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.
"Some might consider cleansers the most boring part of their skincare regimens; I consider them the most important. There's something about washing your face of makeup and grime each night that feels symbolic—like you're able to wash away the day's stress/anxiety/bad decisions and end up with a blank slate (if only). Thus, I test almost every cleanser that comes my way and judge them on three things: ability to remove makeup, texture/sensorial experience, and post-cleanse feeling.
"This month, I tried cult UK brand Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, a gentle exfoliating cleanser that smells like eucalyptus and comes with a cotton cloth to help remove every bit of stubborn makeup. I'm usually too lazy to use any sort of additional cloth or device during my cleanse process, but I was told that the cloth was pretty much a part of the product itself. The brand's in-house botanist, James, compared the cloth to a toothbrush and the cleanser to toothpaste; you can still use toothpaste to clean your teeth, but a toothbrush just makes it so much more effective.
"Sure enough, after wiping away the cleanser, I was left with skin that looked (and felt) soft, clean, and bright. Plus, the sulfate-free formula has a fairly short ingredient list mostly consisting of hydrating ingredients like cocoa butter and skin-soothing ingredients like chamomile. The cleanser is finally launching in the U.S., and trust me when I say it'll be your new fave."
"You know when you try a new product, forget that you've tried it, and then wake up in the morning wondering why your skin looks so good? This happened to me with cool newcomer brand Asarai's Response Theory Serum. First, some background on the brand: It was founded by an Australian naturopath who infuses Aussie botanics into each product. The bright yellow packaging is highly Instagrammable, as well as the Glossier-like bubble wrap pouch it comes packaged in. But even better than the aesthetics is the fact that it works. The serum is a bit milky, sort of like a watered-down lotion, and it made my skin look so much brighter and plumper in just one use. This is all thanks to core ingredient kakadu plum and its ability to tone and fade discoloration—it even kills acne bacteria, which explains why my skin has been extra clear lately. Be on the lookout for this brand because you're about to see it everywhere."
"Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant, reasoned that she adds a scoop of protein to her morning smoothie for muscle support, so why not add protein to a skincare product in the name of collagen-boosting? Thus, Protini was born. It's packed with peptides to support protein synthesis in the skin and synthetic growth factors for a firmer, more youthful complexion. I love using it in the morning as a base before makeup for a super-smooth canvas."
"I can always, always trust celeb esthetician Renée Rouleau to come up with formulas that deliver on their epic promises (thanks to her potent serums and peels, I'm able to keep my hormonal acne, messed-up moisture barrier, and dull skin in check). I recently started getting into eye treatments for the first time, but I've never seen anything quite like Renée's new exfoliating eye serum: It's a gentle AHA treatment you apply before your eye cream to prevent milia, fine lines, and dryness (which I get hardcore around my eye area). After just a few uses, it's already making a difference, and I can't wait to keep it going."
"After dealing with some clogged pores at the beginning of the year, I switched from a (grossly overpriced) cleansing oil to this drugstore gel cleanser, and its gentle yet purifying formula has kept those pores from clogging back up. I've never been one to advocate for spending lots of money on cleanser—as long the product is dye-free, fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and vegan, I'm game. If you're a combo skin type, I definitely recommend saving with this solid $7 pick (if for no other reason than that you can splurge on Renée's eye serum)."
"This product had been sitting in my cabinet for a few months before it ever occurred to me to use it, but I'm so glad I finally did this month. I will honestly never use another makeup remover ever again: This one does such an impeccable job of cleaning off every last stitch of makeup while leaving my face soft, glowy, and refreshed. Obsessed."
"Introducing my new favorite styling spray: I've been an Oribe Dry Texturizer loyalist for probably five years now, and while I do think that that product is incredible, it's also undeniably pricey. Those looking for a more affordable option will not be disappointed with this gem by Kristen Ess, which is only $14, but when it's sprayed throughout waved hair, gives this delightfully rough, undone 'maybe I just made out with someone in a coat closet' finish that I'm really, really into. Oh, and it smells divine."
"I know they've been out for a while—but I'm definitely new to the natural tampon thing. For some reason, in my head, they'd be harder to use or difficult to get. Not the case. I'm officially obsessed with Lola Tampons. You can customize your box (based on your needs) and they look and feel exactly like any other tampon at the drugstore—only they're delivered straight to your door and don't contain toxic ingredients that should never be inside your body."
"I'm an absolute devotee to Renée Rouleau's Triple Berry Peel, but given my job description, I have to constantly be trying other products. As such, I've been on the hunt for a treatment that works just as well as Rouleau's. While I'll still stay committed to my first love, Tata Harper's pulls a close second. I'd say it's a bit gentler (so better to use when you're going out rather than going to sleep). The real kicker though is that it smooths my forehead lines with some type of skincare magic. The formula includes antioxidant-rich beet extract to hydrate, improve skin tone, and boost that ever-elusive glow."
