When you test out a makeup product, it's instant gratification (or disappointment). Within seconds of application, you're able to tell immediately how well it does what it claims to do. If it does the opposite, you can make a game-time decision about tossing. With skincare, however, things get a bit trickier. It can take up to 12 weeks to yield actual results from your skincare (or longer for brightening treatments). But sometimes those rare gems come along that you swear have made a difference in your complexion. Of all the products we've tried this month (there were a lot), these are the ones we found made our skin look noticeably better, brighter, clearer, and overall more radiant, and as a result, we'll continue using them well into the next season.
It's safe to say CBD is having a major moment right now, but the truth it, a lot of the skincare products on the market don't actually contain enough CBD in them to actually, well, do anything. Not so the case with this potent skin salve, which contains 100 mg of full-spectrum CBD oil. That coupled with the super-clean formula and soothing ingredients like honey (the owner of this line is an actual beekeeper!), sweet almond oil, and royal jelly has made this salve-on-a-stick my go-to for any itchy or dry spots on my body. It's my winter skincare savior, and I love that it's portable enough to toss in my bag and go. (She makes great muscle-soothing CBD bath bombs ($14), too. You're welcome.)
I discovered this mahogany-colored essence from Amorepacific on a recent trip to Korea, and have since incorporated it permanently into my winter skincare routine. I've always had oily skin, but because it seems like I've been spending more time on a plane than not these days, I've been noticing dry spots and just an overall feeling of tightness and dehydration. This essence is made with from a single extract of green tea (fun fact: I actually went to Jeju Island, where Amorepacific sources the green tea it uses!), which has been naturally fermented and aged. The result is a hyper-potent formula that contains way more antioxidants than a traditional green tea-infused product. I noticed a difference in my skin's overall brightness and hydration levels after just a week of using it.
"My skin suffers from extreme vellus. Sure, it's not that noticeable to the naked eye, but I notice it a lot. It's bothered me for so many years, especially because I was born with jet-black hair. I've always been too scared to shave my face because of the fear that my vellus hair would grow back even worse, and I've seriously considered laser hair removal. But last week, team Dermaflash came by the Byrdie offices with their at-home derma-planing device and nothing was the same for me again. They 'flashed' my face for the first time, which consisted of shedding dead skin cells and removing all of my vellus hairs. I gasped after looking in the mirror when half of my face was flashed. The difference was incredible. My features look more defined, my products seep and absorb into my pores like never before, and my makeup goes on so much smoother. I've received so many compliments on my skin post-flashing. So I'll be doing this every Sunday as a part of my skin self-care ritual."
"I'm sort of new to the K-beauty bandwagon. I don't know why it took me so long to experiment, but I'm glad I did. I have cry-baby skin that pretty much freaks out if I put anything too strong on my face. So I was immediately won over by the gentle and natural ingredients in this mask. It's a silky-feeling blend of shea butter, jojoba seed oil, grapefruit extract, and raspberry seed oil. It feels super goopy but in a good and comforting way. You can use this on your skin as a mask, cleansing balm, or exfoliating scrub, and I decided to use it as a mask. I left it on for a while and was amazed afterward at how pillowy and plump my skin looked and felt. Its glow-inducing powers make this perfect for applying before your makeup. I didn't even have to use highlighter that day."
"I was first introduced to this primer when I previewed K-beauty destination Glow Recipe's pop-up in L.A. After applying a little drop to the back of my hand, I was hooked and nabbed a full bottle on the spot. The serum is ultra-moisturizing and has this incredibly bouncy, dewy finish that grips makeup extremely well but also keeps my skin looking firm and hydrated for hours (and hours) on end. This stuff got me through an entire Halloweekend (read: lots of makeup, tequila, and sleepless nights), and my complexion never looked the worse for wear."
"Our managing editor, Lindsey, was the first to turn me on to Ren's Evercalm collection of products—offerings that are really effective at calming and soothing irritated or redness-prone skin. So when the brand launched its new Overnight Recovery Balm, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The formula uses enzymatically activated oils (including olive, almond, and linseed) to stimulate lipid production overnight. This doubles cell turnover and deeply nourishes your skin while you sleep. Basically, it's a godsend for post-peel sensitivity or windburned skin once the really cold weather hits."
"I've been obsessed with glycolic acid products for a while now, as it's one of the few ingredients that truly makes an instant difference in the look and feel of my skin. Biossance's formula offers fruit acids along with fine mineral spheres to gently polish your skin while it helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and discoloration. Plus, with the addition of squalane, it's incredibly hydrating each time I apply it."
