In New York City—where most of team Byrdie resides—April often feels like the proper commencement of spring, and this year was no exception. Even in "normal" years, the days feel brighter and a sense of new beginnings permeates the air. This year, that feeling is doubled: As vaccination rates soar and an end to the pandemic finally feels in sight, our favorite beauty and wellness products speak to this sense of glowing boldly into the future. From a new shade in an old favorite lip balm to a moisturizer that leaves skin plump and radiant, our April picks shined bright. Read on for the full run-down of our favorites.
Holly Rhue, Editor
Olly Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder
After a recent surge of breakouts, my dermatologist recommended I switch to a vegan protein powder (apparently whey protein supplements can cause breakouts the same way that dairy can). I picked up this plant-based powder from Olly and not only has my skin cleared, but I discovered it actually tastes better than the chalky whey supplements I've always reached for in the past. When shaken with some vanilla almond milk, it tastes like a creamy chocolate milkshake enriched with 18 grams of protein, omega-3's, and zero sketchy sweeteners.
Aquis Copper Sure Hair Turban
I have wavy-to-curly hair that takes forever to dry (at least five hours if I don't use a blow dryer). So for most of the pandemic, I've just reluctantly accepted that I'll have soaking wet hair on half of my Zoom calls. When Aquis reached out to share the news of their latest innovation—an antimicrobial hair towel that's supposed to dry hair 50 percent faster—I jumped at the opportunity to take it for a spin.
A week later, I'm happy to report the technology actually works. In fact, I have the receipts—fresh out of the shower, I put my hair up into the turban and answered my emails for 20 minutes. Then I took my hair down and styled it as usual (a little mousse and some wave spray). I set my timer, and exactly one hour and 49 minutes later, my hair was completely dry. It totally worked, and supposedly the anti-microbial material means you can wash the towel less often, which extends the life of your turban (stay tuned for my official report—I've only been using it for a week so far).
Obé Fabric Resistance Bands
If you've ever used a traditional resistance loop made of rubber, you know the struggle. They roll up to your hips during squats, they snap during an arm burnout, they pinch your skin—they're just no good. As it turns out, those issues all disappear when you use a fabric resistance band. I made the switch to these bands from Obé Fitness and my resistance band workouts are so much more enjoyable now. These stay locked into place, so I never have to miss part of my workout to untangle or re-adjust.
Madeline Hirsch, Senior News Editor
Shani Darden Retinol Reform
Finally, a retinol that doesn’t freak my skin out. Despite its numerous anti-aging benefits, I have always refused to commit to any ingredient that makes my skin purge. After (unsuccessfully) looking for the perfect product for years, I finally got my hands on this cult-favorite from Shani Darden. This one is worth the hype. My skin is bright and soft—plus, no breakouts. Catch me releasing my inner glow and wearing nothing on my face but SPF, just in time for Shot Girl Summer.
Byredo Tears in the Rain Waterproof Mascara
How could I not love a mascara with a name that sounds like a lost Prince song? Aside from the packaging (marine blue, very chic), this product delivers exactly what I love in an applicator. The bristles are fine, allowing for lots of buildable volume and control—a must-have for my super-straight lashes. The smell is also heavenly (no surprise from Byredo), which is not something I usually demand in mascara. Now I'm spoiled and will accept no less.
Lindsey Metrus, Editorial Project Director
Josie Maran Argan Pro-Retinol Eye Concentrate
I never cared much for eye creams and always saw them as a burdensome step in my skincare routine. But lately the hollows of my undereyes have become more apparent, and I've been looking to formulas that help plump the skin, especially for the long term. This offering from Josie Maran has a pro-retinol complex, meaning it's converted to retinol once applied to the skin—so if you're sensitive to actives, you'll likely do well with this formula. The retinol component helps strengthen the skin, which then counteracts the thinness that gives way to sunken eyes and dark circles. It's also loaded with botanical hydrators and argan oil to plump the skin in the short term, too.
Chanel Rouge Coco Bloom
I love killing two birds with one stone when it comes to lip color. I almost always put on a lip balm before my lipstick to help smooth out and prep the area first, but if I can use a product that's dually hydrating and rich with color instead, consider me sold. I was so excited to try these new long-wearing, slightly glossy lipsticks from Chanel because a) hello, Chanel, and b) they fulfill all my requirements of a lip product: sleek, moisturizing, and long-lasting, with beautiful shades to choose from. I apply just a few swipes then work the rest in with my fingers for more of a tinted balm effect, and the result is subtle-yet-stunning color.
Hallie Gould, Associate Editorial Director
Tata Harper Superkind Fortifying Moisturizer
If you've been reading Byrdie for a while, it comes as no surprise that comforting, skin-healing moisturizers are always at the top of my list. The newest addition to my ever-growing collection is a new launch from Tata Harper. First of all, it's not thick—which I love for the changing season—but it still cocoons your skin in protective lipids and hyaluronic acid. It's fragrance-free, but the scent still smells luxe and spa-like, and it makes my skin glowy, happy, and plump upon application.
Karli Bendlin, Senior Editor
Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial
I'd heard other beauty editors gush about this overnight treatment for years, so my expectations were high when I recently (and finally) got the chance to try it out myself. I've been using it almost every night for a month, and I'm happy to report that the hype is so real. It's designed to help with blemishes specifically, but it has an amazing smoothing effect on my skin (even though I haven't had any major breakouts recently). The formula is packed with an all-star lineup of good-for-skin ingredients like hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and niacinamide, so it does the work of a whole fleet of skincare products. Every time I apply it, I swear I wake up to better skin.
