The Wow List: Beauty Products We Swear By!

One of the things we love most about beauty is that there’s always some great new goody to covet — not a day goes by without a fresh and exciting product landing on our desks, causing us to gather around to ooh and ahh. But when we have to look smokin’ hot, we don’t chance it with an untested rookie — we turn to the reliable all-stars that we know will make us look good. Here, our editors share the beauty buys that they just can’t live without. From signature scents to skin-care saviors, get the dish on all of the tried and tested beauty must-haves we swear by, here at R29.
Christene Barberich, Editor-in-Chief
Chanel Blush Horizon De Chanel
"True, I am a sucker for the classic packaging of Chanel products, but their blush is really exceptional. Just the right natural pinky-peach tone."
$58, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
MAC Lip Pencil in Cherry
"I've been using this since I don't know when. It goes on so smooth and has the most long-lasting finish. If I know it's going to be an insane day, I always apply this in the morning and it keeps my lips bright and bold."
$14, available at MAC.
Dermalogica Total Eye Care
"For a one-step eye cream that really does it all, this is the best...I never go anywhere without it."
$42, available at Dermalogica.
Acqua Di Parma Colonia
"My all-time favorite fragrance. It's citrusy and a little masculine...I just can't get enough of it, but it's particularly good and refreshing in summer."
$83, available at Sephora.
Caudalie Lip Conditioner
"My obsession with dark lipsticks really takes its toll, and this is the only lip balm that really works to smooth out my lips and keep them hydrated."
$12, available at Caudalie.
Brad Skincare Ultra Elastin Lift
"Since my friend Eden recommended this to me, I am certifiably addicted. I've never had a facelift, but I feel like I've had one after I put this on every morning. It's literally transformative."
$210, available at Brad Skincare.
Photos: by Amelia Alpaugh; Courtesy of Chanel, MAC; Via BeautyBar, Harvey Nichols; Courtesy of Caudalie, Brad Skincare
Piera Gelardi, Creative Director
Geo F. Trumper Sandalwood Stick Deodorant
"I bought this deodorant for my husband and started sneaking it out of his toiletry bag to use it myself. It never quits, smells amazing, and the stick lasts a very long time (for me it lasted over a year) — making it worth the price tag in my opinion."
$25.50, available at Amazon.
Nude Replenishing Night Oil
"I rue the day I was gifted a bottle of this pricey skin oil because now I am utterly addicted. It's incredibly moisturizing, soothing, smells amazing, and I truly believe in all its purported superpowers."
$68, available at Nude.
Illamasqua Lipstick in Atomic
"I am a sucker for super-pigmented lipsticks in bright colors. My three staples are NARS Schiap (a hot pink), MAC Ruby Woo (the perfect red), and Illamasqua Atomic (a purple-y pink). Really pigmented lip shades tend to be drying, so I often mix mine with a base of creamy lip balm to keep my lips from drying out."
$22, available at Sephora.
Skintimates SkinTherapy Moisturizing Shave Gel For Dry Skin
"I don't even know if there is another women's shaving cream on the market, I've been using this one so long. I actually think my mom taught me how to shave my legs using this stuff. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. No nicks, cuts, or irritation and it's as smooth as butter and hydrating to boot. Done and done."
$3.23, available at
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
"I'm not a big fan of the 'foundation look,' but I just don't have good enough skin to go commando. I've tried a lot of different tinted moisturizers and Laura Mercier's oil-free one is the best — it offers the perfect amount of coverage, is moisturizing and light, and has SPF built in. When I'm not feeling flush enough to afford the steep price, my runner-up is Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Enhancer…at a quarter of the price, it's a worthy substitute."
$42, available at Laura Mercier.
Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar
"This bar lasts forever and ever and ever, plus it's the best face mask I've tried yet. It shrinks up your pores, reduces redness, makes your skin soft, and has that classic gray-green mask look that makes you feel like you're the poster child for spa time."
$38, available at Fresh.
Photos: by Amelia Alpaugh; Via Amazon; Courtesy of Nude, Illamasqua, Skintimates, Fresh, Laura Mercier
Connie Wang, Global Editor
Jurlique Soothing Day Care Lotion
"My face will break out in all manners of ways whenever there's a change in the temperature, pollen count, stress level, or stock market, I swear. The only thing that keeps me from drying out in the winter or getting oily in the summer (and keeps redness and irritation at bay) is Jurlique's Soothing Day Care Lotion. I buy the big honkin' bottle which usually lasts me all year long."
