Ride or Die Beauty: The Best Makeup on the Market in 2017

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2017 Ride or Die Makeup Kit by Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

In case you’ve never heard of the Ride or Die Makeup tag, beauty vlogger extraordinaire Jaclyn Hill created the challenge a few years ago. What exactly does it mean? It’s the makeup you quite literally can’t live without. It’s the makeup that never lets you down– regardless of breakouts, wrinkles, hangovers, or any other skincare catastrophes. For me, my Ride or Die Makeup Kit changes on a yearly basis. Although many of these products were featured in my Best of Beauty 2016 round-up, my ride or die makeup changes when my skin and hormones change. I’m almost 30, so anti-aging is now the name of the game. My skin is sensitive, oily, and acne-prone, and if your skin type is comparable, I can personally guarantee that these products will work wonders for you. 

Below is the Ride or Die Makeup Kit that got me through 2017. Click an image for product details or scroll down to the bottom of this post for an itemized description of everything featured. If you have any trouble viewing content, please disable your ad blocker. I promise my site won’t spam you!

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Primers

I use It Cosmetics No. 5 Serum every morning, regardless of if I’m wearing makeup or not. The No. 5 Serum is both a primer and an anti-aging serum. It’s not at all greasy, and it does a great job at minimizing the appearance of fine lines and (unfortunately) wrinkles. 

MAC’s Rose Prep + Prime Fix + is another product I can’t live without. Although it’s technically a setting spray, I use it as a morning prepping spray. Especially when I’m wearing heavier makeup, I also spritz it on throughout the day to keep my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. Bonus: MAC Prep + Prime Fix + is also great for wetting eyeshadow for increased pigmentation. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Foundation

I don’t know what I’d do without It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream. My skin is sensitive, oily, and acne prone, so I need to be really careful about what I put on it. This CC cream from It Cosmetics is the a godsend. It isn’t greasy, never cracks or creases, and provides an impressive amount of coverage, even on my depigmented sun spots. It also has SPF 50 in it. I’m naturally shiny, so to keep that shine under control, I usually finish my daily look with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Powder

If I want to be super casual (but still have a little coverage), I swear by Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer. It’s a great replacement for heavy foundation when I’m trying to give my skin a break. Plus, Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer has SPF 20 in it, and it gives my skin such a nice and finished-looking glow. 

When I’m going out or taking photos (or competing in pageants for that matter), I use Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation. For full coverage under even the most unflattering lights and camera lenses, this stuff rocks. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Concealers

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer hides even the worst dark under eye circles. Plus, like virtually all their formulas (in case you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of their cosmetics), this concealer is infused with anti-aging technology, vitamins, and pigments. 

Another one of my go-to blemish concealer is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I’ve been using it since my acne-prone college days. Its coverage is buildable, and it also great for contouring. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Powders

I switch back and forth between DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Micro Powder on a daily basis. For anyone with oily skin, these are both absolutely amazing setting powders. They’re easy to apply, and they both have lightweight long-lasting formulas that can control shine all day. Both DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Micro Powder give my skin a nice matte finish that minimizes the appearance of blemishes, lines, and wrinkles. Huge fan!

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Bronzer

For a former pageant girl, I’ve never been into owning hundreds of different cosmetics. I mean, that’s why I’m writing this post. These really are my tried-and-true Ride of Die makeup picks, and I rarely deviate from this list. Especially when I travel, It Cosmetics Confidence In Your Glow in Natural Glow is my blush, bronzer, and highlighter in one. It’s essentially an idiot-proof method for getting an all-over glow with a boost of brightening and radiant warmth in one sweep. I always apply with my Heavenly Skin One-Sweep Wonder Brush, and it always gives me a smooth airbrushed appearance!

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Blush

I’ve been using NARS Blush since high school, and it’s been a mandatory inclusion in my makeup bag ever since. NARS blush stays on all day, gives my cheeks a gorgeous glow, and looks great on a variety of skin tones. It’ll never give you “clown cheeks,” which is a huge pet peeve of mine. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Contour Tools

Contouring was a tough skill to master for me, and I learned with the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette. It’s $15 and comes with 8 powders for contouring/sculpting and 2 baked highlighters for illumination. The palette itself is large, easy to hold, and has a full-sized mirror. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Highlighters

I was first introduced to Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Ethereal Light when I was competing in pageants. I needed something to illuminate my face between competitions that would also keep my oiliness in check. I’ve been a loyal user ever since! 

DermaBlend Glow Creator Liquid Highlighter is awesome. Its formula is water-free, oil-free, and can be mixed in with your foundation (I use 1-2 drops) to give your skin an added glow.

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Setting Sprays

I’ve sworn by Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray since my college days. It got me through all the late nights in stuffy dive bars. It keeps your makeup looking fresh without melting or settling into fine lines for hours upon hours. 

I love NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray mostly for its affordability (and efficacy). It works just as well as Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, and it’s $8 compared to $32. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Eye Primers

Whenever I’m doing a dramatic smokey eye, I use Essence I Heart Strobing Highlighting Eyeshadow Base. It gives the shadow an extra boost for an ultra smokey look. Plus, it’s $3.50, and you can’t beat that price. 

