The Only 5 Beauty Products You Actually Need

The beauty industry is filled with millions of products that claim to be the next miracle product you need in your makeup routine. Although some of these products do live up their claims, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the wide array of products offered in the current beauty market, especially if you’re a beginner or tend to be quite minimalist with your makeup. In reality, there are only a few products you absolutely need in your routine and we’ve narrowed down our top picks to only five. Follow along for the five products you actually need in your makeup bag along with high-end and affordable options for each:

5. Foundation

Foundation is one of the most basic steps you can take in improving the appearance and texture of your skin. It provides coverage and is the one product that will actually transform your face and make the most difference. Foundations come in a huge variety of formulations for different skin types but the general rule of thumb is to opt for a dewy foundation if you have dry skin and to opt for a matte foundation if you’re oily. If you’re simply in search of a basic, medium-coverage foundation that gets the job done, below are two of the best at both an affordable and more high-end price point:

NARS All Day Weightless Foundation /

Revlon Color Stay Foundation /

High-end: The NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is the perfect everyday foundation that provides medium coverage but a lightweight feel. It doesn’t clog your pores like some heavier foundation brands and evens the tone and texture of your skin flawlessly. The finish is super natural and sets looking like your-skin-but-better.

Buy on Amazon: NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Drugstore: The Revlon Color Stay foundation has been one of the best-selling drugstore foundations for years. It provides medium coverage and is buildable without looking cakey if you wish to add more layers. The formulation comes in both Combination/Oily or Dry and they have a huge range of shades to chose from to find your perfect match.

Buy on Amazon: Revlon Color Stay Foundation

4. Everyday Lip Color

Adding a touch of color on your lips can do wonders for brightening your complexion! It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, but even just a simple swipe of a soft pink or nude can entirely transform your face and instantly make you look more alert. If you were to only choose one, we’d suggest sticking with a lip tint or balm in a neutral shade that has hydrating properties to make it work for an everyday basis.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment /

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm /

High-End: A beloved favorite lip tint is the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in the shade Rose. It provides a smooth, buttery layer to the lips and hydrates while still providing color. The soft flush of rose is the perfect everyday color that works flawlessly with every skin tone!

Buy on Amazon: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Drugstore: If the Fresh lip tint is out of your price range, try a similar version of the product from your drugstore like the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. These balms are all natural and provide a similar surge of moisture to the lips alongside a tint of color.

Buy on Amazon: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

3. Finishing Product

No makeup look is complete without a finishing product! Setting powders and sprays are often undervalued in many people’s beauty routines but we consider it an absolute essential, especially for gals with oily or combination skin. A finishing product sets your foundation and ensures everything holds in place all day without budging or melting off.

L.M. Translucent Loose Setting Powder /

NYX HD Finishing Powder /

High-End: The Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder has a cult following and is one of the best finishing products in the market. It helps to prolong your makeup, feels lightweight and non-cakey on the skin and keeps away shine for hours.

Buy on Amazon: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Drugstore: For something on the more affordable side, the NYX HD finishing powder has rave reviews and is a similar concept to that of the Laura Mercier. The mineral-based setting powder provides longevity to your foundation and provides a fresh, matte finish to the skin. It also helps to blur the appearance of fine lines and camouflage pores.

Buy on Amazon: NYX HD Finishing Powder 

2. Mascara

As for eyes, mascara is probably the most impactful product to have in your makeup bag if you could only use one! From eyeliners to shadows, there are quite a few options for eye products, but truly the most essential for bringing definition and drama to the eyes is a strong mascara. Whether you want length or volume (or both!) there’s definitely a mascara out there that will make all your doll-eyed lash dreams come true.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara /

Maybelline Lash Sensational /

High-End: The Benefit They’re Real mascara has a huge cult following for it’s lengthening and volumizing properties. Its bristle brush grabs the base of the lashes to provide a boost of volume and its dome tip is perfect for applying product to the tiny, hard to reach lashes. Their formula is also one of the best in the market to avoid clumping and smudges.

Buy on Amazon: Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Drugstore: If you’re looking to save a little cash in the mascara department, try the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. This mascara is known for creating a “fanned out” effect and providing definition, separation, and length all at the same time. If you’re looking for something foolproof with tried and tested reviews, Lash Sensational is the mascara for you!

Buy on Amazon: Maybelline Lash Sensational

1. Eyebrow Pencil

Lastly, brows. Often eyebrows are one of the most overlooked parts of the face but they actually have the ability to make the most dramatic difference. If you aren’t already filling in your brows, then this is definitely a great step to take to amp up your beauty routine. We consider it a necessity! If you’re starting out with brows, our recommendation would be to try a brow pencil before expanding into waxes or pomades. To apply, simply follow the natural shape of your brow, filling in any sparse areas.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz /

Nyx Micro Brow Pencil /

High-End: One of the most popular high-end brow pencils is the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow wiz. The ultra-slim brow pencil allows you to apply the product very precisely and gives you variation in how heavy you wish to apply it. The consistency is slightly waxy which allows the brow hairs to hold in place simultaneously while it shades in any sparse areas. The product is also double-ended and comes with a spooly brush to comb out your brow hairs.

Buy on Amazon: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

Drugstore: If you’re looking to start with something a little more affordable, try the Nyx Micro brow pencil. It has the reputation of being a nearly identical dupe to the Anastasia brow wiz for its waxy quality and precise pencil tip. The packaging is also quite similar and the Nyx pencil also features a spooly on one end for maximum convenience.

Buy on Amazon: Nyx Micro Brow Pencil

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia loves all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, reading thriller novels, and styling outfits on Instagram.