Style

The 5 Beauty Finds I Use the Most

My Five Top Beauty Finds

It’s been a minute since we’ve talked about favorite beauty products, so I thought I’d ask: Are there any finds you’re into lately? Here are the five things I’ve been using the most these days (and I’d love to hear yours)…

For hair:

As a long-time proponent of the $18 hot air brush, I never owned a “fancy” hair tool. All my tools hailed from the drugstore and worked just fine, thankyouverymuch. Then, early this year, I was out of town for a friend’s wedding (a distant memory when both travel and gatherings were without question) and my drugstore curling iron bit the dust. The only thing near the hotel was an upscale shopping center, where I begrudgingly bought this curling iron to style my hair. At the time, I was annoyed, but let me tell you, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. When it’s too hot (or I’m too busy or lazy) to deal with blow drying, I let my hair air dry and then add some definition with the curling iron. The result is shiny curls and waves that last and last (for around two days or until it’s time to wash it again). Now I see what all the hype is about!

To that end, when air drying, the Matte Waves Texture Lotion is the best product I’ve tried. Simply run it through wet hair and then let the air do its thing. The effect is like salt spray, but better, because it won’t dry out your hair.

For skin:

Sometimes, you need a fresh start. For an overall refresh, Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is a gentle yet powerful exfoliating mask made with chickpeas and magic (actually a blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric and salicylic acids). You leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off and see results instantly. It improves the look of pores and skin texture and makes your whole face glow. (If you have very sensitive skin, however, you may want to skip this one.)

The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask has garnered a cult following, and with good reason. You can use it overnight, as intended, or as a regular lip balm, and it makes your lips feel soft and hydrated. But that’s not the reason I love it. I’m quite partial to the vanilla flavor, which has the exact same subtle-yet-unmistakable scent as vanilla instant pudding, from childhood. Every time I put it on, I get a blast of nostalgia. And one pot lasts seemingly forever.

This last one isn’t so much a find as a regular old appliance, but I am loving… the fridge. I keep some toning mist and eye cream in there, for a refreshing pick-me-up at the end of a long day (or sometimes in the middle of one). Whenever I feel bogged down, I’ll grab some chilled face mist, light my favorite candle, and keep on going, feeling a little bit better.

How about you? Are you into any new products or beauty discoveries? Please share! Also: Dermstore is having their anniversary sale right now with up to 25% off.

P.S. Your top 10 beauty questions, answered and 14 reader comments on beauty.

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. retro-roost says...

    I wonder if CoJ would consider having a beauty consultant for each various age groups. Say late 20s to mid-30s, late 30s to mid-40s, late 40s to-50s, mid-50s to 65+, etc. A product that works for someone in their twenties, doesn’t seem to always work for someone in their forties. As a reader, I need to take the age of the beauty consultant into mind before considering a recommended purchase. Thank you.

  2. Liz says...

    I really love ellovi’s products, especially their tinted lip balm! Clean ingredients and any easy way to add a little color/something special. https://www.ellovi.com/

  3. Kaori says...

    I’ve been LOVING the Laneige lip sleep mask in the original pink color. It lasts forever. I got a tiny sample from Sephora once that lasted me months so it wasn’t a hard decision to repurchase the full size for $20. I wear it during the day instead of at night. It’s the perfect sheer, moisturizing pink, doesn’t feel sticky, makes my lips soft, love it more than I’ve loved a beauty product in a long time.
    The really life-changing product I discovered this year is Curology… it’s like a dermatologist subscription service where you take pictures of your face and they send you a custom cream that has a blend of prescription strength active ingredients. I think mine has niacinamide, azelaic acid, and clindamycin. I’m 30 and I’ve dealt with dry skin and big hormonal bumps since college and now I feel so good about my skin. I was kind of at my wit’s end with my skin before I tried it…I’d been doing my own trial and error to no avail with Drunk Elephant, Biossance, Tata Harper and other fancy brands I heard people say cleared their skin, and had a terrible experience with a dermatologist who was really pushy about putting me on Accutane. It was expensive and frustrating and emotional… I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with adult acne and I think you can try it for the first month for only the cost of shipping.

  4. Sarah says...

    I have a question rather than a comment. It’s something that I have been wondering since the beginning days of blogs. There are a few bloggers I read on a regular basis — and you are one of them. I have been becoming increasingly skeptical about some of the product y’all feature. I am thinking, “are you given free products to use and promote”?, “are you being paid to feature these products”?, “do you really really use these products religiously”? “do you get a percentage of sales?” Can you please explain the relationship between blogger and products? Thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note, Sarah! it’s a great question. we are sometimes given products to try for potential sponsors, and if we truly like them and know that others would too, we will agree to do a sponsored post; those are clearly marked at the top and bottom of each post. but for editorial posts like this, we recommend only products we have already used and loved in our regular lives. we sometimes make an affiliate earning on them (meaning, we will earn a small percentage of sales) but this isn’t taken into consideration when we are choosing products to feature; that is just a bonus. in this case, Caroline has been using these products at home and I asked her to do a beauty post so she did! :) hope this helps. we know that our relationship with our readers is the #1 most important thing on our site and we always want to be authentic and truthful, especially when recommending products. thank you so much xoxo

  5. MB says...

    Tata Harper’s clarifying cleanser for blemish-prone skin is one of the few, if only, product I can say has made a remarkable difference on my (face) skin. I have combination/sensitive skin and have suffered from blemishes since I was a teenager (I’m now mid-30s); nothing terrible but at least a few bothersome blemishes a month. Since I started using this cleanser 1.5 yrs ago my skin has been mostly clear which I’m so grateful for after always feeling a bit self-conscious about still having zits at my age, and with the client-facing nature of my work.

    • LV says...

      i’ve been wanting to try this – same skin type. what do you do for moisturizer?

  6. KJ says...

    My HGs:

    – CSI Vitamin C serum (great for acne-prone skin)
    – Elta Intense Moisturizer
    – Purito Unscented sunscreen
    -Tazorac or Retin-A

    As someone who grew up with acne, taking care of my skin has always been important. Feeling like someone sees your acne first, you second was a terrible feeling. I got my first pimple at 10 and it’s taken a long time to feel OK with my skin. Is it vanity? I suppose so. But that doesn’t mean it’s frivolous or not important.

  7. Ann says...

    Question: Does everyone really feel this way about products? I have actually tried many of the suggestions here for skin care and literally. Nothing. Happened. My skin never changes a bit except for the worse from age. The only improvement I see comes from going to the dermatologist, and even that is temporary. I’m getting pretty tired of “products” because none of them do anything, and I feel like a chump for buying into the hype.

    • Megan says...

      Ann, you took the thoughts out of my mind! I’m early-30s and have never in my life had a beauty routine. Somehow, pieces like this still pique my interest; I suppose I wonder what I’m missing out on, or what magic awaits me, but I’ve just never, ever felt that strongly about any of the products (or homemade concoctions) I’ve tried over the years. With that said, if I had to describe my “routine,” it would consist of one product: Blissoma’s Facial Cleansing Bar. I use it whenever I shower to wash my face, for at least 6 years now, and while I don’t wax poetic about it to strangers, I continue buying it because it feels like it keeps my skin clean. I’m starting to think I’m just not a product person, happy to find someone else out there on a similar journey.

    • Ari says...

      Same. I’ve turned a corner and just don’t give a damn about *products* or anything *nice* anymore. It’s now drugstore stuff and just lots of SPF. My pores are my pores are my pores. At the beginning of the year, I made two lists – one of things that drain me and one of things that nourish me – and I realized that doing/thinking about “self care” (of the mask/mist variety) was more draining than nourishing. May be correlation, not causation but I’ve been on a flossing roll!

    • Kelly says...

      Exfoliate and moisturize. CVS beauty 360 individual buff puffs (I call them my little scrubbies) are $5 for a box of 40. I have been using them for over 10 years and get compliments on my skin. And I am 58. Then Aveeno daily moisturizer for day and a drugstore moisturizer for night and lip balm always. And don’t forget the sunscreen.

    • RLC says...

      I’m so with all of this. Neutrogenia acne wash for my face, a Mary Kay eye cream!, and retin A + moisturizer. No expensive product has produced better results. SPF daily as well. I wish there was a miracle product but I haven’t found it yet.

    • Karen says...

      Dove soap to wash my face, Jergens unscented body lotion to moisturize. Makes my friends crazy! I’ve tried the entire Skinceuticals line, Everyday Oil for washing and moisturizing, Drunk Elephant products, almost got sucked into buying La Mer lotion (thankfully tried a tester and was not impressed) and went back to my simple Jergens/Dove routine. My skin wants no part of these bougie products!

  8. Christine says...

    -Aztec bentonite clay face mask (cheapest, cleanest, best working face mask I’ve ever used. Just add Apple cider vinegar.)
    -organic coconut oil mixed with organic vitamin C powder. It’s like a fresh batch of vitamin C serum for your face every night.
    -Gua-sha tool
    -Mini Skincare fridge to keep toners and lotions nice and cold

  9. Sarah Atkinson says...

    Yay my favorite kind of post to comment on!! Also LOVE seeing what other people use. In no particular order:
    – Weleda Skin Food (for life!)
    – Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum (better than Skinceauticals!)
    – Ilia Mascara
    – Vintner’s Daughter Serum (stupid expensive, but dammit it works!)

