I've been wanting to do a bit of an 'off the cuff' post on what's in my top drawer for a while. I know I've done some all-time favourites posts but this is going to be more of a snapshot of what's there right now - think of it as an edited makeup collection. If my house burns down tomorrow (which hopefully it won't...) these are the makeup products I'd have to repurchase first (after, like, rebuilding my life and all that!) - I hope you enjoy this epic post (though for the sake of brevity, I've linked a lot of my full reviews below).
Primer is an un-skippable step in my makeup routine! Having combination skin means that I have a variety of primers with different finishes and there's something in here for just about any occasion...
Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Primer* | £11 | This is my top drugstore pick and, despite the name, it's a cream-based primer that's more hydrating than you'd think. I love this for balancing out my skin and giving it that perfect satin base for foundation. It's nothing drying but really does help my base last that bit longer.
Too Faced Hangover Primer | £27 | During the winter months this coconut primer is a life-saver! It has a creamy texture that sorts out any dry patches, preventing my foundation from clinging to them and looking uneven. It also just gives a much healthier, more glowing look to my base. It's nice and gentle and my skin loves the extra boost of moisture it gives when the weather is cold.
MAC Strobe Cream in Goldlite | £25 | I'd somehow never tried MAC's famed Strobe Cream until this year! It's essentially a moisturiser-highlighter that I love to use as a primer to give a luminous glow to the skin. It's moisturising but not at all heavy and has the most subtle yellow-gold sheen to it. It was hard to choose between this and the Becca Backlight primer, however the versatility of this means it pipped that product to the post - it can also be mixed in with foundation or used as skincare.
Glossier Priming Moisturiser | £18 | This product is unlike anything else in my collection, really, as it has the extra hydration of a cream product (like the MAC and the Too Faced), however still has that 'stick' to it (in a good way). This means that it moisturises my skin whilst feeling lightweight and at the same time is good at keeping my foundation in place. Whilst it might not be heavy-duty enough for dry skin (though there's a Rich version), I love it on my combination complexion. It was hard to decide whether to include this or the super-glow-y First Aid Beauty one that I also love, however the fact that this isn't just a moisturising primer but one that helps longevity is what tipped it for me.
Benefit POREfessional Primer | £26 | I feel like I never mention this because it's such a default product in my routine! This is a different sort of primer, as it has a paste consistency. I personally just use it on the areas where I have large pores and it's amazing at filling them in so my foundation doesn't settle in and emphasise their appearance.
Hylamide Matte 12 Finisher* | £23 | This gel-textured primer is my go-to during the summer months. As the name promises, it's amazing at stopping my base descending into a greasy mess in the heat and it's also great for nights out when you want that perfected matte finish. It's also good for blurring the appearance of pores and fine lines.
Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion (Original) | £17 | I use this primer every single day! It's absolutely amazing and the one or two times I've had a brain fail and forgotten to apply some, I've noticed a huge difference. It increases the intensity of the eyeshadow colours applied over it and makes them last so much longer without fading or creasing.
I own absolutely loads of foundations but there's a handful that I return to over and over again. I generally like something lightweight for everyday wear and a flawless option for evening looks.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup (4W1) | £28 | review | This has to have been my most-worn foundation on an everyday basis this year! It just has that perfect medium coverage with a natural, skin-like finish (that's neither matte nor dewy). It gives the skin a healthy glow and lasts well.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation (Stromboli) | £33 | review | This is still my holy grail after all these years (and all the empty bottles...) It just gives that perfect 'matte radiance' to the skin; the satin finish gives glow without the shine and it has an easy-to-build-on medium coverage. It's so flawless but still everyday appropriate and every time I reach for this after a little break, I remember why I loved it so much to begin with! It's also a base I can trust is going to look pretty good even by the end of the day.
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser (St. Moritz) | review | I just can't express how great this stuff is! I think I've worn it virtually every single day for the past two winters because it gives a gorgeous 'your skin but better' look. It's fresh and natural but gives enough coverage to perfect the skin, evening out its tone and giving it that glow. At the same time, unlike many slightly dewier bases, it doesn't wear off my problem areas or leave me really shiny around the t-zone after a few hours. I just finished this up and I'm eagerly awaiting my order with its replacement!
