If you could only use one makeup product for the rest of your life, what would it be? We asked 10 beauty editors exactly what their desert island makeup product would be and, friends, this isn’t an easy question to ask someone who tries thousands of makeup products every year. Here’s exactly what they said…
Executive Beauty Director at VOX Media
When I hear “desert island” my gut reaction is SPF! And that goes for makeup, too, because I’ll take all the sun protection I can get. The Burt’s Bees SPF 30 Sun Care Tinted Lip Balm in Wild Peony is the perfect rosy shade (great on lips or cheeks) and has SPF 30 thanks to non-nano zinc oxide. It’s made with shea butter and beeswax so I’d use it as a moisturizer or barrier cream in a pinch. Oh, and it smells like coconut, making it perfect for any island — deserted or otherwise.
Beauty Director, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Prevention
My desert island pick would be Jones Road Beauty Miracle Balm All-Over Glow, which can be applied on lips, cheeks, and eyelids. It makes you look like yourself, just a little bit more glowy, bright, and refreshed. Plus, I have the driest skin, and the dense, buttery formula doubles as a moisturizer thanks to its high quantity of skin-nourishing ingredients like plant oils and vitamin E.
Senior Beauty Editor, Commerce at InStyle
My mascara faves change weekly with new launches. For reference, if my lashes don’t vaguely look fake, it’s not enough for me. Give me mooore. For a super-sized volumized and lengthened effect, I love the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara. It launched a year or two ago, but I find myself circling back to it when I want that dramatic look. I have blonde lashes and a thick coat of the inky pigment makes me look more alive and awake and is my go-to for a one-step boost.
Deputy Digital Director, Allure.com
Assuming the island has unlimited supplies of sunscreen, I’d bring along the Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Brow Fixer in Soft Blonde. Even on days when I wear no other makeup, I almost always throw this on to shape up and lightly tint my brows. It has a thin, angled brush that makes precise application easy, and it’s ultra-waterproof — perfect for beach (or desert island) days.
Senior Beauty Editor, WellandGood.com
As someone who prefers a natural, no-makeup makeup look, I never thought I’d find a lipstick that didn’t make me feel like a clown (I’ve historically opted for tints and balms instead). But Uoma Beauty Salute to the Sun Lipstick in Cleopatra changed the game. Its warm pink has become my signature shade, and the hydrating formula delivers a perfectly glossy finish that stays on all day without drying out. Plus, if I’m only going to have one product with me on a desert island, it needs to be multipurpose. I often find myself swiping it on my cheeks and across my lids for a monochromatic look, and the result is a fresh face that looks perfectly dewy and sun-kissed.
Contributing Editor, Allure
The ultimate winner for me would be Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk Intense. It’s a rich, warm brown that’s deep enough to double as eyeliner, a brow pencil, and give you the poutiest lined lips ever. It’s so dark it’s intimidating at first swipe – but with a little blending (and a nude lipstick, which I know I don’t have because it’s a desert island and I can only have one thing) it’s Alexa Demie makeup on a stick.
Beauty Director, PureWow.com
Right now, it would be Monika Blunder Beauty Liquid Flush Cheek Tint in Salzburg (though the Rome shade would be a close second choice). It’s this perfect peachy-pink blush that makes my face come alive, no matter how tired I am. I also love the packaging; it comes in a small tube that’s about the size of a lip balm, so it’s easy to travel with, and it has a generously sized doe foot applicator that doles out just enough blush every time. I find that one to two dots for each cheek is more than enough, as the blush is very pigmented, but it blends in nicely without ever looking patchy.
Deputy Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan
I’m all about minimalist makeup, so I gravitate towards products that are fuss-free and easy to use. Saie Slip Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Tinted Moisturizer is exactly that — I can apply the medium coverage formula with bare fingers and it makes my skin looks super dewy and even-toned in a few seconds.
Freelance beauty writer and editor
My desert island makeup product is actually more of a makeup-skincare hybrid — the Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36. It’s honestly the only thing I put on my face most days. The mineral-based sun protection doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, I love that there are antioxidants in the formula, and, per the makeup part of things, it offers the perfect amount of coverage to make my skin look even and camouflage any imperfections. If I’m going out or want a little bit more coverage, I just add a little bit of concealer on top. Plus, the finish is gorgeous — naturally radiant, without being overly shimmery or sparkly.
Beauty Director, Women’s Health
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my brows have begun to thin. I want to remedy that, but I want the solution to be undetectable — no Cara Delevingne caterpillars for me. To achieve this, I only use Sania’s Brow Bar Angled Mechanical Brow Pencil. The shape of the applicator allows me to easily make a precise, natural-looking fill, and the spoolie brush on the other end makes blending a cinch. Plus, the three adaptable shades are a perfect match for virtually every hair color. It’s a, well, stroke of genius.
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