Editor-tested picks for every step of your routine.
With maximalism at a high, there’s never been a more exciting time for makeup. While natural and effortless looks will always have their place in the beauty sphere (and TZR’s Beauty Awards), it seems the latest and greatest finds celebrate full-out glam. Need proof? Check out the best new makeup products — from prestige to drugstore brands — that boast high-octane color, sparkle, and general fabulousness. Colored Sand
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Rose Inc Cream Blush Refillable Cheek & Lip Color
You have to wonder whether Rosie Huntington-Whiteley felt a little extra pressure when creating a blush — after all, she’s basically named after the category. As it happens, the model got the formula just right on her first try. According to Kiara Brown, BDG senior producer of photo and editorial design, the squalane, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid formula is velvety and soft. “It goes on my skin with ease and is very pigmented yet easy to blend out,” she says, explaining that it’s been a key to her makeup routine. “I absolutely love this product.”
Makeup Revolution Fast Base Blush Stick
Think of this blush as your (very affordable) FastPass to a perfectly flushed beat. Though only $8, it’s what BDG Associate Manager of Editorial Operations Abby Lebet calls “versatile,” explaining that it works for both your cheeks and lips. And, according to them, its six creamy shades are “very pigmented and go on easily.” While they do note that they’d stick with its more muted colorways, it still stands that this is the ultimate high-value, time-saving find.
Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer
There’s a good reason Charlotte Tilbury is the brand on everyone’s lips these days — quite literally, too. TZR contributor Carly Cardellino puts it succinctly: “Charlotte Tilbury, in my book, can do no wrong,” she says. “This bronzer is further proof of that.” While she admits that many bronzers can miss the mark with the incorrect undertone and finish, this one very much nailed it in tone and consistency. “This Beautiful Glow Bronzer can complement so many skin tones and look natural; my intern and I actually both tried it — she has much fairer skin than I do — and it looked incredible on both of us.”
Physicians Formula Bread & Butter Bronzer
When you put a loaf of bread in the oven, you don’t see color immediately; rather, it works up to a beautiful, golden glow over time. The same, unsurprisingly, is true for this aptly named bronzer. In NYLON Social Media Strategist Kelly Reed’s experience, “You kind of have to build it up” — which, she notes, is often preferable so it’s easier to finesse into your routine. Eventually, you will reach your desired level of bronze. And once you do, she says, “It blends out quite nicely and leaves you with a nice glow.”
About-Face Brow Artist Eyebrow Pencil
If you’ve been one of the unlucky people to find your tinted brow products streaming down your face at the end of the day, you know the importance of a waterproof, smudge-free formula. Using a blend of hard and soft waxes, this pencil — which TZR contributor Caroline Tien backs in full — promises exactly that. “When I applied the pencil in strokes to patchy areas in my eyebrows, I found that the end result was realistic-looking and long-lasting,” she tells TZR, noting that it barely even budged when she tried to wipe it off with a wet washcloth. Fortunately, it has options for everyone as well: Tien says that it also “comes in a wide array of darker shades, making it easy for brunettes to find a match.”
Revlon ColorStay Semi-Permanent Brow Ink
Four thousand, three hundred twenty minutes. No, those aren’t the opening lyrics to that song in Rent — that’s actually the span of three days, aka how long Revlon promises this brow ink will last upon application. A bold declaration — and just one of many for the formula. It’s understandable, then, that TZR contributor Taylor Stephan was initially skeptical of the brand’s grandiose claims for the budget buy. “I won't lie, I wasn’t expecting much from this product,” she says. Despite that, though, her trial left her hooked. “Boy, was I surprised. It has a watercolor-like consistency, which, paired with the super-fine felt tip, expertly mimics ultra-thin strokes of hair.” It’s versatile, too, she says; thanks to its precise application, you can do more or less, depending on how dark you want your brows.
Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Buildable Coverage Crease Proof Concealer
If you think about it, concealers kind of have the odds stacked against them. Not only are they expected to hide the skin care concerns most difficult to cover, but they also have to maintain a flawless texture and perfectly match your skin tone to truly do their job. Many fall short of the finish line, but Maggie Haddad, TZR senior social media strategist, says Huda Beauty’s matte, 29-shade formula is a rare exception. “I. Love. This. Concealer,” she raves. “It’s super blendable, medium-coverage (which is the perfect amount in my book), and doesn’t get that cakey, creased look throughout the day.” The real sign of its powers? “Any blemishes I have vanish under this product.”
Lys Beauty Triple Fix Brightening Concealer
Looking to the beauty world for solutions to under-eye circles kind of feels like you’re living in that Pawn Stars meme. No, you’re not going to find any *real* fixes. “Best I can do is a really good concealer,” the industry basically says. Fortunately, at least, on that it delivers — and it does so in the form of Lys Beauty’s highly pigmented, hydrating formula. According to BDG Executive Beauty Director Faith Xue, it actually does brighten her “newly developed under-eye bags without creasing,” and she loves how creamy and blendable it is. It’s also “high-coverage enough to smooth over breakouts and blur out pores,” she continues — a multitude of benefits, considering its $18 price point. Xue says she’s even recommended it to lots of her friends.
