Staff Picks: What's in our five-product kit?

When we did a feature on the PV staff's kikay kits last year, I was honestly shocked by how much stuff I lug around. Having a lot of options (and being ready to do a face at a moment's notice) feels reassuring but if you carry so much in your purse on the daily, the unnecessary weight can give you some serious back pain!

So we decided to do an edit and challenge ourselves: what are the products that we absolutely must have in our kits at all times? After making certain concessions (excludes skincare and tools), we finally whittled our kits down to five items each. Here's what we chose!

Frankie: I'm basically obsessed with multi-use products, which is why I have been waiting for this moment. The Ellana Powder Foundation/Concealer is THE ONLY face base that's managed to cover up nearly ALL of my dark circles and facial discoloration. It's especially great for my undereye area, where it banishes my bags like nobody's business.

The NYX Eyebrow Shaper is probably the only single-use product in my kit, but what a use it has. If you, like me, have unruly brows that stand away from your skin, this product is a lifesaver! It's basically like hair wax for your eyebrows, sealing strands into place. It makes perfectly-shaped brows quick and easy, with no messy application. The only downside is this sells out fast, so whenever it's in store I HOARD.

When the Canmake Natural Chiffon Eyebrow claims that your brows will last eight hours, your brows WILL last eight hours! This is the only product that's managed to give me the classic K-beauty "straight brow," while making it look natural at the same time. It has two shades give you contour and definition, and the lighter one also makes for a good nose line contour, while the darker one works well as a shadow liner. 

I've tried all sorts of lip balms, and have all sorts of favorites but when it comes to ride-or-die lip protection the Vaseline Lip Therapy is it. I got this in a convenience store in Taiwan and it has never left my handbag since. This makes my lips soft and moisturized, while also acting as a great glossy "topper" for lip stains!

Finally, I have the Ellana Lip Tattoo Stain, which is a bit of a "secret product" as it's only available online, but if you find it, you better really like the color because these tints Do. Not. Budge. The only way I've gotten them to fade is by layering on my lip balm and scrubbing hard, and even then there's still a noticeable stain left behind. It also works great on cheeks, though thankfully doesn't have the same amount of staying power there as it does on my pout. You will have to pry these pens from my cold, dead hands.

Crystal:  I cannot survive without foundation! The Shiseido UV Protective Liquid Foundation gives me additional sun protection and it's fairly long-lasting, too. As someone with oily skin, powder is a must. The Skinfood Buckwheat Powder sets my foundation well and has a natural-looking finish.

The K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow Pen is so nice because I can draw hair strokes that look natural, plus it's long-lasting. My eyebrow hair is quite long and unruly so I really need a brow mascara to keep them in place. The Etude House Color My Brows Mascara has a nice brush that doesn't dispense too much product. I can use the Tony Moly Tony Tint Delight for both my lips and cheeks. It lasts fairly long on my lips and even longer on my cheeks!

Angela: The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer works so well at covering my dark spots and under eye circles. It's also really creamy and easy to blend. And oh my goodness, the Ellana Powder Foundation is a treasure!!! I hate myself for only trying it now because it's so good. The combination of concealer and powder foundation makes my skin look amazingly smooth and gorgeous!

I really love the peach blush in the BYS contour palette. It looks so natural and dainty. The contour in the kit also looks really good on my skin tone. The Covergirl Supersizer Mascara looks so black on my lashes and it helps lift them up. It does not clump and my lashes look great when I use this. There is a waterproof variant of this that I plan to get next because most of my days are filled with physical activity.

Lastly, the Burt's Bees tinted lip balm is a staple in my kit. It moisturizes my chapped lips and gives a rose tint that looks like MLBB. I don't wear lipstick all the time but I can't go without this balm.

Nina: Being a busy girl, I have mastered the art of choosing makeup that would fit my tiny handbags. I’ve done my makeup in mall bathrooms more times than I would want to admit. This means that 5-10 minute makeup routines are actually helpful, and having to put less products is definitely a must to achieve a decent look within a short amount of time.

