I'm a Beauty Editor—9 Products I Tell My Friends to Retire and 9 to Try Instead
Because my life revolves around anything and everything beauty, it's not too surprising that my non–beauty industry friends and family members come to me first for every beauty-related question that comes to mind—be it whether or not a viral TikTok trend is legit, a buzzy product is worth the splurge, or how to correctly apply or use a new formula or tool. I'm everyone's beauty rock, and I love it.
Recently, I was talking to one friend about how our beauty routines and product preferences have evolved and shifted as we've gotten older, and the longer we were talking, the more I realized that quite a few of the practices and products I used to live and die by aren't really a part of my schtick any more. So because it's what I do, I decided to write a story about it. Keep scrolling for nine beauty products or practices I've officially retired and what I like to use instead.
Retire: Liquid Liner
Try Instead: Glide-Friendly Liners
Don't get it twisted—I still love the drama of liquid liner and keep a handful in my makeup bag at all times. However, over the years, I find myself prioritizing liners that are silky and easy to manipulate over comparably harsher, better-not-eff-it-up-up liquid formulas. Not only are the former more user-friendly and easy to blend and adjust until you're satisfied with the shape and pigment payoff of your work, but the overall finish also looks softer and more natural, a vibe I love more and more as I get a little older.
So many of my friends feel intimidated by liquid formulas, so I always suggest one of the pencil liners listed below instead. (I've yet to receive anything other than positive feedback!) A hack I love? Tracing over my penciled-in job with some liquid liner in the same shade if I want a little extra oomph—like before a night out or event. That way, you're getting the application ease of a pencil but the color saturation and staying power of a liquid.
Retire: Heavy Foundations
Try Instead: Color-Correctors
Redness, acne scars, dark spots, and shadows, all of the above used to make me cling to my collection of full coverage foundations with an ironclad grip. Until I started using color correctors pre-foundation, that is. By using these formulas specifically meant to camouflage and counteract unwanted pigment, you're able to effortlessly even out your complexion before you start going in with foundation and concealer. This was huge for me because not only do I now need less product, in general (which makes my face look less maks-like), but I now feel way more comfortable opting for sheerer base formulas like skin tints, tinted moisturizer, BB creams, and CC creams.
Retire: Old-School Hair Masks
Try Instead: Lightweight Leave-Ins
This is a bit of personal preference, but as someone who is extremely lazy (and hates rinsing, washing, and re-rinsing my hair), I pretty much never use traditional hair masks anymore. I'm all about efficiency and results (as are most of my friends), so I'll either reach for a pre-shampoo mask I can slap onto my hair for a half-hour before I do my twice-weekly wash ritual or I skip over all of the extra hubbub and use a high-quality leave-in post-shower on my damp strands. A few of my favorites are below, and all of them enhance shine, softness, and manageability while also strengthening, mending, and protecting the hair. I mean, why would you bother with any additional steps?
Retire: Heat Styling Tools
Try Instead: Air-Dry Aids
Staying in the hair vein, I have ridiculously blonde hair and have been bleaching it for years. To be honest, it's entirely insane that my hair is as long, thick, and healthy as it is, considering it has no business still being on my head, logically speaking! Of course, I'm diligent about my upkeep. My colorist always prioritizes the integrity of my hair and I give my strands lots of TLC. I also mind my diet and supplement MO. But I swear the most important part of my healthy hair secret sauce is that whenever possible, I let my hair air dry instead of using heat styling.
As someone who used to heat daily and then barely ever once the pandemic hit, I noticed a serious uptick in the way my hair looked, felt, and behaved very quickly. Now, whenever my friends are worried about hair loss or any other strand-related woes, I tell them to air-dry more and heat style less instead of throwing their money at supplements and other *sometimes gimmicky* solutions. Even if you pick one of two evils, such as skipping the blow dryer but using your hair wand once your strands have dried naturally or vice versa, I swear you'll be better off.
Retire: Setting Powders
Try Instead: Makeup-Gripping Primers
I used to live and die by my setting powders, and honestly, I'm not really sure why? A) They added another tedious step to my admittedly long-winded makeup routine, and B) I never liked the way they'd settle a couple of hours into a sweaty night or show up all flashback-like in photos. Yes, I will sometimes dab a little setting powder on my T-zone or chin if I start to get greasy, but I never use setting powder to bake my makeup or set my under-eyes or foundation/concealer anymore.
Instead, I've found that when I simply take the time to find a super-great primer that will latch on to the products I apply afterward and prevent them from migrating, I am way happier with the results. Plus, so many concealers and foundations have the technology not to crease—Kosas is the best in that regard. If I really feel the need to add an extra layer of smudge prevention, I'll simply spritz a setting spray over my face before I head out the door.
Retire: Thick, Oversized Mascara Brushes
Try Instead: Flexible, Comb-Like Mascara Brushes
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to their lashes and mascara style of choice, but if you're someone like me who wants ultra-fluttery, long, separated, and beautifully curled lashes that look like Bambi, you need to read this. My lash game has gotten so much better now that I know to prioritize flexible rubber brushes that easily latch onto, coat, and comb through every last lash. Honestly, I'd argue the brush you choose has more influence than the actual mascara formula. This type of brush makes clumps and flakiness obsolete, and you'll also get a high dose of mascara onto your lashes quickly while having the built-in ability to comb them out for a perfect, doll-like result.
Retire: Huge Eye Shadow Palettes
Try Instead: Individual Liquid or Cream Eye Shadows
I don't know why, but my friends and family members who wear makeup are always convinced they'll hate liquid eye shadow. Until they finally try it and decide it's the best thing since sliced bread. (I wish I was above saying, "I told you so," but I'm most definitely not.) A liquid or cream formula might seem potentially more messy or intimidating than powder, but you'll realize it's actually the complete opposite once you try it. It's so much more user-friendly than powder formulas which can be hard to control and have a lot of fallout.
I love that with liquid and creams, you can swipe or dab it where you want the color or sparkle and blend it out to your liking. It's the easiest thing on earth. And since they're sold individually, you're spending your money on the colors you'll actually use and not a bunch of additional hues you'll never touch. (One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to overpriced powder palettes.)
Retire: Expensive Facial Treatments
Try Instead: High-Tech At-Home Skin Devices
I love a good facial, but they're often expensive and can add up over time. Plus, I can't always set aside the hour or two (or more) needed to get a professional treatment. These days, I'm turning to high-tech skin devices I can use at home instead. They help me achieve a specific result, from preventing fine lines and wrinkles to firming the skin and clearing breakouts.
Retire: Traditional Primers
Try Instead: Pore-Minimizing, Glow-Giving Products
I used to love using primers, but now I find them too thick, heavy, and occlusive on my skin. So, I've swapped them out for a more modern substitute: pore-minimizing and glow-giving skincare products. They do things a traditional primer does, including hydrating the skin, minimizing the appearance of pores, and helping makeup apply more smoothly. Yet they also treat the skin with active ingredients and impart a healthy-looking glow.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
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