March is among the longer months of the year, and even in normal times it can really feel like it—the weather is mercurial, and though the days begin to get longer, the pace towards sunny evenings can feel positively glacial. Pair that with one full year of social distancing and this past month was a rough one indeed.
As such, we relied on our beauty and wellness products to lift our spirits more than ever. Thankfully, they delivered. They include a bold eyeshadow perfect for making the gray days of winter a bit brighter; a LED mask that proved to be one editor's go-to treatment for bouts of maskne; and an eye cream that helped to "hide the stress and despair of the past year." Read on for the full run-down of our favorites.
Star Donaldson, Social Media Editor
Alodia Nourish & Heal Organic Black Soap Wash
"For so long, my scalp felt irritated between washdays. I didn’t have dandruff, but it was itchy and didn’t feel clean after washing. During a deskside with Alodia founder and trichologist, Dr. Isfahan, I mentioned my concerns and she recommended the Nourish & Heal Organic Black Soap Wash. Cut to now, and I’m totally converted. This shampoo is made with organic black soap which is antibacterial, and tea tree oil that helps soothe and moisturize the scalp. Unlike any other shampoo I’ve tried, it’s liquidy instead of gel or cream which is actually perfect to apply directly to my scalp through my thick hair. It lathers like a dream, smells heavenly, and most importantly, I haven’t had any scalp issues since adding it to my wash day routine."
Peppy and Co. LED Light Therapy Mask V2
"My maskne has been a real challenge since September of last year. I’ve tried so many things to help keep it at bay, but nothing works quite as well as consistently using this Peppy and Co. LED Light Therapy Mask V2. It has blue light (antibacterial), red light (encourages collagen production), and yellow light (reduces redness and pigmentation) settings that automatically time out 10 minutes of therapy once you land on your preferred color. I saw the best results when using 20 minutes of blue light and 10 minutes of red light. Within a week of nightly use, I saw a major change in my active acne and the overall texture of my skin. I highly recommend it for easy at-home treatment."
Naturopathica Lavender & Honey Balancing Mist
"I’m big into mists since being at home, and this mist is by far my favorite. It’s made with lavender which gives it a great smell but also has antimicrobial properties. It also contains honey which is a natural humectant. Hydration is such a key part of my skincare routine, and whenever I feel a little dry, I just give myself a spritz throughout the day and I feel refreshed and uplifted. It’s the easiest step in my routine but has made the biggest difference in my skin’s hydration."
Holly Rhue, Editor
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
"I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say one use of this product gave me the smoothest, glossiest air-dry I've ever experienced in my life. My hair typically air-dries to a frizzy, ill-defined mess of waves and curls, but after using the latest launch from Olaplex, I'll probably never bother with picking up my diffuser again. I masked with Olaplex No. 3, shampoo, then skipped the conditioner and used this moisturizing mask instead, and the combination left me with dreamy, shiny, reflective waves—like a dream-catcher for golden hour light."
Associate editorial director Hallie Gould is also a fan: "I brush it through my mid-lengths to ends on clean, damp hair, answer some emails, and then wash it out for visibly happier, stronger hair."
Eco Your Skin Phytoncide Secret Mask
"I recently tried this product at the recommendation of Peach and Lily founder Alicia Yoon (the mask just won Best Spa Treatment as part of the brand's annual Best of Korean Beauty Awards). I'm not usually one for clay masks, but this isn't an ordinary clay mask—the estheticians behind the formulation describe it as a 'corset for skin.' I found this to be true—my skin looked tighter immediately after using this mask, sans all of the cracking and skin-stripping I typically experience with kaolin-based masks. That, and the smell is intoxicating. (At the risk of sounding cheesy, I'd say it smells like fresh rainfall in a forest.)"
Avery Stone, Commerce Editor
Blume Stargirl Face Mist
"If I'm in need of a midday pick-me-up, a spritz of the right face mist never fails to do the trick—and this one from Blume, the skincare and personal care brand, is my new favorite. Its cruelty-free formula is packed with soothing, balancing ingredients (think: aloe, witch hazel, rose water, blue tansy, and peppermint) that virtually always leave me feeling refreshed, whether I'm wearing it over or under makeup. Bonus: It also smells so great but doesn't contain any added fragrance, so it's perfect for those with sensitive skin (like myself)."
