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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Best beauty products in 2023

Check out these products for the perfect summer glow year-round.
Zarrin Zahid
Graphic of a girl putting on makeup. (Hustler Multimedia/Zarrin Zahid)

This year, a big beauty trend has been no-makeup makeup. Personally, I’ve only been using makeup that makes my skin feel the best, which usually isn’t the most full coverage or matte products. Influencers have been spotlighting products that are almost undetectable, and clean, light makeup has been a constant throughout this year. Brands like Tower 28, Saie, Rare Beauty and Merit have been celebrated for their skincare-like formulas. Running around on campus all day isn’t an activity that most students want to be wearing a “full face” for anyway. Undetectable makeup is a great low-maintenance trend for the average Vanderbilt student who is running from classes to club meetings. Here is a list of my favorite luminous and summery beauty products of the year. 

For Lips

This year was the year of lip glosses that make your lips luscious. The popular Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm ($24) deserves the hype. It might not be the most moisturizing formula on the market — Aquaphor still wins that race — but I’m obsessed with the vanilla scent and the aesthetic of the packaging. I feel so chic whipping this out of my backpack, and it stays on surprisingly well. I have bought almost every color, and I keep them in every bag I own as well as on my desk and nightstand. If you want something with more pigment, I’d recommend the Charlotte Tilbury Hylauronic Happikiss Lipstick Balm ($35). It is just as moisturizing and shiny, and my favorite shade that it comes in is the iconic Pillowtalk. 

For Skincare

The Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28) is like a hand sanitizer for your face, as it hydrates and rids the skin of bacteria. This is a low-maintenance step of my routine, and I think it would be good for anyone who wants to do something easy, fast and helpful for their skin. On the moisturizer front, I have yet to find a moisturizer that is even in the same league as the Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturizer ($40). I use this twice a day, and I’m on my sixth container since initially purchasing it. The product sits well under makeup and is extremely hydrating without making my skin oily. 

For taking off makeup, I alternate between the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser ($36) and micellar water (prices vary). I normally use the butter cleanser in the shower because it can get a little messy, but it’s great for removing makeup that nothing else can get off and is very moisturizing. Additionally, I made the switch from disposable makeup wipes to a reusable cloth and micellar water in 2021, and it has been one of my favorite sustainable switches. I just throw my makeup cloth in the laundry with my clothes, and it always comes out looking new (I recommend using hot water to kill bacteria). Compared to micellar water, makeup wipes are drying, laden with chemicals and wasteful. 

Sunscreen is the key to graceful aging. I have been using the Elta MD Sunscreen ($32-$43) every day since April, and I love it. It is moisturizing, not greasy and it doesn’t leave a white sheen. I used to hate putting on sunscreen, but now I’m excited to do it every morning — don’t forget your neck and hands. 

For Face

I hate foundation, but the Patrick Ta Major Skin Creme Foundation ($52) is the only foundation I will use. Other formulas always end up looking cakey and creased, but this finish is skin-like and subtle. It’s more than a skin tint but less than full-coverage and is radiant, making it look very natural. For lighter coverage, I have been on a quest to find the best skin tints. The Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen ($32) and the Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint ($49) are by far the best ones I’ve tried. I don’t have to set my skin when I use either of these, and I love that the Tower 28 skin tint has sunscreen in it. I even have this one in two shades — one for winter and one for summer. You will never catch me without this on my face and is my holy grail. On the other hand, the Hourglass skin tint has all the characteristics I love about the Tower 28 skin tint, except it doesn’t have sunscreen, and it has more coverage. I wear this if my skin is breaking out more than usual, or if I want to do a more done-up look without having to put foundation on. It is great for when I want some extra color on my face. 

There have been a lot of concealers talked about this year, but I have found that one is continuously overlooked. I tried the Makeup by Mario, Haus Labs and Tower 28 concealers, but nothing compares to the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($32). It is long-lasting, doesn’t crease with powder and is skin-like while providing coverage. I have given all of my other concealers to my friends since realizing how amazing this one is. 

