they use as guidelines. “‘Organic’ usually means USDA-certified food grades. There are limited numbers of products you can make to be classified as organic green,” King says.
“‘Clean beauty’ is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. “‘Non-toxic’ means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. This is better than claiming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as they are products that perform without compromising safety. People want natural because they assume natural ingredients are safe, which is not necessarily the case. They also may not be as effective as synthetic materials.”
This brings me to another point: An ingredient might be natural or organic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll have an adverse or allergic reaction to it, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re using and how your body responds.
Thanks to growing consumer concern and education, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in the use of the phrase “clean beauty.” Last year, for example, Sephora announced the launch of Clean at Sephora, the company’s new category that clearly establishes which of their products are formulated without controversial ingredients. Those that meet Sephora’s ingredients guidelines are deemed “clean” and receive the retailer’s Clean at Sephora seal.
Ingredients aside, one of the benefits of using natural products is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. As consumers, it’s never been more important to prioritize what we want in our makeup, and our money talks. These days there’s a clean option to switch out every product in your makeup routine, so it’s never been easier to avoid controversial ingredients.
But I also wanted to help you sort out your options. The following products have received high marks from professional makeup artists — who have seen and used it all — so you can start cleaning up your cosmetics bag.
Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear. From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.
Puckey is a huge fan of the brand, spotlighting many of its products. “I love how smooth the Fade Into You Powder feels and how it really disappears on the skin. The Illuminators come in three shades that work for a variety of skin tones. I like that it comes in a stick form for easy application.”
100% Pure Beauty has a full collection of skin care, makeup, hair, and body products, all made with natural ingredients. The brand is serious about the way it sources its ingredients, too, using a strict methodology to determine and confirm that its products contain no synthetic ingredients. In the past, I’ve been a big fan of its Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, and I love that its foundations are available in a wide range of shades.
Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is a big fan of the brand’s lipsticks, telling Allure“100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks come in such beautiful, bold, matte shades that you forget you’re working with a natural brand.”
He calls out the shade Sonora Red as one that “really packs a punch.”
Each Kosas product is made with active botanicals and balanced with safe synthetics, giving you luxury formulas, beautiful pigments that flatter a multitude of skin tones, and they all look as good as they feel. The beautiful face duos are available in both cream and powder formulas, each including a blush and an illuminator that complement each other and boost your face’s luminosity and glow.
The lipsticks are also not to be missed. Puckey tells Allure, “Kosas has a line of all-natural lipsticks in super chic black packaging. Rosewater (a dusky rose) and Thrillest (bright poppy red) are my favorites.”
Did you know that Bite Beauty is natural and organic? I always forget. These luxe lipsticks are made with 12 different oils, as well as while pearl, silk, red wine, and organic butters; the result is a lipstick that’s incredibly creamy and hydrating, long-wearing and even has benefits from antioxidants for a product that’s actually good for your lips.
“No one does the range of bold color options in the right creamy/waxy base the way Bite does,” makeup artist Katey Denno explains. “They also make a lot of corresponding lip liners, which, until they filled it, had been a big hole in the marketplace.”
Newer to the natural scene, Tower 28 Beauty is becoming a fast favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike. The whimsical packaging, quality ingredients, and vegan and cruelty-free promise are just a few of many reasons to love this L.A.-based brand, which prides itself on making products suitable for ultra-sensitive skin types. In fact, it’s tagline is #ItsOkayToBeSensitive, which is pretty clever if you ask me.
“Their products are so good for sensitive skin!” says makeup artist Robin Black, who battles rosacea. “I love their SOS Face Spray,cream blushes, and highlighters, and their cheek and lip products are getting lots of buzz for good reason. They’re so pretty on and so easy to use.”
One of the innovators of the now popular and chic swivel compact, Lilah B. is all about creating simple, multipurpose beauty products with clean formulas. Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing on your face and on your vanity.
Juice Beauty takes special care to ensure that its ingredients are certified organic so that no toxins, pesticides, synthetics, or fertilizers make it into its products. Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name), without any petroleum fillers or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits.