Dior Addict Lip Glow in Mahogany
I've been a Lip Glow stan since I first started working in beauty—it's just the best lip balm out there, full stop. Recently, Dior launched a few new shades of the iconic product, including a deep nude called Mahogany that stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it on Instagram. After trying it out, I can confirm that it has all of the same hydrating and plumping benefits of the original Lip Glow, but leaves a sheer, '90s-brown wash of color that I'm obsessed with. While the pink version is still my G.L.O.A.T—greatest lip of all time—I like to think of the mahogany hue as its slightly edgier sister, who will be my go-to sidekick for nights out this summer.
Olivia Hancock, Associate Editor
Just Beauty Body Love CBD Butter
My dry skin demands intensely hydrating products. This body butter from Just Beauty moisturizes my skin like no other. It’s formulated with natural butters and oils, which nourish and soften the skin. As its name suggests, this body butter also contains hemp-derived CBD, known for its calming and hydrating properties. When this whipped moisturizer touches my skin, it instantly melts and envelops my skin with long-lasting nourishment.
Sienna Natural Dew Magic Leave-In Conditioner
I’ve found my conditioner BFF in Sienna Natural’s Leave-In Conditioner. The lightweight cream instantly soaks into my curly strands, leaving them incredibly hydrated. It’s formulated with a cocktail of moisturizing ingredients like baobab, coconut oil, and shea butter. I’ve been applying this conditioner daily to refresh my curls, and it always leaves them super soft and defined without feeling weighed down.
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
When it comes to complexion products, I tend to reach for tinted moisturizers and light-to-medium coverage foundations. Fenty Beauty’s new Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint has become my new go-to in the former category. It blends effortlessly into my skin, giving my complexion a natural blurred look. It’s a product that is easy to apply, and I’ve even been using my hands to blend it into my skin. The formula is also humidity-proof, sweat-proof, and transfer-resistant, so I’ll definitely be keeping this in constant rotation throughout the warmer months. If you want to create the ultimate no-makeup makeup look, add this to your cart ASAP.
Eos Rainbow Sherbet Lip Balm
Eos’ Lip Balms have been a favorite of mine since high school. The balms’ fun packaging and delicious flavors make taking care of your lips a delightful experience. The brand recently rolled out its new Eos Flavor Lab collection, which includes my current favorite—the Rainbow Sherbet Lip Balm. In true Eos fashion, it provides long-lasting hydration, seals in moisture, and smells so good. My lips always feel nourished and moisturized after swiping this on.
About-Face Paint It Matte Lip Color in Fireside
Red lipstick is my thing. It makes me feel powerful and confident every time I swipe it on. This one from About-Face is the newest red lip in my collection. The formula is a flexible matte liquid–meaning it’s not dry and uncomfortable to wear like other matte lipsticks can be. Fireside is a pigmented, vibrant, and juicy red shade. You’ll definitely catch me wearing it a lot.
Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial Director
Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Beauty Serum
This calming face oil is a new addition to my routine, perfect for gua sha and when I need something that seals in moisture but doesn't clog my pores. The CBD soothes my skin and minimizes redness, especially when paired with the brand's C-Drops, an ultra-intense, ultra-effective vitamin C formula. My mom's a CBD newbie, and I let her try out the serums when I stayed over at her house a few weeks ago. She liked them so much that she thought they were getting her high. They weren't—that's not how topical CBD works—but I do know what I'm getting her for Mother's Day this year.
Sea Witch Botanicals Solid Perfume: Hermitage
I stumbled upon Sea Witch Botanicals while trying out eco-friendly brands for Earth Month and fell in love. They're a certified B-Corp, commit one percent of their yearly profits to environmental nonprofits, and plus, they're affordable. The brand's toner comes out in the finest mist and soothes my inflammatory acne, and the Hermitage Perfume has also earned a permanent place on my shelf. The scent is targeted towards Earth signs—I'm a proud Virgo—and I take the little tin in my purse to apply every time I need a boost.
Spraise Coco Mango Scrub Devotion
I never thought of body scrubs as hydrating, until I tried the line from Spraise. Their scrubs are made from natural plant-based oils and seal in the moisture from the shower, eliminating my need for lotion. Plus, the Coco Mango smells like a beachside cocktail.
Eden Stuart, Associate Editor
Love Beauty and Planet Lavender and Hyssop Shower Gel
While I will never be a bath person (apologies to members of the #SeriousBathersClub), I do try to use my time in the shower to reach peak relaxation. My favorite way to achieve this is with gorgeous-smelling body washes. As soon as I opened Love Beauty and Planet's Lavender & Hyssop Shower & Bath Gel, I knew it was going to change my shower care game—the scent is just so darn soothing. It feels like I'm sudsing up in a field in Bulgaria, with all my cares thousands of miles away... even if I'm actually just standing in a tub in Brooklyn.
Sisley Paris Black Rose Beautifying Emulsion Hydrating Satin Body Veil
There is truly no better way to follow up a relaxing shower than with a rich body lotion. At the moment, my current go-to is Sisley Paris' Black Rose Beautifying Emulsion, which has a silky, hydrating formula that absorbs right away and leaves the perfect amount of lingering scent—alongside a bouncy, glowy appearance to the skin. It's the perfect way to end the day with a little bit of luxury.
Stila Stay All Day Mascara
So full disclosure—this mascara definitely has a bit of a learning curve. (I highly recommend watching the brand's application video on the Ulta website.) The wand features two different types of bristles: nylon fibers for lash-lifting, and Hytrel-molded plastic for volume-boosting. The result is the ultimate in falsie-looking lashes, and perhaps the best combination of lengthening and volumizing I've ever experienced in a mascara. It might feel like a bit of legwork to get the process down, but trust me—it's worth it.