My Holy Grail Beauty Products

September 27, 2017

Blogger Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy shares her Holy Grail Beauty Favorites

You guys, I’ve wanted to write this post for A YEAR! But it felt so intimidating – ha! Today I’m revealing the beauty products I love and consistently buy over and over again. AKA: My Holy Grail Beauty Products.

One of the reasons I started wit & whimsy over ten years ago was to share my favorite products. I have loved beauty for as long as I can remember and I was constantly giving recommendations to my girlfriends. To this day I truly enjoy testing out products and really learning about the science behind them. It’s such a fun part of the job!

If you’re a beauty junkie like me, get ready to dive in to this lengthy post! If you end up giving anything a go, I’d love to hear about it.

BeautyRx Glycolic Serum: Last year I learned about the beauty of glycolic acid and now I can’t live without it. Glycolic does wonders for exfoliating which opens up your pores and allows them to become less clogged. I use this 8% serum every night.

Darphin Chamomile Essential Oil: Applying this feels like a mini spa treatment! You can apply all over your face or just at your temples. It smells heavenly and is instantly calming not to mention hydrating.

Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum: I use this every morning after an aesthetician in France recommended it to me. My skin is very sensitive and is often red in the morning. After I cleanse and tone, I pat this on before moisturizer.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate: If you’re a longtime reader you know that I swear by this stuff. It clears up any breakouts and can be used on your chest & back as well. I keep it in the shower and use it at least once a week. It’s pricy but worth every penny.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask: Whenever my skin is feeling dull, I reach for this mask. It could also be called the “high and tight” mask because that’s exactly how my skin feels after using it. I particularly love it after trips when my skin is looking lackluster.

Shiseido Future Solution LX Serum: After testing out this serum for weeks as part of this collaboration, I fell in love with it. It works to firm skin which is even more important for me as I get older. Skin is tight and radiant after use.

Odin Efflora Eau de Parfum: I reach for this fragrance nearly every day. It’s so light and lovely and not over powering in any way. Other favorite fragrances of mine are in this post.

Dermarche Labs FullFill: The key to fighting crows feet! Every time I use this I wake up feeling a bit younger and that’s worth every penny!

MAC Prep and Prime Radiance: After cleansing, toning and applying serums and moisturizers, I put on this before any makeup. It sets the stage for foundation and leaves my skin feeling really radiant.

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari BabyFacial: I’d use this every day if I could but the instructions detail 2-3 times per week. Apply across your face and after 20 minutes your skin feels as smooth as, you guessed it, a baby’s. It is one of my favorite exfoliants ever.

Rodin Oil: Given its price tag this is definitely “holy grail” status but this product proved to me how effective face oils can be. When I use this regularly my skin is smooth, hydrated and radiant. If I keep up with it, I start to get compliments on my skin and hey, that’s worth every penny ;).

Farmacy Honey Mask: This is the first mask I reach for when my skin feels parched. It’s super hydrating and I love the fact that it warms up ever so slightly as you apply it.

Goop Luminous Melting Cleanser: This balm always manages to feel like a luxurious experience when using it. Most mornings and evenings I use prescription cleansers but every now and then I mix it up. I most often reach for this when it comes to those “mix it up” moments. I love the smell and how you can really work this in to melt off all your makeup and any dirt or oil.

Darphin Fibrogene Cream: This is pure luxury to put on. It’s like a filter for your face as you smooth it on and my skin is so, so hydrated after sleeping with this on my face. My close second runner up for a night cream? This Shiseido one.

Mario Badescu Cucumber Lotion: Mario Badescu’s “lotions” (aka: toners) made me a believer in toners. I use this lotion across my chest to help keep breakouts at bay.

Mario Badescu Seaweed Lotion: I swipe a soaked cotton pad with this over my face every night after cleansing to get rid of every last trace of dirt and oil. It helps with disinfecting and redness as well.

Mario Badescu Flower & Tonic Mask: This is my favorite use-every-week mask. It helps with any breakouts, tightens pores and smooths my skin. My runner up is the cucumber mask.

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic: I am a major, major believer in Vitamin C and recommend it to any girlfriends of mine who feel their skin is showing more signs of aging. While it is billed as a daytime serum I actually use this in the evening. C E Ferulic reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles while also firming and brightening your complexion.

