You’ve probably already heard of nearly every popular beauty product from the big-name brands sold at your favorite beauty retailers. But what about all the unsung heroes that are just as great, sometimes even better, that get no love? They deserve attention too, so we reached out to beauty consultants and fellow beauty lovers to share with us the underrated beauty gems they absolutely can’t live without. Introducing: the new holy grails.
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Luci Metalit 4-in-1 Radiant Face Gel ($14.50)
This new skincare company’s debut product, the METALIT 4-in-1 Radiant Face Gel deserves a spotlight. Available in three formulations (gold for revitalizing, silver for detoxifying, and bronze for nourishing), it isn’t your ordinary moisturizer. The innovative product can be used as a 20-minute treatment, highlighter, moisturizer, and/or sleeping mask. I like to use it as a moisturizer before my makeup and thanks to the skin-loving oils like açaí, argan or moringa, I’m left with a gorgeous glow, but never a clogged pore.
Beauty department store veteran, Fatimah Hakeem has seen and tried it all when it comes to anti-aging serums and potions and claims that this one right here is the real deal. “The proof is in the before and after photos. They’re real and unretouched. Every time I recommend this serum to a client, they come back and thank me, then bring back their friends and family to try it too,” says Hakeem. Thanks to the pure retinol and natural ingredients, she says, “it never fails.”
Inspired by the gems of New York City, these 6-pan wonders are not your average drugstore find. With a range of tones and finishes, there’s a pick for everyone. Hakeem recommends these palettes to both beginners and even the most seasoned beauty lovers. As she explains, “the shade range is extensive and there’s enough variety in colors and finishes that anyone can pick a palette and fall in love.” She also adds that because of their buttery texture and minimal fallout, they are a rare treasure in the drugstore eyeshadow department.
Alexander McQueen McQueen Perfume ($117-$218)
With a captivatingly spicy blend of pink pepper, Sambac Jasmine, tuberose, and Ylang Ylang, the legendary fashion house’s McQueen perfume is described as “the very essence of haute couture” by Saks’ former fragrance specialist, Agha Ali. Inspired by classic perfumes with strong florals, Ali adds that the fragrance is, “dark and sensual, yet ethereal and full of life” and wishes more people knew about the designer’s elegant fragrances.
Sometimes the best solutions are the most simple, but don’t misread, this eye roller’s results are anything but basic. Like many, my eyes are a bit puffy in the morning and instead of the cold spoon trick, I opt for this roller for a more lasting effect. Packed with caffeine and delivered through a refreshingly cold metal roller ball, my puffy lids and under-eyes fade in minutes and instantly appear brighter and more awake.
With all the foundations at the drugstore, it could be easy to sleep on this one, but you absolutely shouldn’t. I never thought I could find a shade for myself in Physician’s Formula, but this particular line is surprisingly and fortunately more extensive than what the brand has released in the past. The shade DW2 is such a great match for my skin that it looks I have no makeup on, just perfect-looking skin. And with an SPF 20, vitamin blend and hyaluronic acid, I see the health of my skin improve over time.
This dermatologist-recommended brand does not mess around when it comes to high-performance makeup and this powder is no exception. Formulated for 16-hour wear with a weightless feel, wearers can expect a flawless matte finish thanks to the micronized particles. Ulta associate, Sahara Sarker is a huge fan and wishes more customers gravitated towards it when searching for a good setting powder. She tells us that “it’s the only powder that doesn’t give me that powdery look. I also really enjoy baking with this powder. If I’m in a hurry and can’t bake, I pack a whole lot of this powder on to combat creasing.” She also adds, “there’s no flashback!”
Tweezerman Classic Lash Curler ($13.50)
While many have come to love the brand’s iconic tweezers, their other tools don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve. One such example? The Classic Lash Curler, another favorite of Sarker’s. She explains that she has pin straight lashes and when in need of a good curl, finds herself turning to her Tweezerman over the more expensive curlers in her collection. “Sometimes I just curl my lashes with them when I need to get out the door without using mascara. It makes it look like I got that lash lift treatment I see all over the internet”, she adds.
For former Macy’s beauty consultant Yasmine T., finding a liquid lipstick with great pigment is easy, but finding one that doesn’t crack and dry out her lips isn’t. She claims, “the Le Rouge Duo Tenue is the only liquid lipstick that feels comfortable, but also has great staying power. Usually you get one or the other, but not with this.” And for those who like a shiny finish, she recommends adding the glossy coat which she says, “adds a sheen, but doesn’t make the lipstick move or slide around.”
Real Techniques Brushes ($7-$30)
Makeup artist turned business owners, Sam and Nic are the brains behind the brand for these affordable and effective makeup brushes. Professional makeup artist, Richard Ray tells us they’re his favorite of anything in his kit and wishes more artists and beauty lovers embraced them. “I love the shape of the brushes that they come out with, specifically the Expert Face Brush, Blush Brush and Setting Brush,” he says. And if you’re wondering which ones you should try first, Ray explains that, “for a clean and polished makeup look, you can definitely get away with just using these three brushes. It’s always the three brushes I recommend for the beginner, but it’s also brushes that I use over and over again as a professional.”
croon Makeup Removing Pads ($26-81)
Like many others, I try my best to reduce any unnecessary environmental waste. This includes makeup wipes, which I hardly ever use anymore. Why? Because there are far more eco-friendly options, like croon. Housed in 100% recycled packaging, croon is a line of reusable cleansing and exfoliating pads that use just water (you read that correctly!) to remove makeup. They’ve saved me so much time and money on cleansing products and it feels good to know I’m not using a single-use wasteful makeup wipe that’ll end up in a landfill. Another bonus is that the company allows customers to send back their pads after their 2-year use, to be upcycled. The positive impact potential is huge and that’s why I try to encourage everyone I know to make the switch!
When you have long hair like me, unfortunately, split ends and dryness are a given. For those who have the same issues or even worse damage, I highly recommend this mask. It contains real yogurt protein, prebiotics, quinoa and a variety of oils like sweet almond and mango seed, which all come together to strengthen even the most lackluster locks. And unlike a lot of hair care brands, this nourishing mask contains zero sulfates, parabens, harsh salt systems, colors and fragrances, making it a big deal in my book.
As much as I love a good curl or sleek hairstyle, I never find myself reaching for my hot tools because without fail, they always painfully snag my hair. Because of the unique vibrating feature, this iron works to shuffle the hair back and forth, releasing tension and reducing both tugging and slipping so that even my ultra-long hair is comfortably gripped and styled without being caught in the crevices of the plates. And in case you needed more convincing, 10 percent of the net proceeds of this iron support Pediatric Cancer Research and Animal Welfare causes.
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