The Products Beauty Editors Actually Shop For

From interviewing the industry's hottest influencers to getting personal invites to fashion shows and events, it's pretty safe to say that the life of a beauty editor, although often grueling, definitely has its perks. The best part? Getting brand-spanking-new products sent right to your door (or desk, rather).

Thanks to an endless supply of moisturizers, eyeliners, lipsticks, and just about every other kind of product imaginable, most editors don't have to shell out for supplies very often. This means when they do splurge on a product, it's got to be good.

So we thought we'd ask some of our favorite editors what they think is worth cashing out for. I'll be honest — I've already added most of these holy grail items to my shopping list. Click through, and let the beauty-product envy ensue. If there were ever a perfect time to #treatyoself, it'd be now.


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Amber Kallor, Senior Beauty Editor At Style.com
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Compeed Blister Plasters
“I know many a celebrity stylist keeps these rubbery bandages from across the pond in their kit, but they also work wonders for those of us breaking in new shoes off the red carpet. They form protective pockets over blisters and hold up better than Band-Aids — even on the mean streets of New York City.”
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Madina Crystal Glass Bronzer
“Makeup maestro Tom Pecheux recommended this creamy bronzer to me backstage at the shows in Milan, and I haven’t put it down since. It’s impossible to overdose on color, and it carves out Kate Moss-worthy cheekbones better than anything else I’ve tried.”
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Maybelline New York Full ’N Soft Mascara
“I receive countless tubes with brushes that vibrate and curl, but I always go back to this drugstore classic. I’m a creature of habit with a passion for full, foolproof fringe.”
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Annie Tomlin, Digital Beauty Director At Lucky
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Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
“I have been using this serum (it's very light; I don't know why it's called a gel!) for more than 10 years. It's a relatively simple hydrator that uses hyaluronic acid, and in my 20s, I thought, 'I'm not sure if this is doing anything, because I look the same as before.' But then, I got into my 30s and realized that looking the same is the whole point — it is keeping my skin looking relatively plump and hydrated. Now, if I stop using it, my lines are more obvious and I have to tell myself to stop being a cheap-ass and just buy more B5 gel already.”
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Priti NYC Nail Polish Remover
“Okay, so I know you can buy nail-polish remover for, like, a dollar at the drugstore. But even the non-acetone removers were drying out my nail beds, ultimately leading to weaker nails. I switched to this soy-based remover and, while it takes a little bit longer to get rid of all of the polish, my nails finally look healthy and glossy enough that I often just skip polish entirely. I don't mean for that to sound as humblebraggy as it does, by the way.”
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Chanel Le Coton
“You're probably thinking that there's no way a simple cotton pad could feel luxurious. I, too, used to feel that way. But then, I tried Chanel's pads, which are thick and fluffy and feel like cushiony clouds alighting on skin. I buy them a couple of times a year as an indulgence, and they never fail to make me feel pampered while I'm doing something as boring as removing mascara. And at $20, they're not so expensive that you can't treat yourself.”
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Oribe Bright Blonde Collection
“Some colorists recommend color-depositing shampoos, while others think they're a waste of money. All I know is that ever since I started using Oribe's version, people keep asking me if I just had my highlights touched up. And, of course, like all of Oribe's products, this stuff smells fantastic.”
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Rodin Lip Balm
“I am helpless against anything that smells even slightly of jasmine, and this balm fits the bill. It's also hydrating without being greasy, and the lucite packaging is just so chic — much like its creator, Linda Rodin, who exudes charm, intelligence, and verve. Every time I apply it, I think of her and stand up a little straighter.”
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Cat Quinn, Deputy Beauty Director At Refinery29
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Benefit Roller Lash
“I actually did buy this just last week. Somehow, I had forgotten to pack one of my THREE tubes (I'm telling you, I'm obsessed) and luckily spotted one of those cute Benefit vending machines in the airport. I can't go a day without it. The formula has special constricting fibers that really do curl your lashes, and the wand grabs and coats hairs you didn't even know you had. Added bonus: It didn't smear or run in the pool, ocean, or 90% humidity on my vacation in the Dominican Republic.”
