Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Meet Byrdie Boy Tynan Sinks—beauty writer, makeup experimenter, fragrance aficionado. Ahead, he shares his thoughts on summer's buzziest new beauty launches, from Tatcha to Byredo.
What a summer this has been, am I right? Many of us have looked to beauty and skincare as a welcome respite and distraction from the seemingly endless news cycle of doom—myself included! In doing so, I've tried many of this summer's hottest drops, because when it comes to beauty, I am naturally inquisitive and as it happens, right now I have nothing to do but sit in my apartment and put things on my face.
Lucky for you, this means I tried basically everything that has come out in the last few months, and have a list of everything that I really love! If there's one positive thing that's gonna come out of this summer, it's me having good skin—even if no one is around to see it.
Slushy is billed as a serum and moisturizer in one. I love a hybrid skincare moment. You could use this as a serum step, a moisturizer step, or combine them into one and knock them both out. Honestly, it feel so moisturizing that there’s no reason why you can’t just use this in place of a serum and moisturizer, but I use it as a serum step at night before I moisturize.
Bakuchiol (bah-koo-chee-ol) is spun at high speeds in a hyaluronic acid serum to create this unique texture. It's sort of like two textures in one, one of them being a bit more liquidy, one being more firm. Hyaluronic acid instantly hydrates the skin while bakuchiol works to treat protect the complexion.
Wait. What the hell is bakuchiol? Glad you asked. It works similarly to a retinoid without some of the abrasive side effects. Inn other words, it’s more gentle. It both helps prevent the breakdown of collagen in skin, while promoting the production of more collagen, so this works to promote more plump, even-looking complexion.
Most retinoids make skin photosensitive, or more prone to sun damage. Because bakuchiol is a more gentle alternative, it's safe to use in your morning routine, where retinoids are usually saved for nighttime. Along with this, it’s safe to use twice a day, so if you’re really feeling this, you can use it morning and night. Listen, we stan anything that promotes cellular turnover, and doing so while being more gentle? It’s a win/win, sweetie.
Also? The component is made with no metal spring, so it’s “curbside recyclable.” Oftentimes when there’s a metal spring in a component, it deems it unrecyclable, but this you can toss into your recycling like you would with anything else! This product is innovative in many ways and I've been loving how it has made my skin look and feel.
A long time ago (2019,) in a galaxy far, far away (2019,) the Starface Hydro-Stars pimple patches landed on earth, announcing a new brand and a new way to think about acne.
Now the Starface family is growing, and fast. I think my favorite skincare launch of the year, so far, has been Starface Space Wash. It’s a gentle cleanser that feels great and cleanses without stripping my skin. Perhaps it wasn’t the most break-the-internet drop of the year, but it’s good, and that’s what matters.
And then came the moisturizer. This is so exciting to me because it feels like the brand is planting its flag on the moon saying they’re here to stay.
Moisture On Mars is a hydrating cream for all skin types, and being lightweight and non-comedogenic, is especially good for acne-prone skin. It helps to control oil, fights acne-causing bacteria, and works to reduce the appearance of acne scars over time. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and at $18 for 1.7 ounces, it’s very affordable.
As always, the branding is next level. The product is housed in a little space pod-shaped component, looking like it just arrived from it’s journey from, well, Mars. The texture of Moisture On Mars is a little thinner than I’m used to, but it has a nice slip to it, meaning a little bit will go a long way. I use two pumps and it leaves my face moisturized, glowy, and looking and feeling great all day.
Like the cleanser, it’s made only the stuff your skin (my skin, at least) loves. Sage leaf extract and holy basil leaf extract help control oil and fight bacteria. Sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid, helps moisturize, and vitamin E helps nourish.
To be honest, I wanted this exclusively because of the name. I needed Pink Cloud on my sink and that is that. Thank goodness I ended up really liking it.
The “creamy jelly” in the name kind of throws me. Is it a cream or is it a gel? Pick one! Whatever it is, I’m a huge fan. To me, it’s a gel. Let’s start there.
When applied, the gel has a lot of squish and slip, so I can wash my whole face with just one little pump of product. I really like that because it doesn’t feel like I’m burning through it during use. It feels very cushiony on the skin and is accurately described by the brand as a low-foaming cleanser. Low foam, not no foam. I need my cleansers to foam up at least a little for me and this one definitely does.
The tremella in the name comes from the tremella mushroom, which can hold up to 500 times its weight in water, helping it to not only bring hydration to the skin, but lock it in. Rosewater hydrates while helping to soothe the appearance of redness, while squalane helps to moisturize while providing the “creaminess” to the creamy jelly. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and fragrance free.
