Fashion months are upon us, which means that summer is well and truly over. As a result, your holiday glow has started to fade; your skin is left dry and patchy, dehydrated from long hot summer days, and you may experience an increase in pigmentation – melasma, dark spots, or freckling – from all that sun exposure. And the worst part? We’re moving into autumn, which means a whole new set of problems to worry about.
The first is the drop in temperature. “Cooler temperatures usually bring a drop in humidity,” explains A-List facialist and founder of Skinesis skincare, Sarah Chapman.“This can cause the skin to become dehydrated, which can damage its natural barrier, leading to even more moisture loss and sensitivity, while strong winds can ‘wick’ moisture away from the skin, resulting in sore, chapped complexions.”
On top of this, you have your central heating and your hot baths, which, warns Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at 55 Harley Street, can dry the skin out further. “Skin can feel irritated, dry, or tight and may even be more prone to redness,” she explains.
It’s a lot to take in. The good news? You can avoid all of this with a few preventative measures. Here are the six golden rules for protecting your skin this autumn.
1. Start layering your serums
To add more hydration to the skin, Mahto recommends layering a hyaluronic serum under your regular moisturiser. Chapman’s Skinesis Hydrating Boost combines hyaluronic acid with actives to strengthen the skin’s barrier. It’s also oil-free and featherweight, which makes it perfect for the transitional months. Another great alternative is 111Skin Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster, which delivers moisture with its blend of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.
2. Pay attention to your nighttime routine
To kickstart your skin’s natural night-time repair mode, you may want to invest in some nourishing overnight formulas. Supercharge your skin health with Skinesis Overnight Facial, which contains a blend of anti-inflammatory omegas, protective antioxidants, and vitamin-rich botanical oils. Or heal your skin with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum, which will leave your skin looking plump and radiant by the morning.
3. Always remember to use SPF
Despite deceptive weather conditions, UVA rays are just as strong in the colder months as they are in summer, and are, therefore, just as likely to cause serious damage. So remember to wear daily sunscreen.
4. Keep up to date with your treatments
As well as your daily and nightly skincare routines, it’s good to carve out some time for regular treatments. “Facial massages boost the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells and bring vitality to a dull complexion,” explains Chapman.
Mahto also recommends microneedling, peels, and laser therapy, but consider seeing a cosmetic dermatologist first to assess your individual needs and skin concerns.
While you’re at it, now is a great time to book yourself an annual mole check with a dermatologist. “Many people notice new moles and skin lesions after the summer due to wearing less clothing,” says Mahto. “This should be part of preventative health screening.”
5. Maintain a healthy diet
When it comes to protecting your skin against seasonal elements, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. “It may be tempting to reach for comfort food when it’s getting colder,” says Chapman, “but green vegetables and oily fish will support your skin from the inside with vital vitamins and antioxidants.”
You may also want to incorporate some boosters such as the Skinesis Omega+ Booster, which helps the skin to hold onto moisture and maintain its lipid content, and, as Mahto recommends, a vitamin D supplement, which will play a vital role as the days gradually grow shorter and (good) sun exposure becomes rare.
6. Drink plenty of water
While it may sound obvious, to combat the dehydrating effects of central heating, it’s so important to keep hydrated, which means drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
“Clean.” “Green.” “Natural.” For planet-conscious beauty consumers, these words can have a strong gravitational pull. But dear global citizens: The secret to saving our reefs and oceans, our forests and trees, is to do so with actions, not words. It all starts with your routine. Some actions can be small (don’t buy a new moisturizer until you’ve depleted the one you have). Some are big (seek out biodegradable or recyclable packages, or skip plastic packaging entirely). And some actions, of course, don’t rest with you, but with beauty companies. (Screaming into the void: Will anyone ever develop a truly earth-friendly mascara? Read on for intel.)
Ultimately, words like “clean,” “green,” and “natural” often have little to do with the buzzword we should really be focused on: “sustainable.” It’s the umbrella term for products that protect the planet’s resources, and the idea can seem, rather ironically, unsustainable. That’s precisely why we went straight to the women who are making a concerted effort, every day, in their own ways, to reduce their impact on the earth. They’re environmentalists, business owners, makeup artists — and they’re all unapologetic beauty enthusiasts.
The Environmentalist: Amber Jackson
After earning her master’s degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jackson (and her classmate Emily Hazelwood) founded Blue Latitudes, an environmental consulting firm that helps energy companies determine whether decommissioned offshore-drilling structures can be turned into artificial reefs. She practically lives in the elements, which dictates her beauty regimen.
