This five-star wonder of a mascara has all the reviews — 20,000 of them, in fact — and carries the title of “America’s #1 Mascara” based on yearly sales. We needed to know why. Amazon shoppers, who’ve made it the best-selling mascara on the site, praise its long-lasting and smudgeless nature as well as the length and volume it gives their lashes. Plus, it comes in five eye-popping colors if you’re feeling unconventional, only to the tune of $7 per bottle.
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara is, of course, volume-building but has a formula that applies softly and is designed for layering rather than clumping. The brush is developed to maximize volume in application; however, customers pointed out that you need to wipe the excess off the brush before applying to avoid clumpiness. One reviewer suggests letting a first coat dry and then applying a second coat for ultimate thickness.
“Holy moly eyelashes!!!!! My eyelashes look huge and gorgeous,” said one shopper. “Super length and volume. Better than those expensive brands. My new favorite and I will be purchasing again and again. Finally I found my mascara.” This sentiment is echoed in so many reviews claiming the lash product’s value is unmatched in the marketplace.
A usual downfall of inexpensive mascara is the mid-afternoon raccoon eyes glaring back at you in the bathroom mirror. Lucky for that girl, reviewers raved about the smudge-proof and flake-proof power of this product. One customer said, “This is truly a waterproof mascara. I can go swimming, or take a bath, and it still looks fabulous! It comes off easily when I want it to, too.”
If you’re experimental with your makeup, or willing to be, this mascara comes in cobalt, eggplant, and a forest green. These shades are guaranteed to compliment your eye color and elevate your everyday routine.
For volume, eye-popping color, and a great price point this might be your new holy grail product.
Self-tanning technology has made major progress in the past couple of years, making it so much easier to skip pricey in-salon spray jobs (and of course, avoiding super damaging UV suntans) and a decent-looking sun-free glow on your own. But while the progress is certainly deserving of well-rounded applause (and maybe even a standing innovation if you’re really feeling into it), DIY self-tanning isn’t always beginner-friendly. Fortunately, there are several self-tan hacks and plenty of game-changing sunless bronzing products to ensure you end up with an even fake tan without the hassle, mess, or putrid smell. The easiest of these new-found innovations happen to be sunless tanning towelettes, which look and apply just like a disposable makeup-removing wipe, only it sweeps a subtle layer of color onto your skin without streaking or oxidizing.
Whether you’re looking for an overnight wash of color for an event the following evening or are just in the mood to test out a product that will deliver gradual and foolproof results with a couple uses, these tanning towels couldn’t be easier and more hassle-free. While lotions and mouses may be the cold standard of at-home fake tanning, these guys deliver some impressive results without turning your skin—and entire shower and bedsheets—completely orange. While gradual tanning products get a bad rap for being either too pigmented (hello, orange palms and ankles) or are too subtle, these effective solutions get it just right. Scroll through below to check out our favorite ridiculously simple self-tanning towels to try for yourself at home.
1. L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes
These super-concentrated towelettes deliver overnight results without an orange hue, steaky result, or awful stench. These wipes are suitable for the body or face and won’t transfer product onto furniture or clothing.
2. Dr. Dennsi Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow
Not only do these exfoliating and self-tanning wipes give you a subtle and customizable bronze, but they also help slough away dead skin cells and lift impurities from the pores to improve overall skin condition.
Speaking with the publication back in 2014, Meghan admitted, “The one thing that I cannot live without when I’m traveling is a small container of tea tree oil. It’s not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it’s my little cure-all. It’s inexpensive, it’s small enough to carry on, and I bring it with me all the time.”
She’s not wrong. Tea tree oil is a cult favorite among the beauty set for its purifying properties, meaning it’s great for targeting breakouts. Dab a small amount directly onto the acne spot/mosquito bite/cut using either your finger or a cotton swab and let the tea tree oil do its thing.
Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
This two-in-one night cream diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and evens out skin texture and tone. Plus, this formula packs its retinol in a lipid shell, meaning it minimizes irritation and dryness that can sometimes occur as a result of retinol.
Relying on a blend of vitamin B3 and retinol, this night serum works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and enlarged pores — and keeps skin hydrated for 24 hours (hence the name). One reviewer, who said she’s been using Olay products since she was 14, noted that the product is “like fine wine.” She added: “Olay has tapped into the Fountain of Youth with this new line.”
If you’re down with the latest trends in retinol, then you may have heard of retinyl retinoate, an alternative to retinol that is said to boast the same benefits as its older sister (like increased collagen production and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles) minus the skin irritation. Verso’s rich night cream also contains antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, as well as hyaluronlic acid and jojoba.
Scoop this Neutrogena pick up at your local drugstore and you’ll start to see benefits in a week. Anti-aging retinol and hyaluronic acid work together to plump and moisturize skin, reducing the look of deep wrinkles, including pesky crow’s feet.
If you’re looking for a brightening and anti-aging eye cream you can use morning or night, this one might just be your new go-to. It contains light-reflecting particles to instantly soften the look of dark circles and keeps fine lines around the eyes in check with time-released retinol.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream
If you’ve been using a product with .5 percent retinol and looking for a little more oomph, consider this night cream from SkinCeuticals, which contains 1 percent retinol — plus ultra-soothing chamomile, frankincense, and shea butter. “The difference is amazing,” one reviewer, who has used the product for over a year, wrote. “At 62, my skin looks better than three years ago. My sun damage is gone.”
Naturopathica Argan & Retinol Wrinkle Repair Night Cream
If you’re looking to target fine lines and wrinkles but are prone to irritation, try this retinol night cream from Naturopathica. It uses encapsulated retinol plus argan plant stem cells and castor oil for a natural dose of moisture.
If you have sensitive or dry skin but want to start using a retinol cream, then this formula may be a match made in heaven for you. Not only does it address wrinkles, dullness, and dark spots, but it also serves as a skin-soothing moisturizer thanks to the addition of lactic acid, an exfoliant and humectant.
It’s hard to beat The Ordinary when it comes to an affordable and non-irritating retinol serum. The formula was created without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates and uses two forms of retinol known to cause less redness and irritation.
This budget-friendly cream is Amazon’s “most wished for” moisturizer, which really just means one thing — you need to get your hands on it STAT. And with no oily residue and the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, there’s really no reason not to place an order.
Cult-favorite millennial brand Drunk Elephant finally released a retinol cream and it was worth the wait. Along with gentle 1 percent vegan retinol it contains ingredients like passionfruit, apricot, marula and jojoba oils to nourish and moisturize skin while fighting fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.
A roundup of retinol products really wouldn’t be complete without this drugstore staple. The RoC formula targets fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area and helps improve the appearance of dark circles and undereye puffiness in as little as four weeks.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum
If you like the lightweight feel of a serum, then this retinol treatment might be the pick for you. The topical treatment also includes lipo-hydroxy acid which acts as an exfoliator and visibly reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet. One reviewer said she has noticed overall smoother skin and fewer breakouts after using the product for a month. She added: “I’ve had a record number of mornings in the last month where I’ve looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Yeah, I look good today.’”
If you love glitter and sleeping in (who doesn’t), you’ve come to the right place. This liquid eyeshadow is the one-swipe stop for brightening your “rolled from bed to desk” eyes.
As someone who constantly experiments with makeup, I was excited to try E.l.f. Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow to add sparkle to my face — little did I know it would soon become a staple of my quarantine morning routine. Despite the uptick in tie-dying and hair dying trends, quarantine hadn’t felt like the time to try out pink eyeliner or teal mascara. However, spending most of the day looking at my reflection on Zoom calls made me appreciate even the smallest effort. In an attempt to mix things up beyond changing which room I used as my office, I started using a swipe of this glitter shadow in silver and a light layer of mascara to freshen up my face, and I immediately became hooked.
Vegan and cruelty-free, this accessible shadow comes in metallic neutrals and playful colors to liven up your WFH regimen. The tube has a lip-gloss style applicator that easily swipes the product onto your lids in one fell swoop. Best practice is to swipe from the inner corner outwards then let it dry. If you try to touch up before it dries, you may inadvertently remove some of the glitter as it’s still wet and malleable. The glitter stays on for a day’s work and comes right off with one swipe of your makeup remover when its job is done.