Another drugstore pick under $5 is Wet N Wild Photo Focus Lash Primer. I wear it every day under my mascara, and honestly, if it wasn’t white, it could replace my mascara altogether. Its special blend of waxes gives my lashes an amazing amount of added volume and length. Plus, the Photo Focus formulas includes nourishing vitamins and complexes to help strengthen the lashes, as well. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Eyeshadow Palettes

If you’ve heard about the Ride or Die makeup tag, you’ve heard of Jaclyn Hill. The Morphe’s Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette includes 35 fun shades that are super pigmented and blend easily! To be honest, I was really impressed by this palette, especially given the $38 price tag. There are so many different colors to choose from; the sky’s the limit with the amount of looks you can create. It’s become my go-to palette for experimentation and fun nighttime looks. 

My go-to daytime eyeshadow palettes is the Tarte Tartlette 2 In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette. It’s been a staple for over a year now, and even though I still love my NAKED palettes, Tartlette 2 is the palette I take with me on trips. It’s so easy to work with, the shades blend easily, and the colors are just stunning. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Brow Products

I have a scar above my right eyebrow, so my eyebrows haven’t been even since I was 5. It takes quite a bit of work to get them looking like sisters. The Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil is a lifesaver for giving the illusion of natural brow definition, specifically in photos. It’s ultra-slim, retractable, and has a super fine tip that creates precise, realistic-looking strokes. I use the Brow Wiz Pencil to spot-fill areas where brow hair is missing or sparse, and I use the spooley on the other end to blend any noticeable lines.

As much as I love my Anastasia brow products, some days I just can’t get my hands to draw lines evenly. When I’m having a bad brow day or if I want a more natural look, I use It Cosmetics Brow Power Powder. It’s super easy to blend, doesn’t smudge, and a little bit goes a long way. I apply it with my Heavenly Luxe Brow Power Universal Brow Transformer Brush, and it basically shapes my brows for me. The look is never as defined as when I use my Brow Wiz Pencil, but it’s a significant upgrade from my natural brow definition. 

Once my eyebrows are sculpted and defined, I use It Cosmetics Brow Power Pomade to mold them into place. In fact, I use this pomade even when I’m not applying other brow products. Basically, Brow Power Pomade rules. It lasts all day, doesn’t flake/harden, and keeps my brows from looking like caterpillars. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Mascaras

You can’t find a better mascara for under $5. Essence The False Lashes Mascara gives me dramatic black lashes that (surprisingly) aren’t super clumpy or stiff. Sometimes I use an eyelash curler with False Lashes Mascara for an even more dramatic lash effect, and I’ve gotta say, its name doesn’t lie. This product gives you a serious false lash effect. 

8 out of 10 women say that Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is the best mascara they’ve ever used. I’m one of the 8. With 1 coat, my lashes are defined and ready to go. With 2 or 3 coats, they could pass for a good set of fake lashes. This mascara is $23, and it’s worth every penny. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Eyeliners

I’m a big fan of eyeliner, but I don’t do liquid liner. It sounds sad, but I don’t have the steady hands for liquid liner. For that reason, I’m a regular connoisseur of eye pencils. Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil is my favorite, although at $20 per pencil, it’s a tad bit pricey. Essence’s Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil is just $3, and it’s a great drugstore alternative if you’re looking to save some money. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Lip Balm

Especially when it’s cold I don’t leave the house without my eos Nourishing Lip Balm. Actually, I think Kyle and I probably have somewhere around 20 little eos eggs scattered throughout our apartment, car, and all my handbags. Eos keeps my lips moisturized and hydrated all day, and it tastes amazing. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Lipsticks

I could do an entire post on my favorite lipstick shades, but It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Stain in Je Ne Sais Quoi is my favorite single lipstick. It’s naturally pretty, long-lasting, and combines the conditioning feel of a lip balm with the long-wear stain of a lipstick. The Je Ne Sais Quoi shade is very subtle, which I love, but I recommend purchasing a darker shade if you want a more substantial pigment. 

My second favorite lipstick product is elf’s Day-to-Night Lipstick Duo in I Love Pinks. Yep, two gorgeous pink lipsticks in one… for $2.50. It features a softer pink for daytime (it’s my staple every day lipstick) and a more dramatic pink for evening festivities. I carry this around with me everywhere I go. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Lip Glosses

For incredible shine, don’t waste your money on a fancy $20+ gloss. Essence Shine Shine Shine Lip Gloss does the trick perfect for $3. It has a nice glossy texture that moisturizes your lips, and it’s tastes pretty darn good to boot. 

For a gloss with a bit more color, you can’t go wrong with Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil. This non-sticky and all natural formula provides color, moisture, and shine and can be applied to bare lips or on top of lipstick for a more dramatic effect. I have one of these lip oil pens in just about every room in the apartment. I actually did a full review of this line (with color swatches) here. I’m a huge fan, but my personal favorite is Whispering Orchid. 

Ride or Die Makeup 2017: Best Lip Liners

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is essentially a hybrid between a lip liner and lipstick, and I’m obsessed. I’ve purchased Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine (my favorite) and Cruella, and I’ll probably buy 4-5 more this year. Although it’s not super moisturizing, it provides rich color with a gorgeous matte finish that lasts.

When it comes to a basic lip liner, NYX Slim Lip Pencil is the best of the best. Like the name implies, it features a slim tip that glides on smoothly, doesn’t feather, and lasts a long time. For $4, there’s literally nothing better. 


Which products made your Ride or Die Makeup Kit for 2017? I’d love to hear any recommendations you have! I’m always looking for new products to try. Also, if you loved my Ride or Die Makeup Kit, you’ll also love my 2017 Ride or Die Hair Care and Ride or Die Skincare round-ups! As always, feel free to comment or email me with any questions or concerns!


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