These Are the Under-$75 Sephora Picks I Swear By as a 41-Year-Old Beauty Editor

Being a beauty editor all these years, you’d think I’d become slightly jaded about beauty products, but no, I’m still pretty much a kid in a candy store when it comes to a new lipstick or eye shadow palette—especially in the glorious, Willy Wonka–esque surroundings of Sephora. Beauty lovers know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to that feeling that the beauty retailer can give. It’s like the "night before Disneyland," or "going to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" type of vibe. Sephora has everything you could possibly need when it comes to beauty. It’s a one-stop shop for picking up your tried-and-true faves, or discovering a new holy-grail product—whether it’s a hair mist, mask-proof lipstick, or eyeliner stamp.

I recently added a few new beauty obsessions to my arsenal, and they’re all from Sephora! Some of them are old favorites that got a makeover, while others are products that I have been wishing for into existence. Keep scrolling for 11 of my current favorites from Sephora that are all under $75. 

1. Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Atomic Shake Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick

Finding a no-budge lipstick has been a priority for my makeup routine for years, and even more so since the pandemic began. I discovered a few serious non-transfer lipsticks, but they required a two-step process. Now that Haus Beauty’s Atomic Shake entered my life, I ain’t turning back! Atomic Shake only requires one step, which is what I had been hoping for in a lip product like this. You just shake the tube, apply the product, and resist pressing your lips together for about 15 seconds. Then, voila, shiny, gorgeous, bulletproof lipstick.

This week, I’ve been testing it every night against certain foods such as sliders, taquitos, and miscellaneous hors d'oeuvres. Hours later when I get home and look in the mirror, my lipstick looks just as good as when I left. Absolute sorcery!

2. OleHenriksen Banana Bright+ Vitamin C Eye Crème

I was a big fan of Banana Bright when it first came out, but hadn’t used it in a long time (mainly because I needed a restock and had a bunch of other eye creams to test). They revamped the formula so it now has three forms of vitamin C (including one complex made with real gold), so my eyes are looking bright, awake, and not like I was up watching the show Evil all night long. The upgraded formula is also fragrance-free, and while I never personally had issues with fragrance, it’s great news for sensitive skin types. 

3. Too Faced Better Than Chocolate Eyeshadow Palette

Too Faced eyeshadow palettes are up there with watching Clueless for me. They make me feel nostalgic and never let me down. I can always find the shade I’m looking for in a Too Faced palette, but Better Than Chocolate goes beyond that for me. I love having a mix of neutrals and bold shades at the ready, and this one has lush brown and beige mattes, plus these super bold and pigmented brights that speak to my maximalist self. The bright blue “Bless Your Tart” shade is a game-changer. I’ve been taking this palette everywhere with me.

4. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation

I’ve written about my recent foray into the world of mid-coverage, dewy foundations before, but I can’t help it—this is a brand new and exciting world to me as a former matte, full-coverage gal! It’s been exciting experimenting with different types of base and coverage products, like this one from Armani. The brand’s famous Power Fabric foundation was my longtime go-to, but I decided to mix it up and try this medium coverage one. It goes on super seamless (ahem, like silk) and makes me look healthy, glowing, and definitely not like I’m vitamin D deficient. (That said, Power Fabric will still remain in my arsenal, and I highly recommend it as well.)

5. Ceremonia Hair Oil Mist con Aloe Vera

The Latinx hair care brand Ceremonia has become one of my absolute favorites in the past year. My hair is very much processed and blonde, so it needs tons of hydration. I’ll spritz this oil mist when it needs a little extra love (which is most days). It has aloe vera, which helps with the damage, as well as chia seed oil for moisture and frizz-smoothing magic, and it never feels heavy or greasy. The scent (which has lemon zest, kumquat, green tea, jasmine petals, and so much more) is especially divine!

6. Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 42

Sunscreens might be the product that I’ve been testing the most lately. Because, duh, I’m trying to correct all of that damage I did in my 20s when I literally only wore sunscreen when I was going to a pool or the beach. Terrifying! Shiseido makes some of the best sun protection products out there, and I’ve been obsessed with this one because it goes on so easily, and I can wear it under makeup without any issue. It has spirulina energy essence which turns sunlight into beneficial light to fight dryness and aging concerns. It also has hyaluronic acid in it for moisture. (Sometimes I’ll skip my regular moisturizer in the morning and just use this.) 

7. Nécessaire The Sunscreen

If I need to take my dog outside (shoutout Gnocchi Buff Daddy, who just loves to ring his little bell alerting me that it’s time), I like to have mineral sunblock by the door to slather on quickly since they’re immediately effective. (This is opposite of chemical sunscreens that need about 20 minutes to be absorbed into the skin.) It also contains niacinamide, which is something that my big pores and I always appreciate in a formula.

8. Milk Makeup Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Makeup Primer

Speaking of pores, I added a new favorite primer to my lineup: Pore Eclipse (a super sexy and mysterious name). This one also has pore-minimizing niacinamide, plus bakuchiol, the retinol alternative, to help even tone and texture. You don’t see bakuchiol much in primers so that caught my eye. Another interesting ingredient is lentil extract, which helps to reduce shine. I’ve actually been using a lot of Milk Makeup products lately (the Hydro Grip Setting Spray is another fave).

9. Tower 28 Beauty SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation

The 2022 me also wears tinted sunscreen, but I found that some of them kind of dissolve into the skin without giving me any coverage to work with. I feel like if you’re going to be tinted, then you gotta give me some tint! SunnyDays is my happy medium between that and a regular foundation. It has helped convince me that I can pull off no makeup-makeup.  

10. Kaja Wink Stamp Long Waterproof Wing Eyeliner Stamp & Pen

I used to refer to myself as a winged liner snob, so I have to be honest when I say that using a stamp to do a cat-eye is something that I never thought I’d do. But, hey, I also said I’d never wear Crocs and I wore some to an event the other day. Never say never! This stamp is the newer version of the original, and it’s perfect for me because it creates a longer wing. It’s so easy to use and I love how it has skin-loving ingredients like avocado and tea extracts. That’s something you never really see in liquid liners.

11. Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer

No hand sanitizer brand has me in a chokehold quite like Touchland. I mean, let’s be real, I’d never even thought to include hand sanitizer in my list of beauty faves before! But I have these everywhere, in my car, in every purse, in a literal candy bowl in my living room. They have delicious scents, mess-free and travel-friendly packaging, and are cute to boot.