This shadow hasn’t gone unnoticed by Amazon shoppers, landing itself in the top 50 best-sellers for eyeshadow. If your daily routine is in need of an affordable upgrade, then keep scrolling to shop this quarantine-brightening product.
Though tough to recreate, the looks at Haider Ackermann’s otherworldly show were impossible to forget. It saw bleached brows and gravity-defying hair sculptures, courtesy of make-up artist Lynsey Alexander and hairstylist Duffy. Drama reigned at Rodarte, Anna Sui, Fendi and Roksanda, too, where lips were painted in gothic deep-plum hues. Lastly, at Moschino, the Marie Antoinette-inspired hair and make-up was more theatre than catwalk.
The foil to sleek, polished moments of glamour? Lived-in make-up. The look was led by Gucci and its entry into the make-up arena – Thomas de Kluyver, Gucci Beauty’s global make-up artist, mixed the label’s new mascara with water to create a smudged, tear-stained effect. This was co-ordinated with chipped nails – the height of high-school cool. Pucci and Max Mara also favoured worn-in eye make-up, with the models’ black liner and mascara looking as though they had slept in it and woken up just in time to stride down the catwalk. At Lanvin, the two-day-old, chunky-but-neat lashes took the edge off the otherwise sleek look. Do note, imperfect make-up isn’t as simple as it looks – utilising remnants of make-up from the day before might be an easier way to tap into the trend.
Let’s Go Retro
“Hitchcock heroines” and “18th-century-inspired hair” were just a couple of the beauty references uttered backstage at the autumn/winter 2020 shows. In Paris, at Miu Miu, hairstylist Guido Palau created styles in homage to the 1940s, using an “old-school way of achieving curls” that were shaped into waves and flipped to one side. There was a similar theme at Chloé, with Palau crafting everything from boyish updos to set waves. In London, at Erdem, Anthony Turner’s lacquered S-shaped finger waves were set low on the side of the head with a severe side parting, for a modern take on the look. Meanwhile, at Shrimps, hair recalled a young Diana, Princess of Wales. It’s retro, but now.
The Mane Event
With the creation of colourful roots (at last, a way to conceal grey regrowth in a joyous spirit) and the return of the ponytail, hair became the ultimate beauty accessory this season. Slicked-back looks populated the catwalk. At Erdem, Burberry, Christopher Kane and Givenchy, Guido Palau pulled hair into strict middle partings or combed and gelled it into place, leaving the hair to hang loose at the back. “I’ve complemented the amazing clothes with some soft hair textures,” he explained at Christopher Kane. Bright roots featured at Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga, where there was a nod to pop star Billie Eilish’s penchant for two-tone colour. Sam McKnight improvised with feathers to create the illusion of colour at Dries Van Noten. For a day-to-day hair trend, the humble ponytail took centre stage (see Carolina Herrera and Brock Collection) – perhaps the most mesmerising being McKnight’s half-up/half-down version, complete with a Chanel bow. Butter wouldn’t melt.
Winged eyeliner has had an overhaul. Yes, black remains a classic, but this season blues and metallics frequently featured, too. At Dior, Peter Philips, creative and image director of make-up, perfected a full-kohl look with thick outer-corner wings – it reminded us of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s own signature eyeliner, and was statement enough for the collection. Pat McGrath’s futuristic, cyber-esque take at Prada resulted in a block of metallic shadow that sat in and above the eye socket, extending out on either side, so as to expose a flash of molten colours. Whether you prefer a delicate flick, as seen at Missoni, or a more adventurous approach, such as Altuzarra’s, it was all about dressing the eyes for the runway.
The return of red lipstick has officially replaced the past few seasons’ run of natural hues, and it was paraded down the catwalks in a variety of textures, from matt to glossy to balm-like. At Carolina Herrera, make-up artist Lauren Parsons used the fashion house’s new lipsticks to reimagine “Spanish baroque beauty”. Punchy matt-red mouths were among the looks, with lips silhouetted in a crisp red outline on a canvas of clean skin. At Oscar de la Renta, Tom Pecheux was eager to turn the classic on its head: “It felt like the right time for red again, so we created a very precise lip that’s glossy,” he said (he went the extra mile and colour-matched the shade to a swatch of red fabric from the collection). Diane Kendal painted perfect rouge lips at Lanvin, Jason Wu and Proenza Schouler, and Pat McGrath returned to the red pout at Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, cementing the trend for the season.
As we dial back the chiselled contour in favour of a softer look, the runways inspired new ways of defining cheekbones. Subtle, flushed hues and bronze shading helped to create perfect skin. At Michael Kors, make-up artist Dick Page warmed cheeks with a creamy peach blush to give natural definition. At Tom Ford, the illusion of symmetry was created by playing with light and shade, and at Brandon Maxwell the make-up direction of “ultimately feminine” meant a blended cream to add warmth and highlight.
At Marni, there was extreme glitter application by Julien d’Ys, who painted over faces and hair. At Erdem, Lynsey Alexander created silver-foil strokes across the eye sockets to reflect the collection, entitled The Age of Silver. At Preen and Simone Rocha, broken-up textures in metallic colours abounded, while at Halpern, Giambattista Valli and Valentino, jewelled eye-halos and winged, crystal-encrusted crowns framed faces. It was a welcome touch of couture beauty creeping into the ready-to-wear runways.
Wind-flushed cheeks; flawless skin; and just-bitten lips: all hallmarks of the “English Rose”, the term used to describe a delicate kind of beauty long regarded as classically English. The likes of Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Ella Balinska, Emma Watson and now, newcomer Emma Corrin – who appears on British Vogue’s October cover as her The Crown character Princess Diana (another famous English Rose) – all share a certain innocent appeal.
“The quintessential English Rose look comprises berry-stained plump lips, ruddy, flushed cheeks and a dewy, invisibly-perfect complexion,” says make-up artist Neil Young. “The complexion should feel real and translucent, so as to reveal all the natural undertones of the skin.” Here, Young shares exactly how to achieve the look for yourself with the assistance of some cleverly applied make-up.
To create a harmonious balance of colour on the face, Young recommends using a multi-use lip and cheek product. “Creams and gels lend themselves to this look as they melt into the skin, creating a believable pink undertone to the lip and cheek – think royal flush and berry-bitten lips. Deeper complexions should opt for darker red and fuchsia tones,” he says. Look to Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge creams – there’s a shade for everyone – or Westman Atelier’s Baby Cheeks Blush Sticks for an ultra-natural, dewy finish.
Use your fingers
To create that natural, just-been-outside flush, use your fingers to apply your blush. “It pushes the cream formula into the apples of the cheeks, which makes it look like the colour is radiating through the skin, rather than floating on top like a powder blusher,” explains Young. “If your complexion is combination to oily, then a powder blush [like Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Blush] with light-reflecting particles will achieve the same effect.”
Where to apply
The aim is to make your flush look totally natural, as if it hasn’t been applied, so mimic where you would naturally redden: “Apply to the apples of the cheeks and pull down towards the jawline for a flushed appearance,” advises Young. “If you’re using a powder, sweep across the apples of cheeks and pull the brush down towards the jawline to create a ruddy effect.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #20 series on my blog.
Discerning what’s “real” or “fake” has become increasingly difficult in the 21st century. Make-up artist and model, Sasha Pallari, realised the dangers of Instagram editing techniques and proposed a call-to-action with the hashtag, #FilterDrop. It all started when Sasha saw that many brands had reposted stories and grid pictures that featured influencers who’d applied a filter. Some of the shares were obviously edited, but others were deceptive.