Protect everything.“Being on boats and offshore diving, we need to make sure that we keep up with our sunscreen but always use formulas that aren’t going to run off our skin and into the water column, and contaminate reefs and fish species. I like Badger Balm — it’s zinc-based. I’m a very fair redhead with freckles, so it’s super important for me to have protection, and this formula stays on in the water.”
Think micro impact.“Some of the biggest problems in our oceans are microplastics, like the microbeads in face scrubs.” The U.S. banned plastic microbeads in 2017, but there’s no way to know if every company has adhered to the ban. So avoid products with these P’s: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polymethyl methacrylate. “Those get washed down the drain, are consumed by fish, and then bioaccumulate, so you eat that plastic yourself. I love to exfoliate, and I use an Origins scrub that uses nutshells.”
Travel lightly.“We carry our own reusable bottles that we fill at home and forgo the disposable hotel options.”
The Advocate: Kathryn Kellogg
The author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg began chronicling her experience with reducing her trash and recycling output — down to nothing — on her blog GoingZeroWaste. “Living a zero-waste lifestyle encompasses so much more than just ‘Don’t throw it away,’ ” she says. “It means not wasting water and not wasting food.”
Eliminate the middleman.“I put toner in an upcycled spray bottle so that I don’t waste the product by having it absorb into a disposable pad. I just spray it directly on my skin.”
Consume wisely.“I like the ‘one in, one out’ rule. If I want a new face mask or eyeliner, I cannot buy it until I am out of what I have. Also, ask questions of the people you’re buying from. I buy some of my beauty products at farmers markets, and it’s been empowering to be like, ‘I love your product and want to try it, but I don’t use plastic. Can I get it without that?’ So many times they’re willing to accommodate.”
Be realistic.“There are very few options for completely plastic-free mascara, aside from a couple of brands that make cake mascara, like Bésame. It’s also hard to find a zero-waste alternative for sunscreen. I wear Marie Veronique tinted facial sunscreen as my foundation. It comes in a glass bottle, and I upcycle the bottles. I put homemade hand sanitizer in them — half vodka, half water — and keep that in my bag.”
Be proactive.“We should be doing more work with businesses and emailing our government representatives to get larger systemic changes passed, like the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Products Act.”
The Business Owner: Cindy DiPrima Morisse
As co-founder of the all-things-natural-beauty destination store CAP Beauty, DiPrima Morisse spends much of her days analyzing (and reassessing) which products are worth space in her business — and in her life.
Cut yourself some slack.“Any company that’s shipping is creating some waste and pollution. The best thing we can do is to work with vendors who are prioritizing the same things we are and making sure that their practices are not creating too much stress on the environment.”
Shop smarter.“We encourage our customers to choose thoughtfully. We always say, ‘If you’ve got products in your cabinet that have been sitting there for a year, you’re not using them, and you need to simplify. Find products you love and use. Be an editor.’ We aim to deliver a streamlined collection so you’re not overbuying. We encourage customers to try things. [But] it’s more about a trusted arsenal than constant consumerism.”
Be charitable.“I have a sizable beauty cabinet because of testing for the store. Sometimes there can be a moment when it’s like, ‘I’m not going to get to that.’ There are a few charities that collect beauty products. A favorite of mine is Woman to Woman, which supports women with gynecological cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.”
The Makeup Artist: Katey Denno
She regularly paints the famous faces of Amber Heard and Felicity Jones and has been committed to green, no-waste beauty for the past decade. “I started in this industry as the only person who was really serious about green beauty. And everyone was like, ‘That is never going to fly.’ And little by little, everything changed. A lot of actresses are still like, ‘As long as you make me look good, that’s all I care about,’ but there are some that are now die-hard fans of clean beauty.”
Give new life.“I have friends who make candles, and I give them face-mask pots. I store Q-tips in reused cream pots, or use them as flower vases. I save empty RMS pots and give them to clients for their red-carpet bags. If I’ve mixed a lipstick for them, I’ll take a scraping and put it in there.”
Know your limits.“I do make compromises, like with Beautyblenders, because I have yet to find anything sustainable that re-creates that texture that I can get on skin.”
Food for Thought
What good is a recyclable plastic bottle if it still ends up in a landfill? Tina Hedges, a former Estée Lauder and L’Oréal executive, asked herself that when she created LOLI Beauty. Hedges sells raw balms, powders, and elixirs derived from organic food waste (like pressed plum seed that would have been disposed of after the fruit was harvested) and packages them in recyclable glass containers that she encourages consumers to upcycle for food storage.
The products are waterless (water is a filler ingredient that just creates extra weight to ship), and can be used alone or mixed to expand their versatility — her face powder, for example, can become a scrub or a mask. “I would like the entire experience to be circular zero-waste,” says Hedges, who is now working on refillable packaging and going entirely compostable.
