The Beauty Products Every Woman Should Be Using

From the moment a girl enters junior high — and maybe even earlier — she's tossed into the mystifying world of beauty. Most of the time, we had no clue what we were doing; our smoke-filled bathrooms were reminiscent of a casino after wrestling with a flat iron for two hours, our unsteady eyeliner handiwork screamed Basquiat rather than Monet, and we chose our foundation shades based upon whichever one would make us look the most tan. 


As exciting as those adolescent times are, they can truly make or break our relationship with beauty products for the rest of our lives. However, whether you came out of your teen years with a deep love for all things beauty or you'd rather do just about anything other than take a trip to Sephora, there's simply certain products that every woman should have.

As a matter of fact, beauty goes much deeper than just painting up our faces — as cliché as it may sound, beauty begins with how we feel. Moreover, first impressions matter. Cosmetology education program Ogle School reports that aside from giving us confidence, a pleasing appearance actually can help us psychologically gain the trust of others and boost our chances of landing job interviews, keep our relationships fresh, and even give off the impression of intelligence. 


So, whether you're a bona fide makeup junkie or prefer to only wash your face with bar soap, let's further explore which products are an absolute must in your arsenal.


If you ask an older woman what her biggest regret is when it comes to the world of beauty, nine times out of 10, she will probably say that she wishes she had started using moisturizer sooner. Part of being young includes the ever-so naive way of thinking that our skin will always look smooth and fabulous — but as we get older, we learn that when we're young is actually the time to start taking preventative skin care measures, according to Clinical Medicine & Research. Commonly mistaken for belonging to those with dry skin only, moisturizing is, in fact, an important part of a daily regimen for all skin types.


According to Complete Family Dermatology, moisturizer is a quintessential product in any woman's drawer because it actually strengthens the overall resilience of the skin. For example, our skin cells are constantly being replenished with new ones; this "new skin" is much more tender and at risk of the effects of sunlight and other weather-related concerns — meaning these areas are more likely to develop skin cancer and take a harder hit from other traumas. 

When a moisturizer is involved, it goes beneath the surface to powerfully strengthen these susceptible spots and replenish cells. Not only this, but try to take notice of how much smoother your foundation and makeup goes on after moisturizing — you'll thank us later.


Body oil

The look of glowy, radiant skin has been sought after for centuries. The science behind this could possibly lie in the fact that glowing skin tends to be healthier (via Metrin). One common reason skin glows is because of the body's blood circulation; when blood is pumping at a healthy level in our bodies, it rushes to the surface and causes a flushed or shiny appearance. But more importantly, glowing skin is the result of cell renewal, which is what makes our skin smooth. Smooth skin equals glowing skin, and the best way to stimulate cell renewal? You guessed it, by moisturizing.


Most of us own at least one body lotion for moisturizing, which is great. But according to recent studies performed by experts, it may be time to ditch the body lotion and replace it with something new: body oil. "You might be wondering what is different between a body oil and skin lotions," says Pooja Nagdev, aromatherapist, cosmetologist, and founder of INATUR. "The answer is the fatty content that body oil contains. Fatty content is important for our skin since they help us from skin aging and sun damage" (via Hindustan Times).

Nagdev continues by sharing that many body lotions don't provide the same degree of fatty content that an oil will. Though many think of oils as being greasy, there are a multitude of fast-absorbing body oils on the market — such as "organic and plant-based oils" — that can make the switch from lotions to oils a quick and easy one.


Salon-quality shampoo and conditioner

We've likely all been there: You're sitting in the salon chair and your stylist asks which products you'll be taking home today. Remembering the figure listed on your bank account, you politely tell her no thank you. After all, you can get the exact same thing on the drugstore shelf for a fraction of the price, right? Actually, not so much. Though many of us think that drugstore shampoos and conditioners work just fine for our hair, there's a bit of "smoke and mirrors" involved in that notion, as noted by Kintegra Research. Many drugstore hair products contain silicones that leave a coating on our hair, making it appear shiny and healthy. However, over time, those silicones and other chemicals can slowly break down the hair's integrity.


