Tried and True Beauty Products

In my twenties, I loved trying new cosmetic products. In my thirties...things changed a bit. It's probably related to having kids and having less time to get ready in general, but now I'm don't do a lot of experimenting with makeup. I just want reliable products that get the job done every time and I can simply re-purchase them when I run out. Over the years I've built up a nice collection of tried and true beauty items, so today it's beauty product show and tell. I've re-purchased every single one of these items at least three times, and in some cases they've been a staple for over 16 years!

Face Staples:
1. Olay Total Effects with SPF: Amazon
I've been using this moisturizer since its launch in 1999. It's a nice, lightweight everyday moisturizer with SPF. It doesn't make my skin breakout and it doesn't feel greasy or heavy.

2. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation: Nordstrom
Believe it or not, this is the only foundation I've used or even tried since 1998. Prior to that I didn't wear foundation because it either made me break out or I couldn't apply it easily and blend it right. I just got tired of spending money on foundation that I ended up throwing away. This has so many color options so finding a good match for my skin was simple, and it's just so fast and easy to apply. I really don't want to go back to the expensive trial and error process with foundation so I just stick with my favorite.

Eye & Brow Staples:
3. MAC Paint: Nordstrom
I use this product in "Bare Canvas" as an eye shadow base every day. It brings out the pigment in my eye shadow really well and seems to help it hold on to my lids all day.

4. Cover Girl Clear Mascara: Amazon
I use this on my eyebrows to shape them a little and hold them in place. My eyebrows are hardly enviable, but this helps improve them all the same.

5. Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Liner: Drugstore
This mechanical pencil goes on smooth and easy and lasts all day on me. It's also very affordable (under $10), and since I go through lipliner and eyeliner pencils pretty quickly, I like not having to spend a fortune to replace them.

6. Sonia Kashuk Brow Definer (In Taupe): Target
I used to be afraid of brow pencils because I thought they would give me a harsh, drawn-on look. But this one has a nice powdery texture that blends easily with my brows and is only six bucks.

Eye Makeup Remover Staples:
7. Maybelline Expert Eyes: Amazon
I keep two kinds of eye makeup remover on hand at all times, even when I travel. I generally use the Maybelline version with a Q-Tip for clean up after mascara and eye liner. It doesn't leave any greasy residue (it feels just like water) so I can apply the rest of my eye-makeup immediately after using it.

8. Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover: Amazon
This is great for easily removing my mascara and eye makeup at the end of the day. I don't like using it for clean-up during application because despite being oil-free, it still leaves a kind of oily residue that doesn't wear off until I shower or wash my face again. I have also tried the Target version of this and it irritated my eyes, so I don't mind paying the extra $2.00 for the Neutrogena.

Lip Product Staples:
9. Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner: Drugstore
Just like the Rimmel eyeliner, this goes on smooth and easy and lasts really well for me at a bargain price (under $10). It's non-drying and blends really well with my lipstick since I don't want the exaggerated, outlined lip look. Two of my favorite colors are Addiction (nude) and Enchantment (pink).

10. MAC Lipstick: Nordstrom
These come in a variety of formulas and some of them are pretty dry, but I do like their Frost (in not-too-frosty shades) and Lustre formulas. For a natural everyday lip I like Syrup or Fabby. For evening or more dramatic looks I use Desire and Rebel.

11. MAC Lipglass: Nordstrom
I apply just a very thin layer of this gloss on top of my lipstick and liner since I'm not going for the ultra-glossy look. I mainly like it for the extra moisture and the fact that it seems to make any lipstick last a lot longer than it does on its own. I keep C-Thru and Oyster Girl on hand since they have a sheer application that blends well with my other lipsticks.

Eye Shadow, Blush, Mascara:
12. MAC Eye Shadows: Nordstrom (Custom Color Palette)
As you can see, a lot of my shadows are well-loved! I did have to go through a lot of trial and error to find eye shadows that flattered me, and now I rarely purchase new colors. I just replace my favorites (if I ever use them up)! But I do love MAC shadows for their pigment and wide selection of colors.

13. Maybelline The Falsies Mascara: Amazon
Okay, this is one category of beauty products where I still do a lot of experimenting. Anytime something new comes out that promises thicker, fuller, more dramatic lashes I end up trying it. However, I have repurchased The Falsies many times and it's my go-to and current everyday favorite.

14. MAC Blush: Nordstrom (Color Displayed: Well Dressed)
Not much to say about this one! I have a feeling I could find a cheaper alternative for this blush but I just haven't put the effort into looking for a replacement. Especially when a single container lasts a couple of years!

Hair Styling Staples:
15. Matrix Total Results Amplify Volume Hairspray: Amazon
This is another Blue Ribbon, 15+ year staple product for me. It sets my hair in place and gives it a light-medium hold without being too stiff or leaving a lot of residue. So if I need to adjust some pieces of hair I can comb this right out. Every few years I will purchase a few different brands of drugstore hair spray trying to find a cheaper alternative for this and I have never found anything that works the same. And then I ask myself why I wasted all that money because by the time I buy two drugstore hair sprays that don't work, I could have purchased this. I don't even want to think about what I'll do if this gets discontinued!

16. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Hairspray: Amazon
I initially bought this to see if it could replace my Matrix spray, but it's a more firm hold and I use it as a finishing spray. I've tried a lot of popular and more expensive hair sprays (e.g. Sebastian Shaper Plus, Big Sexy Hair) and this works better for me than those at a fraction of the cost.

17. Biosilk Silk Therapy: Amazon
I've had issues with hair breakage due to heat styling so I've learned the hard way about the importance of heat protection! Now I use just a little bit of this on the ends of my hair before heat styling and so far so good. I have rather thin, fine hair so I don't like to put it all over my head or I feel like my hair looks too flat and limp, .

* * *
Clearly I haven't mastered the art of nicely staging my products with flowers and a latté for their photos in order to branch out into full-fledged beauty blogging. But I've really enjoyed similar posts from my non-beauty blogger friends like Kristen and Gretchen that have lead me to discover some great new products (that just might make the re-purchase list next time!) so I wanted to spread the word on my favorites too!

Linking up with: 



  1. I love seeing people favorites, so I love this post. I love MAC eyeshadows too. Tomorrow my post is kinda similar.


  2. So fun to see you what others use! I love paint pot and Mac lipsticks so good! Thanks for linking to my blog :) I feel famous!

  3. I'm laughing at your comment about not having flowers and a latte sitting in the background because one would think everyone had those on their bathroom counter. I'm so nosy and I love reading posts like this. It's made me realize that I don't have a single MAC product. I think I'm intimidated by the people working at the counter. I'd probably buy more if they carried it at Sephora and I could play with it in peace. I should probably try at least a lipstick.

  4. I might need to try the MAC foundation. I have a couple that have purchased a second and a third time but none that have just blown my mind. I like them already but that's the one product for which I always have a wandering eye! And I remember loving your shadow and mascara the times I've seen you, so thanks for sharing those also!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

  5. I always enjoy seeing what others use as well. I keep my makeup products pretty simple as well. Thanks for sharing!


    Hope to see your Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  6. I use the same MAC studio finish and eye makeup remover! I don't buy other MAC products too often just because I am cheap, they they are my favorite. I am the same way, once I find something I pretty much stick to it. I might need to try that face lotion though.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  7. I love Rimmel and cheaper drugstore brands. I don't feel as guilty when I buy it. Great post!

  8. aw shucks thanks for the shout out girl. i totally like non beauty blogger posts like these more than beauty bloggers recommending things.. if that even makes sense. i don't think i will ever find a staple mascara purely because i love to play around with them. i have never even completely used one, because i move on to the next one before the first one is empty lol. i don't think i have tried the falsies yet. every time i go to the store to buy some olay stuff, i get SO overwhelmed by all the choices. i really need to start using something more than basic moisturiser though, aint getting any younger. you look amazing so clearly i need to buy all the things that you use.

  9. Fun post. I think finding a good foundation or concealer is the worst. I think I finally found keepers: urban decay naked skin foundation and under eye concealer, and almay clear complexion.

    1. I agree about foundation/concealer! So many variations to consider from skin type to color match to formula! Glad you found some winners and thanks for sharing yours!

  10. I have some products that I stick with and others that I'm still trying to find the one! I love the Olay moisturizer too! Thanks for sharing these!

    Doused In Pink

  11. I am all about MAC Studio Fix and Maybelline's Falsies! Every time I stray away I always come right back :)

  12. I'm a product junkie, so I love reading posts like this! Can't wait to try some of your faves!

    1. Thanks for reading Heather! So glad you enjoyed!

  13. fun post! I need to try out some of these products!


  14. How awesome! These products are amazing. I enjoyed reading this!
    Thanks for sharing Gina.
    Xox, Raysa

  15. I do use the MAC Studio Finish and eye makeup remover too. I really want to try out the other brands you mentioned here

    Diwali OOTD on Style.. A Pastiche

  16. I use some of these products..MAC makeup products are some of my favorites and that Neutrogena eye makeup remover works like a charm and doesn't irritate or dry your skin. Thanks for sharing your faves!


  17. Thanks for sharing all of these tried and true beauty products Gina, I also don't experiment as often as I did in my twenties except (like you) when it comes to mascara! I always get suckered in by the thicker, longer promises. I have to say Maybelline is my favourite when it comes to mascara even from the high end designer brands. I'm using their Pumped Up! Colassal one nowadays and I have to say it's really amazing!

  18. wow, great picks! I generally use that same mascara, and the eye brow pencil!

    XO Sahra
    Que Sera Sahra

  19. As I lie here sick in bed, it's really nice to see your beauty products! I love so many of the products you use, especially Mac syrup lipstick. It's a great color. Hope you're having a great week! I'm just trying to get through mine!

  20. I love seeing what people are wearing and rocking. I have a couple of items here that are my favorite stills. I do have an upcoming post where I will be talking about alternative to some of my favorite expensive items

    Kreyola Jounerys | Instagram


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