I'm a Beauty Director and Rely on These 36 Sephora Gems Each Time I Do My Makeup

In case you somehow haven't heard, Sephora's bi-annual Savings Event is officially on, making it the absolute best time to do some beauty shopping and saving. The event runs through November 6, and even though Rouge members have had access since October 27, starting today, both VIB and Insider members can join in on the fun too. (As a reminder, Rouge members receive 20% off, VIB members receive 15% off, and Insiders receive 10% off.) It's also worth noting that you can shop the deals in-store or online, but if you're like me and doing the latter, the magic code you'll use at checkout is TIMETOSAVE.



I've been obsessed with Sephora ever since I started dancing in elementary school and my mom would take me on very exciting, pre-recital expeditions to the retailer to stock up on whatever type of makeup or hair products were needed for my different costumes. (I still have vivid memories of glittery, bright purple lids courtesy of Urban Decay.) These days, as a product-obsessed beauty director, my appreciation for Sephora has only intensified, and it's where I buy the majority of the skincare and makeup products I rely on daily. So, in the spirit of shopping and saving, I'm sharing said skincare and makeup routine below. Keep scrolling! You're sure to find a handful of new, editor-vetted products just below.

Skin Prep


Say hello to my favorite cleanser of all time. In my eyes, it is, quite literally, perfect. It has zero sneaky pore-clogging ingredients (spoiler: so many cleansers can exacerbate acne-prone skin on the sly), and it's just so supremely juicy and hydrating. 

If I feel like I need a little more exfoliation power, I'll reach for this still-gentle cleanser from Tatcha. 


This best-selling, dew-inducing serum is so nourishing that I actually use it in lieu of a moisturizer, especially since my go-to primer and foundation are on the more hydrating and glowy side.

Eye cream:

My under-eyes get super dry and are prone to creasing under my concealer, and I swear this is one of the only eye creams that truly makes a difference—nothing else compares to the hit of moisture it delivers. It doesn't feel sticky or tacky (the worst), it provides the longest-lasting surge of moisture I've ever experienced with an eye cream, it doesn't cause my eyes to water or irritate, and it helps plump up any fine lines or wrinkles.

Lip scrub:

Using a lip scrub will do amazing things for the softness, fullness, and smoothness of your lips. This one from Makeup by Mario is fab and is the best pre-game before you apply any other makeup products on your lips.

Lip treatment:

Post-scrub, I like to rehydrate my lips by letting them marinate in this plumping mask while I do my makeup. I usually apply a little on top of my lipstick at the very end, too, if I'm wearing a formula that's more matte or more of stain. 


Face primer:

I've turned so many people who claimed they weren't foundation people onto this primer. It's silicone-free and will make any complexion products you apply afterward look *so* much better. I find that it works really beautifully under the Kosas complexion products I love so much, which you'll read more about below. 


I love this foundation so much that I dedicated an entire article to it. I love that when I wear it people don't compliment me on my makeup, they compliment me on my skin. It's buildable, boosted with skin-loving ingredients, and just looks so unbelievably pretty. It's a true, your-skin-but-better product. 


This. Concealer. Is. The. Shit. I love it, Hailey Bieber loves it, and do you even need to know anything more than that?! JK. Just like its foundation counterpart, this concealer is so rich in high-quality skincare ingredients that it's almost like a concealer and eye cream in one. It's lightweight, and it also happens to be the only concealer I've ever tried that doesn't crease—whether it's under my eyes or around my smile lines, it stays fresh-looking for on and on. I will never get over how fantastic it is.

Bronzer and Contour:

This is the only cream bronzer I've ever loved. In fact, I've only been using it for a few months but have already hit the bottom of the pan. There are only three shade options, but all three feature über-flattering warm undertones that provide just enough sun-kissed depth to warm up your complexion while adding a subtle dose of defining/contour magic if you're into that kind of thing. It has a velvety, easy-to-blend finish that helps absorb excess oil while still providing your skin with hydration. I can't do my makeup without it now!

This is a product that I have quite literally used since high school and college. I have yet to find a bonzer that can beat it.

You'll love this bronzer simply because it will never make you look like you're actually wearing bronzer. (And isn't that the point?) It's an effortless way to quickly warm up your face, and I find that it even delivers a slight blurring effect. 


My addiction and loyalty to this blush runs extremely deep. It gives the perfect amount of pigment and luminosity to your skin, and once you try it, you'll hang onto it as tightly as I do!

Usually, my Hourglass blush is enough for me, but on days when I really want my cheekbones to pop, I'll dust this stunning blush-highlighter hybrid onto my apples and over the tops of my cheekbones. I also like to swing it across my nose and in the creases of my eyes, which kind of pulls the whole vibe together. 


