Raise your hand if you get sucked into watching beauty tutorials on Instagram pretty much on the daily — and then immediately fill your Amazon cart to the brim with a million products because some beauty blogger somewhere swore by them?
Yep; I get it. And I’m guilty as charged, too.
I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime, mesmerized by face contouring videos, on more than one occasion — and then purchased all of the necessary products, only to let them sit at the bottom of my makeup drawer. I’ve vowed to start using rose water facial mist (despite not knowing 100% what it does) because all the Instagram people seem to be loving it. And I’ve told myself that I have to get around to establishing a nightly skincare routine because apparently, lazily using makeup wipes at the end of a long day isn’t the best approach.
But let’s be real — how many of the beauty items that you’ve purchased because someone told you to have actually been worth it?
That’s what I thought.
And while I’m not saying that wearing a new shade of lipstick is suddenly going to change your world, it’d sure be awesome if it kinda did, amiright?
Recently, I put this question our into the universe (AKA I fired off a status update on Facebook) to see which beauty items women swore by. I wanted to know the one thing they’ve purchased recently that was a game-changer — and more importantly, why. The comments came fast and furious, and within an hour, my little Facebook post had over 100 recommendations from women I trust who all were vying to share their absolute favorite beauty products.
Here’s a sampling of some of their faves …
1. DreamHome Satin Pillowcases
I know, I know — how, exactly, is a set of pillowcases a beauty item? I was confused, too. But one of my friends swore that sleeping on a satin or silk pillow case with a messy high bun at night protects her blowout for four days. (I repeat: F-O-U-R.)
Turns out, it’s definitely a thing I wish I’d known about sooner.
“Cotton absorbs moisture, while silk retains it, so when you lie on a silk or satin pillowcase, the oils from your strands are maintained rather than soaked up, leaving your hair nourished rather than dry,” celeb stylist Jen Atkins told Cosmo. “This is especially beneficial for hair types that are prone to frizz, such as coarse hair types or girls who have wiry curls.”
2. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
More than one friend vowed that dry shampoo was a “game-changer” for them, but that Living Proof Perfect Hair Day in particular was their absolute go-to. One friend even said she can go four to five days in between washes. For moms especially, this is HUGE. (If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative, Batiste Cherry dry shampoo ran a close second — and was said to be super yummy smelling.)
3. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray
When you’ve got a packed schedule and more than one kid in tow, getting out the door with both shoes and a bra on is sometimes a feat in and of itself. So when it comes to having the time to style your hair every morning? LOL.
For those who don’t have the time to sit down and curl or blow-dry hair (AKA most of us), this texturizing sea salt spray got several votes of confidence from the ladies I asked. It’ll give you those beachy waves you want without all the work.
4. BeautyCounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion
Amanda S. admitted she’s always struggled with dry patches on her face in the winter, and that applying moisturizing creams to her face just wound up making her skin feel super greasy once she put on makeup.
But this lotion “completely did away with both of those problems,” she told me. “Now, my skin is even and I love that the cream gets its main ingredients from plants, making it safer.”
5. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer
Brows are back, y’all — but having them look on point takes a little work. And I’m not just talking about tweezing, plucking, or threading. One friend, Sarah W., told me that she uses two products to achieve the perfect brow look — this brow definer, plus a brow shaper by Glossier (below).
“My brows always received great compliments in the ’90s and early ’00s, so I grew up thinking I had naturally perfect eyebrows,” Sarah told me. “Then, the compliments stopped, and I realized it was because brow trends totally changed. I became super self-conscious about it, then discovered these two products. I never leave the house without a quick swipe, sometimes even when going to the gym.”
6. Boy Brow by Glossier
According to the Glossier website, Boy Brow is an all-in-one brow fluffer, filler, and shaper that thickens, fills in, and grooms brows into place. It’s basically a creamy wax formula, but if you’re suddenly imagining your eyes feeling like waxy blobs, don’t — it’s said to be inspired by hair pomade, so it gives brows a soft, flexible hold that won’t feel stiff or waxy.
7. Viva Naturals Coconut Oil
Oh, the many wonders of coconut oil … Jenn C. told me she uses it as her daytime and nighttime face cream, but also as her body lotion, cuticle cream, and on her hair.
“I basically wiped out having to buy tons of products and use this for everything,” she shared. “Plus it’s one ingredient and so pure, I know exactly what I’m putting on my skin.”
