- We asked INSIDER employees from around the world to dish on their favourite makeup and skin-care products.
- Here are the 34 best under-the-radar products we think everyone should know about.
- The list is ranked in ascending order by price.
Having a simple beauty routine that lasts a lifetime can be satisfying to some people, while others find using the same products day after day to be a bit mundane.
Luckily, with plenty of brands out there to discover, there’s no need to get stuck in a makeup or skin-care rut.
We asked INSIDER employees from our UK and US offices to dish on their favourite makeup and skin-care buys, including their favourite products that tend to fly under the radar.
Here are the 34 lesser-known beauty products worth knowing about, ranked in ascending order by price.
NYX Slim Lip Pencil, $US3.99
“NYX lipliner pencils are cheap, can be worn alone without a lipstick, and come in a bunch of colours,” says Marissa, 22 from New Jersey.
NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Liner in Black, $US4.19
Paige, 22 from Staten Island, New York, said: “I’m a girl who wears winged eyeliner every day and this is my holy grail. This stuff is so easy to apply, it’s so pigmented, it’s so affordable, and it’s lasted me through crying, sleeping, and all-nighters.”
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner, $US4.69
Gili, 33 from Brooklyn, called this toner “cheap and amazing.”
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $US4.99
Madison, 22 from New York, said of this tinted lip balm: “I don’t always have a lot of natural pigment in my lips so it’s been a real game changer. It’s also so easy to carry and use!”
OGX Argan Oil of Morocco, $US5.79
“I’ve found OGX’s non-spray Moroccan argan oil to be the best for me so far,” said Alex, 26 of London. “I rub a tiny amount through my hair after every wash. It costs just £5 (or $US5.79) and lasts for more than six months.”
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, $US6.70
This concentrated serum which aims to help with dark circles and puffiness is a top pick for Rosie, 29 from London.
24-year-old Corina from Queens, New York City is also a fan of The Ordinary. “I know in beauty circles it’s well known but I was surprised to see that most people haven’t heard about it (at least within my friend group).”
“Makeup is fun but I’ve been trying to curate a skincare beauty regime and a brand like The Ordinary has an array of products (serums, sunscreens, vitamins, etc.) that are affordable and effective,” Corina said.
Bulldog Original Moisturizer, $US6.99
You can’t go wrong with the simple Original Moisturizer from Bulldog, according to Matthew, 52 from New Jersey.
Avajar Perfect V Lifting Premium Mask, from $US7
Herrine, 24 from New York, said; “I use this when I feel like my face is bloated or swollen. It’s a go-to item when I’m hungover, ate too much salt, etc. the night before I have a shoot or have to attend an important event. It will tighten up your neck and have your jawline looking ultra defined.”
Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, $US7
“It’s cheap and works wonders in the summer when rehydrating your face,” according to Meira, 25 from New York City.
Hilary, 33 also from NYC, added that she’s also a fan of Mario Badescu skin-care products because they’re “cheap and they are good.”
Vermont’s Original Bag Balm, $US7.44
“My mum has used it for as long as I can remember and I always thought it was bizarre – it’s originally made for use on cow udders to keep them from chapping, and honestly doesn’t smell the best,” said Rachel, 32 from Manhattan, New York.
“But, now I use it on my hands and face all winter – it’s currently sitting next to me at my desk!”
Tea Tree Oil, $US7.59
Shona, 32 of London, called tea tree oil “my personal godsend against spots.”
Proactiv Revitalizing Toner, from $US7.75
Mikala, 25 of Los Angeles, said: “I have acne-prone skin and [this toner] is sensitive enough while helping the overall texture of my skin and remove access dirt/oil without drying face out too much. I don’t use Proactiv, just this toner, and have repurchased over and over.”
Lucas Papaw Ointment, $US7.98
Nico, 23 from New York, said: “It’s a multipurpose balm that I use for everything – lip mask/balm, highlighting, moisturizing, cheek sheen, lid gloss. I learned about it in an article talking about products used on film sets. It just makes everything look dewy and beautiful.”
Curls Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream, $US8.79
For curly-haired people, the Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream from Curls “gives your hair a great hold without drying it out,” according to Alana, 26 from New York.
