Real Simple readers reveal their secret weapons.
Curél Continuous Comfort fragrance-free body lotion is thick but not too greasy, and the benefits last all day.
I’ve used Göt2Be Kinky Curl Defining Mousse since the eighth grade. You won’t be disappointed. I have long, curly hair, and people always stop me to ask what I put in it to make it manageable. Curly heads, unite!
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Burt’s Bees lip balm. The end.
San Pedro, California
Concealer. Late nights in college have permanently marked raccoonlike half circles under my eyes.
I love lip gloss, and I never leave home without it. I have two of the same color because I keep one in my purse and one in my cosmetics drawer. If I don’t wear any other beauty product, I always wear lip gloss.
Tweezers. I hate to say it, but at my age, I need them daily.
My husband’s eyes, which reflect my most beautiful self back to me, no matter how I look or feel.
Olay facial moisturizer. But if toothpaste is considered a beauty product, I’ll go for that.
It’s a toss-up between ChapStick lip balm and unscented hand lotion. I cannot make it through my day without either one, and I always “grease up” before bed. They both make me feel hydrated, pampered, and ready to take on anything.
Tweezers. It’s like Audrey Hepburn’s eyebrows and a caterpillar ganged up and created mine. Tweezers can make my face go from cluttered to groomed in minutes.
Lipstick can be swiped on anytime, anywhere, to add instant glamour. On days that I’m running out the door in the morning to run errands or drop the kids at school, I don big sunglasses, a baseball cap, and a touch of gorgeous lip color.
Santa Ana, California
Concealer. I go from sleep-deprived to bright-eyed in 60 seconds.
Mount Vernon, Washington
Burt’s Bees lip gloss. It looks good, tastes good, and heals the lips.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Facial toner, which I use before I apply lotion. I find that brands like Lumene and Olay, which are available at drugstores, are just as effective as department-store brands.
Frances Carmen Garza
Saint Augustine, Florida
Lip gloss makes a woman look polished and refreshed lickety-split. I don’t leave home without it.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s a little blue tin of absolute heaven with a hint of rose scent. I use it on my lips and dry hands, as a cuticle tamer, and on my cheeks in the winter. And at $6 it’s a steal.
Can strong coffee be a beauty product? No? OK, then concealer. I’m the mother of a very active 1-year-old who gets up several times a night, and concealer has become my best friend. Using vats of it under my eyes has not made the bags disappear, but it does hide my dark circles during the day.
Wantagh, New York
Aveda Lip Saver is my hands-down favorite lip treatment. The herbal scent and the slightly sweet yet spicy flavor relax me when I use it right before bed.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
A toothbrush. You can shape your eyebrows with it and spritz it with hair spray to hold down flyaways.
Cuticle oil. The worst thing in the world is getting hangnails.
My hair wouldn’t be the same without Aussie Sprunch Catch the Wave hair spray. I have curly hair and have relied on this product since I was 14 years old. All my friends and family associate me with its signature grape scent.
Maybelline New York Lash Discovery mascara is perfect for fine lashes in deep-set eyes. I have tried many different brands and always come back to this drugstore basic. I’ve realized that a product isn’t better just because I spent more money on it.
Lipstick or gloss is my go-to item; it “wakes up” my face with a splash of color. On any given day, it might be the only product I have with me.
Kentville, Nova Scotia
After 20 years, Clinique facial soap bar is still the only soap that touches my face. It always keeps my skin fresh and clean.
Sergeant Bluff, Iowa
An eyebrow pencil. I plucked my brows into thin, patchy lines when I was a teenager, and they have never fully grown back. I refuse to let people see me without my brows filled in.
New York, New York
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Fast Fix concealer. It’s like a miracle in a compact form. No matter how little sleep I get or how blotchy my skin appears, this product takes five years off and makes me look as if I’ve gotten about four extra hours of sleep.
Columbia, South Carolina
My St. Ives Fresh Skin Warming Facial Scrub makes my face so clean, smooth, and baby soft, especially when I forget (or am too lazy) to wash off my makeup from the night before.
Because of my busy lifestyle, I don’t always have the time or the money to go to the salon. Bobby pins―a steal at just a dollar―help me create impressive hairdos, which I often get complimented on.
Spring Valley, California
Just one beauty product? It would have to be Clarins Gel Contour des Yeux Eye Contour Gel. All I can say is that it works. I put it on, and within 15 to 30 minutes the bags under my eyes are deflated and I look revived and refreshed.
Floss. I never feel more beautiful than when I’m laughing and showing my pearly whites.
Vaseline petroleum jelly. It has so many functions. I smooth my eyebrows with it. I put it on my heels after I pumice them. I put it on my hands before donning my gardening gloves. I also put it under my nails under the gloves, which makes removing the dirt much easier. Best of all, it’s inexpensive.
Benefit Cosmetics Eye Bright is a light pink pencil. When I apply it to the inner corners of my eyelids, like magic I look instantly refreshed.
Bare Escentuals BareMinerals powder foundation. This product makes my skin look radiant.
My foot tub from Ikea that has little nubbies on the bottom. After a tough day at work, I like to fill it up, light scented candles, and listen to my iPod. The whole experience transports me somewhere luxurious.
I couldn’t get by without Q-tips cotton swabs. I use them to apply eye shadow, touch up errant lipstick lines, clean my fingertips after a messy nail polishing, repair makeup after an accidental eye stab from the mascara wand, and, of course, keep my ears clean. No wonder I buy them in bulk.
Toothpaste, because bad breath just isn’t beautiful.
Mascara. I’m a stay-at-home mom who sometimes doesn’t see another adult for days, and mascara can instantly make me feel like a woman again and not just like “mom.”
Witch hazel. I use it as a toner after washing my face. Dabbing it on with a cotton ball helps keep blemishes at bay.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tweezers, tweezers, tweezers. As my tween daughter says, “I don’t want to rock a uni.”
Danielle Faith Richards
La Verne, California
For over 30 years, I have been slathering baby oil all over my body while I am still dripping wet from a shower. Then I just towel-dry and don’t have to use lotion. I’m now 68 years old, and my husband still compliments me on my soft skin.
My dependable, miracle-working flat iron. That thing has changed my life. If I were to wind up on a desert island, the only thing I would want with me is my flat iron. Seriously! If only this magic wand had been around when I was a skinny, braces-wearing, badly permed 13-year-old.
San Francisco, California