The 12 New Holy-Grail Products We Discovered This Year

We adore trying products. It's a hobby just as much as it is part of our job description. Our bathrooms have a revolving door of products for that very reason. But every so often, a product (or two or three) are special enough to keep in the rotation for far longer than usual. Such is the case with these, a collection of favorites we discovered this year and are toting along with us straight to 2019. There are lipsticks, foundations, primers, highlighters—the works. They're all unique and exciting in their own way. 

Below, find the products we just can't seem to live without. The ones that, even when something similar comes along, we won't give up. We're stubborn like that. The formulas are perfect, the finishes flawless, and each one has a little something that puts a pep in our step. Keep scrolling for a slew of products you're sure to fall in love with.

Amanda Montell, Features Editor

Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Makeup Remover $66

"Cleansing water may seem like a simple, boring product, but when you find one that both annihilates makeup and dirt from your face and makes your skin insanely glowy and soft, it's truly life-changing. Such is the reason I keep a literal vat of Koh Gen Do's Spa Water on my bathroom counter. It's simply my favorite product of the moment to use to make sure my face is 100% clean." 

ModelCo More Brows
ModelCo More Brows $18

"A fairly new but fervent obsession, this under-the-radar brow gel tints my brow hairs while keeping them in place however I choose to style them (which is usually brushed-up and wildly feathered) unlike any other. Whenever I wear it, people gush over my brows as if they naturally came that bushy and beautiful. Little do they know it's this $18 secret weapon in the shade Medium-Dark."

Phlur Hanami Eau de Parfum
Phlur Hanami Eau de Parfum $96

"I'm always hopeful whenever a new perfume crosses my desk at Byrdie that it will check off all my boxes, but it didn't happen until late summer of this year. That's when a package from a new fragrance brand called Phlur showed up unannounced and proceeded to quickly replace basically every other fragrance I'd collected over the year. I loved Hanami, it's a light and minimalist scent of fig, white florals, hazelnut, and sandalwood. 

These perfumes smell expensive—eccentric and complex yet subtle enough that I could see them working for a number of different personalities and genders. I figured each one had to be at least $200. A visit to the Phlur website made me do a double-take. Each scent is only 96 bucks. And shipping is always free. The products are also available on Amazon and at Sephora, both online and at a couple of hundred brick-and-mortar stores."

Lindsey Metrus, Managing Editor

Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlight
Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlight $75

"Famed celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman now has her own line of dewy makeup meant to enhance your natural beauty called Westman Atelier, sold exclusively at Barneys. I was lucky enough to have Westman herself apply the products to my face and was immediately impressed with how light, blendable, and subtly beautifying the aftereffect was. My favorite product from the line by far is the Tinted Highlight. It's a creamy bronze hue that instantly melts on contact. You tap it onto your cheekbones for a sun-kissed shimmer or on your lids as a subtle cream eye shadow."

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops $36

"This antioxidant serum/liquid bronzer hybrid is exactly what my perpetually pale skin needs year-round. It's super concentrated, so you only need a small dab, which I apply directly to my skin before moisturizer. It's recommended that you dilute it with another skincare product, but I need all the faux color I can get. Even with my foundation layered on top, the subtle bronze hue shines through, as if I've just spent a few days at the beach, minus the sun damage."

Joah Brow Down to Me: Precision Brow Pencil
Joah Brow Down to Me: Precision Brow Pencil $9

"I've been faithful to the same brow pencil for ages, but after trying this variation in Cool Taupe, my old faithful has met its match. The micro-tip makes for precise application and perfect hair-like strokes, and the formula itself is slightly waxy, so it stays in place all day long."

Erin Jahns, Assistant Editor

Crop Natural Bio Metal Eyeshadow in Gilded
Crop Natural Bio Metal Eyeshadow in Gilded $26

"I've never loved wearing eye shadow, but this year's new makeup launch from Crop Natural has me obsessed. This is literally the best cream shadow I've ever tried. I'm hardly skilled when it comes to eye shadow application (simply because I barely ever wear it), but this lightweight yet glimmering formula is foolproof, long-wearing, and stunning on top of lids. It doesn't crease or cake, and it also photographs beautifully. I especially love this gilded shade, and it's all I've been wearing this winter for the perfect holiday glow. With some mascara and a hint of black liner, it's perfect."

Tarte Quench Hydrating Primer
Tarte Quench Hydrating Primer $32

"In keeping with the above theme (products I never thought I'd wear but am now obsessed with) is this primer from Tarte. It's amazing, and honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to my old primer-less foundation ways. The lightweight texture manages to keep your skin hydrated (hence the name) without making your complexion look oily or sweaty by midday. It provides a smooth, airbrushed-like base for your foundation and any other makeup you apply afterward, and I'm convinced it also helps your products work longer and better. Plus, it's boosted with skin-healthy ingredients like amino acids, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, turmeric, and probiotics."

Hallie Gould, Senior Editor

Glossier Generation G in Jam
Glossier Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick $18

I've always been after that stained, melted-lipstick vibe and finally found it with Glossier's Generation G lipstick. The formula is multifaceted, as you can apply just a sheer wash of color or build it up and really go bold. I like to do something in between, making sure to keep the finish matte and the edges imperfect. That way, the lip feels lived-in and cool (and doesn't get fussy if I try to eat or drink during the day). Every single person I passed complimented the color and asked which product I was using. I'm taking it as a sign and continuing to apply it into the New Year.

Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation
Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation $18

After a quick skin refresh with M-61's Hydraboost HA Serum Pads ($32), I dot on the Firm Flesh foundation, but only in the spots I really need it. The formula is thick and a little dry (hence the HA serum beforehand), but once it's blended, it is so incredible. A little goes a long way, so it'll last forever, and it's a perfect color match for my skin tone. I apply it along my inner cheeks (where I often have redness), down the bridge of my nose, in the center of my chin, and in one quick swipe along the middle of my forehead. Then, I use a damp Beautyblender to blend it all out. It offers the perfect sheer-to-medium finish when applied that way, looking glowy and not at all caked on.

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