We know plastic is a big problem in the personal care industry. A look around your bathroom will tell you as much but to give some wider context, in its sustainability studies, L’Oréal estimates that packaging accounts for, on average, 50 percent of the environmental footprint of its products.
It’s something that L’Oréal, and many of its peers in the beauty industry, is making moves to address. It seems every hour on the hour there’s a new brand or company pledging to get rid of superfluous packaging or to up its use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic or to switch to other materials entirely, some of which they say are biodegradable. Those are often steps in the right direction, but in truth, we’re just scratching the surface. There’s still much to sort out and it’s all a bit confusing.
Here, a look at the current, well, climate, plus guidance that can help lead you to the best possible purchasing decisions — because we should all be thinking of each one as a vote. “How we purchase things is more powerful than our political [moves],” says Tom Szaky, CEO of recycling giant TerraCycle. “When we buy certain things or don’t buy other things, it changes the world more aggressively and more quickly.”
So, first, here is what to know about plastic packaging.
Plastic packaging is rarely recycled (yes, even when you do everything right).
So far, the big promise of recycling has largely failed us — only nine percent of the plastic is ever actually remade into something usable. One reason why: If you don’t clean that bottle or jar fully and remove all stickers, residue, etc., it will be rejected — and can even contaminate a whole batch of material sent for recycling, according to a report last year by GreenPeace.
Looking for that little triangle of arrows on the bottom isn’t necessarily a slam dunk either. The reality is that only packaging with a 1 or 2 stamped in that triangle is going to be widely municipally recyclable. A quick experiment: Of five plastic-housed beauty products randomly selected from this writer’s medicine cabinet, two had no recycling symbol at all, one was a category 4, one was category 2 and the final was a 1.
But there’s even more to consider: For example, if a plastic pump includes metal (which almost all do), it can’t be processed. (This is something some brands like Love Beauty and Planet are addressing with new designs.)
“Another uncommonly known fact is that dark plastics — such as black, navy, or dark brown — cannot often be seen by sorters in recycling facilities and so they end up in landfills,” says Sarah Dearman, vice president of circular ventures for The Recycling Partnership. Also a problem for sorters: small packaging. According to TerraCycle’s Szaky, nothing smaller than two-inches cubed is ever going to be recycled — that’s pretty much every cap, lid, and a lot of beauty minis.
At the end of the day, recycling is a business. Recycling plants will only recycle what they can recycle at a profit — things like large pieces of clear plastic, clear glass, and aluminum. “The question is really not can something be recycled, but will it be,” Szaky said at a recent sustainability summit.
When plastic is recycled, there are still a couple of catches.
I am by no means suggesting you give up on trying to recycle the plastic that comes into your life. Even a nine-percent recycling rate is a lot of plastic that avoids a landfill. In 2018, for example, just in the U.S. alone, 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were created for beauty and personal care products, according to Euromonitor International.
What’s nine percent of that? 711 million units of rigid plastic. Plastic isn’t endlessly reworkable, though — most plastics can only be processed once or twice. Recycling plastic essentially downgrades its resulting quality every time it is put through the process — and that means virgin plastic may have to be added to make a “recycled” package functional.
And, of course, there needs to be a demand for post-consumer recycled plastic for it to have anywhere to go. With reports of large amounts of plastic being incinerated or sitting in storage due to lack of need, this has been a real problem. However, with more companies working with recycled material very slowly increasing, there is some hope for the future.
“Biodegradable” plastic very often… isn’t.
You may notice a shift toward plastic made from natural sources designed to break down more quickly. “These include materials such as sugarcane, and there are also opportunities to source from other innovative feedstocks such as seaweed and other algae, as well as food waste by-products,” says Olga Kachook, senior manager at GreenBlue, a nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials.
These alternative plastics could have a big positive impact: A 2017 study found that switching from traditional plastic to corn-based material could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
Yet there’s a pretty big “but” here. Some of these alternative materials can contain additives that “may actually result in more environmental harm,” says Kachook. And the term “biodegradable” itself unfortunately doesn’t mean much. “Biodegradability is driven by many factors and stating a package is ‘biodegradable’ doesn’t qualify the timeline, conditions required, safety of the elements, or the degree of degradation,” says Alison Younts, lead sustainability consultant at the consulting company Trayak.
And, for now, looking for the word “compostable” doesn’t help either. A compostable certification only indicates that a material is able to break down in large municipal or industrial composting facilities as opposed to a home or community bin. Right now only four percent of Americans have access to curbside composting pickup, says Szaky. And in a recent study conducted by TerraCycle, only one in 10 of the industrial composters where those curbside binds wind up actually accept compostable plastics.
But plastic isn’t all bad. (Didn’t see that coming did you?)
