Scrolling through Instagram is a veritable smorgasbord of information. On any given day you're wading through images of friends, notable humans, products, ads, and the like, smashing the save button every few hours when you see an outfit, face, or pose that may require revisiting. It feels creative and a bit voyeuristic in equal measure, offering up recommendations and intimate life experiences from people you may not know outside of the app. But more than anything, at least for me, it's fun to keep up with my favorite people as they do their thing. Part of that is asking for advice (I've been known to slide into a DM or two) because everybody looks so damn good.
This time around, I decided to ask a few of my favorite Instagram influencers for their top five favorite makeup products of all time. The offerings they recommend without hesitation, wear the most often, and could probably live without, but certainly wouldn't want to. Below, find ten of the coolest people on my Instagram feed—from fellow editors, friends, designers, and makeup artists—and their five-piece makeup wardrobes.
Alyssa Coscarelli, freelance writer, editor, consultant, and social media influencer
"Drugstore mascara for life. I honestly don't know why I would spend a lot of money on fancy mascara when Maybelline's Volum' Express Spider Effect Mascara in Glam Black ($14) is my true eyelash soulmate. Oddly enough I've had some friends try it and hate it (oops), but I get asked what mascara I use nonstop and it's always-forever been this one. But it is a heavier formula so if you have thin or straight lashes it might be too goopy for you. But it works wonders on my thicker, dark lashes. Another unpopular opinion: I like Benefit's Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($24) better than Boy Brow. I don't have a ton of brows to begin with, but this accentuates the hairs I do have in a natural way that's easy to apply. I'm constantly rebuying it.
"There have been so many highlighters I've been tempted to try over the years, but just don't because I'm so happy with mine. Benefit's Watts Up Highlighter ($30) glides on beautifully, lasts all day, and looks like a natural little dew fairy just kissed you on your cheekbones. It's my fave. My best friend constantly asks me how the heck I cover up my gnarliest breakouts, bumps, scars, and marks so flawlessly, and the answer is Nars' Radiant Creamy Concealer ($31). It's natural-looking, buildable, and lasts long enough to justify the price. I stan. I used to strictly use powder blushes and thought I hated any other cream, mousse, or alternative blush formulas, until I found INC's For The First Time Bounce Blush ($10). The sun-kissed, velvety flush it gives my cheeks is unbeatable, and the color options are super on-point."
Katie Jane Hughes, celebrity makeup artist
"I think Glossier's Stretch Concealer ($18) should win an award—it's the most easy to use, easy to shade-match, super wearable product. I just love how it melts into your skin and looks like second skin. Then there's Weleda Skin Food ($19), obviously. It's just one of those products everyone should own, whether it's part of their usual regimen or not. If you get burns, dry patches, fly often, or if you like a highlighted look but you don't like shimmer. Weleda Skin Food for the win. Similarly, Elemis' Dynamic Resurfacing Pads ($60) are something I will continue to buy over and over again. Though, like Skin Food, they're not technically makeup, they allow my skin to shine in the best way. They're so, so good.
"Then there's Surratt's Relevée Lash Curler ($36), I recommend it every time someone asks. Though I don't use it every day, I keep it in my kit because it doesn't pinch people and gives a really nice, soft curl. You can get really, really close to the root and it'll never pinch. For lipstick, I'm tempted to say Sunnies Face, though you can't get them in America. Which is annoying. They're so nice and look really amazing on the cheeks as well as the lips."
Maya Allen, beauty director at InStyle
"No, I’m not over-hyping the revolutionary work of Rihanna in the beauty industry, and yes I’m still stanning Fenty's Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation ($38) and always will. I was practically a professional mixologist based on the way I used to cocktail several shades together to create my perfect match. That is, until I was introduced to Fenty's shade #420. This formula hugs my skin with the perfect amount of coverage, without feeling cake-y. No other foundation compares. And, humidity does not stand a chance—this product does not budge. Two small dollops is all I need to outlast a sweaty rooftop party. Foundation aside, I rely on Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer ($30) to wake my face up every single day. I use three shades: one for spot-treating, another for brightening, and the last for contouring. I even have refills tucked away in my vanity for when I run out. It latches onto my skin like a magnet, without having to set it with powder.
"There are two types of people in this world: the low-key and the extra. I'm admittedly the latter, so I like my highlighter turned-up on a Tuesday. Bless the Mother of Makeup, Pat McGrath, for creating the palette of my dreams for the ultimate glow-up on any given day. The Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio's ($53) pearlescent powders are finely milled and feel like the ideal hybrid between a powder, cream, and fluid formula. My favorite thing to do is to swipe Laura Mercier's Fan Powder Brush ($32) through each shade three times, then dust it onto my cheekbones. I can't even describe the otherworldly radiance all three shades mixed together impart on my cheeks. It can't be duplicated. Smashbox's Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bawse ($26) is my lucky charm. It's my special shade for all the big moments of my life. I've worn it to every job interview, first day of work, photoshoots—oh, and that one time I interviewed Michael B. Jordan. Just like a power suit, this 'power lip' makes me feel unbelievably confident. In one easy-breezy glide, it coats my lips in a rich, blue-based red that takes two seconds to apply and never feels dry.