$86, available at Jurlique.
Stila Eye Shadow Trio in Gold Glow
"Along with Hard Candy and Benefit, Stila might be one of those brands that tweens automatically gravitate towards. I fell upon this Stila trio in high school and have not changed my eyeshadow since then. The colors work perfectly with my skin tone, no matter how pale or tan I get. Plus, it's long-lasting, has got a bit of teenager-y shimmer, and I have used all three colors evenly (a sign of a good eyeshadow trio, in my opinion)."
$28, available at Stila.
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
"If you looked at my hands, you'd think I was a leatherworker or a banana picker, not someone who sits at a computer all day long. To keep my hands looking their age in the wintertime, I've always relied on Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. One 5 oz. bottle carries me through each season, and I may have become addicted to it and its "glove-like" protective powers, since I actively start craving it when it's not within a five-foot radius of me."
$20, available at Kiehl's.
Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Warm Radiance
"I'm not a big foundation wearer, but I found that bronzer really helps minimize coloration inconsistencies, errant blemishes, and wan skin tones. Everyone looks healthier with a tan, even — especially — if you fake it. This Bare Escentuals one goes on evenly and doesn't look powdery or greasy."
$19, available at Bare Escentuals.
Shiseido Tsubaki Damage Care Shampoo & Conditioner
"Any Asian girl worth her salt will swear by Shiseido's Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner. My roommate Nancy turned me onto the stuff when she moved in, and I've become hooked ever since. I don't know what's in it that turns my usually stubborn, hay-like Asian hair into its submissive, silky self, but it works, whatever it is. Plus, for $30-odd dollars, you get a set that comes in Costco-sized bottles. Whenever I find it in random Asian grocery stores, I buy it up.
$33.99 for three-piece set, available at Amazon.
Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm
"I remember picking this up at an Urban Outfitters back in the day when it still had a picture of a baby's butt on the back (heals diaper rash, remember?). Since then, I haven't gone without it tucked in my pocket or stuffed in my purse. I use it to moisturize stubborn dry patches, slick down my eyebrows, keep my cuticles in check, and — of course — gloss up lips. The peppermint smell also has a Pavlovian effect on me now. Any whiff of rose and mint, and my mind automatically goes zen."
$5.59, available at
Photos: Courtesy of Jurlique, Stila, Kiehl's, Bare Escentuals, Shiseido; by Amelia Alpaugh; Via
Kristian Laliberte, Senior Editor
Sunday Riley Bionic Anti-Aging Cream
"This moisturizer, from one of my favorite skin care lines, does like a million things at once. I'm starting to notice a couple wrinkles here and there, and this high-tech cream reverses UV damage, boosts your collagen and elastin production, and just makes you glow. It's Benjamin Button in a bottle."
$225, available at Sunday Riley.
La Prairie Cellular Radiance Eye Cream
"I put eye cream on in the morning, before I go out at night, and right before bed (uh, usually). While I wish I could use La Prairie everything, if I could choose just one thing, it would have to be their Cellular Radiance Eye Cream. Just like the Cellular Face Cream, this under-eye solution instantly gives good glow, banishes all the sins of a long evening out, and hopefully will keep my looking like I'm in my twenties when I'm not, well, in my twenties."
$295, available at La Prairie.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser
"I love how this face wash fights acne and wrinkles (it has both alpha-hydroxy and salicylic acid). So versatile. It's not too harsh and feels really good — I've been using it with my Clarisonic in the morning and at night for about a year, and I never travel without it."
$5.99, available at
Kiehl's Original Musk Body Lotion
"I used to wear Original Musk fragrance, but stopped when one my best friends started wearing it. This body lotion is a nice alternative and it works well with my Tom Ford. Some designer body lotions aren't so good at the moisturizing part, but this really hydrates your skin and has some shea butter, which I love. Also, it's not too heavy, so you don't feel all greasy either."
$20, available at Kiehl's.
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather Eau de Parfum
"There was a lot of buzz when this came out saying it smells like cocaine. I don't know if that's true, but I am all for a fragrance that might get people me. Kidding aside, I've got a fix for this fragrance (oops, I did it again) — with jasmine and amber notes, it's rich, sexy, and perfect for date nights or going out. The genius of Mr. Ford's scents is that they last and last, which means you can spray it at 6 p.m. and it's still going strong at midnight."
