Your 2016 Beauty Bucket List

best beauty products

Some people want to skydive over the Alps, swim with the sharks in the Maldives, or trek the Inca trail. A beauty buff like myself has a bucket list which looks a little different. Every one of these products—including breakthroughs, beauty steals, and unreal splurges— I have tried and tested, and guarantee will take your beauty routine to the next level.

When Make Up For Ever launched its HD Foundation in 2008, the groundbreaking product put the beauty brand on the map. Founder Dany Sanz spent years perfecting the full-coverage formula so that celebrities’ skin would look flawless on high-definition TV and film. Seven years later, with the development of 4K camera technology, Make Up For Ever has upgraded its best-selling product to make it imperceptible under crazy-clear, insanely high-def lenses, or iPhone camera lenses.

In 2009, Temptu launched its first at-home airbrush-makeup machine, allowing nonmakeup artists to achieve the flawless finish previously available only to the pros. Unfortunately, that device weighed two pounds and required an outlet. This time they did way better. The Air, the first-ever handheld airbrush-makeup device on the market, is cordless, rechargeable, and super quiet. It applies foundation, blush, bronzer, and highlighter with Facetune levels of perfection, all with the simple push of a button. It is so good that GLAMSQUAD added Temptu Airbrush application to their list of services.


Every time Charlotte Tilbury launches a new product, I fall a little bit more in love with her line—and this dual-ended eye pen had me at first click. On one end you’ve got a lightweight gel-cream hybrid that leaves the skin around your eyes looking fresh and well-rested thanks to a potent cocktail of hyaluronic acid, rice proteins, and peptides. On the other you have a light-diffusing liquid concealer that actually covers up dark circles (I’m talking redeye from LA to NYC, straight into the office dark circles) without sinking into fine lines. Now that is a miracle. 

Before contouring and strobing made it big on the Internet, there was Tom Ford’s contour and highlighter palette. Makeup artists became instantly obsessed with the buildable creams, one a sheer matte tan shade for contouring, the other a pearly white for highlighting. I like to apply the tan shade under my cheek bones and along the sides of my nose, and the pearly white shimmer to the bridge of my nose, cupids bow, and of course cheek bones.

If you’re a beauty junkie, every one of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes is probably on your bucket list. But the Naked Smoky stands out to me. The range of neutrals, darks, mattes, and metallics lets you create any smoky-eye iteration you can dream up: subtle, dramatic, traditional, colorful, or gold-and-bronzey for the summer. When you’re not in a smoky frame of mind, some of the colors work beautifully to simply highlight the brow bones or contour creases.

There’s liquid lipstick, and then there’s Anastasia Beverly Hills’s Liquid Lipstick. The matte formula is richer, longer-wearing, and more pigmented than many of the others I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot). Her color range is basically limitless: chic reds, wearable nudes, trendy browns, plus a few surprises like blues and blacks (that I must admit, have not been brave enough to try…yet!)

Pur~lisse Pur~Lip Comfort


We used to think of lip balm as a means to a single end: hydration. Nowadays, we expect more-especially when we have genius multitaskers like pur~lisse’s pur~lip comfort. This petroleum-free lip conditioner not only moisturizes with an anti-aging formula, but also creates a perfectly smooth canvas for lipstick.

An awesomely trendy Korean import, this sheet mask is incredibly hydrating. The cotton cloth is steeped in a hyaluronic acid–based serum that hydrates and soothes (along with chamomile flower water and witch hazel extract). After 20 minutes, your face feels soothed, plumped, and silky. And unlike a lot of sheet masks, this one really clings to the curves of your face so you can multitask (I even wear it on a plane to really scare my seat neighbor) while giving your skin a much-needed treat.

DNA Renewal Intensive Renewal 

This lightweight, day and night time lotion formula features a liposome delivery system that targets the skin’s natural DNA repair processes and infuses skin with optimal hydration to counter aging’s effects.By activating the recovery of youthful skin with the highest levels of DNA Repair Enzymes, this magical formula encourages production of aquaporins, critical intercellular water channels, for a visible surge in your skin’s moisture levels.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate 


Known as ”The Hollywood 2-minute facial,” ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment lets you reveal a glowing, fresh-from-the-clinic complexion. Somerville’s bestselling exfoliator is formulated with face scrubbing natural exfoliants to deep clean clogged pores without over-drying skin. Lactic acid and fruit enzymes— papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin—reveal smooth skin and a brighter, healthier-looking complexion in as little as one use. I use this treatment once a week, and ever since I started, my skin has never looked so bright and refreshed.

Makeup artists and models have long depended on micellar water, a gentle, watery cleanser that both removes makeup and washes away oil without rinsing. Micelles are like little magnets that pull dirt and oil from your pores; all you need is a few swipes with a cotton pad for skin that looks and feels fresh and clean. Once available only in European drugstores, these “waters” are now stocked stateside. I love BioDerma’s Sensibio H20.

St. Tropez chemists discovered that the tanning ingredient DHA actually loves wet skin (who knew!)—it allows the solution to spread more easily (fewer streaks) and absorb faster (less greasiness)—so they developed a gradual self-tanner you could apply in the shower. Sure, you have to turn the water off and wait three minutes, but this natural-looking golden shade is worth a little shivering. Plus, for all of you self-tanners out there you’ll be happy to know it does not leave you smelling like self-tanner.



 From peach-fuzzy to fabulous! Dermaflash is a revolutionary exfoliating facial treatment that uses new technology to leave you with a glowing complexion. This ergonomic beauty tool gently sweeps away dull surface cells and temporarily removes peach fuzz in three simple steps. The treatment leaves your skin so smooth that makeup and skincare products glide on much easier. Try it to  believe it!

Melanie Mills Hollywood Gleam Body Radiance 


Holy life changer! I recently discovered Melanie Mills on a photoshoot, where I had to wear a super revealing, low-cut body suit. I was without spray tan (I clearly forgot to use St. Tropez’s Shower Lotion that day) when the makeup artist saved my life, introducing me to Melanie Mills Hollywood Gleam Radiance. This is a makeup, moisturizer, and glow all in one. I had an instant bronzed glow, and the most amazing part about it was it did not transfer onto my clothing.

No hairstylist leaves the house without this lovely-smelling dry styling spray imagined up by Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist. Neither should you. It adds grip (so it’s a great prep for updos) and volume (at the roots and all over) and creates the lived-in waves we’re all obsessed with. The more you spray in, the better your hair looks.

Cleanse your hair with this deliciously smelling natural shampoo and conditioner that is free of of all the bad p’s (paragons, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, and phthalates) as well as no sulfates or artificial colors which are found in many mainstream haircare products.

Marula Oil Rare Oil Treatment


So my hair decided to recently go from perpetually straight and sleek to a more let’s say, frizzy texture. Thankfully I discovered Maruila Oil in the nick of time, which is cold pressed and packed with powerful antioxidants and replenishing oleic acids for instant hydration, taming and softness.

Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment


Another frizz lifesaver, the Awapuhi line from Paul Mitchell quenches parched hair and smoothes frizz, leaving strands soft, silky and shiny. My favorite product is the Keratin Intensive Treatment, which I use twice a month on my overly-styled strands.  The Awapuhi extract replenishes every strand with intense moisture and shine.

 T3 Convertible Collection 


I’ve tried my fair share of hot tools, and this is by far the most useful. The T3 Convertible features stylish white and rose gold detailing, which looks super chic on your countertop. This new collection introduces 5 interchangeable barrels to offer infinite styling options to elevate your creativity-5 different wands allow you to create your ideal beachy wave or loose curl look.