Danessa Myricks Beauty Infinite Chrome Micropencil Eyeliner
Danessa Myricks Beauty products may well have been the original reason for the term “multi-hyphenate.” Items from the brand never have just one skill — instead, they function in multiple ways for multiple places on all faces. NYLON Executive Editor Lauren McCarthy confirms this. While she did stick to just the eyes in her trial of these color-shifting metallic eyeliners, McCarthy explains that, true to form, they were no one-hit wonder. “Each of these liners has an incredible holographic sheen that I've had so much fun playing with on both my lower lash line and even my water line,” she shares. “To quote Nicki Minaj, ‘I don't think you understand, I’m obsessed.’”
NYX Professional Makeup Epic Smoke Liner
At a mere $11, this smoky eyeliner stick could have honestly just mailed it in. But being the trusty drugstore brand that it is, NYX Professional Makeup decided to not only make this a good budget pick but a good pick all around. Featuring 12 bold shades, the liner features a blendable formula and a paddle brush that allows you to create your entire eye look with just one stick. It even impressed BDG Art Coordinator Xin Xin, who says she’s usually not the biggest fan of pencil and gel liners (and especially not smoky ones). “I love how buttery this is!” she tells TZR. “It goes on smoothly, does not smudge for the entire day, [there’s] no transfer, and it blends super well.” Now, she says, she’s definitely planning to buy it again.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Primrose Palette For Face & Eyes
With so many beautiful eyeshadow palette combinations out there at this point, it’s not exactly easy to impress the truly beauty-obsessed. Let that convince you, then, that this all-in-one, 12-pan palette should be next on your to-try list. “I love neutrals and pops of color, but the pinks, purples, and mauves in this palette are so romantic and aesthetically pleasing,” says TZR contributor Calin Van Paris. “I did a little gasp when I opened it.” Thanks to its “blend of chunky shimmer, subtle shimmer, and matte [finishes],” she now considers herself, yes, very impressed.
Sephora Collection Charged Up Liquid Eyeshadow
If you told people this eyeshadow was made for a Harry Styles concert, there’s a good chance they’d believe you. Literally named “Charged Up,” the liquid formula comes in 12 rich, playful shades with both metallic and shimmer finishes. It’s also non-sticky, long-wearing, and made for effortless application. And Natasha Marsh, TZR beauty writer, confirms that it’s perfect for such an occasion. “[It’s] a super fun night-out shadow, as it has really great glitter and easily glides on,” she reviews. In other words, it’s the ideal product for several hours of screaming and dancing while dressed to the nines — and, you know, any other time you just want to have some fun with your makeup.
Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation
Those who have tested a foundation know that the trial does not end in your bathroom. No, the formula must look good in every light and situation before it’s a real contender. TZR Beauty Editor Amanda Ross says this light-diffusing option passes with flying colors. “It looks good in sharp photos; it looks good in real life; it even looks good in my kitchen, which shares the exact lighting plan as the bathroom in the Saw series,” she says. “After testing it several times, I think this actually might be my favorite foundation of the year so far. It makes me feel so confident thanks to the [level of] coverage, but also because I know it’s not going anywhere.”
Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC Cream
In general, even the best of makeup is no match for a sweaty subway commute. So when TZR Senior Designer Lindsay Hattrick realized this CC cream survived this ultimate test with zero patchiness, she knew it was a winner. And that impressive accomplishment wasn’t its only feat. “I usually avoid foundation with [matte] coverage as it [often] clogs my pores, but I found this one to be very light and good for sensitive skin!” she says of its oil-free, noncomedogenic, and hypoallergenic formula. Despite its “matte” label, Hattrick also says the product is super buildable and can produce a skin-like finish by layering “any sort of glowy skin care” underneath.
Merit Day Glow Dewy Highlighting Balm in Citrine
The name “Day Glow” might bring thoughts of fluorescent colors to mind, but don’t be fooled — Merit’s daytime-appropriate highlighting balm is as subtle as it gets. Upon trialing its “Citrine” shade, Kaitlin Cubria, Elite Daily deputy lifestyle, fashion, and beauty editor, says, “It’s less glittery and more natural than a lot of other [highlighters], which I appreciate.” She especially loves its creaminess, which is thanks to the product’s squalane- and olive fruit oil-infused. “Best to use on lighter makeup days so you can really see it in action,” she adds.
Half Magic Beauty Light Trap
Highlighter hues tend to have about as much variety as the colors of Kourtney Kardashian’s post-Kravis wardrobe — that is to say, little to none. So for Ashlyn Thompson, BDG’s director of HR, the unexpected shade range was one of the best parts of Half Magic’s Light Trap. “I liked these shades a lot,” she tells TZR. “Especially the purple color; I feel like I don't see [that] a ton, and it was very unique.” And, yes, while there are only two options to choose from (albeit surprising ones), each is made with multidimensional two-tone pigments that give them unique color-shifting abilities — not to mention what Thompson cites as “great and smooth” consistency.