$195, available at Bergdorf Goodman.
Sexy Hair ShortSexyHair Control Maniac
"I've tried a bajillion hair products — super-expensive designer ones or mid-price salon ones, and nothing works better for me than this drugstore option. It has a firm hold that's not too stiff, it smells good, and it doesn't give you that wet hair look. Plus, it keeps your hair in check all day. You just work a small amount onto the tips of your fingers and style, and you don't have to worry about gunky residue."
$14.99, available at Walgreens.
Photos: Courtesy of Sunday Riley, La Prairie, Neutrogena, Kiehl's, Tom Ford; Via Walgreens; by Amelia Alpaugh
Megan McIntyre, Senior Beauty Editor
Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Antique Gold
"One swipe of this shimmery cream shadow and my makeup look is instantly stepped up to the next level. It gives me a shot of subtle glamour that never fails to attract compliments. Plus, it really lives up to it's long-wear name — it won't do the typical 'greasy crease' you get with most other cream shadows. Try layering it over top of a khaki shadow for a sexy, yet unexpected nighttime look."
$24, available at Bobbi Brown.
Dove VisibleCare Renewing Creme Body Wash
"As a beauty editor, I should know better, but my sheer laziness in the morning (well, let's face it, any time of day) prevents me from applying lotion. I also can't stand putting my nice, clean clothes over top of greased-up skin. Blech. This body wash is chock-full of moisturizers that stay on your body even after you've left the shower, so your skin stays hydrated, smooth, and soft all-day long."
$8.29, available at
Kevin Murphy Young.Again
"This stuff is like liquid gold for your hair — seriously. It's made with immortelle oil and it literally transforms your mane right in front of your eyes. My hair tends to get really static-y and puffy in the winter, but a few drops of this serum smoothed over my strands and I have shiny, soft hair that could give Gisele a run for her money — or at least that's how it plays out in my head."
$39, available at Kevin Murphy for salons.
Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner
"I'm not sure if it's some higher power's idea of a cruel joke, or just my own personal misfortune, but my hair holds the ubiquitous honor of being very fine and very oil-prone, yet somehow — implausibly — very dry on the ends. All the lightweight conditioners I've tried aren't hydrating enough, yet all the deep conditioners are way too heavy for my limp locks. Then I found this wonderful conditioner from Pureology — it makes my strands feel like silk, but doesn't weigh them down, so I get the bounce and body all us fine-haired girls obsessively crave."
$29, available at Ulta.
Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
"A makeup artist once told me that the face is naked without mascara, and since then I've been fastidious about making sure I always have something on my lashes. I love this luxe one from Chantecaille because it gives me major length, without looking glopped on or spidery. It also is the most long-lasting mascara I've ever had the privilege of piling on my fringe — after a marathon day of backstage mad dashes one Fashion Week, it didn't budge, smear, or flake. Now that's what I call staying power!"
$40, available at Barneys.
DDF Restoring Night Serum
"It's both a blessing and a curse at my job that I get to try out all the latest skin care creams. I love checking out what's new, but my highly reactive skin tends to break out and generally just go apeshit whenever I put something unfamiliar on it. When my skin has a total meltdown in response to the latest miracle cream, I shelve it and bring out this tried-and-true serum — it calms down my skin, eliminates redness, minimizes any pimples, and makes me positively glow. A few nights with this on and it's like I've grown new, prettier, much healthier skin."
$95, available at Sephora.
Photos: Julia Lola Wang; Courtesy of Bobbi Brown, Dove, Kevin Murphy, Pureology, Chantecaille, DDF
Annie Georgia Greenberg, New York Editor
Vermont's Original Bag Balm
"This chapstick is heavy-duty and gigantic — great to keep on your desk or dresser. I promise it'll never run out."
$8.79, available at
Chloé Eau de Parfum
"I'd never really wanted a personal scent until I smelled Chloé. It was the fall of 2008 and I followed my nose down the hall to find out what the intoxicating scent was. I've worn it ever since and though I've toyed with straying, I never will. In fact, I just restocked on the lotion, too!"
$85, available at Bloomingdale's.
Matrix Biolage Fortetherapie Strengthening Conditioner
"Nothing moisturizes my hair better than this conditioner. It gives me super-soft locks and smells good — natural, not fruity."