Keen to hear what her followers thought about filters, she posted a story that outlined her worry. Alongside a candid selfie, she wrote: “Have I lost my mind or? I lose followers every time I post an unattractive photo (and if you’ve been here a while you’ll know how often it is) and that shan’t ever stop. But there’s a kick in the mouth and then there’s a kick. in. the. mouth.” Referring to a heavily filtered cream blush tutorial she’d seen on the Instagram story of a “huge brand”, Pallari later expressed that companies should be more responsible. “It’s misleading”, she tells British Vogue.
The full caption reads:
The other night I noticed an influencer with close to 300k followers advertising a makeup brand with a beautifying filter on. Maybe she isn’t confident enough to talk to the camera without one and that genuinely makes me sad. There’s an endless list of reasons why that may be but I can guarantee the immense pressure this society puts on us to constantly look perfect is one of them. I so strongly wish you would realise the vast scale of damage the constant use of filters are. Flawless, poreless, scarless, wrinkle-less skin does not exist and it’s only because of the overuse of these we believe it does.
The brand shouldn’t be happy for their products to be advertised this way and for them to be described as ‘natural looking on the skin’ whilst those filters are applied. This behaviour, addiction and constant craving to BE beautiful is feeding into the insecurities of future generations and the damage is worrying.
Please ask yourself if you’d be happy for your children to only base their worth on how beautiful they are, the filter they need in order to even be beautiful. We are born with an abundance of confidence, but we grow up slowly having it chipped away by unrealistic beauty standards.
The way you talk to people, the way you treat people, the way you smile at people. Anything a filter can’t touch is where real beauty is.
“So many people have told me their personal stories about how it affects them and how they think they look horrible and disgusting and everyone else looks so polished,” Sasha remarks. As a reaction to the response, she founded #FilterDrop, an extension of her existing social message #BestYou. “Looking beautiful is an opinion, feeling beautiful is a choice,” she says.
Pallari encouraged followers to share unfiltered videos and images alongside the hashtag, which prompted thousands of users to post make-up free selfies (if they were “brave enough”). One woman told Sasha that sharing was “worse than having a baby”, while a 15-year-old girl thanked the make-up artist for her inspiration. “She mentioned that she no longer wakes up two hours before school to do her make-up. She still enjoys make-up but it’s for enjoyment rather than hiding and covering her face, which is just amazing.”
Fuelled by the momentum of the campaign, Sasha used her platform to repost #FilterDrop imagery, which soon caught the eye of the media. “It’s just been absolutely insane. I’ve had 9 radio interviews, two television chats… it’s been non-stop,” she laughs. “It’s all about spreading the message.”
Recognising editing usage on Instagram has become harder, and considering the subtleties of some of the filters available on the app, knowing if someone has adjusted their smile, whitened their teeth or slimmed their cheeks is practically impossible. To the trained eye, Photoshop is easy to spot. But for the young generation of users, whose daily routine includes avidly scrolling (and scrolling, and scrolling) through their feeds, filtered content has become the norm.
Investigating further is the next step for Sasha. “I currently have a case being processed with the ASA [Advertising Standards Authority]. It outlines that in the same way that a user would have to mark if something has been sent as a PR product, accounts should have to mark that a filter has been used on their stories or grid pages.”
We’ve all been there: You put extra time and care into flawlessly blending and buffing your foundation, meticulously lining your lash line with kohl eyeliner, and painting on your favorite lipstick. Then, maybe the heat or nerves has caused beads of sweat to drip down your forehead and above your upper lip. Before you know it, your makeup is smudged and runny, and there’s no opportunity for you to do some quick damage control.
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy way to avoid messing up your makeup. Enter makeup setting sprays. These ultra-fine mists lock your look in place without feeling like you have an extra layer of product on your face.
That being said, there’s a ton of makeup setting sprays out there, and each come with their own set of benefits to suit various skin types and makeup styles.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray
The MVP of setting sprays, this Urban Decay product remains a cult-favorite because it’s safe for all skin types. Although, oily skin will love that it’s infused with kaolin clay for excess oil and shine control. The microfine mist is lightweight and holds makeup in place for up to 16 hours.
Best SPF: Milani Cosmetics Make It Last Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
Yes, no one wants their makeup to melt off their face, but protecting your skin against sun damage is more important than a flawless face of foundation. Luckily, Milani has combined makeup setting spray and SPF 30 into a single product. This micro mist locks makeup in place for up to 16 hours, hydrates, and shields skin from UVA/UVB rays.
This mist is a must-have for anyone (OK all of us) who are after that elusive lit-from-within glow. Made with humectants and botanicals oils, use the hydrating formula as a primer before applying makeup or refresh your skin throughout the day to keep your makeup from getting dry and cakey.
If you have oily skin, you’re familiar with melty, runny makeup. This best-selling NYX spray sets makeup while mattifying skin, combating shine, and minimizing the appearance of pores. No wonder it’s the number one setting spray in America, according to Neilson data.
Best for Long-Wear: L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Make-Up Extender
There are a ton of setting sprays at the drugstore, but not all are created equal. L’Oréal’s spray is a standout because the lightweight mist keeps makeup looking freshly applied for hours on end. Bonus: The formula is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested, so rest assured it won’t clog pores and lead to breakouts or cause irritation.
Best Primer: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer & Setting Spray
This two-in-one product primes skin for smooth, even makeup application and keeps it fresh all day long. Packed with green tea, chamomile, and cucumber, the spray also soothes and calms redness, making it a great option for sensitive skin, too.
It might seem counterintuitive, but spritzing this setting spray on your face after you’ve finished applying your makeup will make your look waterproof for up to 24 hours. The water-resistant formula also gives skin a smooth finish and blurs imperfections.
Best for Touchups: Fenty Beauty What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray
OK, this might technically be a face mist, but it was created with the sole purpose of reviving and refreshing makeup throughout the day. Better yet, you can spritz it on your face before reaching for your makeup to create a hydrated, dewy base for your foundation and concealer.
If you have ever wondered what it takes to get (radiant, even-toned, healthy looking) skin like Chrissy Teigen’s, your prayers have been answered. Taking to Instagram on Tuesday to document her “simple” skincare routine, Teigen acknowledged she was feeling pretty pleased with the state of her face: “For you kind folks asking me to drop the skincare regimen, I will admit I am def proud of my skin lately and feeling myself!” she wrote.
Teigen namechecked iS Clinicals’ cleanser and lotion as her two beauty ride-or-dies, and the only things she uses consistently (“they’ve always been so good to me”). Her chosen skincare products show she’s a fan of a clever formulation that works hard to keep skin in good shape. The iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, as it’s more formally known, contains white willow bark extract (a natural source of exfoliating salicylic acid), and sugar cane extract to refresh, resurface and boost glow in tired skin, without leaving it feeling tight. Meanwhile the Moisturizing Complex contains hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and vitamin B5 to keep the skin hydrated and plump, and the skin barrier strong and intact.
The Twitter queen also regularly deploys the wonders of Dr Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Peel Pads “on and around” her nose and chin which, she says, makes a huge difference, as well as Dr Simon Ourian’s Firm and Fade Cream when she’s not feeling great. There you have it: the surprisingly minimal skincare routine behind Teigen’s radiant glow.
Thankfully, toners, like the rest of your skincare routine, have evolved over the years. Today, many toners are alcohol-free, and instead, are used to refresh and treat the skin before you apply the rest of your serums and creams — without making you extra dry.
One such example is exfoliating toners, which are infused with chemical exfoliants such as AHA and BHA acids, which help to loosen and break up the dead skin cells clogging your pores, while also minimizing dark spots, and improving overall skin texture and tone. These formulas often include soothing and hydrating ingredients to balance out the exfoliation.
“The use of a toner can have the added benefit of mechanical removal of skin debris,” says Dr. Melanie Palm, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in San Diego, Calif. “Simple application of a skincare product such as a serum does not lift off dull skin cells.”
Dr. Palm also notes that a toner can help balance pH level for the skin microenvironment.
When choosing an exfoliating toner, it’s important to consider your skin type and its needs. Dr. Palm says that those concerned with aging can benefit from using a formula with AHAs such as lactic or glycolic acids.
