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1. Tsururi Pore Peeling Scrub might be dipping into black magic territory, but nonetheless gives you intensely satisfying results (aka rolled-up balls of dead skin!).
Few things in life are as satisfying as watching all your dead skin just slough off your face. I mean, there’s like getting a college degree and consistently landing your garbage shots in a waste basket, but watching your dead skin rub off is probably up there in the top three. I’m sure of it. Let me start off by saying I’m no huge skin care addict, but I like to think that my habits are pretty standard when it comes to taking care of my face — I make sure I wash, moisturize, and apply sunscreen. Done. However, something new has joined the rank and file: Tsururi Pore Peeling Scrub.
dead skin wizardry
I’ve never used something so effective at making my face feel baby smooth. You apply it on your skin and seconds later you’re rubbing off these little balls of skin. I’ve been using it for like the past two years, and I can’t find a product that’s anywhere near as effective as this. I don’t know how it works or if it’s some black magic that’s actually decreasing my lifespan, but at least my skin will look great on my dead body. —Jeff Barron
Get it from Amazon for $ 9.35.
2. Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner is one of those products you’ll keep going back to, because it just nails the classic wing.
I’ve spent more money than I care to admit on the pursuit of the perfect liquid eyeliner for my everyday winged look. Some products stayed put but were too fine for my taste (like Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner), while other hyped ones made a mess all over my eyelid (sorry, Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner). I’m also a triple threat when it comes to ruining eye makeup — I wear contacts and have eye allergies, and therefore constantly rub my peepers.
I tried out Maybelline’s Line Stiletto when it first came out a few years ago and keep going back to it. It glides on as a thick line without tugging, mostly stays put on my oily eyelids, and makes its presence known in my preferred shade of Blackest Black. The applicator gets sufficiently wet with one dip into the tube, which makes for a quick fix when I need to redefine a liner wing. And most importantly, I can buy it at the same place I buy my toilet paper, solving two personal emergencies at once. —Elizabeth Lilly
Get it from Amazon for $ 5.99.
3. Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask bubbles and fizzes excess oil away and leaves your skin feeling very tingly and clean.
I have the best of both worlds when it comes to my skin, meaning my T-zone loves to be oily and my cheeks are super dry. Sheet masks never fit my face properly, and other masks leave my skin feeling like a pair of too-tight jeans. All of a sudden, the Milky Piggy Carbonated Clay Mask started popping up everywhere, promising some beautiful things: that it’s safe for sensitive skin, doesn’t strip your face of moisture, and will leave you with smooth skin that feels clean. Yay! So I decided to investigate said mask with the help of renowned beauty guru Bella.*
I washed my face and began applying the mask using a mini spatula that comes with the jar. My immediate reaction was, Oh, this is bubbling so fast; what the hell? I couldn’t get a picture of the initial clay texture, because it began to foam up after only a few seconds. Regardless, my skin felt super fresh and tingly right away — I felt the oil leaving my pores, and it was fantastic. Then I re-read the directions and saw that the recommended use time was only three to five minutes. Huh. Short amount of time. This is when my face started to itch; picture two minutes of needing to scratch the tip of your nose while getting a manicure. It was sort of torture, but after three minutes and 47 seconds, I washed my face and it felt glorious. What’s the takeaway?
Pros: My face is CLEAN and hydrated, and my makeup glided on this morning. No more gunk in my pores! My skin didn’t feel like a hungover person in desperate need of water!
Cons: The spatula is eh, and you need to make sure that you close the jar ASAP because the mixture will start to bubble. And the mask itself tickles like crazy.
Do I recommend it? Definitely. My face feels like a baby’s diaper-free bottom.
*Bella is my 8-year-old sister and BFF. I put a little of the mask on her cheeks because she likes investigating stuff too. Her verdict: “This mask is really weird!” —AnaMaria Glavan
Get it from Amazon for $ 10.10.
4. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 mattifies your makeup and makes it last.
