Whether you’re headed on a first date or celebrating your 15th anniversary, a date night is always a time to arrive feeling your most radiant—and most confident—self. For this editor, that often begins by armoring myself in a carefully selected outfit and leaving home with glowing skin. Curious to find out what instills confidence among the experts I admire, I asked some of the most trusted women in beauty about the items we’d be sure to find on their bathroom counters before a big date.
So what are the best date-night makeup products according to beauty insiders? From the red lipstick that guarantees compliments to Olsen-inspired eye shadow to the skin-perfecting lotion one editor calls a “magic elixir,” and more, their date-night routines are stocked with cult beauty items that have been carefully curated over the years. Ahead, find out the most coveted date-night beauty products, beginning with the ones I can’t live without.
Kristen Nichols, Managing Editor, Who What Wear
No matter what, my makeup routine always revolves around achieving luminous skin—and that is especially true for a date night. Dior recently released this Forever Skin Glow foundation, and I’ve been hooked on it because it creates a flawless, dewy finish without looking like you’re wearing makeup.
I always add highlighter to the top of my cheekbones, and this one from Flesh in Startle is simply the best. It really makes your skin glow.
Maya Allen, Digital Beauty Editor, Marie Claire
"Red lipstick may sound rather risky to wear on a date (e.g., what if lipstick gets on my teeth, what if it moves from my lips to my chin when I chew, etc.). The what-ifs are very valid, but this matte lipstick never does me wrong. The bold color makes me feel fierce, and the comfortable matte formula is one-of-a-kind. Plus, it always guarantees a compliment, and what better way to break the ice than with a bit of flattery?"
"I'm the type of person who wears fragrance to bed, so it should be no surprise that I put a lot of thought into which scent I spritz myself on before a date. Scent seriously affects my mood, and I connect fragrance to fond memories, which is always a starting point with deciding which to put on. This powerful blend of black violet and leather accord is my favorite because it makes me feel in control and unapologetic. I wear it for job interviews and celebrity interviews, and it sparks a conversation every time. I like to call it my lucky charm."
Carrie Barber, Senior Art Director, Violet Grey
"I don't usually wear a lot of makeup, so date night for me is an opportunity to try a new look I have saved or try a new product. When going out, I always start by spending a good amount of time on my foundation because regardless of the final look, I always want my skin to look great. I usually wear a foundation with more coverage like the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation and always apply with a wet Beautyblender because it adds hydration and gives you an even, dewy finish."
"I use Westman Atelier's foundation stick as concealer."
"Depending on the season or what I am wearing, I will wear a darker red like the Chanel Rouge Allure Liquid Powder in Bittersweet. I love this product because it gives you that imperfect, French-girl pout."
"If I do an eye, it’s an Olsens-inspired, messy, smoky eye. My go-to eye palette is the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Pallette. I have all of them, but for a night out, I used a mix of the Golden Goddess and The Uptown Girl. I like to use dark eye shadow as eyeliner by pressing it into the lash line to achieve that messy, smoky look."
Jessica Chia, Executive Beauty Editor, Allure
"When I'm getting ready for a date night, I also think about my skincare on my arms and legs—anything that will be exposed—not just on my face. I love Lush's Sleepy Hand and Body Lotion (a blend of almond oil, oat milk, and lavender water) because it makes my skin feel like silk and has a lasting scent that I get so many compliments on. (It smells like a bouquet of lavender dipped in vanilla sugar.)"
"I always want my lips to look great on a date, and my favorite trick (other than wearing a really great lip color) is to highlight the Cupid's bow or “V” at the center of my lips by dabbing highlighter there with my finger. It makes them look fuller and juicier. The cream Living Luminizer from RMS looks great on me whether I'm summer tan or winter pale and doesn't look so shimmery that it's distracting."
Jayme Cyk, Founder, Cannonball Theory
"Truthfully, I don't wear any makeup on the reg. But I love this subtle flush of color. It ups my game for the evening but still keeps me looking fresh and not overdone. Jillian Dempsey taught me to apply the balmy blush with my thumb right on the cheeks and blend. It's the perfect placement for cream blush, and I basically listen to anything she says."
"I have yet to find a mascara that lives up to this Serge Lutens comb brush contraption. It defines the lash and gives it a bit of a lift. Don't expect major drama or volume. That's what Troy Surratt's eyelash curler is for!"
"Gucci Westman knows her way around skin, and she believes makeup can add a subtle face-lift when added to the right areas. I love her sheer, slightly iridescent, sans-glitter highlighter. Even better, it's loaded with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Vitis vita grape extract for a hydrated and supple complexion. I apply it on my cheekbones, bridge of the nose, Cupid's bow, and tear ducts."
Erin Jahns, Associate Beauty Editor, Who What Wear
"Glowing, healthy skin is a must for date night, and this miracle skin elixir is an absolute obsession of mine. I first discovered it after seeing a makeup artist slather it all over Madeline Brewer pre–SAG Awards. It smells amazing, is nontoxic and natural, and basically acts like a firming, liquid highlighter for your entire body. I wear it all year round, but it's especially perfect for summer."
"For dates, I never want to have anything too crazy happening on my lips. I love this new gloss from La Mer because it instantly plumps up your lips with pillowy fullness while lending a non-sticky coat of shine and boost of natural color from the tingly plumping action. Basically, it's your lips but 10 times better. Plus, the packaging is so pretty."
"I naturally have long eyelashes, and I love to play them up. While I wish I could say I've found a better mascara formula since this one launched last year from Glossier, I haven't. My lashes are easily weighed down, but this lightweight mascara manages to lengthen them to insanely fluttery length while still maintaining curl and lift. It's not the most volumizing of formulas, but if you're after flawless separation and extension-like heights, this mascara is the ultimate choice."