"I've lost count of how many brow products I’ve tried, but I’ll forget to pay homage to my number one ride-or-die: Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Wiz in Dark Brown ($23). I’ve been using this bad boy since day one and nothing can compare. I like 'em brushed-up and bushy. First, I go in with hair-like strokes to take care of any sparse areas, back-comb with the pencil, and comb through to blend and fluff them up. I haven't gotten my brows professionally done in over a year, and as long as this pencil exists, I won't need to."
Susan Korn, founder, creative director, and designer at Susan Alexandra
"I use Jane Iredale's PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation ($46). I'm pretty sure it’s better for my skin than traditional liquid foundation, but I love it because the coverage is fantastic and the color matches my skin to a tee. A facialist at Rescue Spa said it was the only foundation she allows her clients to use, so I'm sold. Tarte's Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer ($30) is the best tan shade I've ever used. I dust it on my cheeks, nose, and across my forehead. I put this on after the Jane Iredale situation and follow up with black eyeliner. I've been using MAC's Liquidlast 24-Hour Waterproof Liner in Point Black ($22) for over 10 years, and it’s hands down the best liquid liner in the world. It just doesn’t come off. Warning: Practice your technique before applying because it's a journey to remove.
"I am absolutely enamored with fragrances, and I'm always seeking a new signature scent. I've been wearing The Goddess Line's Lakshmi Fragrance Oil ($39) for years. It's a musky, soft, soapy scent. A cashier at Le Pain Quotidien said it smelled like I had 'just emerged from a bath tub,' which is the best description I can imagine. Frederic Malle's Portrait of a Lady ($270) is at the other end of the spectrum. Dark, seductive, and sexy. It's like a ginger-y, dried rose. I wear it when I want to channel strength and power. And, red lipstick. Literally any. I'm always seeking the perfect red. Some of the best hues I have are by Wet N' Wild, but I also really love Lipstick Queen, Nars, and Pat McGrath."
Hannah Baxter, deputy beauty editor at The Zoe Report
"Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose ($5) has been my ride-or-die lip product since I was in college. It's ultra-hydrating and gives you a soft, your-lips-but-better flush of color that's perfect for everyday wear. Plus, it costs less than a latte at my corner coffee shop. As for highlighter—I'm all about a creamy highlight, and Chanel's Baume Essential Multi-Use Glow Stick ($45) truly cannot be beat. I swipe this on in a "C" shape around my temples and on the top of my cheekbones when I want to look like I ran four miles in 100% humidity (but still make it fashion). That said, blush is hands-down my favorite makeup product of all time. When you're tired, hungover, or just generally lacking in the complexion department, a rosy cheek tint is a godsend. Shiseido's Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush ($29) is foolproof, and gives you a seamless wash of color without needing to apply with a brush. I take it from the apples of my cheeks to the end of my cheekbones, thinning it out as I go, kind of like the Nike swoosh.
"My brows get the most babying out of any part of my face, so to keep them full and bushy, I swear by Benefit's Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($24). It fattens up the individual hairs and adds a darker tint, which I prefer since mine are on the blonder side. It takes less than 60 seconds per brow to get them looking their best. MAC's Extended Play Perm Me Up Mascara ($20) fucking rules. Sorry, but it's true. My lashes are long but devastatingly straight, so to give them some much-needed life, I curl them and follow up with a solo coat of this stuff. Makeup artists have asked me if I have extensions when I wear this—it's that good."
Mi-Anne Chan, video producer and creative development at Condé Nast
"Laura Mercier's Flawless Fusion Concealer ($30) is my holy grail concealer and the one I go back to time and time again. It's hydrating (but not too oily), medium-coverage, long-wearing, and actually looks like skin. It's everything. And, if I had to get rid of all my liners, pencils, and shadows and only use Danessa Myricks' Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color Mattes ($18), I'd do it. They're the perfect, pigmented cream that can be used to create crisp lines or blended together for smokier shadow looks. If you're into more editorial face-paint-style looks, they're excellent for that too. The best part? Unlike a lot of professional paints, these ones dry down matte and don't budge, even in 80% humidity. Thankfully, I haven't had to ditch all my other makeup just yet (and hopefully that never happens) but if it does, I've got these babes.
"RMS Beauty's Champagne Rosé Luminizer ($38) is the trifecta: dewy, easy to apply, and shiny without containing any heavy-handed glitter. And, in the event that I'm watching 'Law and Order: SVU' on my couch and simply cannot get up to tend to my parched lips, I scatter my lip balm of choice, Cocokind's Matcha All-Over Moisture Stick ($9), around my house. It is plush, pillowy, hydrating, hangs around for hours, and has a matte finish—meaning it won't mess with the texture of any lipsticks you layer over top. My lashes are thin and straight, so my makeup is never complete without a few pumps of Surratt's Relevée Lash Curler ($36). It's a great shape for Asian lids and manages to get inner and outer corner lashes with ease. The sleek matte finish doesn't hurt, either.
Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, lifestyle content creator
"NYX's Micro Brow Pencil ($10) is one of my favorites because I never get my eyebrows done, I pluck them myself, and this eyebrow pencil helps keep my them looking 'done.' For lips, I've been using MAC's Matte Lipstick in Taupe ($19) almost everyday for the last three to four years, its a perfect nude that lasts all day and looks great on everyone. Fenty's Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer ($20) can be used on its own, or as a topper on just about any lipstick. I've gone through about four tubes since it dropped.
"Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream ($9) offers the perfect amount of coverage, has SPF, and feels like skin. I use it all summer for that reason. And I love Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara ($27), it tremendously changes the volume and length of my lashes, never clumps, and lasts all day."
Harling Ross, writer and brand consultant
"I don't wear foundation that often (I'm lazy!), but when I do, I'm super picky about what I'm putting on. I come back to Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow Face Primer ($55) again and again because it's super lightweight, blends in smoothly, and gives my face the perfect amount of coverage without making it look like I have anything on my face. I'm not really sure why it's called a primer. I guess it's not really a foundation either, though. I would call it a 'tint,' but I'm not the boss. Anyway, it's the best. Smashbox's Bronze Lights is a great bronzer because it gives you that subtle, matte, not-too-orange, beach-y cheek color. It's also a great bronzer because it lasts forever. I've had my current compact since 2016, I kid you not. A little goes a long way. For concealer, I use RMS Beauty's "Un" Cover-Up ($36) because it's so creamy and fun to put on. It sinks right in. I love that it doesn't aggressively cover up my skin when I put it on, but almost seems to enhance it instead. I have rosacea, and it's helpful for blurring out any red patches without making me look splotchy or cake-y.
"I'm notoriously bad about losing lipsticks (my purses seem to eat any tiny object that enters them), which is why I basically buy Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($20) in bulk. It's my ideal 'hint of color' color. I like that it's noticeably darker than most sheer lipsticks, but not in an overwhelming way. When I put it on, I look like I've been eating blackberries. Chic. Next is brows. Very unoriginal of me, I know, but I use Glossier's Boy Brow ($16) obsessively. If I'm walking out the door with only one makeup product on my face, it's this one. Most eyebrow products stress me out because I'm worried I'll accidentally go overboard and turn myself into a cartoon, but this one is impossible to mess up."
Shahd Batal, beauty vlogger
"I love Tatcha's Dewy Skin Cream ($69)—I've never come across a moisturizer that's so hydrating but lightweight. Similarly, it's hard finding a sunscreen that’s clear and doesn’t turn purple or ashy on me, but Glossier's Invisible Shield ($25) is perfect. It doesn’t break me out or make me feel greasy throughout the day. Bobbi Brown's Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation ($50) is one of the only foundations I've found in my perfect shade. It doesn't break me out, feels like skin, and has the most beautiful natural finish.
"There are so many warm-tone palettes on the market, but I genuinely use every shade in Lawless' The One Eyeshadow Palette ($64). Plus, it's perfect for travel. Live Tinted's Huestick ($24) was created by my friend, Deepica, and it’s a multi-stick for your face, lips, and cheeks. I use the shade Rise, it's a beautiful orange color that cancels my hyperpigmentation without feeling heavy at all. Also, this feels obvious, but I wear Fenty's Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer ($20) regardless of if I'm wearing makeup or not. It's the perfect universal gloss."
Maddie Sensibile, marketing director
"Chanel's Vitalumière Aqua Foundation ($50) is the only one I've ever really stuck with. I tried it ages ago, and then a friend recommended it to me last year when I was looking for something lightweight. It can act as both a concealer and a medium-coverage foundation. I prefer to look like I'm not wearing makeup. After applying foundation just in the spots where I need it, I apply Chanel's Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Hyperfresh ($45). It's kind of a hot pink, and I bought it on the fly without trying it on. I saw it on Joelle Hyman's Instagram and for some reason thought I needed it, and have worn it every day since. It gives me a rosy flush that can be worn all year. Then, I do my brows. I only get my brows done a few times a year, and really have been letting them grow out. When I was younger, I used to pick at them, and now that I don't, I want to let them be! My brows are very straight on their own, so I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($23) to give them shape. The formula stays on for the full day and has a brush I use before and after applying the pencil.
"I picked up Maybelline's Brow Drama Sculpting Eyebrow Mascara ($20) at Target recently because I was out of Boy Brow from Glossier. I actually like it a bit more than Boy Brow, because it keeps my brows in place all day (they're quite unruly and have a life of their own). The gel gives me a nice brushed-up brow look. To finish my look, I put on Ohii's Lip Smudge in Scorpio, it's part of the new line at Urban Outfitters. It's a moisturizing, thicker formula, and is just a shade darker than my natural lip color. It's kind of a mix of nude and pink. It stays on for a while and I don't find myself reapplying that often."
Next up, read our interview with Zoë Kravitz in which she discusses lipstick, finding balance, and her modern take on "having it all."