By now, you've probably surmised that we test-drive a lot of beauty products here at Who What Wear HQ. From nail polish and makeup to hair and skincare, we're eyebrow deep in all things new, exciting, and wish list–worthy. That said, due to the number of products we come in contact with, we've also transformed into the nitpickiest of beauty consumers. Within seconds, we can tell if a new hair oil is too heavy, and we're quick to ignore a serum that yields disappointing results.
The good news? We're far more often impressed than unimpressed after trying out a new product, and usually, we simply can't wait to spread the word to all of our fellow beauty lovers (also known as you!). Therefore, we've decided gushing over our latest fave products should become a monthly ritual, and every 30 days or so, you can expect a full report detailing the highlighters, hair wands, and overnight skincare saviors we've become quickly obsessed with.
For the most part, we'll be covering buzzworthy launches (as those typically take up most of the action atop our product-filled desks), but we won't dismiss new-to-us products, either. Sometimes, our best discoveries are found on a friend's vanity or on someone's face at the bar (true story). Ahead are the best beauty products we tried in January! Grab your game face and wallet—you'll be needing both.
Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor
Warning: I just wrote a novel, and you're about to read it! Why I slept on adding a humidifier into my nightly routine I'll never know, but I can say my skin's dew point (and overall health) has been the better for it. I'd never had an issue with dryness until I moved to Arizona for a few months this winter, and my skin had a full-on tantrum. Zits, scales, redness, flakes… You name it; I had it. Of course, there was a lot of tinkering involved in adjusting my L.A.-approved skincare routine to my new arid climate, but plopping Canopy's award-winning humidifier as close to my face as possible each night made a considerable difference—more so than any other products I was adding or subtracting.
But this isn't your average humidifier, folks. It's the Tesla of humidifiers, and here's why: Unlike most models on the market, it's mist-free, and cutting-edge airflow technology and UV lights kill 99.9% of bacteria, mold, and viruses in the water, so you're getting clean, damp-free moisture infused into your space at an even clip. There are a number of different settings, and the smart sensors maintain optimal moisture day and night. Plus (yes, there's more!), it also doubles as a diffuser thanks to the cute little "puck" you place at the top where you add a few drops of your favorite blend of essential oils. This humidifier has quickly developed a cult following—it's the humidifier to own, and not surprisingly, it's selling like hotcakes. If I were you, I'd try to get my hands on one ASAP.
Shani Darden is a genius. Not only does she have the fingers of a wizard (I know because I've been blessed enough to receive a facial from her), but she's also a super-brilliant product formulator, and I always know a new launch from her is going to blow similar products from other brands out of the dang ballpark. Surprise, surprise, this new lactic acid–rich exfoliating serum is no different. It's a fantastic resurfacing alternative if you don't do retinol (I don't), and I kid you not, just one use, and you'll wake up to brighter, dewier skin sans irritation or redness. Suffice to say you can only imagine the things that will happen to your complexion with long-term application. It's safe for all skin types, and the master mix of cell-sloughing 9% lactic acid and gluconolactone (PHA) plus skin-soothing hydrators like hyaluronic acid, aloe, and green tea makes it the only exfoliating serum I want in my life.
Speaking of Shani, she recently recommended this acne-busting (yet somehow v calming) sulfur mask to me after I told her I was dealing with a rash of dermatitis and random breakouts thanks to some hormonal fluctuations and a new, much drier climate. Shani told me to apply a thin layer of this mask to the affected area every night, almost more like a spot treatment, and while I never before thought a lone product could completely cure a bout of breakouts, this amazing formula has me singing to a different tune.
After just one night, my angry patches of pimples and redness were half as severe, and the results have continued with regular application. (To avoid drying my skin out too much, I just apply it a few nights a week, which has been a good compromise.) The hero ingredient is sulfur, which has long been hailed as a fantastic antidote for acne, and it's flanked by other strategic ingredients like aloe vera, jojoba, wheat germ, eucalyptus, and kaolin and bentonite clays. Simply put, if you have excess oil, acne, or any other kind of inflammation going on, this will be a key part of your arsenal.
The number of tinted balms I've tried at this point in my beauty career has to be nearing the 100 mark—and that's fact, not drama. So when I tell you that this über-hydrating formula from Ilia is practically perfect in every way and one of the best things to ever happen to my five-minute makeup routine, you know it's good. Like, real good. It's made with clean ingredients (something I'm hypersensitive about when it comes to my lip products), and it's sheer but buildable, so each and every layer adds a slow burn of intensified color while still looking completely natural. It's my new goal to try them all, but the shade Wanderlust is currently what I'm wearing day in and day out. These balms actually launched last spring, so I'm annoyed that I only just tried them!