Hourglass Phantom Volumizing Glossy Balm
Say goodbye to your gloss, your balm, your plumper, and your lipstick — this multi-tasker does it all, and does it well. “As someone who can’t stand stickiness, I love that this all-in-one formula gives me the shine of a gloss, the hydration of a balm, and the cushiony color of a lipstick with a dewy finish that doesn't feel like fly paper,” says TZR contributor Amber Kallor. With the added benefits of a softening “conditioning complex” and a curated range of eight shades (Kallor is a particular fan of Thrill, a sheer, cherry red), she says she was hooked on the product the second it launched. Now, she’s moved on to converting her friends.
TZR Senior Social Media Strategist Maggie Haddad’s review of this tinted lip balm is as succinct as the product’s promise: to provide lip care with a wash of color. “Absolutely obsessed!” she raves. “[Lip Treat is] so hydrating, super glossy, and the tints are perfectly subtle.” Given that it’s powered by shea butter and collagen and comes in seven thoughtful, sheer shades, it’s no surprise that it just works.
Rare Beauty Kind Words Matte Lipstick
Let’s play a word association game. When you hear the term “matte lipstick,” what comes to mind? If dry is your first through fifth thoughts, you need Rare Beauty’s Kind Words formula in your life. According to TZR contributor Caroline Tien, the texture is actually a major point in its favor: “It has a creamy finish that feels hydrating instead of drying,” she says. Pair that with the fact that the two shades she tried, “Humble” and “Fun,” work well with her complexion and subtly enhance her natural lip color, and the main words Tien is now associating with this matte lipstick are “big fan.”
Maybelline New York Super Stay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor
Like Ross Geller’s leather pants in Friends, Maybelline’s long-wearing liquid lip color absolutely “does not budge,” TZR’s Deputy Beauty Editor Hannah Baxter reviews. (Although unlike Geller’s shrunken trousers, this product actually won’t come off.) True to its name, the “Super Stay” lip color promises 16 hours of wear, which the brand attributes to its smudge- and transfer-resistant “color lock” formula. And you’ll be happy it’s there to stay: According to Baxter, it also has an “amazing color selection and payoff, is comfortable, and looks even on the lips without dryness.”
Tower 28 MakeWaves Lengthening + Curling Clean Mascara
It’s common in the beauty industry to hear caveats for products in certain categories: “It’s decent — for the price,” for example. Thus, when something is able to transcend those entirely, you know it’s a winner. TZR Deputy Beauty Editor Hannah Baxter says this was absolutely the case for Tower 28’s nontoxic, vegan, and cruelty-free mascara. “The brush builds fan-like definition for your lashes, doesn’t transfer throughout the day, holds a curl like a dream, and isn’t even ‘good for a clean formula’ — it’s just exemplary,” she shares, calling it straight-up “outstanding.” In fact, she says, it’s her new favorite mascara — no caveats needed.
You know that time Tom Cruise was so smitten with Katie Holmes that he jumped on Oprah’s couch? Elite Daily Deputy Lifestyle, Fashion, and Beauty Editor Kaitlin Cubria’s love of this mascara feels like it’s almost reached that level. And given her experience, you can’t blame her for rating the lengthening, conditioning, and flexible formula a six out of five. Cubria explains that because her long lashes are naturally straight, it’s hard for them to hold a curl. “But now, I can forgo my next keratin lash lift: Ami Colé's mascara separates, thickens, and lives up to its name because it amp-clap-li-clap-fies,” she says. “No joke, this is my new Holy Grail mascara.”
Valentino Beauty V-Lighter Face Base Primer & Highlighter
Don’t tell your facialist this — but the next time your skin is feeling lackluster, you can skip the expensive treatments. In the experience of BDG Executive Beauty Director Faith Xue, this hydrating and highlighting multitasker is a worthy alternative. “I reach for this primer whenever my skin looks dull or tired, and it instantly adds a really natural-looking glow,” she tells TZR. And while Xue does note that she avoids using it on her T-zone (because of her oily-combo skin), she maintains that it’s “so lovely” everywhere else. “I also use it after makeup as a highlight on my cheekbones, or mix it in with my foundation to add a glowier finish.”
e.l.f. Cosmetics Acne Fighting Putty Primer
To be honest, you probably need a little *primer* (sorry) on this product before you dive in. First of all, it is a putty, and yes, you do put it on your face. It’s also no average, glow-inducing formula; instead, it leaves a matte finish and includes breakout-fighting ingredients. This slightly unusual combination of features is probably why the primer went viral on TikTok — and also why it exceeded the expectations of BDG’s Executive Beauty Director, Faith Xue. “I love that it's made with salicylic acid to soothe my acne-prone skin, and that it made my foundation go on so much more smoothly,” she says. In fact, for her, it’s gone beyond its intended use — a true sign of a winner. “On good skin days, I'll wear it alone and just dab on concealer!”
Director of Photography: Clarence Fuller
Associate Creative Director, Video: Samuel Schultz
Executive Beauty Director: Faith Xue
Dark Fine Grained Volcanic Rock VP Creative, Video: Lauren Sofair