We Tried a Lot of Beauty Products This Month—These Were the Best

Updated 04/29/19

One of the most glorious aspects of being a beauty editor is the number of products we get to take for a test drive. Sure, we'd be lying if we said we weren't constantly surrounded by a mountain of bottles and tubes both in the office and in our apartments, but we approach that mountain eagerly, hiking boots in tow.

Each month, Byrdie editors will be sharing the products within that mountain that stood out the most. Maybe it was a peel that made our skin glow like J.Lo's or a hair mask that brought our dry strands back to life. Whatever it was, we're eager to share it with you so you can experience the same bliss that we did. Take a look at our favorites below.

Skylar Meadow Candle $38

Skylar's new candles not only smell as delightful as their perfumes and look adorable and chic on my countertops and bedside table, but they're also the first candles I've discovered that are 100% nontoxic. Affordable, eco-friendly, vegan, and free of paraffins and phthalates—nothing not to love.

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara $24

Milk's new hemp-infused mascara (which launched on April 20, of course) is like the Rolls-Royce of lash products, starting with the badass silver tube, which is so heavy I could curl it. But the formula is undoubtedly the best part: so lengthening, so clump-free. My new favorite mascara for sure.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel $82

A few months ago, an aesthetician suggested I try this lightweight gel in replace of my thick, cream-based moisturizer. I had suspicions that my heavy cream moisturizer might've been clogging my pores because I kept waking up with unsightly whiteheads with no idea why. This hydrating serum is free of oil and full of vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid, which leaves my skin feeling exceptionally hydrated. Even though the product doesn't advertise as such, it has a cooling effect that takes the stress of the day away from my skin and leaves my cheeks feeling bouncy and pillow-soft. I've gone through two bottles, so you know the love is real. 

Tocca Maya $72

I was immediately drawn to this lovely violet bottle for obvious reasons. Besides the fact that this perfume and I share the same name (spelled in the exact same way, BTW), I'm just as in love with its captivating scent. Its signature floral notes of wild iris, blackcurrant, patchouli, and oakmoss put an extra pep in my step. You know those feel-good fragrances that remind you of a lovely summer day? That's the vibe of this. Now, we just need New York to fall in line weather-wise. 

Woods Candle
Byredo Woods Candle $85

Candles have been a permanent fixture in my nightly routine for years. It's the first step of my skincare regimen because something about inhaling heavenly scented fumes puts me in the perfect headspace right before bed. I'm hooked on this earthy scent that brings back childhood memories of exploring the forest and birdwatching with my dad in the mountains of Portland, Oregon. With top notes of raspberry, jasmine, Tuscan leather, and cedarwood, its scent takes me on a mental escape to nature, which is more than necessary in the midst of New York City. 

Koh Gen Do Brightening Spa Moisture Mask $82

So here's the deal. This mask isn't exactly new, per se, but Koh Gen Do has reformulated it with the "new and improved" marketing peg. And while I typically steer clear of clay-based masks since they tend to dry out and irritate my skin, this formula is unlike any other I've tried. Plus, the brand truly isn't kidding with the moisture bit. You apply it to dry, clean skin and then let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off while it's still a bit tacky. (You don't want it to completely dry!) Whenever I use it I'm always surprised by how bright and clear my skin feels afterward while still maintaining a rosy and dewy glow. (As opposed to the tight and angry red one I've become accustomed to with clay-infused masks.)

Frédéric Fekkai One and Then Some Dry Texturizing Spray $29

I'm not someone who is easily wooed by fragrance in my beauty products, but the smell of this dry texturizing spray is enough to make me keel over (in the best way possible—no seriously, I'm obsessed. Frédéric Fekkai, when will you make a perfume?). Anyway, despite the amazing scent and the slew of compliments I receive in my hair's freshly spritzed wake, this formula delivers. Previously, I never could really jump on the texturizing spray bandwagon and simply preferred a clear shot of dry shampoo instead. However, for whatever reason, my super-fine strands love this stuff. It's lightweight, not to product-y feeling, and delivers my hair with the body its always dreamed of. Plus, it's fortified with healthy things like Norwegian sea extract, and if I spray it in my hair (head flipped upside down) pre-bedtime, I literally don't even have to touch it the next morning before walking out the door. (Think a tousled, voluminous, ever-so-slightly textured situation.) 

