As with any job, you can get bored, even if you write about something as fun as beauty. Especially if you’ve been writing about it for years. While I don’t ever get too disillusioned with beauty, there have definitely been times when all of the lipsticks, moisturizers, and bronzers start looking the same and morphing into each other. That being said, there are the ones that stand out—whether it’s an entirely new, never-before-seen product or simply something that works so well that you have to tell every single person you know. These are the products that can instantly snap an old fogy beauty editor like myself out of a jaded daze.
This past year was filled with tons of beauty products that were tested, treasured, or tossed. While there were plenty of good makeup and skincare launches, I’m taking the time to honor my beauty VIPs. These were the products that had my back when I needed it (shout-out to a particular vegan collagen serum), brought me to experience literal makeup euphoria (pun intended), or just did a damn fine job of making me feel good—whether it was a self-care moment or for a glamorous occasion. Ahead are the 13 top beauty products of 2022 that made me feel alive again. Keep scrolling!
The launch of Half Magic was a true delight this year. It was actually difficult to choose just one product to highlight, TBH. Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy completely brought maximalist makeup to the mainstream, thanks to her Emmy award–winning work on the show, and I was so glad we didn’t have to wait too long for her to release her own makeup line (in collaboration with A24). While there are so many amazing products, as a self-professed eyeliner snob, I have to shine the spotlight on Magic Flik. It’s the most unique liquid eyeliner I’ve ever used, as it has a paddle-shaped tip. You can draw a wing as quick as lightning, make Twiggy-esque bottom lash lines, or go wild with squiggles and swirls. It’s also surprisingly easy to use! Anyone who uses liquid eyeliner must get this.
The relaunch of Lady Gaga’s makeup line was major, to say the least. As a fan of the original line, I was happy that the reboot has been even more amazing and filled with innovations. While there are so many products I adore in the lineup, the foundation has become a surprise hit in my routine. While it took a while for me to use the product regularly (I’ve been incredibly loyal to the La Mer Soft Fluid foundation this year), I’ve been wearing this foundation nonstop for the past week. It’s dewy, buildable, and gives me good mid-coverage without weighing my skin down. I also like how it contains fermented arnica, which helps with redness and protects the skin from outside stressors. (PS, Putting arnica in the beauty products was Gaga’s idea. What can’t she do?!)
This vegan serum, which I’ve officially referred to as my “ride or die” serum, was the V.I.P. beauty product of 2022 for me, right next to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (a product that has been around a long time so it didn’t meet the specifics of this list). It rescued my skin from some serious damage that occurred after I went hard with zit cream, so it has a special place in my heart. It’s gentle and easy to use. I’m definitely bringing it with me into the new year. Haha, imagine if I got it tattooed on me… Unless?…
I am grateful to Who What Wear’s Beauty Director Erin Jahns for telling me about Perfumehead, especially as I’ve entered into a serious fragrance era. I paid a visit to Violet Grey to test the products in person and learn more about the connection between the retailer and the perfumer. Sarah Brown, the Executive Director of Violet Lab and Violet Grey, says that Perfumehead founder Daniel Giles created the fragrance collection as not only an homage to Los Angeles but with Violet Grey in mind. This resulted in the retail store becoming the official Perfumehead HQ, where people could experience the brand first-hand and in an intimate setting. “It is such a gorgeous, artisanal brand—from the flacons to the unusual extraits and the evocative narratives surrounding each scent—and we felt it needed to be put on a pedestal, quite literally, and truly experienced,” says Brown.
Erin told me to layer Cosmic Cowboy and Canadian Tuxedo (the latter of which is inspired by Ryan Gosling in Drive, Britney and Justin’s iconic outfits, and The Outsiders) and I fell in love. Brown said that Daniel “paints a picture with fragrance that you want to climb inside,” and I really feel that.
This year was the year of launches, and one of the most exciting ones was makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench’s eponymous beauty brand. I love her Rubberlash Mascara ($39), Skinlacq Serum ($78), and the new Wild Star Collection, but this burgundy tinted lip plumping serum became an obsession (and not only because the packaging for it and other products feature a piercing that looks like my old nipple rings from the old raver days—sorry, TMI). Isamaya is one of the most creative, artistic, and edgy brands to come out in a long time, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for 2023.
It’s no secret that I wear some serious eye makeup and lipstick, and removing it at the end of the day can be tricky. Sometimes, my go-to micellar water is no match for my makeup, so I have to turn to something oil-based. This face cleanser from Filipino luxury beauty brand Pili Ani is a powerhouse. It’s become a go-to for regular makeup removal, but also a godsend when I get a laser treatment done and need a gentle face wash. But it doesn’t just cleanse, it also helps reduce redness, minimize breakouts, and firms and tones the skin. The cleanser also contains the amazing Elemi oil from the Pili tree, which has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
I went through this mascara so fast because I wore it nonstop! While the formula was impressive—super black and smudge-proof—a standout feature was the fluffy brush. It’s shaped like a cone and helps with volume and lift. Truly one of my favorite mascaras I've found in a long time.
Gwen Stefani’s GXVE line is a true gift, not just for forever Gwennabees like me, but for red lipstick lovers. While there are a few different lipstick formulas, I just loved this velvety matte feel. It’s super pigmented and lasts long (through eating!) but doesn’t feel dry or heavy.
There were a few incredible Saint Jane Beauty launches this year (currently slathering my gams with the Hydrabloom Body Silk as we speak), but this primer was a big one for me. It does so much—from creating a smooth base to having zinc oxide–powered SPF properties. It’s also chock-full of nourishing and protective botanicals.
This sun-protection brand is another favorite of mine. I love everything about it, from the brand’s product innovations to its sense of humor, which comes out in the packaging. It was hard to pick just one product for this story (sneaking in a shout-out to the set of Dessert Lip Balms), but the Classic Whip sunscreen was one of the coolest products I’ve ever seen. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the meeting where the idea of making a sunscreen that looks like canned whipped cream happened. But it’s actually good! It’s lightweight, absorbs into the skin well, and makes putting on sunscreen fun. One of the things that I appreciate about Vacation is that the actual products live up to the aesthetic. They’re good quality and work well—it’s not just pretty packaging!
I’ll be honest: This Dyson Airwrap (with re-engineered attachments) used to be intimidating to me. It’s such an innovative and futuristic hair tool that I wasn’t sure a non-professional like me could do it justice! But after a couple of tries, I finally got the Airwrap down and it’s become one of my favorite tools. The fact that I can make myself look like I got a blowout is something that I never thought was possible. It’s a pricey hair tool, but worth it.
Sunnies Face is yet another major brand launch of 2022 that gets the Marie stamp of approval! While they’ve been making waves in the Philippines for a while, they’ve just made their debut in the U.S. this year, and I’m so thankful. I’m a lipstick girl, so it’s serious when I put one on my “best of” list! I am devoted to the Fluffmatte life, so much so that I also wear the line’s non-red colors pretty often. Again, a big deal for me!