We're officially nine months deep into 2020, and to put it as undramatically as possible (because I'm dramatic), this year's been a heavy one. Everyone has had their own journey. And while there is so much happening in the world requiring precedence, attention, and action, remembering to savor the little things—people, moments of joy, a super-amazing beauty product—is equally important. Making sure we find ways to fill our cup (even if it feels hard or "inappropriate") is what ultimately provides the extra energy 2020 requires of us.
I totally get that many of us have quarantine fatigue. It's our day-to-day reality, so seeing it splayed across every headline, embedded into every Instagram post, or stealthily manipulated into the majority of marketing ploys can (and does) feel exhausting. That said, talking to all of my fellow beauty editors and friends about their experience thus far never fails to provide some respite and relief. There is something validating and comforting about sharing stories, swapping product recommendations, and prescribing the one song that can turn our moods around. So to celebrate all of the above and to take a quick, lighthearted break from the chaos of the world right now, I gathered seven amazing beauty peeps and invited them to share the routines, products, and revelations that have defined their year thus far. Keep scrolling to get to know some of our favorite beauty friends in the industry and to see a must-read list of the products and treatments they've prioritized and de-prioritized during quarantine.
Astrological sign: Virgo
Most-played songs during quarantine: "You Are My Starship" by Norman Connors & Michael Henderson, "Come Share My Love" by Miki Howard, and anything Prince or Whitney Houston
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: Water and tons of fruits and veggies
Latest beauty brand obsession: Nyakio! The face oils will completely change your skin (and your life).
Go-to quarantine outfit: Comfortable shorts and a sports bra or tank top
5 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser ($28), Allies of Skin 1A Retinal + Peptides Overnight Mask ($109), Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish ($15), Nyakio Baobab Youth-Infused Daily Defense Crème ($36), Dr. Barbara Sturm Night Serum ($310)
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: A bunch of serums that weren’t really necessary, hot tools (for the most part), and my jade roller
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: My back is as stiff as a log since I'm WFB/WFC (working from bed/working from couch) every day, so a deep tissue massage is going to be a must once I feel comfortable going again.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: Facials. Don’t get it twisted—I love them and will still go. But I can do them at home.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: Popping pimples will forever be my guilty pleasure, and I don’t care if people think it’s gross, LOL. I’m super gentle to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but my god, it is so satisfying.
Astrological sign: I'm a true Scorpio.
Most-played songs during quarantine: I've had Joe Hisaishi’s Laputa (Castle in the Sky) OST playing on a loop. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it 500 times in a row, but I guess quarantine is that mood.
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: JSHealth Protein + Probiotics ($35). I take probiotics every day for digestion, so this is an easy way to combine it with my post-workout protein. And the flavors are delicious.
Latest beauty brand obsession: I have to pick two and neither are new discoveries, but beauty brands that I get more and more obsessed with over time because they do everything so right. Beauty Bakerie is one. It's such a celebration of the pure joy makeup can bring, and the products never disappoint. Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity of working with the Glamour team on their Woman of the Year All Year package, and one of those women was Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakerie's CEO. I have immense respect for the work she does in creating spaces for Black women in the beauty industry, both as consumers and at the leadership level. Beauty has massive (and unfortunately often untapped) potential to foster community, and that's something I see reflected very much in everything she does.
It's also the case for my other obsession, Then I Met You. I met Charlotte Cho (TIMY's founder) years ago when I was still living in L.A. and was struck by her passion for changing how we approach skincare through her K-beauty curation platform, Soko Glam. TIMY is her in-house brand, and I can clearly see how much thought and care goes into each launch. From the education component to the way the TIMY team communicates with its consumers, everything just hits the mark exactly. I mean, Charlotte got me more excited about cleanser than I previously knew to be possible. (Try The Cleansing Duo, $68, if you haven't already, and you'll see exactly what I mean.)
Go-to quarantine outfit: I rotate through an extensive and colorful collection of comfy sweatpants from ASOS. (In the spirit of full transparency, that was also my go-to pre-quarantine outfit.) If I'm going outside, I throw on my black Reebok Classics, which I wear so often that they're about to fall apart, and a face mask—the silk ones from Slip are extra gentle on skin.
5 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: I've been breaking out much more than usual lately, so I always reach for Renée Rouleau's Rapid Response Detox Masque ($66), which calms my breakouts without drying out my skin. As a bonus, it resembles sparkling sunbeams in goo form. A recent addition to my routine is the Medicube Zero Pore Serum ($39). I used to make a habit of those blackhead-removing nose strips until I discovered this much gentler alternative, which makes my pores and overall skin texture look much more refined. I don't shave that often, but I was testing razors for a story this summer and fell in love with Oui the People's Sugarcoat Shave Gel-to-Milk ($64), which feels like such a treat in the shower and smells delicious.
