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    7 Life-Changing Beauty Products That Are Actually Worth Your Money

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    1. Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer really holds its weight, even though it only weighs 1 pound! It cuts way down on drying time and actually refreshes and smooths out your hair‚ instead of leaving it frazzled and in need of extra heat styling.

    Augusta Falletta / BuzzFeed

    My natural hair texture hasn't seen the light of day since 1997. It's wurly (wavy + curly) and frizzy, and because of this, styling my hair every day is priority number one. This always meant a 30-minute combo session of blow-drying and using a curling iron; my blow dryer really only dried my hair, and my curling iron had to do the bulk of the styling work. My rigid routine also meant that for the past 10 years or so, I used my hair as an excuse for never going to the gym. Ever. Then I went to a kickboxing class with some friends and realized how freaking incredible I felt. I was less moody, less stressed, less anxious, and had SO much more energy. So I had to figure out how to get over my hair roadblock.

    First, I determined that if I wanted to go to the gym regularly, I'd need to get up and exercise before work — I get home around 7:30 p.m., by which time I'm dead tired. Because my commute is about an hour and 15 minutes long, this meant I needed to wake up at 5:40 a.m. to get to the gym, get home, shower, pack lunch, do my makeup, and do my hair. I knew I needed to find a faster way to do my hair to make it to my train on time, and that's when the people at Harry Josh sent over the new Ultra Light Pro Dryer.

    The Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer weighs less than 1 pound (so my arms don't hurt!), dries my hair in exactly 11 minutes, and legit makes my hair look smooth instead of fried. As an extra insurance policy to make sure my hair looks 100% at all times, I also created a product cocktail: I use two dime-sized dollops of R+Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm in damp hair, spray Oribe Royal Blowout all over, blow-dry with a round brush, and finish with Verb Ghost Oil just on my ends. From soaking wet to completely blown out, the process takes 15 minutes — half the time it used

    to take — and TBH I think my hair looks better this way! —Augusta Falletta

    Get it from Dermstore for $349.99.

    2. Etude House Dear Darling Get Lip Tint naturally stains your lips like a cherry ice pop would — plus it feels cool and refreshing when applying and lasts for hours.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I've often relied on tinted lip balms in the past, because when I don’t use them, my lips look pale and basically seem to blend into my face. Which is why this Etude House Darling Water Gel Lip Tint (the RD301 shade, specifically) has been on my wish list for several months now: It promises a flushed pop of color that'll last all day. I finally decided to try it out — and I'm pretty damn happy I did.

    The first thing I noticed was that this lip tint glides on like water; it actually feels like a cold bottle of Poland Spring on my lips (hence the “water gel” name, I guess). After a quick swipe on my bottom lip, my next thought was, Holy cow, this is also really pigmented. A little product seriously goes a long way. Initially my lips had a slightly wet feeling: again, like I'd taken a cold sip of water. But after a minute passed, that feeling subsided and the product seemed to have seeped into my lips. The results? A natural-looking stain that made me look like I had just eaten a cherry ice pop.

    Most importantly, this product LASTS. When I apply two layers around 8:30 a.m., it sticks around the entire day. And it smells like pomegranate, so there’s also that. Heart eyes. —AnaMaria Glavan

    Get it from Amazon for $5.31+ (available in nine colors).

    3. Fresh Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream gives your skin an instant ~glow up~ because it's packed with energizing ingredients like citrus fruit extracts that make your skin look brighter (and way less tired).

    Angela Krasnick / BuzzFeed

    I have combination skin, but now that the fall is here and the wind is a-blowin', I've already noticed my skin starting to get drier — flaking around my chin and nose by midday. So after hearing a lot of people rave abut the Fresh Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream, I decided to try it — and within one day my face was feeling baby-soft and looking hydrated and flake-free. It also smells really good! I originally used it in the mornings and at night, but thanks to this product's effectiveness, my skin has been so moisturized that I only need to apply it in the AM now. A little goes a long way, so it'll last me a very long time.

    Since I'd been using a very matte foundation, my skin had to adjust to this new amount of moisture — I didn't break out, but my makeup needed some reapplying throughout the day. However, now that my skin's gotten used to the moisturizer, my foundation goes on a lot more smoothly and even lasts longer. And without makeup, this product keeps my face feeling soft and hydrated, and it reduces redness. I'd say it's definitely worth the hype (and you can always test it out at Sephora before you buy!). —Angela Krasnick

    Get it from Sephora for $42.

    4. Milani Stay Put Matte Liquid Liner in "Coffee Matte" highlights your eyes with a rich, dark brown color (one that's not as ~harsh~ as black) and makes it incredibly easy to draw a precise wing.

    Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

    Liquid eyeliner is my shit. I've given lots of pencil and gel liners a fighting chance, but I absolutely can't stand my eyeliner smudging, so liquid's been my BFF since the dawn of my makeup-obsessed days. And black's always been my go-to color — not because I'm not ~adventurous~, but just because I know it looks good. I know brown's not a far cry from black, but formula matters too, and Milani's Stay Put Matte Liquid Liner truly — *dramatic pause* — stays put.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    It dries super fast and matte. For example, this no-smudge test was taken about 10 seconds after I initially applied the liner. Impressive, no? I have a pretty steady hand since I've practiced so much (*humble brag*), so the fast-drying quality doesn't bother me. But just something to note!