Tarte Tarteist Pro Lash Adhesive, $US9
This is a favourite of Marissa, 22 from New Jersey.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Matte, $US9.99
Jennifer, 25 from New York City, is a fan of the matte lip tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.
LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub, $US10.95
Rosie, 29 from London, suggested this lip scrub from LUSH “especially during colder months.”
Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation SPF 20, $US11.99
Natalie, 32 of Brooklyn, said this foundation “really gives such a nice natural, glowy finish to the skin. It evens out all my redness but never looks cakey! I love it!”
RCMA No Colour Powder, $US12
“I don’t use enough makeup to justify buying this regularly but this is probably the best setting powder I’ve used and is nice for special occasions where you might be having photos taken,” said Qayyah, 25 of London.
“It doesn’t have a cakey finish, doesn’t leave an ashy cast, doesn’t alter the colour of your foundation, and doesn’t give any flashback in photos.”
Benefit Gimme Brow Eyebrow Gel, $US12
Ali, 27 from London, said: “Benefit Gimme Brow has completely changed my makeup game. It tidies up your eyebrows and adds some colour/definition without looking too ‘made up’ and only takes a second to apply.”
AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion, $US12.99
Hilary, 33 of New York City, recommends using lactic acid. “For body cream, I don’t think enough people know about the wonders of lactic acid.”
“There are a ton of cheap products out there that really work well on dry skin! (And, on the other hand, a ton of expensive ‘luxe’ body creams that are basically just water and crap),” she said.”
Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+, $US14.99
Walter, 28 from New York, said a “good sunscreen” is a must – and this one is his top pick.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $US20
Carly, 25 from New York, called this overnight lip mask “truly life-changing.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil, $US21
“Everyone’s a fan of the Anastasia brow pomade, but the Anastasia brow wiz pencil is underrated,” said Melina, 23 of Brooklyn, New York. “It’s the most natural-looking brow pencil I’ve come across, and it comes with a brush on the end that does a great job of fluffing out brows.”
PÜR Fully Charged Magnetic Mascara, $US22
Julia, 24 of New York City, picked this mascara because “it’s a mid-range mascara in terms of price but delivers serious results that have had people asking me if I’m wearing eyelash extensions when it’s just my normal lashes. The brand isn’t super well-known, but it’s probably my favourite mascara of all time.”
BITE BEAUTY Line & Define Lip Primer, $US22
“Everyone should know about it,” says 25-year-old Emma of Brooklyn, New York. “Nobody needs to buy, like, 3,000 lip liners to match every shade of lipstick. It’s a complete game-changer, and it lasts really long, too.”
Milk Makeup Highlighter, $US24
Katya, 22 of New Jersey, said that while people often go for a more “traditional” powder highlighter, the Milk Makeup option is “amazing for the fresh, everyday look.”
Shivani, 22 of New York City, added that the brand is “vegan, cruelty-free, has the best packaging, and really high quality products.”
Estée Lauder Little Black Primer, $US25
Olivia, 33 from New York City, suggests this mascara primer which has been called “the little black dress for lashes.”
Origins Face Masks, from $US26
“Origins face masks are some of the best around,” according to Megan, 30 from New York City.
LUSH Caca Rouge Henna, $US27.95
Rosie, 29 from London, said the LUSH Caca Rouge Henna “colours my hair a deep, bright copper that lasts and shines,” instead of dropping big money at a salon.
DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler, $US28
Shana, 30 of New York City, called DevaCurl products “a total life-changer for anyone with unruly hair.”
Boots Number 7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum, $US29.99
Shona, 32 of London, said: “The entire Boots Number 7 range is great, especially the Protect and Perfect serum and day cream.”
Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray, $US31
“The Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray really makes my makeup last through the day, and it has a better smell and consistency than the more popular ones,” according to Ashley, 28 from Brooklyn, New York.
Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Palette 10, $US95
Chloe, 28 from New York City, said: “I don’t use it too often but on special occasions when I want to wear a good, long-lasting eye shadow, I’ll use Natasha Denona’s Eyeshadow Palette (I have the 10 palette).”
“The shades are super pigmented, so you don’t have to apply a lot and it really stays on. I never bother with eye-shadow primer so I love that I can just swipe some on and not worry about it fading/falling off my eyelids.”
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