11 beauty products that are so gay they support the LGBTQ+ community

It’s no surprise that Pride looks very different this year.

Pride parades across all major cities were either postponed, canceled, or moved to a digital platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pride has always been about fostering connection and community between LGBTQ+ members and allies, and so many of those celebrations occur at in-person events like marches, drag shows, and concerts. This year, pride will be celebrated at home instead of in the streets, but the message is the same: celebrating the progress made towards equality and justice for all.

While it’s disappointing to miss out on these important events that are oftentimes the only places people feel safe and comfortable enough to accept and acknowledge who they really are, it’s important to remember that the power of Pride isn’t confined to an event or a month. Even though we can’t show up in droves to support our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters at pride parades, there are plenty of other ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community from the comfort of your couch.

One of the most important things you can do to support Pride initiatives is to vote with your dollar and support beauty brands and products that are donating a portion of their proceeds to LGBTQ+ charities in honor of Pride month. Below, we’ve rounded up a list of products that you can feel good about impulse-buying.

Morphe: Free To Be Pride Collection ($69)

This limited-edition Pride 2020 collection includes a 10-pan eyeshadow palette, a 6-piece eye and face brush set, a holographic lip gloss, and their best-selling setting spray in a limited-edition super sweet scent. 100% of the net proceeds from this collection (a minimum of $50,000) will be donated to GLSEN, an organization designed to create a safe and supportive school environment for K-12 students.

Face Halo Love is Love Pack ($25)

The award-winning makeup removing pad got a new look in honor of Pride. Face Halo released a limited-edition three-pack called Love is Love featuring a satin rainbow trim. 5% of the net proceeds from this set will be donated to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.

Batiste Love is Love Dry Shampoo ($3)

Dry shampoo lovers know that Batiste is the real deal. They’re releasing a limited-edition version of their dry shampoo in super cute rainbow packing and have pledged a $38,000 donation to LGBT Foundation, one of the largest charitable organizations for the LGTBQ+ community in the UK.

NOTO Botanics Agender Oil ($40)

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💫 An oil for all of your hair needs, where ever you grow It. The ends of hair, under arms, etc. Beautiful as a deep scalp treatment when extra support is required. So hydrating on your entire body after a shower. With a calming and uplifting gender neutral scent of Vetiver + Lavender, held within Hemp Seed Oil. 🏳️‍🌈• GIVEBACK •🏳️‍🌈⁠⠀ In celebration of Pride Month, I wanted to support an organization that brought nourishment to the Black Trans Community. @theokraproject is one of my most favorite organizations in the field of trans wellness. They are a collective that directly addresses the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home cooked, healing, culture specific meals and resources. This month 100% of each direct sale of our AGENDER OIL will go towards this incredible cause. We also suggest donating directly to the Okra Project if you are able. We love you and are proud to have a community like you. xx Gloria ⁠#blacktranslivesmatter

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NOTO is a gender-fluid natural beauty brand dedicated to creating high performing skincare products with clean ingredients. The Agender Oil is considered their “giveback product,” which means that a percentage of profits go towards a rotating list of organizations year-round, including Planned Parenthood, LGBT Youth Center, Woman’s Center DTLA and more. This month, 100 percent of each direct sale of the Agender oil will go towards The Okra Project, a nonprofit committed to aiding the Black trans community by bringing home-cooked, healing, culture-specific meals and resources to the individuals that need it most.

Marc Jacobs Enamored (With Pride) Collection ($116)

Marc Jacobs has always been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and this year Marc Jacobs Beauty has pledged a $10,000 donation to two charitable organizations: SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older adults, and Le Refuge, a French organization dedicated to preventing the isolation and suicide of LGBTQ+ youth by providing shelter and support. The beauty brand launched Enamored with (Pride) hydrating lip glosses in five new shades and rainbow packaging to celebrate Pride 2020. Pick them up individually for $29 each, or $116 for the set.