Denno is especially a fan of the Juice Boost Illuminator + Bronzer Duo. “Finely micronized shimmer particles add the perfect amount of highlight, no matter what your skin tone. [It] can be used directly on all areas you highlight: cheeks, Cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, inner-eye corner, lid, clavicle, shoulders, or can be mixed into foundation to give an overall more glowy look,” she suggests.
“This stuff is unlike any other green beauty highlight product in that it dries completely (and quickly).”
The Lawless tagline is “Clean AF,” and the brand means it. Its liquid lipsticks are formulated without carcinogenic, toxic, hormone- or endocrine-disrupting ingredients. If people ingest up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year, Lawless is trying to make sure that its products — that you put directly on your mouth and skin — are as safe as possible.
Stemming from the founder’s own need for clean-beauty products free of toxic chemicals and metals, RMS Beauty is a line of ultra-luxurious, pared-down multitaskers that have become favorites in the industry. It’s a bit like a grown-up Glossier, with rich formulas, bright colors, and twinkling shimmers that make a welcome addition to any beauty routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
The line’s hero product is the Living Luminizer, a highlighter in a pot, that you tap onto the high points of your face, as you do, for a glow that is equal parts natural and ethereal. It pairs well with any product you put it on top of (or under) and wears like it’s a part of you.
Since it’s inception in 2014, Milk Makeup has become a major power player in the vegan and cruelty-free beauty category. With innovative products that are as pretty and fun to use as they are effective, it’s easy to see why so many people adore the brand. Speaking of which, makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who works with stars like Kristen Bell, Julianne Moore, and Karlie Kloss — among myriad others — tells Allure it’s one of his top-favorite natural beauty brands. If you’ve yet to try anything from Milk, the Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Mascara, and Glow Oils (pictured above) are all great products to start with.
With a tagline like #BetterBeauty, Beautycounter strives to use only the safest ingredients possible and none of the nasties. It even has what it calls “The Never List,” which includes harsh chemicals, dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde, and synthetic flavors and fragrances. The brand offers makeup, skin-care, and bath and body products, as well as an array of kits for men, babies, and traveling. Schlip is especially partial to its eye makeup products — specifically, the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette, which is a best-seller and excellent for creating a wide range of natural, everyday looks.
Founded by three sisters in Los Angeles, Rituel De Fille is known for its witchy aesthetic and magic-inspired formulas. “They have amazing products with minimal ingredients and really interesting colors,” says Black, who’s a huge fan of the brand. “Standouts are the Eye Soots, but the lip and skin products are also great… they hold up well on camera, too, so perfect for Zooming!”
Toners are an important part of the skin-care equation, especially if your end goal is dewy, luminous skin. However, a lot of people still don’t know what exactly toners are or what they do. Board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby explains that a toner is designed to help remove the debris your cleanser might have missed and to prep your skin for the next step in your routine. “I think of them more as an adjunct or add-on to your skin-care routine,” Libby tells Allure.
Toners of the past were known for their astringent properties, which often dried skin out. Today, however, toner formulations have been improved to target an array of skin concerns, such as the loss of collagen or excess oiliness that can lead to breakouts — all made with varying ingredients, depending on your skin-care goals.
Board-certified dermatologist Sapna Palep tells Allure toners that hydrate and smooth out fine lines often contain antioxidants, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid. While toners that treat acne often include salicylic or glycolic acid.
Just as there are different ingredients for you to choose from, there is more than one way to put product on. Application is very easy and Libby says it’s really up to an individual’s preference: you can use your hands or cotton pads (Palep’s preference). And beyond the traditional bottled liquid, toners can also come in other delivery systems, such as gel sticks and face mists. (Libby particularly loves the spray formulations.)
But with so many toners out there in the market, it can be difficult to know what to pick for your specific skin needs. Scroll down to find the right toner to add to your skin-care routine.
Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate
If adding a toner to your mix feels like an unnecessary middle step, the Best of Beauty-winning Liquid Exfolikate by Kate Somerville may change your mind. Think of this toner, packed with alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, as a multi-purpose treatment that helps get rid of dead skin buildup so that your products absorb better. Spritz it on a night right before your moisturizer and sunscreen.
Some facial toners use alcohol to clear away dirt and oil, but it can seriously dry skin out. Clean & Clear’s Lemon Juice Toner does the exact same thing, sans the stripping alcohol. There’s also vitamin C in this Allure Best of Beauty 2020 winner to help brighten and even dullness and dark spots.
