A Whole Dang Year: 62 Beauty Products We Used to the Very Last Drop
As editors who essentially have a revolving door of products at their fingertips, we can love something a lot—like, a lot—and still never make it down to the last drop. (After all, there's always something new and exciting sliding across our desks to serve as the ultimate distraction.) Therefore, when we do find ourselves scraping every last particle out of a jar, tub, or tincture, it's a pretty dang big deal. So big, in fact, it served as the inspiration behind this story which we ideated at the very beginning of 2022.
Starting in January, I asked my fellow beauty-loving editors to hang onto any and every product they used in its entirety so that by December, (and wow, here we are!) we could report which formulas were *the* most near and dear to us. Sixty-two MVP products later, we've arrived at our finale. Keep scrolling for a whopping roundup of some of the best beauty products of 2022, and let our squeezed and well-loved empties (plus some gushing odes) serve as proof.
Erin Jahns, Beauty Director
Whenever I run out of this cleansing water (which I use as the first step in my double-cleanse routine, morning and night), I always think it will be just fine if I sub in a different micellar water I have sitting around unopened in my apartment. But each and every time and just a few days in, I throw my hands up and re-buy this affordable formula from Sephora Collection. My skin just doesn't feel or look the same (especially in terms of clarity, smoothness, and brightness) when I use anything else. I blame it on key additions like zinc and aloe vera, which I strongly believe keep my sensitive, acne-prone skin in check. It's such a basic product, but it makes the biggest difference. Buy it—you won't be disappointed!
This is another product I've talked about a ton, and, theoretically, should be easy to replace within my routine. (After all, how hard is it to perfect a clear hair oil?!) But whenever I try any other hair oil, I kind of hate the results, I have very blonde, very fine strands, and so many formulas I've tried stain my platinum color or weigh down any natural volume that I have. The name doesn't lie here—this stuff is weightless while somehow still dosing hair with the perfect amount of shine and moisture. I don't know if I've gone a wash without it (I apply it to damp, towel-dried strands) in five years. And if I do, I almost always regret it!
This is such a dreamy body lotion that in my opinion, is far superior to other lotions that have earned holy-grail status and mass cult followings. I like that it's unscented because I never want my lotion to fight a perfume I wear later on, it spreads and absorbs beautifully, and it leaves your skin super-duper hydrated, bouncy, and glowy. It ticks every box for me, and I'm notoriously hard on body lotions as they're my least-favorite part of my daily beauty routine. (Mainly just because I'm lazy AF and the application is just one more step!)
Guys, I have tried to wean myself off of this eye cream for years, but truly nothing else compares to the hit of moisture it delivers. It doesn't feel sticky or tacky (the worst), it provides the longest-lasting surge of moisture I've ever experienced with an eye cream, it doesn't cause my eyes to water or irritate, and it really helps plump up any fine lines or wrinkles. Oh, and it's the absolute best under concealer and makeup—no creasing!
I'm not even a face-mist person, but I fell so hard and so fast for this 2022 launch from SkinCeuticals, that I had to write a whole dedicated review about it. It has a pleasant herbaceous scent that makes you feel like you're at the spa, it cloaks your complexion with dewy moisture, and it instantly banishes redness or any trace of a pink post-acne scar or mark. I love a product that delivers short and long-term results, and this one delivers. It's a bit pricey for a mist, I know, but I find it's well worth the investment.
After three different celebrity facialists advised that I add this active serum to my routine, I finally acquiesced, and it's maybe been the best thing to ever happen to my bump-prone skin. Many pros I've talked to say it acts as a nice alternative to retinol as it uses a triple-threat medley of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids to exfoliate the skin, slow visible signs of aging, and purge congested pores. It also includes strategic ingredients like arbutin and mushroom extract for extra brightening perks, and if I had to pinpoint one product alone within my routine that's made the biggest difference in the texture of my skin and its overall clarity, it would be this one. I use it religiously a couple of nights a week (it's potent, so you don't want to overdo it with this one), and by the time I wake up, it's like my blackheads and whiteheads have vanished.