Kiehl’s Since 1851

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Pride month is a little different this year. But now, more than ever, we are committed to speaking up for our communities and being better allies. 💛 Continuing Kiehl’s ongoing commitment to support the LGBTQ community, we are honored to announce our NEW, long term charity partnership with The Trevor Project. Through this partnership and donation to The @trevorproject, our goal is to help them support the 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in the US who seriously consider suicide each year. We will make a positive impact through funding, awareness and resources that can help change their lives for the better. As we continue to socially distance and use this time to reflect, listen and learn, we have decided to postpone our virtual celebrations until our communities are ready to celebrate. Stay tuned for updates. During a time where we ALL need to come together to support each other and spread awareness, we encourage you to learn more about The Trevor Project’s incredibly powerful mission by tapping our #linkinbio. 🌈 – #Kiehls #KiehlsPride #Pride #PrideMonth – 🎨: @lucykirk

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The New York-founded apothecary-inspired skincare brand is known for its legendary Ultra Facial Cream and Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but it’s equally known for its philanthropic endeavors. They’ve been walking the NYC Pride Parade for the last 17 years, and this year, the brand announced a partnership with The Trevor Project, which includes a $100,000 donation and digital and social campaigns to raise awareness for issues facing LGBTQ youth. Support their initiative and The Trevor Project by purchasing any of your favorite Kiehl’s products this month. I recommend the Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and Daily Reviving Face Oil.

Youth to the People Pride Kit ($34)

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Meet the YTTP ‘With Pride’ Kit. We are proud to pledge 100% of profits, up to $75,000.00, from this limited-edition kit to @GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students.⁠ +++⁠ Glow with PRIDE thanks to this trio of vegan skincare heroes. Powered by antioxidant-rich superfoods, concentrated caffeine, vitamin c + hyaluronic acid for instant results at home:⁠ +DEEP CLEAN PORES with Superfood Cleanser (1oz) ⁠ +DRAMATICALLY RESURFACE with Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial (0.5oz)⁠ +HYDRATE + BRIGHTEN with Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask (0.5oz)⁠ ⁠ Products are kitted in a bespoke YTTP Studio x Upcycle bag made in California from 65% recycled ⁠plastic bottles and 35% organic cotton. Available today on our site and @sephora. $34

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Vegan beauty brand Youth to the People is launching a Pride Kit, which includes their best-selling cleanser, mask, and exfoliating cream. YTTP is donating 100% of the proceeds (with a maximum donation of $75,000) to GLSEN, an organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students.

Bathing Culture Love is Rad Enamel Pin ($13)

The sustainable bath and body care brand launched a super cute rainbow Love is Rad pin to spread the message and power of Pride, but Bathing Culture isn’t limiting their Pride donations/celebrations to a month. They’ll be donating $5 for every pin sold through the rest of the year. Proceeds will go towards a local Transgender Employment Program through the SF LGBT Center.

Sigma Beauty x It Gets Better Project F80 Flat Kabuki Pride Makeup Brush

Sigma Beauty launched a limited-edition version of their bestselling F80 Kabuki makeup brush, with 50 percent the proceeds benefitting the It Gets Better Project, which focuses on fostering hope, strength, and confidence in LGBTQ+ youth. The brush is $25 and is made with synthetic bristles and Sigma’s patented waterproofing technology. It’s the PERFECT foundation brush, and the holographic colors will surely add some spice to your makeup bag.

Herbivore Botanicals Prism Pride Kit ($56)

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Treat yourself to the Prism Pride Kit while also giving back to two amazing LGBTQ organizations. 100% of profits from the limited edition Prism Pride Kit will be donated to The @trevorproject, an organization that works 24/7 to provide life-saving, life-affirming support to LGBTQ youth in crisis, and @twoc_collective, a one of a kind organizing collective that develops and amplifies the voices of trans women of color. 👉 Been wondering when to use Prism Glow Serum and Glow Facial in your routine? 🌈✨Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum: Use NIGHTLY for brighter, clearer skin daily. A leave-on treatment serum with a 12% blend of fruit-based AHA’s + 3% Willow Bark BHA, combined with hydrating Rosewater. 🌈✨Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial: Use ONCE A WEEK to reveal your brightest glow. A jelly-textured 10-minute rinse-off facial mask featuring a 20% blend of fruit-based AHA’s plus 5% Willow Bark BHA, along with Kakadu Plum Vitamin C plus soothing hydrators, Aloe and Rosewater.

