We Tried a Ton of Products Last Month—Only These Made a Lasting Impression

From chic body scrubs to "retrograde" eyeshadow.

Updated 11/04/19
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Graphic by Cristina Cianci

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.

01 of 08

Leah Wyar, GM/VP

Mind + Beauty
Mind + Beauty Starter Kit $25
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"With retrogade and Scorpio season approaching, I'm getting all my woo-woo armor in order. I love this pack because it offers five essential oil blends to battle everything from insomnia to energy dips to lack of focus. The bottles are small enough to put in your pocket or purse. Plus, essential oils are just a fun thing to experiment with and this pack makes it easy and affordable to do so."

02 of 08

Star Donaldson, associate social media editor

Freck Rich Bitch
Freck Rich Bitch Cactus + Vitamin C Moisturizer $32
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"At first, I thought a product with such a sassy name would be trying to overcompensate for quality, but this is just not the case. It's rich and creamy but not waxy or weighed-down. It’s been the perfect fix to hydrate my skin just as the weather is starting to change. But, my favorite part of the product is actually the smell. It’s made with jojoba oil and rosemary leaf extract which creates this perfect light floral scent that gives me the feeling that my face is clean and my life is together. I need this as a fragrance!"

true botanicals
True Botanicals Clear Pure Radiance Oil $110
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"I know so many makeup artists and celebrities really love this brand, but I’ve only just been introduced to it this month. And by the way, I do actually love all of the products I’ve tried so far, but have noticed the biggest change in my skin after using the Clear Pure Radiance Oil. After my nightly chemical exfoliant, I put a couple of drops on my face, and in the morning, any blemish I have *visibly* lessens in size. It’s basically a miracle and a new edition to my routine."

03 of 08

Hallie Gould, senior editor

Emma Hardie Light Cleansing Gel
Emma Hardie Light Cleansing Gel $45
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"I've made my love for this London-born line quite clear (I'm an avid devotee of Emma Hardie's cleansing balm, face oil, and vitamin C moisturizer), so it's no surprise its newest launch came straight home with me. Meant to be a quick cleanse when you're in a rush (or a more involved double-cleanse following the brand's cleansing balm), this face wash is a burst of energy in a bottle. It's light, refreshing, and bouncy to the touch—and packed with sweet almond oil, omega-6, vitamin E, sea fennel extract, and moringa seed peptides. The blend is meant to nourish, moisturize, and restore barrier function, as well as protect your skin from pollution and other harmful free radicals. It's divine."

Chanel Deepness
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Deepness $28
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"I've always been into Chanel polishes—the colors are just so good. And I'm not even really a polish person. I'll never be the person who brings their own color to the salon and I don't hoard polishes like some of my cohorts. But this one is different. Chanel's Nail Color in Deepness is an almost-black shade that isn't flat or dimensionless. It isn't inky-black, but rather something a bit smokier. It's sexy, cool, and warm all at once—and I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing it through spring."

Eighteen B
Eighteen B B Silk Protein Firm and Replenish Serum $105
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"This new brand just came across my desk and I'm already swooning. The serum, a clean mix of ceramides, squalane, silk protein, and amino acids, keeps your skin protected and hydrated—bouncy, even. It's dispensed as a gel, something a bit thicker than your average serum, but penetrates on contact and melts into your face. It feels so good and leaves that beautiful lifted sheen once you massage it in. Plus, the product is formulated without fragrance, sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, or silicones (and it's vegan and Leaping Bunny certified, too)."

04 of 08

Faith Xue, editorial director

Orce foundation
Orcé Come Closer Lura Foundation $89
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"Orcé was founded specifically for the unique undertones and skin needs of Asian women, and the foundation has become a new favorite in my rotation. It's creamy but light enough for me to apply quickly with my fingers on rushed mornings without careful blending, and it smooths over my pores for a really natural, glow-giving finish without veering into oily."

Color Wow Shine Spray
ColorWow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray $29
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"I'm perpetually in search of products that make my hair feel less straw-like, and this new shine spray from ColorWow makes my hair feel silky and soft without weighing it down. I like that it comes via spray form so I can spritz on without getting my hands super greasy, and the scent is sweet like candy."