  10. Catherine says...

    OMG the comments caused me to go off the deep end and now my wallet is hurting!

    My favorites:
    – Paula’s Choice BHA
    – Oribe Supershine for airdrying hair
    – Weleda Skin Food
    – Ilia mascara
    – Supergoop Glow Screen (great dewy look)
    – Tower 28 lip glosses
    – Clare Vivier “Angie” perfume
    – Kristin Ess purple shampoo and conditioner
    – Nivia cold cream (but has to be the one made in Germany) because rumor has it it’s essentially the same as La Mer cream. It’s super moisturizing and thiiiick and perfect for cold winters.

  11. Grace says...

    Products I love:
    1) Cerave baby moisturizer
    2) Vanicream cleanser
    3) Jordan Samuel after show treatment cleanser. The sensitive one is unscented, and it works so well to remove sunscreen.
    4) Elta MD sunscreen
    5) Dr. Brenner vitamin C serum
    6) Paula’s Choice BHA
    7) the Walgreen’s in house beauty brand makes a great AHA cream that I’ve used for years. I’m not sure if they still make it, but it’s so cost effective and makes me glow! I also put AHA on my feet to keep them soft.
    8) Lanolin on my lips at night
    9) Shani Darden retinol reform and Jordan Samuel retinol serum

  12. Dd says...

    I love for my (normal skin, mid 30s) skin and face:
    supergood unseen suncreen – in the UK its factor 30 for some reason, but I keep seeing it advertised on US sites with factor 40.
    glossier priming moisturizer – its just a great basic moisturiser
    glossier milky eye make up remover – just does a great job, removes all mascara
    Illia mascara – first natural one I tried and honestly its better than most of the other brands. It doesn’t clump or flake or dry out my eyes. I did like the glossier one but it just flaked all over the place.
    caudalie detox mask – it does a really good deep clean and I get better results overall if I use regularly, twice per week
    a few products from Greek brand Apivita – their conditioner with aloe and hyaluronic acid and their pink clay face mask.
    body suncreen from Korres
    Garden of wisdom (amazing, under-rated, quite unknown brand, I think?!) Vitamin C serum, bakuchniol serum – the Vitamin C is the best I’ve tried and it comes in an air tight pump container and soaks in well. The bakuchniol is with squalane and very moisturising.
    Lucas’ Pawpaw ointment – heals everything, from eczema to dry lips.

    • Dd says...

      and weleda light skin food! almost forgot it

  13. Dd says...

    I think its just a different view of Audrey from behind. If you look closely, you can see some hair sticking up on both.

  14. robin says...

    Kari Gran cleansing oil! Using oil to remove make up and oils seems counterintuitive but it’s the best cleanser ever I’ve encountered. I’m obsessed and my skin has never looked better. Bonus points for being women owned and local to my hometown PLUS organic and so simple.

  15. Nicole Brant says...

    Face mists actually evaporate and pull moisture from the skin. I suppose this is fine if you have oily skin, but for us dry skinned people this is no bueno.
    I love the Lineage too but it’s too pricey for me. I use plain old CeraVe ointment on my lips and it does the same thing for a lot cheaper, although it doesn’t smell as nice. Fragrance is bad for skin anyway.

  16. LLH says...

    Love this post!

    My holy grail items that I’ve been reaching for for years are:
    Drunk Elephants Protini Lotion, Indie Lee’s brightening cleanser, Witch Hazel as toner (swear by this!), and Paula’s Choice 2% BHA.

  17. Iris says...

    I just recently using Supergoop Superscreen moisturizer + sunscreen and my skin is so soft and lit-from-within glowy. I was using EltaMD before, which was doing the job well enough, but the Supergoop is really going the extra mile and I am all about it.

    I also love Mad Hippie Vitamin C and Vitamin A serums . They work so well and compared to most other serums I’ve found work better for less money. And Thayer’s witch hazel toner!

  18. Jessica says...

    So hard to pick top 3!

    Bioderma micellar water takes off everything in a gentle way using the world’s softest facial cotton from Shiseido

    Caudalie overnight detox oil is my ultimate last skincare step and relaxation in a bottle – it smells and feels oh so good

    Skinceuticals physical fusion UV defense tinted sunscreen has basically replaced my daily foundation

    Runners up – Klorane shampoo with pomegranate/conditioner with flax fiber, Skinceuticals discoloration defense, Sunday Riley Good Genes lactic acid

    • Liz says...

      That Skinceuticals sunscreen is my daily go-to!

  19. Nanaka says...

    My top 3, which I have been using for ages and will most likely continue buying (so actually no “new finds”…):

    1. Clinique Take the day off cleansing balm. Fragrance free & non-drying: slap on, massage into skin, flannel off, job done.
    2. The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil. Super moisturizing and calming, & a little goes a long way!
    3. Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50. Non-sticky, non-greasy, non-peeling sun screen, goes on directly over serum in the morning. This even kicked my trusted LRP Anthelios Shaka Fluid from its throne!

    The rest of my routine keeps changing, but these are my go-tos! :-)

    • Kaitlyn says...

      Yes to Clinique Take the Day off Balm! It’s so good for my dry skin!

    • cait says...

      The Biore sunscreen is the best ever. It’s the only thing that doesn’t leave me a greasy mess and it is good both under makeup and on it’s own .

      My other long term commitments:
      1. biologique recherche P50 1970. I use it religiously and can’t remember the last time I had a zit.
      2. Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm (in the pot, not the stick), I put this on every night before bed and it lasts through the night.
      3. Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara, I’ve tried them all and this one is the one I keep coming back to because it doesn’t give me raccoon eyes even though I live in the tropics.

  20. Kerstin says...

    I will be bookmarking this post for future reference for products. But in the meantime I have questions about the picture. The subject on the left has a different hairdo than the mirror image of Hepburn. Any ideas behind the story here? Just curious :)

  21. MK says...

    I’m loving the Coola Suncreen + Setting Spray. I have yet to find a SPF 30+ moisturizer or foundation that doesn’t break me out, so instead I use this after my makeup for sun protection + setting. It’s wonderful!

  22. Sarah says...

    I would also talk to your doctor (or dermatologist!). I actually got blood drawn yesterday so they can check my thyroid levels–hair loss can be a symptom of something else going on. Also, you didn’t ask but my hair stylist recommended not putting your hair up wet, using a silk pillowcase, and using butterfly clips instead of hair rubber bands.

  23. Liz says...

    My favorite “beauty” product is Glossier invisible shield sunscreen. It absorbs beautifully, leaves no residue, smells great, and works!

  24. Lea says...

    I love the suggestions here! My best find in recent years is Bobbi Brown Longwear Eye Gel – it’s easy to apply, stays on all day, doesn’t smudge and washes off really easily. Also love Aveeno daily moisturiser – I use it as a face moisturiser and have found it so much better than other high end options for sensitive skin. Evo Ritual Salvation shampoo and conditioner for hair – it’s an Australian brand I think and it’s so conditioning and leaves hair really shiny.

    • MK says...

      Aveeno moisturizer is the best!

  25. Kat says...

    Oooh I love this post! My top 5 would have to be:
    1. Elta MD – I need a physical blocker to keep away my malasma, and this stuff is amazing
    2. Sunday Riley Good Genes and CEO Vit C Serum – expensive, but they work so well
    3. Ilia Mascara – I wasn’t even looking for a clean product, but this is better than my old stand-by Maybelline Full and Soft (the wand really seperates – no clumping at all)
    4. Matrix Biolage Normalizing Cleanreset Shampoo – sometimes my hair just gets so oily for no apparent reason – this poduct clears it out immediately and leaves me with soft, voluminous hair
    5. Aussie 3 Min Miracle – the best, $3 hair mask
    6. Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser – OK I had to choose a sixth product but I’ve been using this since the 7th grade and never plan to stop

    • Julia says...

      I cannot get over how good Sunday Riley CEO serum smells. It’s intoxicating! It reminds me of the mock orange bush that my parents had when I was growing up— the most beautiful scent!

    • MK says...

      I just discovered the Ilia mascara as well – WOW! I love that the brush has two different bristles on either end. I opened it up for the first time and was like “howwwww is this not more of a thing?”

    • Jessica says...

      Do you know how the Ilia mascara compares to Saie?

  26. Grace says...

    My new skincare MVP is Attar from Monastery. I was intrigued when Caroline posted about it a few months ago, but I kept hesitating because it’s SO expensive for such a small amount of product! But I finally gave in… and I regret to inform you that it is really excellent. My skin is soft and clear and hydrated. It goes on so thick and soothing, and sinks in beautifully without any greasiness. I swear my skin feels like a flower petal the next day.

    I’m glad it was worth the splurge but I’m also kind of mad about how much I love it, because I can’t keep developing these expensive tastes!