Mamonde Rose Water Toner is made with 90 percent rose water to give skin an intense boost of hydration. Not only will your skin will feel soft after using it, you’ll also get that dewy look that so many of us are constantly chasing.
If you’ve been using and loving the Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic for as long as I have, you know it’s basically magic in a bottle. It’s made with hero ingredients — such as glycolic acid, aloe vera, and witch hazel — recommended for clearer, softer skin.
Those who are blemish-prone will want to pay special attention to the Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner. It contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (like glycolic and salicylic acid) to gently remove dead skin cells and clear pores of dirt and grime — both of which will prevent breakouts in the long run.
Can a toner really be moisturizing? The 2019 Best of Beauty winner Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid answers that question and more. Thanks to a formula full of ceramides, an ingredient that helps restore any lost moisture, skin is left feeling soft and supple after every use.
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner is made with a powerful blend of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to control excess oil production without stripping away too much moisture. Plus, the 2019 Best of Beauty winner has a refreshing eucalyptus and peppermint scent that makes it a joy to use.
As the only mist on this list, Too Cool For School Rules of Mastic Facial Tonic doubles as a toner and hydrating spray you can use in the morning and then throughout the day. It contains ceramides and mastic oil, which strengthens the skin’s resiliency and helps heal damaged skin.
I came to the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner because I have an unhealthy obsession with all things rose, but I stayed because it’s just that damn good. The 2017 Best of Beauty winner contains rose fruit extract, rosewater, and angelica leaf extract — all known for their nourishing and soothing properties. Plus, it’s alcohol-free, so it won’t dry your skin out.
Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion contains only the best ingredients to get you glowy skin. Yes, it has vitamin C, but it also has wild arctic cloudberry, which helps fight off oxidative damage and strengthen your skin’s natural defense barrier.
Milk’s Matcha Toner is truly unique for many reasons, but the obvious? It’s a solid, gel-stick toner, made with anti-inflammatory matcha green tea and oil-wicking kombucha, to soothe skin and prep it for its next skin-care product.
Because the ink doesn’t go as deeply into the skin as body art, microblading fades over time. Depending on your skin type, it could last one to two years. Sometimes, you even need a touchup four to eight weeks after your first appointment.
However, getting that touchup right now isn’t exactly an option. With salons across the U.S. shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been trying professional services on themselves, like facials and haircuts. But at-home microblading is absolutely not an option. Luckily, brow pens that create the same effect — no painful incisions necessary — exist. Sure, their hair-like strokes for the illusion of fuller, defined arches last only about two days, but the pens work in a pinch. They provide a quick touchup for your next Zoom meeting and will hold you over until you can finally make an appointment with your favorite cosmetic tattooist once again. For those who’ve never gotten the procedure done before, consider this a way to satisfy your microblading curiosity, too.
Most of the brow pens on this list take a three-pronged approach to master a microblading effect — literally. Milk Makeup and Maybelline New York launched pens with toothed applicator for quickly etching on lines that look just like naturally grown brow hairs. MAC and Urban Decay also make ones with felt or brush tips like your go-to liquid liner, so you’ll be used to maneuvering it. No matter what applicator you prefer, you’re sure to find a suitable option for your brow grooming routine on this list of best brow pens for creating a microblading effect, below.
Essence The Eyebrow Pen
The Essence The Eyebrow Pen is a no-nonsense take on the toothed marker trend. Rake it through your arches with short, upward strokes, and your handiwork won’t budge until you wash your face. Fans of the tool also speckle on faux freckles with the pen.
Glossier Brow Flick fills in where Boy Brow doesn’t. The latter tames and fluffs up arches; the paintbrush-like applicator of Brow Flick, on the other hand, focuses on the details.
Fill in gaps and add definition where you need it, but keep this tip from New York City-based makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes in mind: the pen works best on “completely clean, oil-free brows, so you shouldn’t have any moisturizer on them or any oils or serums or any skin-care product — and no highlighters.”
Comb the L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen through your brows like a little brush to bolster every hair for up to 48 hours straight. Its applicator has the sharpest edge on the market. Flip it over and elongate the tails of your arches with it.
