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What to Shop for at Sephora: The Cult Must-Have Products

I’m not really a big one for shopping when I travel. I honestly plan so much of my trips around eating that there’s hardly any time (or tbh, money) left for shopping. But if there’s one store I always make sure to visit between gaining 10-15 kg’s, it’s Sephora. The holy grail of beauty shopping, where you’ll find all the high-end, designer and celeb beauty products you can’t get in South Africa. However I have to admit that once I’m inside, I feel kind of sweaty and dizzy and I normally end up loading my little shopping basket to the brim before ringing everything up, converting the cost to Rands, putting everything back and leaving with just a single foundation.

In order to eliminate this time wasting activity (which let’s face it, could be spent eating), I’ve gone ahead and shopped for my next haul online, to be delivered to San Diego by the time I arrive in the US next month. I mean, I still get kind of dizzy and sweaty when I’m browsing the Sephora online store, but at least I can add and remove items from my cart at leisure. And since even the online store can leave a girl feeling a little overwhelmed by sweet sweet choice, I’ve done some ~very scientific~ research and compiled a list of the must-have cult products that every good Sephora haul should contain, so that your next visit can be executed with military precision.

What to Shop for at Sephora: The Cult Must-Have Products

As recommended by my beauty besties over at All Dolled Up with inspiration from Kiss, Blush & Tell too, this list of cult products should leave you breathless and broke but overjoyed.

1. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter

Backlight Filter Face Primer creates a canvas for your makeup, extending its wear from day to night. Infused with three unique Filtering Luminescent Pearls, each one adds a different drop of diffused light. Blended together, they impart a one-of-a-kind, lightweight, whipped fluid that creates a smooth canvas and acts as an instant filter, while the vitamin E-enriched formula minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. Infused with Becca’s proprietary blend of crushed pearls, this primer achieves a lit-from-within, healthy-looking effect.

Shop | $38,00

2. Bumble & Bumble Thickening Creme Contour

This rich formula melts in your hands to a delicate, lightweight paste that perfectly supports gorgeous looks of all sorts. Polymers, carnauba wax, and seedcake extract balance in a satiny base, transforming into a sheer paste that disappears into the hair. Use it to create fine, finger-made contours, supple drape, and a luxurious, lived-in quality that remains full and voluminous. This formula is for all hair types and textures, especially fine, and appropriate for use on color-treated hair.

Shop | $29

3. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

Create the perfect illumination for your face with Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Powder. Infused with the innovative Photoluminescent Technology, each finishing powder captures, diffuses, and softens the look of the skin. The micron-size, color-correcting particles refract light and create transparent coverage, filtering out harsh light and refining the appearance of the skin.

Shop | $46

4. IT Cosmetics CC Cream

This color-correcting cream provides full, flawless coverage and protects skin with SPF 50+ UVA/UVB broad-spectrum physical sunscreen. It is clinically shown to increase hydration, smooth texture, and enhance brightness. The breakthrough formula never creases or cracks and instantly camouflages skin imperfections including dark spots. Plus, it’s infused with an advanced antiaging serum made of hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, niacin, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants that work in harmony to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and pores to create a more radiant, supple, and flawless-looking complexion.

Shop | $38

5. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Inspired by the curves of a woman’s body, the hourglass-shaped brush was designed with extra stiff bristles to maximize the performance of this carbon black, collagen-fueled formula. One coat and lashes are full and defined. Two coats and lashes are even more luscious, curled, and dramatic. Three coats help you achieve the most intense, black, multidimensional lashes possible.

Shop | $23

6. Ouai Dry Texturising Spray

This hair spray is packed with volcanic minerals to absorb oil and refresh hair. Plus, its floral fragrance contains notes of Italian bergamot, touches of rose and muget, waterlily, iris, and white musk.

Shop | $26

Alternative: SEPHORA FAVOURITES Instant Texture Dry Styling Spray Collection

Instant Texture is the ultimate kit to enhance or add natural texture. Verb Sea Spray is formulated with natural sea salt and smoothing moisturizers, this light mist infuses all hair types with oceanic waves for a breezy texture boost. Ouai Texture Hairspray is part hairspray, part dry shampoo. This talc-free multitasker is the ultimate go-to product to achieve innately cool model-off-duty hair. IGK Beach Club is formulated to add volume and texture to create a sexy, wind-blown look, it also adds fullness, hold, and a cool, matte finish. Drybar Triple Sec is an airy dry spray that will create texture, volume, and body. Amika Un.Done Texture Spray will create a sexy, tousled, undone look with extreme texture and volume.