  27. Kate says...

    Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen during the day. At night, Kiehl’s facial cleanser followed by Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 toner. My skin has never looked better!

    Also, finally admitting that sugar and alcohol make me break out like WHOA, so cutting those things out (mostly) has made a huge difference!

  28. Tumi says...

    That lip mask is my holy grail. I suffered from extremely dry red chapped lips and I continue to see phenomenal results. For my dry skin, I’m also obsessed with Klairs Rich Moist Cleanser and Rich Moist Soothing Cream.

    (I recently bought the Laneige face sleeping mask and the results were bleh. I was expecting fireworks again lol.)

    • Amy says...

      Same! I bought a whole Laneige set and ended up returning it.

  29. Donnia says...

    I’m in love with the Derma E Vitamin C serum and night creams ! They aren’t expensive and have done wonders for me. I’ve noticed anything with vitamin C just helps with my imperfections, and make my skin so smooth and glowy. So whether it’s these two products or something else, I always make sure to have it in my routine… I like having figured out not the product, but the ingredient (for lack of a better word), that works with my skin. It makes it easier to know what to look for in the gazillion products out there.

    Another good option for me has been the Oh My Cream corrective oils with vitamins A, C and E.

  30. diana Kokoszka says...

    Argan oil as moisturizer, RMS concealer if I have a videocall, and Marc Jacobs colored eyeliner if I’m gettin’ crazy.

  31. Brenda says...

    I swear by micellar water (drug store brands are just as good as the expensive brands)! I use it to remove my makeup. I also use it after cleansing to remove any extra traces of dirt, makeup and oil. You can also use it to do a quick cleaning of makeup brushes! Very multi purpose and very excellent!

    I’d also love to share my 2 minute “work from home” beauty routine of moisturizer, eye cream, brow gel, mascara and lip/cheek tint!

    • Vish says...

      Do you have a recommendation for lip/cheek tints? I’ve been on the hunt for one that won’t break me out.

  32. Gretchen says...

    I have to say, I rarely give much thought to using beauty products, and it is still making my night reading this comment section. Without for a moment minimizing all the weighty things happening in the world, it just flat out makes me happy to see everyone swapping their tips, tricks and favorite brands. It’s like being with a bunch of girlfriends where everyone is eager to share the things they like best with others, purely so they can enjoy those things too. It’s easier to step back into the heavy things after a pocket of relaxation “chatting” with friends. Keep it up, Cup of Jo…and fellow readers!

  33. Sarah says...

    This is going to sound weird and I know it’s not a product, but grief is my answer to your question. I’m deeply grieving the recent loss of my dad, and strangely, people have been commenting lately that I look beautiful. It comes at a time when I would’ve expected to look the opposite— worn down and ugly— and when I’ve stopped caring about sunscreen and serums. I think it must be because my intense love for my dad is showing through.

    • Christine says...

      Sarah, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve been there. Your comment reminded me of the scene in Fleabag where they’re at her mother’s memorial and everyone keeps asking her what she’s done because she’s never looked better. “How could you get a facial when your mother just died?” “I didn’t!” Even if you didn’t watch the show, you might get a much needed chuckle from that particular scene.

    • Jo says...

      I think grief (as well as other emotions, when felt strongly) can strip away pretension and performance. There’s something freeing and lovely about that, even if it’s painful.

      I’m so sorry for your loss; it sounds like you loved your father very much.

    • Sophie says...

      Hi Sarah,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m experiencing a version of this right now after my boyfriend broke up with me (covid makes it feel like this feeling will be here forever). I call it my “grief glow up.”
      My favorite part of The Princess Bride (the book) is when they say that after Westley leaves Buttercup and is presumed killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, her grief transforms her from a very pretty girl to an otherworldly beautiful adult. A combination of being less self-conscious and more openly feeling can expose a side of you that’s powerful and compelling.

  34. Janice O'Kane says...

    GLO Luxury Oils. Hand crafted organic oils that have absolutely changed my skin 100%. Megan Ulrichs produces in small batches and is 1000% committed to the farm to face model. I also love gifting her products. Her books are fabulous and currently a % of sales is going to support BIPOC.

    Cup of Jo – she’d be an amazing Beauty Uniform interview!

  35. Bryn says...

    I’ve been adding Isle of Paradise tanning drops to my moisturizer. I got them originally for self-tan, but they’ve actually really helped with reducing redness! I add one drop to my moisturizer at night every two to three days. It’s the first time ever I don’t feel the need to wear foundation!

  36. Katie says...

    The classic Mason Pearson hairbrush is my new game changer. My parents gave me one for my MA graduation in June. Love love love!

  37. Rosie says...

    I’m in love with my current makeup routine which is . . . NOTHING. With the exception of days when I didn’t leave my house, I haven’t gone makeup-free since the 6th grade! I have worn makeup five times since I officially hunkered down in March and that was only because I had some job interviews. My skin looks great so my skincare routine has completely streamlined to splashing water on my face, a little toner, and some moisturizer at night and splashing my face with water and sunscreen in the morning. I have only blow dried my hair twice since March! I run a flat iron over the front of my hair sometimes if I have a conference call. I will admit that my eyebrows are looking rough, but otherwise, it’s amazing.

    • annie says...

      When I turned 35, I decided to invest in skincare. For years, I had invested in good make-up to cover up my bad skin, but I decided it was time to get serious about my skin. Now, a year later, my skin is actually the best it has ever been. It actually looks healthy! I wish I had thought to do this much earlier.

      My biggest game changer is the Niacinamide 20% Treatment from Paula’s Choice. It’s 48 dollars for a 20 ml bottle… but honestly, I’ve cut down on almost all other products because of how effective this is. So in that sense, it’s actually saved me from buying all kinds of other lotions and potions out there. It seriously makes my skin glow, and has reduced how deep all my forehead wrinkles were getting.

      After lots of trial and error, my favorite products are Paula’s choice Niacinamide, CeraVe PM lotion, Drunk Elephant Protin Polypeptide Moisturizer, and EltaMD sunscreen.

  38. Kate says...

    Versed’s GuardsUp mineral sunscreen has been a total game-changer for me. It’s lightly tinted – just enough to blur the issues, it absorbs quickly, leaves NO white cast (!!), and is not at all greasy (for me – I do live in a fairly dry climate). I’ve also recently found KOSAS face oil, which I’m really digging as a low-key foundation. Post-COVID will bring its real test, but so far so good.

  39. Sara says...

    My new find is L’Oreal Elvive 8 Second Wonder Water. Made my hair SO soft and manageable after just one use.

    Before using this product, my hair would look pretty good the first day of a shampoo, but even on the second day I would end up putting it up because it just looked… off. No amount of refresh would fix it.

    I’m on day 3 post shampoo/wonder water and my hair is still looking good! I don’t know what this magic is, but I like it.

    Another bonus is the cost… I think I paid around $8?

    • ljon01 says...

      SAME!!!

    • KJ says...

      So how do you incorporate this? After shampoo & conditioner?

  40. I’ve been focusing on skincare the last couple months and have recently discovered Paula’s Choice. It has been a total game changer for me. I’ve had hormonal acne for years and have been unable to find anything that works. I felt like I was playing zit whack a mole. I started using their products a couple weeks ago and my skin is already almost clear. It’s fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about it.

    xoKaelen

    • Elle says...

      What products are you using?

    • Kat B says...

      I love Paula’s Choice. I’ve been a fan for years.

    • Sara says...

      Paula’s Choice is the only thing that has ever made a difference in my skin. I suffered from hormonal acne for the last 15 years and this year, right before COVID, I splurged and bought an arsenal of Paula’s Choice. My skin has never been better. It’s clear, hydrated, and my pores are visibly smaller. If I could marry Paula’s Choice, I would.

      My daily PC products are (in order of use):

      1. CLEAR cleanser
      2. BHA exfoliator (the regular strength one with the cult following)
      3. Omega Complex moisturizer
      4. RESIST super lightweight SPF (this is literally THE BEST SPF and I no longer wear foundation because it’s lightly tinted and absolutely perfect)

      At night I swap out the Omega moisturizer and use the Skin Recovery hydrating mask, since I love its level of hydration, even in summer.

      Products I use weekly:
      CLINICAL 1% Retinol treatment
      10% Azeliac Acid Booster (I don’t actually know what this does but it seems to make my skin glowy)

      I use the CLEAR daily clearing treatment when I feel a pimple coming on, but I honestly haven’t experienced a breakout since January (and this is from someone who was never without a cystic zit of some sort). I’m sure some of this has to do with not wearing makeup anymore because of working from home, but I think I mostly owe my clear skin to Paula’s Choice.

      If your main issue is acne, I’d say the best place to start is their CLEAR set (which you can try out in a travel size) and build from there. Again, Paula’s Choice is marriage material. Like the real, meaningful never-gonna-get-divorced kind.

    • kalle says...

      this comment thread makes my heart happy! I am the email copywriter for PC and it feels so great to see people loving our products out in the wild <3 I hadn't heard of the company before I got the job, so seeing it pop up so many times in this conversation was surprising in the best type of way. our products have transformed my acne-prone skin completely, too—so great.