Olivia Hancock, Associate Editor
Danessa Myricks ColorFix Mattes
"Lately, I’ve been obsessed with playing with brightly colored makeup. Danessa Myricks' Color Fix helps me live out my bold beauty girl dreams. During a recent Sephora haul, I picked up the shade Carrot Top. I love that it is a multi-purpose product that is suitable to use on your lips, eyes, and cheeks. I’ve only used it on my eyes so far, but I can tell you that this product doesn’t disappoint. It delivers such a bright, even pigment wherever you place it. I’m excited to create more fun, exciting beauty looks with this shade, and to try some of the other hues that the brand has to offer."
Biossance Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner
"I’ve been in search of a good toner for a while, and this one from Biossance has fit right into my skincare regimen. It’s made with raw white willowbark which provides benefits like calming inflammation, dissolving dead skin, and smoothing texture. The formula also contains squalane to hydrate and refresh your skin. My skin always looks glow-y and renewed after I apply this toner."
Kosas Air Brow Fluff + Hold Treatment Gel
"When I don’t have the energy to fill in my brows, I still like to groom them a bit with brow gel. This one from Kosas is a gem. Brushing the product through your brows gives them an instant lamination effect that lasts all day. My brows also look fuller thanks to the formula’s infusion of biodegradable, plant-based fibers and the thoughtfully designed triangular spoolie that lifts each hair. If that wasn’t enough, the gel conditions your brow hairs while you wear it. It contains high-quality haircare actives like panthenol, pro-vitamin B5, biotinoyl tripeptide-1, hyaluronic acid, and trehalose."
Juara Candlenut Body Creme
"I like to treat my skin to luxurious-feeling and intensely hydrating body creams. Juara’s Candlenut Body Creme is the latest one to earn a spot in my routine. It is a godsend for my dry skin. The lightweight cream melts effortlessly into my skin and packs long-lasting hydration into my parched limbs. I love using this right after washing my body in the shower with the brand’s Hydrating Shower Gel. Together, they make my bathing routine feel extra special."
Tower 28 Beach Please Luminous Tinted Balm
"Multi-purpose products make my heart swoon. Tower 28’s Beach Please Luminous Tinted Balm can be used on your lips and cheeks. I prefer to dab it on my cheeks like blush as it gives my skin a natural, sun-kissed glow. These tinted balms are available in six shades inspired by the Santa Monica sunset (Rush Hour is my current favorite). In addition to delivering a beautiful flush of color to the skin, the balms boast a silicone-free formula filled with plant-based ingredients like green tea and aloe vera extract. Makeup that has skincare benefits? It’s an automatic winner in my book."
Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial and Strategy Director
Golde Shroom Shield
"I am not someone who's super into powders, adaptogens, or health foods, but when I heard about Golde's chocolaty, immune-boosting, stress-busting Shroom Shield, I decided to give it a try. This blew me out of the water. Benefits aside, this powder turned my morning coffee and almond milk into a decadent chocolate drink, and when I tried adding a banana the next morning, it felt like I was drinking a breakfast milkshake. Is there a lot of added sugar, you ask? Shockingly, there's none at all. It's sweetened by monkfruit and gets its chocolate taste from cacao. The turkey tail and reishi mushrooms have been used in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries, and clinical trials have shown that they've even slowed the growth of some cancer cells. Immunoprotective capacities aside, the taste alone was enough for me to add this to my routine."
Essentialist Daily Renewal Face Oil
"This is easily the best-smelling face oil I've ever tried. It's extremely viscous and takes a while to absorb, which makes it perfect for gua sha; it was designed to be paired with Essentialist's tools. The amber color gives my skin an immediate glow, and after some gua sha or face-rolling, it sinks in for an illuminated, non-greasy finish. This is a staple for facial massage lovers everywhere."
Honeydipped Essentials Body Oil Stick
"I am a clumsy person, so I've avoided body oil, afraid I'd make a greasy, slippery mess all over my bathroom floor. This mess-free body oil stick, though, has converted me. It soaks in easily after a shower and leaves me smelling fresh for at least 24 hours. I also struggle with body acne and folliculitis, and I've found the colloidal oatmeal in the Milk & Honey formula to calm my breakouts rather than exacerbate them. This is a great, luxurious purchase for anyone who, like me, has a hard time working body care into their routine."
Silvon Fabric Mask
"This mask prevents maskne with antimicrobial silver threads, a clinically proven technology that's also used by NASA. When I wore this mask to an outdoor event with friends, there was no chafing or skin irritation and minimal slippage. It's breezy, light, and perfect for spring and summer wear. The Supima cotton feels like a thin bedsheet on your face. Speaking of which, Silvon also offers sheets, towels, and pillowcases for all-over acne prevention, too."
