Most popular beauty products

It’s safe to say that when it comes to beauty products, we’ve seen our fair share. Practically every day, we’re inundated with a new cream, stick, shadow or tool promising to make our lives easier, or at least prettier. We’ve tried and tested more products than we’d like to admit. All things considered, we know what it takes for a product to hack it in this business (and to sell off the shelves, both virtual and IRL).

With all this savvy, though, we were curious: Which products were selling out across the country, just in time for fall? New York’s popular products are one thing, but there are 49 other states to take into consideration. In order to get the scoop, we went straight to the source, polling department and beauty supply stores in 30 of the most populated cities across the country to learn which beauty products were the top sellers.

MORE: The New Classics: 15 Modern Products That Have Achieved Cult Status

Overall, we found some surprises, some glaringly obvious realities and a few products that are absolutely dominating the country. Below are our final findings, including the most popular product in each category, plus some front runners that stood out.

  • Most Popular Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked Palette. Whether the Naked, Naked 2 or Naked Basics, practically every city we polled noted this as their top-selling product for eyes. With its range of universally flattering colors and endless possibilities for makeup looks, we can’t say we’re shocked that this multi-use palette won its spot on the podium.
  • Most Popular Mascara: Benefit They’re Real. Sweeping the nation (quite literally) by storm with its debut last year, Benefit’s best-selling mascara is a girl’s best friend when it comes to tricking people into thinking you’re wearing falsies. Available in regular and travel-size versions, we recommend buying in bulk to be prepared at home and on the go.
  • Most Popular Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner. Staying power that’s matched only by the array of colors offered, this option from Urban Decay doesn’t budge once it’s applied. Available in the traditional pencil or a liquid state, when you’re trying to get a cat eye, this liner is your go-to.
  • Most Popular Blush: NARS Blush in Orgasm. From its coral-peach base to its subtle flecks of gold shimmer, Orgasm gives girls of every skin tone the perfect, just-flushed look. We have a hunch that the risquè name has a little something to do with the allure of the product, too, so snaps to NARS for brilliant branding.

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  • Most Popular Foundation: bareMinerals Foundation. The makeup for girls who hate wearing makeup, we can’t blame ladies around America for making this such a star product. Between the precise color matching, the various finish options and the barely-there feel, this one’s an all-around winner in our book.
  • Most Popular Primer: Smashbox Primer. A range of more than five options for priming whatever kind of situation you’ve got on your skin, Smashbox’s product gives you a smooth base for the rest of your face. We’re especially fond of the Blemish Control and SPF 20 options, but to each her own.
  • Most Popular Lip Product (It’s a Tie!): Lipstick Queen Lipcolor and bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss. Lip products was the most varied category, proving that recession or otherwise, girls love their lipsticks, glosses and the like. The two most prominent products in this category were well-deserving, with Lipstick Queen’s lipcolor being among the best quality we’ve ever worn, and Benefit’s lip gloss giving that perfectly non-sticky, super saturated color that we all want in a gloss.
  • Other Notable Front-Runners: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation and Too Faced Bronzer. Both products worth their hype, these standouts may not have dominated the entire country, but they earned their stripes based on geographical region. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Foundation was most popular in warmer climates (Atlanta, GA and Miami, FL), while Too Faced Bronzer went to the head of the class in drearier locations (Denver, CO, Seattle, WA and Salt Lake City, UT).
  • Surprising Stand-Outs: CK One Lipstick, Diorshow Mascara, Buxom Tahiti Bronzer and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. Making waves as the best-sellers in New York, NY, Seattle, WA, Phoenix, AR and Portland, OR respectively, these products are more than worthy of their titles.

We want to know: Are these products the most popular in your city? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

*The information in this article is based on a survey of over 50 department and beauty supply stores in 30 states across the United States of America.

NBC News readers are serious about self-care, especially as it concerns body and skin wellness. In 2019, we shared guides on some of the best skincare products to help with these pursuits: which anti-aging sunscreens and moisturizers are best, how to choose shampoos formulated for a dry scalp, what moisturizers are especially good for dry skin, what products you should consider if you have oily skin and many more.

As you peruse the lists above and the many others we’ve shared, we also wanted to be sure to share which of the skincare products we shared were most popular among readers. Below are the top 12 most popular skincare products.

1. LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo

This shampoo is from our article on the best shampoos for dry scalp. Shari Hicks-Graham, MD, a dermatologist in Columbus, Ohio, is a fan of this shampoo because it has a gentle sulfate-free formula that still lathers and feels great on your hair. Xlyitol in the formula fights yeast, while salicylic acid, glycolic acid and willow bark extract exfoliate and soothe.

2. LivSo Moisturizing Conditioner

Users who bought the LivSo shampoo liked it so much they also bought the brand’s moisturizing conditioner that helps restore and nourish the scalp for hair growth, while guarding against head and styling damage.

3. LivSo Moisturizing Scalp Lotion

You apply this lotion after washing and conditioning, but before you style your hair. It’s made with willow bark extract, coconut oil and shea butter to reduce and fight flakes and dryness.

4. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

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This is from our article on how to choose a sunscreen according to dermatologists. “This specific sunscreen was studied in the real world and shown to be more effective in preventing sunburn as compared to sunscreens with lower SPF levels,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research, dermatology department, Mount Sinai Hospital. He explains that because most of us don’t apply as much sunscreen as we should (remember: you need a shot glass worth!) and don’t reapply during the day, we’re not getting as much protection as labeled on the bottle. So choosing the highest level of SPF possible gets you closer to adequate protection.

5. Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo

Coal isn’t just for those who made the naughty list this holiday season. This shampoo, which Paul Cellura, MD, dermatologist at Tribeca Skin Center in New York City likes, relies on one percent coal tar to ease flaking and scalp irritation associated with seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and scalp psoriasis. BETTER readers seem to agree.

6. Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

You don’t always have to shell out major dough to reap anti-aging benefits. Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles, sings the praises of this drugstore anti-aging staple: “It has the efficacy promised by expensive, beauty-counter products,” she says. That’s thanks to the potent ingredients in its formula, including hyaluronic acid to plump skin, niacinamide to soothe redness, dimethicone to lock in hydration, and peptide fragments to prompt skin to produce new collagen over time.

7. Burt’s Bees Hand Cream Trio Holiday Gift Set

This set from natural skin care products favorite Burt’s Bees includes all of the brand’s essentials to cover from head to toe. You’re getting the favorite Beeswax Lip Balm, Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream, Milk and Honey Body Lotion, Hand Salve, and restorative Coconut Foot Cream — all of which are infused with the best natural extracts, oils, butters and waxes to prepare and nourish skin during the harsh winter months (and really all year round).

8. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Retinol Night Cream

Along with other NBC News readers, you should consider this another reason to hit up your local drugstore. “This budget-friendly night treatment contains both alpha hydroxy acids, which help to unstick and exfoliate dulling, dead skin cells immediately, as well as retinol, which stimulates cell turnover and new collagen production over time,” says Shainhouse. “Together, these help to reduce the appearance of fine lines with regular use over two to three months.”

9. Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Cerulla, the dermatologist from our article on the best shampoos for a dry scalp, also likes this drugstore shampoo, which is formulated with 1 percent ketoconazole to help reduce the amount of pityrosporum yeast on the scalp and cut down on inflammation, redness and scaly patches.

10. OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel

“This is a product that photographers and makeup artists have used for years to combat oily skin on set,” says Lisa Pruett, MD, a dermatologist in Carrollton, Texas. “The product absorbs facial oils, acting like a leave-on blotting paper throughout the day.”

11. Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment

If you’re dealing with dry, cracked heels this winter, maybe try out this product recommended by Samer Jaber, MD, founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City. Jaber recommends applying this spot treatment to your heels because its formula contains a high percentage of urea and exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid, which are great at removing dead skin cells so the moisturizing components of the formula, like sunflower oil rich in vitamins A and E, can seep in to heal skin.

12. BOB KIDS Brush On SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Mineral Powder Sunscreen

This physical sunscreen is a favorite for kids. “The powder format is so easy to apply so kids won’t complain about goopy sunscreen, there’s no smell and it’s translucent,” she says. “And the brush is soft and brightly colored so it’s fun to apply.” Because it comes in a powder formula, there’s no greasy mess and you don’t have to worry about it stinging your child’s eyes, King adds. You can also throw it in your bag for easy re-application.

More skincare guides from NBC News Shopping

  • Best anti-aging sunscreens and moisturizers, according to these dermatologists
  • Best shampoos for dry scalp, according to these dermatologists
  • Best moisturizers for dry skin, according to these dermatologists


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