$18.99, Matrix for salons.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula With Vitamin E
"Another ol' faithful, I use this everywhere — after the shower and every morning. Not only does it moisturize and firm skin, but it also keeps a tan way after you've gotten out of the sun. I take it everywhere with me."
$4.99, available at
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre in Rouge de Venise
"A dark lip is a must this season and I love the feel of YSL's lipsticks — they go on smoothly and last throughout the day. Plus, how could I resist that gold case?"
$30, available at Yves Saint Laurent.
Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Moisturizing Bronzing Powder
"I love this Chanel bronzer because it's not too harsh and has just the right amount (read: just a bit) of shimmer. It's great for lightly highlighting so you don't look unnaturally orange in winter."
$50, available at Chanel.
Photos: by Julia Lola Wang; Via; Courtesy of Chloé, Matrix; Via; Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel
Brenna Egan, L.A. Editor
Biotin Supplements
"God didn't give me a thick head of hair so I have to cherish every last strand I have. I never forget to pop my biotin pills because they really do promote growth and strengthen the hair shaft. I've always been thankful for my friend who recommended them — I noticed a difference almost instantly."
$7.69, available at Walgreens.
L'Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara
"I will never forget the day my mom taught me how to apply mascara. She was blessed with eyelashes so long that people stop her on the street to ask if they're real (even in the pre-Latisse days!). Little did they know that her key (and now mine) is one of the cheapest mascaras on the market. L'Oréal Voluminous is the cat's pajamas — the key is to buy the curved brush and blink as hard and long as possible into it. I guess you could call this product a time-honored Target tradition in my family."
$5.54, available at Target.
Serge Lutens Fleur D'Orange Eau de Parfum
"When it comes to scents, it's go French or go naked! I have never strayed from my favorite, Serge Lutens Fleurs D'Orange. It’s my paint-the-town scent because it's strong and full of fragrant jasmine. There is no better indulgence to me than perfume — sometimes even if it's just me and a mountain of work, I will spritz it on, just for a midday pick-me-up."
$120, available at Barneys.
Obagi-C Rx Systems C-Cleansing Gel
"I'm so particular about face washes, and I swear it took me years to find a product I really believed in. Obagi's entire line is amazing, but the C-Cleansing Gel is incredibly purifying. This may seem strange, but I like that it's pink, too!"
$32.76, available at Dermstore.
Tresemmé Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo
"I'd be lost without my dry shampoo, and Tresemmé offers the best out there. I'm not a natural blonde, and if I let my roots go for longer than four weeks — even if I'm fresh as a daisy — for some reason I end up looking greasy by the end of the day. This product not only cleans me up, but does double-duty as a volumizer — totally brilliant! Now, they just need to start making a travel-size canister for my purse!"
$5.99, available at CVS.
SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
"My dermatologist raved forever about TNS Serum before I actually took the plunge. I was hesitant because of the expense, but it has absolutely transformed my skin (I also ended up finding a deal online). Apart from eye creams, I don't need any other anti-aging product — this baby's packed with it all."
$260, available at SkinMedica.
Photos: Via Walgreens; by Shanita Sims; Courtesy of L'Oréal; Via SpaceNK; Courtesy of Obagi, Tresemmé, SkinMedica
Shani Silver, Chicago Editor
Vaseline Intensive Rescue Repairing Moisture Lotion
"Is it pure magic that makes this stuff so good? It's light but effective, and smells nice without really smelling like anything. I hide bottles of this all over my house; I couldn't live without it."
$5.99, available at Walgreens.
Olay Age Defying Daily Renewal Cleanser
"This isn't incredibly fancy, but it isn't incredibly expensive, either. I've been using this cleanser for years (and years), and it keeps my skin clearer than anything else I've ever used. It's not terribly drying either, which is good for anyone who has to deal with winter in Chicago."
$5.49, available at
L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil
"A newer addition to my collection, but vital. This is the best split-end stopper I've ever used."
$29, L'Oréal Professionnel for salons.
OPI Nail Polish
"I have about...erm...50 nail polishes. (Embarrassing). I'm always really happy with the staying power of OPI polishes. They have some amazing collections and collaborations too, and I'm a sucker for a limited-edition polish."
$8.50, OPI for salons.
NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna
"It literally doesn't get better than this. I can't use any other bronzer, ever, and believe me I've tried. This one is just so good! It doesn't make me look like I'm wearing bronzer, I just look like I'm a little shall I say this...perky?"
$33, available at NARS.