    • Lo says...

      Me too!! I’ve only tried a few products, but the one I feel I can’t live without is the azealeic acid booster! I’ve repurchased once and it’s almost time for me to get it again. I will also repurchase the BHA when I run out of my trial sizes (they last forever!). I have suffered from cystic acne for 13 years and my skin is basically perfect now aside from scarring. I never thought it would be products that fixed it for me. I also have to mention The Ordinary’s Niacinamide and Zinc which I have repurchased over and over. Now I get to solely focus on anti-aging and anti-scarring and I need some recs!

  41. Rachel says...

    I am a cocokind evangelist. Every single product is perfect. The products are affordable and organic. They are run by a woman of color. And their stuff works! The turmeric stick is the only way to reduce the strange, painful inner nostril zits I get post-baby. If you’re curious: start with the oil to milk cleanser, raspberry vinegar toner, and mymatcha stick.

    • Annie F says...

      I was just about to come here to suggest Cocokind as well! I use the MyMatcha as an under eye moisturizer, and it’s the only thing that hasn’t caused my super-sensitive eyes to freak out. And so reasonably priced!

    • Emily says...

      YES big cocokind fan. I have sensitive, rosacea-prone, dry skin and I loooove the mymatcha stick for extra moisture around my eyes (which is super super sensitive) and for lips. Also love the rose water toner and glow essence.

      The only face oil I’ve managed to find that doesn’t irritate my skin is from First Aid Beauty. Love their oatmeal face mask too. And when I really need to baby my skin I just go with Cerave everything.

      Overall, I am LOVING the no/very minimal makeup life and new focus on skincare. I’ve become much more confident being makeup free in my (minimal) social settings, Zoom calls, etc. When I look in the mirror, I no longer see something that needs makeup to look “finished” – I just see me and I like what I see. Hope others are experiencing something similar too. :)

    • Elena says...

      The beet blush/color stick by cocokind is the bomb. It gives you a slightly flushed glow. If I’m feeling crazy, I put it on over blush/bronzer to make it really sing. :)

  42. Alison Lopez says...

    gotta disagree about the lip mask – it does nothing for dry lips. to me it’s glorified vaseline.

    • Sarah says...

      Same for me! It smells great & I enjoy using it but I haven’t found it to be any more moisturizing than vaseline. I definitely still need chapstick during the day.

    • Sue says...

      Same for me. Wanted to like it so badly!

    • Nicole Brant says...

      Yep, it is glorified vaseline, with added fragrance to dry out your lips even further!

    • Sarah Atkinson says...

      Same! I wanted to love it, but it gave me little pimples around my mouth :(

    • MB says...

      My favorite nighttime lip balm Which I’ve been using for years is Nuxe rêve de miel – softens and moisturizes And has such a subtle pleasant smell

  43. Sumi says...

    are there any shampoo/oil/vitamin remedy for hair fall? My hair has been thinning out and to prevent that I have been using cold pressed coconut oil but it only gives my hair a good shine. My hair is everywhere on the ground (couch, bathroom, kitchen) and it’s so annoying!! :/

    • jane says...

      Silica supplements can help alot. Also use a shower filter to eliminate scalp and skin drying chlorine. And you can try shampooing with a simple castile soap like Bronner’s and rinsing with straight apple cider vinegar, followed by water of course. My hair has never felt healthier.

      But possibly get a blood analysis to see if you are deficient in any vitamins. So many people are and never realize – it usually comes down to nutrition, especially when under stress. PS: a good natural hairbrushing every night is very good both for the scalp and to stimulate hair growth.

    • Mariana says...

      It really is annoying! I’ve heard great things about Ivy Bears vitamin gummies, although I haven’t tried them myself. Stress or hormonal issues may also be causing such hair loss.

    • beth says...

      I add 2 scoops of collagen powder to my near-daily smoothie, and it has done wonders for my hair. I don’t shed nearly as much, and it looks shiny and thick. I use Great Lakes brand that I get from Amazon, but there are multiple brands out there, like Vital Proteins. My husband drinks the same smoothies, and his hair is suddenly noticeably thicker, too!

      https://www.amazon.com/Great-Lakes-Gelatin-Hydrolysate-Unflavored/dp/B005KG7EDU/ref=sr_1_8?crid=245FCYZQ0DVUB&dchild=1&keywords=collagen+powder&qid=1597195361&sprefix=collagen%2Caps%2C362&sr=8-8

    • Erin D LaDue says...

      Sumi,
      Make sure your shampoo does NOT contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Collagen powder is good too but not for vegans. I had been taking Vivisal for years which really helps hair loss and is recommended by a lot of models and top hairdressers however, it is expensive. I recently switched to Radiant Beauty Hair vitamins which are WAy cheaper. I have already noticed my hair growing and falling less.

    • Emma says...

      I got my blood tested, tried all the supplements, the works. My hair was rapidly thinning and the only thing that helped was Rogaine! It was a hail mary effort, but after almost exactly 6 weeks of applying morning and night my hair almost completely stopped falling out! I used to have handfuls of hair stuck to the wall of my shower after every shampoo. I dreaded brushing my hair out then seeing all my thickness go into the garbage. I lose a few strands with every shampoo and brush but it’s maybe 10% of what it was 6 months ago. Now my hair is actually getting thicker again like it hasn’t been since my teen years! It isn’t expensive but does require diligent application. Good luck!

    • Sarah Atkinson says...

      Get your thyroid tested!

  44. Steph says...

    I have started using shampoo and conditioner bars from Ethique — they work really well on my fine, dry hair, are reasonably priced and last at least 3 months. Best part — NO PLASTIC.

    • Me too! I started just over a month ago and am very pleased! Nothing else was working for my very dry scalp… It’s not 100% perfect (a few parts are still sometimes a little dry), but WAY better than everything else. I want to try some of their other ones too.

  45. Lisa says...

    Dr. Rogers Restore products! She a derm who created clean versions of Auqaphor, Cetaphil cleanser, and the best simple face lotion and face cream. I have dry, acne prone skin and love all of her products and find her instagram really helpful.

  46. Caroline and Joanna, I’d love to see you interview Laura Scott for a beauty uniform or just a review of some great skin and hair products with input from a medical professional. I imagine it would make for a great read :) She’s a Harvard-trained dermatologist with 4 beautiful kids living in Miami. Just thought I’d toss the idea out there! Her website is below:

    https://laurascottandco.com/

    • YES YES YES!! Laura is AMAZING!

  47. tina crisas says...

    CSI Vitamin C + 12% Youth Serum from vitacost.com. I order this all the way from Greece. It’s 15 bucks and the best vitamin c serum I have ever tried; instant glow!

    • KJ says...

      YESSSSS! Its’ the best. The ingredients are super simple so it doesn’t break me out and it’s well-priced. I will use it forever!

  48. Rue says...

    For my combo/sensitive/acne-prone face in my hot summer climate: Eminence Organic clarifying hydrator (as a serum, basically), Versed dew point moisturizer, and PCA Skin acne cream as a spot treatment, all with EltaMD UVClear as my daily SPF.

    About to try Briogeo’s new fragrance-free shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in/styler, and I have high hopes!

    • becky says...

      Ooo I’m excited to try that too! I love their scalp shampoo!

  49. ks says...

    any recommendations for vitamin c serum? i went from drunk elephant where i felt it left my skin sticky to hyper skin is great on texture but maybe not doing much? i have bad melasma that i have managed with prescription products – balancing with a vitamin c in the morning, melasma cream at night.

    • A says...

      Mad Hippie! I swear by it. I’ve been using it for the past couple years and it’s helped fade acne scars and discoloration like nothing else has.

    • tina says...

      Oh wow, l literally just posted about one but my comment is still awaiting moderation. “CSI Vitamin C + 12% Youth Serum from vitacost.com. I order this all the way from Greece. It’s 15 bucks and the best vitamin c serum I have ever tried; instant glow!”

    • AE says...

      I just switched to DE from Mario badescu which I LOVED but comes in a dropper bottle. I didn’t like the idea of super unstable Vitamin C being constantly exposed/opened/oxidized and wanted something in a darker, closed bottle. But the formula was fantastic and superior to DEs.

    • Rue says...

      Versed makes a C powder you can use to boost the C content of other products. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s reasonably priced compared to a lot of stuff out there.

    • Tory says...

      I recommend Mad Hippie! I went a month or so without it and just started reusing and definitely see a difference.

    • Olivia says...

      I started using the Beauty Counter Counter+ All Bright C Serum (you can buy at Sephora) a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love it! My whole face looks so much brighter and more even toned. Highly recommend!

    • Terri McKee says...

      I have been very happy with Sunday Riley’s CEO serum. I would never have purchased it on my own, but I received a sample in a gift box, and I loved it so much I bought a bottle. It is expensive, though!

