One of the not-so-secret perks of working in the beauty industry is the onslaught of product samples that comes along with it. Whether you're an editor or an artist, it's your job to know the market inside and out, so it's your life's work to test everything and anything — sounds rough, right?
However, it's inevitable that we fall in love with certain products — those seemingly miraculous skin care potions or frizz fighters that we simply couldn't face the humidity without — and end up stockpiling them (and yes, buying them) ourselves. For this beauty junkie, it's Simple's Micellar Water and L'Oreal's Butterfly Effect Mascara; my lashes never look quite as long, and my skin never as clear, without the duo.
We decided to poll our seasoned professional beauty friends about what products they can't live without — the ones they actually run to the store for as soon as they start running low, and wouldn't dream of substituting for something else. Read on for their picks, which you can shop below.
Maura Lynch, Women's Health Beauty and Lifestyle Director
Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire, $200, available at fredericmalle.com: I have many fragrance obsessions (I'm afraid my shelves are going to come tumbling down under the weight of my collection), but there is one that I come back to more than all the others: Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire. It has this woodsy richness that reminds me of wet earth after a rainstorm, and has a way of — literally and figuratively — grounding me.
Annie Tomlin, SELF Beauty Director
Malin + Goetz Deodorant, $20, available at malinandgoetz.com: My husband and I have been using Malin + Goetz deodorant for five years, and I always buy more because it smells fresh and really works. I think it's $20 or so, which is on the splurge-y side for deodorant, but it is that good.
Katie Becker, Freelance Beauty Writer
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $29, available at sephora.com: As someone who has struggled with very serious breakouts (now controlled with a mix of Eastern and Western therapies), I am very picky about concealers. I converted to this one about a year and a half ago because the coverage payoff is opaque but not thick, and the finish really looks like soft, hydrated skin. Cracking is never an issue.
Simcha Whitehill, Miss Pop Nails Nail Artist
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner, $8.99, available at ulta.com: I've worn this for years; I'm all about the felt tip for my cat eyes. It's always been affordable, but recently it's become even more covetable, as they now make a Skinny tip version. It's made my lines so refined and delicate. Whenever they're on sale at the drugstore, I snatch them up!
Carly Cardellino, Cosmopolitan.com Senior Beauty Editor
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water, $39, available at sephora.com: I'm obsessed with the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water — I've purchased it on numerous occasions, along with their wipes in the same formula. Basically, I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate if I run low on it (my skin breaks out if I don't use it), so I hoard it in a major way.
Katie Jane Hughes, Freelance Makeup Artist
Weleda Skin Food, $15, available at drugstore.com: I think this is the millennial's version of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. It can remove makeup mistakes, it can clean up lip lines, it soothes stressed skin, and it hydrates. I also use it to add a glow to the skin on the cheekbones and eyelids if I'm going for that. I keep one in all of my purses... it's that good.
Dawn Davis, Total Beauty Beauty Director
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, $22, available at sephora.com: I have an entire cabinet full of dry shampoo (we're talking 20+ bottles), but if I want my hair to really look and feel clean without washing it, I use Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo. It's so good, I ration it for special occasions, using it to preserve only the best hair days. And if I'm traveling and realize I forgot to bring it, I'll pop into Sephora and pick up the mini version, which is a palatable $12.
Jamie Greenberg, Celebrity Makeup Artist
Surratt Autographique Liner, $42, available at barneys.com: I luckily don't have to purchase too many things [as a makeup artist], but I've bought three of these recently: One for me, one for my kit, and then a replacement since I already ran out once.
Gwen Flamberg, US Weekly Beauty Director
Bioderma Crealine and Bioderma Hydrabio SPF 30 Sunscreen Water, available in French pharmacies: I was just in Paris and I brought back four bottles of Bioderma Crealine cleansing water. It is the only thing I use to "wash" my face, and you can't buy the French formula in the U.S. I also stocked up on Bioderma Hydrabio SPF 30 Sunscreen Water — it's a little atomizer like Evian Spray, but the mist has a high SPF that works over makeup. It's a game changer for a fair skinned girl like me who gets sunburned just walking around the city. Finally, I can dine alfresco without worrying if I'm going to get the sunny seat. I brought back six cans!
Amber Katz, Freelance Beauty Writer
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, $28, available at paulaschoice.com: I have called in about 10 bottles of Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, and that's in addition to the 10 I've bought for myself. This stuff is the only thing that keeps my pores clear and breakouts at bay. It's only $28 for a four-month supply if you use it only at night, as I do. I've gotten everyone I know hooked on it.
Samantha Leal, MarieClaire.com Senior Editor
Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara, $26, available at sephora.com: As soon as I tried this product, I was sold. It literally grabs every single lash, is blacker than black, gives some straight-up volume, and is totally layer-able. I can't rave about it enough, so I'll let the fact that I've stockpiled two and that it has nearly 3,000 reviews and 10K "loves" on Sephora.com help to back me up.