Highlighters. Face primers. Brow fillers. Ever gotten the hard sell for these newish offerings and wondered if they actually serve a purpose?
“They do, more than you can imagine,” says Suzy Gerstein, a New York City–based celebrity makeup artist.
So much so that these items deserve a permanent home in your cosmetics bag, right alongside your mascara, foundation, and lipstick. Here, the underrated products you didn’t realize you needed, wanted, or had to have.
Think highlighters will make you look like you’re wearing shimmery special-occasion makeup? No worries. Highlighters are great for every day because “they contain pearly pigments that light up your skin,” explains celebrity makeup artist Fiona Styles. So you get a soft and subtle glow.
Brush on your cheekbones before blush (to help blush adhere), then dust on top of blush for a more luminous.
If you want your makeup to go on evenly and last all day, a primer is a must-have, says Amy Kernahan, makeup artist and owner of Amy Kernahan Makeup Studio in New York City: “It’s also great for smoothing fine lines and shrinking pores.”
Just dab a thin layer over your moisturizer and give it a minute to sink in before putting on makeup. New formulas come with built-in color (so you can forgo foundation) and tackle skin issues like acne and rosacea.
Invisible lip liner
Sure, Angelina Jolie can opt for just gloss. But for those of us who aren’t blessed with that full of a pout, her makeup artist has the secret. “Lip liner!” says Mary Burton, who has worked with Jolie. “It’s the five-second step you can’t skip,” because it adds instant fullness and keeps lipstick in place.
For those of us who can never figure out how to choose the perfect color, new wax-based, invisible liners have made it ever so easy to create a colorless waterproof border that defines lips. The best part? “It guarantees that liner won’t look drawn on, which is never a good look,” says Burton. Trace the pencil just outside the lip line, then follow with your regular lipstick.
Most women avoid filling in their brows because they’re afraid they won’t look natural, says brow expert Reema Khan, founder of S.h.a.p.e.s. Brow Bar: “But the fear of bad pencil lines can be put to rest with colored brow markers and gels—the easiest, most natural way to fill in brows.”
Brow markers (they function like a pen) are perfect for targeting small gaps “Just make sure to run a clean mascara spoolie through brows afterward to remove any excess pigment,” she adds. Another option: brow gels that look like mascara, and are just as easy to use. “One quick brush across the brows and you’re set,” says Khan.
This life-changing new breed of concealer is “the first thing I reach for when I begin making someone over,” says Gerstein. “Sheerer than traditional cover-up, brightening concealers are infused with peachy-pink, light-reflective particles that do a great job of canceling out dark circles and reviving the skin under your eyes.”
To apply, just run the applicator (they typically come in easy-to-dab-on pens) under the eyes from the tear duct to the eyes’ outer corner, then use your ring finger to gently blend. While you’re at it, dab any excess over your lids and up to your brow bone to even out discoloration there, too—many formulas are so lightweight, they can double as a crease-free shadow.