I think this is the highlighter that I will use until my dying day simply due to the way it melts into the skin and delivers the most believable, incandescent glow. Your skin will still look like your skin, and no one would guess your radiance came from a stick. 

Most of the time I just stick with my Merit highlighter, but if I am going out or have a special occasion and want an extra dose of glow, I'll use this silky highlighter as a topper, of sorts, and will just dust a tiny bit over my Merit along my cheekbones, Cupid's bow, the tip and bridge of my nose, and my brow bones. I appreciate that this highlighter still looks fairly natural and isn't sparkly or tacky looking in the finish.


The shape and size of this liquid liner are perfect. It's easy to work with and extremely precise. Plus, your handiwork won't budge or fade as the day goes on. I have to have the black and brown on standby at all times.

I generally prefer liquid liners since I love just a hint of a cat-eye, and I find liquid formulas give me precision and control. That said, I need something to use in between the lashes and along my upper waterline to make my lashes look thicker and more dense at the roots. This one is waterproof, so I find it *actually* stays put, and it's also one of the few liners that doesn't immediately make my eyes water. 


I was really into brown mascara this past summer for a more minimal lash look (and have continued said habit into the fall) and found myself gravitating to this super lengthening and volumizing icon from Too Faced. I find just one quick wiggle of a coat delivers the perfect amount of product for me.  

This mascara won't hold curl quite as well as some of the others in my rotation, but the length and subtle volume you get is so, so pretty. I like to "set it," if you will, with a drier curling mascara (i.e. the Dior, below) to help lock in the lift. 

The absolute best when I want ultra-curled, fluffy-looking lashes.

If you want volume, length, and curl, you can't beat this mascara from Lancôme.


The brow pencil I keep coming back to! There's something about the undertones of the shades that just look so much more natural than other pencils I've tried, and they're also easier to apply and blend out. 

Lip Liner:

These liners are smooth and blend like butter and have the best shades, IMO. I rarely do my makeup without using both Iconic Nude and Pink Venus.

Lip color:

I love a lip tint, and this OG one from Benefit deserves Hall of Fame status. It looks intense right out of the gate, but if you dab it on your lips (I like to do this after I've lined them) and then wait a minute to let it sink in and marinate, you'll be left with the prettiest wash of color. It gives you that quintessential "I've been sucking on a cherry popsicle" look that I happen to love.

I reach for Clinique's best-selling Chubby Sticks when I want just a little something on my lips for color and hydration. This shade called Fuller Fig is always in my bag. 

I steer clear of most matte lipsticks because of how drying they are, but this one from Saie is the exception. The finish is matte but not flat (sorry for the rhyme!), and the colors are really chic. Nouveau, a cool, '90s-vibe brown tone, is my go-to.

I love this viral glossy lip balm from Hourglass and have collected at least six shades at this point. You get shine! You get hydration! You get fullness! And you get the perfect sheer hit of pigment that's insanely flattering and wearable.


The one thing I don't love about a fuller-coverage foundation is that it instantly hides my light-colored freckles. As the last step in my routine, I like to re-sprinkle them onto the bridge and tip of my nose.

Setting spray:

No other setting spray keeps everything looking as freshly applied as this one. It's an icon for a reason! If I've done a full face of makeup, I don't leave the house without giving myself a few healthy spritzes.

Brushes & Tools

For foundation + concealer:

I use my fingers to do the majority of my foundation application, but I'll do a once-over at the end with a damp Beautyblender to make sure everything is as blended and skin-like as possible. And it's the only thing I'll use for my concealer!

For contour + bronzer:

This is my absolute favorite brush for contouring my face with Refy's Cream Bronzer. (It just fits so well along the cheekbones, jaw, nose, and forehead.)

For blush + highlighter:

I'm obsessed with using this blending brush to apply my powder blush, bronzer, and highlighter. It picks up the perfect amount of product and blends like a dream. 

Lip + nose contour:

I love contouring my lips for an instant, smoke-and-mirrors plumping effect. I use this precise shadow brush to add some bronzer (for this, I use my Too Faced) just above my bottom and top lips, but only in the center parts where they're naturally fullest. I'll also use this smaller brush when I'm contouring the sides and the tip of my nose. 

Lash curler:

If you're not curling your lashes before applying mascara, they're not living up to their full flutter potential. I've tried at least 30 different lash curlers in my lifetime, and this one is the absolute best, hands down.

Lip brush:

I love it when lip liners are dual-ended with a brush on one side and a liner on the other. But since Charlotte Tilbury's liners don't have that feature, I rely on a lip brush like this one to soften my work. (I find it ends up looking more blended and natural-looking, which is more my vibe when it comes to liner.)