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Herbivore Botanicals continued their yearly June Pride initiative with the launch of their limited edition Prism Pride Kit benefiting the Trans Women of Color Collective & The Trevor Project. The kit is a cost-saving duo: Prism 12% AHA + 3%BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum and  Prism 20% AHA + 5% BHA Exfoliating Glow Facial for only $56  (a $112 value).

NYX Cosmetics Pride Limited-Edition Products ($7-18)

NYX Cosmetics is famous for its colorful products and drugstore prices. The brand launched three new products for Pride: the Ultimate Shadow palette, Vivid Brights liner, and Shout Loud lipstick. The drugstore-favorite beauty brand made a $30,000 donation to the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, which provides resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the areas of health, social services, housing, and leadership and advocacy. In addition to their generous donation, they also announced a yearlong partnership with the nonprofit, which includes product donations for the Center’s members and the voluntary time and expertise of their makeup artists.

Milk Makeup’s latest KUSH launches did not disappoint.

Milk Makeup knows how to hype up a good launch, even in quarantine.

Known for being 100% vegan and all about self-expression, Milk Makeup works hard to put out nothing but the very best time and time again. Cult-favorite lip + cheek sticks, Hydro Grip Primer, and of course their KUSH line. They know what they’re doing that’s for sure. 

Their latest launch expanded on their KUSH line and came right on time for 4/20. Though it could have been really difficult to create buzz around a new launch, Milk Makeup had no problem teasing their new KUSH Triple Brow Pen on Instagram and announcing a live tutorial just days before. But they didn’t stop there, they also launched 3 color versions of their popular Kush Lip Glaze.

Was it VGL Approved? Read our thoughts!

KUSH Triple Brow Pen ($22)

Featuring a triple tip like no other brow pen we’ve seen before and the power to fill, condition, and detail. The product comes in eight different shades and you can make your swipes as minimal or intense as you’d like depending on your preference. It’s water-resistant and uses plant-derived and sunflower oil along with aloe to hydrate and condition even the thickest of brow hairs. The felt applicator is angled and triple tipped perfect for feathering in hair-like strokes. Milk Makeup says it best themselves, “the look of microbladed brows, no appointment necessary”, and we can’t disagree.

VGL’s take

This pen was exactly what my untamed beastly quarantined brows needed. Usually, I skip filling in my brows because I’m both terrible & lazy about it. However, this pen has taught me it’s easy and I swear, I have a new face now. 

I must admit, once revealing the tip of the pen I was a bit intimidated. I wondered how a tiny tip resembling a crab claw could help me out. I wasn’t sure how to start and I thought it would be best to practice on my hand a couple of times. When I was ready to commit to my brows, I tried to be as light as possible to create a feathered look. It’s actually an incredibly easy-to-use pen and the triple tip actually acts as a guide when applying. Since it’s waterproof, you’ll need an oil-based makeup remover but it slides right off. Milk Makeup recommends you store it upside down or horizontally to take care of it. 

KUSH Lip Glaze ($18)

A high shine lip glaze with all the good stuff and none of the sticky sh*t. The launch included 2 new shades, Nova & Rosebud. The cult-favorite product only came in clear before these were released. These can be used alone for subtle color or on top of any lip color to add high shine and lots of pigment. TBH, I’ve been trying both ways. Plant-derived oils, shea, cocoa, and mango butters create the magic behind the hydration these glazes offer. Perhaps the best part is they taste like peppermint. 

VGL’s take

I’ve never met a shiny gloss that isn’t sticky, until these. I usually opt for subtle lipsticks over glosses because I can’t stand stickiness. I was unsure if the lip glazes would be sticky given the word ~glaze~ but both colors were too up my alley to not try. I’m bad at describing colors but I feel Nova is a subtle orangy nude while Rosebud is a dusty light rose. Both formulas are soy-free and gluten-free.

I’m pretty fair-skinned and my lip color already resembles something like Rosebud. But, after telling a few friends about these new lip glazes they wanted them too. It’s clear these shades are universal and complement many skin tones and lip colors. Also, I tried them with a full face of makeup, and then on days when I went makeup-free…they just work for whatever vibe. 