I could never use vitamin C until SkinCeuticals launched this special serum a couple of years back. (Think of it as a sister serum to its iconic C E Ferulic and Phloretin CF.) As someone with very reactive acne-prone skin (sorry, I know I'm a broken record), it's truly the only vitamin C serum my finicky skin will tolerate and thrive on as too few vitamin C serums out there are correctly formulated to be stable, efficacious, and safe for all skin types. This one is oil-free, and specifically designed for people with oily or combination skin types and who are especially concerned about skin conditions such as consistent breakouts, environmental damage, and/or visible signs of aging like fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles.
Although there is a medley of important ingredients married together in the serum, the hero, silymarin, is a powerful antioxidant derived from the milk thistle plant that naturally inhibits the oxidation of sebum on top of the skin. (It's that process of oxidation that results in acne-causing bacteria coming into the pore, leading to inflammation, congestion, and, you guessed it, blemishes.) It's a daily nonnegoitable within my morning skincare routine.
Michaela Bushkin, Associate Fashion Director, Branded Content
I've tried three different cleansers from Versed but this is the only one I've repeatedly purchased. The creamy consistency and fresh smell make it a top-used product in my skincare routine. I highly recommend it to anyone who has acne-prone skin as I do.
I'm quite picky when it comes to hair spray. I have super fine hair, so a little goes a long way and anything sticky is completely out of the question for me. This hair spray holds my strands in place really well and somehow manages to be super lightweight. For those two reasons alone, I've just purchased my second bottle but the fact that it smells wonderful too doesn't hurt. Jen Atkin has yet to do me wrong.
I've been using this moisturizer for years and don't plan to quit it anytime soon. I'm actually on my third container of the year currently. It's so lightweight, making it the perfect daily moisturizer. Plus it adds a dewy finish to my skin for that Hailey Bieber–approved glazed donut look (if that's the kind of thing you're into).
There's a reason Laura Mercier's setting powder has over nine thousand 4.5 star reviews on Sephora: it's that good. I only use a little over my foundation in my t-zone where my skin gets a bit oily so this container has lasted me almost the entire year. I prefer the translucent powder but people seem to love the tinted options as well, so the verdict is still out.
I'm extremely careful with chemical exfoliants as I have fairly sensitive skin. Typically products with BHA irritate my skin, leaving it red within minutes of application, but I used every last drop of this natural formula from Rawkanvas. It removes dead skin and leaves my skin super soft without irritating it one bit. I'll be purchasing my second container asap.
Good Genes by Sunday Riley is one of the few products I can safely say has transformed my skin. It does exactly what it claims to do: "exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells to instantly clarify and reveal smoothness." I apply it a few nights a week before my moisturizer, but you can use it as a mask if your skin tends to be more sensitive.
The Most Wanted facial oil by The Feelist is my favorite beauty discovery of 2022 (considering how many products I've tried, that is saying a lot!). It hydrates so well and has saved my dry winter skin more than I can explain, although I love using it year-round.
I've never been loyal to a foundation until this year when I discovered the Luminous Silk by Giorgio Armani. Many friends recommended it to me and it met my expectations immediately. It's the only liquid foundation that I've loved for both my summer and winter skin. PS—I prefer applying this foundation with a sponge versus a brush.
Katie Berohn, Beauty Editor
Mascara is a very personal thing. Everyone is after different results from their mascaras. I, for one, am very picky. My eyes usually end up with thick black smears under them after wearing mascara for too long, and my natural lashes are kind of short, so it's tough for me to find a formula that really lengthens and volumizes them without clumping (I above all hate clumping). I love this one. It's tubing, so you can keep building and building the formula on with no clumps involved, and it makes my lashes look incredibly long. I mentioned this mascara no less than 9 times on the site this year (I counted) and I don't regret a single mention.
I have a bit of a love affair with the JVN hair products. I have not found one that I dislike. This moisture mask is so good that I find myself flattening the tube every time I'm in the shower to try to get every last drop out. I have color-treated hair, and this mask makes my hair so soft, it might as well be virgin hair. I can credit this mask with making my hair appear less straggly when I go too long between cuts and making it smoother, shinier, and healthier.
