Being a beauty editor should come with a lifetime membership to The Container Store—sure, it's a problem many people would love to have, but the job comes with an absolute deluge of new makeup, skincare products, and wellness solutions. (Indeed, a tower of boxes that need to be broken down, perched precariously on top of one other, looms behind me as I type this.)
Of course testing these products is part of our job descriptions. Each month, Byrdie editors like to share the things that stood out to us most: the pencils that gave us salon-worthy brows, the brushes that inspired us to wear makeup again, the oils that soothed our aches and pains. Read on for our February favorites.
Karli Bendlin, Senior Email Editor
"Up until recently, blush had been an expendable product in my makeup routine. I'd dab some on for special occasions, but it never became a mainstay in my product lineup—until I tried this Jillian Dempsey cheek tint. It melts into my skin with just a swipe of my fingers, and blends so smoothly that I could apply it without a mirror if I needed to. I like to dab a little on the apples of my cheeks and the bridge of my nose for a subtle rosy glow, and I swear it makes my skin just look healthier. It's one of the most seamless products I've ever used."
"I spent most of quarantine letting my brows grow out, and I'm giving them a little longer to reach their full potential before I go in for a shaping. In the meantime, this Em Cosmetics pencil is pretty much the only brow product I've been using. The tip of the pencil is ultra-fine and oval-shaped, so I can quickly fill in my sparse patches with tiny strokes that actually look like brow hairs. It's the only thing that's been keeping me from booking the next available brow appointment."
Kelly Gallagher, Senior Social Media Manager
"I'm a big believer in supplements so I was super intrigued to try Fatty 15, a supplement that is packed with good fats in order to help your cells age well from the inside out. Fatty15 uses only one ingredient: C15:0 (good fats!) to help arm your cells with what they need to age healthily. The benefits of Fatty15 are increased energy, regulated metabolism, strengthened immunity and has even helps to decrease cholesterol. They also take environmental health seriously, too—the bottle is reusable, and the refills come in paper packets to decrease plastic usage."
Hallie Gould, Senior Editor
"This is the type of moisturizer I'm always keeping an eye out for. The comforting, soothing, thick, happy formula that feels exciting to apply. It's like a blanket of hydrating, anti-aging goodness (with years of formulating and science to back it up). It's meant to all the things—reduce redness, smooth wrinkles, provide barrier repair, and replenish moisture to your skin—by way of peptides, squalane, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba seed oil. And it does. I've been using it for about a month (along with my very first retinol) and I'm so thrilled with the results."
"I've never been a makeup brush person—I used to think if I couldn't apply a product with a sponge or my fingers it wasn't for me. That all changed over the last few months as I watched Katie Jane Hughes test a collection of brushes she dreamed up with Spectrum Collections. They all looked so easy (and fun) to use. The collection include 25 foolproof brushes with numbers instead of names (that way, you can use them how you see fit—which I love). Though they sold out just a few hours, KJH has assured us there's more to come. Go to the website and turn on the restock notifications, you won't be sorry you did."
"Now that I have my set of brushes, I've been experimenting more with powders. This new palette is exactly what I was looking for—minimal, easy, and beautiful. There's an iridescent highlighter (think champagne and candlelight), two matte shades of rosy blush, and a matte bronzer. It's quick and pretty and that's everything I want right now."
"I know I'm not alone in feeling the pandemic aches and pains. We're about a year in and I've been perched on my couch for the entire time. This body cream offers 500mg of broad spectrum CBD and shea butter, as well as lavender and cedarwood essential oils, for a sensory experience like no other. It soothes, relaxes, and restores my skin, body, and soul."
Olivia Hancock, Associate Editor
As someone with perpetually dry skin, I’m always testing out different moisturizers to see which delivers the most hydration. Out of the dozens that I’ve tried, Belif’s The True Cream Aqua Bomb is among the best. It’s made with lady’s mantle, ceramide 3, and glycerin, which work to nurture the skin and maintain its moisture levels. When I slather it onto my face, the lightweight gel-cream absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling deeply hydrated all day.
