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Since the height of the pandemic, each month has seemingly bled into one another, warping time and memory. It's hard to believe the much-anticipated Fenty Skin launched only a month ago, the same day Black Is King debuted (crazy, right?). And phase two of Pattern Beauty, which aptly launched Juneteenth, only touched down just a mere three months ago. While it's been hard to pinpoint when major beauty news dropped without performing a quick Google search, we know that as a whole, it's safe to say we've been blessed with some incredible launches this summer, from newcomer haircare line Bread to Armani's latest lightweight foundation. This past month was no exception and lent itself to serious hype-worthy beauty and wellness gems, of which we're sharing our favorites below (along with some other older launches we recently tried and loved). Keep scrolling for our top picks.
Faith Xue, editorial director
"Never have I gotten more compliments on my skin than after I used this product for the first time (and they were via Zoom, which makes it even more impressive). The texture of this balm is light, and sinks in surprisingly easily wherever you tap it. I use it on the my cheekbones and high points of my face when I want a subtle dewy glow, or I use it over my foundation if I really want to blind people with my glow. I also like that it didn't make me breakout or make my skin look like an oil slick by midday, which a lot of dew-giving products end up doing."
"I actually knew nothing about this toner before I tried it, but I liked the ingredients list: a six-acid blend (lactic, glycolic, and more), sugarcane for brightening, niacinamide for soothing, and more. Usually, daily chemical exfoliants aren't strong enough to make my skin tingle, so I was surprised when I felt a slight burn when I used this toner—I should clarify that I'm someone who likes my chemical exfoliators to tingle slightly, so this was a good thing. I was even more surprised when after using it for a few days, my skin looked and felt smoother and brighter overall. When I read that this toner beat the cult P50 in a blind side by side test, I knew I had found a keeper. Did I mention it's only $26?"
"I love a no-foundation foundation—a foundation that makes your skin look better, instead of looking like a cakey mask. I've used Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for years, so I was excited to learn that the brand was launching a lighter, sheerer foundation. In short: it's everything I hoped it would be and more. The coverage is definitely light—I'd almost go as far to say it's more of a tinted moisturizer than a foundation—but it still somehow blurs and covers what you need. It's the perfect end-of-summer foundation because it feels like you're wearing nothing, but somehow makes your skin look 10 times better."
"I remember hearing about Freck when it launched and not really understanding what the fuss was about. Why would I want a product specifically for creating fake freckles? Couldn't I just use a brown eyeliner pencil if I really wanted to? The answer is no. I tried Freck OG on a whim a few weeks ago and instantly became addicted. It's remarkable how realistic the freckles look (I used it in the photo above), and now I'm obsessed with creating a faux slightly-sunburned makeup look. If I can't get to the beach, at least I can look like I did?"
"I'm loving this super hydrating night serum for fall. The texture is a bit thicker than one I would put on during summer, and my skin drinks this stuff right up. I wake up in the morning with a bit of a glow, and no breakouts which is what I'm always worried about when trying new serums. This specific one is meant to help the production of collagen, resulting in fewer visible wrinkles and improved skin texture."
"These leggings have tiny bumps on the inside of them which deliver a micro-massage to stimulate lymphatic flow and boost circulation while you wear them. With no commute as I'm working from home, I'm sitting so much more than usual. These leggings keep blood flow happening while I work, and they're super flattering."
"Okay, so this isn't technically a beauty product, but staying hydrated is essential to good skin. I love my soda stream because I always have sparkling water when I want—no cans! It's super easy to use and doesn't take up too much space in my small NYC kitchen. I find myself drinking way more water than usual, and it's so much less waste which makes Mother Earth happy too."
"Low-maintenance hair has been the name of my game ever since March; the fewer styling tools the better. As a result, this serum spray has been a styling game-changer. While intended for naturally curly and wavy hair, Curls & Waves Hydrating Serum Spray encourages waves in my fine strands which generally blowdries straight. I spray it on while my hair is damp, scrunch it, and end up with subtle waves that last for days. When I'm feeling ambitious and use a curling iron to create waves in my hair, I also find that it works well to revive my style on days two and three to extend its lifespan. There's no crunchy or sticky after effect either—just soft, shiny hair."
"I'm a foundation loyalist. When I love a formula, I stick to it and swat my hand at new launches (why fix something that isn't broken?). But something about Exa, a clean foundation with chic packaging, lured me in. While historically, "clean" or "natural" formulas haven't worked for my combination skin, this iteration has far surpassed my expectations. It's medium-to-full coverage and lasts quite well throughout the day; I only saw a bit of shine appear in the evening. The shade range is also quite impressive—43 total—and comes in an array of undertones, so you're likely to find a perfect, if not, very close match. I love that I can both feel good about the way I look in the foundation and trust that it's being kind to my skin."