L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation (106) | £13.95 | review | It's slightly ridiculous that the only drugstore foundation I've ever been able to find that I like and that comes in my shade has to be ordered from the US! However this is my go-to for nights out. It has a semi-matte finish that isn't drying but is incredibly long-wearing and stays shine-free. I love how flawless the full coverage is without looking heavy or caky on my skin.
Concealer is one of those products I've often felt as though I'm in a constant search for the perfect one of! However recently, there have been a small handful of products that I've been reaching for 90% of the time (I only ever really switch it up by going for something more heavy-duty like Kat Von D's for a night out).
Bobbi Brown Corrector (Peach) | £19.50 | I use this every single day and I'm on about my 4th pot of the stuff! This is essentially a fairly lightweight cream product that I use under my foundation to mask my dark circles without the need to cake on layers of skin-toned concealer.
Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer (Ginger) | £24 | I honestly never used to be a potted concealer kind of girl until this wandered into my life... It's an incredible multi-tasker - whether it's tidying up my eyebrows, hiding a blemish, brightening up dark circles or evening out redness: it seems to do it! The formula is matte but not at all drying and very easy to work with using the fingers to warm the product slightly. It looks so natural on the skin and is really long-wearing.
Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Eye Concealer (Nude) | £8.99 | I hate that this only comes in two shades because it's a great formula I wish more people were able to enjoy. The applicator is divisive, but I personally find it practically blends out the product for you. This has a light, fluffy texture that gives amazing coverage without ever looking heavy. It's perfect for brightening up the eye area and I use it after doing my eyeshadow to add a bit of light back in (I always set it though, because it can crease a bit if I don't).
I keep it simple when it comes to powders and have something everyday-appropriate, as well as a more heavy-duty option.
MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural (Medium-Dark) | £24.50 | I love this baked powder because it has a bit of coverage but never looks caky or heavy and it removes surface shine without leaving the skin looking flat. It has a natural, almost luminous finish.
Ben Nye Luxury Powder Dome Jar in Banana* | £13.50 | I'm not really one to bake but this yellow-toned, finely-milled powder is perfect for setting makeup on a night out. It highlights and really ensures everything stays in place and doesn't crease.
I tend to have a 'type' when it comes to cheek products - I tend to suit gold-toned highlighters and warm blusher tones. However I have a variety of formulas and price-points that I count amongst my most-loved products.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Sundipped* | £39 | review | I was hesitant to include this, as it's quite a new addition to my stash but I've already used it so much and the colour selection in here is perfection! You get a stunning golden bronze shade, two lighter golds (one cool, one warm) and this interesting cool bronzed tone - all of which I get a lot of use out of. The formula is incredibly smooth and just gives that 'bam! I'm here!' highlight.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors Pressed in Champagne Pop & Prosecco Pop | £32 each | review | This palette is sadly no longer available but is 100% the best makeup investment I've ever made because, whether it's a week or a weekend, I always travel with it! Luckily you can get these as singles. The Becca highlighter formula is second to none in my opinion; it's the least powdery powder product because the texture is super-smooth and has this stunning, dewy, intense pigment. Champagne Pop is a champagne gold with peachy undertones, whereas Prosecco Pop is a warm true gold.
Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion in 02 Gold* | £28 | I have quite a few of these light gold-toned highlighters (MAC Whisper of Gilt, Laura Geller Gilded Honey, Anastasia So Hollywood...) but I settled on this as being my favourite! It just sits on the skin in such a beautifully natural way despite giving an amazing highlight - it's almost as though it isn't a powder at all.
Elf Studio Baked Highlighter in Apricot Glow | £5 | Once you break through the spray-over, this is a lovely soft, sheeny highlighter. The warm peachy-gold tone is so unique and the price is amazing!
ColourPop Super Shock Cheek Highlighter in Churro (not currently available) | $8 | ColourPop's moussey-cream highlighter formula is so pigmented, smooth and gives a dewy, metallic finish. This once had a tie-dye effect (before it completely merged into one from use!) and the colour is a coppery bronze.
