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When it comes to beauty products, there are the nice-to-haves and the essentials. For example, you probably want unicorn essence or a velvetizer mix-in, but you need lipstick you can wear every day. Here, the nine staples you can always rely on.

RELATED: 9 Drugstore Beauty Products the Pros Always Use


A Lipstick That’s Almost Your Natural Color

It’s easy to hoard fun colors (we certainly do), but all you really need is a creamy everyday hue (something that’s no more than one to two shades darker than your natural lip color). That way you can whip it out on the go to instantly brighten up your face.

Try it out: NYX ($7); Ilia ($26); NARS ($34)


A Time-saving Hair Tool

On any given day, how do you wear your hair: long and curly, straight and sleek, or somewhere in-between? Whatever the case, your desired style is not often your natural style, and it helps to have a tool (like a straightener or curling iron) in your arsenal that gets the job done quickly.

Try it out: Hot Tools 24K-gold curling iron ($50); GHD professional iron ($249); Dyson hair dryer ($400)

Todor Tsvetkov/Getty Images

A Blowout-Saving Dry Shampoo

Ever since dry shampoo entered our lives a few years ago, we can’t imagine a time without it. (Actually, we’d rather not.) A few quick blasts is all it takes to sop up excess oil and give limp roots a lift when you haven’t had time to wash. We always keep, like, eight cans on us at all times.

Try it out: Batiste ($8); Living Proof ($22); Captain Blankenship ($24)

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A Year-Round Sunscreen You’ll Actually Use

If childhood memories of thick, white Water Babies scares you off of the stuff, it’s time to give SPF another chance. There are so many lightweight formulas available now that don’t go on heavy or sticky but still provide the protection you need (no matter your skin color). Bottom line: Get one you like using and commit to wearing it daily. (You’ll thank us in a few years.)

Try it out: Earth Recipe ($25); Glossier ($34); Ursa Major ($54)


A Topcoat That Extends Your Manis

Fact: The right topcoat can make or literally break your manicure. Sure, it’s an extra step, but that final layer of topcoat (and swipe on the ends every so often) lets you go chip-free for four days—or five. Maybe six. Hell, even seven. 

Try it out: Essie ($10); Seche Vite ($10); Smith & Cult ($18)


A Flattering Liquid Foundation

In general, fluid formulas are easier to blend and look the most natural on skin. Even if you’re on the oilier side, you’re better off using a liquid foundation and then blotting away the greasy spots, rather than applying a powder version all over (which can age you). 

Try it out: CoverGirl ($12); Stellar Beauty ($38); BeautyCounter ($51)

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An Age-Defying Cream Blush

Ditto for your blush. Powder formulas tend to cake and settle into fine lines, whereas creams are much more forgiving—both in application and in wear. Using your fingertips, tap the color on top of your cheeks for a natural-looking flush.

Try it out: Revlon ($7); Juice Beauty ($24); Stila ($25)


A (Slightly) Expensive Serum

Take it from us (or the dozens of derms we’ve interviewed on the matter): If you only have money for one nice skin-care product, make it your serum. It contains the most concentrated amount of active ingredients and is better absorbed into your skin so you get the most benefit. Choose one that targets your specific issues—whether that’s fine lines or dark spots—and use it daily under your moisturizer. 

Try it out: Make P:Rem ($40); Drunk Elephant ($80); Tata Harper ($98)

Rich Ellgen/Getty Images

...And a (Slightly) Expensive Eye Cream

PSA: The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and therefore the most fragile part of your face. And simply applying leftover face cream under your peepers won’t cut it. Look for eye creams with ingredients like vitamin C, peptides and hyaluronic acid to keep the area hydrated and firm. Regrets? We out.

Try it out: Belif ($48); Beauty Rx ($60); Goop ($90)

RELATED: Use This Trick to Get Brighter Skin in Just 2 Minutes

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