There are hundreds — nay, hundreds of
thousands — of beauty product reviews floating around online, but if you're a beauty nerd with an Instagram account, chances are you see the same products fill your feed time and time again. Suffice it to say, it's not always easy to trust what's good — and what's simply clever digital marketing.
We're talking about the products all the Instagram beauty baddies are peddling and the sponsored ones that dot your Explore page on the regular, too. You read great things, but should you actually order them? How will you know if the formula is just right or if the color is true to packaging? We get it, so we rounded up a handful of the top formulas and put then to work.
Ahead, check out the Insta-hyped products that actually passed our tests — and are totally worth your hard earned cash.
The Claim: You've seen the video before: A beauty vlogger rubs her hands over her liquid lipstick to prove that it's smudge-proof. T hey're just about everywhere on Instagram — and more often than not, they seem to feature a lippie from Beauty Bakerie.
The Verdict: I've tried my fair share of products from the brand, but it's the liquid lipsticks that stand out. They slide onto the lips with full opacity and once they set, they do not move. In fact, the brand even has lipstick wipes to aid in the removal process. The only downside? Due to its long-wear qualities, they can feel a bit dry on the lips. My suggestion? Layer a matte lip balm under or over for an extra hit of moisture. Beauty Bakerie Mon Chéri Lip Whip, $20, available at Beauty Bakerie. More
The Claim: Over the past few months I've seen many unexpected ways to blend your makeup — eggs, tomatoes, heck even condoms. While I can't say I'd try all of the aforementioned methods, the finger sponge is a different story. Created by makeup artist Eva Jane as an alternative to classic sponges, this thimble-shaped sponge fits right on top of your index finger and can be used wet or dry to blend in makeup.
The Verdict: I really enjoyed using this — not just because it was fun, but because it tapped in foundation and concealer evenly and left my skin far from cake-face territory (see it in action here). The Makeup Bullet Single Pack, $14.95, available at The Makeup Bullet. More
The Claim: Another "sponge" that has made the rounds lately is this silicone blender — yup, a makeup sponge replacement that's made entirely of silicone. It claims to blend in makeup without absorbing any, so you use less — and waste less.
The Verdict: When I first got my hands on one I didn't anticipate it working, but after using it a few times, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it takes longer to blend in makeup than it would using a brush or regular sponge, but what silicone sponges have going for them is the fact that they absorb zero product and last forever — all you have to do is wash it with soap and water.
Although the brand claims the sponge works with powders, I'd recommend sticking to liquid formulations as they tend to be easier to blend. In fact, I find it works best with liquid or cream blushes like
Glossier's Cloud Paint. Since it absorbs no product, it's also great for anyone looking to boost their coverage or make their makeup last longer. The MakeupDrop Silicone Makeup Applicator, $20, available at The MakeupDrop. More
The Claim: Eyeris Beauty is the child of Manal Shaikh, a.k.a the woman behind the insanely-popular makeup account @WakeUpAndMakeup. Her line of lashes have been used by just about every beauty blogger in the biz — but are they really better than cheapie drugstore options?
The Verdict: They don't disappoint, especially if you're into that full, glamorous lash look. If you're into subtle lashes, you might have to give it a pass. I'm not one to wear faux lashes daily, but I love Eyeris' Liberty Lashes, which are a little more subdued than the brand's other offerings. The lashes are just the right amount of flexible and firm, making them a breeze to apply. Plus, the silk lashes are designed to be used multiple times if cared for correctly. Eyeris Beauty Liberty Lash, $24, available at Eyeris Beauty. More
The Claim: Becca's Champagne Pop is arguably the most famous highlighter to hit stores in recent years. It broke Sephora's record for most-purchased products on its first day of release, went from being limited edition to a permanent item, and even spawned an entire Champagne Glow collection complete with cream and liquid versions. So basically the claim is that it's the best damn highlighter around.
The Verdict: I have written about this highlighter many times (see here and here) and can attest that it is truly $38 well spent. The iridescent Champagne shade works on a variety of skin tones and it can be applied lightly for a subtle glow or built up for intense impact. Plus, despite its powder formulation is never looks obvious or dry on my skin. Becca Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop, $38, available at Sephora. More
The Claim: Iconic London may only be two years old, but the brand's limited-edition highlighter drops are making major waves in the Instagram community. The U.K.-based cosmetics company came out with this limited edition highlighter last year and has been used by just about every makeup influencer from Lottie Tomlinson to Jeffree Star. Naturally, they all rave about the formula and versatility.
The Verdict: After seeing countless videos featuring this tiny jar I had pretty high expectations. I'm happy to report that it totally delivered. If you're into that see-my-highlight-from-space vibe, you'll love the metallic sheen a few drops of this liquid lends to the skin . Seriously, this stuff is potent — in the best way. If you're not into mega-watt glow though, you should pass. Iconic London Limited Edition Illuminator in Original, $37.53, available at Iconic London. More
The Claim: This concealer can cover anything, according to makeup artists and vloggers.
The Verict: In one word: yes! Seriously, I've seen is cover up everything from acne scars to tattoos. The creamy formula offers an insane amount of coverage and comes in a whopping 28 shades (six of which are color correctors). If you're looking for a full-coverage finish, buff it on with a flat-top brush. If you're into something a little more natural, tap it on with a damp sponge. L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal, $5, available at L.A. Girl. More
The Claim: When I first started seeing beauty bloggers (and Kylie Jenner) slick this aftershave lotion on as a primer, I was admittedly skeptical — but the videos kept on on coming, so we had to give it a try.
The Verdict: Much to my surprise, a thin layer spread over my face creates a smooth, matte canvas for makeup that doesn't feel thick or silicone-y like many other primers. It keeps my makeup on a few extra hours and it feels like lotion. The only downside is the smell: Like most men's products it smells decidedly "male" — like a locker room right after the chummiest guys have sprayed themselves down with Axe. Does it work Yes, but the smell may deter you. Nivea Men Post Shave Balm Sensitive, $5.59, available at Target. More
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