I didn’t learn about this three-in-one setting spray through a friend’s recommendation, a BuzzFeed post, or an infomercial (aka the ways I learn about most things I love). Instead, I found it in one of the most dangerous places to take your wallet: the impulse-buy section of the Sephora checkout line! I will admit that I bought it because the container was so cute and I love matte packaging as much as I love travel-size beauty products, and I can never pass up an upper-level SPF. But once I used it, I was shocked at how well it actually worked!
It does so many things: It gives a matte finish to my ever-shiny face, it keeps my makeup on ALL DAY (as in many, many hours later, my concealer is still concealing all my secrets), and it gives me an additional layer of sunscreen, because you can never have too much protection. Plus, it smells like rosemary, which you might think would be too savory for a face, but you would be wrong. —Jess Probus
Get it from Amazon for $ 12+.
5. Kevin Murphy Re.store 2-in-1 Repairing Treatment actually puts much-needed life back into your damaged nest of hair in just a few minutes every week.
My hair has been colored and processed and blow-dried and straightened again and again, and is now essentially a nest of crispy noodles. Needless to say, the idea of me using a two-in-one treatment was less than appealing, since two-in-one shampoo/conditioner has (hot take!) always been a laughable garbage lie of a product that leaves my hair a squeaky, tangled disaster.
But salon-grade Re.store is meant to replace your normal shampoo-and-conditioner regimen once or twice a week in order to strengthen and soften tortured hair. You lather it in (it lathers!) and leave it for two to three minutes while you do your other shower things (whatever they are!), and then rinse. Hair is *actually* conditioned, *actually* soft, *actually* clean, and *actually* phenomenal-smelling (like people will compliment the smell of your head).
Even better, Kevin Murphy products are sulfate-, paraben-, and cruelty-free and packaged in the COOLEST pastel geometric bottles that are recyclable/biodegradable. The Re.store bottle even comes with a little choker that keeps product from exploding all over your luggage during travel (which it’s ideal for, considering you only have to take the one bottle!). 5/5, 10/10. It’s amazing, get it. —Betsy Dickerson
Get it from Amazon for $ 41.45.
6. Etude House Tint My Brows Gel is a henna-like product that gives you subtly fuller brows with little effort or skill required.
I’ve been very slow getting on the brow train, mostly because 1) I’m too lazy to add another step to my already haphazard makeup routine and 2) I think bold brows look stunning on lots of people, me *not* included (I’ve gone overboard with a pencil to prove/believe this). But given my obsession with K-beauty, it was only a matter of time before I tried out Etude House’s Tint My Brows Gel.
I’ve tried two of their shades, Light Brown and Brown (both are fine, but Brown is what’s pictured) and have experimented with different application times. I think the recommended allotment is two to three hours, but if I want the tint to last as long as possible (which for me is a good five days, as long as I’m not viciously scrubbing my eyebrows in the meantime), I’ll leave it on and let it fully ~soak in~ overnight. I barely notice it, and by the time I wake up, there’s actually nothing left for me to peel off (aka I fumble around in my sleep a lot, so the dried tint brushes off to who knows where). That leaves me kind of confused but mostly sad, because the most satisfying part is peeling the tint off (refer to this video to see a similar tint in action). I promise that it DOES NOT hurt, nor does it peel off any eyebrow hairs, but also don’t go ripping it off like a waxing kit.
In the case of the post-tint photo on the right, I actually only left it on for 30 minutes because I had somewhere to be but still wanted a lil’ something extra. And I was very impressed with how well it turned out. Just didn’t last very long, as expected — I think you’re also supposed to avoid washing your face with an oil cleanser for the first 24 hours, which I did, so that probably also contributed.
The brush is nothing outstanding, but it’s small enough that you can be pretty precise filling in your brows (though it might be helpful to have some makeup remover on hand for any mistakes, since the tint stains quickly), and the product itself, while very goopy and sticky, is not difficult to use at all. Overall, I like it for a ~subtle~ brow enhancement, but you can always apply heavier coats for a bolder look. As long as I have some time to kill (which I always do because I’m a homebody), I’d use this over a brow pencil or tinted brow gel (sorry, Brow Wiz and Boy Brow) basically any day. A+, would recommend for fellow brow-curious peeps. —Sarah Han
Get it from Soko Glam for $ 11.
