Unsung Makeup Heroes That Deserve Your Attention (+ How To Use Them)



As beauty lovers, we’ve tried and tested a sh*t ton of products – we’ve played with everything from lip-plumping glosses to split-end busting hair tools. Despite our drawers being filled, there are a few holy-grail staples that we refuse to do our makeup without, and yet they’re often not rewarded with the clout they deserve. From lash-lifting curlers to primers and mattifying powders, these products have stood the test of time, so it’s safe to say that they’ll *always* have a spot in our makeup routine.

1. Lip Liner

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mariama Diallo (@mariama)

The DL: Lip liners are beginning to receive the love they deserve, but for too long they were riding under the radar. Trust us, once you start using them, you’ll never stop.

What it does: Lip liners help define the shape of your lips, prevent lipstick bleeding or smudging, and when used correctly, they can make your lips appear fuller or lifted. Plus, they ensure your lipstick stays crisp from noon to night.

How to use it: If you’re a lip-lining newbie, use a pencil in a shade that’s close to your natural lip shade then once you’ve got the technique down, experiment with brighter hues. Draw an ‘X’ on your Cupid’s bow to add definition, then trace the outline of your lips before filling the remainder of your lip with your fave lipstick. You can even fill in your whole lip with liner if the formula’s creamy enough. Top off with gloss to indulge in THE most boujee lip combo ever.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by HUDA KATTAN (@hudabeauty)

Our faves: Our lips love experimenting with the creamy PAT McGRATH LABS PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil, $28, and of course, we can’t forget our reinvented Huda Beauty Lip Contour 2.0, $19. Alternatively, the BLK/OPL Precision Lip Liner, $6, or The Lip Bar Straight Living Lip Liner, $10, deserve your coins for their long-wearing formulas.

2. Primer


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nikki_Makeup (@nikki_makeup)

The DL: Applying primer may feel like just another unnecessary step, but the proof is in the pudding. Whenever you want your makeup to last long hours, primer is non-negotiable. Ask any celeb MUA… Just sayin’!

What it does: Not only do primers help your complexion products last longer, but they can help soften the appearance of pores and texture. In addition to locking in your layers, it can also provide a matte or dewy finish, depending on the formula you choose.

How to use it: As with all makeup products you can tailor how you use primer depending on your skin’s needs and the formula you’re working with. Apply it after your skincare routine and as the first step of makeup application. You can either choose to apply it all over your face or target specific areas that require extra love. For example, if you have a mattifying primer and an oily T-zone, simply apply a small amount to the T-zone to ensure your makeup stays flawless throughout the day.

Our faves: Use our ultra-hydrating Huda Beauty Water Jelly Hydrating Primer, $33, to infuse moisture into dry skin, or choose the Uoma Primed To Glow! Illuminating Primer, $10, to inject some glow into your look. Pick the e.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer, $9, if you’ve got matte makeup on your mind.

3. Eyelash Curlers

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ephrata🇪🇹 (@ephrizzy)

The DL: For moments when we don’t have time or the extra coin to get a lash lift, reach for eyelashes curlers instead. We promise they deliver similar results in seconds, hence why they’re a MUAs secret weapon.

What it does: To put it simply: eyelash curlers lift, separate, and fan out your lashes by pushing them upwards for an alluring eye look.

How to use it: Curl your lashes away from your face for a fanned-out effect and follow with a few coats of mascara… Or don’t. They’ll look great either way!

Our faves: The Kevyn Aucoin Beauty Eyelash Curler, $21, is undoubtedly our top pick because it curls *every* lash to perfection on all eye shapes!

4. Pencil Eyeliner

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by YOI WAN (@yoiwan)

The DL: While liquid liner is getting a lot of love, you shouldn’t overlook pencil liners.

What it does: A pencil eyeliner can not only be used to create a stunning array of eyeliner looks but it can be smudged, smoked, and blended out depending on your vibe.

How to use: We’re not throwing shade, but TBH, eyeliner pencils can do *so* much more than liquid liners… 

  • For a sultry vibe: Line your lower waterline with a dark pencil for a sexy look and trace your upper waterline to intensify your lash line. 
  • For smokey eyes: Use a black eyeliner pencil to line your eyelid and smudge with your fingertips for an intense smokey eye.
  • For a reverse cat-eye: Take it up a notch by lining your lower lash line then, extending it out into a feline wing for a reverse cat-eye.
  • For no-makeup makeup: Use a brown eyeliner pencil to add definition and depth to your eyes without looking too intense.
  • For wide-awake eyes: Fake a full night’s rest by rimming your lower waterline with a beige or white pencil.
  • For a wing that lasts: Use a black pencil to trace the shape of your wing before going over with a liquid liner to nail the perfect wing. Every. Single. Time.

Our faves: We’re obsessed with the intense black pencil in our Huda Beauty Life Liner Double Ended Eyeliner, $25. We also love the IMAN Cosmetics Eye Pencil, $12, to create gorge eye looks.

5. Loose and Pressed Powder

The DL: There are two types of people in the world: those who use powder and those who don’t. For any of you guys who think powder is only for hunnies with oily skin, this is a makeup myth. Powder is for everyone and it’s a total gamechanger.

What it does: Whether pressed or loose, powders lock your liquid products in place and add an airbrushed finish. You can use them for baking, snatching, controlling shine, and even color correcting areas that may need extra attention.

How to use it: To set your makeup, using a large fluffy brush, dust a light veil of powder all over your face, or simply to the areas that typically get oily, like your T-zone.

To sculpt and brighten, grab a damp makeup sponge and apply a layer of powder to your undereye and underneath your cheekbone contour. You can also apply some powder to your frown lines to prevent your foundation from settling in throughout the day. Leave for three to five minutes, then dust off the remaining powder with a large fluffy brush. Check our 101 to bake like a pro for more deets.

Our faves: To bake or set your makeup from dusk to dawn, dab our Huda Beauty Easy Bake Setting Powder, $34, on the areas of your face you want to brighten and set. Alternatively, use our GloWish Luminous Pressed Powder, $33, if you’d like a natural-looking, silky glow with coverage that doesn’t budge. Shoutout to Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder, $34, and Danessa Myricks Beauty Evolution Setting Powder, $24, for their diverse shade range too!

What’s the one makeup product you can’t live without – tell us in the comments!

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.