"Believe me: I would never encourage you to spend more than $50 on facial cleanser if it hadn't (to a certain degree) changed my life. So even though it comes in at a hefty $68, which is far from child's play, this one is worth the investment, especially if you're in the market for an acne-busting, glow-inducing number that's organic to boot. Though I wasn't primed to want to like this (I'd previously been 100% dedicated to the brand's Regenerating Cleanser ($84) and Renée Rouleau's AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser ($32) for my acne woes), it was pretty much love at first lather.
"Unlike the regenerating formula (which I still love, by the way), this brand-new clarifying pick starts as a gel and then subtly foams up while you massage it into your complexion. It doesn't feel stripping, and thanks to the light cooling sensation, (so tempted to insert the Orbit Gum jingle here) my face always feels toned and taught—kind of like I used my rose quartz face roller, except I didn't. The smell, which is slightly herbaceous and pungent, does take some getting used to, but the bright, blemish-free results are 100% worth it in my mind."
"Okay, Quip toothbrushes are not exactly new, per se, but they are new to me. And I'm obsessed. Not only is the toothbrush one of the chicest-looking things on my bathroom vanity (no, seriously), but it's also affordable, effective, and the first electric-minded toothbrush I've ever become hooked on. (For whatever reason, I've just never jumped—and stayed—on that bandwagon.) Perfectly timed for two minutes, the brush features four 30-second intervals so you're able to hit every part of your mouth with equal finesse, and it never feels too rough or aggressive on my gums (another beef I have with the majority of electric brushes I've tried). Plus, it's just really really fun to use, and for the first time, I actually look forward to brushing my teeth morning and night. Yep, I just said that. The brand will also send you a fresh brush head and a new battery every three months for optimum hygiene in case you don't swap out your brush as often as you probably should. Guilty."
"After my nightly candlelit showers, I look forward to the second I get to lather on body oil. Body oil is one of those nonnegotiable staples in my beauty regimen that I file under feel-good products. It's instantly calming and nourishing for my dry skin, and I feel like my skin sleeps better after I apply it at night. This luxurious rose-infused oil literally melts right onto my skin, and its romantic blend of pure roses smells like a garden and spoils my skin with hydration."
"I've recently become intrigued with the idea of incorporating probiotics into my skincare routine. After interviewing several experts on the benefits of probiotics, I realized that aside from taking probiotic supplements, topical probiotic products can also work wonders for your skin. I started with this cooling sheet mask that's blended with probiotics, hyaluronic acid, and pure coconut water. It fit easily right onto my face, and I got instant gratification from feeling its moisturizing ingredients seep into my pores. I kept it on for a half hour, and afterward my skin glowed like crazy. I loved how it made my skin appear bright, supple, and radiant. I've been indulging in them weekly and won't stop anytime soon."
"I started experiencing dry patches on my face this winter. It was a real catch-22: My skin needed hydration, but any moisturizer that was too heavy would cause blemishes to pop up. This new tinted moisturizer from First Aid Beauty solved that dilemma. It's the same formula as the brand's classic Ultra Repair cream, which contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, and it gives me buildable coverage with sun protection. Best of all, it's super lightweight and doesn't clog my pores."
"A few months ago when Sacha Mitic of Sachajuan gave me a blowout that survived four days and 104-degree heat, he used this Matt Wax for the final touch to keep everything in place. The product finally hit stores in January and has been a total game changer in my morning hair routine—which I've already confessed is about as laid-back and low-effort as it gets. When my hair is wet, I use just a touch of the Matt Wax (Sachajuan is all about light yet effective products that you build gradually) at my hairline to tame unruly flyaways and also at my part to keep it in place. It's especially helpful if I switch up my typical side part for a middle part instead or if I want to make my hair a bit sleeker (without the look of hair spray) in a ponytail. The wax provides a hold without the look of product and keeps the hair's natural texture without weighing down strands."
"Even the richest, creamiest, most moisturizing lipstick formulas don't stand a chance against my perpetually chapped lips. There are few lipstick brands I can get away with wearing, and still, by the second or third application of the day, it's almost a lost cause to even reapply—dragging the pigmented formula across the parched layers of dead, dry skin that have become my lips. So when Ilia's aptly named lip conditioner came into my life, it was a godsend for my lipstick game. Not only does the smooth formula glide on effortlessly and provide the perfect amount of pigment (for daily use, I've gravitated to Nobody's Baby, a pink-toned nude that brightens up my natural lip color), but the longer I wear it, the more moisturized and less chapped my lips are. Basically it acts as a super-hydrating lip balm that also happens to provides beautiful color with the creamy finish of a lipstick."
Did you miss last month's favorites? No worries—they're still available for your viewing pleasure.