Quick question—you know that deeply satisfying feeling of finding the perfect pair of jeans after hours, days, weeks, months, maybe even years of searching? The kind of feeling that warrants spontaneously buying 11 pairs and throwing an entire rent payment at the sales associate just to ensure you never have to live another day of your life without this magic pair of clothing?
The same phenomenon can occur when you find the perfect foundation, nail color, lipstick shade, or lengthening mascara. In fact, it's kind of similar to what my fashion editor co-worker Bobby Schuessler said here. Sometimes there are certain outfits (or in our case, beauty products) you just whisper yes to. So we thought we'd celebrate those cult-classic beauty finds that might not actually save your life but kind of feel like they could if they were simply accessorized with a superhero cape.
Keep reading to see which beauty products in this super-saturated industry are so deeply satisfying they're basically the equivalent of finding the perfect pair of jeans but, you know, for your face or hair.
2020 is the year of lip oils. The product has been bubbling for a couple of years, but suddenly almost every major brand is debuting its own iteration. That said, I think Kosas's is by far the one to beat. Each of the five colors is gorgeous, and the texture and pigment payoff can't be beaten. Magically, I never have to reapply it throughout the day, and it's not too sticky or slippery. Congratulations to Kosas because it basically created the perfect lip product. The clean formula is also boosted with luxe ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and evening primrose oil. Fruitjuice and Malibu are my favorite shades.
Predictable? Maybe, but there's a reason this foundation simply can't be upstaged. It's the number one pick of basically every single makeup artist I've ever talked to, and I don't know one beauty editor who hasn't given it a rave review. The finish is luminous, but it never turns greasy or overly dewy; the coverage is medium (but very buildable!); and it's also oil-free, which I greatly appreciate as someone with acne-prone skin.
This hybrid product from Charlotte Tilbury is so magical that I almost feel like it has to be real-life evidence of the extraterrestrial. It just doesn't make sense to me how it can *literally* filter away the look of pores or textural imperfections on your face while also offering the prettiest and most flattering of glows and highlight. Dabbing it across my cheekbones and temples with a rosewater-drenched Beautyblender ($20) after my foundation application is maybe the most life-changing beauty tip I ever learned. Seriously, you should try it. (Chantecaille Pure Rosewater Mist, $63, is my favorite.)
My fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs and I agree: This mascara is everything. I am the absolute pickiest mascara consumer and turn my nose up at almost every single formula I try. Rarely can I find a tube that can make my long, straight lashes as long and curled and fluttery as I want it to, but I swear my love for Glossier's fan favorite grows stronger each and every day. Buy it, and DM me if you're disappointed.
Okay, so technically, nail polish isn't makeup, but if you haven't yet tried Olive & June's epic nail formulas, you are truly missing out. I've been a self-proclaimed nail polish fanatic and hoarder since I was about 4 years old, and it just doesn't get better than the shade range nor the brand's long-lasting, glossy finish. I'm not typically a black-polish kind of girl, but the shade E+M is so chic I can't stop wearing it. (So yes, I'll probably be that girl come July who's sporting shiny black nails.)
Whenever I ask celebrity makeup artists about their favorite brow products to use on celebrity clients, this dark horse pomade from Surratt Beauty is one of the first things to come out of their mouths. The unique comb on the end of the wand is far superior to a spoolie (you never knew you needed to know this, right?), and the clear formula remains flexible and comfortable while still keeping your arches in shape all day or night long.
The retinol serum of all retinol serums. It doesn't matter if you're well-versed in all things retinol or a newbie to the popular skincare ingredient; Shani's gentle formula is the product to get your hands on. Whether your skincare concerns are more aging-related or you're hoping to smooth and soothe discoloration or textural issues, this beauty can help with that! I've had it in my nightly rotation for a month now and am already noticing a difference in the texture, brightness, and overall clarity of my face.
IS Clinical has lots of popular products boasting impressive best-seller statistics, but I happen to think this cooling serum for hydration and brightness is highly underrated as one of the brand's all-stars. (For the record, it has a perfect five-star rating on Dermstore with over 40 reviews.) Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden recommend it to me a couple of months ago, and I've been hooked ever since. It's packed with vitamin B5 (also known as the brightening powerhouse, niacinamide), hyaluronic acid, and kojic acid, and I love applying it after my retinol or active serum in the evening. In fact, it's so hydrating that I don't usually even need a moisturizer afterward. This is the hyaluronic acid serum you never knew you needed (until now, of course).