Acne-prone skin can see an improvement with BHAs such as salicylic acid, or a combination of both AHAs and BHAs. As for sensitive skin types, they may fair well with PHA acids, which are larger in molecular size and more gentle on the skin. The same goes for mandelic acid, an ingredient that is great for rosacea or redness.
While an exfoliating toner can be used daily, it’s best to introduce it slowly into your routine to prevent irritation. And if you have sensitive skin, Dr. Palm recommends using a liquid exfoliant once or twice a week at first to gauge how your skin handles it. She adds that if you are using anti-aging products such as retinoids or retinol, gradually start to use the toner over a period of days to weeks. But when in doubt, follow the usage instructions on the back of the bottle.
Finally, don’t expect clear, brighter skin over night.
While you may see some instant improvement, like a bit of a glow, it can take much longer to experience the full benefits of incorporating an exfoliating toner into your skincare routine.
“It takes 30 full days for the epidermal layer of the skin to turn over,” says Dr. Palm. “Therefore, I tell most patients to use a new topical product for two to three months (two to three cycles of epidermal turnover) to gauge response by the skin to active ingredients. However, many patients may notice changes prior to the three month mark.”
You can’t think about the major hitters in Korean beauty and skin care without having Innisfree bubble up to the forefront of your brain. Owned by conglomerate Amorepacific Group — whose other brands include Best of Beauty winners Sulwhasoo, Laneige, and Mamonde — Innisfree has a massive lineup of products and product lines centered around specific ingredients (orchid, soybean, and volcanic clusters, oh my) and was the first Amorepacific brand to open a U.S. flagship store. Located in New York City, the shop’s walls display close to 10,000 plants in an attempt to transport customers to Jeju Island (located off the coast of South Korea), where the green tea from one of its most popular product lines, is sourced from.
One particular green tea product, the Intensive Hydrating Serum, which the brand says is sold every five seconds around the globe, just received a big, eco-friendly upgrade. As part of Innisfree’s larger, ongoing “Less Plastic” initiative, the brand launched a jumbo-size Intensive Hydrating Serum Paper Edition that’s 100 percent recyclable and made with 52 percent less plastic than its predecessor. Ringing in at $39 and 5.4 ounces, it saves you $15 as opposed to buying two regular-size, 2.7 ounces bottles at $27 each. A great deal, if you ask me.
It’s still the same, beloved formula made with Jeju green tea extract and Jeju green tea seed oil, grown and extracted from Innisfree green tea farms, to hydrate and maintain skin’s moisture barrier.
To recycle your bottle, you simply remove the green paper label, remove the two halves of the molded paper shell, and then recycle the paper parts separately from the inner, soft plastic layer — as demonstrated below. Innisfree also offers an Empty Bottle Program, so customers who feel comfortable with stepping inside an Innisfree store can drop off their beauty empties and earn loyalty points. Or you can recycle your skin-care goodies through TerraCycle‘s zero-waste boxes.
Personally speaking, the Innisfree green tea serum has been a staple of mine over the years. The clear formula is impossibly lightweight and absorbs upon contact with my combination-leaning skin, so there’s no heavy, goopy feeling at all. I not only reach for this whenever my skin feels dry and tight during the winter, but it’s also fantastic for humid summer weather, as it plays very nicely under sunscreen and makeup.
Lately, I’ve been upping my exfoliation routine at night to keep rouge pimples at bay, and this is the perfect follow-up product to keep my skin soothed, softened, and glowy. I’m not even a tea drinker but the leafy scent is so lovely — and while it’s definitely noticeable, it’s not overpowering.
The clean beauty market is on track to make $22 billion by 2024. Those environmentally conscious beauty enthusiasts may have already swapped out some of their old products for ones that are better for the planet, but CoverGirl is looking to make the jump to clean beauty easier and cheaper than ever with its newest range Clean Fresh.
Clean Fresh is formulated without talc, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oil, or sulfates, according to a press release. It’s also completely vegan, and since it’s CoverGirl, we also know it’s cruelty-free and doesn’t test on animals.
The range is made up of four new products: Skin Milk Foundation, Cream Blush, Cooling Glow Stick, and Lip Oil. Together, they’re designed to let you create a full face of makeup — perhaps your first full face of entirely cruelty-free/vegan/clean makeup.
First up is Skin Milk, a liquid foundation that uses coconut and aloe for a dewy, moisturizing finish. It’s launching in 14 shades with an even split along the shade spectrum. Once your foundation is on, you can go in with the Cooling Glow Stick. Choose between four shades of shimmery pink designed to highlight cheekbones or anywhere else in need of some sparkle. Add color with the cream blush, then finish up the look with the high-shine, tinted lip oil.
My first reaction to hearing about the new Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum was, “Plum is the star ingredient, really?” I stand by the opinion that, as stone fruits go, plums are objectively not the tastiest choice (and neither are their dried and mushy twins, prunes).
Since this is Glow Recipe we’re talking about, though, I was willing to set aside my preconceived judgments and give the brand’s latest K-beauty formula a chance. While plum might not be something I get excited about under other circumstances, if you put it in a cute bottle with hyaluronic acid and a skin-plumping serum, you have my attention.
According to cofounder and co-CEO Christine Chang, the unassuming plum actually has a lot going on beneath the surface. “We used a blend of three different plums that have unique benefits,” she says. “Kakadu plum has the highest concentration of vitamin C, so it’s both brightening and a powerful fighter against fine lines and wrinkles. Illawarra plum is concentrated in anthocyanins, an antioxidant. The Burdekin plum is rich in soothing minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which are beneficial for your skin.”
The fruit’s antioxidant-rich properties also pair well with hyaluronic acid, the other key ingredient in this formula. You’ve probably seen H.A. in most of your hydrating skin-care products due to its ability to absorb and hold mass amounts of water. “It plumps and adds volume to your skin cells to make your skin more radiant and smooth,” says Jessica Weiser, M.D., of the New York Dermatology Group.
As the name implies, that’s the goal of Plum Plump. Cofounder and co-CEO Sarah Lee says the team set out to create a daily-use serum that could be used to enhance glow for any skin type. “We wanted to achieve the ultimate bouncy, juicy skin,” she says. “In Korea, this is called chok-chok skin, and it’s characterized by a hydrated glow.” Along with five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid (think instant maximum hydration), Glow Recipe also includes plant-based versions of collagen and silk protein, which boost the serum’s moisturizing effects.
As said by one GLAMOUR reviewer: “The most noticeable difference from previous Glow Recipe serums I’ve tried was the dramatic plumping, smoothing effect, especially on the dry sections of skin around my nose and cheeks. As someone who wakes up daily to the phone reminder to #WearYourDamnMask, I have spent a good chunk of 2020 wearing said mask, and that mask in turn has inevitably worn out my face. A combination of irritation and overly drying acne treatments left the lower half of my complexion in less than ideal condition. A few days (and nights) of Plum Plump later, and you wouldn’t even know it. It erased every flaky patch in sight, didn’t clog my pores, and gently put me back on the path to the coveted chok-chok skin I thought was beyond my reach.”
“Chang and Lee told me that in the process of testing Glow Recipe’s latest launch, they sometimes layered it with other serums for added hydration or glow-enhancing benefits, but I didn’t feel the need to cocktail it with any other formulas. A thin coat of moisturizer on top to seal those benefits in, and I was sufficiently illuminated even by my high standards. I still haven’t changed my opinion on plums as a food choice, but after experiencing the results of this serum firsthand, I’ll happily welcome them to join my beauty routine anytime.”
The discussion surrounding the ‘R’ word is a frenzied one. Retinoids (the umbrella term for retinol products) are powerful enough to improve skin texture, pigmentation, and tone in just a few drops of serum or dollops of cream. The transformative effects on your skin are due to very potent formulations, which have caused retinols to garner a lot of differing opinions — and even more questions. When should you use them (along with when should you definitely steer clear of them)? How do the formulas work? Are they compatible with sensitive skin? And even, how do you refer to them? Are they retinols? And what’s retin-A? These questions and more have confused many a skin-care fanatic.
