I've Spent Years Playing Product Roulette, But These 17 Have Won Me Over

The Lineup is a monthly series where we’re giving you an inside peek at the beauty lineups of cool fashion people, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and estheticians—all the people we trust the most. Get ready for a behind-the-scenes look at all the can’t-live-without products that make their worlds go round.

If you're not familiar with Emily DiDonato's name, you'd probably recognize her face from the countless Maybelline ads she's appeared in (she became the face of the brand when she was fresh out of high school) or her modeling for Victoria's Secret and countless other designers. She's only 30 and has already had an impressive career that has given her opportunities to collaborate with some of the best makeup artists and hairstylists in the industry. "I've been on set for thousands of photoshoots, have tried so many products, and picked up so many tips and tricks along the way," says the New York–based supermodel. Though she admits she wasn't always skilled in the beauty department. "As a teenager, I went through a period of struggling with acne and genuinely didn't know how to take care of my skin. I tried so many different routines and systems, from Proactiv to Clinique, with hopes of achieving a clearer complexion."

DiDonato says she feels fortunate to have had exposure to beauty throughout her life, but after years of experimenting with skincare and playing product roulette, she felt ready to trade her complex 12-step routine for something more streamlined. "My dermatologist, Julie Russak, has taught me less is more and consistency and product compatibility are key." Ultimately, this is what led DiDonato to co-found Covey, a simple three-step skin ritual that works across all skin types.

Even though DiDonato's own line is keeping her busy, she still loves discovering and trying new products to feature on her YouTube channel. "I firmly believe that beauty products should make you feel good and shouldn't be a source of stress. They should make you feel confident and act as anchors even during the most hectic days," she says. Keep scrolling to see the picks that make her feel her best, and watch her break down her daily beauty essentials via our IGTV series, Beauty Wardrobes. 

"Because all of Covey’s products are like my children, I don’t like to choose favorites… But this cleanser is my favorite. It takes all of my makeup off (including waterproof) in a single step, without ever stripping my skin. When we were formulating the cleanser, I would test each version after shoot days when I'd be wearing the most makeup and record videos of myself testing it. I have dozens of videos of myself with raccoon eyes from versions that didn’t do the trick. I knew we had found 'the one' when it effortlessly removed all of my makeup from a Maybelline shoot."

"When we were developing Covey, we knew we wanted to include vitamin C because of how many skin concerns it addresses. But vitamin C is notoriously unstable (and becomes ineffective once it oxidizes) and the hot dog water smell of typical vitamin C serums doesn’t exactly get you excited to apply it each day. Plus, many vitamin C serums can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin, myself included. We were determined to create a serum
that was gentle yet effective minus the smell and oxidation. Next Up Vitamin C Serum contains 15% THD ascorbate, which is the most modern form of vitamin C. It’s super gentle, ultra stable, and also 50 times more effective than L-ascorbic acid. It’s also completely fragrance free."

"This moisturizer is the Goldilocks of moisturizers: super hydrating and moisturizing but lightweight and fast-absorbing. Just right. It plays well under makeup but is also ideal for overnight hydration. The texture is super unique whippy and gel-like, making it perfect year-round."

"My biggest teenage beauty regret is how much time I spent in tanning beds. Fast forward to today, I’m super stringent about wearing SPF daily. This one from First Aid Beauty is my favorite because of how truly weightless it is. It’s great under makeup and never pills my other skincare products."

"My hair is naturally thick and wavy, and I always come back to this. I put it in my hair when it's wet and let it air dry. It enhances my natural texture, just less frizzy."

"I am obsessed with all things Gisou, especially its hair oil. I put this into my wet hair to tame frizz and hydrate but will also apply it to my ends to finish styling. My hair always looks (and feels) healthiest when I use hair oil, and this one is always in the rotation."

"All of my hair products are focused on containing my hair’s natural frizziness, and this spray is no different. I especially love this as the weather gets warmer in New York (aka more humidity!) as an extra tool to fight the frizz and smooth my hair. I mist it on after styling."

"I only wash my hair two times a week, so dry shampoo is a necessity between washes. I used to wash every day, but since switching to twice a week, my hair’s texture and shininess has never been better. I love Batiste’s dry shampoo to freshen up between washes."

"I love that this lip balm is the perfect multitasker for day and night. It has ingredients like vitamin E to fight environmental stressors during the day and plant-based oils to seriously hydrate. During the day, I tap on top of my lip color of choice, and at night, I slather on as an overnight lip mask."

"When people talk about taking care of their skin, they’re usually referring to their face, but it’s so important to take care of your entire body. I find a lot of body creams and oils don’t absorb quickly, which can be annoying because no one wants to get dressed while feeling sticky. This body cream from Dr. Sturm is super fast-absorbing, and my skin feels soft and hydrated all day. I also use this as a highlighter for a shimmer-less glisten."

"Katie Jane Hughes got me (and I think the rest of the internet!) into Skin Food, but I love it most on my hands. It’s the year of handwashing and sanitizer, so if you haven’t invested into a great hand cream yet, this is it."

"I have a few fragrances that I rotate, depending on my mood and the occasion, but I’ve been reaching for Tom Ford’s Jasmine Rouge the most recently. It has the perfect amount of intensity, and I get compliments whenever I have it on."

"I’ve always struggled with a dry scalp and am constantly trying new products and tools to combat it. I’ve been using this brush, which is meant for wet hair and to eliminate flakiness. I definitely see a difference whenever I use this instead of a standard brush, and it feels like a mini scalp massage whenever I use it."

"TikTok made me buy these, and I have no regrets. They hold my super-thick hair effortlessly. The claw clip comeback may be one of my favorites from 2020."

"This is my daily hair tool. I use it to create waves and curls and, of course, to straighten. My YouTube video tutorial on how to create waves using this iron went viral, and I still get stopped on the street by people thanking me for teaching them this trick!"

"This gets me the 'cool-girl wave’ that I’ve been trying to nail for years. No other curling iron has worked as well or as effortlessly as this one for me, and it’s super affordable. Go figure!"

"I have been loving my customized Covey cosmetic case from Stoney Cover. It holds all of my daily makeup (with room to spare!), including my current lineup: Maybelline Sky High Mascara (thank you again, TikTok), Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation (fun fact: I love powder foundation!), Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer (which I’ve used forever), and my forever faithful, Bare Minerals Blush in You Had Me at Merlot."

Can't get enough of DiDonato's picks? Watch her break down her daily beauty essentials, the products TikTok influenced her to buy, and more in her Beauty Wardrobes feature on our IGTV.