      My other thought is, have you tried Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. It is my absolute favorite skin product. If I could only have one product, this would be it. It isn’t a Vitamin C serum, but it evens out and brightens my skin tone more than any other thing that I have tried. I always come back to it. I use it morning and night, no matter what other moisturizer, night cream, face oil, etc. I am going to layer over it. I would highly recommend trying it and seeing if it works for you!

    • Alison says...

      I used to use Paula’s Choice which I thought worked well but it always oxidized before I could finish a bottle. Recently switched to Timeless that has much better packaging and no sticky finish. Seems to be working just as well.

    • Sam says...

      I love Maelove’s the Glow Maker!! $29 and a complete game changer for me. I’ve recommended it to all my friends!

    • Grace says...

      I use Dr. Brenner, which is allegedly a Skinceuticals dupe. It has worked better for me than Mad Hippie did.

    • Sarah says...

      Timeless is the best! I did my research before deciding on it and I’m glad I did because there are a LOT out there that don’t have effective formulas and from what I hear don’t do what they claim. Timeless know what they’re doing, and they’re affordable too.

  50. Anon says...

    Joe Biden just picked Kamala Harris!! Let’s think about that for a moment- what a day!!

    • Patrisha Z says...

      Quality point! Voting is my beauty find. 😘

  51. I’ve been loving this Purito sunscreen for my face this past year: https://www.amazon.com/PURITO-Centella-Spectrum-oil-free-Acne-prone/dp/B07JNKFQC7/ref=psdc_7792567011_t2_B07V31W954 (make sure the seller is actually from Purito!). It is mineral sunscreen (spf 50!) with no white cast, but also includes a serum. I seriously have hardly had any breakouts within the past year, and I really think I have this product to thank (in addition to oil cleansing with jojoba oil). I wish I could buy it somewhere else besides Amazon, but that seems to be the best option right now. If anyone knows of another reliable source to buy it from, please let me know! I also just bought some Egyptian Magic cream, and I can’t wait for it to arrive and *solve all of my problems.* ;)

    • Julie says...

      I also love the Purito sunscreen, and always get it from oo35mm.com. Amazing skincare store in NYC’s Chinatown! If it’s out of stock, you can set an alert and they’ll let you know when it’s back.

    • KJ says...

      I love this sunscreen too but it’s not mineral. But just goes to show, that there are chemical sunscreens that don’t irritate everyone.

      Ingredients:
      Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dibutyl Adipate , Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Tocopherol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Adenosine, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin

  52. Megan says...

    YES to the Laneige Sleeping Mask. Also yes to putting products in the fridge!! WFH means you can access them anytime for a pick me up. I have been using an eye roller in the morning (and whenever, really), it feels SO good cold.

    • Sharon says...

      I also love it…I alternate it with Tatcha Lip Mask. I know Vaseline would work…but with both of these, my lips feel so soft in the morning, and the product is still working!

  53. Becky says...

    i love the comments for these kinds of posts! Im so nosy when it comes to beauty products. I wish I could bring out my inner product junkie behavior but Im a redhead with fair sensitive skin. Also acne prone but so far so good with my current routine. I used to spend 48 bucks on tatcha cleansing oil and tried their enzyme exfoilator but my skin freaked out! I loved them for so long so it was hard to say goodbye. Now I use nothing from them. My whole skin care is less than 50 bucks now and not monthly either. I probably spend 50 bucks every couple of months. I use ceravae hydrating facewash (14), the ordinary squalane oil for double cleanse (8), vanicream moisturizer (12?), and I alternate with raw honey (6) one night and oat flour (2) another. Oat flour is an awesome gentle exfoliator. Honey exfoiliates and moisturizes and has helped with random breakouts from wearing a mask.
    I learned that ceravae moisturizer and cream was causing bumps on my chin that led to inflamed acne before my period. It says non comedogenic but for me its not. The facewash is still awesome though.

    • KJ says...

      OH my gosh, are you me? Redhead, super fair skin and acne-prone checking-in!

  54. A says...

    Any recommendations for good shampoo and conditioner? I LOVE Olaplex and have been using them for the past year but looking to spend a little less… If that’s possible.

  55. Cynthia says...

    The Laniege Sleeping Mask for your face is also ahhhhmazing. It took me too long to realize that I have dry skin because I got zits near my nose and chin and I didn’t realize that those weren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve been using it most nights for months and my face is looking and feeling better than it has in years!

  56. Cynthia says...

    My daughter gave me the Make-up Eraser, which is a washable, reusable cloth for removing make-up, even mascara. My daughter also gave me the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Lavender, Aloe, and Chamomile. I put it on in the morning before my moisturizer, and any time during the day I need something refreshing. It also refreshes your make-up when you’re going from one place to another and don’t have time to redo it. It’s also reasonably priced. As another reader commented, I like the Physicians’ Formula Organic mascara because it is reasonably priced and looks natural. I also like the IT Cosmetics CC Cream with SPF 50. I think it’s pricey, but it really brightens my complexion and has eliminated my need for SPF, primer, and concealer. A tube lasts a long time and it has a pump, so I can control the amount I dispense.

  57. Donna says...

    Because I used to spend a lot of coin on beauty product, including splurging on Oribe hair products, I will say every Oribe product I’ve tried does exactly what is says it does, really well. I’ll have to seek this one out. I’m also a big fan of Lanolips 101 multiointment in coconutter for my lips, especially in the winter, but I’ve been curious about the Laneige for a while too.

  58. Bess says...

    I am 100% on board with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, Elta MD Sunscreen, and Epionce Renewal Facial Cream. Yes, they are expensive, but you only get one face :) worth it!

    I also live in a very very dry climate–Epionce changed my face in a way that no product ever has!

    • Tina Crisas says...

      Agree with the Skinceuticals and Elta, too! Great products! (I haven’t tried the Epionce)

  59. One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. A really lovely and REALLY effective cleanser.

    • YES, Ann! I love this cleansing oil, too, and stocked up on their Black Friday sale. I bought two bottles and only just cracked open the second bottle last week. I use it every night, and it goes far.

  60. Heather says...

    Bumble and Bumble anti-humidity gel oil for keeping curls glossy and defined! I live in a city right by the ocean with lots of humidity and the gel oil helps to fight the frizz and keep them looking happy. My stylist recommended this product to me and I hummed and hawed because it is a bit expensive, but I use it sparingly and it has helped me to embrace wearing my hair curly. After years of fighting my curls and spending hours trying to straighten my hair, I feel like it is worth every penny. For all my other curly gals – you can use it with or without a diffuser!

  61. Michelle says...

    Honestly, the Trader Joe’s skincare products are my favorite, ha! I love the eye cream, microderm scrub, watermelon night cream, hydrating sheet mask.. I could go on.

  62. Emma says...

    I tried The Ordinary for the first time during quarantine and have been loving their Lactic Acid 10% + HA ($7 I think). I alternate that every other night with REN Skincare Bioretinoid ($69) and my skin has been really happy and balanced (minus the maskne which rears its cystic head a couple times a month).

  63. Catherine says...

    I’m obsessed with RMS everything, especially their un-cover up. I read about them years ago on this blog, and bought their luminizer. If you are looking to clean up your makeup routine and get rid of carcinigens, animal testing, and petrochemicals, RMS works beautifully. The un-cover up in particular just sinks and melts into your skin, covers blemishes and gives the most natural, goddess-like healthy glow. 100% would recommend them. I am also loving Ilia mascara – this was the number one hardest thing to replace as a clean beauty item that actually works and doesn’t make me look like a red-eyed raccoon within half an hour!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes! I love RMS. Un-cover up is my everyday concealer/foundation. I also appreciate how it washes completely off my skin, without much effort.

    • Kate says...

      Thank you for the Ilia mascara rec! It’s my last big hold-out in the switch to clean beauty. Second-to-last was finding a replacement for my very (really very) subtle bronze eyeshadow cream – RMS eye polish in myth to the rescue there!

    • Ann-Marie says...

      Love them too! But will say for anyone reading and needing heavier concealer coverage under eyes, the un-cover up didn’t quite do it for me. I’m using Fitglow’s Conceal+ for that and it’s great! I really love RMS’s lip2cheek and luminizer though, and still use the concealer elsewhere on my face.

  64. Mallory says...

    Bless you, Caroline. Your recommendations never fail me.

  65. Jen says...

    Any recommendations for skincare products to use during pregnancy?

    • Hi Jen! I used Little Seed Farm products (toner, face serum, deodorant) during both my pregnancies and OneLove Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil as a face wash. For my body, I used a Cetaphil bar and then moisturized with coconut oil. Still doing the same routine now, and my kids are 1 and 3. :)

    • Megan says...

      I had the same question! :) Thanks Katie!

    • A says...

      Jen – check out Belli Skin Care: https://www.belliskincare.com/

      I LOVE and still use the scrub and the belly oil, and both smell amazing. The cleanser was also the only pregnancy safe thing I could find that sort-of kept my pregnancy acne at bay.

  66. shelley says...

    I like using my fridge too! I like putting my sheet face masks in the fridge. It’s so nice, refreshing and soothing when it’s cold.

    • carrie says...