    I love this dark brown shade too (and not only because it's called "Coffee," which is my lifeblood): I think it pairs even better with my favorite gold/copper/reddish brown eyeshadows than my black liquid liner! I know, *gasp*. The brown's just a tad less intense, and since my makeup often depends on my mood, I like having an alternative to black that's still ~classic~. The tip is fine enough to draw really thin (but pigmented!) lines and wings, which I love because I prefer being able to build on a thinner line over accidentally starting off a too-thick line.

    Plain and simple, this liner does what I need it to. It lasts forever (12 hours, no problem), doesn't smudge, draws precise and buildable lines, and comes out a rich brown with zero spottiness. My only hope is that Milani starts selling this product in stores rather than just online or, even better, they'll make it available on Amazon so I only have to wait two days next time it runs out (or more likely, expires). *hint hint* —Sarah Han

    Get it from Walgreens for $7.99 (also available in safari, black, and midnight).

    5. Too Cool For School Coconut Milky Mist might turn you into a spritzing addict whose skin always looks glowing and calm. / Via

    It's been a week. A month. A year. Fine, it's been a couple of years. Which is why we all need and deserve a little pick-me-up — specifically in the form of this awesome coconut-smelling spray.

    Coconut Milky Mist will make your skin feel dewy, soft, and refreshed — and its scent is super-calming. It also wins points for being so multi-use: You can use it post-shower or pre-makeup, or just as a nice lil' way to wind down at the end of the day. I spray it on before makeup, after makeup, at night, and in the morning. I should probably just keep one in my purse TBH. It makes my skin so soft and conditioned, and helps me feel refreshed and clean after a long day in the content mines.

    What makes it so great? Supposedly the fatty acids in coconut water help form a layer to protect against moisture loss and keep your skin G-L-O-W-I-N-G. Also, the world is on fire and I feel like we all need one nice thing, OK? —Julie Gerstein

    Get it from Sephora for $14.

    6. TheBalm Mad Lash Mascara has a curved wand that blesses your lashes with serious volume and length — and it might just question your dedication to a cult favorite like Too Faced Better Than Sex.

    @thebalm_cosmetics / Via, Nichole Francois / BuzzFeed

    I feel like TheBalm is SUCH an underrated brand — its products are high-quality and affordable. TheBalm's powder products are highly pigmented, the brand is cruelty-free, and the retro-style packaging is adorable. My favorite product, however, is its Mad Lash Mascara.

    Mad Lash is *great* for dark, dramatic looks without looking clumpy like some of my other mascara faves. I also love this formula for lighter daytime looks ­by applying just one coat. The curved wand gives my lashes some major curl, but the formula also adds volume and length. The wand is also a bit bendy, which is perfect for grabbing every single lash. There’s something SO satisfying about getting an instant curl after wiggling the wand back and forth a bit. The formula lasts all day without flakes, and the curl doesn’t fall! Bonus: It's easier to remove this than it is heavier mascaras, but it still gives you such an intense, full-lash effect.

    For a super-dramatic look, I love to layer Mad Lash under Too Faced Better Than Sex. It’s become part of my going-out routine and my lashes have never looked better. Honestly, this is the mascara that has ALMOST made me turn my back on Too Faced, but I’ve found they’re better together. —Nichole Francois

    Get it from Jet for $9.27 or Amazon for $17.

    7. Meli Glow Illuminating Nectar Mask smells good enough to eat, but it's even better for your face! With skin-nourishing ingredients like raw organic honey and real fruit, it'll leave your skin gently exfoliated, smooth, and hydrated as can be.

    Emmy Favilla / BuzzFeed

    When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with face masks. They were a fun way to make me feel like I was ~doing the right thing~ for my skin (I remember being obsessed with this cheap Freeman's Cucumber Peel-Off Mask). Then I fell off the wagon for, oh, 15-plus years. But now that I'm in my mid-thirties, I've started experimenting with face masks again, this time targeted to dry skin and restoring an even complexion. The pace at which my face soaks up moisturizer is akin to someone falling into quicksand. It's thirsty. So when I was directed by a coworker to the Meli Glow Illuminating Nectar Mask by Hawaii-based Leahlani Skincare, which claims to be ideal for dry, combination, and "mature" skin, I decided to give it a go.

    First off: I was not prepared for how insanely delicious this stuff smells! It smelled so good that I...actually tasted it. 😳 Note: I don't recommend this since I don't actually know if that's safe?? But look, the first ingredient is raw organic honey, and it's also made with rosehip, strawberry, starfruit, banana (you can actually see specks of fruit), in addition to stuff like argan oil and rose clay, and guess what? It tasted like strawberry jam!

    Anyway. The texture of this mask is much like the "nectar" its name alludes to: medium thickness, gloopy, and a bit sticky (thanks to the honey), but not in a bad way! In a "I'm treating my skin to the most nourishing, natural ingredients in the land" way. And it has just the slightest bit of grittiness so it feels like you're lightly exfoliating as you apply; I put it on my lips too. Taking it off is easy and devoid of the mess that can come along with clay masks that take forever to completely remove from your skin. After I washed it off, my face felt hydrated, super-soft, and yeah, actually kinda glowing. Sold! I'll definitely be using this from here on out. Recommended use is once a week, and on the days you don't use it, do yourself a favor and treat yourself with just a quick whiff. —Emmy Favilla

    Get it from Leahlani Skincare for $48.

    In the mood for some more beauty product reviews? Check out our previous roundups here!

    Some products were provided to BuzzFeed free of charge.