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Whenever Sephora and other beauty retailers hold their holiday sales, I notice people go crazy stocking up on products they will never use and would never purchase if not for that 20% discount. Nevertheless, I get texts and screenshots of Sephora shopping carts from friends and YouTube is littered with Influencers pushing products that will “change your life.”

Here’s the thing - while beauty is fun you don’t have to buy everything you see to get the look you want. In fact, you don’t even need that much “stuff.” There are plenty of multi-purpose products that are easy to use. We’re not in the business of pushing products or suggesting more is more. You do not need the exact products we recommend below. You just need to play around with the products and formulations you have to understand what works.

Here are The Sunday Issue’s suggestions for getting the most out of your products. 


Applying eyeshadow does not need to be a precious, 15-step process that ends in tears and eyelash glue in delicate places. A soft, blendable eyeliner can be used as a creamy eyeshadow any day. Apply eyeliner on lash line in a thicker-than-normal-line and quickly blend the liner upwards toward the crease with a soft, fluffy eyeshadow brush. Work quickly - many eyeliners set in approximately 30 seconds. Once you’ve blended, apply more eye liner and blend if you more color is desired. Repeat until you like what you see. For added definition and the appearance of thicker lashes, apply the same eyeliner at the lash line but do not blend. Curl lashes and apply mascara to finish the look. This entire look should take no more than 5 minutes from start to finish.

MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy and Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Fine(Wine) 47 are perfect for this technique. 


I came of age when bronzed skin, and by extension bronzer, was everything. This was the age of JLo, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson and if you didn’t look like you just returned from a Cancun Booze Cruise,did you even exist? So, when I say I know bronzer, I really mean it....I KNOW bronzer. I can tell you I rarely use one with shimmer but the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer gives a healthy glow and a subtle uptick of color. The formula is so finely milled I also use it as an eyeshadow when I want a little shine and definition but not a full-on eye look. You probably have a bronzer that will give you a similar look so next time you need just a small amount of definition on the eyelid but don’t want to execute anything too dramatic, try this!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer Mini


If you always purchase a lipstick and matching lip liner at the same time, you probably use (or lose) the lipstick and are left with a lonely lip liner. Rather than rush out and buy a new lipstick, try coloring in your lips with the lipliner and applying a lip balm over it (if you’re looking for a good one, try Moroccan Magic — we swear by it). Then, blend together with a clean finger. The end result will vary depending on the lip balm finish and lip pencil pigmentation but it’s really easy to get a matte, diffused wash of color or a bold, matte lip with these two products.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk is a cult favorite for the perfect peachy-neutral lip.


I’m guilty of applying lip color with my finger and tapping the excess color onto my cheeks rather than taking additional time to apply blush. Many makeup artists love doing this as well, because it creates a seamless, monochromatic look. However, it is important to ensure the amount of product you apply on both lips and cheeks isn’t overdone or the look can be complete overkill. A sheer cream/balm product formulation is best because it allows you to begin with a sheer layer of color that can be built up until the lip and cheek color saturation is perfect. Some people like a bold lip and bare cheek color, others prefer a strong flush and a sheer lip - whatever look you like, it’s so easy to work with many cream formulations that are currently out there.

Some great products for lips and cheeks: RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek Blush and Lip Color and Olio E Osso Tinted Balm and Glossier Cloud Paint Cream Blush

Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at Worep