First thoughts: insanely pretty colors. If you’re looking for a bold lip, these aren’t it. But, if you’re looking for a fancy natural gloss that can take you from a day of errands to date night…these ARE IT. Although they’re considered ‘high shine’ I thought they offered an effortless, natural-looking sheen. They left my lips hydrated all day long and never once became sticky. Oh, and they taste good due to that peppermint extract.


  • Milk Makeup launched some awesome new products within their KUSH line
  • The triple brow pen takes some practice but your brows will never look better
  • Their new lip glazes are hydrating, never sticky 
  • As always 100% vegan and cruelty, paraben, silicone-free
  • triple brow, $22…lip glazes, $18

BUY or BYE? For this one, definitely BUY!

5 black-owned beauty and skincare companies to support

“Moisturize your situation.” – P. Diddy

And by situation, we mean your head to your toe. The inconvenience of the lack of representation in beauty and skincare products is an issue that isn’t new. With the lack of beauty products for Black people – especially men – there’s a lot of opportunity for newness in this space. Already, brands like Bevel, to Ceylon, Scotch Porter, are proving just how vital and successful black-owned brands can be.

SEE ALSO: Black men are showing us how skincare is done

When it comes to indie brands, there are many emerging companies that are one their way to becoming household names. Whether you want to spice up your medicine cabinet with new skincare or need a new lip color for the spring, we rallied up 5 black-owned companies you can support.

Jade & Fox Co.


From body butter to hair perfumes, Jade & Fox Co. is a handmade skincare company that uses natural products to promote your skin and body’s health.

Jade & Fox Co is more than just a skincare company though, the founder, Ashley Johnson also has a blog. There, the founder shares DIY projects and also in-depth pieces on her products sharing the benefits, and what type of skin each product is catered to. 

Must-try products:

Crushed Velvet Butter

Sea Witch Whipped Soap

Scotch Porter

A hair and skin brand created for men by men. Like many beauty companies, Calvin Quallis began experimenting with making products in his kitchen after seeing the need for men’s grooming and wellness products as a barber. The result: an entire line of grooming products for men with coiled or kinky hair. Enter: Scotch Porter, a line that provides products for men’s hair, from on their head to on their chin. But it doesn’t stop and end there. Scotch Porter’s created products like journals, candles etc. and even have a journal section on the website in order to expand on self-care.

Bonus: Check out the REWARD$ tab on their website for free money to use on their products!

Must-try products:

Beard Wash and Leave-In Conditioner Bundle

Face Care Collection 

Nola Skin Essentials

Nola Skincare states that their world of beauty circles around three things: Vegan Ingredients, Real people who handcraft their products, and their customers. Created by founder Jane Ormon, the brand was created after being frustrated by the lack of skincare products geared towards people with melanin. Not only is are the products eco-friendly but cruelty-free as well. 

The founder stands behind the brand so boldly, that she says your skin care change in as little as two weeks! Sign us up.

Must-try products:

Omega Kale Facial Cleanser

Quench Your Beard Spray and Let it Grow Set

Urban Skin RX

Urban Skin RX offers scientifically researched skincare products for all skin tones and colors.

Founder Rachel Roff, a licensed medical aesthetician and certified laster technician, put her passion to help others feel and look great to launch Urban Skin RX. Along with co-founder and medical director, David Henderson – who also works at a hospital in Charlotte – the two set out to clear clogged pores, for melanin-rich skin. The entire line includes peels, scrubs, and hydrating serums to achieve your best skin, ever!

Must-try products:

Even Tone Smooth & Glow Enzyme Mask 

Clear Skin Cleansing Bar

The Lip Bar


The Lip Bar was founded by Melissa Butler, previously a financial analyst on Wall Street and previous Shark Tank contestant. The Lip Bar is far more than just a lipstick company – it’s Melissa Butler’s testimony. If you haven’t seen the backstory behind the company, you have to watch it here

After being shut down on national television, Butler took that moment and used it to her advantage…now, years later, you can find her in hundred of Target stores. The Lip Bar has expanded from just lipsticks to now offering eyeshadow, from liquid to powder, these vibrant palettes compliment the lipsticks and vice versa.

Must-try products:

Prima Donna  lip shade

Playmate lip shade

This brand wants to share profits with you.