      I used my extra time at home the past months to explore beauty options with lower environmental impact by reducing plastic packaging. DIY flax seed hair gel is working well (I did not like a diy recipe with gelatin), and have switched to solid shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. When I fall down an internet black hole of wanting to try a mask or other product to solve a problem that I don’t have, I remind myself that hydration and sleep are the most impactful thing I can do. Manrepeller had an article last winter about abstaining from all beauty products that emphasized this that I go back to sometimes to help stifle urges to buy products that I don’t need and probably won’t use after the initial novelty has passed.

  67. Robin says...

    I started using Physicians Formula Organic Wear Dewy Blush Elixir because I could get it at a drugstore. It’s lovely, and looks so natural. It’s a faint blush, but very dewy. One of my students sent me a chat during online class last week that my skin looks radiant and asked what’s my secret, which is fun and sweet in this upside down world.

    • Angela says...

      Melasma here too and I second the rec for Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. I love that stuff. It feels amazing on and smells nice too. I’ve used that with success and have a smidge left I’m using strictly for daytime, while now using Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum and Perricone MDs Vitamin C Brightening Ester at night.

  68. Dee says...

    I love a beauty post but I only just bought Skin Food last week based on a previous post, now I’m even further behind!

    • Jess says...

      Skin Food is still wonderful, Dee. You won’t regret it!

  69. Raquel says...

    Any recommendations on make-up removal that ACTUALLY removes waterproof mascara please? Preferably something affordable but please send me all your recs!!

    • Mallory says...

      coconut oil or olive oil on a reusable cotton pad is my go-to.

    • Kelsey says...

      Farmacy green clean balm. It’s available in a small, fairly reasonably priced size and a little goes a long way so it lasts a long time!

    • Cyn says...

      Yup, coconut oil. Natural, inexpensive, doesn’t irritate my eyes.

    • Katarina says...

      Clinique take the day off cleansing balm!

    • MJ says...

      I switch about two years ago from waterproof mascara (which I could never fully get off) to a TUBING mascara – instead of painting your lashes it coats them in little tubes that dry and don’t budge. It is, at risk of hyperbole, life changing. Lots of brands make them, but I like the No 7 in the gold tube from target and the one from Thrive Causemetics. It is completely smudge proof, flake proof and stays ALL day without getting under your eyes and at night you can rinse it off completely with water. I’ll NEVER GO BACK!!

    • Cara Mills says...

      I’m a huge fan of the Garnier Micellar Water that you can find at the pharmacy or grocery store. My sister is a Manage at Sephora and she uses it (rather than some of the higher priced ones) and swears by it. I have super sensitive skin and it does not irritate it. In fact, it leaves my face feeling hydrated.

    • jen says...

      Neutrogena eye makeup remover. The only thing that really removes waterproof eye makeup.

    • Rose says...

      I swear by Glossier’s Milky Oil

    • Cynthia says...

      seconding reusable cotton pads. i really love the ones from Face Halo and they have lasted me years!

    • Becky says...

      Squalane oil from The Ordinary? I use it to remove spf as part of a double cleanse. Im acne prone and it doesn’t cause brekouts.

    • Carol-Anne Powell says...

      Another recommendation for Thrive Causemetics Lash Extender “tubes”. Life changing.

    • Grace says...

      Albolene cleanser works super well. You can also buy mineral oil (it’s kept by the cutting boards in stores like Bed Bath & Beyond) or baby oil (mineral oil with fragrance) to remove waterproof mascara. My favorite more expensive but very effective cleanser is Jordan Samuel’s after show treatment cleanser.

  70. Ashley says...

    I’m a total evangelist for the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint. I’ve never felt like myself in foundation, but this just looks like skin. Covers redness, moisturizes, has 40+ SPF?? It’s magic!

    • Hannah says...

      What skin type do you have? I’m wanting to try this but I have combo really dry/flaky , but can get oily skin

    • Grace says...

      I just bought this, and I’m excited to try it!

  71. Hali says...

    I always feel weird about recommending beauty products in the comment section on this blog, so i’ve never done it before! But this is just too timely. I work for my sister who owns a skincare company based in Hawaii. I’m not a big skincare person but I’m very brand-minded and my skincare goddess sister isn’t, so we pair well together. Anyways, I’ve had her products in my life since I was 17 and have mostly taken them for granted… when the same 12 products are in my day-in, day-out vernacular, and I’m not an esthetician or a skincare junkie, it’s can be difficult for me to be excited about them unless I’m taking photos of them or watching her make them in her Hawaii studio. Last week we launched a new “review” platform that emailed thousands of people who purchased our products this year and we were flooded with reviews that had both my sister and I in tears of joy, reminding us in an otherwise dark week that our products are indeed phenomenal. The reviews prompted me to order a Mermaid Mask for myself and try it again for the first time in years. It’s maybe our most popular product but I’m weird about honey getting in my hairline, and the mask base is raw Hawaiian honey. Anyways. This week I’ve resolved to use it at least three times. OH MY GOSH! After the second night using it, I was floored by the noticeable improvement in the texture and calmness of my skin! I walked out of the bathroom last night with my hands holding my face in disbelief. I have pretty “bad” skin genes, and don’t often praise my complexion for glowing. But omg my face was straight up illuminated. And so, I am here to say, yep 100% this is my family business and for the first time ever i’m going to plug it, but I say with so much confidence that if this mask can make me glow, it can make you glow! Anyone looking for an escape to Hawaii and super nourished skin, check out the Leahlani Skincare Mermaid Mask. I still feel so uncomfortable commenting about this, but the enthusiasm is very genuine I swear!!!

    (also YES Laneige was a quar-purchase for me and it basically slaps you with the nostalgia of smuckers when you put it on which imo, i’m not sure i love, but oh man does it work!!)

    • Kathy says...

      I absolutely love your sister’s products. I learned about them from A Beautiful Mess. Mermaid mask, cleansing oil, the serums. All amazing and smell like heaven.

    • Jennna c says...

      Just orders two products from Leahlani because of this comment! Excited to try something fancy!

  72. Calla says...

    I had a video derm appointment at the beginning of shelter in place and got prescribed spironolactone for my intensely oily skin. It is the best $5 I spend a month, truly incredible the difference it made. I went from needing to blot my face every 30 minutes to switching to a heavier moisturizer. Really helped tone down the redness as well.

    • Sonja says...

      I just got prescribed this too because of my horrible hormonal acne that I’ve had forever and was unsure of taking it after I looked at the other things it was prescribed for, but it seems to be helping! Thanks for posting this, because I don’t know anyone else on it.

      I did also try Curology before I Started this prescription and I am very happy with the results from that as well.

      I also vote for Ilia mascara – I tried a travel size from Sephora and have moved onto the full size.

  73. JH says...

    I love all things The Sacral House and this summer I have been especially loving their all purpose toner, Bare: https://thesacralhouse.com/body/bare

    It is so beautifully refreshing, a little cooling, and has the most wonderful scent!

  74. kristy says...

    Skinceuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic
    it works! downside is the price…it’s expensive.

    Elta Sunscreen…I use the tinted physical every single day.

    • kash says...

      I’ve found Maelove’s The Glow Maker to be just as good as Skinceuticals!! Made the switch when my Skinceuticals ran out and I’m not looking back: https://maelove.com/products/the-glow-maker

    • Calla says...

      Second the maelove serum as an affordable dupe!

  75. Emily L says...

    I’m all about the $2-3 fun face masks (skin product rather than face covering!) from the drugstore these days. They last me for 2-3 (sometimes more) uses and are a nice, cheap, special way to unwind after particularly stressful days.

  76. El says...

    Living for this feature and comment section!

    Can anyone recommend a cruelty-free mascara that ISN’T designed to thicken? I have really dense and thick eyelashes (I know, this is what my mom calls a Cadillac problem). My lashes look best with something liquidy, like Maybelline Great Lash– thickening or extending mascaras turn my lashes into a big clump. I’d love something that’s made by a company that isn’t hurting critters. Suggestions?

    • Milou says...

      Glossier Lash Slick is non-clumpy and nicely lengthening

    • Kayla says...

      ILIA! I’m super into clean and cruelty-free products but hate risking actual quality. And I love this one. I don’t know anyone who hates it, and I recommend it a lot.

    • Makena Cahill says...

      While I’m not too well researched on Glossier’s overall practices, their Lash Slick mascara is listed as cruelty-free on their site. It’s AMAZING. Doesn’t thicken at all, but lengthens without any smudging EVER and comes off super easily.

    • Julia says...

      Ilia limitless lash is really thin and the brush is nice for separating your lashes

    • Jenna says...

      I like Aveda and Pacifica mascaras, both brands appear to be cruelty-free.

    • Tyler says...

      W3ll People!

    • Jessica says...

      Maybelline Lash Stiletto is liquidy and good. L’Oreal (parent company) says they have not done testing on animals in their labs since 1989 and the Chinese government stopped in 2014.

    • Katie says...

      I second the ILIA recommendation. I just got it and love it!

    • Cathy says...

