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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 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.
This time around, we're sharing the one singular product within that mountain that stood out the most in all of 2020. 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.
PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum
"I’m not really one to play favorites with my skincare stash, but all of that changed when I tried PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum for the first time this year. Hyaluronic acid serums are a dime a dozen, but this ultra-hydrating formula has won over my heart in a way that few others have before it.
"Immediately after applying this serum, my skin feels plumped with moisture and it stays that way throughout the entire day, even in brutally cold winter weather. The true gamechanger, though, is the way this serum minimizes my pesky forehead lines almost instantly. That benefit, while temporary, is why this HA serum sits front and center in my vanity and likely will for a very long time. If you haven't tried it yet, add it to your cart and you'll never look back—trust." — Jessica Mahgerefteh, commerce beauty director
Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum 40
"This product came to me late in the year, but even matched up against everything else I'd tried in the months prior, it still shines brighter than any other item I'd tried. Inside the box, you'll find 10 individual ampoules (packed that way for sterility) filled with a proprietary blend of growth factors, glycoproteins, and antioxidants, a potent reparative cocktail often prescribed by dermatologists as a healing agent post-minimally invasive treatments like microneedling or chemical peels. Given its skin regenerating and soothing prowess, you can imagine how well it works on skin that hasn't gone through a procedure and just needs some extra love.
"After the first application (a process which is quite fun by the way: You squeeze the plastic ampoule until the inside crushes and bursts in order to release the product, a packaging method meant to keep the ingredients as stable as possible), I immediately saw noticeable results in my skin. The fine line on my forehead had all but vanished, my skin was glowing, and the breakout I'd poked and prodded had lessened in size and redness. Whenever my skin is feeling particularly dry or sallow, I treat it to an ampoule before bed and reap the benefits for days." — Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
Taza Ayurveda's Nourish Gandharvahastadi Digestive Supplement
"This is an agonizing decision, truly. I can't choose between my children! There's Sonya Dakar's Blue Butterfly Balm, Tarte's Shape Tape's Glow Wand, Populum's Lavender + CBD Face Oil, and pretty much every single product from Dr. Barbara Sturm and Emma Hardie topping my list. But, if I have to choose—which I do because Lindsey is sitting right next to me and curating this article—it's imperative I tell you about Taza Ayurveda's Nourish Gandharvahastadi Digestive Supplement ($60). I've talked about it before, but here goes again.
"When it comes down to it, my 2020 has been defined by deciding to take a more active role in my health—both body and mind. I cut out gluten as the first actionable way to make myself feel good. And it changed everything. I slept better, had more energy, and felt so much better in my body. From there, I took on my digestion issues and found Taza Ayurveda. The supplements are meant to help ease bloating, support nutrient absorption, and promote digestive balance—and they do just that. The formula is a blend of eight superherbs (including Indian stinging nettle, chebulic myrobalan, and castor), so there are no creepy chemicals or hidden ingredients. And, combined, the herbs promote the release of digestive enzymes to help soothe and optimize digestion. They're easy to take (just two in the morning and two at night), taste like nothing, and genuinely work. I feel a remarkable difference in my body when I take them and they've helped round out my year of wellness." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
Mutha Body Butter
"The new, cool body line for moms that's completely un-mom. In their words: "We nourish you with products that strengthen your confidence, shrink your insecurities, and unconditionally love what makes you a brave, empathetic, take-no-bullshit individual." How Byrdie is that? Even better, there are only two things to choose from: a body butter that melts into skin the second you start rubbing and an oil that's the most non-greasy I've ever tried. Both nourish and make my skin and body feel like they move better—amazing whether you're a new-mom-to-be, already a mom, or human (and right now, I happen to be all three!)." — Leah Wyar, GM of Byrdie
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
"This is a toughy! I've tried so many great products this year that choosing just one feels like a daunting task. But when it comes down to it, there is one product that made a seriously noticeable difference in the health of my skin. (I'd bet that if you were to ask anyone on team Byrdie about this product, they'd tell you they love it too.) While its price point is definitely not for the faint of heart, the one product that I would spend my hard-earned money on is Dr. Sturm's Hyaluronic Serum. The reason I love it so much is because my skin is extremely sensitive, very breakout-prone, and also tends to get really dry and flakey. This serum hydrates without causing breakouts, and my dry, thirsty skin drinks it right up leaving my skin feeling plump, moisturized, and calm." — Kelly Gallagher, senior social media editor
Róen 52 Degree Cool Eye Shadow Palette
"This is one of the hardest decisions I've ever made in my life, but now that I've spent the better half of my day debating, I can safely say there's one clear winner for me based on the frequency of use alone: Róen Beauty's 52 Cool Eye Shadow Palette. I consider myself pretty good at doing my own makeup, but this palette makes it seem like I'm a true artiste in just a few swipes. The texture is a mix between a cream and powder, and the shades are perfect for taking you from night to day. If I'm feeling like my face needs a pick me up, I'll swipe on the champagne shade, which adds the prettiest glimmer (you can get a wet-effect if you layer, too). If I'm feeling sultrier or want to do a smoky eye with zero effort, I'll use the brown, purple, or steel-gray shades (sometimes all three—they're complementary) across just the bottom third of my eye. I can't count the number of times people ask me what I'm wearing on my eyes when I use this palette--one time, someone even asked me if I had just gotten my makeup done, which was amazing because the actual look took all of five seconds. Oh, and did I mention it's made with none of the sketchy ingredients you'll find in most eye shadows? This little compact is by far one of the best beauty discoveries I've made in 2020 and I have a feeling it'll stay with me through 2021 and beyond." — Faith Xue, editorial director
KimChi Chic Diamond Sharts 01
"This sparkly pigment is no joke. A couple of swipes on my lid and a quick blend later and I’m *shining*. This product is such a hit at Byrdie HQ—Elspeth loves it too, so don't just take it from me. It's really stealing our hearts and our lids! Plus, every time I wear it, I get asked what I have on, and you better believe I love saying, “It’s literally sharts!” — Star Donaldson, social media editor
Dermaflash Luxe Anti-Aging Dermaplaning Exfoliation Device
"I don't usually reach for fancy gadgets when it comes to my skin—I'm old fashioned that way. But this product has become an irreplaceable staple in my medicine cabinet. A guarded blade gently exfoliates the top layer of your skin, removing rough, dead skin and all traces of peach fuzz (sounds scary, but it's almost impossible to cut yourself with Dermaflash). The result is smooth, hairless, baby seal skin that helps your skincare and makeup layer on more effectively. The difference is honestly shocking." —Holly Rhue, editor