This Sh*t Rules: Fit for a Femme’s Holy Grail Products

Welcome to This Shit Rules, wherein members of the Autostraddle team open up to you about the beauty products they couldn’t live without.

In the world of beauty, there are so-so products that get the job done, great products that exceed expectations, and then there are Holy Grail products. HG status is reserved for the ones that seem made just for you, the ones you’d never change, the ones you can’t live without. For the FFAF take on TSH, it’s HG or bust, and heavy on red lips and shiny hair.


The Royal Apothic Lip Tintie, HG Lip Balm


Someone slipped this into my stocking for Christmas and it blew me out of the water! There are four shades (nude, soft pink, berry red, and coral) and its got a bouncy soufflé texture in the pot. Soft, flattering color, just enough shine to impart a lovely, supple look – you won’t get that thick, sticky feeling from a gloss, nor is it at all drying. In fact, it’s super hydrating thanks to jojoba seed and argan oils, plus nourishing beeswax. Easy slam dunk and I could happily toss the rest of my lips products out except for…

Anthropologie, $14

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, HG Red Lip


This is the red lip I cannot wear without at least one person stopping me to find out what I’ve got on. It also happens to be an insanely versatile orange-red, which makes it fantastically vibrant. I recently wore it on a 12-hr. day of boating, deep-sea diving, all through a massive Thanksgiving dinner plate followed by a torrential downpour and cross-island bus ride and it was, as they say, flawless.

One tube lasts forever. I can’t think about when I bought mine because it’ll probably gross me out!

Get it on Amazon, $22

Organic Raw African Black Soap, HG Makeup Remover/Cleanser

black soap

Back in 2011, fellow femme Nicolette Mason turned me on to this wonder product and I haven’t used anything else since. The tiniest amount removes every trace of makeup, leaves skin ultra-clean without harsh ingredients and you don’t have to use anything but your fingers – no harsh wash cloths, rubbing for days, face brushes or gritty bits to tear delicate face skin.

In addition to being gentle and effective, it’s super healing and makes a killer body wash and clarifying shampoo.

Get it on Amazon, $11 for 1 lb.

Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, HG Skincare

Golden Pioneering Experts Update Kit for Lit (Large)

After washing up, nothing feels better than smoothing on a product that hydrates like an oil and treats like a serum. I’ve used this morning and night since October and the bottle is not quite half empty, which makes the price tag a little easier to swallow. These babies are packed with 100% pure plant extracts, are preservative-free, and come in three types to treat problem skins: Lotus balances combo skin, Blue Orchid revitalizes dehydrated skin, Santal hydrates dry skin. You can use alone, mix with moisturizer or masks, and pat some over makeup for an ultra-dewy glow. They smell divine.

Get Blue Orchid ($41.99) or Santal ($52) on Amazon, Lotus at Clarins ($52)

Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream w/ SPF 35, HG Makeup


I raved about this on my blog over the summer and I’m gonna do the same here. I tried it on and went about my day, but did a double-take when I passed a mirror a few hours later – my skin looked so fresh and dewy! That kind of gorgeous-but-natural staying power plus SPF35 in one clever package? Sold. Again, I’ve worn it all through summer and fall, and there’s still a ton of product left. This, plus a swipe of mascara and bit of either of the above-mentioned lip colors, and you’re all set to go, honest.

The only downside I can think of is the limited shade selection. I wear the darkest shade, Medium to Dark, and that’s absurd. MAKE MORE SHADES, SUPERGOOP!

Get it at Amazon, $28-$29

Urban Decay Ink for Eyes Liner in Perversion, HG Liner


Why this hasn’t got rave reviews is beyond me — it’s way easier to use than Eyeko, has less intense a learning curve than Benefit’s They’re Real! Push-Up Liner, and packs a helluva lot more punch and kapow than Physician’s Formula’s very respectable Eye Booster budget liner. It’s Perversion, for crying out loud. I rock a kitten eye almost every day and this puppy lets me get it right in 60 seconds or less.

Sephora, $20

Fekkai Glossing Cream, HG Shiny Hair


There’s a lot of femme catnip in the world of hair product, but I’m loyal to two products: this glossing cream and Elnett Hairspray, a total no-brainer. Lately I’ve been using a dollop of this with a few pumps of OGX’s Healing + Vitamin E Penetrating Oil ($7.99, Ulta) in a post-shower cocktail for damp hair left to air dry, and it’s been more brilliant than ever. Perfect if you want luxe, shiny, hydrated, well-behaved hair with tons of slip and body. Perfect if you want to kick frizz, dullness, and dryness to the curb where it belongs.