Clarins Multi-Active AM Moisturizer: I’ve being using this moisturizer for years! I do rotate in a variety of moisturizers depending on time of year and how my skin is feeling but this is my go-to daily one. It’s light, not greasy at all and the built in SPF 20 makes my life easier.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner: Even in my early 30s I still haven’t mastered liquid eyeliner but this one is as easy as it gets when it comes to attempts to apply. Sometimes I use it over the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner on nights I want my eyes to be a bit more dramatic.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20: I use this for everyday use when I’m not shooting or don’t need long-lasting wear with a bit more coverage. It goes on so smoothly and I love that it has SPF on days I forget to put on regular sunscreen. I use the “Blush” shade.

Benefit Cosmetics Porefessional: I have more visible pores on my nose and chin so before I apply foundation or tinted moisturizer I swipe this on in those problem areas. They are instantly less noticeable!

Clarins Instant Light Base: This is another Clarins product that I’ve used for ages. I use the Rose shade on my cheeks right after primer, right before tinted moisturizer or foundation and it gives the most subtle, dewy glow.

Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner & Brush: Best, best, best eyeliner of all time. It makes my eyes look bigger and makes applying eyeliner a snap. (Never thought I’d say that!) The brush is essential. My favorite is Black Ink and I love Caviar Ink for daytime, too.

Clarins Blush in Sweet Rose: I change out the blush I use regularly but this is the one I reach for most often. It’s the softest pink shade and with the slightest shimmer.

Sisley Under Eye Concealer: This stuff works so well but is $$$ so I bust it out on days when I wake up and my dark circles can be seen for miles. This also means I never travel without it when I know sleep will be more of a luxury.

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara: I keep a lot of mascara on my vanity but this is far and away the best one I’ve ever tried. My eyes look so awake upon use and my lashes are instantly dark and long. I don’t even have to use an eyelash curler with this stuff!

Laura Mercier Lip Pencil: I am such a believer in lip liner! I didn’t wear it until a few years ago but man, does it extend the length of wear on your favorite lipsticks. If I want extra staying power, I’ll fill in my lips with liner, too. Laura Mercier’s are the best I’ve tried and I swear by “Baby Lips” as I wear a pinky/nude lip nearly daily.

Becca First Light Filter Face Primer: For special occasions where I’m using a bit more makeup, I reach for this primer which gives a really great glow without being too iridescent.

BareMinerals BareSkin Foundation: On shoot days and for special occasions this is what I use to get a smooth slate.

MAC Prep + Prime 24 Hour Eye Extend: For years and years I used Urban Decay’s eyelid primer and while it worked ok, by the day’s end my lids seemed oily and my shadow less intact. When I tried this MAC primer I honestly couldn’t believe how well it worked! (It works so well that on the very rare occasion I manage to sleep in my makeup that shadow + liner is intact upon waking up ;).)

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray: If you’re not using setting spray, you are majorly missing out! It’s a way to maintain all your hard work in the morning and it works wonders on days you need your look to really last.

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder: I don’t know what took me so long to use a setting powder but this stuff is well loved for good reason. Sweep it on when your look is done.

NARS Soft Matte Concealer: This is great, great concealer. I tap it on any redness (often on my chin and around my nose) and any blemishes. It stays put and doesn’t cake.

Stila Convertible Color in Camellia: I adore these color compacts. This color is more on the bronzy side and I use it from mid-cheek back to my hairline.

Becca Opal Highlighter: This illuminator is my favorite! I apply it over the Glossier Haloscope. I love the shimmery effect that’s soft but impactful.

Glossier Haloscope: I love how portable this highlighter is. It’s shimmery and easily blendable and doesn’t over-do it like some highlighters.

Bobbi Brown Corrector: This stuff is everything. I apply it to my under eyes, under my nose and on any blemishes or dark spots. Pop on concealer after and you are good to go! Nothing to see here, folks!

Physicians Formula Multi Colored Bronzer: I’ve been using this stuff since college if that tells you anything about its holy grail status. It’s inexpensive and works so well.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: Truth be told, I’m not very adventurous with my eye makeup. I almost always do a a neutral somewhat smoky eye. I’ll build it up for evening occasions but it is my go-to. This Naked 2 palette is ideal for this and it is always in my suitcase since it has so many options built in and is perfectly portable. I would so much rather bring a palette with me on the road than a bunch of loose eye shadows!

Benefit Cosmetics Dallas: While this is billed as a blush I most often use it as a way to do some easy, everyday contouring. I apply it my hair line, the sides of my nose and underneath my cheekbones.