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Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000
“I always think it's a bit hyperbolic to say a beauty product is 'life-changing,' but hear me out. Before I used this, it took me 30 minutes to blowdry my long, thick hair. With this, it takes me 12. Add up those minutes, and this hair dryer has saved me nearly 30 hours this year. Those are hours I can spend trying new restaurants, reading, traveling, or — let's be honest — sleeping. Time is my most valuable commodity, so I'd happily buy this again if I ever lost or broke it.”
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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
“This stuff had a cult following before it even hit shelves — and after using it for a month, I know why. My combination/acne-prone skin is noticeably clearer, brighter, and more balanced. A facialist recently told me I have 'great skin,' which has happened exactly never. Take all of my money, Charlotte.”
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Erin Flaherty, Beauty & Health Director At Marie Claire
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Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
“I sound like a broken record with this one, but it’s a super-gentle, brightening exfoliator you can use every day. It makes a huge difference in my skin, so if I run out I have to order one, ASAP.”
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Bioderma Créaline
“I first discovered this product in Europe, because all the makeup artists use it backstage to remove makeup. It’s now sold in the States, but I still get a thrill out of purchasing it at French pharmacies. They sell a cute mini size that’s TSA-friendly and so perfect for travel.”
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Maybelline Baby Lips
“I go crazy in Tokyo, where they sell a million different neon shades (it goes on sheer).”
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Diptyque Candles
“They make the best gifts. Obsessed with the woodsy Feu de Bois!”
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Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46
“So many derms recommend this sunblock. It goes on super-sheer and will never break you out. In fact, it contains niacinamide, which helps even your skin tone.”
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Sunday Riley Juno Oil
“Splurge alert! But the bottle is so pretty, and using it imparts a nice glow.”
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Monoi Tiki Tahiti Santal Sandalwood Coconut Oil
“An all-in-one moisturizer that is basically a vacation in a bottle!”
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Gabrielle Korn, Digital Deputy Editor At Nylon
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Obagi Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser
“This is the only cleanser I've ever used that deep-cleans my pores without irritating my skin or making me break out. Oh, I have super-sensitive, super-acne-prone skin, so that's really saying something. It also removes makeup! I used to turn pink after washing my face, but I don't with this.”
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Overtone Go Deep Vibrant Purple + Vibrant Pink Weekly Treatments
“Purple hair's not going to maintain itself. The technology for fantasy hair color just isn't quite there yet — it washes out so quickly! So, to keep it vibrant, I combine the purple and pink shades of Overtone's weekly treatment for the perfect magenta. I leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, and it amps up my hair color for about a week. I buy it every month.”
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Kathleen Hou, Senior Beauty Editor At New York Magazine's The Cut
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Bioré Sarasara UV Perfect Milk Waterproof Sunscreen
“I spend money on Japanese sunscreens and eyeliners. They’re not technically 'splurges' since they’re not expensive, but they are more expensive than 'free,' which is the price of most of my other beauty products (yes, I am very lucky). If I know of anyone going to Japan, I beg them to bring these back for me (or sometimes, I get lucky on Amazon). French skin-care brands like La Roche-Posay have come close, but Japanese sunscreens have the most lightweight, skin care-like texture. They call this texture 'milky,' which sounds not pleasing, but just means that it is non-greasy, easily absorbed into the skin, and most importantly, like you aren’t wearing anything at all. My favorites are Kanebo’s Allie and Bioré Sarasara.”