Lindsey Metrus, Editorial Project Director
Shani Darden Intensive Eye Renewal Cream
"Like most people, I require a lot from an eye cream. It needs to be light enough that it won't cause milia, filled with actives that will plump and hydrate the skin, and, if possible, hide the stress and despair of the past year. Not too tall of an order, right? While I'd found some formulas that cover a few of these bases, it wasn't until I tried celebrity esthetician Shani Darden's new formula that I was convinced I'd found the product. This silky, almost balm-like eye cream delivers an immediate brightening effect that's also noticeably tightened my under-eye area thanks to a blend of niacinamide and peptides. I use it every single night without fail."
Klorane Detox Dry Shampoo With Aquatic Mint
"I'm not sure if it's over 365 days of stress and uncertainty, but this past year, my hair has gotten so much greasier than normal. I'm finding that my go-to dry shampoo formulas aren't cutting it, and because I'm using more product to sop up the oil, my hair ends up looking dry and chalky. But recently, I tried Klorane's plant-based dry shampoo and was actually shocked at how good my hair looked. The other day, I had an early Zoom call, and my hair had a serious case of bed head and oily roots. But, I kid you not, after a few spritzes of this dry shampoo and a quick rustle of my fingers, my hair looked the best it had in a while. Better yet, the voluminous, 'just-washed' effect lasted well into the next day."
Hallie Gould, Associate Editorial Director
Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Mineral Sunscreen
"I'm always on the hunt for new sunscreens—the kind that feel good, look good, and work to keep my skin protected. Kate Somerville's Daily Deflector Mineral Sunscreen offers a dewy finish (a must-have in my book), as well as 100 percent zinc oxide UV protection, vitamin E, and ceramides to retain moisture. It has a slight cast when I first apply, but it sheers out as I massage it in. (That said, my skin is quite pale so I can't speak to its ability to stay sheer on darker skin tones, which is something to note for further testing here at Byrdie.)"
Karli Bendlin, Senior Email Editor
Eu'Genia Shea All Natural Shea Butter
"This little gold pot of shea butter might be the chicest beauty product I own. You can use it all over, but I like to keep it next to me while I'm working and massage it into my hands every few hours for a small self-care moment during the workday. It’s made by a mother-daughter duo that’s dedicated not only to providing customers with the highest quality shea butter, but also to providing fair wages and opportunities for their female workers in Ghana. The brand donates 15 percent of profits back to them in the form of an education fund."
Volition Beauty Yaupon Tea Glow-Awakening Moisturizer
"Unlike serums and face masks, moisturizer is usually a product I never get too excited about—until I tried this one from Volition Beauty. The texture is so light and airy, it literally glides across my skin and melts in upon contact. It's infused with a dose of caffeine from Yaupon tea to energize tired skin and reduce puffiness, and it leaves behind a slight cooling sensation that makes my skin feel more alive. I truly cannot stop singing its praises."
Eden Stuart, Associate Editor
CLE Cosmetics CCC Cream
"I don't have a particularly 'natural' aesthetic—my usual base makeup routine consists of sunscreen, primer, foundation, concealer, and setting powder. So imagine my surprise when I fell in love with a CC cream; well, a CCC (color, control, and change) cream, to be precise. The tiniest amount of this product offers solidly medium coverage, and the formula contains SPF 50 PA+++. When I set it with powder, I get the same impact as when I perform my multi-step routine, but in half the time, making it a true one-and-(almost)-done."
CND Vinylux Nail Polish
"Over the last year, I’ve been pretty lax when it comes to my fingernails—sometimes I’ll rock a full set of intricate press-ons or ornate stickers, but for the most part, I’ve spent the last several months with scraggly, unvarnished nails. The polishes from CND's new collection The Color of You, however, have inspired me to bust out the cotton balls and emery board for the first time in ages. The colors are so vibrant, it’s impossible not to feel an instant mood boost just looking at them. As an added bonus, when paired with the topcoat, the polishes last for ages (even for a compulsive hand-washer such as myself)."
Rodan + Fields Reverse Tone Correcting Treatment
"I’ve been dealing with a particularly rough bout of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation over the last few months, and have been utilizing Rodan + Fields Reverse regimen in an attempt to, well, reverse some of that maskne-induced damage. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my skin’s evenness and texture since starting the treatments; the Reverse Tone Correcting Treatment, in particular, has been a standout, thanks to its elegant and smooth texture and potent combination of 10 percent stabilized vitamin C and two retinoids. Here’s to reclaiming my 2019 skin in 2021."