In a surprising turn of events for me, I became a beauty editor a little more than a year ago. You see, my regular day job is managing editor of THE/THIRTY—Who What Wear's wellness vertical. So my life revolves around all things wellness: fitness, nutrition, self-care, mental health, etc. Then, back in April 2020, I got the unexpected opportunity to write a few beauty stories a week here on Who What Wear.
At first, I was a little wary. Beauty was a completely new beat for me and I didn't really know much about it other than my own personal experiences. And I consider both my makeup and skincare routines pretty low maintenance and minimal. On the other hand, the curious journalist inside me was very eager to learn more about a new topic and really explore everything there is to know about it. So I dove right in with help from my colleagues, senior beauty editor Erin Jahns and beauty editor Courtney Higgs.
Let me tell you, it's been a lot of fun. And I've learned so much. I can now go on and on about retinols, hyaluronic acid, sunscreens, microdermabrasion, and how to figure out our skin type. Even though I still consider myself a makeup novice, I know how to find the perfect foundation for my skin tone and how to use a concealer efficiently. I also can tell you which eye shadow palettes are worth it and how to shop for the perfect lip color.
With all of this new knowledge, I've also discovered a lot of new-to-me products that I've become thoroughly obsessed with. Who knew I could wax poetic to my friends for a long time about a $166 vitamin C serum? Well, this is the new normal for me.
To mark my milestone of writing about beauty for a year, I thought it'd be fun to do a debrief and compile a list of all the products I've tried and loved. Take a look below, and let me know what you think by sending me a DM at @sarahayang. Am I sleeping on any products? What should I try next? Do you have the same feelings about a certain product? Please tell me.
I always knew sunscreen was so important, but it wasn't until I was interviewing dermatologists for skincare stories that I realized exactly how important it is. Supergoop's Glow Screen is my everyday product. I love that it's lightweight and is easy to apply. Also, it's a big plus that when I wear it I don't really feel the need to put on any makeup because it gives me such a nice radiant glow.
I got a sample of Tatcha's cream from Sephora and let me tell you, I scraped the very bottom of that sample pot. I was obsessed. It makes my skin feel so soft, hydrated, and plumped. The formula is rich, but the consistency doesn't feel sticky or greasy at all. I reach for it when my skin is especially dry.
I heard my coworkers raving about this cleanser, so of course, I had to try it. (Side note, but you'll see how influenced I am by my colleagues the more you read this story.) This cleanser is great because it's gentle, yet it still manages to thoroughly clean and exfoliates my skin. I use it every day.
Okay, here we are. This is hands down my favorite product discovery of the year. After hearing C E Ferulic being discussed in reverent and effusive tones, I knew I had to try it. It was scary for me to drop that much money on a skincare product, but the payoff was definitely worth it. My skin feels so soft and smooth when I use it. And I get so many compliments on my glowy complexion.
My skin doesn't have many complaints, but it is prone to the occasional bout of dryness. Kiehl's Hydro Plumping Serum is one I keep in my dry-skin rotation. It's formulated with ingredients like glycerin to deeply hydrate the skin. And it feels so good on irritated and inflamed skin. Sometimes I just keep it simple and apply only this product and call it a day.
Every dermatologist I've ever spoken to has told me about the importance of using a retinol product, especially now that I'm in my 30s. So I have been really sticking to that advice. Kate Somerville's night cream is a favorite because it contains both retinol and vitamin C, and it doesn't irritate my skin like other retinol formulas might.
I'm happy to say I've been very vigilant about my sunscreen-wearing. Elta MD's sunscreens are always recommended by dermatologists, so I had to try them. The sunscreen spray is great because it has zinc oxide protection and doesn't feel very greasy. It does go on white and dries clear, but I don't mind that because it helps me check if everything is covered.
I'm also a fan of this product, which I can only describe as a green juice in cleanser form. It has kale, spinach, and green tea—all things that are good for you to eat and also apply to your face. It's has a gel consistency (which is my favorite), so it feels really refreshing and lightweight.
I didn't know a lip mask was essential until I actually tried one. I put this one on before I go to bed and I wake up with pillowy-soft lips. What more can you ask for?
This cream from Kiehl's is my everyday moisturizer. My skin feels hydrated and soft when I apply it, and I love that it's a rich formula but isn't heavy at all. It has ingredients like vitamin A; chaga mushroom; and hyaluronic acid to improve fine lines, wrinkles, and texture. You can get the version with built-in SPF protection, but I prefer this one so I can layer on my favorite Supergoop sunscreen on top.
Versed's oil serum was my first foray into face oils, and boy did it change my mind about them. I always equated face oils with oily skin, but now I understand why people love them. This particular product absorbs so quickly and leaves my skin so smooth and glowy.
When my parched skin needs some extra TLC, I use this overnight face mask. The gel formula (again, my favorite kind!) feels so cool, which is much-needed when your skin is angry, red, and feels extra sensitive. I always know that when I wake up my skin will be refreshed and smoother.
I've heard my colleagues sing the praises of Vintner's Daughter, so I was pretty excited to try out the essence and the serum. I totally get the hype. I love that the serum has 100% natural ingredients, so it's a clean product that really works. It does it all for me—hydrates, nourishes, and boosts radiance. It's another product that I believe is worth its price tag.
I didn't know much about essences, but before I tried this product I learned that it hydrates the skin while prepping and enabling it to better absorb other products. Recently, I've been using just this essence and serum at night as part of a streamlined routine and it's taught me that you don't really need a multistep nighttime routine.
When I use a toner, I reach for this one because it's gentle and doesn't dry out my skin. It has four acids: lactic, glycolic, azelaic, and kojic to exfoliate and brighten skin. And it's got vitamin C to leave your face looking extra glowy.
I've been using eye cream more to protect the delicate skin around my eyes, and this one is my go-to. It targets the signs of aging, but it also does wonders for my dark under-eye circles.
I'm a fan of the no-makeup makeup look, so Merit's complexion stick has been one of my favorites since the brand launched a few months ago. It's nice that you can use it as a full-face foundation or as a spot concealer, depending on the current state of your skin. It doesn't feel heavy or looks cakey at all—just a nice natural finish.
I love multitasking products, and you can use this color on your lips and cheeks. The shade is buildable and the color is so pretty. It comes in compact packaging so it's easy to slip into your purse.
Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk is another product that I had seen getting a lot of hype, and like many of these on the list, it didn't disappoint. The color is just oh-so-good and sophisticated. It's long-lasting and I'm obsessed with the matte finish.
I was wary of liquid eye shadows, but this one from Kosas changed my mind. It's just so easy to use and is so flattering. You can build the color as much as you want, but it also works as a great neutral (even the shimmery ones). It also has nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, galactoarabinan, and orange flower water.
I consider myself terrible at eyeliner, but this pencil from Marc Jacobs makes me feel confident because I can line my eyes so easily. The gel crayon glides on so smoothly and it doesn't smudge.
Yes, here's another product that my colleagues raved about that I tried and loved too. The clean formula does a good job of lifting and lengthening my very sparse lashes.