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8 Damn Good Beauty Products You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

We've tried, we've tested, and we've fully converted.

There's no denying it, I've got some giant-ass pores — specifically on the cheek area on either side of the nose. I know this because people have told me, like, my whole life. Example: I was in a play in middle school and a woman doing my makeup said, "Wow, your skin really soaks up the foundation because of those giant pores, doesn't it?! I can't put enough on!" (As if being a chubby 13-year-old with bad teeth weren't enough to kill my entire self-esteem.)

Since then, my pores have continued to be spotlight-stealing assholes, so I finally buckled under society's pressure to be ~flawless~ and asked a Sephora employee what I could do to make them go away. I've never seen someone literally run to a product before, but damn, she couldn't have grabbed the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer any faster. Now after using it for a month, I totally see why.

You're supposed to apply it right after you put on your moisturizer, and the velvety texture (WHICH IS SO GODDAMN NICE) fills in any large pores and makes your skin smooth AF. It's also a primer, so it's a two-for-one type of deal, which, hey, who doesn't love that?

I know, I know, $31 is a lot, but two people told me my skin looked perfect recently since I started using it. TWO, YOU GUYS. This has literally never happened in my entire life, so to me, it's totally worth the money, and it'll last you a long-ass time. —Chrissy Mahlmeister, lifestyle editor

2. Bumble and bumble's Pret-a-Powder, $12—$27

3. Gold Label Cosmetics Suede Lip Color, $20

4. Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow, $22

I have an absurdly thick head of hair, which is a blessing, but it comes with a fair amount of hair in other places, too. I spent the majority of high school tweezing my eyebrows to a point where I constantly looked like I was in shock, so you can imagine my surprise when Cara Delevingne's brow-centric star began to rise. I mean, I've been given complimentary eyebrow trimmings with my haircuts (a service, my stylist confirmed when I asked, generally reserved for men), but suddenly, my brows didn't seem big enough. I wanted more.

Since attempting to use liquid eyeliner generally leaves me crying in a heap on the bathroom floor (just kidding, but only because I don't want to ruin whatever cat flicks I've actually managed to eke out), my initial instinct was to fill in my sad, un-Delevingne-esque brows with a pencil. Which was OK, I guess, until I tried Aqua Brow. Instead of the robust blob of gel and soft angled brush that I've seen used in tutorials, I use a teensy bit every day and comb through with a mascara brush. I find it gives me and my shaky hands more control.

I don't mean to perpetuate the stupid idea that you should try to look like the celebrity of the moment (that's entirely up to you, and don't let anyone tell you differently); but this feels nice and noncommittal, like a handbag or sweater. And for me, personally, I'm happy with my increased Delevingne factor. — Nora Whelan, style writer

5. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Magic Rejuvenating Balm, $35

My love for skin care is deep, y'all. I like makeup, but I certainly don't wear it every day, so it's important to me that my skin stays on point. I've always had to keep my routine pretty simple, though, because my skin is annoyingly sensitive. (I can't even wear fragrance without my skin getting irritated, just to give you an idea.) Cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer are the only things I consistently put on my face.

As a teen, Velocity was my thing (shout-out to them Mary Kay ladies). Then in college, I became a Clinique convert and started using their three-step system religiously. It's still one of my faves, and I often recommend it to people looking for a solid regimen.

The last time I went home to Georgia, though, I got this face and body soap from my salon and let. me. tell. YOU! This stuff is the TROOF. It's an all-natural cleanser called Tee Tree Clear Complexion, and it's made by this hella earthy brand I've never even heard of, Mule Hell Trading Co. I've been using it for about a month, and my face feels so soft after I wash it — even before I apply my moisturizer. The natural ingredients, like activated charcoal and tea tree oil, really cleanse my skin and even out my complexion. Like, I can actually see little dark spots on my face fading. I usually ALWAYS get a pimple during my period, too, but I didn't this time. This was my first time trying a legit organic beauty product because I was always skeptical whether all-natural skin care really worked, but I am so hooked. My favorite part is that it's only $6.50!!! It's natural, it works, and my bank account doesn't give me the side-eye when I add to cart. Sold fo' life! —Essence Gant, beauty editor

A few months ago my life was changed when I discovered the magic that is YSL's Touche Eclat. Not so much a concealer as a brightener/shimmery paste from the gawds, Touche Eclat makes your cheekbones and under-eye area look like you are a fresh lil' newborn baby. As I was looking for a refill the other day, I happened upon YSL's Touche Eclat Blur Perfector, which is a pink palette unlike any other. The somewhat translucent paste can be worn either under makeup or over it, to provide a matte finish to your look. You might not want that every day, but even if you wear it under your foundation, it makes your skin feel delightfully soft and even. And who doesn't want that? Yes, it's on the pricey side, but it's worth a bit of a splurge to have skin that feels — and looks — this good. —Julie Gerstein, style editor

8. Try warming up your mascara in hot water before applying.

You know when your mascara is starting to run out so it goes on somehow both too light and super clumpy at the same time? And you KNOW there's a decent amount of mascara still in the tube? Yeah, it's bullshit. Well guess what: You don't have to live like that anymore!!! But how, you ask?

Here's how: Heat up your mascara before using it. It loosens up all the stubborn leftover mascara, so you get a TON more uses out of the tube before needing to go buy a new one.

Just run your tap water 'til it's nice and hot and hold the closed tube under the stream for 15 seconds or so. If you're not near a sink, you can also stick it in your pocket or your bra for a few minutes. Nothing like a little underboob heat to ~hack your beauty routine~.

And oh my god please don't microwave your mascara because you will burn your house down. In conclusion, look how cute my lashes look! Bye! — Julia Reinstein, staff writer