Here's the really fun thing about being a beauty editor: Without even asking, you receive piles and piles of free makeup, skin care, shampoo and (our favorite, because it's a necessity) deodorant. But here's the bad thing about it: Most of the stuff you're given sucks. When you notice that all your favorite beauty sites and magazines are writing about the same products, it's not a coincidence. It just happens to be what really and truly works. Then there are the items that are so positively life-changing, they can be found in every beauty editor's personal makeup bag. Pay attention, because these items are good.
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo ($16, maccosmetics.com) There are some colors that are pretty universal, and Ruby Woo is one of them. The cherry red shade was the best-selling lipstick in 2013 in the U.S., which means of the $377 million spent on lipstick last year, this is the one that was bought more than any other. Do you really need any more of a reason to purchase this velvety matte color?
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70, nordstrom.com) It may seem extravagant to pay $70 for a concealer, but it's what every beauty editor swears by and turns to in times of dark circles and blemishes. The creamy consistency keeps it from settling into fine lines and wrinkles, and once it sets, you can count on it to last all day.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($42, oribe.com) If you've ever wondered what it's like to be backstage during New York Fashion Week, then picture yourself walking through a cloud of this dry shampoo. It's what hair pros and editors turn to most when getting hair in tip-top shape. Not only does it absorb oil, but it gives hair a tousled, slightly un-finished look. And unlike other dry shampoos that have a sweet scent, this one has a slightly sexier fragrance to it.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask ($95, sk-ii.com) You can only ask so many celebrities about their beauty routines before you start to see a pattern, and that pattern involves these luxe sheet masks. When you want to see skin that's dewier, brighter or just plain prettier, put one of these on. It delivers a boost of hydration, thanks to SK-II's signature ingredient, Pitera, which each mask is generously soaked in.
Benefit Benetint ($30, benefitcosmetics.com) This tiny bottle (about the size of a nail polish) holds some seriously good makeup. The rose-colored (and scented) tint has a water-like consistency that can be used as a lip or cheek stain. The color is one that works on most everyone and really adds some instant color to the face.
Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara ($32, sephora.com) Mascaras with strangely shaped wands just seem like they will work better than the average mascara. Unfortunately, most don't live live up to the expectation. This Givenchy mascara, however, is no joke. After your first application, you'll swear your lashes never looked better.
Jin Soon Nail Polish ($18, jinsoon.com) The trendy colors in this nail polish line are beyond gorgeous, but it's the formula that really gets editors buzzing. A Jin Soon manicure will last and last, out-performing its nail polish competitors left and right. Occasional polish wearers and addicts alike have a cult-like love for the brand.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($49, caudalie.com) For the most part, facial mists seem like a waste of time. As if we need one more step in our skin care routine, but this one isn't like the others. This elixir can be spotted on most beauty editors' desks and vanities. It's refreshing, hydrating, and it smells pretty darn amazing. Best of all, each spritz comes with an added glow to your skin.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50, sephora.com) Fresh is a brand every beauty editor can get behind. All of their products smell amazing, and they do a great job keeping our skin soft and exfoliated. A favorite from their offerings is the Sugar Lip Treatment. It's a balm that glides onto the lips, leaving them hydrated and slightly flavored with a brown sugar taste. Better yet, they keep expanding the lip treatment line to include tinted balms in every possible color.
Bumble and bumble Surf Spray ($26, bumbleandbumble.com) We could test salt sprays all day long, but the truth is, when we want something that works, we turn to this. Surf Spray creates an actual wave where there wasn't one before, whereas other spray tend to...not. Whether you have naturally straight hair or have a little more texture, you will want this spray.