I’m definitely not a makeup guru but I am into makeup. My collection isn’t huge and I tend to stick to the same products… But that’s mainly because I crave routine and familiarity. Every once in a while I will try a new beauty product. A majority of the time though, I stick to what I know. My holy grails.
I find products that I LOVE and I have a hard time parting with them or finding other products than can top them. I feel like most people are like that. We desire an easy, no fuss routine when it comes to beauty. And on the daily, I’m definitely one of those people.
I really only have three looks depending on what’s going down that day. I have: every day, every day with a lil extra, and going out with a whole lotta extra.
So for now, let’s talk about my every day makeup routine that’s full of products and tools that I will never ever (in the foreseeable future) stop using… my holy grails. I’m going to throw some application tips in here too because the application method is really just as important as the products and tools are.
Let’s get it going.
This post contains affiliate links for some of my favorite products. You can trust that I only ever recommend products that I actually love + trust. Check out my disclosure policy.
First things first… While this isn’t necessarily makeup, it’s an essential step to ensure that your makeup is doing what it’s made to do and is living up to its potential:
Start with a clean, moisturized face. Simple as that. We all have our favorite skincare products and moisturizer. So… grab yours and use it. Before you apply any makeup. Every time. You can check my favorite products and routines out here + check out how my skin handled using coconut oil as a moisturizer for 7 days here.
I don’t care if it’s 3pm and I’m just now doing my makeup for the day. I will wash and moisturize my face the same way I did earlier in the morning.
Now when it comes to foundation and concealer… I really just prefer concealer on the daily. But since I want to give you a full face of holy grail products, I’m going to go ahead and include my foundation in here.
The one basic foundation that I have been able to count on for yearsss.
I’ve tried so many foundations. And I’ve loved so many foundations!
Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing high-end and drugstore foundations out there. But I tend to gravitate away from a majority of foundations at some point because most of them can only be used for certain looks.
Some foundations can only be used for super light and natural looks. Others can only be used for going out, full on glam looks.
This foundation is a holy grail for me because I know that it’ll look great no matter what look I’m doing. It can be lightly applied to just even out the skin (add some brows and light mascara and go), or it can be built up for a super full coverage look (with glam lashes, full contour, and liquid lip).
I’m all about products that can be used different ways. And this product is definitely the most versatile foundation I’ve used. It can be dewy or matte, light or heavy, everyday or glam.
Speaking of dewy and matte… That’s another selling point for me with this foundation — its formula. When it’s first applied to the skin it has somewhat of a dewy finish (not oily). But if you “bake” or apply a mattifying powder, this foundation goes matte and pretty much stays that way all day.
I have noticed that about an hour after doing my makeup with this foundation, that some of the dewiness will start peaking back up through the powder. Which I am good with! I actually look forward to this happening because it keeps my makeup from looking caked on and once it happens, it tends not to get any worse.
And you may have noticed that the matte trend that blew up over the past couple of years is slowly starting to transition into a dewy/highlight trend! So this foundation is a winner for that!
I have two shades: W2 and W5. One of which matches my skin tone when I’m at my palest and the other matches my self tanner.
Currently, I mix them together to get a good shade — which is always smart to make sure you use your products up before they go bad (hello, do I look like the wasteful type?).
Holy grail concealer = highlighting miracle worker.
These concealers have the creamiest texture in the history of concealers. Hands down. I haven’t used a different concealer in almost two years I think because I am that obsessed.
They come in a twist up tube that has a pretty decent sized applicator on the end. Which I actually really love. I know some people hate attached applicators because they’re scared of it spreading bacteria and causing breakouts.
But I’ve never narrowed this down to being a source of my breakouts. Mainly because I ALWAYS make sure my face is clean right before I use the concealer. So there really isn’t much room for contamination.
When applying this concealer, I only apply it in the center of my face:
Three lines going down in a triangle shape under my eyes, three lines facing out in the center of my forehead starting between my eyebrows, a line down the center of my nose, on the sides of my nostrils (if there’s redness), a dot at the peak of my lips, and a small line across my chin. Aka the places on my face that I want to appear lighter and the places that won’t naturally have shadows.
I use a complexion sponge (we’ll get to that later on) and blend all of this out in a patting motion. NO rubbing. Please please please, no rubbing.
By patting the product into the skin you make sure that it stays in place and gives the converage that it’s supposed to. If you rub the product, you move it around. It doesn’t stay where you need/want it to be and it won’t do its job/won’t give you any coverage at all (and this rule stands for any product ever).
I use the shade “Light” because it has a slight yellow undertone which is perfect for olive skin tones. If you have red or pink undertones in your skin then you should try the “Fair” shade because it has a slight pink undertone. Another shade for you if you have red or pink undertones is the “Brightener” shade which is absolutely beautiful and glowing on the skin.
20-24 minutes at 350 degrees.
Oh wait… that’s brownies.