Arches and Halos
Arches and Halos Microfiber Tinted Brow Mousse $13
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"I'm very loyal to my Benefit Gimme Brow Tinted Brow Gel but have recently discovered a new favorite in up-and-coming brow brand Arches and Halo's Brow Gel. The shape of the brush is much longer and more delicate, so you can actually wiggle it deep into the base of your brows to deposit the pigment. Plus, the brush allows you to have a lighter touch to gradually build the color. You can also angle it so that the tip of the gel almost becomes like a brow pen. It's my new favorite brow product."

gommage
Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator $30
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"I'm very demanding when it comes to body scrubs, and had high expectations for Nécessaire's new versions. Like the rest of the brand's products, it didn't disappoint in the slightest. I've been using the Eucalyptus one every morning and it's such a nice pick-me-up. The scrub factor is perfection: just gritty enough to feel like it's sloughing away dead skin cells, but melting into the skin nicely after just a few seconds of scrubbing. Plus, it leaves my skin feeling super soft and doesn't exacerbate my eczema."

Huda retrograde
Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette $67
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"I'm obsessed with every Huda eye shadow palette, but this new one might just be my number one. First, the name—so timely, so relevant. Second, the colors. All the shades are so silky in usual Huda fashion, but she's really outdone herself with the color selection. Ultraviolet leaves such a pretty wash of lilac when you swipe it across your lids, and Nebula is a glittery silver-violet that looks amazing tapped on top of any dark shadow. I love that they're all so wearable for day or night, and that she included a pop of pale green and turquoise for when you're feeling feisty. Honestly, the palette is just so pretty you won't be able to stop staring (at it, or yourself after using)."

05 of 08

Kelly Gallagher, senior social media editor

Amika Sexture
Amika Sexture Beach Look Shampoo $25
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"I've been trying to use less heat on my hair each day and this shampoo has been great for that. You don't use a conditioner after it, so I only use it a few times a week at most, but it gives my hair so much volume and texture—I've been so impressed by it."

Sturm
Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub $70
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"I love everything I've tried from Dr. Sturm, but this facial scrub has been one of my favorite products from the line. It's super creamy so my skin feels hydrated and nourished, and the physical exfoliation gets rid of any dry flaky skin. I follow it with Dr. Sturm's hyaluronic acid serum and the Face Cream Rich and my skin feels hydrated and fresh all day."

Virtue
Virtue Labs Create Texturizing Spray $36
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"My hair is super fine, so anytime I blow dry, I like to follow up with a texture spray on the ends to add some volume and grit. This one is great because it doesn't leave my hair feeling sticky or weighed down. It smells great, but the fragrance isn't overwhelming (like some other texture sprays I've tried). The texture and volume last for hours—this has become one of my hairstyling must-haves."

06 of 08

Elspeth Velten, editorial director, growth

CBD balm
Seventh Sense CBD Muscle Balm $25
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"I tore my calf while crossing a street this month and couldn't walk for a week—really. This muscle balm (plus lots of ice, Advil, and a borrowed cane from a friend's grandmother) is the only thing that kept me alive through the recovery. The eucalyptus spearmint blend is cooling, and the 200 mg of CBD works to take the edge off of any muscle soreness (this is also my go-to for post-workout pain). The brand claims that this product is "the one you'll tell everyone about" and they're right—my husband sneaks a swipe whenever I'm not looking, and his sister tried to straight up steal the stick from me."

Rose Balm
Biossance Squalane+ Rose Vegan Lip Balm $18
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"Seasonal change leaves my lips dry and flaky, but this little pot has done wonders this month. The rich-textured formula is a laundry list of all the best moisturizing and protecting ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and the rose scent is lovely. It's the latest staple in my daily tote!"

07 of 08

Lindsey Metrus, senior editor

Ormedic lip balm
Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement $20
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"My dry lips have become such a problem that I enter a slight panic when I realize I don't have a tube of lip balm in my bag (which is rare, considering I own dozens). Cheap balms that use ingredients like petrolatum, which only forms a film on top of the skin rather than actually hydrating deep within the skin's layers, do nothing for my lips and only cause me to apply more product (good for the brand's business, not great for me). As such, I've spent many years looking for the product that will leave my lips in prime, supple condition—and I think I've finally found it.