The influencer market has reached fever pitch.

With so many #ad #sponsored #partner posts, it seems as if every brand has put most of their marketing dollars into influencers. No surprise to anyone then, that it’s a $9.7 billion industry. But what’s the ROI and are consumers really buying products touted by other people? Maybe.

But new brands are thinking outside the box and moving forward so that they are transparent in their marketing approach. One such beauty company is My Beauty Brand, which is all about peer-to-peer recommendations where customers become the sellers. That means, there’s no monetary transaction, no pay-to-play, so to speak. Taking it a step further, the brand says it’s “anti-influencer,” meaning no one gets paid to use their products or tout it on social media.

When did beauty get so ugly? When you got paid to say you love me,” the brand’s slogan reads. Everyone posts, but no one delivers,” says another. 

Harper’s Bazaar already dubbed the brand a “digital Avon for Gen Zers due to the fact that consumers can create their own stores and money goes back to consumers. The site makes it a seamless process with users creating looks, uploading their photos to a ‘Your Store’ section, which then allows them to earn commission. 

SEE ALSO: GQ just discovered men wear makeup

So, what is My Beauty Brand? By opening a virtual store on My Beauty Brand’s site and posting looks, users can earn up to 20% (30% through the month of March!) when others shop their respective stores. Though, unlike working at a physical brick and mortar, you aren’t making an hourly wage. It also means you’re going to need to sell lots to make significant money. An £18 lipstick would get you £3.40 with 20% profits. 

Founded by Max Leykind and Robin Derrick, they teamed up with Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion students to create packaging with Gen-Z appeal. Sleek white and silver encasing with magnetic closures allow for endless perfect vanity photos to be taken and appreciated by MBB lovers everywhere.

(Photo by Olivia Cefalu/ Very Good Light)

We got our hands on some of their By.Me. products and needless to say, we were floored. Impressed is an understatement. This brand doesn’t just have beautiful packaging and an amazing mission, the formulas are nothing we’ve seen before. We tested their RichGlide Cream Lipstick, Pure Power Blush, Sheer Brilliance Highlighter, and Total Colour Metallic Eyepaint. All of their products are completely gluten-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. Most are vegan but a select few are not which you can easily filter on their website. After trying all four products we realized there was little to complain about. The pigment, the buildability, the wear. High quality at its best – it’s money. These products answered all of our beauty hopes and dreams. 

We opted for their Pure Power Blush in the color India Coral Pink. With any powder blush, you need to get the right sheen. You never want your skin to look dry when you’re trying to perfect a flawless flush while staying dewy. This formula actually felt hydrating? Which is weird to say for a powder blush. We brushed a bit over our nose too for some extra coral goodness.

Next came the Sheer Brilliance Highlighter. And hey, highlighters are tough. They don’t always show up on certain skin tones and well, that is the point of a highlighter. To show up and catch that damn light! Their Maria Honey Gold color seemed different and very intriguing. It offered a warm freshly-sunned glow without ever being in the actual rays.

We know that all that glitters is not gold, believe us. Glitter eyeshadow is messy, creases, and always falls out onto our faces making a mess. But not the Total Colour Metallic Eyepaint. It has a creamy texture. For real. While highly blendable and buildable, it never loses the look of when you first applied it. We love the Colette Copper Foil color. 

(Photo by Olivia Cefalu/ Very Good Light)

Lastly, the RichGlide Cream Lipstick. We were skeptical and a clear gloss or even just chapstick usually does it for us. We feared the lipstick (despite its name) would reject our crusty winter lips. But yet again, we were surprised. Upon opening, it was nothing like Glossier’s Generation G. It actually LOOKED creamy and hydrating. It needed reapplying throughout the day but we didn’t mind as we looked awaited each needed additional swipe. Elodie Blush Rose, while a very natural color gives you an elevated lewk for sure.


  • My Beauty Brand is a brand that shares profits with its users
  • They’re anti-influencer and all about giving a voice to customers
  • Paraben free, gluten-free and mostly vegan
  • Their product packaging is chic and actual applications are superb.

