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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 a bit overwhelmed by the mountain of bottles and tubes in our homes (especially now that we're spending just about every waking hour in our respective dwellings), 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.
Holly Rhue, associate editor
"I gave up on 'mainstream' tampons about a year ago when I learned a few shocking pieces of information; for example: the FDA doesn't require tampon companies to list the ingredients on their packaging, and the long-term effects that single-use tampons have on the environment and pretty detrimental. I switched over to 100 percent cotton varieties with biodegradable cardboard applicators, but admittedly missed the feel of the plastic applicators (even though I know how terrible they are). But recently, a friend recommended I try The Honeypot Company's tampons, and I will never go back. They're made of 100 percent certified organic cotton, are free from pesticides, chlorines, and dyes, and feature a BPA-free bioplastic applicator derived from sugarcane (it feels just like the plastic applicators you know and love, sans the piling up in a landfill). At $9 a box, they're even less expensive than a box of Tampax."
"While I love cleansing balms for removing makeup at the end of the day, I can't stand the way they feel in the summer; it feels like you're putting even more sweaty goop on your face (anyone else?). Lately, in lieu of balms and cleansing oils, I've been using this new milky micellar water from Drunk Elephant, which rounds out the brand's cleansing portfolio. It gently removes every trace of sweat, grime, makeup, and even bacteria without stinging or stripping. I find that the formula is most effective at dissolving eye makeup when you press a soaked cotton pad onto your lid for 5-10 seconds and then sweep away. It's so satisfying to remove the cotton pad and see that every trace of makeup has been lifted away."
"No matter what I do, I inevitably get razor burn whenever I try to clean up my bikini line. I've tried every razor crafted for sensitive skin and every aloe-infused shave gel, but to no avail. Recently, I attended the virtual launch for Avene's latest product innovation and learned that this cream is effective at treating irritation from razors all over the body, including the external public area. (You can use it for a number of other annoying ailments as well, ranging from mosquito bites, to sunburn, and even diaper rash.) While Cicalfate doesn't make my razor burn disappear, it does significantly reduce—if not completely eliminate—the pain and itchiness that I typically experience within a few days after shaving. Like all of the brand's products, it contains the anti-inflammatory properties of Avene thermal spring water, and overall can be used for 45 different skin issues, provides 2.5x faster healing, and 4x faster skin recovery, according to a clinical study conducted by the brand."
"The pots of glitter gel from BIPOC-owned Slayfire Cosmetics have become my new summer uniform. This chunky glitter gel applies with opacity and stays in place all day, and the citrus shade reflects between iridescent orange and lime green in a way that makes me feel like a cute raver girl even when the only party I'm attending is on an NYC stoop or park bench. Slayfire's glitters are biodegradable, vegan, and cruelty-free, and they're an instant accent in a moment when half of my face is constantly covered by a mask."
"Here's another product that I can apply on its own and instantly feel completely put together. The tiny applicator brushes this brow cream onto my brow hairs with precision and provides attention to each specific hair, giving me a fluffy, laminated look without much effort. The universal taupe shade adds just enough emphasis to my brows to be picked up on Zoom — at least in my own opinion (yes, I look at myself on Zoom, and I bet you do too)."
"Hyaluronic acid, silver ear mushroom, and reishi come together in this bouncy serum in a way that nicely complements either an acid exfoliant or a retinol in my nighttime routine. It goes on light and feels cooling and fights inflammation with all-natural, vegan ingredients. I follow it up with either an oil or Moon Juice's Cosmic Cream and wake up dewy and moist."
"I'm always looking for a delicious, thick, moisturizing, melty body butter to slather on my consistently dry skin. 54 Thrones offers up the most luscious blend of Ugandan and Ghanaian Shea butter, as well as avocado, sweet almond, and jojoba oils. There are a ton of different scent options (and unscented offerings if that's more your style), but this one smells like heaven on earth, IMO. Herbaceous lavender and cooling mint mix together to create a spa-like, soothing experience that's both invigorating and relaxing at the same time. I warm it between my hands and massage it into my skin more times a day than I care to admit. I could go on forever, but I'll spare you. This product is basically nirvana for your limbs. It's sold out in this scent right now (sorry) but the others are up for grabs."
"This moisturizer is fancy. It's the result of a collaboration between fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (duh) and University Professor Dr. Augustinus Bader, one of the world's leading stem cell and biomedical scientists. So, yes, it's fancy. But it also rules. Skincare-wise, it's meant to moisturize, tighten, and smooth courtesy of amino acids, microalgae extract, natural black tea ferment, papaya enzymes, and avocado oil. Aesthetically, it makes you glow—literally. See, this moisturizer is not just an anti-aging product. It's also tinted with a golden, glassy dose of illumination. It's sheer, so don't buy this product for the sake of coverage, but after four months sans makeup, it's the delightful boost I need."
"The toll my feet had taken from wearing poor footwear for years was pretty harrowing. I'd developed deep, unsightly calluses on the pads of my feet and heels that even the best pedicure couldn't absolve. I'd tried creams, pumice stones—even an ACV foot soak—and nothing really seemed to work. That is, until I got my hands (er, my feet) on Biopelle's Exfoliating Heel Cream, a skin-softening agent that calls on a whopping 30% glycolic acid and taurine to break down callused and dead skin cells.