Speaking of smells, anyone who knows me knows how much I love fragrance, which I must wear at all times, even if all I'm doing is answering emails in bed. Right now, I'm wearing Maison Francis Kurkdjian L'Homme à la Rose Eau de Parfum ($275). It's one of those scents that has the instant, magical effect of making me feel pulled together, even if I'm—as mentioned—lying in bed wearing sweatpants. Once I douse myself in its aura of grapefruit, woods, sage, and a million roses, it feels like I've slipped into an invisible power suit. At night, I've been growing out my lashes with the help of Talika's Lipocils Expert ($57), which blessedly never irritates my eyes. Almost every other lash serum I've tried starts stinging on contact, so I was ecstatic when I discovered this one.
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Highlighter, concealer, and lipstick. On second thought, I haven't been wearing much makeup at all. If it gets on my mask, it's relegated to a box under my bed for the time being.
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: A visit to my derm, Dr. Morgan Rabach at LM Medical NYC. I'm counting down the days until I can, once again, sit in her chair for my regular injections of masseter Botox, cheek filler, and chin filler—always Juvéderm Voluma for the latter two.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: Technically, facials because I've gotten this far in 2020 without getting one, but I'll always love an in-spa/salon facial nonetheless.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: I was going to keep this a secret for the rest of my life, but since you asked, I've been trimming my own hair, just the face-framing front pieces so we're clear. I saw a video of Justine Marjan doing it on Instagram… She's, of course, a professional, and I'm not, but I couldn't resist. I have a pair of hair shears at home, so I've been pulling them out every few weeks. I promise not to touch the rest of my hair until I'm back in New York, though, where I can see my hair dream team (Francesca for a real cut and Diaz for my favorite melted highlights at Bumble and Bumble, Meatpacking).
Astrological sign: Scorpio
Most-played songs during quarantine: "Rain On Me" by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" by 2Pac, and "Like That" by Doja Cat
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: Sakara Life Detox Water Drops ($39). I put a dropperful in my water every day. It contains minerals and chlorophyll, and I swear it makes my cold water taste even more refreshing. Plus, the green color makes it easier to keep track of how much I’ve downed each day.
Latest beauty brand obsession: Emma Lewisham skincare. It’s a new clean-beauty line from New Zealand with the most luxurious retinoic oil, a cream that’s the perfect balance between rich and fluffy, and a zinc-based sunscreen that doesn’t look chalky on my medium-toned skin. It was all designed by a woman who dreamed of using efficacious skincare during her pregnancy, so it’s ultrasafe, even for moms-to-be.
Go-to quarantine outfit: My Onzie leopard-print bike shorts set and matching Onzie leopard-print mask, a sports bra, and my boyfriend’s sweatshirts
5 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: Maybelline's Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Volumizing Mascara ($6). It thickens and lengthens and doesn’t smudge. (When you remove it, it comes off in sort of rubbery tubes, rather than disintegrating like a paint.) And, it makes me look awake on morning video calls with New Yorkers. Wonderskin's Wonder Blading Peel & Reveal Lip Color ($27). It’s not a lip color; it’s a dye that colors your lip’s skin and lasts alllll day long, which is so great when you’re home and feeling more low-maintenance. Plus, the punchy colors look awesome on Zoom. Dior's Beautifying Protective Creme Sublime Glow SPF 50 ($32), which is one of the most glamorous SPF 50s for the face that I have ever tried. It is technically only sold in Europe, though I think you can get it online from a few European retailers. It reminds me of when I used to be able to travel across the pond! Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel ($15). Okay, this is my big secret for looking better at the beach. This towel makes your skin look smoother and brighter and prevents ingrown hairs by manually exfoliating the skin. It works better than any skin exfoliator I’ve ever tried and finally has given me a bikini line I’m proud of. Then, Biossance's Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72)… All I can say is I swear that this makes me look younger when I use it the night before, even if I stayed up way too late watching TikTok videos.
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Self-tanner. I love my Bondi Sands self-tanning foams, but I, honestly, haven’t needed them since the beginning of quarantine because I’ve actually been getting vitamin D (with SPF 50 on, don’t worry!). Perfume. I spritz on my Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum ($75) or Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist ($19) from time to time, but it’s become a super-special-occasion thing rather than a day-to-day item. Botox. I have been getting Botox only in my masseter muscle (google "masseter Botox before and after" and you’ll understand) for years, but since most places have been shut down for months, I’m back to my normal jawline, and it’s not bad looking!