"I received this palette from Jason Wu Beauty in the Desert Rose color way. And to be honest, it’s quickly become one of my favorites. It boasts a beautiful mixture of matte and shimmer shades, which allows me to create a number of versatile eye looks. It’s been the palette I’ve been reaching for when I want to go for a natural, earthy vibe with my makeup."
"When my skin is in need of a mid-day pick-me-up, I always reach for a face mist. Lately, I’ve been using the Keys Soulcare Reviving Aura Mist. Developed with the help of a dermatologist, the formula is infused with the rose of Jericho and witch hazel to calm and balance the skin. A few spritzes of the rose-scented spray always makes me feel rejuvenated."
"Black Girl Sunscreen deserves all of the hype and praise. It’s just that good. Like many people of color, I’ve encountered some not-so-flattering sunscreens (Think: the dreaded ashy, white cast). But, Black Girl Sunscreen is a far departure from that. It effortlessly melts into my skin, intensely hydrates (thanks to ingredients like jojoba and avocado), and leaves me with an all-around glow."
Lindsey Metrus, Senior Editor
"I love a hybrid product, especially this day and age, when cutting down my routine to a bare minimum feels much more appealing. The trouble is that when it comes to complexion products, it's hard to master a concealer-foundation duo—either it doesn't offer enough coverage or it errs on the opposite end of the spectrum and feels way too thick as an overall foundation. This new product from Marc Jacobs is the perfect compromise—it's buildable, so it expertly conceals discoloration, yet feels light enough to still let my skin show through when I use it all over my face. Bonus points: I tested it on an age spot on my mom's skin and it was practically erased before our eyes."
"Parade Underwear is like that cool neighbor you want to befriend—they're super colorful, inclusive, and fun, and, of course, they're insanely comfortable. The brand's latest iteration, a seamless 'universal' line, makes you forget you're even wearing underwear. They're perfect for wearing under tight leggings (or anything, really)."
"Hydrolate isn't a term we see too often in skincare, but it's a category that burgeoning French skincare brand Typology has perfected. Essentially, hydrolates are distilled essential oils, so they're largely natural botanical essences that pack quite a punch. This peppermint essence helps invigorate the skin and reduce sebum production, so it's been a great addition to my morning routine to help wake me up and prep my skin for makeup. Plus, I love how gorgeous the minimalist packaging is."
Holly Rhue, Editor
"Like most people, I deal with dryer than average skin in the winter, especially around my knees and elbows. But I also can't stand the feeling of trying to pull my leggings on over a greasy body lotion. Enter: body serums. Body serums—like face serums—are super lightweight without skimping on hydration, and this particular formula from Boscia is a serendipitous discovery if I've ever had one. I keep this in my shower and apply while my skin is still damp to really lock in as much moisture as possible. It's rich with peptides, absorbs quickly, doesn't streak, and doesn't have a strong fragrance (which I prefer, personally). My skin is noticeably plumper and happier since welcoming this little teal bottle into my shower."
"I'm a firm believer in the ritual of self-care. Every morning I knock out a quick sweat before I allow myself so much as a glance at my email, and every night I like to wind down with a drink. Usually my end of the day treat du jour is a glass of red wine or a whiskey on the rocks, but after picking up this supplement powder as a replacement during dry January, I actually haven't gone back to alcohol. The flavor—Blueberry Dream—doesn't taste artificial or syrup-y. It's light, refreshing, and honestly tastes like an expensive cocktail I'd get from an overrated rooftop bar. But instead of alcohol, it's loaded with 70 mg of magnesium per serving to help reduce stress and promote a full eight hours of sleep. When I really want to trick myself into thinking I'm having a cocktail, I'll add a splash of seltzer and a mint leaf."
"If the word 'plumping' immediately makes you think of spicy gloss formulas that feel like they're inflamming your lips rather than actually plumping them, allow me to direct you to your new favorite product. This gloss actually makes my lips look bigger, shinier, juicier—the works—without the stinging. That, and it's not sticky in the slightest (it feels more like a lip oil than a gloss). I am no longer interested in any other lip gloss; this is the one, and I cannot be convinced otherwise."