Below are 11 myths about retinols and the truth behind them.
All these ingredients starting with ‘R’ (Retinol, Retinoic Acid) basically do the same thing.
Yes and no. Prescription formulas contain retinoic acid, the magic ingredient that fights visible aging; nonprescription alternatives need to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin at the cellular level. “In off-the-shelf formulas, the ingredient called retinol is the only derivative of vitamin A worth using,” says Dana Sachs, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “There’s a lot of literature showing that while retinol is more gentle than retinoic acid, biochemically it does exactly the same thing — it may just take longer to see results.” The same can’t be said for the derivatives called pro-retinols (aka, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate), which are the most gentle — but weaker, too. Of the formulas shown here, Retin-A requires a prescription, but the others are available over the counter: Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 contains retinol, while Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream has retinyl propionate, a less irritating form of vitamin A.
Retinoids work by exfoliating your skin.
Honestly, we thought they swept away dead skin cells, too. “There’s often peeling and redness, but that’s a side effect of the irritation, not a true and even exfoliation like the one you get from an ingredient like glycolic acid,” says Sachs. “The peeling is certainly not why people start looking better. In fact, it’s why most people give it up.” Retinoids work at a much more profound level by affecting gene expression and causing enhanced collagen production, skin smoothing, and an evening of pigmentation.
You shouldn’t wear retinoids during the day because they increase your risk of sunburn.
Are you sitting down? “This is one of the biggest myths out there,” says Sachs. It’s true that retinoids break down in sunlight, which is why they are bottled in opaque packaging and are still best worn at night to make sure they aren’t rendered inactive. However, they do not make the skin more prone to sunburn. “This misconception came about because in some early studies, people described putting on a retinoid, walking into the sun, and immediately burning. But that redness is likely related to heat exposure,” says Sachs. “Clinical studies have shown pretty definitively that retinoids do not lower the MED — or minimal erythemal dos — of human skin, which is the amount of UV light you can take before the skin burns.”
You should always apply retinoids to dry skin.
Sometimes, even doctors break the rules: “I know the instructions on the box often recommend waiting until your face is completely dry before applying a retinoid,” says Sachs. “But there’s no evidence in the scientific literature I’ve seen that shows damp or wet skin exacerbates sensitivity.” And while we’re on the topic, applying a retinoid to damp skin doesn’t maximize its potency, either. “Nothing having to do with application decides how much of the retinol is converted into retinoic acid, the form of vitamin A that actually repairs skin,” Sachs says. “That’s solely related to your skin’s chemistry and retinoid receptors.”
You’ll need to wait four to six weeks for your retinoid to really work.
We wish. Turns out it’ll be double — or even triple — that amount of time, according to Gary Fisher, a professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “Many over-the-counter formulas claim you’ll see results within weeks,” says Fisher. “But in my experience, it takes an average of 12 weeks for retinoic acid to produce noticeable changes in the skin. So stick with it for at least that long to see the benefits.”
Gentle retinoids can be just as effective as stronger ones.
“The words ‘sensitive skin’ on a label (such as on RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream shown here) are often code for a low concentration of active ingredients,” says Sachs. However, dermatologists still recommend them because these lower concentrations (and soothing supplemental ingredients) make them the perfect gateway retinoid. “Once a patient with sensitive skin has tolerated a tube of that over a period of several weeks, we can then graduate to a stronger retinoid knowing the skin cells are now better adapted to handle it,” says Jonathan Weiss, an Atlanta-based dermatologist.
You should stop applying retinoid if your skin gets irritated.
In the words of our high-school cross-country coach, push through it. Irritation that flares up after adding vitamin A to your regimen is “all part of the process,” says Weiss. “We’ve seen clinically that after two or three weeks the skin cells adapt to the retinoic acid and begin to tolerate the ingredient.” The caveat: We’re talking about reasonably flushed, drier-than-usual, lightly peeling skin. “If the discomfort is prolonged or very uncomfortable, use it once a week or switch to a weaker formula,” says Sachs.
You can’t take your retinoid on vacation.
“A change in climate won’t suddenly make your skin react to a retinoid you were tolerating a few days earlier at home,” says Weiss. Once skin cells have adapted to the strength of the retinoid you’re applying, any irritation (called retinoid dermatitis) generally stops. “It’s unlikely to flare up again until you switch to something stronger,” says Weiss. Still, if you’re jumping on a long-haul flight or going skiing, it’s a good idea to layer a heavier moisturizer over your retinoid to avoid dryness, which makes skin more susceptible to irritation in general.
OK, but you shouldn’t take it with you on your beach vacation.
We’re still processing the fact that retinoids don’t increase your risk of sunburn, too. But get this: Combining retinoids with island hopping may even be a good thing. They not only boost collagen production, but may also have the potential to stop photoaging before it starts. “They’ve been shown to prevent the rise of collagenase — the enzyme that breaks down collagen — after UV exposure,” says Sachs.
Don’t put retinoids around your eyes. The skin there is too sensitive.
Not only can you, you really should — that’s where most of the damage shows up, says Weiss. “Studies have shown that people who apply retinoids right up to the eyes get the best results.” And if you get it in your eye? “It may sting a little, but it won’t do any harm,” says Weiss, and the skin there is no more likely to get red or flaky than anywhere else on the face.
The skin-smoothing benefits of retinoids plateau after six months.
“Several clinical studies have shown that prescription retinoids will significantly improve skin for over a year,” says Weiss — and Johnson & Johnson recently completed a trial demonstrating that over-the-counter retinol smooths wrinkles and fades blotches over 12 months, too. OK, so what are you supposed to do after the year is up? The answer isn’t to rush off and embrace a new ingredient (peptides, anyone?). Your skin may just be ready for a stronger prescription retinoid, says Weiss.
It’s been 20 years since celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic entered the scene, forever contouring the shape of the beauty world with highlights, shimmers, and perfectly winged liner that launched an army of copycats on social media.
Now, Dedivanovic, whom the New Yorker recently heralded as “The Makeup Artist at Ground Zero of Internet Beauty Culture,” has taken his years of expertise, massive internet fame, and a few personal checks to labs across the world to create his dream: a self-funded line of products titled Makeup by Mario.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #19 series on my blog.
For Dedivanovic, this moment is huge. He begins to tear up on a Zoom call as he discusses the project he began working on three years ago. “I’m just so excited for October 1st”—the launch date, Dedivanovic’s birthday, and the date he began working on the Sephora floor many years ago—“because it almost still doesn’t feel real to me,” he says.
The artist comes fully loaded with all the bonafides to make a bestselling beauty line. He’s most famous for his work on one of the 21st century’s most famous canvases, Kim Kardashian-West, and helped launch her KKW Beauty line. He’s also had brand partnerships with Laura Mercier and hosts a mega-popular Masterclass. This is the last box to check on his way to beauty moguldom.
For Dedivanovic, the Sephora gondola, the display for all a brand’s beauty products inside the store, is the ultimate symbol of his success. “I used to manifest into those Sephora bottles when I was cleaning them, that I would one day have that, knowing very well that I had to work very hard and it probably wouldn’t be 20-plus years until I did that,” he explains. “I’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time.”
His dreams are finally a reality. The new line includes 21 products and tools, including eyeshadow palettes, brushes, and highlighters created to flatter any and all skin tones. “When I work, I tend to like products that I can use on all skin tones,” he says.
Below, a few beauty tips from the seasoned vet, plus a peek at the products in his collection.
He knows you’re bad at winged eyeliner.
A standout product in the line is the Master Pigment Pro Pencils, inspired by his older sister Vicky, a relatable queen with an inability to work with eyeliner.
“I think it’s hard even for an artist to really do a beautiful wing,” Dedivanovic says. “I know that a lot of people want to do wings, but it’s challenging and can be intimidating. With this pencil and brush shape, you take the pencil and draw a line from there [the center of your eyelid] to the corner. You stop at the corner and flip the brush over and up and lift. [The brush] literally does the flip for you. I wanted to make this technique very, very easy.”