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: I just got my hair colored by my colorist, Matt Rez. I was dying to get it toned and touched up at the root. But instead of going lighter and lighter, like we usually do, seeing how flattering my new growth was to my skin tone made me realize I wanted to return to a shade closer to my natural, cool-toned brunette. It's definitely more flattering than having faded ombre ends like I have for years.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: A manicure! I still get pedicures now that they’re available again, but I realized I can do a great job filing and painting my own nails. Caveat: This is only made possible by Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel Nail Polish ($3), which sort of distributes itself evenly across your nail bed, even if you apply it inexpertly.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: I’ve been really into white nail polish and red lipstick. They both really stand out on Zoom!
Astrological sign: Libra
Most-played songs during quarantine: "Motivation" by Normani, "Boys Like You" by Kids at Midnight, and "Amore e Capoeira" by Takagi & Ketra. These are a random mix of songs but all true. These have gotten me off my depressed butt to dance while I wash the dishes!
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: Hum Nutrition Daily Cleanse Clear Skin and Body Detox Supplement ($25)
Go-to quarantine outfit: A '90s-style velvet spaghetti-strap dress that might be from JCPenney a few years ago and my fuzzy pink Ugg slippers
7 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: I've always been a big fan of Tatcha's products, but I especially love how hydrated my skin feels after cleansing with The Rice Wash Skin-Softening Cleanser ($35). Sometimes, my skin can feel dry after cleansing but not with this! T3 is my go-to for hot tools, but it went to the next level with its custom Lucea ID Flat Iron ($235). My hair is processed, so I appreciate how I can custom fit the settings specifically to my hair instead of guessing. When I want to get my hair looking cute when I record my podcast on Zoom, I'll put in an Insert Name Here ponytail extension but first will slick my hair back with Philip B.'s Straightening Baume ($30). It's a lifesaver for smoothing my frizz in a flash.
I also love Mydentity's Color Securing Shampoo ($23) and Conditioner ($23). Ever since I started coloring my hair, it's been a mission to find the right shampoo. The color always lasts longer when I wash with colorist Guy Tang's line. Last but not least, I'm super serious about my eyeliner, but my cat eye doesn't feel complete without mascara (especially now that I haven't had lash extensions in so long!). I have super-straight eyelashes, so it's always great when I find a mascara that lifts them up. Marc Jacobs Beauty's At Lash'd Lengthening and Curling Mascara ($27) gives me just the right amount of Bambi lash oomph!
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Since we got that nice Zoom filter, it's most of my face-coverage products: foundation, face powder, and concealer.
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: My roots are 10 miles long, but I'm definitely missing my claws, so it's between getting my hair done and my nails!
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: It's not fancy, per se, but not getting my brows done has bothered me the least, so maybe I've gotten used to letting these hairy caterpillars grow!
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: Massaging my face with the cold function of the Vanity Planet Forever Young Hot & Cold Rejuvenating Facial Wand ($60) while binging Cobra Kai on Netflix
Astrological sign: Cancer sun, Libra rising (But in the Vedic system, I've got a Virgo ascendant, and I heavily identify with it!)
Most-played songs during quarantine: "Watermelon Sugar" by Harry Styles, "I Wanna Be Your Lover" by Prince, and "Brown Skin Girl" by Beyoncé
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: I'm a firm believer in getting my nutrients via whole, nutritious foods. Supplements are largely unregulated and can have weird fillers in them, but The Beauty Chef is a clean and organic brand I trust that creates elixirs to support the gut and encourage beautiful skin. I've recently been loving the Hydration Inner Beauty Boost ($50), which is a biofermented, coconut-infused probiotic that I add to a glass of sparkling water to help boost my body's hydration and electrolyte levels. It's like sipping a tropical mocktail, which I love.
Latest beauty brand obsession: I've loved the skincare brand Klur for years, and seeing it take off the way it has this year has been so exciting to watch. The founder, Lesley Thornton, is a gem of a human and really knows her way around a clean and effective formula. Many of the products, especially the beautiful Elements of Comfort Botanical Body Oil ($70), have become essential to the calming and centering skin and body rituals I've adopted over the past few months.
Go-to quarantine outfit: I'm all about cloud-soft sweatpants and shorts and tie-dye everything right now.