The good news is, because salon-quality hair products are highly concentrated, a tiny bit will go much farther than you'd think; thus, making the cost balance out with what you'd be paying for a drugstore shampoo and conditioner. Nutrifuse explains that an excellent shampoo and conditioner will create a healthy environment for the scalp, and in turn you'll reap the benefits of balanced oils, stimulated hair growth, and a tangible difference in the softness and strength of your hair.


Biotin has long been called the "beauty vitamin," and for good reason. According to WebMD, biotin is one of the B-complex vitamins that breaks down food inside our bodies and converts it into energy. Though there's plenty of health benefits associated with biotin like diabetes symptom control, pregnancy care, and nervous system regulation, there's just as many claimed physical benefits. Because we can get biotin from certain foods we eat, having a deficiency is rare, but many choose to take biotin in the form of a capsule, tablet, or gummy to really ramp up the effects.


While there's not much concrete guarantee to support biotin's benefits for hair, nail growth, and skin care, many report a major difference in these categories after taking a biotin supplement for several months. "No studies have proven that biotin supplements will change the appearance of your hair, skin or nails," Courtney Barth, registered dietitian, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "But some people find that taking a biotin supplement helps them boost hair and nail growth. It's usually not harmful to try biotin for thicker hair or healthier nails."


This one might be a bit of a given, but the fact that most of us have been cosmetically saved on numerous occasions by concealer, warrants it a place on the list. Neutrogena describes concealer as a product that's "similar to foundation," except its formulation is purposefully much thicker in order to blur away imperfections, highlight forward areas, sculpt the face, prime the eyelids and lips, and even smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Okay, you get the picture — concealer is pretty much a miracle product.


Ultimately, if you love a full-coverage look with plenty of makeup, concealer can be used to hide blemishes in the spots that foundation may not be heavy enough to cover. Using a shade a few notches lighter than your own can help to brighten up your under eye, cupid's bow, eyebrows, and underneath your cheekbones. On the other hand, if a minimal look is what you're into, find a shade that closely matches your own and use it for spot-correcting problem areas and blending it into the skin. Furthermore, makeup distributor HOKMakeup notes that dabbing a tiny bit on before eyeshadow and lip products can take the place of a fabulous primer.

Facial cleanser

While it may seem like using the bar of soap that we use for our body on our face would save time and money, bar soap is actually one of the worst things for the face, per Healthline. Many bar soaps are richly-scented and dyed, meaning that the delicate skin on our faces wouldn't tolerate these types of soaps well. Moreover, bar soaps can be drying, irritating, and abrasive on thin skin, which is exactly what the skin on our faces is.


All of these factors highlight exactly why a facial cleanser is so important. Face washes are specifically designed to work with the fragile skin of the face, and they contain ingredients formulated to give your face the moisture, balance, and cleansing level your skin needs (via Curél). Using products with the word "gentle" in the name is a key factor to look for because the gentler a face wash is, the less harsh and irritating it's going to be.

A lip mask

Thanks to social media, face masks have sprung up in popularity over recent years due to the access to beauty information we have right at our fingertips — and, well, also because they look totally aesthetic on our Instagram feeds (via Skin Care by Alana). But ever since Kylie Jenner began emerging in public with super full, pouty lips somewhere around 2015, society has been entranced with all things lip. Naturally, manufacturers took the face mask popularity — along with the lip product popularity — and ran with them. Soon, the lip mask was born.


While lip masks are fairly new to the United States, BioRepublic reports that they've been a prominent part of Asian beauty for much longer. What's more, beyond just being trendy, lip masks are relatively inexpensive, last longer than lip balms, can naturally plump the lips and fill in fine lines, and can provide a sense of relaxation and luxury. So, next time your lips are feeling a little dry, try incorporating a mask into your routine as opposed to your average balm or chapstick.


Exfoliating certainly has its fair share of myths and misunderstandings, but most dermatologists agree that incorporating some form of exfoliation into your skincare routine is a must — no matter what your skin type is. According to Healthline, over time, regular exfoliation can ramp up the production of collagen in the skin, minimize the effects of aging, and enhance the skin's radiance, smoothness, and glow. In fact, it can even help other skincare products absorb better due to its removal of old, dead skin cells.


