In 2017, Jamie Kern Lima, founder of It Cosmetics, spoke at the CEW Awards and recalled how early in the brand's history, investors suggested she use aspirational models to sell her products. Instead, Kern Lima went with her gut: She went live on QVC with models with dark circles and real skin to show the power of her products. Not only that, she demoed the brand's concealer on her bare skin, showing how it magically covered her hereditary rosacea. Kern Lima sold out of the product within 10 minutes; not long after, It Cosmetics grew to be a billion-dollar brand.
It's easy to see why people are obsessed with It Cosmetics—the before and after pictures are striking. Kern Lima formulated the line with plastic surgeons and dermatologists using cutting-edge technology to create products that enhance customers' natural beauty—so you look like you, but better.
Founded by: Jamie Kern Lima, 2008
Based in: Jersey City, New Jersey
Best known for: solution-focused skincare and makeup designed to conceal and correct common skin issues
Most popular product: Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, Bye Bye Under Eye
Fun fact: After It Cosmetics was acquired by L'Oréal in 2016, Kern Lima became the first female CEO of any L'Oréal brand.
Other brands you'll love: Dermablend, Perricone MD, BareMinerals
Kern Lima, an It Cosmetics brand representative said, "knew there had to be a better way; products that actually solved people’s beauty concerns, including her own, and gave [people] the power to truly look and feel their most beautiful."
Although the CEO stepped down in 2019 to become a best-selling author, It Cosmetics still strives to create "game-changing," "life-changing" products for real-world beauty problems, the rep said. It caters to beauty mavens whose "self-perceived skin imperfections" like "acne, melasma, dark spots [and] dullness" are "holding them back from being most confident," the rep added.
No doubt, home shoppers and Instagram influencers alike have been won over by It's color-correcting makeup and user-friendly skincare. The brand says it keeps fans engaged by incorporating user feedback and ideas into new products, sometimes taking several years to hone their formulas until they're worthy of "superhero" status. (The best-selling CC cream took four whole years to develop; the Confidence in a Cream moisturizer, seven years.)
So which It Cosmetics products earn the Byrdie seal of approval? Read on for our favorite It Cosmetics products plus links to full reviews.
I've seen this CC cream all over Instagram and QVC and have always been curious to give it a try. It's much more full-coverage than typical CC creams, which makes it more alluring to me as someone with melasma and hyperpigmentation.
I applied it with a Beautyblender and noticed that the consistency was thicker than a traditional CC cream but thinner and dewier than a liquid foundation—the ideal consistency. It hid most of my discoloration and gave off a super-hydrated, non-greasy glow that I'm never able to achieve with foundation.
Check out our in-depth review of It Cosmetics' CC cream here.
I've tried this concealer before and forgot how good it is. Although I expected a liquid consistency, it's more of a solid with super-dense pigmentation. I used my middle finger to tap it onto my under-eyes and onto areas that need a bit more coverage (I had a few small breakouts the day I tested it) and found that it acts like the Photoshop eraser tool in real-time, without any creasing or flaking.
Read another editor's take on Bye Bye Under Eye with our full review here.
I know, I know—$40 is a lot to shell out for a relatively unsexy product like makeup primer. But hear me out: This may be one of the best-performing makeup primers I've ever tried. It doesn't pill no matter how many skincare products you pile on underneath your makeup, and never makes makeup look patchy or unnatural.
This primer also plays particularly well with the brand's CC cream, extending the foundation's wear time by a few hours. I like mixing a little of the primer with some facial sunscreen and layering it on under the CC cream to make sure I get long-lasting makeup plus decent sun protection.
IMO, It Cosmetics' forte is makeup, not skincare. Still, It has a few skincare products worth writing home about, including this luminous skin cream—which we actually prefer to the aforementioned best-selling Confidence in a Cream.
Infused with hyaluronic acid and diamond powder, this cream makes normal to dry skin look instantly plumper and dewier than you may have thought possible. And the skin-brightening benefits aren't just immediate: Secret Sauce is designed to improve skin tone over time with brightening ingredients such as vitamin C and licorice root.
I'm incredibly particular about my brow routine (who isn't?) and wasn't too psyched to try this product at first. So I was pleasantly surprised by this skinny pencil, which allows you to draw believable-looking brow hairs with amazing precision. The spoolie is also incredible for brushing my brows in place.
The pencil comes in just one shade, Universal Taupe, a cool-toned light brown that the brand claims works on all hair colors. Although it's a pretty versatile shade, it's probably best for those with gray, blond, and brown hair; it may look a little wonky on those with red or black brows.
With this slightly shimmery powder bronzer, a little goes a long way. I dipped an angled kabuki brush into the bronzer but had to tap off quite a bit before applying—it delivers so much color payoff that I only needed the lightest touch. The shade is also perfect—it's a bit ruddy and cool, so no orange streaking, just a bit of added warmth.
I'm pretty obsessed with Revlon's highlighter stick, but this product just upped the ante. Hello Light is fortified with peptides, aloe and collagen and cools the skin on contact while creating a dewy glow. It made me look completely refreshed and not at all sleep-deprived. The shade White Gold, shown here, looks best on warm complexions; the pink-tone Copper Rose is made for cool complexions.
I'm hopelessly devoted to my Urban Decay Naked Palette (the original version) and find it difficult for other shadows to match it in color payoff and shade perfection. That said, I was intrigued by the portable size of this palette, not to mention its dang practical selection of six neutral shades.
This palette's shadows are all matte, which initially turned me off—I love some shimmer. But when I dusted them on, there was no fallout and they lasted all day on my lids. A makeup artist even stopped by the office that same day and complimented me on my eye color. The included powder highlighter is a nice bonus.
If you're a skincare minimalist, you simply must try this multitasking, makeup-melting cleanser. It's somehow capable of gently cleansing skin and dissolving hard-to-remove makeup—waterproof mascara, eyeliner, et cetera—at the same time.
Packed with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, it also leaves skin feeling lightly hydrated; those with normal or oily skin may not even need a moisturizer afterward. Although the product doesn't technically need to be rinsed off—it can be wiped off with a washcloth—I prefer the less-messy rinsing alternative, especially for removing foundation.
This mascara has been my mainstay for months: It delivers crazy volume and length. I love how it doesn't flake onto my cheeks (a common problem of mine) and washes off easily despite its impressive staying power.