7. Winky Lux Whipped Cream Primer has a delightful moussey formula that applies like a (fluffy) dream for even makeup application.
I’m all for natural-looking makeup: a hint of pink on the lips, slightly flushed cheeks, and a dewy glow that makes you look like a goddamn goddess. My a.m. beauty ritual is pretty pared-down (I use five products religiously), but I just added a new staple to the roster. The Winky Lux Whipper Cream Primer blurs your pores for the most even makeup application ever. I apply a Skittle-sized amount of the fluffy cream to my entire face and it creates an excellent base for my BB cream. My makeup stays longer and my skin feels super smooth. —Alison Caporimo
Get it from Winky Lux for $ 25.
8. Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream is a miracle product for unruly curls and helps them stay moisturized for literally days on end.
There are many hairs on my head, and they all seem to be different textures — some corkscrew spirals, some frizzy zigzags, and some that defy a category altogether. The mane as a whole is dry AF and entirely unruly. (Fun fact: Due to its size and dryness, my hair has actually caught on fire on three separate occasions.) My mom (my #1 style guru) has straight hair, and it therefore took me a looooong time to figure out what to do with the situation on my head. I went through the brushed-out Janis Joplin phase, the crunchy-gel-curls-stuck-to-my-head phase, and all those other stages curly girls often go through.
But during the summer after my sophomore year of college, I decided to cut my long hair into a lob to try to make it lower-maintenance. Once the chop occurred, my hairdresser (bless you, Andrea) told me to try Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream. And boy can I tell you, it is my DESERT ISLAND. HOLY GRAIL. hair product. It actually helps my hair dry in its natural curl formation and stay moisturized for daysssss. It smells amazing and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky residue — it’s just a miracle, guys.
I scrunch a few pumps into my wet hair and diffuse right away (I use this beat-up Conair hairdryer with the diffuser attachment that comes with it). First day or two, it’s nice and bouncy with tighter curls — all due to the magic combo of the cream and the diffuser, which help curls dry IN PLACE. But what I love about this curl cream is that it helps my hair look as fresh as possible until the next shampoo…four or five days later. Because my hair is pretty heavy, the curls get looser and turn into what I’d term ~bushy waves~ — but thanks to the hydrating power of the curl cream, it doesn’t fully explode into a cloud of frizz. I’ll touch up a few pieces here or there with a curling iron, but for the most part (barring getting caught in the rain), the waves really last and last.
If you have smooth and shiny curls or fine curls, this may not be the cream for you, because it is pretty heavy. But it you have lotsa texture and frizz potential, definitely try it. I’m addicted. Good luck prying it from my hands. —Maitland Quitmeyer
Get it from Nordstrom or Moroccanoil for $ 34.
9. The Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad works just as well (if not way better than) as a Clarisonic, but for just $ 6 a pop!
I got these little cleansing pads as part of a Christmas gift from my cousin, who may have also been using me as a guinea pig before buying the pads for herself. The pads claim to more effectively clean pores with their exfoliating bristles and leave skin softer and smoother. I was initially skeptical because exfoliating in the winter tends to leave my skin even drier than it already is, but the silicone bristles were actually very gentle, and honestly it felt really good rubbing the pads around my face.
The best part is that I only need to use half as much cleanser as I would with my hands alone because the bristles help the cleanser foam up more and evenly distribute it around my face. I used to use a Clarisonic brush, and I actually prefer these little pads. Not only are they way gentler on my skin, but they’re a fraction of the price. My pads came from a small boutique called Atown in Austin, but these pads from Sephora are very similar. —Sabrina Majeed
Get them from Sephora for $ 6 each.
10. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment is a magical green cream that ~actually~ follows through with its claims and makes your redness totally disappear.