"I've marveled at influencers who juice every morning and sip on their green concoctions like they're pure beacons of health. But investing my time and money into a juicer felt involved, so I accepted that I'd never be someone who makes their own fancy morning beverage, save for a simple smoothie. However, NutriBullet came out with a new, affordable juicer that couldn't be easier to use, and now I, too am a green-juice girl.
"My usual recipe is a Granny Smith apple, a whole lemon, a cucumber, and about 5 celery stalks. The result is a slightly tart, energizing blend loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. My only complaint is that juicing requires a lot of produce for just one glass, so I only make a few a week. But boy, do I look forward to the juice days."
"I love that this mouthwash is natural. That means it’s fluoride-free, paraben-free, and SLS- and sulfate-free, baby! Most mouthwashes make me say *cue: Tik Tok voice* Why is it spicy?, but not this one! It has a nice mild minty flavor, doesn’t make my eyes water, and most importantly makes my breath fresh! Plus, it looks really pretty in my bathroom cabinet."
"This concealer has been carrying me through quarantine thus far. I have been relying on this product to cover up my late nights, my countless hours staring at the computer/phone/TV, and of course my maskne. It glides on smoothly and is nice and buildable. I love that it is more hydrating than other Tarte formulas but just as good at covering."
"Somehow vitamin C kind of fell out of my skincare routine this summer, but last month I re-upped with Ghost Democracy’s Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum. What a difference it made in my skin within a week. My skin has been even and glowy and way more healthy-looking. Also, if you have an aversion to citrusy scents, this doesn’t have one at all."
"I am in awe of this razor, and quite honestly, in awe of myself for waiting so long to try it. I have had chronic stubble on my legs since I was a teenager, no matter how often I shaved. This razor does away with all of that. It glides across your legs (no need to push, as it's weighted for that reason) and leaves behind the smoothest, softest baby dolphin skin I've ever felt in my life. It's a straigt razor, so you do have to be a bit more careful (I cut myself once, but it hasn't happened again). Overall, I can't recommend it enough. Do not sleep on this product."
"This is my favorite product to date. I've been really trying to revive my curls during this time spent at home—which in my case means doing all the things I used to say I never had time for. That includes masking, forgoing heat tools, and trying to restore my natural curl pattern. Over time, my curls have become inconsistent due to my affinity for blonde highlights and laziness when it comes to all the other stuff. That's where Pattern's spray bottle comes in. Because my hair is fine, it can't take a lot of product (it gets weighed down easily) and I don't like to wash it too often. This offers the best of both worlds. I fill the bottle up with water (yay, free stuff), do a light misting, and scrunch. In minutes, my curls spring up and stay that way for days."
"Lately, I've been feeling like I need a little lift (in my face and my spirit). So, when La Prairie launched their new complex of very fancy active ingredients including Swiss caviar extract, caviar oil, and caviar proteins (I told you it was fancy), as well as other peptide and botanical extracts—I had to try it. The formula is coined Liquid Lift, so I had high expectations along with those elusive but thrilling skincare butterflies. Upon application, the serum offers an immediate lifting sensation, and then, over time (in my case, one month), you can see a tangible difference. Using this serum nightly has made my skin look firmer, plumped up, and noticeably smoother. It is, of course, very pricey. But it also works."
"If you sweat profusely under your face mask like I do, this is the one. I keep this in my bag when I know I'll be wearing my mask for a few hours (like for long walks and grocery shopping) and it effectively removes all traces of oil and sweat. This product looks like a fancy palette, but it's actually a stack of blotting sheets on one side and a puff infused with translucent powder on the other. I use the blotting sheets to soak up oil and sweat, then the puff to reduce shine. I will never leave the house without it again. Pro tip: If maskne is an issue for you, the case is big enough that you could fit an extra mask inside. If you're walking, working out, or just feeling particularly sweaty, it's a good idea to change out your mask halfway through. Less sweat, less bacteria, fewer breakouts."
"I'm blessed with fairly full, dark brows, so I'm not huge on pigmented brow products. Instead, I usually reach for a clear brow gel to brush my brows upwards into place. Every gel I've used has been fine, but this wax from Rihanna herself is on another level. I use the tiny built-in comb to get my brows into the perfect position, then the wax to lock them into place. I truly look like I got an expensive brow lamination."
"Razor burn around my bikini line is a huge issue for me. No matter what I do, I always end up with deep, painful, inflamed bumps within a day or two of shaving. This is something I've dealt with for years, even with razors marketed as suited for sensitive skin. I'm kicking myself now, because this Schick razor has been on the market for years and it's the answer to my razor burn prayers. It's self-lathering, which means an easier glide and less tugging on your skin and pubic hair (and consequently, fewer razor burn bumps and ingrowns). While I still had a couple bumps here and there after shaving with this razor, the improvement is significant—I have a minute fraction of the razor bumps I'd usually get, and they aren't painful or inflamed. If it's your personal preference to shave your bikini line and you deal with razor burn, you need to make the switch."