As a fashion editor, I, and my fellow Who What Wear editors, talk about
wardrobe basics a lot. We’re constantly advising on the tees, jeans, footwear, and more that are versatile enough for everyday wear. But you’re not here to buy T-shirts, right? You’re here to find out which everyday we Who What Wear editors swear by. beauty products
We’re giving you a glimpse into our medicine cabinets (specifically, what’s at the front of our medicine cabinet shelves). Some of these “boring” beauty basics have been in rotation for years, and some are newer discoveries that have become instant favorites of ours. The beauty of these basics (see what I did there?) is that many of them are quite affordable, and if they’re not, you can rest easy in knowing that you’ll use them daily.
Scroll away for the makeup, skincare, and hair products we consider to be beauty basics.
“I’ll be honest—body wash is probably the least exciting category of beauty product. That said, ever since trying Nécessaire’s luxe clean formula, I’m completely hooked and have officially retired all my old go-to formulas. I go with the unscented version, but if you’re into fragrance, you can pick it up in pretty scents like spa-esque eucalyptus or warming sandalwood. It lathers really well, and since it’s created with high-quality hydrating ingredients like marula, cacay, and meadowfoam, my skin never feels dry or stripped post-shower. In fact, I usually forgo any oils or lotions and am still left with glowing skin. It’s uncanny.”
“I’m kind of a blush fiend, and no matter how many formulas I try, I always, always, always come back to Nars. Between the non-streaky, long-lasting formula and the A+ color range (plus those cheeky names!), it just doesn’t get better. I love Orgasm (obviously) but also recommend Sex Appeal, Outlaw, Seduction, and Desire. Some of the shades look super intimidating in the pan, but I promise they’re so wearable and surprisingly flattering regardless of skin tone.”
“I end up annoyed with almost all lip balms I try for a number of reasons but most definitely if they break me out (coconut oil has no place in lip products!) or leave my lips parched just hours after application. I’m being completely honest when I say there are only two lip balms I swear by and regularly suggest to friends, and this one from PCA Skin is one of them. It’s pretty spendy for a lip balm, but it’s so good. Your lips are left shiny and moisturized for hours and hours, so you don’t need to reapply, and thanks to hyaluronic acid, vitamins, peptides, and other patented ingredients, your lips actually get a slight boost in volume and plumpness sans stinging or irritation. I can’t live without it.”
I recently swapped the brow gel I’ve been using for years out for this one, and I’m hooked. I have the Soft Brunette shade, which I thought would be too light for my brows when I first saw it IRL, but I’ve found that the shade is quite sheer and looks incredibly natural. It’s never clumpy, and it keeps brows in place without feeling stiff.
My mom actually introduced me to this sunscreen years ago, and now I tell everyone to buy it too. I hate wearing facial sunscreens that smell like sunscreen on a daily basis, but I’m happy to report that this doesn’t smell like anything. It glides right on sans greasiness, so I never have any hesitation applying it underneath makeup.
I’ve repurchased this so many times over the years, which isn’t something I can say for many beauty products. I use it as a base shadow every single day, and sometimes just wear it on its own if I’m going for a natural look. It’s sheer and has the tiniest touch of shimmer, which I love in my eye products.
I’ve used tinted moisturizers in the past that offered barely any coverage at all. I suppose that’s kind of the point, but I think this Nars one provides the perfect amount of coverage. I often use it instead of foundation for daytime, and combined with the brand’s Radiant Creamy Concealer, it’s the perfect natural look.
I have dry skin, so this nighttime lotion is a staple in my beauty basics wardrobe. I always layer it over retinol or just use it on its own after exfoliating. It amazes me how lightweight it is, but I’m definitely not mad about it. No clogged pores here.
“I won’t stop talking about Augustinus Bader’s face cream because it’s just that good. More than any other face cream I’ve tried before, this one shows noticeable results when I use it. I’ve been using the rich cream at night since last fall and seen my skin texture become more even, as well as plumper and more hydrated.”