Dedivanovic added that he will provide new content that inspired tools like the eyeliner and tutorials around how to use it on his social media platforms.
He likes both contoured and natural makeup.
“I know I’m [known] as the contour king, but I think there was a little misconception,” he says. “I’m not the type of artist that typically will do the heavy stripes and all those types of things. I like makeup to look as if one were born with it in terms of the colors and finishes on the skin. I like it to enhance a woman’s face, not to have it feel unnatural or that they have a ton of makeup on. My goal at the end is that when you are up close, in person, you do makeup to make it look beautiful there. But for me, that’s not enough. I want it to look beautiful for the person as well. Bot in the sense, Oh, wow, your makeup is beautiful. More in the sense of, Wow, you look beautiful.
The brand is for novices and beauty experts alike.
While the line is infused with years of experience from Dedivanovic, he wanted to create something that was easy for the most green of makeup appliers to use.
Here’s his tip for the Master Metallics palette:
“This is a very creamy formula that’s a blend of powders and creams, so it’s very easy to use with just a swipe of a finger on your lid for a quick application. I wanted to separate my products by texture because as an artist, I was always trained from the very beginning that you always separated your mattes [from] your metallics. That’s the way you packed your bag as well.”
The packaging is the future of beauty.
Dedivanovic was inspired by the iPhone and how easily it can fit into your hand. He wanted the tools to feel accessible and comfortable while you apply your makeup. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey meets BTS’s “On” music video: The full, nearly all-white kit comes in what looks like a briefcase from a space-age population that cracked the code on product design. “It felt like the future of makeup in a sense,” he says. “I hadn’t seen something like this when it was presented. Also, it felt pure.”
The Master Prep and Set
Available in three different tones—light, medium, and deep—each set comes with six shades to be used as an eye primer. Dedivanovicoriginally tried to get this product in the palettes but couldn’t configure it correctly and inclusion would make the palettes gigantic. Thus, it evolved into its own separate product.
The Master Mattes were the first product Dedivanovic began working on in 2017. “The Master Matte palette is inspired by human skin tones,” he explains. “It’s inspired by the technique I have done for many years, in which I shape and contour the eyes using typically different, varying shades of foundation and/or concealer to shape and contour the eyes before I apply eyeshadow.”
To find the right human skin tones for the palette, he researched the different pigments that make up our skin tones. The shades also have a bit of translucency because he prefers subtle to extremely pigmented eyeshadow.
The all-metallic formula is a creamy blend of both powders and creams, making it very easy to use with a single swipe of your finger onto your lids. Dedivanovic, a self-proclaimed geek, researched the inside of our bodies for the pink, brown, and cream hues. “This is sort of representative of the shades that are within all our bodies on a cellular level,” he explains. “What’s really interesting is when you swatch all these colors together, it’s the epitome of my dream color palette when it comes to shimmery shades.”
If you’re looking for the easiest-to-use product in the collection, this palette is your go-to. But, if you’re looking for more of a high-intensity pigment, Dedivanovic created the Master Metals and Master Metals Manipulator to create your very own dream eye looks. “The idea is that the artist could scrape several shades and mix their own metal shades,” he says. “What happens when you use the Master Metal Manipulator is it turns it into a molten liquid metal. You can do liquid liners with it, you can do a quick all-over eyeshadow shade, or just the inner corner.
Bonus points: The Master Metal Manipulator also turns them into a completely waterproof product.
Mario’s Master Metal™ Manipulator™ is the ultimate mixing agent for metallic pigments. It instantly transforms loose or pressed metallic pigments into a liquid, creating a gorgeous metal foil. When mixed with pigment, it provides intense grip, lasting power, and locks the formula in place.
The Master Crystal Reflectors come in three shades: quartz, citrine, and bronzite. The reflectors are a few of his favorites because of their sheer finish that “sparkles while dancing on the eyelid.”
The product also reflects light beautifully and gives a bit of reflection and dimension to the eyelid, but can be worn all over the face. “It’s a global exclusive formula, so no one can ever have this formula,” he adds. “I’m very excited about that.”
“For years, I liked to use a highlighter on the cheek or on the eye that is a completely sheer emollient glow,” he says. “I envisioned this even for the girl who really doesn’t wear any makeup. I do clients that have a very natural look and I like natural looks as well. This product really fits both of those.”
For the collection, Dedivanovic created four pencils and four eyeshadow brushes. According to him, “Pencils are one of the most transformative aspects of makeup, especially when it comes to the eyes.” He incorporated his signature liner techniques into crafting them.
Mario’s dual-ended liner has all you need to create a precise line. The velvety gel-based formula delivers a full-coverage finish in a single swipe. It has incredible grip after it sets but still allows time to blend, layer, and define. For a soft, symmetrical line, use the brush to smudge and blend.
This liquid liner is extremely pigmented and features a super sharp, flexible felt tip for ultimate control. The bulletproof formula grips the lid and is completely smudge-proof for bold and lasting definition.
The brushes are inspired by the eyeshadow brushes he usually works with from Japan. They’re designed to work with the other formulas in the collection like the Master Mattes to make for an easy blend and application.
This brush has fluffy, soft, flexible hairs that are ideal for blending and softening on the eyes and face. It’s also perfect for applying and blending matte shadows. All Makeup By Mario brushes are cruelty-free, made with a custom blend of synthetic and vegan fibers, and 100% FSC-certified birchwood handles.
This brush has fluffy, soft hairs and a wide, tapered shape. It’s perfect for effortless eyeshadow application and an easy sweep of color across the lid. All Makeup By Mario brushes are cruelty-free, made with a custom blend of synthetic and vegan fibers, and 100% FSC-certified birchwood handles.
This brush features a denser, rounded head with flat hairs and works well with cream and powder formulas. All Makeup By Mario brushes are cruelty-free, made with a custom blend of synthetic and vegan fibers, and 100% FSC-certified birchwood handles.
This brush’s small, tapered head makes it the perfect detail brush. Use it to apply shadows wet or dry or to blend and smoke out eyeliner with control and ease. All Makeup By Mario brushes are cruelty-free and are made with a custom blend of synthetic and vegan fibers, and 100% FSC-certified birchwood handles.
Last but not least, he created gentle makeup remover wipes. “When I work, I’m very particular with wipes,” he says. “I use them to gently exfoliate the skin right before I go on with skincare.” He wanted to move away from traditional oily formulas so he created something without fragrance or the normal oily residue. “These are made with 100 percent natural, pure cucumber water, and they don’t leave any oiliness.”
Let’s face it: As beauty-obsessed as we all might be, many of the products themselves can be downright pricey. Considering the fact that we need to own enough lip and nail colors to practically match the entire rainbow (because you always need to have a shade on hand that can match what Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid just wore, obviously), it all adds up pretty damn quickly.
This is where your neighborhood drugstore comes in. A splurge on a luxe product every now and again is just that: a splurge. It’s something you’ll proudly display on your vanity and use sparingly, but your drugstore makeup products become your most reliable pretty quickly. And, a good number of the drugstore brands — whether you’re talking hair, skin care or makeup — actually use similar (if not the same) technologies as mass prestige brands since they tend to be owned by larger companies that also have mass prestige brands under their umbrella, so the methods are passed through the company.
Mascara may be the most obvious, as the drugstore brands have been doing mascara correctly for eons. Not only do they have varieties ranging from volumizing to lengthening, drugstore brands like Maybelline, CoverGirl and L’Oreal also boast new launches multiple times throughout the year to stay on top of the trends. For example, there are several formulas offering iterations of the runway’s “spider” lashes at the moment.
L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, $8.99, available at Ulta.com:My ultimate drugstore mascara? L’Oreal Butterfly Effect, which I hoard in bulk. This mascara has a winged brush — like a butterfly wing, hence the name — and adds that perfect hint of volume to your lashes while also helping to lengthen and separate. Basically, it’s my cannot-live-without desert island beauty product.