Iconic London Original Illuminator Drops* | £30 | I've fallen for liquid highlighters in a big way recently and this product kicked off the obsession. You can use it over foundation for an intense highlight or mixed in with it to add some glow. It's honestly like molten metal! The colour is an interesting pinky-amber with a silver-toned shift.
Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk | £15 | This is a unique liquid-cream formula blusher that has a subtle but not overly dewy effect. The colour is a muted peachy-brown nude with no shimmer and it lasts very well on me, so is a minimal makeup favourite of mine.
Becca Luminous Blush in Rose Spritz & Mineral Blushes in Amaretto & Pamplemousse (no longer available) | £26-27 | review | These are the blusher shades from the Jaclyn Hill palette - the Luminous Rose Spritz is a warm pinky-peach with a golden sheen running through it. It's so pigmented and adds an amazing glow without the glitter. The Mineral formula is kind of luminous and matte at the same time with an easy-to-blend formula that has amazing colour payoff and great wear-time. As you can probably see; the warm caramel-brown Amaretto is one of my all-time most-used blusher shades (I even have a backup!) Pamplemousse is a vibrant pink Mineral shade that I don't use as much but it's really pretty when layered with Amaretto.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure | £32 | I love this luminous, glitter-free highlighting blusher formula. It just gives that glow from within and is impossible to over-apply, adding the perfect flush of colour to the skin. It wears well and swatches really don't do the plum-mauve tone justice!
Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love | £25 | It doesn't look like much but this everyday peachy-mauve nude shade is one of my most-worn blushers. It gives a matte look on the cheeks and applies evenly with that perfect level of pigment, as well as lasting all day.
Too Faced Papa Don't Peach Blush | £25 | review | I love the natural finish and soft, iridescent sheen of this blusher. It's a natural, warm peachy tone that's perfect when I want something understated.
Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Fig Pop | £17 | Sadly this shade isn't available in the UK but you can't go wrong with any of the shades from this collection! It's got a smooth formula with a very slight sheen and applies evenly with minimal effort. The colour payoff makes these a really wearable way to try something brighter. They wear so well and this shade is a warm plummy tone.
Nars Matte Multiple in Cappadoce | £25 | I was very close to including my Charlotte Tilbury liquid contour in this post, however Cappadoce is the longer-standing product in my collection! This has the perfect consistency; pigmented and opaque yet easy to blend without looking shiny. It's the perfect mid-point between a bronzer and a contour, adding definition and warmth at the same time.
Becca Sunlit Bronzer in Ipanema Sun | £32 | This has been my go-to bronzer over summer - it has a semi-matte but luminous finish on the skin and applies evenly (though you have to use a light hand because it's definitely pigmented!) The tone is warm without being orange and adds colour and dimension to my skin.
Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion in 30M Sienna | £28.50 | This is more of a winter option for me, as it's a little cooler in its tone. It doesn't apply like a normal powder at all - instead of sitting on top of the skin it blends in a way that's so incredibly natural.
I'm definitely a neutral-eyeshadow lover and there are a handful of pre-made palettes I love, as well as some 'quick and easy' cream options and my custom palette.
By Terry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon | £29 | These cream eyeshadows are so smooth, pigmented and dewy that they give a liquid-metal finish on the eyes. They blend beautifully but set down to a lasting, crease-proof finish. This is a neutral-toned bronze.
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Copper | £23 | This is such a stunning cream eyeshadow - I don't know how it doesn't have more hype! It's opaque and, although you get some blending time, when it sets it's one of the most long-wearing products in my arsenal. It has a warm amber-gold colour that's gorgeous all over the lid.
ColourPop Super Shock Shadow Sunset Blvd | $5 | This has a spongy texture like all ColourPop cream products. This is actually my second one of these because it's the perfect beige-gold sheeny nude eye colour. The formula is just so long-wearing too.
MAC Peintures Paint in Bamboom | £16 | This liquid cream eyeshadow is so opaque that you need very little product to get the effect! It's a sort of brown with pinky-taupe undertones and a subtle golden sheen. It can also be used as base to make powder eyeshadows really pop and last that bit longer.
Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette | £32 | review | I reach for this palette so much because the shades are very easy to use and they've been perfectly selected so it has everything you need to take you from day to night. The formula blends beautifully, has the perfect level of pigmentation and lasts well. I honestly can't fault this and I'd go so far as to say it's the eyeshadow palette I'd keep if I could only use one for the rest of my life!
Zoeva Naturally Yours Eyeshadow Palette | £17.50 | review | It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Zoeva's eyeshadow palettes, so it was tough to pick my favourite! However this emerged as the one I reach for the most. While it may look like a standard neutral palette at first glance, it has some gorgeous duo-chrome shades in there that really make it special. There isn't a single dud in this palette - the shimmers are very pigmented and the mattes blend beautifully.
Lorac Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette | $42 | review | I just love the quality of this palette - the shimmers have a foiled effect and the mattes are so pigmented, with an amazing, creamy texture (though there's a little bit of fallout). This is a beautiful rose-gold, coppery, bronze and gold palette that's a must-have for warm eyeshadow lovers.
Stila Eyes Are the Window Palette in Soul | £30 | review | When I want to do a bronzed smoky eye, this palette is what I reach for! The shades are so beautiful but understated and I really can't fault this formula. I find these shadows very easy to apply and blend and the colour selection is perfectly-balanced.
ColourPop Small Magnetic Palette | $7 | with: MAC Pro Refill Eyeshadow Pans | £10 each | Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Pans | £4.95 each | Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadow Pans | £7.95 each | & Anastasia Eyeshadow Singles | £10 each | review | Of course my most-used palette is full of my custom singles - I just hit pan on my 3rd shade from this and I'm on my way the the 4th! (These are: MAC Woodwinked, MAC All That Glitters, Makeup Geek Grandstand and Makeup Geek Peach Smoothie.) I have a post dedicated to my favourite eyeshadow pans so I'll keep it brief; I think Makeup Geek are an amazing affordable option and their Foiled shadows are absolutely stunning. MAC's shadows were once the standard and whilst I do think there are other, better brands out there now, I still really like their Veluxe Pearl finish (which both of these shades are from) which has a gorgeous soft sheen. For me, Anastasia's formula is the best; the pigmentation, longevity and ease of application are all second-to-none. I have a mix of matte and shimmer shades and I use every single one of these hand-selected colours. They're largely warm-toned and this palette can take me from day to night.
I am a bit of an eyeliner obsessive! I just love a winged look and only skip it on a low-maintenance makeup day. I then opt for something softer on the lower lash line.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black* | £14.50 | I've purchased and repurchased this liner so many times because nothing compares to it! It's incredibly inky and pigmented yet doesn't bleed. The tip is super-precised and the formula so smudge-proof - it really does stay looking flawless all day long.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion | £15.50 | I like this creamy, pigmented crayon eyeliner for tight-lining. It doesn't transfer or disappear and ensures my liquid liner looks perfect, also giving my lashes the illusion of volume in the most natural way.
Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon in Amber Haze | £19 | I know this is meant to be a shadow pencil, however I love this soft metallic warm golden-brown on the lower lash line. It's a beautiful shade and wears really well.
In terms of mascara, I do go for length over volume but my perfect formula has the balance of both!
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara | £8.99 | This gives amazing length, curl, separation and also volume without the clump. It's my absolute favourite because it just does it all and I can wear it during the day or night. It doesn't smudge or flake at all on me.
L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara | £11.99 | This is more on the side of 'volume' than my usual picks, however I really like it! It gives fluttery, thick, but still defined lashes. I have noticed since repurchasing Lash Sensational that this does smudge more than that one, however it's nothing major.
Benefit They're Real Mascara | £20.50 | This is probably the only high-end mascara I've purchased over and over again. It gives such amazing length and separation - I love that kind of false lash effect. I use this both for day and evening wear and it lasts really well without getting messy.
I tend to keep things quick, easy and low-maintenance when it comes to brows. Although sometimes I'll reach for a pomade for a night out, 99% of the time my routine involves these products!
Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil* (04) | £20 | For a bolder look, I reach for this large angled pencil. I don't know how it works but it does! The shape actually makes it really easy to redefine your brows. The formula is pigmented and long-wearing.
NYX Micro Brow Pencil (Espresso) | £8 | For a more natural option, I go for this super-fine twist-up brow pencil. It has a waxy formula so won't smudge and doesn't give off too much colour, so is easy to build up. It also means your can draw on each individual hair.
Benefit Gimme Brow Gel* (03) | £20 | This is great to set the brows or even on its own if I've had a fresh tint and shape recently! It gives volume without feeling crunchy and adds some colour and hold. I alternate between this and Glossier's Boy Brow.
For chilled out days, I'm all about sheer lip formulas, when I'm at work it's usually something creamy and on nights out I almost always opt for mattes (usually of the liquid lipstick variety!)
Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments in Honey & Petal | £20 each | I love these super-nourshing tinted lip balms! They're more pigmented than you'd expect and give a glossy wash of colour. Honey is a warmer brown nude, whereas Petal is a warm pink nude.
MAC Lustre Lipstick in Jubilee | £16.50 | This is one of my workday go-to shades - it's a sheer, sheeny warm brown nude that's perfect for a 'my lips but better' look.
ColourPop Matte Lippie Stick in Brink | $5 | I always seem to reach for this when I don't know what to wear and it always does the trick! Although it's 'matte', it has a creamy formula with a bit of a sheen, but does still have good longevity. This is a warm taupe-brown.
MAC Matte Lipstick in Strip Me Down (no longer available) | £16.50 | Sadly, this was a limited edition shade! It's the perfect neutral-toned beige-brown colour with a comfortably creamy yet totally-matte appearance.
Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Clay Crush | £6.99 | This doesn't have the most opaque finish, but I can forgive it because it's comfortable and doesn't cling to dry patches despite having a matte finish. This is a very warm terracotta-brown nude.
Urban Decay Comfort Matte Lipstick in Carnal | £15.50 | This is super-pigmented, not at all drying but very matte and long-wearing. This is a warm, rich reddish-brown shade that's perfect for Autumn.
Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Miami Fever | £11 | This is pretty much the only shade I wear during summer in the evenings! It's just the perfect vibrant orange-toned warm red shade. It isn't anything too drying and lasts so well when you're eating and drinking without getting messy.
Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Everything Nice | £15 | This has to be one of my favourite true matte liquid formulas! It doesn't dry out my lips but still has a very matte finish that I can wear for hours. This is a warm caramel-beige with pinky undertones.
ColourPop Ultra Satin Lip in Echo Park | $6 | This definitely has a slightly less matte finish than your usual liquid lipstick, however the upshot is that it feels like wearing a normal creamy lipstick. I'm on my second tube of this perfect peachy-brown nude.
HudaBeauty Liquid Matte in Girlfriend | £18 | The formula of these liquid lipsticks is very fluid, has opaque pigmentation and is completely matte but doesn't suck your lips dry of moisture! I love this sandy beige nude - it's the perfect 'just darker than my lips' shade against my skin tone.
MAC Lip Pencils in Soar & Spice | £13 each | These lip pencils are the only ones I reach for all the time and the texture is the perfect balance between waxy and creamy. They apply without dragging but define the lips and help your lipstick last longer. Soar is a dusky pink, whereas Spice is a warm brown.
I've actually tried so many setting mists but, whether it's longevity or dewiness that I'm after there are a few that I just always go back to!
MAC Prep + Prim Fix + | £18 | This isn't really one for increasing the wear-time of a product but it's perfect for just making things look nice and seamless and getting rid of any powdery-ness! It's also great spritzed on your brush with eyeshadows and pigments to make the colour pop and formula stick to your lids.
Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray | £23.50 | I reach for this almost every day during the summer to ensure my makeup stays in place and my face shine-free. I also use it before nights out and it works a treat!
Rimmel Insta Fix & Go Setting Spray* | £6.99 | When I want my skin to look fresh and glowing then this is what I go for. It's nothing overly wet, it just gives a healthy look to the skin.
If you reached the end of that: congratulations! Which products make it into your top shelf collection?