“I’m addicted to this face wash from Joanna Vargas’s line, which I first discovered after booking a facial at her spa in L.A. More than just a face wash, it’s infused with vitamin C, which really makes your skin glow, as well as a gentle exfoliant. I just finished the bottle, so it’s on the top of my must-order list.”
“As soon as I step out of the bath or shower, I drench my body in Nivea Soft Moisturizing Cream. I love the lovely subtle smell (which has almost become my signature scent!), and it leaves my body hydrated and glowing. When I was pregnant, I slathered it on my belly, and it calmed the itchiness and moisturized the area.”
“I used to use generic and cheap drugstore wipes to cleanse my face, but after trying these Koh Gen Do spa cleansing wipes a few years ago, I’ll never go back. They are luxurious-feeling, gentle, and hydrating, yet they remove even the toughest waterproof mascara. I always carry a pack in my bag wherever I go—and they’re the perfect travel size.”
“I’ve used Vaseline on my face, lips, and body ever since I can remember. I have pretty dry skin and lips (especially since moving to L.A.), so I’ll often dab it onto parched areas of my skin—for example, the flaky skin around my nose (especially when I have a cold) as well as on my cuticles and, of course, on my lips. I also use it to shape my eyebrows and keep them in place and sometimes on top of my foundation as a natural dewy highlighter. I’ll dab a little under my eyebrows or on my lids for a glowy complexion. It has so many uses in my daily beauty routine. I couldn’t live without it!”
“I use this Moroccanoil argan oil after every hair wash. It smells amazing and helps my dry, frizzy, curly hair be a bit more manageable. I’m extremely lazy about styling my hair and most days can’t be bothered to do much with it, but I always, always use this product and never travel without it.”
“Hands down, my favorite makeup product is the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I wish I felt confident enough to go makeup-free, but I struggle with acne so this concealer makes all the difference. It covers current acne and post-acne marks better than anything else I’ve tried. I also trust it to stay put through the workday, but I do reapply if I have a post-work dinner or an event.”
“I have a pretty low-maintenance haircare routine. Most days, I let it air-dry and then follow up with a few styling products that enhance my natural curls, one of them being this incredible wave spray that delivers piece-y, fresh-from-the-beach waves and adds some nice volume. The wave spray is my favorite product from Kristin Ess, but I’m curious to test out the rest of her top-selling, affordable line.”
“Not to brag, but Glossier’s concealer and I go way back. It’s one of the first products I picked up from the brand, and I’ve been wearing it every single day since. The hydrating formula never makes my skin look dry even after a long day, which is not something I can say of other concealers I’ve tried. The main reason it’s my favorite, though, is that I can use it in place of my regular foundation on days I go makeup-free, and it looks just as good.”
“I always keep the travel size of Supergoop!’s setting mist in my bag. Living in sunny L.A. means making SPF a priority because I never know when I’ll need to be spending long periods of time in direct sunlight. So instead of applying regular sunscreen on top of my makeup, which is less than ideal, I love that a few spritzes of this mist deliver full-coverage SPF and it’s formulated specifically to keep all my makeup in place.”
“When I discovered the Rodan & Fields Reverse line, formulated to target hyperpigmentation, I was taken aback by how immediate the results were. After just a few weeks of using this exfoliating cleanser, my stubborn acne scars had lifted, and my skin texture was noticeably smoother. (The before and after photos don’t lie.) I use this at night after taking off my makeup with gentle micellar water and follow with toner and moisturizer.”
“I’ve been using Glossier’s Gen G in Crush for years, and nothing has ever come close to it for me. It’s so easy to apply, I can do it without a mirror, and the color is just the right balance between looking natural and still enhancing.”
“I love Anastasia’s brow definer for quick and easy taming of my brows in the morning.”
Next up, the 18 most iconic makeup products of all time.