This is one of those products I was surprised to use so much of, but when I eventually hit the end of the pencil, it made sense. This lip liner, particularly when used with the setter, will last all night long, no joke. It comes in six flattering nude shades for every skin tone and I highly recommend trying one—when I wear mine, people think I have lip fillers.
If there's anything that the photo including all of my empties from the year should tell you, it's that I have a penchant for body care products. If my face is dry, my body is 100 times drier, and if I don't moisturize my body well enough, my skin has a proclivity to get itchy and flaky. I've never met a body lotion I liked as much as this Nécessaire cream—it's wildly moisturizing thanks to marula, cacay, and meadowfoam oils, but it also infuses skin with niacinamide, vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-6, omega-9, and antioxidants. The result is honestly worthy of a shaving cream commercial—my skin is soft, glowy, and so smooth after I use it.
I would like to preface this by saying I so wish that I didn't love La Mer as much as I do. It's very expensive and hyped up, but unfortunately, I think it's worth all the hype and more. I have incredibly dry skin that absolutely drinks this moisturizer like it's water infused with an electrolyte packet. I've never had more people ask me for my skincare routine than when I'm using La Mer. I truly wish I could tell them that my secret is a $15 drugstore face cream, but this is the real deal. If you have dry skin and want to know what skincare product you should splurge on, it's this. It will always be this.
Caitie Schlisserman, Beauty Director, Branded Content
This is the only makeup product I re-bought multiple times this year. (To be fair I’m not a big makeup wearer.) I just love how pigmented it is and the ultra-fine tip—it makes it so easy to fill in sparse spots in the most natural way. I love filling my brows in with this and using a clear gel on top to set everything in place.
If I had to list and rank products by my excitement, cleansers have always been on the lower end of this (imaginary) list. I’ve never really been super passionate about any cleanser I used until this one landed on my desk, and the rest is history. Even though I admittedly still like to switch up my cleansers, this has remained my go-to. It’s a solid formula that’s good to have on hand if you want a proper, thorough cleanse. It's made with white willow bark, which exfoliates and tightens the appearance of pores, and antioxidants derived from chamomile and centella asiatica, which help heal skin damage.
I’ve never found an eye cream I love as much as this. It’s inspired by the cult-favorite Double Serum (if you haven’t tried that, it’s also a must!). I find this formula to be very effective and pretty heavenly. It's full of ingredients like turmeric, which is great for reducing inflammation, and organic wild chervil. It also protects against blue light (a huge plus given that I'm staring at a computer most of the day). Plus, Clarins is known for having unique application methods that focus on lymphatic drainage, so every time I use it, I feel like I'm taking extra-good care of myself (and my skin).
Raid any beauty or fashion person’s vanity, and I bet you’d find this prominently featured. It’s a staple for a reason: It really, really works. It's a patented formula with a blend of 15% pure vitamin C, which brightens skin; 1% vitamin E, which replenishes skin lipids; and 0.5% ferulic acid, which is a plant-based antioxidant that basically enhances the benefits of vitamins C and E. What all of it means it that with continued morning use, you will see brighter, glower, more youthful-looking skin within a few days to a week—and I’m proof! The only downside I can think of is the product smells slightly like hot dogs, so if you hate ‘em, consider yourself warned, and if you love ‘em, you can now smell like one? Just kidding, it’s not that noticeable.
Here’s another non-negotiable product of mine. I can never not have a bottle of this on my vanity because my skin truly suffers. I studiedly didn’t restock this for a few months and, let’s just say, I could totally tell. It truly is magic in a bottle. It's made with over 22 active ingredients, all of which help fight signs of aging and gives my complexion a perfect dewy glow. It smells so dreamy and I love making it a bigger moment in my p.m. skin routine: I add 3 to 4 drops to my hands, rub them together to warm the product up, and press into my skin.
I don't know who I think I am for getting myself hooked on such pricey products, but here we are. I’ve been using this for years now and it has truly changed the overall tone and texture of my skin. It's formulated with tons of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and retinol, and it does everything from minimizing the appearance of pores to brightening dark spots. When I started incorporating this into my skincare routine I noticed a change within a week, and now I credit my even skin to this, hands down.
