I consider myself a beauty guinea pig. I will try any skincare, makeup, or hair product highly touted by friends, influencers, or celebrities at least once. (I even cut my own hair last month.) If there isn't a free sample or purchasable sample-size version available, I usually do my due diligence by reading online reviews before making a purchase. Still, it's fairly often that a product just doesn't work out or simply isn't worthy of a second purchase.
So far this year I have found 19 items (out of 31 I tested) that I am so hyped on and plan to replace over and over. That may seem like a lot of beauty items to buy in just six months, but many are under $25. From my new can't-live-without nighttime serum to the fun nail stickers I get me infinite compliments, these are my favorite new (at least new to me!) items of the year.
The past few months have been beyond stressful, which has caused me to breakout way more than usual. This Glossier mask seriously saved my skin. It's not a new product, but it wasn't really on my radar until a friend recommended it to me for my specific skin concerns. Now that my face is clearer, I just use it as a spot treatment as needed.
One of my co-workers (hi Emily!) is really talented at doing her own makeup, so after admiring her eyelashes for months, I finally asked her what mascara she uses. She went on and on about how many compliments she started getting on her lashes after switching to this Superhero mascara, and I can see why. Mascara isn't normally a thing I care about. I used to just choose whatever caught my eye or was the least expensive, but this one really makes a difference in length and fullness.
I have apparently been sleeping on these self-tan drops! I have really fair skin but don't like to spend too much time in the sun as I burn easily. My sister suggested I borrow this product from her, and I'm so glad she did. I later found out several friends also swear by it for a sunless summer glow. Consider me hooked.
I received a free sample of this face scrub from Sephora and can't wait to purchase a full-size container. It's a really fine, gritty texture, which may not be for everyone but I really enjoy it. My skin feels ultrasmooth and clean after using it once or twice a week.
I'm not saying I'm skilled enough at painting nails to work at a salon, but I'm not not saying that either. I've had lots of practice over the last few months and recently entered nail-art territory. Trust me when I say that it's so much easier and less stressful to use these little stickers than to actually paint on designs. My favorites are the sunflowers, but I plan to try the cherries next.
Two of my co-workers adore this rosehip face oil, so I finally decided to buy it, too. It's only $13 on Amazon for the smallest size, so I figured I didn't have much to lose. But it turns out I had a lot to gain. When my skin feels dry after a long day in the sun, this oil is hydrating and calms it down back to normal.
It's been years since I've used a wipe to remove my makeup. In fact, I tell anyone who will listen to switch to a cleansing balm. I was using a different one for a while, but a good friend guaranteed I would fall in love with Farmacy's Green Clean product. She was right. The texture and smell are so soothing, and it removes a full face of makeup with ease. What more could I want?
I bought this Origins face wash on a whim during the last Sephora sale. (I'm such a sucker for "You may also like this" prompts.) I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I love it, considering it was an impulse purchase. It's very creamy, while still feeling light on my face. I'm also really happy with the price point for a five-ounce bottle. I probably won't need to replace it for a while, but I plan to when I do.
I received this lip stain as a gift, and boy is it luxe! It looks just as gorgeous on my bathroom vanity tray as it does my lips. However, the packaging is not why I'll be repurchasing. For me, it's really all about the smooth liquid texture that applies easily and lasts all day. Oh, and this shade of red just can't be beat!
I have beyond sensitive teeth and all but gave up on the idea of whitening strips. I discovered these through an Instagram ad (I'm easily influenced) and decided to buy them because of the claims that they didn't cause sensitivity. I'm not sure if it's the coconut or what, but these truly don't bother my teeth at all, and they whiten them really well, too.
This $22 hair brush from Amazon is arguably one of my better purchases of the year. The boar bristles run smoothly through my hair, making brushing it an actually enjoyable experience for once. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to a hard bristle brush again.
After my great experience with the Origins face wash, I bought this calming mask. It received 4.5/5 star reviews on Sephora, and I can see why. It doesn't leave my skin tight or dry like other masks, plus I love that it's a clean-ingredient product.
Sometimes I think they'll put CBD in anything these days, and then sometimes I buy said random CBD product. I was in the market for a new natural, aluminum-free deodorant (I switched over years ago), and this one caught my attention. I'm not sure that the CBD actually does anything noticeable, but the fact that this roll-on deodorant has a fresh scent I enjoy and actually works well is enough for me. It's a little pricey, but since I only restock on deodorant a couple times a year, I don't mind.
Sunday Riley's Good Genes lactic acid treatment is a cult-favorite beauty product. It's also really expensive. I received tiny samples of it over the years and always really loved the results: You know, smoother, even-toned skin after one use. I randomly saw it on sale on Nordstrom and knew it was a sign to purchase ASAP. If you only ever use one serum, know I swear by this one.
Supergoop!'s Unseen Sunscreen is one of my all-time favorite products. I wear it every single day under my makeup. Since I've been spending so much time out in the sun on walks and in the pool lately, I wanted to try something with a higher SPF. This one is exactly what I was looking for because it's a bit more sweat- and water-resistant.
I was on the hunt for a new vitamin C serum (and also regretfully, my first ever vitamin C serum), when I saw this new one from Olehenriksen pop up all over Instagram. The serum has really done exactly what it says it will: improved my skin texture and reduced dark spots. I may not give another vitamin C serum a try for a long time because I'm so happy with this one.
This Dyson blow dryer is my expensive purchase of the year, and I'm so beyond excited about it. I've wanted it for so long after trying it out on multiple occasions and finally decided to splurge. I haven't been blow-drying my hair as frequently as I normally do, but it's such a treat when I do now that I have this tool.
I've never been super consistent with a retinol serum because they dry my skin out so much. I heard that this affordable Versed retinol was super gentle and effective. Both were true—enough said!
It took my stylist years of suggesting I buy this hair treatment before I actually did. My hair has felt really dry and damaged during quarantine (maybe because I haven't gotten a professional cut since November, oops), so I decided it was finally time. I've used Olaplex's shampoo and conditioner in the past, so I'm not surprised by how much I love this mask. Right now I use it once or twice a week, but I'll likely reduce the frequency after getting a haircut.