Another friend told me she combines it with baking soda to create a skin scrub for her face, elbows, feet … you name it.
8. Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment Sunscreen
“I am not a huge makeup person,” Tara M. admitted. (As her friend, I can attest — she is not.) Still, she says she wears this stuff every single day, since it pulls double-duty to give you a bright lip that pops, while protecting your skin from UV rays.
9. Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Cream
“I have super dry hand skin and always have visible cracks along my knuckles in the winter,” Katherine D. shared, “but I’ve always hated hand cream so much that I can’t make myself use it enough, it’s either too greasy or it doesn’t work at all and my hands feel dry again within five minutes.”
Not so with this almond and milk lotion, though, which she says makes her hands feel like “a baby’s bottom.” (Who doesn’t want that?)
10. O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet
I’m gonna be honest: The heels of my feet look like rhinoceros hooves (on a good day). And apparently, I’m not alone. A friend shared that her trick for treating her dry and cracked heels is O’Keefe’s Healthy Feet. When it comes to miracle beauty products, this one ain’t sexy, but Dierdre L. swears “this stuff is amazing!”
11. The Superpack by Glossier
My sister-in-law was quick to share that this face serum pack is one of her main go-tos, because “they literally take seconds” and have made a pretty big impact on her skin since having a baby.
“After pregnancy, you’re dealing with hormonal changes and sleep deprivation, which are hard on the skin, [but] these serums helped me get everything balanced again.”
12. Miracle Leave-In Product
My friend Dara K. is a busy working mom of two who doesn’t have a whole lot of time to fuss with her hair — which is why she swears by this leave-in conditioner spray. “It prevents my hair from getting frizzy whether I blow dry it (rarely) or just let it air dry,” she told me. “It’s a total game changer.”
13. Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
Speaking of leave-in products, Dori M. called this one “life changing.”
“I got it in travel size as well and take it with me every time I travel,” she told me. “Makes my hair super smooth.”
It’s also pretty affordable, and can be found at most local drug stores as well as online.
14. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil
Kiehl’s has a pretty solid reputation across the board, but my co-worker Heather has been loving this midnight recovery oil in particular.
“It goes on like an oil but dries nearly immediately,” she says. “It doesn’t leave any residue and the next morning my skin feels fresh and hydrated. It’s perfect for using after being up late.”
15. Finishing Touch Flawless Hair Remover
Listen, ladies — we might not want to admit it, but most of us battle a fair amount of unwanted facial hair that tweezing alone just won’t cover.
For “the rogue chin hair — err, I mean brow hair” Julie S. recommends this one from Finishing Touch. “[It] also works on the bikini line,” she adds. “It’s amazing.”
Plenty of Amazon reviewers also give it the thumbs up for being quick and efficient and getting that close, smooth shave that most buzzers just don’t. Plus, it’s pretty discreet, since it basically looks like a lipstick.
16. Babyfoot Exfoliation Foot Peel
Okay, I’ll admit it: I nominated this one. But plenty of friends have told me they swear by it, too. Remember my aforementioned rhino feet? Well, I’ve finally started to get a handle on the situation, thanks to this miracle-working foot peel.
The first time I attempted it, I’ll admit I didn’t get things right (hint: read the directions thoroughly, as soaking your feet beforehand is key). But the second time? It was magical. Just be prepared to lose an embarrassing amount of skin for about a week or so. In the end though, it’ll be worth it.
17. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This one came with multiple upvotes from friends, including one who told me that “anyone who breaks out ever should own this.” (How’s that for a solid rec?)
Turns out, this bad boy is well-known for its remarkable abilities to dry up pimples overnight, which is why it’s basically known as a miracle worker. (BRB while I add this to my Amazon cart … )
18. Organic Jojoba Oil
Just in case you hadn’t heard enough about the wonders of essential oils … my friend Tasia P. told me she’s bought into the craze and it’s been totally worth it.
“Essential oils are my life,” she shared. “I mix a little with my lotion and my skin is soft and moisturized all day.”
19. Argan Oil
Speaking of oils … more than one friend recommended argan oil, as well, and my friend Teresa said it’s now a part of her everyday routine to combat wrinkles and dry skin.
“I use it after washing my face with an acne wash which tends to dry out my skin,” she shares. “It’s been great since I started using it — less breakouts and my wrinkles don’t seem severe. Plus, it lasts for a long time because you’re only using a few drops every time.”
