Products to Put On Your Beauty Bucket List!

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Have you ever loved a beauty product so much you thought everyone should try it at least once before their number is up? Or is there a skin-care product you've always wanted to use that sounded really great, but you never got around to buying it?

More often than not you can't rely merely on popularity to determine which products to buy because a lot of people buy products with bad ingredients or bad packaging. You also can't rely on ads or celebrity endorsements, as they're hardly objective. That's why you need us!

Here at Paula's Choice we review products and then rate them based on scientific and published research, and try our best to leave our personal biases out of the picture. However, we all definitely do have our opinions about which products are truly the best, and we were curious (as you might be) about which products Paula's Choice staff would put on their "beauty bucket lists." The results follow!

Related Product Recommendations

Hair Care

Paula's Choice founder Paula Begoun, when asked what hair-care product she couldn't do without, had one immediate response - minoxidil (the active ingredient in the hair growth product Rogaine). It's not only the most researched ingredient for reducing hair loss, but also the only topical product with data showing actual hair growth. Paula says minoxidil is a woman's best friend when pre- and post-menopausal (starting around 40) hair loss or thinning hair is a concern (and it will always be a concern, as this type of hair loss eventually affects all women!).

Other hair-care products staffers say they love include Aussie's 3-Minute Miracle and Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo. 3-Minute Miracle is a creamy conditioner that works beautifully on dry, damaged, or curly hair, leaving it soft and manageable.

The Pronto Dry Shampoo actually isn't a shampoo – rather it's a loose powder for the hair that doesn't look powdery on the scalp or feel heavy. It absorbs excess oil, making it a real time-saver when there isn't time to shampoo and restyle.

Skin Care & Body Care

There are so many Paula's Choice products we would love to put on this list, such as our RESIST line (especially our new products for oily combination skin!), our CLEAR line for acne, and our serums and BHA products. These are all unique, incredibly effective products and Paula is rightfully proud of them, but for the purposes of this list, we're including only product from other lines that also are excellent options to consider.

One skin-care product that always gets a thumbs-up from us is Estee Lauder's Perfectionist [CP + R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum. It's rated a Beautypedia "BEST" not because of its claims to lift and firm wrinkles (it simply can't do that), but because it contains numerous skin-repairing ingredients and plenty of antioxidants that help improve the way skin looks and feels. It also makes skin texture amazingly smooth and can double as a foundation primer.

Another item to put on your body-care bucket list, you simply must experience Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture, a gentle body wash for normal to dry skin.

Makeup

Makeup is definitely an area where a lot of us at Paula's Choice like to play, especially since we review so much of it for Beautypedia! So, you ask, what does our staff say you must try (run, don't walk!) before heading to the great beyond?

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion - This silicone-based product helps shadows go on smoother and last longer without fail. We weren't a believer in eyeshadow primer until this came along!
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen – This fragrance-free formula has a beautifully smooth texture and silky application, and does a good job of blurring minor imperfections.
  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner - This gel liner in a glass pot gets a lot of good press, and our staffers say it's well-deserved. (It got multiple recommendations!) It goes on like a liquid liner and dries to a truly smudge-proof, budge-proof finish, and comes in a good variety of shades, whether you want classic or trendier colors.
  • MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation - This longstanding best-seller is a silky-smooth powder foundation that blends like a dream and provides light to medium coverage for slightly oily to slightly dry skin. There's a shade for almost everyone, too!
  • Mally Ultimate Performance Dream Brow with Brush – This semi-solid yet soft-textured cream formula packs the pigment punch of an eyebrow pencil, but has wax-like staying power - without the waxy finish or sticky feel!
  • Dior 1-Coleur Eyeshadow - This pressed-powder shadow isn't a low-cost option by any means, but staffers say you have to give it a shot for its creamy-smooth texture that applies easily and doesn't require a lot of product to get a lot of color. The company's eyeshadow palettes are amazing, too, though some of the color combinations are iffy.
  • Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch - In the words of Beautypedia Content Director Bryan, "Still one of the best, easiest-to-use highlighters. Brilliant for when you look tired!" A less expensive alternative is Maybelline's Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, which is available at the drugstore.

Tools, Devices, & Accessories

Beauty products, of course, go way beyond the products you actually apply to your skin or hair. What about those must-have tools that make life a little easier and more beautiful? Here are the tools, devices, and accessories our staff says they'll use until they kick the bucket or the product is discontinued, whichever comes first:

  • Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – There's a reason this is a favorite of our staff: It really works to give you the curled lashes Mother Nature might have skimped on.
  • Remington Wet 2 Straight Flat Iron - Customer Care Specialist Isabelle is also a cosmetologist who does hair, so she's serious about the tools she uses! She says this flat iron, "… has very smooth plates, and I don't need to pull or tug to get the hair straight. The sides are beveled so I don't get a weird crimp, and it is easy to follow with a comb for separation."
  • Farouk CHI Orbit 25-13mm Reversal Curling Iron - This high-heat curling wand doesn't create uniform looking tightly-coiled "prom curls," which means it's especially great for creating or reinforcing natural curls.
  • Conair Yellow Bird Hair Dryer - This has multiple controls for speed and heat, allowing you to create a wide variety of looks without torching your tresses!
  • MAC Brushes #217 (Blending) and #239 (Eye Shading) - MAC has some of the softest, best brushes around, and if you take care of them they'll last just about forever. These two are among their very best and most practical.
  • Clarisonic Plus - To quote one staffer, "You've never shaved until you've shaved after using a Clarisonic."
  • Tweezerman Tweezers - A cult favorite, this gets in close to eyebrow hairs so you can do precision shaping (or just keep that unibrow away) at home.
  • Schick Hydro 3 Razor + Refill – This provides a close, smooth shave without irritating sensitive skin. Prefer 5 blades? Schick Hydro has that option, too!

Nail Care

When it comes to tips and toes, staffers say one of the best brands for non-chip polish and great colors is Sinful Colors. If you don't have the steady hand you need to do your own at-home manicure, we recommend checking out OPI Nail Stickers. Peel them off, pop them on, file them down, and you'll look like you had a salon manicure without having to wait for anything to dry.

As the finishing touch, we wouldn't be caught dead without Seche Vite Top Coat. It adds durability to any manicure or pedicure, and puts the "polish" in nail polish!

There you have it: 25 can't-do-without products from the Paula's Choice staff. Between all of the above and our extensive range of Paula's Choice products, we're good to go, head to toe, or, in keeping with the theme of this article, from cradle to grave!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

View Media Highlights

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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