The ingredient list for the Milk Makeup Kush Triple Brow Pen could be confused for a skin-care product as it touts aloe, sunflower oil, and CBD oil – all to help nourish your brows and the skin underneath them. The pen is offered in a whooping eight hues in warm, cool, and neutral tones of blonde and brown, as well as auburn and black, so you’re find to find your perfect match.
The Revolution Pro Build & Grow Brow Serum Duo wants to be a part of all of your beauty routines. While doing your makeup, uncap the pigmented side in one of three variations of brown: ash, warm, and dark to sculpt your brows.
When it’s time for your nighttime skin-care regimen, remove the white cap to reveal a market-like applicator to coat your arches in a transparent serum. We can’t attest to its hair growth claims, but millet seed extract and panthenol are sure to moisturize the area.
The forces of a pen and powder join together in one powerful baton. One of the MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint is an ultra-fine felt tip liner to fill gaps; the other houses a self-depositing sheer pigment in its cap that clings onto the spongey tip. Smooth it onto arches to add dimension and lock in your brow look all day long.
Press down the tip to conveniently replenish the long-lasting inkiness of the Maybelline New York TattooStudio Brow Tint Pen — a genius feature most of the other pens lack. (For the others, store them cap side down to force the pigment to collect at the tip.)
Another thin brush tip option if the three-pronged applicators intimidate you: the Sephora Collection Microblade Effect Brow Pen. You can pick from two universal shades – light and deep – to make the faux microblading process that much more foolproof.
Although the Urban Decay Brow Blade is the priciest option on this list, it’s the perfect selection if your partial to a pencil. The two-in-one solution has a tiny retractable one that’s equally as neddle-like brush applicator for a subtle stain. Its shade range is also the most numerous with nine to choose from, including a universal color called Taupe Trap.
Unlike a good blush or incredible lipstick, the best setting powder isn’t made to be a look—which is why it’s an easy step to skip when you’re pressed for time or money. It’s got a bad reputation of making your face look dry and cakey, which certainly doesn’t help either.
So let’s reframe it for you: Think of setting powder as a tool (and a highly underrated one at that) that can vastly extend the life of your makeup, like the way a topcoat does for your manicure. A few dabs can lock your makeup in place, keep shine to a minimum, and soak up sweat and oil—qualities that are undeniably useful when the weather’s hellishly humid or wet. It can be just as reliable during the winter too. The latest formulations include hydrating and brightening ingredients like vitamins C and E to give your skin a smooth Instagram-filtered finish, instead of one that’s rough and wind-chapped.
From Cover FX’s talc-free formula—perfect for those with sensitive skin—to Ilia’s natural loose powder, here Glamour editors tested the top tinted and translucent options in order to share which stood above the rest.
Best Setting Powder Overall: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Talk to any makeup artist, and you’ll likely find this setting powder in their kit. That’s because one fine layer of this silky, hydrating formula rivals Instagram’s Subtle filter (you know, the one every influencer uses). The secret? The formula is infused with light-refracting diamond powder, which gives your skin a glisteny (but not sparkly) blurred finish. I’ve seen artists use it on a range of skin tones and never has it left a white cast. Skeptical? Read all its five-star reviews. This powder is a winner. —Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
Best Drugstore Setting Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Loose Finishing Powder
I’ve got super oily—but dehydrated—skin, so I’m constantly dealing with a complexion that somehow looks greasy and dry at the same time. This is the only drugstore powder that manages to put both issues to rest. I’ve found the trick is to press it in with a makeup puff (instead of swirling it on with a brush), which leaves behind a blurred, your-skin-but-better finish that looks flawless both in real life and photos. —L.S.