5 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: My hair has been the prime focus of all my beauty efforts during the quarantine. I've found a ton of brands that formulate specifically for my hair type, but two of the ones I'm loving most right now are Creme of Nature and The Doux. The Shampoo ($8) and Hair Mask ($8) from Creme of Nature's new Aloe and Black Castor Oil line leave my hair so soft and hydrated. When it's time to style, I'm always reaching for The Doux's Twist & Curl Cream ($15), which is the key to all the beautiful twist-outs I've been doing. I also finally got my hands on Felicia Leatherwood's Detangler Brush ($19)—the best detangling brush that I truly can't live without now. Nothing detangles my hair better or with as much ease. I've also fallen deeply in love with Hanahana Beauty's fair-trade Shea Body Butter ($26). It comes in a variety of scents, and I slather the stuff all over when I'm still damp from the shower and will even apply it to the ends of my hair to help seal in hydration.
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Although I love putting on a good face of makeup, I haven't been wearing much foundation, concealer, or eye makeup while working from home and generally staying out of public spaces. I've definitely prioritized the health of my hair and skin.
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: I'm embracing my natural coils for the first time, so when it's safe, I'm definitely going to spring for a top-notch haircut to create a better shape for my coily hair. I think the right cut will take my natural styles to the next level.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: My eyebrows are wild right now, but I'm not as antsy to have them groomed as I normally would be. I'm learning that I can probably go a lot longer between brow appointments than I thought.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: Soaking in the bath first thing in the morning wouldn't be possible if I had to commute, but it's something I can do from time to time now, and I really love it.
Astrological sign: Capricorn, Cancer rising, Scorpio moon
Most-played songs during quarantine: "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold, "Midnight Sky" by Miley Cyrus, "If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)" by The 1975, and "Two Doors Down" by Dolly Parton
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: I put Vital Proteins' Collagen Creamer ($29) in my coffee every morning. I don’t know if it’s doing anything major, but I feel better about life when I use it, LOL. I also really like Hum Nutrition’s Glow Sweet Glow Skin Hydration Gummies ($25) and its Mighty Night Overnight Renewal Supplement ($40).
Latest beauty brand obsession: Topicals! The Faded Brightening & Clearing Gel ($56) has a unique smell, but I like it. It has helped a red mark on my chin significantly, and I personally think the brand is doing everything right, from the science behind the products to the branding.
Go-to quarantine outfit: I’ve literally been in bike shorts and a sweatshirt almost every day, either from Entireworld or sweats I’ve ironed patches onto. It Cosmetics sent over these really comfy tie-dyed Champion sets that were dyed by Live & Let Dye, and I wear them religiously. Also, the bras and undies from Skims are so so comfy.
6 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: I do Obagi Clinical's Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel ($145) every two weeks, and I love how it makes my skin look and feel. It's great for pigmentation and clarity. Fenty Beauty's Brow MVP Sculpting Wax Pencil and Styler ($20) is one of the only brow wax products that legit keeps my brows up! Kosas' Revealer Concealer ($28) is an excellent under-eye concealer and one of the best launches of the year. Since I haven’t gotten a haircut lately, Virtue Labs' The Perfect Ending Split End Serum ($40) has been saving my hair. MAC's Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara ($18) is one of my favorite mascaras ever—it has the tiniest wand, but it gives major payoff. Also, Freck's Cheekslime ($18) is an excellent liquid blush that passes the Goldilocks test.
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Foundation. Pre-quarantine, I was already really into using concealer versus a full face of foundation. Since the pandemic began, I’ve been wearing less and less makeup, but I’ll spot conceal my melasma or a blemish by microconcealing, a technique celeb makeup artist Molly R. Stern taught me. Hair color would be another one. It’s not technically a product, but I haven’t gotten my hair colored since December, and I haven’t seen my hair this healthy in years. I’m a devout blonde, but I’ve gotten so many compliments on my natural hair color that I think I’ll keep it and maybe frame my face with some highlights. Last, fake lashes. I used to put on individual faux lashes for events, shoots, etc. I put them on for the first time in six months a few days ago, and I felt like a clown. Not saying I’ll nix them all together, but it’s been great feeling like I don’t need them.