It Cosmetics Brow Power Powder: This stuff just came out but it is already holy grail status for me after about six weeks worth of work. You may recall when I saw a brow specialist a few months ago and he told me that I shouldn’t be using a wax based pencil any more. He said it could actually cause my brow hairs to come out and recommended I use a brow powder instead. This IT Cosmetics one magically works in a universal shade and their corresponding brush makes it so easy. My brows have never looked so tided.

Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lipsticks: These are my all time favorite lipsticks. I love the texture and they are so easy to swipe on and go.

It Cosmetics Brushes: I use the It Cosmetics eyeshadow brushes and blush brush and love the quality of them.

Amope Pedi File: You may recall when I partnered with Amope last year in which I discovered this brilliant little tool. I don’t get pedicures all that often so I use this in between services to get rid of dry skin and calluses. I keep it in the shower and it works wonders.

Clarisonic: I use this every night with my cleanser unless I’m using a balm cleanser. It gets more guck and dirt out than using my hands alone. It also helps with improving skin’s texture.

Drybar Hold Me Hair Clips: Can’t believe I lived life for so long not using clips like these to maintain blow outs. I use this to hold my hair up in a bun when I sleep to avoid any denting and I also always am clipping hair up in these to wash my face and apply my makeup.

Sultra Bombshell Wand: This is what I use most days to curl my hair. It makes curling SO easy! I’ve used it for years. Occasionally I’ll use this T3 wand when I want a different look but I almost always reach for my Sultra.

Beauty Blender: No girl should be without this! Blend, conceal and contour with this bad boy. I swear by these!

T3 Hairdryer: Best.hairdryer.ever. It takes the work out blow drying your hair. Super powerful and yet lightweight.

BareMinerals Perfecting Foundation Brush: This was introduced with the BareMinerals BareSkin foundation I previously mentioned but now I use it with all liquid makeup for application! The little well holds the makeup and makes it easy to glide on and apply.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: This is at the top of my holy grail list. Volume, texture and a little hold. I keep one bottle in my bathroom and have a travel size for all trips because I can’t go a day without it. It also is great to work into your hair before you do a topknot.

Alterna Caviar Style Texturizing Paste: I love that this product lets me get some texture into my ends. If you have shorter hair and like the piecier, beachier look this is awesome stuff! A little goes a long way and this whole line also smells amazing!

Christophe Robin Salt Scrub: Most of you know how much I love this. (I even have gifted it to my BFF and I regularly make guests use it when they come to stay – ha!) It’s utterly fantastic.

R + Co Dry Shampoo Paste: I love this dry shampoo so much it got its own blog post! You can really work it into your roots and build up how much you need. Unlike spray shampoos you can concentrate where it goes. It gives major volume and I love the texture. This + the Oribe dry texturizing spray are gold for up-dos, too.

Oribe Blonde Shampoo + Conditioner: My favorite for my color treated tresses. The purple formulas help to counteract brassiness.

Amika The Shield Style Extending Spray: This works like a hairspray but has no stickiness whatsoever. It majorly holds any styles so I opt for this vs. using anything labeled “hairspray.”

R+Co Dallas Thickening Spray: This is a great spray if you have trouble getting volume into your roots like I do. Spray it onto your roots before blow drying.

Living Proof PHD 5-in-1 Styling Treatment: My hair requires product in order to style it and have it have any hope of maintaining said style. This is my favorite styling treatment.

Living Proof Satin Serum: I apply a small pump of this after using the above 5-in-1 treatment. It de-frizzes and smoothes which is great for my color-treated hair.

There you have it! Did you spot any products you also love? Hope you enjoyed getting a peek inside of my skincare/makeup/haircare obsessions ;).

p.s. my favorite natural beauty products & products I recommend for sensitive skin.

8 comments on “My Holy Grail Beauty Products”

  1. I wish I could show you how many tabs I have open right now. Over 20. Whoops! But it’s like you’re doing the hard work for me, so what am I supposed to do, not buy them all? Love this post. Thank you!

  2. Love this post! I am also beauty obsessed, and it’s so fun seeing someone else’s all time favorite products for inspiration on what to try next and where we overlap. <3

  3. Can you do a post on how you apply basic every day makeup? I love the idea of bronzer and a highlighter but whenever I try and apply them it looks horrible and streaky!

    1. Hi Brittany — I’ve never really done tutorials – I’m so intimidated by them! That being said I do a very light dusting of bronzer all over my face. I apply highlighter just atop my cheekbones (over my blush) and ever so lightly and the key is to blend it with a beauty blender after you brush it on! I hope that helps somewhat!!

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