Continuing the lip theme, this brand-new lip mask from Lawless has to be in my top five lip products of all time. It plumps, it moisturizes, and, I know this is going to be a super-controversial statement, but IMHO, it puts every other lip mask out there to shame. (Yes, I'm going there, even *that* one.) I always roll my eyes a little when a product claims filler-caliber results. And no, nothing will ever take the place of actual filler, but this one comes pretty dang close. When I apply it before bed, I wake up to supremely hydrated, plump, pillowy lips, and I'm so addicted to the results that I've started wearing it all day too. FYI: It's amazing as a primer pre-lipstick.
Usually, lip masks are too heavy and sticky for my taste, but this one is significantly lighter and more comfortable without compromising on that aforementioned hit of hydration. Maxi-Lip is the key ingredient and is scientifically and clinically shown to visibly increase lip volume by 40% while also helping to support natural collagen production over time. Other key hitters include shea butter and hyaluronic acid. I haven't been so utterly thrilled by a new product launch in a long time.
I have an unhealthy obsession with Boy Smells candles like every other living, breathing soul on planet Earth, so you can only imagine the chaos that ensued when the brand announced its official foray into fine fragrances. (If I could have manifested the launch of any type of beauty product, it would be Boy Smells perfumes, so I am one damn happy camper.) There are seven fragrances in total, and I really think every scent lover needs the exploratory set in their life, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be Flor de La Virgen. It's exquisite. Like, truly perfect. I know "intoxicating" is an overly played word in the fragrance arena, but this perfume is truly worthy. Citrusy scents aren't usually my play, but this one is a well-rounded balance of pomelo, saffron, lemon rind, and fig leaf on top; ivy leaves, jasmine petals, and olibanum in the middle; and cistus, labdanum, clear musks, and ambrox at the base. Try it, and you'll be the best-smelling person in the room.
Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
This product was kindly given to me this month, and I have to say I love it! Prior to using this, I would use castor oil on my lashes to condition them. But anyone who has ever used castor oil before knows how thick and messy it can be if you're not super light-handed with it. I found this is a great alternative for conditioning your lashes, and it removes all eye makeup like a champ!
This is by far one of the best products I've used for brightening and clearing the skin. I'm a big fan of both lactic acid and glycolic acid, so adding this to my routine this month felt more than right. After just a few days of use, I found a lot of small breakouts here and there went down significantly with decreased redness, a welcomed feat if you have acne-prone skin. I also really appreciate the texture of this product. It's extremely light and won't leave you feeling greasy or oily like some AHA serums. (They tend to overcompensate with heavier ingredients to balance the drying acids in the formula.) On the other hand, it also doesn't leave you feeling dry, either—it's just right.
Eighth Day's new moisturizer is an absolute DREAM. I tried it this month along with the brand's cult-loved serum, and to say I was impressed is an understatement. I won't lie to you—I was secretly hoping I wouldn't love either of them that much because of the price tag (LOL), but of course, the universe had other plans. I will gladly add both to my list of "well worth the money" products that I use.
Katie Berohn, Associate Beauty Editor
Let me preface this by saying that I am very picky about mascara. In an ideal world, my perfect mascara would make my lashes look twice as long as they actually are, fan them out and separate each and every lash, hold a curl all day, and never, ever leave any smudging under my eyes. I'm not sure if the perfect formula exists, but this tubing mascara from Caliray comes pretty damn close, and that's a home run for me.
I have waxed poetic about this Boy Smells scent to Erin Jahns, our Senior Beauty Editor, so many times that she's probably sick of hearing about it. But I can't help it! I am not a rose lover, I find that in many perfumes, it's too stuffy and powdery for my taste. This fragrance takes a traditional rose scent and turns it on its head with spicy notes like pink peppercorn and cardamom. It's floral without being cloying, and as someone who typically steers away from rose scents, I've surprised myself with how much I've reached for it.
I dread winter because it turns my dry skin downright patchy and chapped, particularly when I have to brave the harsh weather and go outside (a foreign concept at this point). I wear sunscreen year-round, and I love this new face oil from Supergoop!. It locks in moisture while providing sun protection and imparting a dreamy glow on my skin, even on the coldest, driest days.
Another fix for winter dryness, this moisturizer is a true hydration powerhouse. So many moisturizers that cater to dryness have a rich, balm-like texture, which makes sense, but they can sometimes feel a bit suffocating. I like this one because it sinks in instantly and has a unique texture that falls somewhere between a gel and a balm.
In my opinion, this is about as unique as a floral perfume can get. It's heavy on iris, which is a bit less heady than other florals, and also has a woodsier quality to it. I think what really brings this fragrance to life, though, is myrrh. It gives the scent a deep, almost menthol-like quality, which to me, evokes rubbing Vick's on your chest to clear your head (but in the best possible way, I promise!). Overall, this scent has an electrical charge to it, like the Festa della Luce in Puglia that it's modeled after. I can't stop wearing it, and every time I do, someone compliments me.
Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour, Senior Market Editor
After basically everyone I know endorsed Tatcha's Dewy Skin Cream, I decided to give it a try, and… wow. I put it on at night before bed, and I honestly wake up feeling like a new person. It's been a life-saver for my skin during this super-dry winter month.
My only regret purchasing a Dyson Air Wrap is the fact that I only just did so and didn't buy it a year ago. Despite being late to the game, however, I'm still so thrilled with it. This is my hair after three days, and it honestly is as bouncy and voluminous as my hair usually is on day one—and I'm only getting better at using it with each try.
Bobby Schuessler, Market Director
I'm a sucker for a lovely Celine fragrance. The latest, entitled Rimbaud (dedicated to the French poet Arthur Rimbaud), is glorious and will probably become one of my new go-to scents with the delicious notes of lavender, musk, and vanilla.
Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY
I'm already a big fan of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer (I use it every day), so I was really excited when I got the chance to try out the brand's new mask. After traveling for a friend's New Year's wedding (and getting little sleep and not sticking to a healthy diet), I was dealing with majorly dry and dull skin for the first two weeks of January. So I decided to use this overnight mask to fix my face. The first time I put it on, I was surprised by its consistency—it feels kind of thick when you first put it on your fingers, but after smoothing it on your face, it feels like a lightweight balm. When I woke up the next morning, my skin was a bit softer and less dry, and after using it for two to three more days, my skin felt back to normal! Definitely keeping this one in my weekly skincare rotation.
Caitie Schlisserman, Beauty Director, Branded Content
I know, I know. I’m late to the game here, but you know what they say… Good things come to those who wait? Anyway, aside from the formula being suitable for sensitive eyes, the wand is what makes this extra special. Think of it as the Gumby of mascara wands: It's flexible and can bend in every possible way to coat each lash from root to tip. I’m telling you this stuff gave me the longest lashes of my life—the ’60s doe eyes of my dreams. I’m smitten.
I’m a sucker for a two-in-one product, so it should come as no surprise that I’m obsessed with this. The formula is super buttery and applies so easily. There are so many good shades, but Healthy Pink is a no-brainer to use every day. It looks just as good on my lips as it does on my cheeks. It’s the perfect addition to my makeup bag.
I mostly use brow gels, but this pencil has me changing my ways. Aside from it being super pigmented, I love how thin the pencil is—the ultra-fine tip makes it easy to fill in any sparse spots in a natural way.
The name of this is spot-on. It gives lips a dewy sheen that isn’t thick or sticky. I’ve been especially into the shade Poppy, which adds a subtle wash of color to lips that feels elevated but not excessive.
I’m almost 32, and I still get mesmerized by sparkles. This palette just does it for me. It comes with four shades, all of which can be worn alone or blended together. If you want more of a color payoff, I suggest using your finger, and if you want something softer, use a brush. I have a sweet spot for the shade Viola, which is a shimmery brown with golden flecks. It really enhances my eye color and makes me feel like I have my shit together.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love beauty tools, gadgets, and devices. Anything that’ll keep me comfy at home while still reaping the benefits of salon treatments is a go in my book, and this facial steamer is my latest obsession. I’ve been using it a few times a week after I get out of the shower to help clear my pores. Aside from feeling like a luxurious treat, it stimulates circulation and helps my skincare absorb better. I swear it has been saving my dry winter skin!
This is a seriously shiny and plumping gloss that not only helps smooth lines but also makes lips feel pillowy soft. It comes in many swoon-worthy shades, but I have a soft spot for George, which is a warm honey nude that’s rich and satisfying. The best part? There are instant and long-term benefits to the formula: Use it regularly, and the gloss is shown to visibly increase lip volume and decrease lines over time.
Sierra Mayhew, Associate Fashion Editor
I got this eye shadow palette to wear for all of the holiday parties I went to last year, and even in a month as slow as January, I'm still using it. I'm a big fan of purple and sparkles, but I also only do very natural beauty looks. So this palette was perfect because the colors aren't too bright.
Finding a clean deodorant that actually works is not easy, but after discovering this one, the search is officially over for me. I love the environmentally friendly options they have to order a refill once you've run out of product. It also smells so good without being overpowering.
This is one of my favorite body lotions that I've tried to date. It went on so smoothly, smelled amazing, and made my skin so soft. Winter is definitely tough for people like me with dry skin, but this product alone basically replaced the humidifier that I procrastinated ordering. I went through it so fast I'm already planning my reorder!
Up next, We Bought These 18 Beauty Products Solely Due to Glowing Word-of-Mouth Reviews
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.