I’ve spent most of my adult life trying every BB, CC, and redness-reducing cream I could get my hands on to try to tame my Rudolph red nose and T-zone. And while some products would slightly work for an hour or so, I never found a product that truly covered up and worked on correcting those areas, until I gave Cicapair a try. After trying it for the first time, I nearly cried — I’m serious. Like so many times before, I dotted on the green cream and expected to still see my redness popping through, but within minutes the green faded to beige, and like actual magic, it made my redness completely disappear. Not only that, but it’s thick enough that it really seeps into the skin and lasts for hours, and it’s filled with SPF 30, herbs, and minerals to soothe inflamed skin. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not psyched about the $ 52 price tag, but being able to just slather this on and walk out of the house without a stitch of makeup is worth every damn penny! —Kristin Harris
Get it from Sephora for $ 52.
11. TrèStiQue Tint, Moisturize & Blend Face Stick and Highlight & Perfect Multipurpose Stick are magnetic makeup sticks that have product on one end and a sponge-like brush on the other for easy, breezy blending.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that much from the line of trèStiQue products. They seemed big, chunky, and likely incapable of blending well, so imagine my surprise when the products totally duped me. As soon as I applied the foundation, I knew I was into makeup crayons. Because I imagined that the foundation had the same components as other foundation types, I thought the product would feel like sludge, but it was actually very light, sheer, and easy to blend in. I love light coverage, but someone who enjoys a caked-on feel probably wouldn’t like these foundation sticks. After I’d apply a few swipes on my face, I could blend the color in with my fingers, and that feeling of wearing foundation completely vanished. The only downside to the foundation stick was that it felt a tad oily, which is fine for me since I have combination skin, but someone with oily skin might notice the oily residue more.
As for the highlighter, it looked good in theory and I enjoy applying it, but it doesn’t show up that well. Maybe it adds some shimmer to your cheeks, but it’s hard to tell. If I’m putting on highlighter, I want that dazzling, almost blinding glow effect — these definitely won’t give you that sweet glimmer.
While these aren’t my top picks for a heavier, more involved makeup look, they’re pretty convenient and easy to use for everyday use. Plus, you can be done with them in less than two minutes! If you’re about having that “natural look,” then definitely try these out! —Christina Lan
Get the foundation stick from Sephora for $ 34 and the highlighter stick also from Sephora for $ 34.
12. ColourPop Pressed Powders Collection consists of 33 gorgeous cruelty-free shades that range from neutrals to bolds.
Recently, I tried ColourPop’s new Pressed Powders collection. Now, I am what some might call a “hot mess” when it comes to applying makeup (there has never been a lipstick my chin has not known), but these eyeshadows were pretty simple to use.
I started with an eyeshadow primer all over my lids (the people at ColourPop said this was a must, but TBH, I didn’t even own a primer up until this). Then I applied Let Me Explain to the brow bone using a blending brush, followed by Wake Up Call to the crease using the same brush in a windshield wiper motion. After that was looking good, I put a little bit of Let Me Explain on the inner corner of my eye using a flat brush, and then I covered my lid with High Strung. This was my favorite out of the all the shadows because it was kinda sparkly without being too much. Once all of that was done, I took my fluffy brush and applied Popular Demand to the outer crease area. Then I added some Wake Up Call to the lower lash line, which was much harder than I thought it would be. I finished it all off with mascara, and BAM, for the first time probably ever in my life, I applied eyeshadow without looking like I had assistance from a 1-year-old.
The day I tried them out it was pouring rain, of course, so I was worried about how that might affect the life of the color. I also have what some might call a “greasy crease,” and I’m a face toucher, which I know is awful (I touch my own face! I don’t go up to randos on the street and just start picking at them — I’m not that much of a hot mess!). BUT despite all that, the shadows stayed on all day! I thought they looked good, and I didn’t seem to scare anyone on the subway. All in all, I’m gonna call this a win-win situation. —Elena Garcia
Get the individual powders from ColourPop for $ 5 each, or their fixed quad palettes for $ 18.
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