Beauty Editors Sound Off on the Products That Changed Their Lives
Internet hyperbole—in which we frequently use over-the-top language to express a positive reaction online—is rampant. (Associate features editor Amanda Montell hilariously explains the phenomenon further on “The Dirty Word.”) Everywhere you scroll and click, there’s a different transformative product, must-see video, or someone literally dying. With that in mind, you might have assumed that this link fell somewhere along those lines—just another dramatic testament to garner attention. But, seriously, it’s not.
As beauty editors, we see so many products come across our desks. Most of them we try, many of them we take home, and a few we incorporate into our daily arsenals. But very, very few change our lives. There are moisturisers that I’ve loved and lost and quickly moved on from. There are hair products I wouldn’t repurchase. But for each of us, there are select offerings that reinvigorated our love for makeup or transformed the way we saw our hair. There are products that can take you from tired, sallow skin to bright and radiant in mere minutes (so imagine what they can do in six to eight weeks). That’s right, dear readers, this list encompasses only the crème de la crème. It’s a testament to how important feeling good about ourselves alters each and every day—and how paramount beauty products are, at least partially, to those feelings. But most of all, it’s a celebration of the formulas that live up to (and possibly surpass) their claims.
So, keep scrolling to find our BFFs in the form of makeup, hair, and skincare products.
Eve Lom Cleanser ($74)
“I owe my entire skincare routine to this product. Prior to obtaining it a couple of years ago, it was lucky if I halfheartedly removed my makeup with a wipe after work. I didn't moisturise, tone, nothing. It was only after I began using this luscious cream cleanser—and in turn, taking the time to use the muslin cloth method that goes along with it—that I began to realise just how drastically my complexion improved when I took the time to really give it some TLC. Fast-forward several months and I am now *obsessive* in how I treat my skin.”
Stacked Skincare Micro-Roller ($40)
“Looking at photos of myself from just a couple of years ago is jarring. At the ripe old age of 22, I look exhausted, stressed, and, honestly, old! (True story: I showed my co-workers a snap from that time just a few weeks ago, and they didn’t recognise me!) A change in lifestyle certainly helped, but my dermaroller has done a lot of the heavy lifting. Using it regularly has permanently removed my under-eye bags and dark circles, diminished my laugh lines, and plumped up my pout, in addition to giving me skin an extra glow. I’ll never stop raving about it.”
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum ($132)
“If there’s one thing beauty editors love, it’s a good ferulic acid serum, and this one from Dr. Dennis Gross is the equivalent of eight hours’ sleep in a bottle. I’ve been using it twice a week, and each time I use it, I wake up with softer, brighter skin—like, ‘I can’t stop touching my face’ level of softness. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and never feels irritating, but you’ll see results after just a few uses.”
Tom Ford Santal Blush ($298)
“To me, a signature scent is so romantic and sexy. The idea that someone can catch just a whiff and be reminded of you is the coolest thing in the world. After years of trial and error, I finally found mine. This Tom Ford scent is woody, warm, and spicy, with just a hint of floral. It’s everything I want all in one. I wear it a lot—like, perhaps too much—but it’s paid off in compliments. I don’t feel like me unless I have it on.”
Nars Lipstick ($41)
“I’ll always consider myself a lipstick kind of girl, even though I don’t wear it as often as I used to. These two perfectly matte shades were my first-ever reds. For years, I was scared of red lipstick, sticking strictly to light pinks and natural-looking stains. But when I first tried Red Lizard (the dark tube) and Heat Wave (the orange-y one), everything changed. For four years straight, I wore lipstick every time I went out at night (and most days at the office). It was a part of me. Recently, someone told me he thought I looked different but couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Then he realised it was because I wasn’t wearing lipstick. Case in point: Nars changed my life.”
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation ($65)
“I can’t write about this product enough. It is magic. It feels lightweight and goes on smooth, covers even the darkest of under-eye circles, and stays put—no matter what. I’ve accidentally slept in my makeup to discover it still looks perfect, come morning. If you’re still not convinced, read my full-on love story dedicated to the stuff.”
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($73)
“My hair is kind of my thing—in that it’s wild and crazy, so people tend to take notice. For years I tried to flatten it, straighten it, painstakingly style it (I even wore clip-on extensions for nine years), and all the while I forgot to take care of it. This shampoo changed that. It changed the way my hair felt and looked and, perhaps most importantly, the way I felt about my natural curls. My hair is admittedly dry and processed, but this shampoo helps maintain a healthy, swingy ’do no matter what. Now, I just wash and go without a thought. Sometimes, I’ll even brush out the curls, Jerry Hall style, when I’m feeling especially sassy.”
Ghd Curve Soft Curl Tong ($230)
“Having a quality curling iron is the impetus for perfect curls. I curl my hair just about every day, and this iron is a game changer. It also makes the most magical noise when it’s all heated up (it’s the little things). My curls last all day and look super sleek and shiny.”
Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes ($52)
“I rotate through mascaras every year or so, with each one being better than the last. This year, it’s definitely this offering from Charlotte Tilbury. My lashes look so long and voluminous afterward, which is a big feat for my stubby little blonde lashes.”
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($39)
“I hate wearing lipstick because I have super-dry lips; it always tends to settle in the cracks and look gross. However, when I got a sample of this Nars matte lip pencil for my birthday from Sephora (thank you!), I discovered the holy grail of lip colours. Even though it’s matte, it somehow works with my dry lips and stays put for hours, even through eating and drinking.”
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation ($70)
“Once you find your perfect match, skin-perfecting foundation, your life is changed. Like many women, I have amassed a significant foundation graveyard—all products that are nice but just not quite right. This one’s a bit too light, this one’s more shimmery than it appears, this one looks great in the a.m. but can’t be trusted past 2 p.m., and the list goes on. Charlotte Tilbury ended the search for me. Fair 2 is my second skin. It blends effortlessly, the coverage is thoroughly medium (and buildable when I need a little more), it’s luminous but not shimmery—honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it. I never need to test a new foundation again.”
Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Treatment for Ultra-Damaged Hair ($69)
“So the name of this mask is a bit histrionic, but it really is a holy grail product for anyone with colour-treated hair. The formula works to bind the hair cuticle and cortex, strengthening it from the inside out, and ever since I started using it on my bleached strands, my hair has never felt softer or healthier. Total game changer.”
DermaDoctor KP Duty Body Scrub ($61)
“I have had pretty severe KP on my arms and legs ever since I can remember, and not much has worked to make my skin touchably soft—except this miraculous product. I get really frustrated when body scrubs are too mild, but this one combines intense physical exfoliation with the chemical exfoliation of glycolic and lactic acid to leave my skin shockingly smooth. If you have KP, you need this in your life.”
For more product recommendations, find out which drugstore product every makeup artist buys.