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Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner In Deep Black
“I also love Japanese liquid eyeliners, because they’re incredibly durable. I don’t have oily skin but for whatever reason, my eyelids seem to have a separate skin type of their own. Very few eyeliners don’t smudge on me, especially since my eyes are hooded — except for Japanese ones like Dolly Wink. Dolly Wink liner has a precise, marker-meets-calligraphy-like tip that is firm and still flexible enough to draw any flick or shape that you want. It goes on in a nice flat, pigment-rich black and dries quickly without smudging underneath the eyes. It’s one of my favorites, and a favorite of the Cut’s market editor, Diana Tsui, who, like Charlotte Tilbury, wears a cat-eye every day of her life.”
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Katie Becker, Senior Beauty Editor At Harper's Bazaar
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Chanel Correcteur Perfection Long Lasting Concealer
“I’ve always believed that a concealer should be as opaque as possible — I’m trying to conceal, aren’t I?! If you apply this cover-up over an offending spot, let it sit for one minute, and then lightly dab with a sponge, any redness or darkness will be instantly hidden without any telltale cakiness.”
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MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara
“I’ve been addicted to this particular tube since it was invented a few years ago, and now I’ve noticed that it's become a backstage staple as well. The brush can be used in two different ways, depending on whether you want volume or length, but you should choose the latter. It leaves the finest coat, just a tint really, so my lashes look long and clump-less. Nothing compares.”
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Megan Cahn, Senior Beauty Editor At Refinery29
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"Ever since I got a facial from the amazing Isabelle Bellis, I have adopted her habit of spraying my face with this thermal water — after removing my makeup and before cleansing — to ‘soften’ my skin. It is also supposed to help prepare it to better receive product. Who knows if it works, but I love the way it feels and I’m a little addicted to the refreshing blast every morning."
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"I am obsessed with brows (as we all are these days), and have been in the process of growing them out for what feels like an eternity. I have stopped waxing altogether; now I just heavily rely on brow product to keep looking at least somewhat kempt. And of all the products I've tried, this is the one I would really fork out money for. It comes with two shades of powder, which I mix and match, to add a little dimension so no one can know what's really going on under there."
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"Best. Mascara. Ever. 'Nuff said."
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"Another habit I have adopted since becoming a beauty editor is stashing a bottle of this almond oil in my shower, and lathering myself up after I turn the water off and before I towel up. I've learned the most optimal time to moisturize is right after you bathe, when you are still a little damp, so what better place to keep this than right next to my shampoo? Why almond oil? It makes my skin super-soft and not greasy at all, and when I got Reiki done last year, I was told that I should use warming oils like almond to help soothe my skin (and mind) and relieve stress."
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Megan McIntyre, Beauty Director At Refinery29
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La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Emulsion
“Besides looking ridiculously fancy, this anti-aging cream from La Prairie is the business. Most anti-aging creams I get sent can feel too heavy or greasy for my early-30s, acne-prone skin. This one delivers the powerhouse anti-aging ingredients my complexion needs without irritating it or clogging my pores. Bonus points that a little goes a long way, so I can make this one last longer than most. Hey, when you're paying a premium for something, you want it to stretch for as long as humanly possible.”
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Schick Quattro Razors
“Not really a fancy buy, but totally a necessary one on my end. Razors can be hard to come by in beauty-editor land, so whenever I need a restock, I do not hesitate to hit up my local drugstore for these bad boys. They give me the close shave I need, plus the protection my klutziness has made a necessity. I've tried other razors and either been disappointed by the stubble that appears when I step out of the tub, or I look like I let Edward Scissorhands take a whack at a leg massage. Experience has taught me that when I need to defuzz, these are the only way to go.”
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Avène Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion
“Sure, there are way cheaper SPFs out there, and if you're someone who can get away with putting $1.99 zinc oxide on your complexion and not paying the pimple price for it, then I salute you. I am not that person. My skin breaks out if I even so much as look at sunscreen, so I have to be pretty choosy when it comes to my SPF protection. This chemical SPF from Avène has been my lifesaver so far, giving me the SPF 50 my pale Irish skin demands, but without making me pay for it with a breakout the next day. Definitely worth the money for anyone who struggles with sunscreen-induced breakouts, or anyone looking for a superior SPF experience.”
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