Say bon voyage to liquids that spill and leave a gooey mess. We tested 32 formulas—these are the makeup and skin products worthy of space in your bag.

By Anneke Knot
May 27, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Take a trip through your makeup bag. I’m guessing it is bursting at the seams with one too many foundation bottles, four to five different balms of some sort, at least two mascaras, and do not get me started on brows. The sides are probably forever stained thanks to a major spill incident (or three), and no matter how hard you scrub, the remnants insist on leaving their mark. No, I am not a clairvoyant, but I am a woman far too often on the go and out of time. My cosmetics bag (and the contents inside) is just one of the many casualties I often leave behind in my getting-out-of-the-door-on-time wake.

Apparently, I am not alone. In response to overflowing schedules and in motion routines, beauty sticks are no longer limited to lips. These timesaving, mess-free wonders have you covered from head to toe. In an effort to keep spills and splatters to a minimum, our beauty department hunted through the latest and greatest stick innovations. After trying and testing many a formula, these winners stuck out (pun absolutely intended).

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Makeup Sticks: Tula
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

1 Best Cleanser: Tula Skincare Makeup Melt Makeup Removing Balm

Let’s have a moment of silence for all the full-size cleansers confiscated by the TSA. With this oil-based remover, you’ll breeze through security. Use it to whisk away tiny smudges or remove every last bit of makeup. And thanks to the combo of probiotics and shea butter, your skin will feel soft and supple, not greasy.

To buy: $28;

Makeup Sticks: Almay
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

2 Best Lip Oil: Almay Lip Oil in Sweet Escape

Dry lips will be gone with the help of natural oils that condition and soothe. Just one swipe delivers the perfect subtle wash of color.

To buy: $8;

Makeup Sticks: Chaz Dean
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

3 Best Allover Balm: Bella Spirit by Chaz Dean Body Treatment Balm

Glide over dry patches (elbows) to add moisture, or over spots that chafe in hot weather (thighs).

To buy: $50;

Makeup Sticks: Stila
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

4 Best Multitasker: Stila Complete Harmony Lip & Cheek Stick in Sheer Lilium

Dab onto cheeks, lips, or eyelids and gently rub with your finger to blend. Choose from six creamy shades.

To buy: $26;

Makeup Sticks: Neutrogena
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

5 Best SPF: Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick

This tropical-scented solid was made for face and body, so it’s all you need for a day in the sun.

To buy: $9;

Makeup Sticks: Tatcha
Credit: Courtesy of manufacturer

6 Best Serum: Tatcha The Serum Stick

The key to plumping fine lines: Keeping skin hydrated. So this moisturizing booster is your anti-aging magic wand.

To buy: $48;

This article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Real Simple.