You may or may not be familair with M-61's iconic PowerGlow Peel Pads ($30)—aka one of the most adored skincare products in the game right now. Well, in very exciting news, the brand also has a brightening C- and E-packed version that gives the most ridiculous glow. After just one use, I decided I was hooked for life and benched my entire collection of bottled vitamin C serums. (Sorry, not sorry.)
I'm a big fan of any lip treatment that will make my lips look plumper, softer, and all-around better. So it's no surprise this new liquid balm treatment from Thrive Causemetics is one of my favorite beauty tries as of late. I slick it on while I do the rest of my makeup and then blot it a tad before I apply whatever lipstick I'm wearing for the day. It's touted as having a special lip-filler technology, which entails plumping, line-smoothing mustard sprout extract, a powerful active the brand credits for its microcirculation-boosting properties.
Okay, so I wasn't sure whether to categorize this under the makeup or skincare category, but ultimately, thanks to that iconic Bader name, I went with the latter. Plus, you can totally use this priming moisturizer as just a moisturizer. So there's that. Basically, both Courtney and I agree that this is one of the best beauty products ever created. It makes your face look incredible, and you'll never look at any other primer the same way after you apply foundation in tandem with this brand-new debut. Here's the sizzle: It uses Augustinus Bader’s TFC-8 technology to stimulate your skin’s natural repair and regeneration processes, it fights external signs of aging, and it features wrinkle-blurring powders to minimize the look of any imperfections or texture-related annoyances.
As you may or may not know, I have a borderline obsession with eye creams. I'm a believer, I love them, and I have a lineup of formulas I remain very loyal too. So you better believe a product is pretty damn fantastic if I ditch my entire collection to use one formula and one formula only. Not only does this lightweight gel from 111Skin have the nicest consistency—it's not too slippery or too sticky—but it also reduces the look of under-eye circles while tightening up the skin around the eyes to zap the look of fine lines or wrinkles. Or, in my case, the two too many vodka sodas I had last Friday night. It kills me how expensive it is, but then again, it's also one of the most worthwhile treatments I've tried for my perpetually shadowy under-eyes.
It's an investment piece to be sure, but once you dry your hair with this beautiful piece of machinery from Dyson, you will never go back. It's lightweight, quiet, and expertly engineered to blow every hair type to perfection with minimal, practically nonexistent damage.
Every celebrity hairstylist I stalk and chat with uses this split-end-banishing serum. It has this unique thick and creamy consistency (so no, it doesn't have the slippery, oil-like texture you'd assume), and it can be used on wet or dry hair. As the Olsens' longtime hairstylist Mark Townsend told me, it's basically a haircut in a bottle. Plus, it plays with coily, curly, wavy, and straight hair types equally well.
Though there have been a lot of copycat formulas that have launched after the wild and wide success of Olaplex, trust me when I say nothing works as well as this OG hair treatment. (And I say that as the ultimate guinea pig. I have extremely color-processed and damage-prone hair.)
If you coat damp strands with its No. 3 Hair Perfector a couple of times a month pre-shampoo, you'll notice a significant difference in the integrity of your hair. No question. Every single person who touches my hair (which, in this industry, is a lot) comments on how little breakage I have considering how long and blonde my hair is. I first credit my truly amazing hair colorist, Cassondra Kaeding, and then I credit this game-changing formula. I'll probably use it for the rest of my life, and I love slicking it back into my hair before coiling it in a tight chignon and going out for the day. It simply looks like a chic slick-back.
Everyone wants nice-smelling hair, right? I get that perfume for your hair seems really extra, but after trying (and immediately falling in love with) Byredo's dreamy elixirs featuring many of its most beloved signature scents, I'm apparently an unofficial hair perfume connoisseur. Try it—you'll be such a fan.
Is there a more iconic brush? No, the answer is no. Every celebrity and hairstylist uses this mane-perfector, and it's definitely one to add to your wish list if it's not there already. This little guy is made in England and blends the highest-quality boar-bristle and nylon tufts to gift you with the glossy, tangle-free strands of your dreams.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley swears by this hair spray–texturizing mist hybrid, and really, that's the only thing I needed to hear before getting my hands on the stuff myself. And, um, it's AMAZING. Historically, I despise hair spray, but this soft and flexible formula is unlike anything else I've ever used. First off, it smells illegally good. Second, it gives firm hold without feeling, you know, firm and tacky. You can spray it on your roots if you crave volume, you can spray it your lengths for more texture and body, and you can even spritz it on your strands before you use your heat styling tools. Game-changer.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.