"I'm a bit of a latecomer to the iS Clinical bandwagon. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lucy Hale, and our very own Hillary Kerr swear by its products, so after recently receiving an email from the brand, I couldn't hit reply fast enough to set up a meeting and hear all about these seemingly miracle products. Ever since I've been religiously washing with the Cleansing Complex and drenching my skin and neck in the Active Serum, and after only a few weeks, my skin is the smoothest it's been in ages. My fine lines are also less visible, and when a blackhead extraction went haywire and turned into a full-blown giant pimple, just a few days and nights of applying the serum (and no other spot treatment) helped minimize the blemish much faster than expected. Though, a standout of my new IS Clinical regimen has been this vitamin C–rich GeneXC serum. Formulated to reverse hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and dryness, it's just the revival I need, especially in the wintertime."
"I have a visceral reaction every time I smell eucalyptus. It reminds me of childhood and having my mom put Vicks on my chest when I had a bad head cold to help clear my congestion. It's incredibly comforting, medicinal, and invigorating all at once, so whenever I get my hands on a product with that heavy menthol-like smell, I'm instantly in love. This body wash from Jack Black has just that and deep-cleans my skin without making it feel dry and tight in the slightest. I'm also super sensitive to body soap, and luckily this formula doesn't make me itch, for which I'm extremely grateful. The brand tells me it's the top body wash in the prestige category, and I can certainly tell why."
"I'll tell you what: I can count on half of my hand the number of SPF formulas I (and my nitpicky complexion) have ever loved. That said, EltaMD (which, by the way, is recommended by virtually every derm I ever speak to) has a new version that is 100% up to snuff and in all likelihood my newest bottle of skin-saving fare this month. It's a 100% physical-actives sunscreen that manages to moisturize my skin without leaving behind an overly oily aftermath, and it's also infused with an incredibly high volume of hyaluronic acid (which, ahem, helps retain more than 1000 times its water weight within skin cells) to keep my complexion looking plumped, dewy, and healthy all year long. I plan on using it all winter because, yes, we still need ample SPF coverage in the doldrums of winter, folks!"
"I'm obsessed with Olga, and I'm obsessed with her Facial in a Box set. I heavily rely on the Deep Detox version ($98) to keep my skin clear and less congested this time of year, but this new Ageless iteration might actually steal my heart this season. Its strategic facial process allows you to put your normal nighttime skincare routine on hold a couple of nights a week and utilize this two-step treatment plan instead. First, there's a no-rinse peel and then a no-rinse hydrating sleep mask you'll tuck yourself in with. You'll experience a gentle combination of exfoliation and hydration while you get some shut-eye and in effect wake up to a brighter and peppier complexion. It's a no-brainer for this time of year when temperatures and humidity take simultaneous nosedives."
"When it comes to skincare, I easily fall prey to (a) anything that smells good (but not stifling), (b) anything that covers more than one base (my skin is generally dehydrated everywhere), and (c) anything that actually does what it says it will and then some. Noto Botanic's dreamy and ethereal new moisture elixir covers literally every base. I don't use it on my face (just because I have annoyingly tiny pores which have proved finicky with heavier oils like coconut), but I have slathered this yummy blue tansy–infused spread all over every other inch of my body. I'm unequivocally obsessed. I got my jar about a month ago and have already used up almost its entire contents."
"I am so turned off by natural deodorant (aluminum-free formulas simply do not vibe with my body chemistry) that I'm surprised I even gave this stuff a chance. But I am so glad I did. Something about this bergamot, neroli, and sage scent sincerely camouflages less pleasant odors, and the formula (made from virgin coconut oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, beeswax, and arrowroot powder) is totally non-irritating, unlike some other natural deodorants. I've been using this stuff every day, and I'm shocked I still like it."
"I got my hands on this body oil after meeting a girl who had the softest, most luminous-looking legs I'd ever seen in my life and very aggressively interrogated her about what was responsible. The secret: this fast-drying, slightly shimmer-infused body oil made with coconut, jojoba, and grape-seed oils. The product smells like vacation and makes your skin insanely soft without being greasy. Current favorite body oil, hands down."
"Aside from this exfoliating peel smelling like a cross between pumpkin pie and spiced tea, I love using this in the fall for the fact that it gently clears away dead skin and impurities without leaving a veil of redness behind. (I say this as someone who struggles with an annoying case of rosacea.) It also brightens skin and fades post-summer dark spots. I'm in love."
"This product is everything I look for in a cleanser and more. It's clean, effective, and contains no fragrance that could potentially trigger my aforementioned rosacea. I use it every night after makeup remover to clear away any remaining makeup, dirt, and sweat without drying out my skin. I just can't believe it took me this long to try it."
Next up, the best makeup we tried this month.