The products I have chosen just make my skin look better, and since kilay is life, a brow product was included in the mix. The five products I have chosen are Benefit’s Porefessional to blur out my pores (and wow, it makes my skin look so much better in photos!), MAC’s Pro Longwear Concealer to conceal my dark circles, Benefit’s Brow Zings to define my eyebrows, Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascara to lengthen my lashes, and lastly, my trusty Carmex lip balm to keep my lips moisturized!

Charlie: Whichever products I have on rotation, I make sure to have these three grounds well covered: that my eyebrows stay on for the entire day, my oiliness is kept at bay, and my lips are super moisturized. I don't have great skin but for me, everything else above and beyond is extra.

I've found a new love with the K-Palette Real Eyebrow pen. It stays on forever, can withstand my constant rubbing, and looks natural on. The Eglips Blur Powder and Benefit Porefessional help with my oiliness. While the powder is not completely fool-proof, the primer has become my favorite. I've become recently obsessed with my Inglot Blush in #58. It's super easy to blend and the purplish color gives my cheeks a nice, natural looking flush. The Palmers Dark Chocolate Lip Butter has never left my side since I bought it. It keeps my lips soft and it's insane how much it smells like dark chocolate cake.

Tellie: If I have just five products to use after skincare, it would have to all be color cosmetics for my poor, sickly complexion. I have several cheats up my sleeve. I took the Clio Conceal-dation to act as a foundation product and concealer. For my bald brows, I've got my favorite shu uemura Eyebrow Ink. If I can't have eyeliner, I will smudge a little bit of Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara on my lash line to make it appear fuller. Then, I'll use the Pink Sugar Project Vanity x These Lips Don't Lie Matte Lip Pencil in Ready in Five. I'll take a matte lip pencil so I can easily smudge a bit on my cheeks and have complimentary blush! Lastly, even with dry skin, I always need to set liquid foundation. Shiseido Maquillage Snow Beauty Powder is my forever fave.

Claire: I like being prepared for anything, and my five-product kit reflects that. A good base is crucial. My picks: Holika Holika Covermazing Dual Concealer and Shiseido Perfect Smoothing Powder Foundation. The concealer has amazing coverage and the pen concealer end can double as a nude eyeliner. The powder can be dusted on with a brush for light to medium coverage, but can be easily amped up by applying with the sponge that comes with it.

I feel like I'm cheating with my third pick, but it IS one product after all. TheBalm Voyage Vol. II has 9 eyeshadows, 2 powder blushes, 2 lip & cheek stains, a bronzer, and a highlight. All of them last for hours on my face even without help from a primer or setting spray. The Face Shop's Designing Eyebrow Pencil is something I think everyone can work with, since the slanted tip can be used to both draw in fine hairs and fill in sparse patches.

Lastly, curled lashes are always a good look. Benefit's Roller Lash holds that curl all day long. I've used this set to create everything from barely-there to event-ready looks!

Sam: I already do this for school days, often with four basic products - concealer, brow product, lip product, and blush forever and always.

For this kit I chose multi-use products. This concealer works for blemishes and under eyes and mixing with lip and cheek pigments, the brow product for brows and eye contour or lining, lip and cheek pigments of different tones to mix or use interchangeably, and the palette is a mix of highlight, setting, and bronzing powders that can be used on the eyes as well.

Gett: While composing my five-product look, I realized that I tend to go for a wide-awake, I-don't-work-in-an-agency look (hehe huhu). I generally like to let my skin breathe so my Bourjois CC cream evens out my skin and provides a bit coverage without feeling too heavy. It does have a dewy finish so I make sure to set it with an oil controlling powder like Innisfree No-Sebum loose powder just to prevent my oily face from looking too oily. It can also double as a sort of primer to control the dew levels of the CC Cream.

Next, I have to have some kilay. My natural hair is quite black so I use the K-Palette Brow Mascara to tint my brow hairs and to somewhat fill in the sparse areas. Then, I have to have mascara to look bright and awake (even if I'm sleep-deprived most of the time). My ride or die is the Heroine Make Long and Volume. I stock up on this when I can find it. Finally, I need some lip color to make me look healthy and alive. Peripera's Ink Velvet in Celebrity Deep Rose is a peachy pink that makes me look put together and lively. It can also double as a peachy cream blush!

Editing our kits was difficult but fun as we were challenged to consider where our priorities lie and get more creative about our application. Do you think you can survive with just five products? What would you include in your kit?