I love a flawless no-makeup makeup look, and stan by any and all products that help me get a little closer to that. The translucent color works well on my fair skin, and since I don’t use foundation, I’ve been applying it over my concealer for a little extra sparkle. It sure is pricey, but if luxe beauty is your vice, then it’s totally worth it. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
Best Translucent Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
I’ve tried a lot of loose powders before, and they all either make my skin look blotchy, or go on white and make me look like a ghost. This does neither! It applies flawlessly and keeps my oily pores at bay, but not to the point that my skin produces more oil. Also, Jackie Aina loves it. In my opinion, there is no better endorsement than that. —Khaliha Hawkins, producer
Best Loose Setting Powder: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder
I’ve used setting powder only a handful of times before, since it always seemed like an extra step I could easily do without. However, the Fenty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder went above and beyond. True to form, the brand came through with a wide range of skin tones to choose from (eight is a lot for this kind of product—some brands offer just two), so it blended well with my medium-tan skin and yellow undertone. Rihanna knows a thing or two about being camera ready, and it’s obvious with this product, because the pore-blurring, mattifying effect would be worthy of digital camera days of the early aughts, or even the brightest of Lumee Lights. —Erin Parker, commerce writer
Best Pressed Setting Powder: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder
For someone who just started dabbling with setting powders, I really enjoyed this one from Neutrogena. The shade range isn’t as robust as some other brands’, but it’s still a great starter product since the pressed powder makes it easy to control the amount you apply—especially for smaller coverage areas like under your eyes. Plus, for someone who has dry skin, it’s formulated with hydrating and brightening antioxidants like vitamin B5 and vitamins C and E. —T.A.
Best Setting Powder for Dry Skin: Tarte Shape Tape Setting Powder
My skin is Mojave Desert–dry, so setting powders aren’t something I typically gravitate toward (I’m more of a desperate-for-dewy kind of person), but Tarte’s Shape Tape Setting Powder has officially changed my makeup routine. It blurs any blemishes and sets my makeup without gathering in the cracks in my (and I can’t stress this enough) dry skin. Plus the little powder puff that it comes with is so soft and plush it’s worth the price of admission alone. —Shanna Shipin, commerce editor
Best Setting Powder for Acne-Prone Skin: Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
I have combination skin, so it’s tricky to find a powder that can mattify any shine I may be dealing with without it clinging to dry patches. Most mattifying powders are way too cakey, and more luminous ones make me look too slick. Then I came across this Nars powder. It’s hefty enough to soak up any lurking oil, yet so finely milled that it takes a lot to overdo it and look powdery. Although it’s described as light-reflecting, there’s no visible shimmer—it just has a natural finish that makes my skin look airbrushed, which is always the goal. —Isabella Cacciatore, beauty associate
Best Setting Powder for Oily Skin: Marc Jacobs Beauty Finish-Line Perfecting Coconut Setting Powder
This is the powder to grab in summer, when the heat is at its most unbearable, or before/after a workout. It’s so lightweight—and, real talk, so good at soaking up your sweat—that you’ll forget you’re even wearing makeup. —Anna Moeslein, senior editor
Best Setting Powder for Sensitive Skin: Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder
I swear by the Cover Fx Power Play foundation and concealer, so trying the powder was a no-brainer. Unlike the foundation and concealer, the powder doesn’t have a large range of shades, so choosing between the light and dark was very time consuming. The Translucent light shade was perfect and didn’t leave a white cast on my face. It blended in well and didn’t let the oils in my skin shine through. —K.H.
Best Vegan Setting Powder: Ilia Soft Focus Finishing Powder
We all want a loose powder that will survive the humidity of the New York City subway system, right? Well, how about a powder that can combat sweat at the NYC Pride Parade? Yes, I’m serious. After testing this, I’ve concluded that either my skin is magic or this product is (and I’m pretty sure it’s the latter). Lightweight and cute, it’s dependable for any occasion. —E.P.
Best Setting Powder for Combination Skin: Milk Makeup Blur + Set Matte Loose Setting Powder
This setting powder is seriously a dream. Not only does it eliminate oil and shine, but the lightweight formula keeps my makeup looking fresh all day. It lies perfectly over my concealer and doesn’t make my skin look dry or chalky. —E.P.