My skin feels cleansed but not stripped after use. Overall, I just really enjoy using it.
As with all of Herbivore’s products, the component is great, too. The heavy glass bottle makes me a little nervy in the shower, but that’s a me thing. I will say a design touch that I love is that the pump has a twist lock on it to make sure you’re only dispensing product when you’re trying to. I love that and small touches like this do inform my decision to buy/use as a consumer.
If you know me at all, you will know that one absolute mainstay in my skincare routine is the Pixi Glow Tonic toner. I can’t say enough about it. It completely revolutionized my skin when I started using it a few years ago. It evens tone, smooths texture, helps prevent clogged pores, it is truly so, so good. And it’s so affordable! I’ve turned a ton of people on to it and they basically all rave about how it makes their skin look.
Pixi makes many versions of this toner, some with rose, vitamin C, lavender, you name it, but I always go back to the original Glow Tonic. After fans begged and pleaded, Pixi created a tonic with even more acids to help tone and clarify, including glycolic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate, and lactic acid to unclog pores. I guess you could call this the by demand version.
First of all, this name, lol.
We are all wearing sunscreen every day, right? RIGHT?! It feels like every brand is focusing on SPFs right now, so there are options for everyone no matter what type of formula you like or how much you want to spend.
Every Day Human has two sunscreen formulas: one mineral and one chemical. I really like them both, but I’ve been reaching for the sunscreen serum a little more.
It’s very lightweight, so as the last step of my skincare, it doesn’t feel like I’m piling yet another product on my face, or ending my routine with a heavy, greasy product. It applies beautifully, feels great on, and plays well under makeup.
It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid so your skin gets an added powerful dose of moisture, as well as spinach and green tea to repair and strengthen skin’s natural defense barrier. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and fragrance free. All in all, I really love it, and I’m so glad I got my hands on it because it’s been a welcome addition and necessary last step to my skincare.
I really like this. This is like everything that Tatcha does well (which is…everything) packed into a super functional product. It’s a bouncy cream formula that foams up into a beautiful lather and cleanses without leaving skin stripped. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and a blend of Okinawa algae, it attracts moisture while strengthening skin’s natural barrier. Essentially, it moisturizes while working to keep moisture in for longer.
It also contains Japanese rice powder, which helps to soften, moisturize, and boost luminosity. This is not, I repeat, not an exfoliating cleanser, but the addition of the rice powder does feel like a thousand tiny angles scrubbing your face with (non-abrasive) brushes (RIP Clarisonic.)
Ugh okay TO BE HONEST the last thing I ever want to talk about is deodorant. BUT. I have to tell you about this one because it’s just that good.
So, my whole beauty and skincare routine is cruelty-free. Thing is, when it comes to deos, if you’re looking for cruelty-free options, that usually puts you in the natural, “clean” category. Truthfully, finding a cruelty-free deodorant that actually works often feels like an uphill battle, and often a waste of time, and money. There are a lot of them out there, even the big ones, that at best, don’t last, and at worst, don’t work.
I’ve been trying a few new options all summer with varying degrees of success, and then Kosas came into my life. It just works, plain and simple. And it works the way you want your deo to work. It’s a gel texture in a tube dispensed with a rollerball. There’s no weird residue. It doesn’t leave marks on your clothes.
They don’t tie a claim to how long it works, which I think is smart because everyone is different, but on me, it lasts for 24 hours.
Every time Byredo releases a new scent, the world stops moving for me for a minute. They are one of my favorite perfume brands and it’s hard for me to find something in their collection that I don’t like. Lil Fleur is a lighter, brighter take on their usual scents, but in a way that I’ve never really smelled before.
Fleur means flower in French, allegedly. The thing is, I hate floral fragrances, or what we think of as typical floral anyway. This is not that. For the name being so floral, I’m actually surprised by the fact that it’s not very flowery.
But it does smell like nature (not that I’d know.) It smells like the Midwest on a hot summer day, in a field or a trail. It doesn’t smell like the earth, but rather, all the chaos that comes from it. It has notes of tangerine, rose oil, leather, amber, woods, and vanilla to name a few. It smells like dry heat and honeysuckle and weeds that grow in the space between the parking lot and the curb. It’s yellow.
It smells like the interior of a Honda Accord that has been baking in the sun for hours. Like warm breeze through a vast expanse of overgrown grass on a hot July afternoon. For all of the scents, especially from Byredo, that smell like sex and lust and longing—this one doesn’t. It smells like curiosity, and driving around as a teenager with the windows down, anticipating plans later. It smells like July, but not on the coast. It smells like the perfect summer to a kid who has never seen the ocean.