      Ilia is amazing! You can even get a travel size one to try it out for like $13 before you commit, but I’m sure you will absolutely love it.

    • Lindsay says...

      Saie beauty! I love the way it goes on/the brush, but WISH it made my lashes thicker haha.

    • Lola says...

      I was really excited to try ILIA , but it ending up irritating my eyes, they were red and burning, thought maybe something else was causing it, but I tried it on 3 separate occasions and the same thing happened. I threw it out. I went back to Glossier Lash Stick and have a new appreciation for it. It has never irritated my eyes and it never flakes or smudges. It gives such a clean and fresh finish, your eyelashes actually look natural. It’s pretty amazing.

    • Sharon says...

      Another shout out for Glossier’s mascara…I have repurchased half a dozen times (or more)! YMMV…I just bought the newest Pat McGRATH mascara, and I think it is horrible…all clumps! Then again, I love Westman Atelier, but hated the mascara!

    • El says...

      These are so helpful! Thank you!!! I’ve tried the glossier and it’s okay (?), I don’t really need lengthening so much as a bit of darkening. I do love glossier in general, though. :) I’m going to look into all of these recs.

    • Pacifica mascara didn’t work for me, but Pure Anada’s is amazing for me! I like it better than my previous favourite drugstore one. It isn’t waterproff but it holds up for me through exercise, etc., well.

  77. Erin says...

    The product that is rocking my world right now is Makeup Artist’s Choice Fade Peel. I use it once a week and, after 4 uses, I’ve noticed my sun pigmentation breaking up, and fading, clearer pores, less breakouts, and my skin texture is looking better than ever (I think a few little acne scars have even gotten shallower). I was already using an acid toner and acid exfoliating mask but this is a more powerful peel, though it only causes some minor flaking around my mouth two days after using it. Also, it’s so inexpensive!

    I’m big fan of their Bellevolve Beautifeye lifting serum, too. It does what it says: my upper lids are definitely lifted.

    • KJ says...

      I’m a long-time fan of MUAC and have been using their peels for probably 14 years (way before skincare exploded into all the options we have today).

      It’s cheap and effective. They are a great brand!

  78. Loren says...

    I need some advice: I am stuck shopping in my decidedly not upscale NYC neighborhood and can’t get the fancy pants shampoo and conditioner I buy downtown. I bought some organic label shampoo {Avalon} at the local pharmacy and it’s turning my hair into straw! Does anyone have any ideas for supermarket hair products that aren’t destructive? My hair is very fine, salt and pepper. Thanks!

    • Emily L says...

      Something that helps me is doing a coconut oil mask. Rub all over your hair, leave in for 10-20 minutes and then wash out in the shower. That may not solve the long-term problem, but it works wonders for me and keeps my hair nice and soft for a few days to a week!

    • Emma says...

      I have superfine hair that used to be extremely damaged fromconstant dyeing and styling. Whole Blends Oat Delicacy has been a complete lifesaver. A least once a week I demand that my husband touch my hair because I need someone else to experience how insanely soft and silky it is. I’m never using anything more expensive ever again.

    • Calla says...

      Anything with heavy silicones (think dimethicone), like Pantene. If you have fine hair like me, it will definitely start to weight it down after a few times but it will feel really nice and definitely keep damage at bay until you can get whatever you normally use.

    • Candice says...

      OGX Brazilian keratin shampoo if you can find it. It says it’s for straight hair, but my 2a/2b curly fine hair loves this stuff!

    • Anne says...

      I’m a recent convert to Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner in particular is pretty light so my fine hair keeps its volume for way longer than usual (volume being a relative term lol). Of course, everyone’s hair is different and unfortunately it’s hard to know how something will work for you until you try it.

    • Francine says...

      If you can find anything without sulfates, especially sodium laureth sulfate, it should be gentle on your hair.
      Not familiar with your local brands, but you might find something in the babycare aisle.
      Or try using (silicone-free) conditioner instead of shampoo (at least every other wash).

    • Becky says...

      I use Rawsugar conditioner. I bought it at target and have seen the line at other stores. The conditioner is 10 bucks same with shampoo. The shampoo is drying for my lightened hair. But the conditioner is awesome. I use it with Briogeo scalp shampoo. Thats a splurge but it helps my scalp psoriasis that no one can see but I can feel. Rawsugar also has a scalp treatment that leaves my hair very soft. I let my hair air dry and the texture of my hair is so much softer.

    • I second Trader Joe’s Tea Tree shampoo/conditioner! I’ve used it for years and I really love it! Granted, I do have wavy/curly hair, but still, it’s great! I also use the conditioner in lieu of shaving cream. It works great, and it’s so affordable! I just saw that TJ’s started carrying a shampoo bar and I’m super curious about that, so if anyone has tried it, I’d love to hear if you like it!

    • Loren says...

      Thank you so much for all of these great ideas. I can probably get Pantene up here and will try alternating it with what I have.

    • C says...

      OGX is good for cheap sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, and it is at every CVS. I also like the Acure line. Switching to sulfate free shampoo made my hair and skin much happier.

  79. Lynn says...

    In the age of COVID, I have returned to the drugstore. I’m loving Olay Whipped Day cream and Olay Retinol 24 Night. ROC serum for deep lines and wrinkles WORKS! Thayer’s witch hazel…the lavender scent is spa -like. L’Oréal has a fantastic mascara primer, and their Bambi eyes mascara is truly wonderful. Oh, and Maybelline has a terrific gel eyeliner that last all day long!

  80. Lucy says...

    Olaplex No. 6!!! Everyone talks about No. 3, the “hair perfector,” which I love as well, but No. 6, the “bond smoother” is AMAZING. You rub like a pea-sized amount through your hair before blow drying/heat styling and it instantly seals up split ends and makes your hair so silky and soft. Obsessed.

    • Jenny says...

      Hear me out on this: Trader Joe’s Argan Oil across my cheekbones makes me feel ferocious and luminous. There’s no way I’m putting on a ton of makeup alone, in the heat, under a mask, so it’s a skincare-as-makeup hack that’s very summery and light.

  81. Tyler says...

    Have found many of my faves over the years on this very blog! Elta MD sunscreen that Jo posts about is pretty much the greatest thing I’ve ever found and I wear it every day. My big skincare splurge however is Sunday Riley… everything. Good Genes every night finally cured my persistent blemishes, but I’ve also come to love their whole line, especially their new scalp serum.

    • Stacy says...

      The Elta body lotion is amazing too. It’s pricey but if I’m more likely to put it on because it’s not greasy or smelly in the slightest, then I consider that worth it.

  82. Kaitlyn says...

    As a perpetually dry skinned lady who frequently gets eczema on my face, my ultimate two products are the Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum and the Avène RICH Skin Recovery Cream. I’ve tried so so so many products and nothing makes my skin feel glowy and healthy like this combo!

    • Michaela says...

      YES! My dermatologist recommended the Avene cream to me and it’s amazing. As he put it, it’s the richest thing he’s found that will NOT cause break outs. it’s like the CeraVe face cream jars (but those do cause me to break out). Highly recommend for anyone with dry skin.

    • alice says...

      Second that. Psoriasis sufferer with dry sensitive skin here, I only use the rich tolerance cream for moisturiser. People who don’t suffer from dry skin should try the light version instead of rich. Either way, it’s just the best.

  83. I would love a recommendation for a strong, dare I say crunchy eyebrow gel? I have coarse, stubborn eyebrows and need something to hold them in place. i know it’s an unpopular quality to want in an eyebrow gel but anyone??

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Not something I’ve tried personally, but a friend uses Maybelline Great Lash clear mascara on her eyebrows. It’s definitely crunchier than your typical brow products and may be worth a try!

    • Breamons says...

      The clear mascara from Great Lash is perfect for holding in unruly brows – without the price of an eyebrow gel these days!

    • Mallory says...

      Soap brows! Spoolie + bar of soap.

    • Calla says...

      I used to use a L’Oreal eyebrow gel before I switched to Glossier and it was definitely crunchier!

    • Jessica says...

      Anastasia Beverly Hills clear brow gel. The formula is thin but dries in place really well.

    • Claire says...

      I’m curious about this also- my eyebrow hairs grow downwards and although everyone raves about glossier boy brow- it just doesn’t hold them! I’ve heard good things about Milani clear brow gel but I haven’t tried it yet! I need powerful hold!

    • Donna says...

      I like the new one from Covergirl.

    • Lola says...

      I use Urban Decay eye shadow primer everyday. My skin is quite oily and this stuff keeps my eye shadow in tact all day. One day I decided to smear it on my eyebrows and then brushed them into place, then let them dry. Then I came back and filled them in with my anastasia brow pencil and my eyebrows were spectacular all day. It’s my new favorite hack. My eyebrows are crunchy, but the hair stays in place and the pencil does not fade all day.

    • Carol-Anne Powell says...

      I’m way too old to be a Tick Tok addict but it’s my secret shame….

      So far the BEST thing I’ve learned from the kids is to use “Just For Men” mustache dye on my eyebrows! Takes less than 2 minutes (literally) every couple of weeks and I never need to worry about my brows!

