No, it's not necessarily a secret, and yes, it's naturally assumed, but as beauty editors, we get a lot of free stuff. To provide a quick visual, each of our desks, vanities, cars, and bathtubs could, without a doubt, serves as prime real estate for an episode of Hoarders. While outwardly acknowledging our sky-high stashes has always felt a little uncouth (we never want to sound like we're bragging or being flippant), unboxing is, indeed, a huge part of our jobs, and we do, for the most part, strive to test and review every single compact and gadget that comes our way. If we love it, you'll hear about it. If we don't, we'll store it in the beauty closet for future photoshoots or donate it to friends, family members, or causes like the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
That's all to say this: We receive enough products on a daily basis that, if we so desired, would never have to buy anything with our own money. But, when we inevitably try something that inspires a head-over-heels, can't-live-without-it fixation, we happily spend our own paychecks on more of it firstly, so we can hold onto our undying love for said products indefinitely (the bottles we receive aren't bottomless magic carpet bags, after all); and secondly, to help support our very favorite brands. So, which beauty products do Byrdie editors actually spend money on? Here are the 16 products perennially in our shopping carts.
"I've been highlighting my hair—and battling the inevitable damage—for years and have tried my fair share of leave-in conditioners and detanglers (essentially the entire shelf at both Sephora and Ulta). This is the one that steals my heart and mends my ends again and again. I first discovered it a few years ago from celebrity hairstylist Tabitha Dueñas and was immediately smitten by how adeptly it navigated my ultra-blonde tangles and encouraged hydration (without imparting weight or grease)."
"At $9, this is probably the most budget-friendly beauty product I spend money on. I always have two on me at all times: one older, drier tube that goes on first (it almost acts like a primer and sets the length and curl) and one that's, well, wetter to pack on the volume and pigment. I'm a lash and mascara girl through and through—it's just my thing. In fact, I broke down my entire mascara routine (which, I'll admit, is unique) for any and all to see."
"The second I start running low on this face lotion, I hit panic mode. I think I write about it every single day. Not only does it have skin-enhancing vitamins, minerals, and omegas but it also has a subtle dose of SPF and looks spectacular under foundation. Sometimes I'll mix it with a little bit of my favorite yellow-tinted primer (when my skin is looking especially dull or I have especially concerning dark circles), but it's also brilliant on its own."
"I've been investing in this magical curling mascara since high school, and I have no intention of quitting anytime soon. It looks great on its own (think separation, curl, and super-black pigment), but I also really like layering it on top of my LashBlast to keep the curl intact all day long."
"I pretty much vow to use this body luminizer until the day and die. It smells delicious, it imparts the perfect ratio of shade and shimmer, and it pretty much makes your legs look like they've been professionally airbrushed. I've tried lots of other body luminizers I also love, but I always come back to this one."
"From the fresh and pretty scent to the velvety way this body wash lathers, I've officially fallen in love with this product and haven't wanted to use anything since discovering it among the aisles of Ulta. It cleanses and moisturizes, so my skin is never left feeling stripped or flaky immediately after toweling off. Plus, it's one of the few formulas that haven't perturbed my sensitive skin."
"Simply put, I can't do my makeup without this powder, and like clockwork, I buy it twice per year. I realize there are two camps within the beauty word (those who love powder and those who, well, don't), and I fall in line with the latter. Not only does MAC's formula deliver a weightless finish without altering the color of my foundation and concealer but it also staves off my previously inevitable under-eye and smile creases, which I appreciate. Plus, it imparts a little bit of a highlight (although it's in no way shimmery), which gives my makeup application a healthy dose of dimension."
"You get such a bang for your buck shopping French drugstore skincare brands, especially when you buy them in Europe, which is why I always let myself raid the drugstores there when I go. This milky Avène cleanser is so gentle and hydrating it keeps my skin moisturized and never irritated when I travel."
"Caudalíe's beauty elixir is another standby I'll always purchase when I'm abroad. I use this stuff for everything: as a refreshing face spray, a toner, a setting spray. It's pricey if you buy it at Sephora, so when I'm OOC, I always take advantage."