Avery Stone, Commerce Editor
Wishful Thirst Trap Juice HA3 Peptide Serum
"I was slightly late to the game in terms of trying this face serum from Wishful, Huda Kattan's skincare line (it came out in January), and it's an actual regret of mine that I didn't get to it sooner—that's how much I love it. My skin tends to get super dry in the wintertime, and this product provided some much-needed hydration thanks to three types of hyaluronic acid, as well as niacinamide and hollyhock rose. Plus, it's vegan and has a light, fresh scent. I feel (and look) instantly refreshed after applying it."
U Beauty The Sculpt Arm Compound
"The word on the street (or, the word from Team Byrdie) is that this new body treatment from Tina Craig's U Beauty visibly tightens and tones the skin on the arms. I was skeptical, to say the least, but after trying this product, I was very pleasantly surprised. While I can't yet speak to the efficacy of the toning bit—I've only used this product in conjunction with consistent HIIT workouts for a week or so—I can say that it has made my arms feel smoother and softer than they do during the summer, which is no small feat. I'm beyond excited to keep using this product."
Eden Stuart, Associate Editor
"At the risk of sounding dramatic, this has changed my life. Historically, I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge every day with a bar of soap, and my brushes … well, let’s just say they haven’t seen water anywhere near that frequency. This nifty invention, which brings the soap and the scrubber together in one tiny apparatus, makes cleaning both an absolute breeze. It’s fitted with suction cups on the bottom, so I pop mine right on the sink and scrub up my tools on the regular."
"E.l.f. makes my all-time favorite primer, the Jelly Pop Dew Primer, but this new addition is really giving Jelly Pop Dew a run for its money. The Mintmelt Cooling primer has the same tacky consistency as its predecessor (which, for my oily skin, is the absolute best insurance for a full face of makeup), but with a minty vanilla scent. They’re currently the only two primers I use, and work with almost every foundation I own."
"This is one of those 'new to me' products that others have been loving for a long time. Eyeshadow has always been my makeup Achilles Heel, mostly because I felt pressure to create multi-color, complicated works of art. As it turns out, one swipe of color really can pop beautifully on its own, and the creamy texture of the Caviar Sticks make them just the tool for the job. This shade gives my face an instant warmth that has really been elevating my everyday looks."
Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial Director
Carbonnique Face & Neck Massaging Tool
"I have seasonal allergies for every season, which means there's never a morning where I don't wake up puffy. This roller is a quick way to bring life to my skin, easy enough to incorporate into my ten-minute morning routine. The double-pronged head mimics the techniques of a professional facial, and I love the way it melts the tension in my neck and jaw after a long night of stress-clenching. I pair the tool with the brand's rosehip oil, which sinks into my oily skin so well for the perfect, non-greasy glow."
Cerena CBD Nocturno
"I got to try Cerena's products through their partnership with Carbonnique. While I've enjoyed rolling their CBD on my face to calm my inflamed skin, my favorite oil of theirs is Nocturno, which I take sublingually before bed. Their full-spectrum blend contains CBN to help you transition to sleep, which has been a challenge for me during the pandemic. Since I'm constantly attached to my laptop, I can forget I'm not constantly at work, then have some trouble winding down for bed. Unlike other sleep supplements I've tried, Nocturno helps me fall asleep, but doesn't leave me groggy in the morning."
Amie Glow & Bright Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes
"I am lazy with my morning routine—I know that if it gets too complicated, I'll skip it entirely. When I found out it wasn't necessary to do a full cleanse of my face in the morning, I started using wipes instead. Amie's Glow & Bright formula doesn't irritate my skin and comes in at only $4.50 a pack (available at Target). They have two other formulas as well, one for dry skin, and one for oily and acne prone skin. The best part is that they're biodegradable (within 15 days under test conditions), more environmentally friendly than other wipes. Affordable, sustainable, and effective, this product is a new hero in my beauty routine."
Homebody CBD Full Spectrum of Possibilities
"Bath soaks have been my ultimate indulgence during this winter stuck inside. Homebody's formula is natural, sustainable (biodegradable, food-grade glitter!), and chock full of calming ingredients to soothe your skin and your mind. This blend contains chamomile, which is known to minimize blemishes, and has personally calmed my bacne breakouts. I leave the bath feeling cleansed, refreshed, and centered."