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

Up until a few weeks ago, I had completely sworn off self-tanning products for the face. Either they broke me out, made me orange, or reeked so heavily I couldn't stand having the stuff so close to my nose. Until, however, I met this brand-new launch from the tanning gods and goddesses at St. Tropez. The brand actually has a lot of newness that I'm super excited about (Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse, $45, I'm looking at you), but I can barely contain my excitement about this luscious face mist. First, it smells amazing (light and tropical—even after it's been sitting for awhile), so no problems on that aforementioned nose-reeking front. Second and third, it's so easy to apply and the lightweight formula diffuses flawlessly into the subtlest, most beautiful of glows. Oh, and after about three weeks of sufficiently solid usage, I have yet to see one suspect blemish. Lastly, it's the perfect antidote for tanning tricky areas like the hands and feet which can easily get janky and streaky—the trademark giveaway for a self-tan gone awry. I simply spray the mist on my face, hands, and feet daily, and I've found the ritual keeps the integrity of even a days-old tan in tip-top shape. 

Goody Ouchless Forever $4

(Available in-store only at Walmart.)

Hair ties aren't exactly the most cosmopolitan product, but I was intrigued by these wave-shaped ties with a bead connecting either end. They're super thick, never stretch, and don't pull at your hair (seriously, I've never seen stray hairs attached to the elastic when I take it out). They hold the tightest ponytails and buns, perfect for HIIT or just straight cardio.

Renée Rouleau Phytolipid Comfort Creme $63

When I had celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau asses my complexion at a facial recently, she was able to detect right away that I had redness-prone, sensitive, dry skin, so she prescribed me a whole routine of soothing, gentle, barrier-repairing products from her eponymous line that hold in moisture and protect my skin from outside aggressors. This rich cream, in particular, leaves my skin feeling baby-butt smooth and fills in fine lines like none other—almost like I got Botox. It's crazy. 

Noto Agender Oil $39

While I've been addicted to my Noto Deep Serum for several months now, I have so many other hair and body oils in rotation that I admittedly never got around to trying this one out. That was a big mistake—huge. When my ends were feeling super dry one day last month, I realized I was out of my usual jojoba oil and spied this pretty bottle on my vanity. The scent alone was enough to convince me that I had been seriously missing out: It's this incredible smoky mix of lavender and vetiver, aka liquid stress relief. But beyond that, it gave my hair this ultra-light, silky finish. It's not easy to find a hair oil that doesn't weigh your strands down. (It's a fantastic body oil, too.) The coolest part: 100% of the profits from the Agender Oil goes toward organizations like Planned Parenthood, the LGBT Youth Center, and the Los Angeles Downtown Women's Center. I've been trying to be really conscious about supporting companies that not only have a great product but also want to do better in the world. Noto ticks all those boxes.

Women's Music for a While Eau De Parfum 100ml
Frédéric Malle Music for a While Eau de Parfum $310

Barring the very occasional unicorn, I think we've established at this point that I am always down to add a new fragrance into my ever-growing collection—especially if it's unique and even a bit polarizing. Frédéric Malle always has a starring role in my lineup for this reason: I can always expect scents that are artistic, different, and absolutely stunning from the fragrance master, and his newest addition is no exception. Music for a While is a fragrance Malle developed with Carlos Benaïm, and it's both retro and thoroughly modern: Notes like patchouli, vanilla, and jasmine harken the heady scents of the '60s and '70s, but a sharp, warm note of pineapple is a welcome curveball. I had the immense pleasure of speaking with Malle in person about Music for a While, and he explained that interestingly enough, pineapple has a similar molecular structure to the more traditional note of oud—hence the idea to try it out. Even as someone who doesn't typically love gourmand fragrances, I'm totally hooked, and that's probably because it defies that kind of categorization. I'll be wearing it all summer.

Dermaflash 2.0 Luxe Facial Exfoliation & Peach Fuzz Removal $189

I was skeptical about how much of difference this device would actually make in the look and feel of my skin—until I tried it. It's an at-home dermaplaning device, which means it uses a small blade to painlessly exfoliate your skin while it removes dead skin cells and peach fuzz. Then, post-treatment, it enhances the efficacy of the skincare products that follow (because they're better able to penetrate your skin). I was shocked at the results. My skin was immediately brighter, more even, and my cheekbones looked more pronounced. I'm officially addicted. 

Women's 7 For All Mankind Trucker Denim Midi Dress
Laura Geller Dewdreamer Illuminating Drops $32

This serum-y, super-velvety illuminator allows you to highlight, blend, and layer wherever you so please. It's subtle but buildable and looks really beautiful along your cheekbones, collarbone, and shoulders (especially under candlelight). 

Retinol Body Treatment
Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment $102

I’m constantly looking for body products with ingredients that will treat my body like I do my face—with actives to anti-age, smooth, and plump. Such is the case with Chantecaille’s newest body treatment, a body cream infused with encapsulated retinol to retexturize and moisturize. I apply it generously all over my body after a shower and feel hydrated for hours afterward. Plus, it’s made with rose water, which keeps the formula light, easily absorbed, and with a subtle rose scent.

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