20. Active Hydration Serum
My friend Meghan S. told me that this serum from Rodan and Fields was a game-changer, since she’s prone to dry patches all year-round.
“No amount of moisturizer worked, so hydration for me was a life saver,” she says. “I noticed a difference after one use and after continued use, my skin always feels moisturized; even after I wash it.”
But the best part? You apply it at night and “let it do its thing” so that when you wake up, you just wash your face, moisturize, and go.
21. BareMinerals Powder Concealer
I’ve known many friends over the years who have ditched their liquid foundation for this powder concealer after one too many breakouts. My friend Jane M. says, “coming from someone who has tried everything,” it was the only makeup that gave her full coverage without triggering her acne. Plus, it doesn’t give you that dreaded “mask” look, either.
“The look in general is very natural looking, which is what I go for,” she said.
22. TLC Sukari Babyfacial
At least three friends vouched for this lotion by Drunk Elephant — including my friend Rosemarie B., who told me it changed her life. (“Okay, maybe it didn’t change my life,” she clarified, “but it changed my skin for sure!”)
Balking at the $80 price? She was at first, too.
“I couldn’t understand why this product was so expensive until I tried it,” she explains. But once she did? “My skin felt firmer and my complexion was definitely brighter.”
23. Good Genes by Sunday Riley
I’d heard a lot about Good Genes in the last year, with plenty of people saying it’s left their skin looking noticeably healthier and younger. (And you just need to scroll to the Amazon reviews to see that there are a lot of people out there who swear by it.)
Several of my friends said they can’t go without it, either, and despite the hefty price tag, it’s worth it. Since it’s more of a serum than a lotion, you only use a little at a time, so it lasts longer than you’d think.
24. GlamGlow Multitasking Mask Treatment
Anna J. recommended this mask set, which comes with six travel-friendly masks you can literally mix and match to combat a different skin issue you might be currently having.
Broken out? You might want to try the SUPERMUD mask as a spot treatment, but also apply the YOUTHMUD around any areas where you’ve been noticing wrinkles. (Kind of amazing, no?)
25. Derma Roller
More than a few friends recommended derma rollers, which — in case you haven’t heard — have quickly become a thing. The roller itself consists of tiny micro-needles, which when rolled across the skin pricks it ever so gently. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t actually hurt!) According to Byrdie, your body will then rush extra doses of collagen and elastin to the points of contact in order to heal the skin, which in turn fills in fine lines and wrinkles. It also works to lessen the appearance of under-eye bags. (In other words: It’s magic.)
26. DevaCurl Miracle Workers Kit
As a curly-haired girl myself, I can attest to the fact that while curls are beautiful and wonderful, they are a challenge to maintain. My friend Marie V. knows what it’s like, too; she’s had a wild, curly mane of red hair since forever, and has always been able to pull off that perfectly curled, non-frizzy look with ease. She attributes it all to DevaCurl, which she’s been using for — get this — over a decade.
27. Charcoal Mask
Who doesn’t love a good face mask? (Seriously, I don’t think there’s a soul on this planet who doesn’t enjoy a nightly mask that really cleans those pores out.) My friend Anni C. went so far as to call it “magic,” noting that she saw a difference in her skin right away. That’s probably due to the bamboo charcoal, which according to the website, “acts as a magnet” to literally suck dirt and oil out from your pores.
29. Trader Joe’s Nourish Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer
Not one, but two of my friends suggested this facial moisturizer from Trader Joe’s, which made me curious enough to give it a try — and I’m happy to report, I now love it too. It gives you just the right amount of moisture without making your skin oily or gross (which for me, is always a tricky balance).
Available in Trader Joe’s stores, $5.99
30. Nourishing Cream Cleanser
Lauren V. said she was plagued for years by hormonal acne, until she went “clean” when it came to all her beauty products, and ditched chemical-laden skincare. This nourishing cream cleanser from BeautyCounter is now one of her daily go-tos, and except for the occasional rogue breakout, her skin’s never been better.
31. Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes
Let’s be honest — at the end of a long day, who really has the time (or energy, frankly) to thoroughly wash off their makeup? Okay, maybe some of us do. But not all (ahem, me). Michelle C. swears by these Pacifica makeup wipes, which are good at removing dirt, grime, and makeup (even waterproof mascara!). They’re also sulfate- and paraben-free, so they’re gentle on your skin and (bonus!) they’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free, too.