Sierra Mayhew, Associate Fashion Editor
Simply, a no-brainer. I've gone through bottles and bottles of this product so it doesn't surprise me that it ended up as one of my empties this year. It makes for the perfect hair mask before a long shower. There are many times that I've made myself late to dinner reservations and hangouts just so that I can make sure I have time for this to soak into my scalp. Plus, it doubles as the perfect product to slick your hair back into a nice bun.
I was looking for a good toner and after reading a ton of reviews, I settled on this one from Farmacy. I was clearly quite impressed after running through it in less than a month. My skin always glows after applying it and I noticed an improvement in my texture within the first few weeks. This is an item I definitely need to restock ASAP.
There are very few skincare products that I call out by name when talking to friends but the Osea Ocean Cleanser comes up in conversation frequently. I've exclaimed, "you have to try it" across one too many dinner tables. The amazing fragrance and therapeutic texture of this cleanser feel like a spa experience except it's a fraction of the price.
Spot treatments always win me over as I examine my face and narrow down exactly what I'd like to do with it. The Dr. Dennis Gross dark spot corrector is something that I always see results from. I've been through two bottles this year and don't plan to stop anytime soon. As soon as I dark spot comes up, I know that I can rely on it to save the day.
Speaking of dark spots here's yet another product that has helped me get rid of them time and time again. At the beginning of the year, I had an accident that left me with scarring on my face and this patched it up real quick. I've never seen more buzz about one product in my life so it definitely speaks for itself.
People often wonder if these celebrity-loved splurge products are worth it. While that isn't always the truth, it's most certainly correct when we're speaking of Dr. Barbara Sturm. This face cream isn't too light but also isn't too heavy and a personal favorite of mine when it comes to the winter months. I went through it like water at the beginning of the year and it's back as a star player in my routine now that it's cold and dry again.
A hyaluronic serum has never done me wrong so I was finally ready to splurge on a really really good one. The results are in, this one is better than any other I've tried. If you want bright, bouncy skin I highly suggest spending a little bit more on your hyaluronic serum since I learned that this one was far more potent than the more affordable options that I'd been sticking to.
Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
This is one of my favorite shampoos for curls. I use every last drop during the winter especially because it cleanses my hair thoroughly without drying it out. This is key when you already have dry, frizzy, 3C curls like I do.
This product is a total cult classic for a reason. It's one of the best toners for acne and uneven texture on the market in my humble opinion. It's also gentler on the skin than other exfoliating toners I've used and doesn't cause any stinging or burning—a huge plus when you have sensitive skin!
This is such an incredible cleanser. I'm super picky about what cleanser I use because my skin is really sensitive and acne-prone. That means choosing the wrong one can make or break my skincare routine. I love this cleanser from Shani Darden because it lathers, but has a silky, serum like texture that just glides all over your skin. I've been dealing with some skin barrier damage and the sodium hyaluronate, olive, and chicory leaf extract in this soothed and hydrated it so much. After every use, my skin would look brighter and a lot more awake. It's no wonder I used every last drop!
This is one of my most prized skincare possessions! It's no mystery why I used it down to the last bit. When I tell you the results are visible within days, I am not joking. I've used other collagen-boosting serums and this one just takes the cake every time. It lifts and firms your skin, but also imparts it with a lot of rich hydration and Luzern's multi-fermented complex makes your skin glow instantly. It will always be a staple in my routine.
Maya Thomas, Assistant Beauty Editor
Here's one I'm sure so many people have seen flash across their social media feeds but haven't actually given a try. Ouai's Body Crème in Melrose Place has become one of my all-time favorite ways to moisturize my skin after an "everything" shower. It's a rose-scented, whipped body cream that's quick absorbing, highly moisturizing, and crafted from ultra-nourishing ingredients such as cupuaçu butter, squalane, and coconut oil. It never fails to leave my skin feeling beyond hydrated and looking vibrant. I'm on my second one, and already gearing up to grab another!
I've been absolutely obsessed with this candle since my first introduction to the brand while I was studying in Paris in 2017. I walked into one of its stores looking for a fragrance that wasn't too floral or fruity and leaned more on the fresh side with some warmth to it. The salesperson immediately brought the candle version of its best-selling fragrance, Figuier/Fig Tree. It's perfectly light and airy with delicate wood and fruity notes to it; reminiscent of a sunny Mediterranean landscape. I've gone through at least three of these candles and recently splurged on the room fragrance.
