My high school best friend scored a part-time job selling makeup the summer before our senior year. I watched in awe as her cosmetic bag turned into Wonderland, and she became fearless Alice, braving the before-uncharted lands of cream blushes, whisper-soft makeup brushes, and slick eyeliner. Since that fateful summer, I haven’t had such close proximity to bottomless blush; yet recently, after sneaking a peek inside Ulta Beauty pro artist Deney Adam‘s beauty bag, I felt that same feeling of tumbling head-first into Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland: makeup edition.
When I ask Adam his criteria for choosing makeup products, he tells me he loves to think about the trends that could be, rather than what’s popular currently. “I am a seasonal-type makeup artist, and I aspire to create trends; therefore, I tend to go through different products quickly,” he says. “There is so much innovation out there and makeup formulas just keep getting better and better.” Earning a permanent place in Adam’s cosmetic bag is next to impossible, but four next-level makeup products have done it. Keep scrolling to find out which ones.
1. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30
“NARS concealer applies like butter and the texture is so light and creamy, it just melts into the skin. I also like that it has buildable coverage so I often use it as a foundation, and it works well on all skin types,” says Adam. The compact tube means it slips into your purse easily so that when some midday pimple rears its whitehead, you’ll be prepared. “This concealer will solve all your problems,” says Adam. (Or, okay, most of them.) Shade range: 30
2. MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot, $22
Only one eyeshadow makes the cut for Adam’s permanent makeup bag—and it’s one that just. doesn’t. budge. “I am not complete if I don’t have this in my kit—I seriously don’t know what I would do if they ever discontinue it,” says Adam. “I like to use it as an eyeshadow base color. It works on every skin tone.” You can build more colors on top of the M.A.C product, but Adam promises it looks just as good all by its lonesome. “I look forward to putting it on people and always take a moment to stare back at it to admire how beautiful it looks,” he says.
3. Got 2b Glued Spiking Glue, $6
You may be thinking woah, woah, woah—spiking glue? Let me assure you, Adam isn’t suggesting we return to the hair trend of the early aughts. “I’m currently loving GOT2B Glued Spiking Gel because I like to use it as a brow gel,” he says (mind. blown.). “I’m always on the hunt for a good one and this is by far the best thing I have ever used. It separates each thread of hair so you can get a great fanned-out look, which is super trendy right now.”
4. ULTA Twisted Volume Mascara, $11
“No kit is complete without mascara or false lashes so I always have my Ulta Beauty Twisted Volume Mascara on hand as it creates false-lash like lashes without the glue and hassle of application,” says Adam. With four ways to apply, you get to choose if you want your lashes to have volume or volume—if you know what I mean.
Make sure your skin care is taken care of, too:
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