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 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 is, we're eager to share it with you so you can experience the same new-product bliss that we did. Take a look at our favorites below.
Hallie Gould, senior editor
"As soon as winter weather hits (how are we here already?), I stock up on really comfortable, thick, balmy products. I need all things soothing and warm to make it through to spring. At the suggestion of our editorial director, Faith, I tried Sonya Dakar's Blue Butterfly Balm once my beloved May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon ran out. It is every bit the blanket of cushiony goodness I needed. The ingredients include macadamia seed, rosehip, frankincense, and evening primrose oils, as well as mango, shea, and cupuacu seed butters. There's lavender, marula, blue tansy, and rosemary too. It's a potent mix of pretty much every natural gem on the market and it makes me feel like I'm in heaven each time I apply it. I take just a bit (a little goes a long way) and warm it between my fingers before massaging it into my skin. Then, the aroma hits. A zen-like blend that practically puts you to sleep on contact. This one is going to be a mainstay, I can feel it."
"After learning more about Ayurveda and incorporating some of the most helpful practices into my life, I came across this new launch from Taza Ayurveda. The brand is new but all of their products are based on centuries-old findings. This one, a daily supplement for better digestion, helps ease bloating, support nutrient absorption, and promote digestive balance. Since I began taking them, I have seen results in spades. They're easy to take, taste like nothing, and really make my body feel good."
"I have never been able to apply liquid liner. It's just not in my skill set. I'd all but sworn it off entirely until I tried Glossier's newest launch. I don't know why, or how, but this is the one eyeliner I've been able to apply with zero effort. It's smooth, jet-black, and doesn't smudge (even if you have a shaky hand, like me). I practiced a few times and now I fancy myself a liner connoisseur. Well, sort of. Bottom line? This is the liquid liner for those who think they can't apply liquid liner.
Holly Rhue, associate editor
"As soon as temperatures drop below 45 degrees, my cuticles dry out to the point of actually cracking and bleeding (cute!). It's extremely painful, and no hand lotion or set of cashmere gloves can remedy the issue. That is, until this millennial pink wand landed on my desk earlier this month. Olive & June's Cuticle Serum is basically a magic pen with a plushy tip for treating cuticles to soothing, non-greasy hydration. It dries super fast and is the only product I've ever tried that's actually kept my cuticles intact this time of year (when I'm usually drenching my nails in Aquaphor)."
"I'm fairly selective when it comes to body lotion, so when Ouai—a brand that used to exclusively create haircare—released this product, I was admittedly a skeptic. Nonetheless, I'm excited to report that it lives up to the hype of founder Jen Atkin's other cult-favorite products. It's similar to the consistency of a creamy yogurt, but absorbs quickly and hydrates deeply. I keep mine in my shower and apply while my body is still a little bit wet for added moisture."
"This sunscreen has been around for a while, but I just dug it out from my beauty stash when my dermatologist told me I needed to switch to a non-comedogenic sunscreen (the physical SPF I'd been using was breaking me out). So many sunscreen brands claim that their products won't leave behind any residue, but Invisible Shield's promise actually holds true. It goes on like a serum, completely clear and smooth. It protects against UVA/UVB rays and has even won an award from the Skin Cancer Foundation. Disclaimer: I find the scent delightful, but a lot of reviewers complain that it's too strong. It also isn't waterproof, so it's best for daily wear under makeup... not so much for your beach getaway.
Star Donaldson, associate social media editor
"Every time I walk past an Xpress Spa, I can’t resist grabbing one of these eye masks. They warm upon contact which gives a spa-like effect that has really become my in-flight essential. I put one of these on, turn on a chill podcast and I’m lulled right to sleep. Best of all, I wake up without that dry eye/skin feeling I usually get after being on a plane.
Finally, after paying a seriously inflated price for one, I wised up and ordered them on Amazon and now have a bunch that will hold me over until the next time I need a spa experience."
"With the winter cold in full swing, it seems like all of my aches and pains are back. Lately, I’ve been lathering on Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Lotion and it's made a huge difference. I also love that I know exactly how potent each pump of lotion is because it displays the dosage right on the bottle. I've also been sharing some with my boyfriend who recently sprained his foot, and he attributes being able to walk pain-free to this lotion! I honestly can’t think of a better stocking stuffer/intro to CBD for someone on your list."
"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 that our quality team director, Elspeth wanted to write about it this month too, so just don't 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 honestly sharts!”
Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"After attending a brand launch for Olay's new retinol geared toward a younger audience than the demographic of its beloved Regenerist line (because retinol is best used preventatively), I was intrigued to learn that the potency and staying power of this particular retinoid complex is much stronger than more expensive leading competitive brands all while proving to be less trying on the skin. The key is that it's formulated with an easily penetrable proprietary complex of both retinol and retinyl propionate, the latter of which is the least irritating retinoid, as well as vitamin B and glycerin to hydrate the skin all day long.You also won't find fragrances or dyes—just a solid, hard-working formula that has honestly shown noticeable results on my skin, from a firmer, more supple complexion to noticeably diminished fine lines. It's quite honestly one of, if not, the best retinol products I've ever used."
"There's been a pretty sizable outbreak of beauty companies maintaining that they're one of the most clean, effective, yet affordable brands available of late, which deserves some deep diving in a number of different areas not limited to ingredients and clinical trials. Eventually, it feels like a lot of noise, and, as an editor, causes me quite a bit of fatigue.
"I recently met with Inn Beauty, a brand that, once again, claims to be clean, affordable, and effective, but before I could let out a sigh, they presented me with their line of products. Not only are they vibrantly-packaged (in such a way that uses minimal, recycled materials, to boot), but each product is tested by dermatologists and uses non-toxic formulas free of nasties (see the full list here). The products are also just super fun to use, like this lip oil that tastes like a deliciously sweet candied apple. I'm generally not a lip gloss kind of person (I find it too sticky and short-lived) but this offering is neither, and lovely to apply with its giant doe-foot applicator made to mimic the shape of a finger for even application."
Elspeth Velten, editorial director, quality
"I don't do decorative seasonal tchotchkes in my house or line up for holiday-themed drinks at Starbucks, so this gentle peel from Naturopathica is the only place you'll find pumpkin-flavored anything sneaking into my apartment this fall (aside from my refrigerator). In texture and smell, this peel literally feels like a festive slather of pumpkin puree on the face, and after it's washed off, it leaves bright and even skin in its place. (And some holiday spirit!)"
"I rubbed this luxurious balm on my hands and arms this weekend and was instantly calmed by the pervading coolness and accompanying herbal aroma, which was pleasant even for my husband at the other end of our couch. Next time I'm sore from a workout I'll be putting the 500mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract (the good stuff) in here to the test."