Baking a face though is just as good as brownies in my opinion. Yes, bake your face. Set your concealer. If you don’t do this, your makeup will move throughout the day. I promise.
I almost have no words. Which is saying something huge because very rarely am I speechless.
This powder is a holy grail because… well… IT JUST IS.
It’s the perfect texture, it turns any concealer or foundation matte in an instant, it brushes away effortlessly, it leaves a flawless complexion, and it’s perfect for baking.
Back to this sponge for a second. If you want to know why I think these sponges are absolutely magical… then keep reading because I’ll get there I promise. But the reason I use this particular sponge is because the shape is ideally made for contouring and highlighting.
It has somewhat of an hourglass shape with one end being larger and the other end being smaller. Both ends have a flat edge on them. This edge is what I use to dip it into the baking powder and dab into the same exact areas that I applied my concealer in the center of my face.
For under the eyes and around the nose, I use the smaller end. For the center of the forehead and chin, I use the larger end.
Once the powder is applied, I typically brush away my forehead and chin immediately. I let the powder “bake” under my eyes and around my nose for probably 5 minutes before wiping it away while I do my brows or mascara. You want to “bake” the longest where you are the oiliest or where you have the most liquid product.
The ONLY (and I promise the only) downside to this powder is the packaging. It’s made for professional makeup artists so the packaging is bulky and just not practical for everyday use. It literally is 100% comparable to a jar of garlic seasoning.
The product is SO GOOD though that I can get past it being a garlic seasoning look-alike!
And because the solution is easy… find a smaller container. I put some of the product in a container that I had leftover from a different brand of powder (I actually dumped out the existing powder that was in there and washed it down the sink… Once you go RCMA, you never go back).
If you don’t have a container laying around (it’s okay, most people don’t), then you can find them super cheap on Amazon. This deal here is great because 1. there’s two containers 2. they’re the PERFECT size for holding enough product but not being too large and 3. has a sifter.
Yes, one for your vanity and one for your purse. Did I mention this powder is great for touch-ups throughout the day?
Kat Von D is a goddess.
When it comes to contouring and bronzing… This holy grail product is something that I don’t think will ever be beat. I’m telling you, it’s amazing.
The Shade + Light palette. Get it. Use it. Fall in love with it.
I will say… the price is pretty up there compared to all of my other go-to products. But there’s a reason for that and it’s so worth it. I actually think it’s saying something that I typically only use drugstore or products with a cheaper price tag, and yet will pay full price for this products. That’s just how good it is.
The colors are amazing, it’s super blendable, and it really lasts FOREVER. I have had mine for over a year, and only hit pan in 2 out of the 6 shades.
I use the bottom middle to bronze all over the outer edge of my face. Then I use the bottom left shade to contour my cheeks, nose, and jawline. Occasionally, I will use a very small amount of the bottom right shade for a drastic contour if I’m going out and want a glam look. The two top shades (left and middle) are the shades I will use to do a quick set or touch up on the center of my face or any oily areas.
The ONLY color I have never used is the top right. But that’s okay. For an entire palette… being able to use 5/6 of the shades is pretty damn good.
Here’s a swatch photo of the 6 shades in the palette (going left to right and top to bottom) in natural sunlight. I want to show you how diverse the colors are, and yet how universal the palette can be for everyone. There are cool tones, warm tones, highlighting shades, contouring shades, and bronzing shades.
If I was only able to use one makeup product for the rest of my life… It would be this one.
ABH Dipbrow. HOLY. FREAKING. GRAIL.
You can use this on your brows and sleep in it for 2 days and this shit will not budge (not that I recommend doing that… but you definitely could). That’s honestly the main thing for me when it comes to brows — that I can go out, sweat, be in the sun and water for an entire day and my brows will remain intact (Florida problems, I’m telling you).
Another reason I’m obsessed with this is because it lasts so so so long. And if it starts to dry out, add some oil and mix it up — good as new and as creamy as the first day you opened it.
I have tried other brow products: pencils, gels. The reason I prefer a dipbrow over a pencil is because of the application.
I find it easier to apply a dipbrow because you can use the brush to blend and fade, and then use the tip of the brush to create actual hair-like lines. Which is key to making brows look as natural as possible (without actually being natural).
With pencils, it’s harder for me to blend the product out and my brows always look way too harsh.
A good mascara won’t make or break ya… But having one is a perk.
Mascara is something that I’m pretty indifferent about on the usual. I have one mascara that I’ve repurchased for about a year and a half now, but before that I was just using whatever random mascara I had at the moment.
The obsession is so real with this falsies mascara. It makes my lashes so long and SO voluminous all at once. Usually, a mascara just does one or the other. But this one does both. So yeah, I would consider this a lash holy grail for that fact alone.
I also love it because you can use one light coat for an everyday “natural” look, or a few coats for a super dramatic look. Like I said earlier, I am all about products that can be used in different ways.
I will warn you though, be careful with this mascara. Because you can go from PERFECT lashes one second to taking it one step too far and having spider lashes. There is a very fine line and you need to make sure not to cross it ha!