Allyson Payer, Senior Fashion Editor
I honestly don't know what I did before The Minimalist. It makes my skin look flawless in mere seconds. This year Merit doubled the size of the product for the same price, which feels like a gift.
This is one of the few cleansers I've come across that gets my skin really clean without making it feel tight. And I can tell by the glow it leaves that it's working its exfoliating magic.
I don't do a lot to my hair but this magic cream always makes it look polished and super healthy. Hence the reason I re-buy it over and over.
I've been using this several times a week at night for months now, and I swear that it's improved the fine lines around my mouth. It feels a bit weird to rub a lip product all around my mouth past my lip line, but trust me—do it.
This is an excellent everyday moisturizer that feels super hydrating but not greasy. The refreshing cucumber scent is a bonus, and it's one of the few products my husband has been known to steal from my medicine cabinet.
I've been able to stave off neck wrinkles for now, but I'm thinking preventatively and have introduced a good neck cream into my nighttime beauty routine in recent years. This one is lovely and smells divine, and every one of Tatcha's products gets the job done, so I feel confident that my neck skin is benifiting.
I'll try anything that promises to give me better brows and lashes, especially when it's from as great of a skincare company as Augustinus Bader. This has worked particularly well on my lashes, and they've become more full more quickly than any other serum I've tried (and I've tried many).
This is a product I'll use for life, especially since my dermatologist sings its praises. Alastin's products are pretty high tech, but I know that this restores elastin and collagen, and that's all I need to know. I put it on under my sunscreen each and every morning.
I realize that this is very expensive but let me tell you—no other serum makes my skin look brighter than this one in the morning. And the bottle lasts quite a long time as a little goes a long way. Consider it an investment in your future (your future skin, that is).
Kat Collings, Editor in Chief
As Versed notes, “Retinol is one of the most studied, proven, and derm-recommended ingredients for those concerned with everything from acne to wrinkles.” But the ingredient can wreak havoc—no one wants to go through an acclimation period replete with redness and flaking. This formulation is hands down the gentlest formula I’ve tried. It’s the opposite of irritating, which makes it a perfect retinol introduction for those with more sensitive skin. The price is also a huge selling point, and as always, Versed’s commitment to sustainability is impressive.
I will proudly add my name to the list of L.A.-based ladies who love this sunscreen. Hailey Biever, Kendall Jenner, Sydney Sweeney, and me. Seriously though, this sunscreen rules. No weird scent, goes on easily, is effective. What more could you want? My husband also became an EltaMD fan this year, and now he turns his sunscreened nose up at any other brand I get gifted and try to get him to use.
Before this product, I had never owned any Clarins products, but now I know why it has a cult following. I truly saw a difference in my crow's-feet after using this for just a short while. Plus, the formula is designed to protect against blue light (a must with all my screen time), and it works super well as a primer, creating the ideal canvas before makeup. As someone who has drier skin that occasionally can flake around the eye area, especially when I cake on the under-eye concealer, the hydration benefits are exceptional.
If you’re ready for retinol level two, Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform is the gold standard. Darden is an esthetician with clients like Jessica Alba and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, both women with enviable skin in my book. The formula is similarly super gentle, but a step more potent, in my opinion. It’s all about finding the ideal strength your skin tolerates well. And if you need more convincing, skip over to those before and after pictures on Sephora.
Osea is one of those brands that's so easy to fall in love with. Maybe too easy, considering it's a bit of an investment! The scent is divine. I cannot properly express what a joy it is to put on this serum. Which is why I finished it to bitter end, which to be honest isn't the case with 95% of the serums I get gifted.
To quote myself, "I used to think eye creams were extra, aka not necessary to a basic anti-aging skincare regimen. I assumed they were a waste of money when I could just as well spread my face cream all the way up to my eyes. But after using this one, I'm now all in on shelling out for eye cream. In the before-and-after pics, you can see the difference on my eye area, specifically where my lines are less deeply etched, and the skintone under my eyes is more even."
