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As much as I love clothes and shoes, I am also a die-hard makeup addict. I'm talking Ulta Platinum level right here. I have always worn makeup but it wasn't until I was in college that I started using "premium" brands, probably because I couldn't afford them until then and there was no way my mom was shelling out $20+ for a tube of mascara!
Ulta has really increased my makeup habit because they carry a ton of brands and have an awesome rewards program. Throughout the years I have tried pretty much all the brand names and have nailed down my absolute must haves. These are the products I can't live without.
1. Mascara -Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara $23
Out of all the brands and types I've tried, this one wins hands down. I love thick, long, black lashes. The more layers the better for me personally. I usually put on just one to two coats for daily wear and maybe will do a couple additional layers for a more dramatic nighttime look.
If you prefer more whispy, long lashes, I'd recommend trying Benefit Cosmetics- They're Real! Lengthening Mascara $24.
I bought this kind because it is rated really well, but it just didn't provide enough thickness for me. It really does give you long lashes though!
This concealer has been out for a while now, but when it was announced it was highly anticipated. It did not disappoint. When it was first launched, it sold out immediately. I tried for a while to find it at my local Ulta so I could make sure I got the right shade. For reference, I use Light Medium in the summer and Light Neutral Light in the winter. This stuff is so good, seriously! It is full coverage and blends so nicely!
Another favorite is Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer $29.
I bought this kind when it was an awesome steal during Ulta's Days of Beauty sale in September and I'm obsessed. Great coverage and silky smooth application.
3. Setting Power- Laura Mercier Translucent Pressed Setting Powder $38
If you are into makeup like me, you know this is a holy grail item. If you've never used setting powder, it's used after you put on your foundation and concealer to help "set" your makeup and help it last all day. I swear by this product. The powder is silky smooth. It's a little spendy but it does last quite a while!
4. Eyeliner- Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper $20
Liquid Liner made easy. The applicator on this eyeliner is the best and makes it really easy to create winged or cat eye looks. This eyeliner is recommended by many beauty gurus and I have to agree. It's definitely a staple for me.
I also love Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliners $22.
This Stila eyeliner is just as good as the Kat Von D kind in my opinion! Super easy to apply and does not smudge.
This was hard for me to choose a favorite, because there are a couple products that are fantastic. I chose the Ka-Brow though because I think it's the easiest to use and it has really good, natual color. It comes with it's own brush which is convenient too.
My runner up is Anastasia Beverly HIlls Brow Wiz Pencil $21
I love the Brow Wiz, but I think it's a little bit more difficult to use than the Ka-Brow. It's great if you want a super precise way to pencil in and enhance your brows. Plus the brush on the opposite end of the pencil is pretty handy.
For a low cost option, I love Colourpop's Precision Brow Colour $6
I just use a Brow Brush like this one to apply it. It's easy to use and you can add as much or as little as you want for either a natural or a bolder look.
Regardless of which product I use, I always finish off with Anastasia Beverly Hill Clear Brow Gel $22. It helps hold the product in and keep my unruly brow hairs in check!
6. Bronzer- Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer $30
I love, love, love this bronzer. I do not personally like super matte bronzers. I like a little sparkle and this bronzer hits the bullseye for me. I have fairly light skin but do get tan in the summer. I can use this bronzer all year round without looking orange or weird on me. It has just the perfect amount of shimmer too.
I like a lot of different highlighters, blushes and eyeshadows so I think I'll cover those in a different blog post. When I do my makeup, I use the above products almost every time.
I am not promoted by Ulta, I wish! I do love the store though, a lot. They have a great inventory! They also have great hair care products as well as drug store brands of makeup so there's something for everyone at every budget level. The rewards program is awesome though and I have saved a lot through the years with their rewards points system. They also send out great coupons periodically so it's worth getting signed up. You can do that here!
I also love Sephora! I just don't get to go there as much because I live in the middle of nowhere and everything is at least an hour away from me! Sephora also has a rewards program. You can sign up for their Beauty Insider program here!
One thing I love about Sepohra is that you can go there to get a makeover. One of my friends who is a VIP/Rouge member gets a certain amount of free makeovers a year and gifted me one! I was going to a Christmas party and it was so fun to get to try new products and have my makeup done.
My parting words of wisdom are don't be afraid to try new products and ask for help! Sometimes it can be intimidating to go into these stores if you don't know what you are looking for or what to buy. The sales associates are usually super nice and helpful. They almost always have someone there who can help match foundation shades for you, which I highly recommend since premium brand foundations are pretty expensive. You don't want to go home with the wrong color!