"Cool Girl" Essentials: After Dark


Very little tops a perfect night out. Your energy level is inexplicably high even though it's well past your circadian rhythm-dictated bedtime; you've sustained the right level of buzz without passing straight through to 'public intoxication'; the function is chill/bumpin'/air-conditioned [whatever floats your boat]. All in all, you're having a great time.

The one thing that might rank as just a smidge more fun than that ideal night out comes right before the ideal night out: It's the absolutely fabulous, very glamorous, yet strangely relaxing "getting ready" session. Lights dimmed low—except for around your bathroom mirror—and music tuned to these sweet beats. It's all very vibe-y and very cool (as long as you're into 'cool'— please see a meditation on that word right over here). So now that you're in the mood, which products do you pull out? Well, these of course!

Maison Balzac Candle

First things first, scent sets the tone. See a candle as your hourglass for getting ready: Light up with enough time to let the whole top liquefy—by the time your burn is even, you'll have had enough time to redo your cat eye at least two or three times. Currently burning at ITG HQ is Maison Balzac's La Rose, acquired immediately after summer's signature La Plage extinguished itself.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Yeux

Everyone loves Coco, it seems. French undereye gels are not new and not hard to come by, but these say Chanel all over them so that's chill. Nothing livens up a party like a de-puffed face. Pairs nicely with your very fancy, not chill at all jade roller.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

If undereye gels help you chill at home, this facial spray will help you chill on the go. Buy the travel size to refresh halfway through the night—both with scent and hydration.

Lucas Pawpaw Ointment

Skip the lipstick. It's great for a seated dinner with a designated start and end. But that's not what tonight is. No, tonight doesn't have an RSVP. And there might not be mirrors. Or time to touch up. There might be shots, though. So grab a tube of hydrating, glossy balm and call it a night...eventually.

Ellis Faas Concealer

Similarly, skip the foundation (unless there's a step-and-repeat). Grab a concealer with good coverage and an attached application device. No time for extra brushes or fingers. Apply directly to the face where you need it.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate

A two-in-one! And you never thought those could be chic. Yet here we are. Life is funny that way. But really, this is a truly glamorous product if you're going to invest in one thing.

Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Eye Primer

The Marc Jacobs Beauty team can make anything cool—including primer, which is an essential product, but not necessarily very cool. Now it is. The nude-ish formula helps bright the lid and hold on to whatever you put on after. Which could be...

Glossier Lidstar

Glimmer made simple. Swipe on with the doe foot in any one of the easy-going, flattering colors (or mix together! That also works!) and tap until you've got the shape you want. It sets in about 10 seconds and stays put. Partially thanks to the primer. Dance for hours crease-free. If only they made slip dresses with the same properties.

L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

Mascara does not have to be expensive. In fact, it shouldn't be. L'Oréal's formulas are great across the board and available literally anywhere.

Ricky's NYC Hair Clips

A little weird, but it works. These clips are meant to keep hair away from the face and bend-free while you attend to the face. But what if you wore them out and about? That would be kind of groovy, no? Take them for a spin and report back.

Maison Louis Marie Perfume Oil

At the very last moment, roll this on (No. 4, bien sûr). The most personal way to wear fragrance isn't sprayed; it's rolled, tapped, dotted. Feels small, but it'll grow throughout the night. You've got plenty of time.

Photos via all these amazing Top Shelf After Darks.