Gloss that ish like you mean it at Amazon, $24.99

I also would like to second the following from previous TSR posts:

Aja Aguirre is a perpetual late bloomer from SF who writes about style, fashion and beauty for Autostraddle. Her award-nominated style blog, Fit for a Femme, takes on both coasts' signature styles and draws on her experience as a personal stylist. Check out Instagram for her latest looks, and Twitter or Tumblr for QPOC Speakeasy x Femme Power vibes.

Aja has written 45 articles for us.


    • If you like NYX products (and you should because that makes you so correct) they make a standout BB cream, and also their Glide On (Slide On?) eyeliners are almost dead ringers for UD’s Slide On/Glide on 24/7 dealios. They take a teeeny bit longer to set, but if you’re smoking or smudging them out, all the better!

  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Eyeko’s liquid liners since I got one in my Birchbox last year, and also because Alexa Chung even though she keeps not being my girlfriend, but I absolutely adore UD products, so I will for sure check out that liner next time I’m in Ulta.

    I love this post very very much. I’ll have a whole other follow up post about mascara if you please.

  2. OGX’s Healing + Vitamin E Penetrating Oil is the shit. First, it somehow smells like God, and I’ve gotten compliments on how I smell just because of that. Second, it also somehow does not make my thick crazy hair oily, like a lot of oils have done in the past. It makes my ends look so much healthier. Love it so much.

  3. I recently discovered Rimmels Provaclips. I’ve never really loved Rimmel, and I wish they had a more exciting color palette but OH MY GOD. I put this stuff on, let it dry for 2 minutes, put on the balm stuff and didn’t touch it up for 10 hours. In between I ate a grilled cheese, smoked a couple cigarettes, had two iced coffees. This stuff is frankly a miracle. And it absolutely doesn’t dry or crack at all. It’s not really matte, but you can’t have everything.

  4. The CC Cream is so-so. Here’s why:
    There are better ones out there! Such as:

    Okay, I know that’s a lot of links, but I’m a licensed esthetician so I find great products based on scientific and medical research, not just the claims they put on the back of the bottle 🙂

    • I love Paula’s Choice – their products and science-based approach to reviews are amazing, and the latter a really great way to vet products before taking the plunge and spending hard-earned cash.

      When something I love gets PC’s thumbs-up, that always feels great, but I’ve learned that high marks there don’t necessarily translate to products that work for me every time. I can live with Supergoop!’s cons because the gentle, mineral sun protection and pretty finish make it a quick and easy warm weather go-to.

      From the list you shared, I’d definitely cosign NARS’ TM – it’s a super solid pick in a huge range of gorgeous shades – as well as Josie Maran’s, and the BE Complexion Rescue Gel Cream stuff. (Even though it’s not a perfect match for me, femmes I know swear by it and the consistency is so weird and fun and awesome.)

      Glad to have a pro weigh in on beauty stuff! Thank you!

  5. Somehow in my Facebook news feed I read the line “HG status is reserved for the ones that seem made just for you” before I read the name of the article, and for a second I got super excited and thought you meant HG Wells (delicious Warehouse 13 version, obviously), but then I realised that you didn’t, and that HG and Myka don’t end up together, and now I’m sad.

    • My apologies. If you enjoy makeup, and science fiction, may I suggest Geek Chic Cosmetics?

      Cruelty and gluten-free, vegan makeup for geeks, made without parabens, non-organic preservatives, talc, or bismuth oxychloride, and it’s all super gorgeous.


  6. I don’t have any money right now (or ever) but I am always on the lookout for long-wearing lip products, because I am somehow incapable of making it through a day without picking at my lips or rubbing them on things. Bookmarking these links for my next payday!

  7. Aha! I’ve actually used that Fekkai hair product and it def is pretty good. However, not the best for me with my curly hair, because I want something that will tame the frizz, keep the curl, AND give me some lift, which this didn’t. Also I thought it smelled kind of weird?

    Also I don’t understand how to shop for makeup products that come in different shades. Do I just have to actually try all of them to figure out which one I should buy??? I DON’T GET HOW PEOPLE DO IT!!! 😛

  8. That glossing cream’s main ingredient is dimethicone, the heaviest and hardest to remove silicone that’s used in hair care products. So know how your hair reacts to silicones before using it regularly! The build-up can weigh down and straighten curly hair and lead to long term dryness as it creates a barrier between hair and your natural oils.

  9. I love Autostraddle fur understanding that it’s okay to care about beauty purroducts, fur which I’ve often been vilified on the queer scene. Can I ask- seeing as the Flawless Faces soap is out of stock, and I’m not sure it’s available in the UK, where I am – if you think there’s a diffurence between brands? I can find tons of sellers that would ship to me, just wondering about quality / similarity. Thank you fur this wonderful pusst!

  10. One of the finest of write-ups there is on the internet today. Kudos to the author for being so well informed. I must give it to their presence of mind and the selection of words. This couldn’t have been written in a much beautiful way. Keep it up. Good on you.

    Tips for MAkeup

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