"The directions state to leave on for 15-30 minutes initially until you've learned how your skin reacts to the formula, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and left it on overnight (don't do this—I took a big risk and could have had a bad reaction). The results were actually... shocking. I reached down to touch my feet the next morning and the calluses were virtually gone. What's even better is the effects lasted for weeks before I decided to reapply to see if I could get them even softer (spoiler: it worked). Run (don't walk) to get this seemingly magical foot cream."
"It's hard to miss these ankle weights while perusing Instagram—they're virtually everywhere (literally). In fact, they're so popular that they've been on back order for weeks. Luckily, I was able to snag a pair, and let's just say I understand the hype. I've been doing Melissa Wood Health workouts consistently every week, and adding two pounds to each ankle and wrist while I move through the flows and Pilates sequences makes each workout incrementally more difficult and helps lengthen and tone my muscles. I didn't think two pounds could possibly make a difference, but trust when I say that it does. They're also super travel-friendly—I just need the weights, a mat, and my laptop (to key up some workouts), and I'm ready to go."
"I became entranced by BFree Organics ever since reading that the founder, Cassandra Dailey, runs the company out of her home in SoCal atop 3.5 acres of farmland. She grows the ingredients herself and carefully mixes them in small batches, so you know that every bottle you order is fresh and made with care. I'm particularly drawn to this hair and body oil made with skin-soothing ingredients like evening primrose, jojoba, and sea buckthorn seed which feels like complete luxury after a warm shower. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the bottle is wildly beautiful."
"Renée Rouleau's skincare line is one of those where every product I try impresses me—I've yet to even be slightly disappointed in a formula. So while the Moisture Protecting Cleanser isn't new, per se, I'd been meaning to try it in hopes of turning around the fate of my dry and dull skin and already knew it'd be worth the while. The clear gel-to-milk consistency is a breath of fresh air for my complexion and always leaves it feeling soothed and supple—no stripping in slight. It also removes all of my makeup in one wash, which is quite the feat considering the layers of mascara I glob on each morning. I'm completely in love with it."
"I am such a Tracee Ellis Ross fan and her haircare brand Pattern Beauty has quickly become one of my favorites. Pattern Beauty released its first set of styling products on Juneteenth and, of course, I picked up a few products including its Strong Hold Gel. I've been wearing a lot of sleek and slick braids and buns lately, and this gel has been doing an incredible job of keeping every hair in place. It doesn't flake and is packed with a blend of sea moss, aloe vera, and chia seeds to nourish curls and coils."
"I recently gave my skincare routine a complete overhaul because my skin has become increasingly dry. I was in need of a cleanser that rid my face of impurities, but not of its moisture. This facial cleansing oil from Cocokind does just that and then some. In the morning, I massage two pumps of the oil on my face and my skin feels so cleansed and moisturized afterward. Its star ingredient is organic avocado oil, which works to prevent moisture loss. The infusion of organic tea tree oil offers antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory benefits. If you're on the hunt for a new cleanser, I encourage you to give this one a go."
"A red lip makes me feel so powerful and confident. I have dozens of red lipsticks and glosses in my makeup collection, but "Bawse Lady" from The Lip Bar is by far one of my favorites. Its signature red liquid matte lipstick applies like a gloss but dries matte. It's such a comfortable matte lip that lasts all day and looks flattering on every complexion."
"I'm loving this super gentle face wash for my morning cleanser. My skin feels clean, but not dry after I use it. The main ingredients are green tea and white tea, which leave my skin feeling so calm and refreshed. I highly recommend this for anyone with sensitive skin."
"This scrub smells exactly like a day at the beach. Each time I use it, I'm instantly transported to warm weather, sand in my toes… you get it. The scrubbers are effective at getting rid of dead skin without irritating skin. I've been using this every other day and following up with a super hydrating body oil once I'm out of the shower to maintain my super soft skin."
"Embarrassing but true: my arm and wrist have been so sore from excessive phone use during quarantine. I tried this CBD balm, and my soreness went away for a few hours—a true testament to this product. I also love the story behind the brand: the company is founded by two sisters in Austin, TX and you can tell they really put a lot of care into each of their products."
"I'm pretty anti-hot tools as of late, so this texturizing shampoo has come in handy on days where I want my hair to feel voluminous and textured without having to plug in my hair dryer. I only use this twice a week max, because in order to achieve maximum texture, you're supposed to skip conditioner, but I need the boost of hydration on off days. After each use, my hair has that perfectly natural, messy look to it, which I love."
"I'm always striving for more volume on my hair. This scalp spray combines Capixyl TM, biotin, and niacinamide to help strengthen and thicken hair at the root. I've definitely noticed my hair feeling fuller from using this. It's also said to help keep hair from falling out, which is always a concern of mine."
"This is my absolute favorite nighttime cleanser. It starts as a fine grain powder which helps to physically exfoliate skin, and as water mixes with the powder, it turns into a foam that's chock-full of enzymes that work together to get rid of any dirt, makeup, or dead skin. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and prepped for the rest of my routine."
Did you miss last month's installment of our favorite products? No worries—we've got you covered.