The Lightning Award 2019 Winners for Best Cosmetics

Best of Beauty cosmetics 2019

(Clockwise: Kosas, Olive and June, Wander eyeliner, Dior, Kevyn Aucoin, Tower 28, Giorgio Armani, UZ eyeliner, Cle de Peu, AHC toner; Photo by: Chad Chisholm / Very Good Light)

Foundation: Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint

If you want to keep the fact that you’re wearing foundation on the DL, this high-tech tint does the job. While it doesn’t offer a ton of coverage, the weightless formula infused with micro-droplets of pigment offers a refreshing burst of hydration and helps even skin tone for a natural-looking glow. Even better: It comes complete with a brush designed to buff away any evidence that you didn’t wake up like this.

BUY HERE, Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint, $65 

Cushion Compact: Cle de Peau Radiant Cushion Foundation

Makeup artists rave about this cushion compact that delivers sheer-to-medium coverage with a naturally dewy finish that feels like second skin. The responsive formula resists fading and creasing while providing 24-hours of moisture for radiant results all day.

BUY HERE: Clé de Peau Radiant Cushion Foundation, $90

Makeup applying tool: Beautyblender Pro

We gave this egg-shaped tool top prize last year and our opinion still hasn’t changed. If you’re after an airbrushed finish, it doesn’t get better than this latex-free sponge designed to stipple, blend, and buff everything from cream to powder seamlessly into skin. While there is a rainbow of colors to choose from (including classic neon pink), we like the black shade preferred by beauty pros because it keeps makeup stains under wraps.   

BUY HERE: Beautyblender Pro, $20

Eyeshadow: Dior Backstage Eye Palette

Eyeshadow palettes never fail to provide a plethora of options, but they often add unnecessary weight to your makeup bag and take up considerable counter space. This compact version from Dior packs everything you need to create countless lid looks into one palm-sized place, including a primer that makes the wide range of colors and textures really pop.

BUY HERE: Dior Backstage Eye Palette, $49

Makeup Remover: Bioderma Sensibio H20

There’s a reason models and makeup artists can’t live without this micellar water. The iconic French formula breaks down the most bulletproof face beat without tugging or scrubbing. Plus, this non-irritating remover doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue, making it ideal for erasing mistakes or perfecting a feline flick.

BUY HERE: Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $10

Eyeliner – Liquid: UZ Eye Opening Liner

With over 20 unique shades to choose from that range from classic black to eye-catching khaki, this liquid liner pen handcrafted by Japanese artisans delivers high-impact pigment with effortless precision. Plus, this bold, budge-proof formula stands up against water, sweat, humidity, tears, and oil—meaning your cat eye will always look crisp.

BUY HERE: UZ Eye Opening Liner, $16

Eyeliner – Pencil: Shiseido MicroLiner Ink 

Unlike many liners that tend to drag along delicate skin, this creamy formula transforms from a solid into a smudge-proof liquid before setting for a full 24 hours. Thanks to its ultra-thin diameter, you can dot this pigment-packed pencil between lashes or glide it seamlessly across eyes for even more definition. 

BUY HERE: Shiseido MicroLiner Ink, $22

Eyebrow Pencil: Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil

Super precise and smear-proof, use this ultra-thin pencil to build bolder brows. Blend the pigment with the spoolie for a feathery finish. Choose from three cool shades free of unnatural-looking orange undertones.

BUY HERE: Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil, $21

Blush: Tower 28 BeachPlease Tinted Lip + Cheek Balm

With three universally flattering shades inspired Santa Monica sunsets, this tinted balm infused with aloe vera and green tea blends and builds like a California dream. Clean, vegan, and free of irritating ingredients, sensitive skin types will love this multitasking formula that can be used to add a wash of luminous, lit-from-within color to eyes, lips, and cheeks.

BUY HERE: Tower 28 BeachPlease Tinted Lip + Cheek Balm, $20

Highlighter: Danessa Myricks Vision Flush in Tiara

For a dewy sheen that doesn’t budge, reach for this multipurpose, waterproof cream that can be used to highlight lids, lips, cheekbones, and anywhere else you want to glow. Tiara, a shimmery champagne shade, makes every skin tone look lit.