Vitamin c is a mainstay in my skincare routine, and I’ve tried many over the years. Skinceuticals' version is a gold standard for me (icymi, after trying it for five months, I reverse aged my skin and have the before and afters to prove it). However, I have heard that vitamin c can become much less potent when it is exposed to air, and the delivery system of Skinceuticals is your typical bottle with a dropper. I can attest, the contents of the bottle change color and get more yellow over time. I'm not a scientist, maybe that doesn't matter, but I like how Georgia Louise's formulation comes in three small mini bottles. Each bottle has a little trigger so when you open it for the first time, it releases vitamin c powder, which is very stable, into the serum. I found the formula to be especially potent and saw improved skin texture and brightness. I didn't regularly stick to the wand, but the promise that it uses galvanic current to repel the negatively charged serum into the skin's positively charged pores sounds appealing!
Kaitlyn McLintock, Associate Beauty Editor
Did I hear about this product on TikTok? Yes. Am I forever indebted? Yes. This Korean sunscreen is a chemical formula that applies like a DREAM. It sinks into my skin with absolutely no white cast or weird residue. Once it dries, I'm left with a perfectly glowy complexion. It's made wearing sunscreen every day more of a privilege than a chore.
I've waxed poetic about this moisturizer for years, so it's no surprise it's one of the few products I scoop to the very last drop. Not only is the texture the perfect balance of rich and weightless (it's practically magic), but the formula (which is chock full of matcha, peptides, and niacinamide) soaks into my skin and wraps it in deep, calming moisture. There's just something about it that my dehydrated, redness-prone skin loves.
I've been focusing more on body care products recently after I realized I wasn't giving the same TLC to the skin below my neck as I was to the skin above. This was one of the first products I incorporated into my routine, and I've been loyal to it ever since. It's silky and fast-absorbing, and I love that it drenches my skin in vitamins, antioxidants, and omegas 6, 7, and 9 every time I use it. Apply it to damp skin after getting out of the shower, and I promise your skin will feel so soft and smooth.
Aniyah Morinia, Associate Editor, Branded Content
I'm a gloss girl for life, and my collection has everything from high end to drugstore. I tried so many new glosses this year, but I kept reaching for the lifter gloss even after starting the day with a different shade. (There are so many!) It was the one I'd go digging for at the bottom of my purse after dinner. It's high shine, but not sticky all while keeping my lips super nourished. I'm bringing this one into 2023 with me, for sure.
It's a running Internet joke that the Rare beauty blush lasts a lifetime because the product is just so pigmented that most people only really apply one dot. Well, I'm not like most people. My motto is the more blush, the better so I've been applying three dots on both cheeks for months now and haven't looked back. I get complimented on my blush almost daily and I'm always so proud to say "the Rare Beauty blush in the shade Grateful".
When I started getting facials, it became abundantly clear that toner was missing from my very inconsistent and short skincare routine. I have combination skin so toner really helps to add moisture and hydration to my dry areas. I've gone through about three bottles of this one this year because it is so gentle yet refreshing. And my facialist claims to see a major improvement in my skin since using it so that's a major plus.
Of all the skincare products I used in 2022, Faded has transformed my skin the most. My biggest skin concern has always been dark spots and I had actively been searching for a solution for years, until I found Faded. I have seen a significant difference in how pigmented those dark spots look and have watched many of them completely vanish. I use it every single night to keep my skin even without lightening it, and recommend this product to any person with melanated skin.
I'm proud to announce that I officially double cleanse. I used to simply wash my makeup off with wipes and a drugstore cleanser, but the more I test out makeup looks and refine my beauty routine, double cleansing with an oil cleanser just makes sense. This one smells like citrus and melts my makeup right off. I spend about two minutes massaging my face with it before rinsing and moving on to a foaming cleanser.
For the entire summer, I didn't let another fragrance touch me unless it was this one. Okay that was a bit dramatic, but this was truly my scent of the season. Even when I was commuting to work or going on an evening walk, I always felt like I was being transported to a tropical island because of this fragrance, and everyone seems to be agree. I got endless compliments every time I wore it. It's truly vacation in a bottle.
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