"Image Skincare, a clinically-tested line used in estheticians' offices and medispas, is the creator of said product, the Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex. It's fortified with hydrating avocado oil, soothing vitamin E, and a polypeptide complex that actually plumps the lips and defines their contours to give off the look of a fuller, more voluminous pout. The texture is a bit like a gloss, though over time this settles into the skin, and what you're left with is super smooth, slightly plumper lips that stay in this blissful state for hours. I recently had a friend borrow my tube at an event, and when I thought she'd lost it, I almost flipped—it's that good."

Biopelle new
Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum 40 $136
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"I'm a huge fan of medical-grade skincare and Kacey Musgraves, so when I found out that the singer uses these high-powered ampoules, I was immediately sold. They're made with SCA, a snail secretion that signals the skin cells to repair and regenerate which is marketed especially for those who get dermal procedures like microneedling as they help the skin heal more quickly. But for those who just want softer, smoother, firmer skin, the ampoules work just as well.

"Inside the box, you'll find 10 ampoules capped with cardboard. To dispense the liquid, remove the cardboard and begin crushing the plastic vial with your thumb and forefinger until the inside contents are cracked, almost like activating a glow stick. Once you've squeezed and crushed the contents enough, the liquid will begin moving up the vial and into the cotton tip, to which you then flip the vial upside down and squeeze the liquid onto your face and gently rub in. It feels like a thicker oil-serum hybrid, though the after effects aren't greasy or undesirable. In fact, it's so hydrating, I feel like I could forgo moisturizer altogether (but since I'm a beauty editor and love my products, I still apply a ceramide-rich cream afterward).

"After just one evening, my skin appeared so much more even, smooth, and, dare I say, lifted. These effects continued throughout the week, which left me feeling a bit lost about the fact that only 10 ampoules come in a box. However, as it turns out, after a week of using one vial per day, you're then supposed to switch to one per week for the remaining three.

"I'm absolutely obsessed with the results of this product—the only downside is that the packaging is a bit wasteful, though the brand also makes an antioxidant defense serum (sold in a single bottle) which also harnesses the power of SCA and will ultimately last you longer."

Zo Skin
Zo Skin Health Firming Serum $235
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"Can you tell I love medical-grade skincare? This product, developed by Dr. Zein Obagi, is clinically-proven to help firm the skin and define facial contours, a concern I've found myself focusing on more now that I'm entering my 30s and am noticing a change in my skin's elasticity.

"Although it's a serum, the consistency is more of a slightly tacky gel than a lightweight liquid, so if you're expecting to feel a sense of deep-seated dewiness after application, you won't. But because this product isn't promising to hydrate the skin, I put on a hyaluronic acid serum first, let it soak in, then apply this serum on top as a firming treatment rather than a one-and-done serum for the evening. I've only been using it for a few weeks, but swear I can already see a difference in my skin's overall texture."

wow oil
Wow Essential Oils Eucalyptus Oil $15
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"I could bathe in eucalyptus (and I do, considering my body wash is fortified with it), but really, I find it to be incredibly calming and nostalgic. It reminds me of when my mom would rub Vicks VapoRub on my chest to help clear my sinuses whenever I was congested, and as an adult with perpetually poor sinus plumbing, any time I get a whiff, I feel a sense of relief (albeit homesickness). This variation from Wow Essential Oils smells especially potent in the best way—I love dispensing a few drops into a diffuser and filling my bedroom with it before hitting the pillow, turning my space into a spa-like environment for the sweetest of dreams."

08 of 08

Holly Rhue, associate editor

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate
Tom Ford Soleil Neige Highlighter & Blush Glow Stick $55
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"I'm all about maximum glow for minimum effort, which is why I love stick highlighters. This one is completely idiot-proof when it comes to applying and blending (just rub it in with your finger), and delivers the most beautiful lit-from-within glow without being sparkly. It's dual-ended with a highlighter on one side and a stick blush on the other for a buildable wash of color. I wear shade Soleil Neige 02."

Renee Rouleau
Reneée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel $89
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"Without fail, I do a chemical peel once a week on Sunday—it's the most stable thing in my life. For over a year, I've been loyal to Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial, but I just pushed it to the back of my medicine cabinet for this Renée Rouleau product. It delivers all the benefits of a chemical peel (evens texture, sloughs away dead skin, and chips away at dark spots) sans the stinging and moisture barrier damage. If you have sensitive skin that hasn't reacted well to chemical exfoliators in the past, give this one a go. 

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