I'm constantly surrounded by beauty products—whether that's experimenting with new brands, reviewing treatments, or researching innovative ingredients. What I'm not doing as often, though, is actually incorporating those findings into my daily routine longterm. Here's the thing: I know what works for me. And after years of trial and error, I've become quite loyal to my set of favorites. I've sung the gospel of Biologique Recherche day in and day out, praised Dr. Barbara Sturm's hydrating collection of products, and waxed on about Renée Rouleau's cult-favorite peel. I won't shut up about these particular gems because I've used them daily (and weekly) for years. That, and I'm resistant to change (can you tell?).
Though every so often a new product will come into the office and I'll (cautiously) begin to incorporate it into my routine. It happens rarely, but because I'm so curated (read: ridiculous) when it comes to my arsenal of products, it means a lot for something new to make the cut. So, I decided to let you in on my new bag of secrets—the products I've been using and loving ever since I swapped them in for the long haul. Below, find my favorite new formulas and read about why they're worth it. Keep scrolling for my long-winded thoughts.
Skinfix Barrier+ Lipid-Peptide Cream
Skinfix is quickly becoming one of my new favorite brands, and their creamy, peptide-enriched moisturizer holds top rank. The brand's main concern is protecting your skin barrier function—something that can incur damage with the use of too many acids or harsh exfoliation). As such, this (95% naturally-derived) formula contains a peptide-protein blend (to support your barrier and protect against free radicals), lily root extract (to tighten, reduce water loss, and hydrate), as well as Skinfix's propriety skin lipid complex (which is present in all the brand's offerings and infuses the formula with natural lipids and fatty acids). The cream is nutrient-dense and oh-so fluffy, making the application process just as lovely as the results. It makes my skin plump, happy, hydrated for hours, and the softest it's ever been in my life. Plus, the moisturizer comes in an air-tight jar, one that pumps out product in a perfectly-sized dose. It makes it easy (and the design actually protects the actives from degradation).
Here are a few stats for your reading pleasure (in case I didn't quite convince you yet). After a 28-day clinical trial, 94 percent of participants reported a significant increase in skin’s moisture after one use and 93 percent felt this cream delivered long-term hydration. And, what's more, is results found the number of lipids in the skin barrier increased by a significant 23.6 percent during those 28 days. Yeah, it works.
Emma Hardie Plump & Glow Hydrating Facial Mist
I've never been a huge fan of facial mists. I know they feel good, but I wasn't ever convinced they actually did anything worthwhile for my skin, that is, until I first tried Emma Hardie's Plump & Glow Hydrating Facial Mist. First, of course, it feels amazing. It's cooling and the mist is super fine (so you're not drowning yourself each time you spray). It imparts the perfect amount each time. As far as the formula goes, it has everything you need: aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, wild water mint, and rosehip oil to calm and soothe as well as anti-age and thoroughly moisturize. It's a thoroughly plumping, nourishing formula that really works—as in, I watch my skin perk up each time I use it. It's especially life-changing during extreme temperatures (whether that's the summer, the winter, or if you're constantly in an overly air-conditioned office space). I know it's pricey, but I whole-heartedly recommend it anyway. You won't be disappointed.
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
Yes, another Emma Hardie product. But they are so, so great. Hear me out. I've been loving on Eve Lom's Cleanser ($80) for years now—and, don't worry, I haven't moved on from it entirely (and I promise I never will). That being said, I have been lusting after Emma Hardie's cleansing balm recently. It's enriched with moringa seed oil, vitamin E, and wild sea fennel to balance your skin, gently washing off any dirt, oil, debris, makeup, or pollution that may have built up throughout the day. But it's also so moisturizing. It hydrates, protects, and nourishes with each use, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and supple. It's brimming with essential oils—including orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine, and rose—to practically melt off every last trace of makeup. It's free from mineral oil (a feat, I've found, when it comes to cleansing balms) and you can even use it as a protective balm on your lips, cuticles, and other areas where you may have particularly dry skin. The bottom line? It does its job flawlessly and feels (and smells) really incredible the whole way through.
Noto Botanics Deep Serum
Noto Botanics is a line of natural, multi-use skin and makeup products that are both uncomplicated and high performing in equal measure. Gloria Noto, the woman behind the brand, works to blend natural and organic ingredients and create really potent, nutrient-dense products. I feel especially connected to the Deep Serum, a hydration-rich protecting facial oil that can be used as a serum or replace your normal moisturizer entirely. The ingredients are a mix of marula, rosehip seed, grapeseed, wild carrot, grapefruit, and green coffee oil (sounds like a pretty good salad, IMO) to offer up vital nutrients including vitamin C, E, and fatty acids, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and acne healing benefits. It's like a one-stop-shop in that respect. The oil is incredibly aromatic—making each application feel spa-like, and you can really layer it on come bedtime. Just apply, let it soak, and head to bed.
Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream
I've been a devotee of Tatcha's Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48) for years—using it as a makeup setting spray, refreshing spritz during a 3 p.m. slump, and even using it dampen my Beautyblender ($20) before applying foundation. Now, the brand has dropped its creamy counterpart. It's a product that serves up the same shimmer-free, naturally dewy skin, only this time it's a rich, emollient cream rather than a mist. There's Japanese purple rice, hyaluronic acid, and natural botanical abstracts (the same ones as the mist) to nourish and plump up your skin. Rather than using it solely as a moisturizer, I like to use the bouncy, purple-tinted cream in lieu of a primer. It adds dew and glow in spades and keeps my foundation looking natural.
Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Liquid Highlighter
I never thought I'd find a highlighter that felt so much like a second-skin—until Kevyn Aucoin launched their newest product. I'm obsessed with the Crystal Clear shade, a sheer, slightly holographic face gloss that creates this unbelievable glow. I apply a bit to my cheekbones as a primer ahead of my foundation, and tap on a few more drops post-application (to my cheekbones, brow bone, and Cupid's bow). Post-use, my skin has never looked so well-hydrated, glassy, and radiant—but in an entirely natural-looking way. The gel formula incorporates passion fruit and marula oils to promote hydration, reduce redness, and add an otherworldly dew factor. It's one of those "skincare as makeup"-type products for that reason, it nourishes as it highlights. I first tried it a few weeks ago and I'm still swooning as I think about it.
Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara
I am constantly looking for the perfect mascara—and it's a tall order. I have especially sensitive and watery eyes, making most formulas too smudgy for my particular needs. A formula can be perfect, volumizing, lengthening, and clump-free, and still smudge half-way down my face throughout the day. It's disheartening, to be honest. So, yes, I swap out my chosen mascara for new offerings all the time, regularly waiting for one to meet my long list of requirements. And, I've been pleasantly surprised with Pat McGrath's first mascara launch. Coined FetishEyes, the product is flake and smudge-resistant (trust me, I've done the research), and offers super long wear (even when it's raining, humid, or I accidentally rub my eye). The formula contains a flexible blend of peptides and panthenol and yields a really beautiful, fluffy volume (it's never spidery or dry-looking). I'm also in love with the brush, as it has wavy-fiber bristles that coat each lash really seamlessly and in just a few swipes. In the days that I spent testing the product before incorporating it into my daily routine, I was floored.
Rahua Smoothing Hair Balm
I've never been huge into hair waxes—my hair is long and curly—but this one's different. See, I often wear my hair in a bun (slicked with a center part), and have come to realize flyaways will always be a part of my reality. With this product, that's no longer true. With a soft, flexible hold and a formula containing only certified organic ingredients, Rahua's Smoothing Hair Balm checks all my boxes. The scent is floral and the product is genuinely nourishing to your hair—featuring rahua and morete oils to strengthen and protect, cocoa seed butter to soften, and gardenia oil for the addictive scent. All I do is apply a tiny bit of product to my fingertips, rub them together to warm, and smooth it through my hair before and after securing it into a bun. That way, it stays put all day in a bath of essential fatty acids.
Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme
I've been a proud Olaplex fanatic for a few years now—the bond-building, hydrating products have visibly strengthened and helped grow my hair. I use the shampoo and conditioner, the masks, and now, the brand's first-ever leave-in styling product. No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme ($28) offers a concentrated, smoothing formula made specifically for colored and chemically-treated hair (me). The ingredients, including sunflower, grape seed, and castor oils, as well as aloe leaf juice and coconut oil work to strengthen, hydrate, moisturize your hair. FYI: It also speeds up blow-dry times while smoothing any unwanted fly-aways or static for up to three (!!!) days. My go-to colorist, Matt Rez, suggested it and I'm never going back.
Rodan K, Fields K, Majewski G, Falla T. Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2016 Dec 14;4(12 Suppl Anatomy and Safety in Cosmetic Medicine: Cosmetic Bootcamp):e1152. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000001152
Nguyen HLT, Trujillo-Paez JV, Umehara Y, Yue H, Peng G, Kiatsurayanon C, Chieosilapatham P, Song P, Okumura K, Ogawa H, Ikeda S, Niyonsaba F. Role of Antimicrobial Peptides in Skin Barrier Repair in Individuals with Atopic Dermatitis. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 14;21(20):7607. doi: 10.3390/ijms21207607
Ribeiro AS, Estanqueiro M, Oliveira MB, Sousa Lobo JM. Main Benefits and Applicability of Plant Extracts in Skin Care Products. Cosmetics. 2015; 2(2):48-65. doi:10.3390/cosmetics2020048