Lifeline Skin Care explains that in order to get the most out of exfoliation, it should be done at least once a week. However, anything more than two to three times per week can actually cause more harm than good. Exfoliating works by removing the top layers of the dermis; as a result, the skin is able to "breathe and function without any unwanted barriers." Though most people think of exfoliants as harsh, granular products, they come in the form of liquid chemical exfoliants as well — this is a fantastic option for those with sensitive skin.


Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Aishwarya Rai: Each are names associated with some of the most iconic eyes in history. But what's one thing they all have in common? The use of mascara as an enhancement, of course. In fact, Hepburn is famously said to have painstakingly gone through each of her eyelashes with a pin in order separate, lift, and un-clump them after mascara was applied, giving her the legendary doe-eyed look we all know and love (via Press Advantage). While we certainly don't recommend putting a pin anywhere near your eyes, we do recommend a great mascara.


"Mascara enhances the eyes in a number of ways," Claudia Soare (aka Norvina), president and creative director of Anastasia Beverly Hills, tells Today. "It not only darkens lashes, but can lengthen and volumize for brighter, bigger-looking eyes. Fuller-looking lashes can help to give a more youthful appearance to the eye area," and who wouldn't want younger looking eyes? Mascara can even benefit those who don't particularly care for makeup with its natural-looking effects.

Eye makeup remover

Most of us were taught to remove our eye makeup with a simple warm wash rag and soap, but as L'Oréal Paris discloses, this is a common cosmetic fallacy. The skin underneath our eyes is one of the most sensitive areas of the face, therefore, any harsh alcohols or ingredients in regular soap can irritate and dry out the under eye, causing premature aging and wrinkles. Additionally, not taking the proper measures to remove eye makeup completely can result in clogged oil glands and other eye issues like milia and styes.


"It's so important to treat this area gently," celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau says of the under eye area. "It is subjected to a lot of wear and tear from smiling, squinting, and rubbing of the eyes, which translates into wrinkles and fine lines" (via Byrdie). To ensure adequate cleansing of the makeup around this area, Rouleau recommends using "liquid, oil-free, fragrance-free, no-sting eye makeup remover" because they are formulated without "irritants and oils that can seep into the eyes and cause unnecessary under-eye puffiness."

Eye cream

Vivant Skin Care describes eye cream as one of "the most important products in your beauty arsenal." Why? For starters, because the area around the eye is the thinnest skin on your face, this means it's more delicate and prone to aging quicker than any other part of the face. Naturally, when the eye area begins to look older, it can affect the entire appearance of your image as a whole. Many people assume that using their regular moisturizer as an eye cream will suffice, but due to the fragrances and chemicals that are typically found in these products, they tend to be far too strong for the fragile eye area — a cream specially formulated for the eyes is a much better route to take.


"Eye creams are formulated specifically for the delicate skin around the eye, so they tend to be thicker," Dr. Patricia Farris, dermatologist, tells WebMD. "They contain more oil than a regular facial lotion, and they have a lot of active ingredients aimed at the problems we see around the eyes," she continues. As far as what ingredients to look for? Farris explains that retinol is among her favorites. Because retinol can be a bit strong, be sure to start with a mild retinol under eye cream to begin and slowly work your way up depending on how your skin reacts.


Lusting after rosy, full cheeks is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour concluded that the sexual and feminine nature of blushing can be found woven all throughout literary history, such as in Jane Austen's works. In the centuries and decades after Austen became a household name, rouged cheeks continued to represent a vivacious, lively young woman full of energy — whether that be from a shy embarrassment or attraction to a suitor. This look was so sought after that makeup products emerged to replicate the look of flushed cheeks.


But we aren't living in Austen's time trying to woo swashbuckling male protagonists with our innocent cheek flushing, so why is blush a product every woman should be using? Perhaps, most importantly, because it can warm up and bring life to any complexion — with or without the use of other makeup products. "You can add instant brightness by adding touches of corals and pinks," explains makeup artist Caroline Barnes (per The New York Times). Beyond that, blush can elevate our moods. "Too much time inside, without the inspiration of others and the opportunity to decorate our faces, makes it all the more fun when we can," Barnes shares.