Best Lightweight Setting Powder: Lawless Seal The Deal Loose Setting Powder
I’ve gone through a lot of loose powders over the years, some good, some bad. When I learned that Lawless Beauty was launching one with no talc, I knew I had to try it out. I’ve been using this for a couple weeks, and my skin is noticeably different. The best thing is that as soon as I started to use it, all my breakouts disappeared. I use the Brightening Translucent shade to set and bake my foundation, then dust on the Golden Translucent to contour. I really don’t think I’ll ever use another powder. Lawless uses mica, which is not only healthier than talc, but is the secret to making this powder so lightweight that it doesn’t cake onto your skin. —Azadeh Valanejad, contributor
Best Antiaging Setting Powder: Onomie AHA Perfecting Setting Powder
I’ve fallen in love, and the object of my affection is this powder. The featherlight formula goes onto my skin seamlessly, leaves me looking fresh and rejuvenated, and doesn’t look even remotely mask-like. What’s more: It left my face feeling baby smooth. That’s probably thanks to all of its good-for-you ingredients, like skin-softening lactic acid and collagen-boosting peptides. Oh, and let’s not forget its inclusion of vitamin C, which helps block free radicals. Into it. —Jennifer Lance, weekend writer
The clean beauty market has been making serious waves in the industry over the past few years, with consumers becoming increasingly more mindful of the ingredients found in product formulations.
Yet, when it comes to mascara — which is arguably one of the most commonly used beauty products in North America — options are extremely limited.
“Mascara is notoriously hard to create because it is truly a union between three things: brush, wiper, and formula,” Dianna Ruth, co-founder of Milk Makeup, tells InStyle. “Getting all three to work in harmony is a challenge in itself. Clean mascara is a specific challenge because of the need to remove synthetics or parabens.”
Despite the hurdles, Milk Makeup, along with brands like Kosas and Ilia, have all gotten their formulas down pat, and even crafted the perfect wipers and brushes — and consumers can’t get enough.
What Ingredients Go Into a Clean Mascara?
Since there are no strict FDA regulations around these cosmetic formulations, ingredients can vary from brand to brand. However, to be considered “clean,” there’s a general standard of what’s left out.
“A brand needs to prepare and share ‘free – of,’ ‘no-no’ beauty ingredient list that prohibits the use of those ingredients in your products,” says Ruth.
Milk, Ilia, and Kosas are all free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and over 50 other potentially harmful ingredients.
But it is important to note that not all clean formulas contain vegan ingredients.
Why Should Certain Ingredients Specifically Be Left Out of Clean Mascara?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a list featuring a plethora of potentially toxic ingredients found in personal care products that may be linked to cancer and other serious health concerns. This is why Sheena Yaitanes, founder of Kosas, along with the other founders believe it’s incredibly important to be mindful of what goes into mascaras.
“Your eye is a mucous membrane. It’s very vascular and very delicate and things can easily absorb there,” she explains. “We’ve all heard of the most popular ingredients to avoid in products, but the biggest thing that caught my eye when I was first reading the ingredient lists on my mascaras, was the liberal use of plastics and formaldehyde releasing agents like acrylates. Think of the plastic bags you get at the grocery store or acrylic nails.” (!)
How Are Clean Mascara Formulations Crafted Without Traditional Ingredients?
“We worked hand-in-hand with our formulating team to address concerns and find clean swaps for each of them,” Ilia Founder, Sasha Plavsic shares about the creation of the brand’s Limitless Lash Lengthening Mascara. “The amazing thing was that we found swaps to help maintain consumer performance expectations, but they also had other great benefits, like easy removal and less weight on the lashes.”
Yaitanes, who has long loved the look of “massive, almost fake looking lashes,” adds that she wanted to ensure consumers could get an ultra-bold finish by creating a formula for The Big Clean that not only gave them unforgettable results, but also would work to nourish their lashes. Turns out it was no easy feat.
“It took our research and development team 104 iterations to get this formula right,” she explains. “We tested the formulas on different people, different eyes shapes, and during different activities. I personally did a lot of sweaty yoga, others would sleep in each formula to test the morning-after impact, and one the members of our product development team tested during her MMA training. By the way, no mascara survives MMA — but we love that she tried.”
In the end, they were able to create a product that became an instant hit, which included lash care components like castor oil, pro vitamin B5, and biotinyl tripeptide. All used at a serum concentration.
But for vegan formulations, like Milk Makeup’s KUSH High Volumizing Mascara, which don’t include key binding ingredients like beeswax, everything has to be taken up a notch.
“My team had the idea of using hemp-derived cannabis seed oil in addition to synthetic beeswax,” says Ruth. “In doing so, we found that hemp-derived cannabis seed oil was the perfect addition — plus it had conditioning benefits for hair and skin.”