I want my highlight to SHINE.
Now I’m about to be really real with you for a minute. About highlighters. High-end highlighters, specifically. They’re not worth it. Please do not EVER spend $30+ on a highlighter.
Don’t think that this is me dissing highlighters. Because oh man do I appreciate a blinding glow. I just know that my $8 highlighter goes on prettier than every single high-end highlighter that I have ever tried.
$8 highlighter say whaaat? Colourpop my friends. Colourpop. This whole brand is a holy grail for me because they’ve never let me down on ANY makeup product.
But their highlighter in “Lunch Money” is my holy grail of holy grails. It is hands down my favorite makeup product that I own.
So, please, before you order another high-end highlight, or even go to the drugstore to try yet another cheap one… check them out and get a high-end highlight for a drugstore price.
The reason these highlights are so pretty is because of the formula. They’re a “super shock” formula so they’re more of a cream than anything else. This makes them easy to apply, beautiful on any type of skin super buildable, and they last on the face all day.
I use this setting brush to apply it to my cheekbones and bridge of my nose because this brush is the PERFECT shape and size for applying highlighters. For the inner corners of my eyes and under my brow, I use this base shadow brush to place the product and then use my pinky finger to blend out the edges a little further. Blending with your finger after applying is a good way to make sure that the highlight blends seamlessly into any shadow you have on.
Quick rundown on my holy grail brushes and sponges:
You’ve probably noticed a pattern throughout this post… I love Real Techniques. No shame in my game.
Let’s talk about their beauty sponges for a sec.
The complexion sponge and the sculpting sponge are absolutely incredible. They make makeup application a breeze. Holy grail? I think yes. Trust me, you need these sponges in your life (this set is $5 cheaper from here than anywhere else it’s sold).
To use the complexion sponge for foundation and concealer, I squeeze it under water for about 15 seconds until the size of the sponge nearly doubles, and then squeeze all of the extra water out.
The reason you want to use this sponge when it’s damp is because it gives a FLAWLESS finish. It smooths the product out perfectly, pats it into the skin, and soaks up any extra product that would make it look caked on.
To use the sculpting sponge for baking, I don’t dampen it. I know some people will tell you to… But I find that it makes my powder clump up on the sponge if it’s damp. This wastes so much product. Plus, I can’t tell a difference in the powder’s finish once it’s on the skin whether the sponge was dry or damp. So if you’re concerned about saving product… just keep the baking sponge dry.
I’m equally as obsessed with the Real Techniques brushes too.
ALL OF THEM blend so well, and can provide light or heavy coverage for whatever type of product that you use them for.
A few of my favorite brushes are:
The “setting brush” which I use for applying my cheekbone and nose highlight, like I mentioned earlier.
The “base shadow brush” which I also mentioned earlier for applying highlight to the inner corners of my eyes, under the arch in my brow, and above my top lip.
The “stippling brush” is what I use sometimes to lightly blend out harsh lines in my bronzer or contour areas. The synthetic bristles do an amazing job at blending out product without moving it.
The “deluxe crease brush” is a multifunctional brush for me (which, for the 3rd time, I LOVE). I use it for blending out nose contour, bottom lip contour, and basic shades in the crease of the eye.
Another brand of brushes that I LOVE with a cheap price tag:
If I apply makeup and don’t use a Real Techniques applicator, then I’m using an e.l.f. brush.
My go-to e.l.f. brushes are:
The “complexion brush” which I use for setting foundation and concealer with the lighter shades in the Kat Von D palette, or brushing away the RCMA powder after baking.
The “kabuki face brush” which is amazing for all over bronzing is what I use with the bottom middle shade in the Kat Von D palette for a good all-over, warm bronze.
The “angled blush brush” is an every day brush that can be used for light or heavy contour. I use it with the bottom left contour shade in the Kat Von D palette and place it in the hollows of my cheeks and under my jawline.
The “powder brush” isn’t something I use every day, but I do use it when I’m going out and applying heavier makeup. When I do use it, it’s after bronzing and contouring. I dip it into a small amount of the RCMA powder and wipe a straight line under my bronze and contour. I let it sit for a moment, and then wipe it away with the “complexion brush”. This creates a clean, dramatic line that is perfect for a night out.
The “eyeshadow C brush” is great for placing nose contour. I always have to blend with the “deluxe crease brush” that I mentioned earlier from Real Techniques, but I always place the product with this. Since the brush is long and thin, it makes it easy to make sure that contouring product goes exactly where I want it to.
The “small angled brush” is what I use for my brows with the dipbrow.
What are some of your holy grail products?!
Like I said, I crave routine and familiarity when it comes to beauty products. BUT I do like to venture out sometimes and try new things.
So please let me know if you have any go-to products that you’ll never give up! I’d love to give them a shot.
Unless it’s a highlighter and then I’m just going to tell you to forget it and send you to Colourpop.
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