NARS Blush in Orgasm
"They would have to rip this from my cold dead hands."
$27, available at NARS.
Photos: Courtesy of Vaseline, Olay, L'Oréal Professionnel, OPI, NARS; by Julia Lola Wang
Holly E. Thomas, D.C. Editor
MAC False Lashes
"This formula never clumps and it consistently makes people ask if I'm wearing falsies. It's lightweight and natural-looking, and I never leave the house without a coat of it on my lashes."
$19, available at MAC.
Naturopathica Oat Facial Polish
"I'm a big fan of this line of holistic body products, so it's hard to choose just one. But if this was a desert-island scenario, I'd go with this ultra-gentle, creamy scrub. You can't beat it when you want to brighten up dull skin."
$52, available at Naturopathica.
Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum
"I reserve this super-sultry, rich scent for nights out and special occasions. But what I love most about it is that my boyfriend occasionally spritzes it on, and it smells completely different — and wonderful — on him."
$100, available at Nordstrom.
SK-II Skin Signature Moisturizing Cream
"It's an undeniable splurge, but this miracle in a jar is the only thing I've found that makes my dry skin look dewy and — hope I'm not jinxing myself — blemish-free. It's Cate Blanchett's go-to, and she has the most gorgeous skin I've ever seen. "
$205, available at SK-II.
Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
"I've always struggled to find the right foundation. Most formulas made my dry skin so flaky and mask-like that I chose to go bare-faced for years. Now I'm hooked on this super-sheer, tinted makeup — it supplies just enough coverage without ever feeling cake-y, and the small tubes are perfect for traveling or tossing into your purse."
$38, available at Jouer.
Incoco Nail Polish Strips
"These are my favorite quick-fix for my nails, and if I'm lucky, I can make them last for three weeks. They're the same concept as the drugstore versions, but Incoco offers loads more colors and patterns."
$10.99, available at Incoco.
Photos: Via MAC; by Julia Lola Wang; Via Pea In The Pod; Courtesy of Tom Ford, SK-II, Jouer, Incoco
Katie Hintz-Zambrano, San Francisco Editor
Sephora Collection Liner Electro Glitter Eye Pencil in Midnight Electro
“If I was stranded on a desert island and needed three beauty products, a peachy blush, good mascara, and a dark blue eyeliner would definitely be my makeup picks. For the eyeliner, I’ve been into Sephora’s glitter pencils. I know it sounds a bit juvenile,but I swear the glitter specks are anything but obvious. And a swipe of this stuff across my upper lash line really makes my baby blues pop.”
$8, available at Sephora.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
“Even though I get sent loads of new skin care products, I’m always scared to try them out since my skin is super-sensitive and sometimes prone to breakouts. When it comes to face wash, I am totally loyal to Cetaphil — I’ve been using it for at least 6 years.”
$9.47 available at Walmart.
Matrix Biolage Gelée
"I have notoriously flat and straight hair and rubbing a pea-sized drop of this stuff into my roots is about the only thing that truly gives it a little boost. I’ve probably only been using it for the past 3 years after a hair-savvy friend told me to splurge and buy the really big bottle. I always find it funny since my mother used to buy the same stuff at the salon when I was a kid.”
$16.50, Matrix for salons.
Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mist
“I know it’s not sophisticated, but I sort of like smelling like a candy shop. Or a fruit basket. And Victoria’s Secret fragrance mists make it so, so easy. And cheap — each huge bottle of this stuff lasts months, plus, they always have a 3 for $25 sale. Love Spell, Mango Temptation...sign me up!”
$12, available at Victoria's Secret.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
"When I want to feel more like a grown-up, I swap the VS body splash for a couple of spritzes of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb. My dear friend gave me an entire set — travel size, lotion, the big bottle — on the day of my wedding and, 2 1/2 years later, none of them have ran out! I’ve gotten tons of compliments on the scent, from guys and girls, and I like that not everyone else uses it.”
$100, available at Neiman Marcus.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15
“Right after I use my Cetaphil face wash, I follow up with the brand’s SPF 15 lotion. It’s not greasy, wears well under makeup, and gives me my daily SPF protection. One bottle of this stuff also goes a pretty long way; I probably only buy three a year.”
$13.99, available at
Photos: by Horacio Zambrano; Courtesy of Sephora, Cetaphil, Matrix, Victoria's Secret; Via Nordstrom; Courtesy of Cetaphil

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