Shop | $32

7. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

A must-have beauty product and rms beauty’s biggest seller, this luminizer highlights the skin better than anything else. The ultimate illuminator for creating a sensuous, luminous glow, the Living Luminizer enhances the skin’s natural youthfulness without being sticky, greasy, or glittery.

Shop | $38

8. Viseart Eyeshadow palette

Get professional quality eye looks with these versatile 12-shade palettes. Viseart’s coveted, bestselling palettes are reliable film-tested professional products, a staple in every artist’s kit, and they’re the work horse of all professional artists. These palettes have a dynamic cult following throughout all levels of artistry. Manufactured in France, Viseart’s proprietary formula is created in small tightly-controlled batches to maintain pigment quality, powder integrity, and consistency. Viseart is the “secret sauce” for top Hollywood makeup artists, as well as makeup artist enthusiasts of all genres.

Shop | $80

9. Beautyblender

The OG. The unique shape and exclusive material available only with beautyblender® ensures impeccable, streak-free application with minimum product waste. Use it with foundations, powders, and any other complexion product. Now, the award-winning makeup sponge is available in a fun, limited-edition canister—fit for any beauty queen.

Shop | $20

10. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer

A beauty editor and makeup artist favorite, this customizable concealer naturally and completely covers dark circles, blemishes, scars, minor imperfections, and discolorations with a unique two-shade system. One shade is formulated to match skin’s depth of color, while the other matches skin’s undertone. This dual-shade camouflage makes it possible for everyone to custom-blend her own perfect shade. Always apply after foundation; the high-level of pigment requires very little product to achieve perfect coverage that lasts for up to eight hours.

Shop | $35

11. Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Infused with lush, naturally-derived ingredients, this lightweight tinted moisturizer immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. It has been proven to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation for a clearer and brighter complexion in as little as four weeks. Oil-free and luxurious, it obscures the appearance of lines, wrinkles, pores, and other imperfections while broad spectrum SPF 30 protects skin.

Shop | $45

12. Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion Makeup

This newest innovation from Giorgio Armani brings nourishment and glow to the weightlessness of Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation. This formula is a bi-phase elixir that provides a lasting glow. Formulated with oils fused with pure pigments, it provides sheer coverage and sun protection.

Shop | $64

13. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed Highlighter

An award-winning highlighting powder with an ultra-buttery texture that melts into skin for the ultimate high-impact glow. This one-of-a-kind formula is enriched with ultra-fine, multitoned, luminescent pearls that adjust to your skin’s undertones and amplify your natural radiance. Unlike traditional pressed powders, this unique formula blends pigments with liquids, creating a creamy feel that applies seamlessly and never cakes. Inspired by the dazzling light of the midday sun, the result is a high-impact, elegant finish that doesn’t look glittery.

Shop | $38

14. Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

Benefit’s Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel contains tiny microfibers that adhere to skin and brow hairs, creating natural-looking brow volume. The custom tiny, tapered brush provides an easy, mess-proof application, and makes it easy to tame, tint, and volumize the look of your brows. The buildable formula is also water-resistant and long-wearing.

Shop | $24

15. FARSÁLI Unicorn Essence

FARSÁLI’s Unicorn Essence at Sephora is enriched with four superfruit extracts that are loaded with antioxidants—known for their antiaging properties: açaí berry, goji berry, elderberry, and blueberry. The Açaí berries and blueberries not only contain powerful antioxidants, they are also packed with vitamin C, which supports the skin tone. Thanks to its water-based formula, this serum will allow your skin to soak up the supplements, leaving it hydrated without a greasy residue.

Shop | $54

(That’s right, a whopping total of over R7300,00! I’m not saying you need to get it all in one go. But I mean if you can afford to, go for it!)

So there you have it. A rich person’s guide to beauty. If you can’t see yourself forking out for all of the above at once, I don’t blame you. But it’s nice to drop things into your online shopping cart anyway – I think of it “window shopping”. And if you’re planning a trip overseas any time in the near future, or have a friend making their way to SA for a visit, at least you know what to splurge on. For more on beauty, makeup and hair visit All Dolled Up and Kiss, Blush & Tell. Especially if you’re more into finding products that are available locally, and discovering drug store brands that will change your life.

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