    • Grace says...

      I second the soap brows recommendation! I use an ELF spoolie brush and a tiny DHC soap that I got as a free sample. Lasts all day and is so cheap!

    • Wow- thank you everyone. I have so many thoughts:
      1) I will run (not walk) to Target today to get the Maybelline Eye Brow Gel.
      2) I forgot that Anastasia Eye Brow Gel is legit CRUNCY. I don’t love supporting the brand but tough times call for a tough eye brow gel
      3) Soap Brows – I already have the ELF spoolie and just need the soap. Any kind that works best I’d be all ears for
      4) TIC TOC is my secret shame – I literally lose HOURS on it
      5) The UD Primer secret is amazing.

  84. Betsy says...

    I have not worn a lick of makeup since Covid. So i’m not sure if this is the cause of my amazing 47 year old skin these days, or not. But I did go back to basics after feeling like I was using too many products, and getting terrible zits on my cheeks of all places. I started using https://www.amazon.com/Cosmedica-Hyaluronic-Acid-Serum-Skin/dp/B01AH4MJ02?pd_rd_w=Z1enN&pf_rd_p=7669271c-2ef0-42ca-ad73-02617f1bf83b&pf_rd_r=DRXMJ5HRH0XXNX7ECB09&pd_rd_r=1e3e88b5-d2b7-4eda-afdf-a21e2b29b2fb&pd_rd_wg=R9UQj&pd_rd_i=B01AH4MJ02&ref_=pd_bap_d_rp_1_2_t serum about a year ago. Light weight and not sticky feeling. I’m a convert. Love it so much! My 70 year old mom started using about 5 months ago as well, and I swear I see a difference.

    Then I put on https://www.peterthomasroth.com/vital-e-microbiome-age-defense-eye-cream-2201038.html?cgid=eye-lip-treatments#gclid=EAIaIQobChMI46igpM6T6wIVbf_jBx1GTA1SEAAYASAAEgJnHvD_BwE&start=1 this eye cream. I love it. Not too heavy, absorbs quickly. Lastly, I have gone back to Oil of Olay. The original bottle. I had been using a face lotion that I loved for years, Acure Brightening lotion. But Covid, made it disappear, and I needed something stat. I have to say besides the distinct smell, I’ve been very happy going back to the Oil of Olay. Bonus, it is cheap. So I will stick with this routine for now. I also started using https://www.target.com/p/ahc-aqualuronic-facial-cleanser-4-73-fl-oz/-/A-76153605 this cleanser after reading about it somewhere. I LOVE it. The smell is divine, it makes my face feel amazing, and not drying. I tiny dab goes a loooong way. I literally have used only 2 tubes in a couple of years of using. Bonus, it is a great price.

  85. Mallory says...

    I love DE Babyfacial and Laneige lip mask, but my real skin hero has been a Retin-A prescription from my dermatologist (about $100). I thought quarantine would be the perfect time to try it in case I had a big reaction, but I never did. 4 months later my skin is less oily, more even and glowy and NEVER breaks out. I follow it with a heavy moisturizer (Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream) to ward off dryness. I’m hooked!

  86. Sarah M says...

    I love you Cup of Jo, but this feels a little tone deaf to feature expensive beauty products during a time of economic devastation and record levels of unemployment that are probably impacting a lot of your readers. xo

    • Emily L says...

      That is such a valid point, however I see this as more of what Caroline uses (and likely bought before the pandemic) rather than recommendations and it’s a starting point for a conversation of what others use. The title is “5 Finds I use the Most”, not “5 Products You Must Try!”

    • Milou says...

      Hmm, I did not read it that way at all.
      Largely because of COVID and all the associated worries, I like reading about frivolous things sometimes! I didn’t feel any pressure to run out and buy any of Caroline’s beauty items, but I enjoyed reading about them and what others have offered in the comments.

    • Hilary says...

      Yeah, I agree with Emily here. I come to this blog for both meaningful conversations AND to escape the dumpster fire that is the news, Trump, the economy, the virus…the list goes on. If CoJ policed its content because certain people were suffering in certain ways, there would just…be no blog.
      Some people will always be too poor, too big, too small, too something to find certain posts relevant to them. I don’t happen to be suffering economically (and gratefully so!) so I appreciate the beauty and fashion posts! It’s also okay that you don’t :) But let’s not call out/cancel posts just because we don’t like them or find them relevant. Relevancy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And in this case, this beholder happens to like a good eye cream recommendation or two :)

    • Kara says...

      I get it, I do. But personally, I can’t handle the constant media about the pandemic, the conflicting information and forever politics. I NEED a break from all of that and so I enjoy this kind of content. I am guessing that is their goal in continuing to post normal content?

    • Lydia says...

      Hey, feeling the same here.

      I understand that the news is tough right now. And people yearn for a relief. “Retail therapy” though is a marketing ploy. It is not real and will not fill the emptiness or solve our problems. Think about the “beauty” industry for a minute. Do we need creams and lotions and oils and make-up and hair products and more hair products…

      I am using this time to re-evaluate how I want to live my life. Our society is built on selling & buying stuff. Obviously, COVID-19 is starkly revealing how faulty our economic system is. The environment is in crisis right now. Food and housing insecurity abounds. Healthcare…well the first thing I thought when I was laid off last week was what am I going to do about healthcare…what if I get Covid…I am getting older (I will be 40 in Sept) and cancer is another risk as we age. Although I have savings, they can be wiped out in an instant by an unexpected health crisis.

      All my jobs have been in the retail industry in some capacity. I can no longer support a system that allows tens of millions of people to be food & housing insecure without a safety net while the stock market is booming and billionaires abound.

      I ask everyone to think before you buy. Think about the environment, think about the company making the product, how they treat their employees, how they package that product, how they ship that product.

      Buy local. Reuse where you can, mend, borrow, simplify.

      Cause, yeah, we are going through a stressful time. But let’s not fall into the trap of pretending like buying things is going to make us feel better.

      Go outside, talk a walk, listen to the birds and think about what is important and what feeds your soul.

      Let’s support each other, too, let’s build a world where we are not alone.

    • Becky says...

      I get what you are saying Lydia but I don’t think this post was about creating a 15 step face routine and convincing others to do the same. This wasn’t a sponsored post. I love this kind of post because Caroline wants to hear what others use as well. Its a great opportunity to pick other people’s brains. The comments are rich in experience. Everyone needs to wash their face hair, shave etc. There are choices on the market so people can buy what they need. Do I love spending alot on a shampoo? No but I no longer use prescription steroids for my scalp psoriasis since consistently using briogeo. On the other hand I use a drugstore facewash and mositurizer. I have also used this opportunity to simplify my routine and figure out what I really need and can go without. Im sure others have as well and they do not need to explain themselves.
      There is no hint of retail therapy to this discussion. People shouldn’t feel shamed for their personal care choices.
      I’m sorry to hear about your job and I wish you alot good vibes for bouncing back on your feet quickly.

  87. Sarah says...

    I love these lists, and can’t wait to mine all the great comments for more awesome finds. My desert island picks are super boring: Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen (I have a Dermstore subscription for it so I don’t even have to remember to re-buy) and Carmex lip balm. I’ve used Carmex since I was a kid, and every time I buy something else I end up disappointed. I even included several tubes on my list to bring with me in my hospital bag when my kids were born (all that heavy breathing dries your lips out!)

  88. celeste says...

    I’m looking for mask-proof makeup and Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick is my absolutely favorite.

  89. J. says...

    SOME ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR THE LANIEGE LIP SLEEPING MASK!!!! Run, don’t walk! My sister (who I believe might have read about it here on COJ…?– thanks, E. if you read this!) gave it to me as a Christmas gift and going on 9 months later after using it every single night, there is still plenty left!!! I used to put on chapstick 1,000 times per day, but nothing has ever made my lips NOT ever chapped, even in dry indoor winter heater weather, better than this. It also feels so absurdly luxurious to have my own mask for lips and lips alone and it’s my favorite part of my “nighttime skincare routine” because it is easy and doesn’t involve splashing water all over my counter/floor/elbows (…which I still do, but the lip mask is a much more fun part!) I love the vanilla but absolutely adore the smell of the pink “original” one. Thank you for reading this dramatic and adoring review!!!

  90. Rachel says...

    Agreed, Laneige lip mask is the best!! (And the little applicator that comes with it is so cute!)

  91. Marybeth says...

    My new favorite beauty products are Youth to the People’s kale oil cleanser. It’s so refreshing and effective. I also spent an absurd amount on Dior lip glow and I see what the hype is about. It boosts your lip color but looks so fresh and natural. Other than that I’m still obsessed with Honest beauty mascara and my cheap eyebrow gel by Elf.

    • KA says...

      My favorite is also Youth to the People Kale cleanser and on my second bottle. I also love their Adaptogen Deep Moisturiser. Both products work great for my eczema prone skin. I bought into all the hype of the Dr. PawPaw lip balm but it’s really no better than vaseline to me. I will try the Laneige mask in the future!