What's a sleeper product, you ask? It's that product you love, live for, and would throw most of your possessions in front of a bus for—but it's also a product that doesn't get a lot of attention. It may be from a brand with another hero product or one with a cult following that doesn't allow for much else. Or it may even be from a brand that doesn't find itself in the media spotlight all that often. Either way, it's one of the best beauty products you've used. And now, it's that product's time to shine. I had all the editors at Byrdie HQ detail their own sleeper products—the ones they cherish but hardly find a reason to write about. From highlighters and hyaluronic acid serums to hair brushes and cotton pads, find our most overlooked but beloved beauty products below.
"I realize how much of a beauty editor stereotype I'm playing into by recommending cotton pads, but I swear these ones from Shiseido are worth the extra spend. They're the Teslas of cotton pads: silky-soft, fluffy, and just the right amount of absorbent. It's like trying to go back to bodega sushi after tasting the best omakase of your life—yes, you could do it, but why would you want to? Plus, at $10 for a giant pack, they're an affordable luxury that will make you feel just as fancy using them as you would a pricey serum. Trust me."
"I hoard black eyeliners like they're my lifeblood, and yet it wasn't until recently that I found one that met all my needs. My eyeliner process usually requires two products: a budgeproof black liquid liner that I use along my lash line and flick out with a wing and then a creamy gel pencil that I use to fill in my waterline and gaps in my eyelashes. (You can read more about this life-changing eyeliner technique I learned from Beyoncé's makeup artist here.) Thus I've always needed to use at least two eyeliners to get the job done—until I discovered Tarte's Double Take Eyeliner. One end of the pencil is a waterproof liquid with a fine tip and the other is a twist-up pencil—how genius is that? Plus, both formulas are exceptional and don't crease or smudge. Honestly, it blows my mind that more makeup brands haven't come out with their own versions."
"I'd consider this a sleeper product, especially because I'd forgotten about it while trying a bunch of other new mascaras that passed by my desk within the last year. But then this old favorite made its way into my hands once again and I couldn't figure out why I'd ever stopped using it. It's super thick and inky black, which is exactly what I need for my stubby blonde lashes. It also delivers incredible lift, so I can toss my eyelash curler to the wayside. One of my biggest gripes with mascaras is fallout and those little specs that smear along my foundation, but that certainly doesn't happen with this formula. It's perfect."
"There are so many cult-loved highlighters out there that we see and hear about incessantly, but this $12 product doesn't get nearly as many accolades as it should. It glides on perfectly without that tacky, goopy effect some sticks leave behind. The result is a subtle, buildable sheen with a soft airbrushed finish. I currently own three, so I won't run out any time soon (or, god forbid, it gets discontinued)."
"I feel like I usually make a choice with my makeup: Do I want to be extra with my eye shadow or my lipstick today? It's a toss-up because I rarely do both. Lipstick is my vice, so I usually go with a bold and vibrant color paired with toned-down eyes. This neutral eye shadow palette has quickly turned in my holy grail for that. From warm caramels to chocolate browns and charcoal hues, these shades are so pigmented and look amazing on my dark skin tone. Mented Cosmetics is a makeup line made for women with darker skin tones. This is why I feel like every shade on this palette works for my complexion, so I've been recommending it to every brown girl I know."
"Created by celebrity trainer and SoulCycle instructor Taye Johnson, this whipped body souffle is literally heaven in a jar. I spend as much time nourishing the skin on my face and the skin on my body and look forward to the moment I can douse myself with hydrating oils and rich creams. This fluffy blend is made of all-natural ingredients, which is great for my sensitive skin, and leaves behind a noticeable glow. The glow is honestly what keeps me coming back. Plus, it has all my faves: shea butter, vitamin E, jojoba oil, and more."
"I don't know why I seem to be the only person on the planet who talks and obsesses over this highlighter. It's perfect. It's the Tom Hardy of highlighters. And I've gotten every single one of my friends hooked. I first discovered this pan years ago when I would watch YouTube tutorials for days. No really, days. And I haven't found anything better since. It's not too shimmery, and yet it's not too subtle, and I always get compliments whenever I wear it."
"There seem to be two camps in the world: the Wet Brush camp and the Mason Pearson camp. But what about something in between? I'm wholeheartedly in love with my Harry Josh Premium Oval Brush, which has a hair-enhancing mixture of both nylon and boar bristles and always imparts a glistening finish to my strands post brush-through. Also, I'm not sure if I'm just imagining it, but I feel like it staves off future tangles and keeps my hair looking better for longer."
"La Roche-Posay is a brand everyone loves be it for its physical sunscreen or its micellar cleansing water. But no one thinks to try its mascara. Big mistake. This mascara is incredible. It has a super-thin brush with fine, tiny plastic bristles that separate every single lash (and even coat the tiniest baby hairs in inky-black formula). It makes my lashes look a mile long but still natural."
"Everyone's so busy talking about SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($166)—which is an incredible product (one the brand calls a cult favorite and I call 'magic in a bottle')—that they forget to delve further into the brand to find other majestic formulas. Such is the case with H.A. Intensifier, a potent blend of pure hyaluronic acid, Pro-Xylane, licorice root, and purple rice that works to boost skin's hyaluronic acid levels, improving skin texture and restoring elasticity. See—it does all that while also filling in every fine line or wrinkle on your face. I actively watch it plump up my skin before my very eyes as I massage it into my face. It's a game changer for sure."