Liner pencils tend to wear down pretty quickly, so there really is no sense in dishing out a lot of cash for them. Of course, you should always make sure they don’t run or smudge too much, and that they draw a clean line without tugging the skin.
Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil, $7.99, available at Ulta.com: My personal favorite is Maybelline’s new Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil, which is similar to the company’s beloved Master Drama pencil, which is no longer on the market (to many a fan’s dismay). The tiny, precise tip of the new gel pencil helps even the most amateur cat-eye artists get their flicks right though, and the gel glides along the skin ever so easily.
Makeup wipes are every lazy girl’s answer to a clean face, as well as the easiest way to remove dirt and grime while on the go. So, whether you’re a frequent traveler or you spend a lot of time at your significant other’s place, the makeup wipe will be your best friend.
Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes, $5.99, available at Target.com:These deliver the cleaning benefits of micellar water without stripping your face of its natural oils. I personally am a micellar water junkie, singing it’s praises time and time again — my skin’s tone has greatly improved since jumping on the bandwagon, and I won’t be going back anytime soon.
Blush is one of those products that can be fun to experiment with a few different shades depending on the season. You want soft pinks and corals to brighten up your cheeks in the warmer months, and can go a bit deeper in the winter. And then, of course, there are various formulas and textures, adding an entirely new layer of experimentation — so why fuss over high-end brands?
Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Powder to Crème Blush, $12.98, available at Walmart.com: Trust me when I say that this is one of the best blushes on the market today. Drew Barrymore’s line boasts an exclusive “liquid powder” technology that literally transforms the loose powder blush into a crème right when you apply it to your skin, helping it to blend easily and set quickly.
While mousse frequently conjures up memories of crunchy curls circa the ’80s, it’s actually back with a vengeance. And luckily for you, like Warnke mentioned earlier, many of the top hair-care companies work together on their technologies (i.e. to prevent aforementioned crunchy curls). So, the mousse of today helps your hair to form a curl, without the frizz or stickiness.
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse, $6.99, available at Drugstore.com: My current favorite comes from John Frieda, and is a reinvention of its Perfectly Full Mousse. The new version has a lighter feel, so that you’ll have that touchable curl with hold — but without the crunchiness that we all tend to associate with a mousse product.
Since nail polish is addictive to collect, it’s in your best interest to find a drugstore brand that you love — and that lasts. With all of the polishes to choose from these days, this can be an overwhelming task. To make it easier, many of the top brands have developed some sort of “gel effect” polish, which essentially means that it will last longer; the technology may vary in some ways from brand to brand but, in the end, the purpose is for it to last up to two weeks — the same as if you were getting a professional gel manicure.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $9.99, available at Ulta.com: After testing all of these new gel effect formulas, my favorite, hands down, is Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel. You have to buy the top coat separately in order for it to work, but it truly does last almost to the two-week point — and that’s through washing dishes, swimming and more.
Since most of us love to extend the life of a blowout (or let’s face it, we just like to wash less frequently, because it’s a hassle) dry shampoo is often our best friend. We all own bottles and bottles of the stuff, so it better be cheap — but like RiRi says, it also better work.
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $6.19, available at Ulta.com: There are countless dry shampoos you can get at your drugstore, but my recent favorite is Not Your Mother’s due to the fact that it absorbs oil quickly and leaves a matte texture for that perfect bedhead finish.
Since we’ve already told you that lip gloss is back in a big way (the proof is in your Instagram feed), it’s due time to try out a new sheen. Many of the best new glosses are drugstore brands, like NYX, Milani and Flower Beauty.
NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss, $4.99, available at Ulta.com: My all-time favorite gloss is actually an Instagram fave as well: NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss. The sweetly scented gloss gives medium color coverage and high shine. But, the best part is that the formula isn’t sticky and actually stays on your lips, as opposed to most glosses that come off after drinking or eating.
Everyone needs a few great shimmering nudes, and Milani actually has a fantastic palette to start with — for under $10! For folks looking to build up their eye-shadow collections in general, drugstore palettes are a great place to start, and both nudes and soft metallics are the essential starting points.
Milani Everyday Eyes Powder Eyeshadow Collection in Bare Necessities, $9.99, available at Walgreens.com: Milani’s palettes are my favorite for essential colors, like shimmering nudes as a baseline for a smokey eye. This Everyday Eyes Powder palette is one that I always have on hand (or is an easy palette to stick in my bag for travel) and will cover all of the bases.
YouTube sweetheart turned CEO! Welcome to Artist Spotlight #18 series on my blog.
A note from the co-founder, Christen Dominique:
I have always loved helping people look and feel beautiful.
The first time I experienced the transformative power of makeup was after applying my mom’s yellow corrector to cover up my dark circles, my biggest insecurity, at age 14. When I saw them disappear, it felt like I was seeing the real me for the first time, and I could finally be comfortable in my own skin.
With my insecurity behind me, I wasn’t afraid of speaking up, putting myself out there, and making new friends. Soon, the instant confidence boost didn’t just change how I saw myself. Other people noticed too.
As I experimented and played around with makeup, girls at school started asking me for help with theirs. I became known as the locker room makeup artist and would often have a long line of classmates waiting to get made over. Seeing how happy and beautiful they felt—that feeling that I still can’t even put into words—after I did their makeup was the best feeling ever. And so my love of artistry was born.
The artistry continued after high school, doing freelance makeup for weddings, photo shoots, quinceañeras, and many other local events. I learned from YouTube and made a few of my own videos here and there too. But as the years passed, real life kicked in. I was in school full time, working at an insurance company, a young mom to my amazing son, married, had a house to take care of, basically a lot going on. As many working moms have experienced, I felt like I was pulled in a million different directions, never able to give one area the time, attention, or love that they deserved. So I told my clients that I had made a heartbreaking decision: I had to let makeup go.
They were sad for me, knowing how much I loved artistry, and suggested that I create some new YouTube videos. That way I could stay connected to them, teach them makeup techniques, and still have makeup be a part of my life.
So I did. And I started to love creating content, this whole new outlet for expressing my creativity. After about a year of consistently filming tutorials, people started to pay attention. Then, I got an opportunity to move to LA and create YouTube videos full time. Thanks to the support of my husband, I took a risk and moved my family from Texas to Los Angeles. That’s when my life really changed.
Once I got to LA, where I had access to studios, lighting, and owned being myself on camera, my videos really took off. I felt lucky to be able to impact others lives, helping them tap into their inner beauty, while sharing techniques that made them feel beautiful on the outside too.
After years of filming beauty content, I felt empowered to take my journey one step further. I wanted to create a brand that put the transformative power of makeup in your hands. I thought back to my freelance days, remembering the need for products that could be multi-purposed. I factored in the most helpful pan sizes, the shades and formulas that were missing from the current market, and even the packaging was designed to bring an experience to life, and make you feel something. I wanted you to have access to the most prestige, innovative products without breaking the bank. With lots of time, research, and even more love, Dominique Cosmetics was born.
If you’d have told me in high school that I’d one day be the CEO and Creative Director of my own makeup brand, Dominique Cosmetics, I’d probably have thought you were crazy. This is truly mine and my family’s dream come true—our co-founder and president is actually my husband. (Love you, Cesar!) We hope that these products can do for you what that yellow concealer did for me years ago: Allow the real you to step into the spotlight, empowering you to feel beautiful inside and out.
XOXO Christen Dominique
The brand is carried by mostly eyeshadow palettes:
And lately, branching out into face, eyes, and lip products:
It’s safe to say that this is one of the few “influencer makeup brands” that has consistently great products, stays on top of trends, out of drama, and is highly respected.
So, you made (or bought) your own face mask and have been diligently wearing it for the past few months. Now, out of the blue, you’re experiencing breakouts in strange new spots.
You’re likely dealing with “maskne“, the latest not-so-fun term to enter the coronavirus lexicon.
While it was primarily healthcare workers experiencing mask-induced breakouts and skin irritation at the beginning of the pandemic, now that masks are becoming a part of everyday life for the rest of us, dermatologists are being bombarded with (virtual) appointments for this skin woe, explains New York City-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. And unfortunately, the warm weather we’ve all been waiting for is only making matters worse.
