Dear Megan,

What are your top 5 makeup products?

– Imrad

While it might make sense to lay out the 5 products I use daily, I think it makes more sense to say the 5 that have saved my butt, really wowed me, or that I just keep coming back to–and since we’re talking makeup only, WINK is not one of them!

Without overthinking it, here’s what I always reach for:


Product #1: Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer by Too Faced 

Why? This product is a literal lifesaver. I used to hate wearing eyeshadow before I discovered Shadow Insurance, because my eyeshadow would get all up in the crease after a few hours of wear at that does not look good. I also tend to touch my face/eyes/etc a lot — allergies or OCD, whatever the case — it messed up my eye makeup. This keeps my eyeshadow and eyeliner in place all day and all night.

Pro Tip: You will notice that eyeshadow applies a bit differently with a solid shadow primer. My best suggestions is either to get used to the feeling of applying a lot of eyeshadow–you really have to commit–or applying a transparent or light eyeshadow base first, before blending in your other colors. Some artists start with dark eyeshadow colors first, then move to lighter and lighter shadows; I do the opposite. To each his own!


Product #2: Naked 2 Palette by Urban Decay

Why? This palette is a great value for the money. It literally lasts forever. The shadows are highly pigmented with a good payoff and the colors are too die for. It has the entire bronzey-gold range, from black to bronze to gold to ivory shimmer, that totally goes with my blue eyes. Plus, the eyeshadow brush inside is actually decent! It’s not a piece of crap like every other brush you get for free in eyeshadow palettes. And is it really free if its garbage? You have to spend time to throw it away, and time is money, people. Anyway, this palette is worth the splurge.

Pro Tip: Again, I work from light to dark, starting with an every day look with “bootycall” in the brow arch and inner corners, and “Verve” + “YDK” finishing out the lid and outer corner or “Suspect” + “Snakebite”, depending on my outfit. At night I go a little darker, with  “YDK” + “Busted”. “Blackout” if you’re really feeling sassy. Again, warm or cool, whatever you’re wearing, this palette just works.


Product #3NARS lipstick

Why? Wow, the new NARS packaging with the magnetic seal is just A+. NARS lipstick has a very smooth application without any bad smell or fragrance (because let’s be real, some lipsticks still stink!). Pigments are always on point; they lead the way in lipsticks as far as I’m concerned, and of course their blushes are a staple. The payoff on their lipsticks is an A-. I think BITE has them beat, and some collections are better than others, but overall I love NARS.

Pro Tip: Find a matching lip liner with your lipstick and line lips first–not just around the edges, but color in the entire lip–before applying this lipstick. We all know how bad it is for your lipstick to rub off during the day. It won’t if you color the entire lips with a liner. Now, good look finding a liner to match every lipstick!


Product #4: Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

Why? This Primer is not too dry and not too oily; it’s the perfect middle ground. You can use this primer any season, any time. Why do you need it? So your foundation will stay all day. As you sweat, walk around, touch your face – literally everything helps your makeup come off your face. Anything on top of your foundation like blush or bronzer doesn’t even stand a chance. Your makeup will stay all day with this great primer.

Pro-Tip: Cover your entire face, down under your chin a bit. Even if you don’t apply makeup to any part of your neck, it will help everything smooth out. If you do apply makeup down there, it will help a lot.


Product #5: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Why? Just wow. precise. long-lasting. tear-proof. amazing. This eyeliner can withstand anything. It is the best. I’ll never go back.

Pro-tip: Use Shadow Insurance to really make this baby stay. However, you should apply your eyeshadow before your liner. It gives a better application and glides much easier. Plus, putting on eye shadow after eyeliner will mute the color and definition–which kind of defeats the point. The precision tip will help you create the perfect cat eye, even if you need a few tries to get it right.

Also, please don’t use liquid eyeliner on your bottom lid or waterline! Not just because it won’t work, but because it willget in your eye and it will hurt. Reserve the tight-lining for a nice, smooth gel-like pencil.

My 6th product – You Need It Post-Primer, Pre-Makeup

As for skincare, which is an every day thing, not just a “make up” thing: face oils are getting really popular pre-makeup, and for good reason. Let me tell you why: sometimes–whether it’s because it’s winter or my skin is just freaking out–my skin is super dry. When I try to put makeup on without a face oil, the makeup looks like it’s a totally separate layer from my face. It can look cakey, even if I’m not wearing a lot of makeup. It’s embarassing.

So, I use SHINE (available here) face oil pre-makeup, but post-Hourglass primer. I apply with bare hands or a beauty blender sponge. I also use it at night, before bed, as a total face oil to breakdown hyper-pigmentation (even skin tone) and protect for from future oxidative damage. I also use WINK (available here) at night to protect, condition and nourish my lashes and brows. They are, of course, my products, but I believe in them. I use them both every day.

*This post was part of our Beauty Q&A series, where our founder Megan answers your beauty questions every Tuesday and Thursday on the blog. Submit your beauty question to [email protected] 

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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