BUY HERE: Danessa Myricks Vision Flush in Tiara, $20

Contour: Maybelline City Bronzer Bronze & Contour Powder

Sculpt cheekbones or add a sun-kissed glow to skin with this micro-milled, matte bronzer infused with whipped cocoa butter. The silky texture blends beautifully, while the price tag keeps this powder in budget.

BUY HERE: Maybelline City Bronzer Bronze & Contour Powder, $10

Concealer: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Concealer

Thick and cakey no longer go hand-in-hand with high coverage. This serum-like concealer camouflages a multitude of sins (i.e., dark circles, redness, breakouts, and more)  without adding weight. Formulated with long-wear pigments and time-releasing oils, this stretchable concealer floats over imperfections without creasing and dries to a fresh matte finish.

BUY HERE: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Concealer, $34

Mascara: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

Show us a better mascara, we’ll wait. Okay, then. A skinny brush combined with innovative tubing technology envelops every lash to lift, lengthen, and thicken without clumping. While it won’t smudge, flake, transfer, or smear, this formula washes away fast with warm water—no makeup remover required.

BUY HERE: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara, $28

Lip Tint: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss

The juicy color of a traditional lip gloss combines with the nourishing effects of a treatment oil in one Insta-worthy tube. Infused with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and primrose oil, a single swipe leaves lips with the perfect hint of pigment and non-sticky shine.

BUY HERE: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss, $27

Setting Powder/Spray: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder

Of course Rihanna, a woman who lives her life in the spotlight, created the perfect translucent powder that’s completely traceless against all skin tones. The ultra-fine formula absorbs oil and blurs the appearance of pores without caking or creeping into fine lines. Better yet: This magnetized compact fuses perfectly with the Portable Touch Up Brush (sold separately) so you can quickly and conveniently erase excess shine before your next photo op.

BUY HERE: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder, $32

Primer: OleHenriksen Banana Bright Face Primer

A radiance-boosting combo of brightening pigments and vitamin C leaves skin with a luminous, soft-focus effect. Wear this primer alone, under makeup, mix it with foundation, or use it as a highlighter for a healthy glow.

BUY HERE: OleHenriksen Banana Bright Face Primer, $36

Nail Polish: Olive & June 

A gel manicure is great—until it’s not and you have to soak that sh*t off. Manufactured in Korea with a higher concentration of resin than most nail lacquers, this 7-free polish formulated without toxic chemicals features a built-in base coat for a faster application and long-lasting, chip-free results. Choose from cool colors named after even cooler women like designer Clare Vivier (a vivid cherry), Olympian Louise Hazel (an emerald green), and Instagram boss Eva Chen (a barely-there beige).

BUY HERE: Olive & June 7-Free Nail Polish, $8

Photos by: Chad Chisholm, Custom Creations Photography @chadjchis

2019 Lightning Award Winner Judges

These are the back to school beauty products you need

Even though I just graduated, summer ending brings back some major PTSD. After every end of August, I get stress dreams about going back to school.

Usually, they involve the campus transforming into a creepy, haunted carnival or a global disasters worthy of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s assistance. While those nightmares are extremely unlikely to come to life (knock on wood), there are still some nightmarish scenarios that are universal for any student. Not everything is going to require a disaster survival kit, so we put together everyday emergency items for all the little stressful scenarios you might run into this school year.

SEE ALSO: The one reason you’re breaking out this hot girl summer

You look like you haven’t slept in a few months 

Three months to be exact. Summers are for napping all day, hanging out with friends, and going to cheap, cool new restaurants. Oh, and marathoning The Office before they take it off of Netflix. 

When you start school, everything changes. It’s all about those all-nighters and focusing on those pesky midterms (shudder!). Luckily, with a few quick steps, it’s easy to look like our usual awake and vibrant selves when we get up for school. 

First step? Depuffing. You can swipe the Pixi by Petra 24K Eye Elixer Peptide under your eyes, roll your face with a jade roller that was in the freezer overnight, rub ice cubes over your face, or whatever else works for you. I usually just hold a cold compress to my face while I eat breakfast. Once the swelling has settled, brighten under the eyes with a trusted concealer and add a nice flush with blush. 