So you’re not alone in your skincare struggles… but how do you treat these breakouts, and prevent them from happening in the first place? Here, derms break down everything you need to know about maskne.
What exactly is ‘maskne’ — and what causes it?
As the name suggests, “maskne” is acne brought on by wearing a face mask — and its been on derms’ radar long before COVID-19. “We saw similar skin concerns with mask use during the SARS crisis years ago,” says New York City dermatologist Michelle Henry, M.D.
“The clinical term for maskne is acne mechanic and it is caused by friction, rubbing, and occlusion of the skin by outside forces,” she explains. (You may have even experienced this from wearing sunglasses in the sweaty summer months.)
“Any friction and irritation can push bacteria into the skin, creating micro-tears — which allow easier entry for bacteria and dirt — and can lead to inflammation which then drives the acne process,” explains dermatologist Tiffany J. Libby, M.D, assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University.
You’ll notice these breakouts where the mask sits — the bridge of the nose, chin, and cheeks — and they make take the form of whiteheads, blackheads (if oxidized by the air), or even abrasions and cysts, Dr. Engelman says. “Masks can also trigger rosacea, perioral dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and skin breakdown,” Dr. Henry adds.
While masks already trap humidity, dirt, oil, and sweat on a good day, our chin, mouth, and nose area are even more susceptible to breakouts now that summer is here. “Maskne is absolutely worse during the summer months as the increased oil production in our pores creates the ideal environment for cysts,” Dr. Henry says.
How can you prevent and treat maskne?
While any form of acne is frustrating, maskne can be particularly pesky due to the combination of factors that contribute to it — and the fact that you can’t simply eliminate the ‘outside force’ causing it. (Seriously, keep wearing your mask!) Luckily, you can make a few adjustments to your skincare routine to combat mask breakouts, soothe irritation, and stop the vicious maskne cycle.
Wash your face before and after wearing a face mask.
Hopefully, you’re taking the time to diligently wash your hands throughout the day — and avoiding touching your face as much as possible. But you should also be sure to wash your face with a gentle cleanser before applying a mask to prevent trapping bacteria under the mask and pushing it further into your skin, Dr. Engelman says.
“I recommend starting with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser once a day to target bacteria and remove excess oil,” Dr. Libby says. “I love Differin Daily Deep Cleanser which has 5% benzoyl peroxide, which is just as effective as [higher concentrations], and gentler.”
For healthcare workers on the frontline wearing the tightest-fitting masks for many hours of the day, a combination of “maskne” and eczema (which can occur in the forms of irritant or allergic contact dermatitis) is common, and can manifest as dry, itchy skin, Dr. Libby says. If you are experiencing both of these conditions, it’s important to immediately cleanse your skin after removing your mask and to use a cleanser that won’t over-dry or stripping your skin, which can worsen irritation.
Both derms recommend Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which can also be used without water. If you have irritated or sensitive skin, gently swipe a cotton round with the cleanser over your skin, Dr. Libby suggests.
Use a chemical exfoliant.
While benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid spot treatments can help target whiteheads once they are formed, chemical exfoliants, which dissolve dead cells on the skin’s surface, are key for preventing mask breakouts from forming in the first place, Dr. Engelman says.
She suggests opting for one with salicylic acid, like Humane Clarifying Toner, once per week to unclog pores, without irritating sensitive skin. (It’ll also leave skin softer and brighter in the process.)
Apply a skin-soothing moisturizer.
After cleansing, be sure to add moisture back into the skin — but skip your heavy winter creams. “I suggest a gentle, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic moisturizer like Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion,which is formulated with hyaluronic acid to help hydrate, soothe, and restore the skin protective barrier,” Dr. Libby says.
“I recommend moisturizers with ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help strengthen and reinforce the skin barrier,” Dr. Henry adds.
For healthcare workers or those experiencing extra dryness and eczema, applying an OTC cortizone cream on a short-term basis is helpful in alleviating skin irritation and calming down inflammation, Dr. Libby says.
Ditch your foundation.
Dr. Engelman suggests ditching heavy foundations as we head into warmer months, which will only further trap bacteria in your pores under your mask — the perfect storm for acne.
If you’re forgoing makeup altogether, you still need to apply sunscreen. “Even though our faces will be mostly covered by masks, other areas are still exposed, so it’s best to just apply an even layer of SPF as the finishing step to your morning routine,” Dr. Libby says. (And FYI, you need to wear sunscreen indoors, too).
Look for non-comedogenic and oil-free options as they work to decrease excess oil that can clog pores and lead to acne. “I like mineral options, as zinc oxide is an anti-irritant and has antimicrobial properties, both which are suitable for acne-prone and sensitive skin types,” she adds.
Or, swap your moisturizer for one with SPF. Dr. Henry suggests Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 25. “It’s a great non-comedogenic option for your daily moisturizer with sunscreen that won’t clog your pores.”
Add a soothing, occlusive balm.
If you’re already dealing with maskne, creating a physical barrier to protect this chapped skin is key. Layer on a hydrating and occlusive balm, like Glo Skin Beauty Barrier Balm, along the area where the masks sits right before you put it on, Dr. Engelman says. This will not only soothe parched skin, but it will prevent bacteria from spreading, she adds.
Or, opt for pimple patches.
Another physical barrier Dr. Libby suggests is silicone tape or Duoderm ($24; amazon.com), again applied to skin where the mask contacts your face and applies the most friction. “Acne patches, like COSRX, are another dual-functioning solution as they apply acne medication to individual lesions throughout the day, while also serving as a physical barrier to the mask,” she says.
And don’t forget to wash your fabric mask every time you wear it.
If you’re wearing a fabric face mask, you should be washing it after every. single. time. you wear it. This is important for your health: You don’t know what bacteria the mask has come in contact with and don’t want germs making their way into your nose or mouth. But it’s also helpful for keeping breakouts at bay.
Bottom line: “Masks, while important for our safety, can trap in humidity, dirt, oil, and sweat and — if you’re not cleaning them properly or reusing them for prolonged periods of time — this can further exacerbate these symptoms,” Dr. Libby says.
That’s why it’s a smart idea to make or buy a few masks (ideally in a softer fabric, like a silk blend, to reduce friction) so you can easily switch them out and wash them in between uses, Dr. Engelman says. Another option? A mask with the aforementioned zinc oxide embedded in the fabric may be helpful, Dr. Henry adds. “Zinc is anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin. It will contribute to protecting the skin barrier.”
The rise of the celebrity beauty brand is alive and well in 2020, just in case there were any doubts. The latest example comes courtesy of Selena Gomez, in the form of color cosmetics brand Rare Beauty, which made its official debut on September 3rd. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #17 series on my blog.
Touted as a “mission-driven brand,” Rare Beauty will donate 1% of all sales, “as well as funds raised from partners” to the Rare Impact Fund, which “aims to increase access to mental health resources,” according to a press release from the brand. It has an initial goal of raising $100 million over the next decade to “help address the gaps in mental health services for underserved communities, which will make it one of the largest known funds in support of mental health from a corporate entity.”
In a statement, Gomez said: “These products aren’t about being someone else, it’s about being who you are, whether that’s rocking a full face of bold makeup or barely any makeup at all. Makeup is something to enjoy, it’s not something you need. I want every person to feel beautiful exactly as they are.”
Rare Beauty’s rather robust initial product offering includes a touch-up kit with refillable powder and blotting papers, a matte liquid eyeliner, eight shades of tinted lip balm, 12 shades of matte lip color, eight liquid highlighters, eight liquid blush shades, eight shades of a dual-ended brow pencil and gel, three tools, an illumining primer, a multi-tasking face mist and 48 shades each of both foundation and liquid concealer.
According to the brand, Gomez has had a hands-on approach to developing Rare Beauty, including product testing, design and mission. At launch, it will be available at Sephora in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Sephora inside JC Penney and at RareBeauty.com. There are plans for additional international expansion in place for 2021.