When it comes to other face makeup, the Merit Flush Balm Cream Blush ($30) is my everyday blush. I love its luminous finish, and it melts into my skin. The shade Beverly Hills looks so natural; I apply it with my fingers, and it just looks like a natural flush. For bronzer, I have never found a bronzer that looks good on me, until this one. The Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer ($30) in the shade Quince is perfect for fair skin, and it doesn’t look too orange. It is definitely sheer, so if you want an intense, sun-kissed glow, this might not be for you. It has a natural, skin-like finish and I typically apply it on top of a skin tint or my bare skin. This paired with the Merit blush is a dream duo. 

I have recently discovered that there is a difference between drugstore and luxury when it comes to setting powder. Creases are one of my biggest pet peeves with makeup, and both of these powders have eradicated that issue. I have the beautiful Givenchy Prisme Libre Loose Setting and Finishing Powder ($59) in Satin Blanc, which is great for my pale, peachy skin. This is the smoothest powder I have ever tried, which makes sense considering the hefty price tag. It doesn’t make my face completely matte though, which I love. It comes in a mini size too ($29) and still takes forever to run out. The Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking and Setting Powder ($38) in the shade Cupcake does a better job of keeping my makeup in place through rain, formals, tears, sweat and food. I have really deep smile lines, and this completely erases them. I cannot recommend this powder enough. 

For Eyes, Lashes and Brows

I would recommend the Milk Makeup Kush Mascara ($28) to people who like a bold lash. It can be clumpy if you’re not careful, but this product makes my lashes pop like nothing else, keeps a curl and lengthens. I tend to use this for more done-up looks and have been going back to this mascara for three years. Alternatively, the Tower 28 MakeWaves Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara ($20) is very understated and almost undetectable. It doesn’t clump, and it does a really good job of separating my lashes. It doesn’t give them the most length or color, but it looks more natural for everyday makeup than the Milk mascara. For brows, I don’t reach for a brow product very often, but if I do reach for something, it’s the Glossier Boy Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel-Pomade ($18) I love that the gel is clear and lightweight, and it doesn’t flake off. 

When it comes to eye shadow, I cannot say enough good things about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Palettes ($45-$55). I have been using these palettes since 2017, and they have not failed me. My favorite color stories are Modern Renaissance and Soft Glam. They are pigmented, and the shadow lasts without an eye base. The shimmers are also stunning. I love how neutral the palettes are, so I use every shade. I definitely do not use these palettes often — just for special occasions — but they’re a good place to start if you’re looking to get into beginner-friendly shadows. I have tried lots of other palettes since buying them, but I haven’t liked anything better. Eyeliner-wise, the Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil Longwear Eyeliner ($23) is no joke. In the past, I have had the problem of my eyeliner coming off because of the moistness of my eyes, but this has never budged for me. Even when I take my makeup off with micellar water, this product tends to be the only thing that sticks. It is easy to use, and the black pigment is very strong. 

These are my winners of the 2023 beauty marathon. These are tried and true products, and they make me feel like I have that fresh beach glow year-round, especially during the dry winter months. These would also make great holiday gifts for anyone who loves no-makeup makeup. The skincare-heavy trends of 2023 probably weren’t popularized with stressed-out Vanderbilt students in mind, but it definitely helps that being less made-up on the daily is now what’s in. 

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About the Contributors
Jacqueline Welsh
Jacqueline Welsh, Deputy Life Editor
Jacqueline Welsh (‘26) is from Washington, D.C., and is majoring in communication studies and minoring in creative writing in the College of Arts and Science. She is part of VOCE A Cappella, Studio V, WilSkills and Tap That! She loves going on hikes and reading. You can reach her at [email protected].
Zarrin Zahid
Zarrin Zahid, Staff Writer and Graphics Staffer
Zarrin Zahid (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in law, history and society and minoring in Islamic studies. Besides The Hustler, she enjoys writing stories, cooking and watching bad horror movies unironically. She can be reached at [email protected].
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