There are many things that I wish I could go back in time and warn myself about. For example, don’t bother killing yourself over grades or don’t date that giant douche nozzle or don’t cut off all your hair when you dress like a boy and don’t have any boobs. You know, those types of things. But this is a beauty blog and you probably haven’t come here to hear my life woes. Instead I’m going to tell you about all the beauty products that I wish I’d known about years ago, the ones that rocked my world when I discovered them.

1. Cleansing Oils & Balms
Man would my life ever have been a lot easier if I’d known about oil based cleansers years ago. They break down all of your makeup in an instant and give you an opportunity to do a little self face massage. I cringe at the thought of how much makeup was likely left on my face back when I was just using a cleansing milk. Of course cleansing waters are also a good option, but I find that having to rub my sensitive face with a cotton pad can irritate it. An oil that washes off completely with water has been the best choice for me. The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and MAC Cleanse Off Oil are some excellent picks.

2. Retinoids
Retinoid products seem to be becoming more and more popular in the beauty world these days, likely in large part due to the praise that the Sunday Riley Luna Oil received. I’m so happy to see that they’re finally having their time in the spotlight. I’ve found them to be far more effective for my skin than any form of AHA or BHA. They drastically improve the texture of skin, fade scaring, fight acne and smooth out fine lines. They work differently than other acne treatments in that they don’t simply kill bacteria or exfoliate, instead they function as a cell communicating ingredient that essentially allows your cells to perform in a healthier manor. They’re pretty much a dream come true. I’ve recently started using the A313 Vitamin A Pommade and I think it might be a game changer. The only downside is that they increase your sensitivity to UV rays, so make sure you’re wearing your sunscreen during the day!

3. Gel Liner
Who else has struggled/still struggles with creating a perfect cat eye? *Everyone except Charlotte Tilbury raises their hand.* It’s just one of those things that has a heck of a learning curve. I started with liquid liner and I was always garbage at it. When I finally bought my first Gel Liner it was like angels were singing in my ears. Suddenly I had so much control over what I was doing. I was able to slowly and carefully work up to a decent shaped cat eye without liner going every which way. I’ve since experimented with Pen Liners, but I have to say, I still love my gel liners the mostest.

4. Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
I’ve tried out various eyeshadow bases over the years. Truth be told I never thought much of them until I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase Nars’ offering. I’m glad I parted with the cash because it means that I can finally get away with wearing many (still not all) eyeshadows. This is by far the best eyeshadow base that I’ve tried, as it’s the only one that’s made the faintest different in preventing eyeshadow creasing. However, I’m still keen to try the Wet N Wild Fergie Eyeshadow Primer because I’ve heard amazing things…

5. A Good Concealer & The Right Brush
If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of makeup, it would be a good quality concealer. I had frustrating skin in high school. I would get cystic acne on my nose. That’s just about the worst feeling ever when you’re 16 and you have no idea how much more life is planning to kick you in the balls in the years to come. I didn’t really have a clue how to adequately disguise my acne back then. I was using some crap Covergirl concealer that had tinted moisturizer levels of coverage. Nowadays I can’t imagine being without my MAC Studio Finish Concealer or Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and my Mini Detailer Brush. Those concealers are pigment packed and that brush places product exactly where you need it.