"I buy tampons because, well, they're a necessary part of my life as a woman. I buy Lola tampons because the ingredients in the tampons we've been using our whole lives (yes, the things we put inside our bodies) are not regulated. There are incredibly harmful chemicals in the usual drugstore tampon. It's genuinely terrifying. Lola offers 100% organic cotton tampons that don't have pink branding or condescending messaging. Just clean, natural ingredients and helpful products."
"We're very blessed as beauty editors to be sent a ton of incredible beauty products on a daily basis (truly, you should see our office floor—you can barely see the carpet next to our desks), so I rarely have to purchase makeup or skincare products. But one product I run out of constantly and would rather not risk trying to replace with another brand is Nyx's Micro Brow Pencil. It's one of the few formulas that stays put on my brows, doesn't smudge, and matches my brow color perfectly (I use shade Taupe), so I purchase it regularly at the drugstore. It's only $7, so I can't complain too much!"
"I religiously slather Aquaphor on my lips, cuticles, and dry spots every single night before bed and every morning before walking out the door. I had severe eczema as a child all over my arms, legs, and face. To combat this, my mom and I got our hands on this richly moisturized ointment fast. Along with my prescription creams, I grew up massaging this silky formula all over my problem spots to soothe my skin. My inflamed eczema areas would instantly calm down and feel hydrated for hours. Thankfully, I grew out of eczema, but I haven't been able to part ways with this magical stuff. It's my secret to dodging dryness by any means necessary."
"Out of all the fancy new launches that come across my desk, the few items I need the most on a daily basis seldom arrive: makeup wipes. Yes, I still use makeup wipes as the first step to removing my makeup, and yes, I'm aware of the talk around the harsh chemicals these leave on your skin. To be honest, I'm not sure if that fact rings true with these wipes, but to be safe, I always follow up with my double-cleansing routine to properly nourish my skin. These are super gentle and effective, so I never feel like I'm scratching my face with a rough surface, and one wipe removes a full face of makeup (mascara and all). I've been using these since high school and am not planning on giving them up anytime soon."
"I've never really been concerned with caring for my hands (even though they show signs of aging just like the rest of the skin). It wasn't that I didn't like hand cream or didn't believe that it worked. It's just that I preferred to spend my beauty budget on makeup, haircare, and skincare for my face. However, one day I was coaxed into Aesop's Venice Beach store by the amazing floral fragrance that was radiating out of the doors, and I just happened to test the Resurrection Hand Balm. It was love at first smell, thanks to the woody, citrus scent. The super-moisturizing formula and silky texture don't hurt either. Now I'm a firm believer, and I carry it with me everywhere—especially when traveling—so I can use it as for a personal stress-relieving aromatherapy session. Also, my hands look healthier and feel softer. So there's that."
"For me, exfoliation is paramount to a healthy, glowy complexion. Not only does it slough off dead skin and pore-clogging impurities but it increases cell turnover, too. I've been a loyal user of these pads for years but especially after learning about all of the wonderful benefits of regular exfoliation. These pads are doused in a mixture of glycolic and lactic acids, which chemically dissolve the 'glue' that holds all the icky stuff to the skin. After I use them (which is normally two to three times a week), my skin looks fresher, smoother, and brighter. I'm sort of—just a little bit—kind of obsessed."
"Compared to pricey face creams and high-tech beauty devices, razors can feel like the boring of beauty products. And yet, Billie's managed to make the whole buying process fun and empowering. Instead of paying $20-plus for razor cartridges at the drugstore every few weeks, I only pay $9 a month for a set that includes two razor blades, a handle, and a genius magnetic razor holder, then $9 a month for four razor cartridges afterward (you can skip months whenever you want, aka during winter hibernation). Other than being way more cost-effective than a traditional razor (most of which charge a 'pink tax,' which is an extra cost women have to pay just for being women), the razor itself is what makes Billie stand apart. The five blades are surrounded by a cushiony frame that makes the razor glide over your skin like a pro skier on a slope. I tell everyone about it—it's the razor of the future."