Another pro tip: Using a white eyeliner on you lower lids to brighten your eyes. Our favorite is NYX’s bestselling Slide On Pencil. For $8, it’ll last you all four years. 

BUY Jade Roller, HERE $20  

BUY First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Bendy Avocado Concealer, HERE $22 

BUY Burt’s Bee 100% Natural Blush with Vitamin E, HERE $10

BUY NYX’s Slide On Pencil, HERE $8

You have a giant zit on your face 

Breakouts are normal, but they always seem to surprise you at the most inconvenient times – ever. 

Never again do you have to let a breakout shake your confidence before a big event like the first day of school or an important presentation. With the help of a few Very Good Light favorites, you can zap your zit away ASAP. 

Pimple patches are everywhere these days, but one that actually works is the Acne Pimple Master Patch from COSRX. Prefer a cream? What about the AcneFree Terminator 10? Don’t have anything on hand and all the stores are closed? Look in your first aid kit and put some Neosporin on your pimple. I know, I thought it was odd too when my friend first told me about it, but trust me, it works.  

BUY COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, HERE $5

BUY Peace Out Acne Healing Dots – 20 ct., HERE $19

BUY AcneFree Terminator 10, HERE $8

BUY Neosporin Original Ointment, HERE $4 

You overslept and you have five minutes to get ready 

This doesn’t actually qualify as an emergency if you’re a fan of a #nomakeup face, but if you’re anywhere near as high maintenance as I am, it’s a crisis. While I’m fully the type of person who would attempt to squeeze in the entire 10-step K-beauty routine and a full face of makeup, I’m also not going to encourage anybody to be late to class. 

In order to look fabulous and be on time, a simple routine is all you need. Swipe on some Glossier Boy Brow to shape, fill in, and tame your brows. A simple coat of mascara to open up your eyes and some highlighter in the inner corner of your eyes and the high points of your face have a huge impact without eating away at your time.   

BUY Glossier Boy Brown, HERE $16 

BUY NYX Tinted Brow Mascara, HERE $7.50

BUY Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer, HERE $23

BUY L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara, HERE $8

BUY Benefit Watts Up Highlighter (mini size), HERE $8

You have class right after P.E.

Anybody who has watched Legally Blonde knows that “exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t just shoot their husbands!”

Reese Witherspoon isn’t wrong. Exercise is great for you, but the problem with P.E. classes is after the class when you can’t shower and you spend the rest of the day swimming in your sweat. Some essentials to make sure you never make a stink about stinking? Deodorant, duh. A great aluminum free yet effective option is the Native deodorant. 

Also, a trusted dry shampoo, like the Kristin Ess dry shampoo, goes a long way in disguising any signs of hair sweat. Dove’s own Foam Dry Shampoo is also a solid choice. To go the extra mile, invest in some face wipes to prevent clogged pores and follow up with your favorite moisturizer. Our favorite wipe is Burt’s Bees that comes in Grapefruit. It’s gentle, but refreshing enough to awaken your senses. As for moisturizer, Clinique has a great one that’s lightweight, quickly drying, and suitable for all skin types. 

BUY Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo, HERE $14

BUY Native Deodorant, HERE $12

BUY Schmidt’s Bergamot+Lime Natural Deodorant, HERE $4.79

BUY Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes – 30 ct., HERE $3.50

BUY Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly – travel size, HERE $5  

BUY Dove Foam Dry Shampoo, HERE $4.89

You have to pull an all-nighter 

I don’t know anybody who enjoys an all-nighter. If you do, nice to meet you!

Not sleeping can be bad for your physical, mental, and emotional health, but it can also take its toll on your skin. Equal parts caffeine, stress, and unhealthy snacks, all-nighters can lead to dehydrated skin, puffiness, breakouts, and more. If you absolutely have to spend the night at the library, be sure to cleanse your face before you go to the library and put on a thin layer of an overnight mask such as the Water Sleeping Mask from Laneige. Once you’re at the library, put on some under eye masks to get ahead of the swelling. All-nighters aren’t cute, but these KNC Star Eye Masks are!    

BUY Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, HERE $25

BUY Innisfree Vitalizing Sleeping Mask With Aloe, HERE $18

BUY KNC Star Eye Mask  – 5 Pack, HERE $25