We'll admit that some of our best makeup-related epiphanies have been accidental discoveries. Though we wish we could say we're one part editor, one part alchemic genius, it's our job to test and compare virtually every product that comes across our desk.
Thus, more often than not, we can be found deskside at 7 p.m. swiping ourselves with odd concoctions of glosses, luminizers, balms, and the like. Typically, the results verge more mad scientist than alluring, lit-from-within fairy, but every so often we stumble upon a majestic makeup combination: two unrelated gems that share the same scintillating chemistry as Kate and Leo.
Yes, we realize our favorite brands carry complementary lines of product meant to be mixed and matched, but to be completely honest, our top-secret pairings yield rather incomparable results (if we do say so ourselves).
"I've always been a devotee to thick, plush mascara wands that add volume and drama to my lashes. That is, until I tried La Roche-Posay's Extension Mascara ($25). It separates every lash, builds onto every last hair, and makes my lashes look a mile long. Couple that with the super-thickening powers of Lancôme's Monsieur Big Mascara ($25), and you have a recipe for truly out-of-this-world lashes." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I love a perfectly flushed, dewy cheek and have found the magic combination in these two products. I tap Glossier's Cloud Paint in Puff ($18) on the apples of my cheeks, and then, without wiping my finger, dip it into Rituel de Fille's Rare Light Luminzer in Ghostlight ($29) and apply it above my cheekbones. I purposely blend the two products into each other as I apply the highlighter—the two consistencies melt into each other perfectly for a lit-from-within glow." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"So it's not exactly recommended that you layer a BB cream over a foundation. Usually it's one or the other. But there's something so perfect about these two products combined together to create a flawless palette of glowing skin. First, Fenty's Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation ($35) blends so flawlessly into my skin it's barely even visible. It's a bit more matte and full-coverage than I usually go for, though, so I like to apply a few spritzes of a dewy skin mist to keep things glowy. Then I blend on a bit of 3Lab's Aqua BB SPF 40 ($110) on top. It's a formula that provides an unprecedented amount of plumping hydrating. Together, it's a cocktail of color-correcting coverage and moisture sent from the heavens." — Hallie Gould
"Since my skin has an affinity for perpetual dryness, I've made it my mission over the years to find a holy-grail lotion or luminizer to impart equal amounts moisture, radiance, and just a touch of sun-kissed tint. After trying an overwhelming number of products that left my skin dehydrated, sticky, or streaky, I was close to giving up. Then, in a desperate attempt to get ready for a last-minute happy hour one night, I pumped a few drops of Giorgio Armani's Fluid Sheer in Gold Bronze ($62) into my generous palmful of Frank Body's Coconut Body Balm ($25) and quickly slathered it all over my arms, décolletage, and legs. I'm not sure how I didn't come up with the idea sooner (they're two of my favorite products, after all), but I've been hooked on the combination ever since." — Erin Jahns, assistant editor
"Whenever I want a super-dewy glow, I combine Rituel de Fille's Rare Light Luminizer in Phosphene ($29) with Honest Beauty's Magic Balm ($13). The highlighter is plenty luminous on its own, but adding the Vaseline-like base of the Magic Balm helps take it to another level. I love applying this at the top of my cheekbones and trick people into thinking my skin isn't as dry as it actually is." — Lindsey Metrus, managing editor
"I've been obsessed with this luminzing powder from The Balm for years now. In fact, I love it so much that I've been known to tell strangers on the street about it and am fairly convinced I'll never find something I like better. So it was only a matter of time before I layered it atop one of my favorite products, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat ($40). The shade is universally flattering and lends some radiance to begin with, but when I top it with the Mary-Lou Manizer ($24), the result is unlike anything else I've tried. First, I'll swirl the blush on my cheeks and also add a touch to my chin, nose, and the top of my forehead right along my hairline. Then, I go in the highlight—dusting it softly along my cheekbones, Cupid's bow, the bridge of my nose, inner corners of my eyes, and underneath my arches. So yes, essentially, I faceplant into the compact via brush, but the candlelit payoff simply can't be surpassed." — Erin Jahns, Associate Editor