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: I have dreams about getting a massage. Not kidding. I watch massage videos on Instagram and YouTube before bed! I also will watch videos of facial massages from Nichola Joss or Georgia Louise or Jade Marie and pretend like I’m getting the treatment. I want a two-hour rubdown when we’re allowed. Realistically though, I’ll go see my friend Anh Co Tran for a trim, dusting, and to get my extensions put back in.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: Like I said, I literally dream of fancy beauty treatments. I would pay good money to get a neck and face massage right about now from Sonia at Skin Worship. Maybe manicures? I used to get them religiously, but now I’ve been enjoying letting my nails breathe and grow on their own. They’ve gotten so much stronger. I really like The Dry Gloss Manicure Kit ($39) from Bare Hands, and I’ve been using that in lieu of a manicure these days.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: I’ve gotten very into ASMR massage on YouTube. (Shocker!) I love itsblitzzz, ASMR Massage, Shiatsu Shane, and JadeyWadey 180—I’ll put their videos on at night and literally fall asleep watching them massage people.
Photo:Courtesy of Stephanie Montes
Astrological sign: Aquarius
Most-played songs during quarantine: "Laugh Now Cry Later" by Drake & Lil Durk, "Make You Miss Me" by Sam Hunt, and "Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa
Favorite wellness/beauty supplement: Olly The Essential Prenatal Gummy Multivitamin ($15)
Latest beauty brand obsession: I've been spending much more time on self-care during quarantine, and Nécessaire's products have been my go-tos for long shower sessions and full-body applications. I love that its formulas are clean, feel luxurious, and smell like a spa, which really gets me relaxed.
Go-to quarantine outfit: My husband's boxers and tees!
5 beauty products you've been super into during quarantine: Evereden's Golden Belly Serum ($32)—I found out I was pregnant right as stay-at-home orders began, so I've completely overhauled my beauty routine during quarantine. I'm obsessed with this oil because it's 100% nontoxic, so hydrating, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, I'm in my sixth month and haven't seen a single stretch mark yet! *Knock on wood* Next would be Nue's A Boob Job in a Box Breast Tape ($25)—I've completely sworn off bras during quarantine, but I still prefer to have some support. These days, I tape my boobs in place. They boast a lift without the uncomfortable underwires, annoying clasps, or straps digging into my shoulders. Third, Nécessaire's The Deodorant ($20). There's literally no better time to switch to a natural deodorant. If you're worried about the adjustment period your body will go through, the good news is you won't be getting too close to anyone too soon.
I'm a huge fan of enzyme powders because they're so much more gentle than harsh scrubs and much better for the environment than plastic microbeads. Sand&Sky's Australian Emu Apple Enzyme Powder Polish ($45) polishes your skin, giving you a glow. Plus, the addition of antioxidant-packed Australian emu apple helps protect your skin from harsh pollutants. Last but not least, Dior's Capture Totale Super Potent Age-Defying Intense Serum ($72). I'm a sucker for a hydrating product, and this one isn't just potent—it's super potent. A morning massage with this hyaluronic acid–infused serum leaves my skin feeling bouncy and moisturized all day.
3 beauty products you've kind of ditched during quarantine: Lipstick. My lips are in hiding! Hot tools. I haven't been heat-styling my hair a whole lot during quarantine, because 1) I live in topknots and 2) I don't know when I'll get a cut again. So I'm doing my best to preserve my ends. Full-coverage foundation. Half my face hides behind a mask when I leave the house, so there's no need for an intense coverage. Plus, scaling back on wearing makeup, in general, has been really good for my skin, so a light coverage is all I really need these days!
The first beauty treatment you'll get (or have already gotten) post-quarantine: A full-body massage! I've been fantasizing my perfect post-quarantine day, and it goes a little something like this: I've already given birth, and I get to spend an afternoon at Tomoko Spa. I get a full-body massage and, immediately after, indulge in a sushi spread and then finish with a relaxing bath. I can't lay on my belly right now (a must for full-body rubdowns), and sushi is a no-no during pregnancy, so the withdrawals are real! In case you haven't heard of Tomoko, it's a Japanese spa in Beverly Hills frequented by many a celebrity and known for its en suite Sugarfish delivery service.
A fancy beauty treatment that you've realized you don't really need: Now that nobody can get manicures, I've seen a surge in press-on nails, and I love it! I've never been one to keep up with regular manicure appointments, so press-on nails have always been my sneaky secret. (These ones from Static Nails are my favorite!) They give my short nails extra length, they boast a shine that rivals even the shiniest polish, and they last forever! And the best part is there is no appointment or drying time needed.
Guiltiest/weirdest beauty pleasure lately: I've been obsessed with a blackhead vacuum I got on Amazon. It hurts around the nose (where I need it most, of course), and if you're not careful, it can leave marks. But seeing how much sebum gets sucked out of your pores is insanely satisfying. It's kind of gross, but it's definitely been my most-used device during quarantine downtime.
Looking for more editor-approved beauty recs? Here are the 34 best new beauty products we tried and obsessed over in September.