Yes, plastic pollution is a crisis. But, unfortunately, there is no magic-bullet alternative material, and plastic alternatives can in some cases cause as much if not more environmental impact. Glass, aluminum, and paper all have their own drawbacks — including being more expensive, something consumers may not be ready for, according to a 2019 Euromonitor report — and choosing one of them over plastic isn’t always a sure-fire path to reducing your overall carbon footprint.
Take aluminum, which gets a lot of buzz for being widely recycled, endlessly reusable if uncontaminated, and lightweight. However, it’s important to note that it’s recycled aluminum that gets all the love. When the package you’re buying is virgin, it’s another story, as the byproducts of producing new aluminum, according to the EPA, have global warming potentials (GWP) 6,500 to 9,200 times as strong as carbon dioxide.
And, of course, it has to be recycled by the consumer, which happens about 35 percent of the time when it comes to the category including packaging, according to the EPA. While that’s a number much stronger than plastic recycling, it still leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Paper has its own concerns. When it comes to virgin materials, Life cycle assessments of paper, including those in a case study looking at grocery bags in Singapore published this year in the Journal of Cleaner Production, suggest plastic bags could have a lower overall environmental footprint than paper ones. Recycling paper does cut its CO2 output (as is the case with most recycled materials compared to their virgin counterparts) by a considerable amount (40 percent less) but it can only be recirculated between five to seven times, according to the EPA.
And then there’s glass, a material with complex considerations. It’s not always practical, as soapy hands and steamy conditions offer the threat of shattered bottles in your shower. And according to a study published last year in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment that put pasteurized milk bottles made of virgin plastic, recycled plastic, glass, and returnable glass bottles head to head, even after factoring in the savings from reuse, returnable glass ranked behind plastic in CO2 emissions due to the high energy demand in the production process, as well as the carbon footprint of shipping it.
It’s hard out here for an environmentally-conscious consumer. And it can be a tough call for brands when deciding which tradeoffs to make. “Plastic packaging offers a number of benefits, including being lightweight and often requiring less material overall for a package than other materials like glass and aluminum,” says Kachook. “Switching to other formats without considering the tradeoffs might increase the emissions of shipping or sourcing the material.”
So what do we, as beauty-loving consumers, do?
For all of the many factors in this conversation, that answer to that question is actually pretty simple. First and foremost, focus on the “reduce” portion of reduce, reuse, recycle. Strip your routine down to the basics and simply buy less stuff. When possible, you can opt for packaging-free bar options (such as Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars).
Refillable packaging is another thing to consider, either directly through beauty brands with refill programs or via Loop, which offers borrowable containers given for a refundable deposit you get back when you return the empty to be professionally cleaned and reused. Pantene, REN, The Body Shop, and more are part of the program, and it recently got a big boost by partnering with Ulta to create the loopbyulta.com store.
For the empties you do end up with, there are ways to up your chances of having the material reused. First, you can check to see if the brand behind it has a mail-back recycling program of its own like Burt’s Bees. If it doesn’t, TerraCycle takes packaging (including hard-to-recycle items) either through drop-off locations (including Nordstrom stores) or via mail with purchasable boxes and labels.
The organization (which is also behind the Loop store) estimates that last year about 10 percent of all the waste it diverted from landfills in 2020 was related to the beauty industry, thanks in part to its launch of over 50 new recycling programs around the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. “By the end of 2020, about one-third of all of our active brand-sponsored recycling programs were for beauty-related products,” says Alex Payne, North American public relations associate for TerraCycle.
Finally, it’s simply back to showing up with your dollars (i.e., votes) by researching before you add to cart. There are niche lines focusing on sustainability (like the 90 percent plastic-free We Are Paradoxx) and companies finding smart ways to reduce their plastic waste (like Colgate’s new Keep toothbrush with an aluminum handle that you, well, keep forever, replacing only the small plastic head) and big splashy pledges from big brands (like Unilever’s plan for sustainable living and Estée Lauder Companies’ new initiative to create an advanced recycled tube package some time this year) and smaller promises to use more PCR material to reduce the demand for virgin plastic… it all adds up.
Pay attention as well to partnerships with groups such as GreenBlue‘s Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which helps companies make more sustainable choices as well as educate consumers with its clear How2Recycle labeling program. The Recycling Partnership has created the Pathway of Circularity program to help guide companies through the process of creating packaging materials that will actually get recycled. They’re currently working with Burt’s Bees, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal USA, Procter & Gamble, and more.
Buying from these brands making moves truly helps the bigger picture. “Investors are looking at what the consumer is doing,” says Simon Fischweicher, head of corporations and supply chains at CDP North America. Nonprofit that runs a global disclosure system for investors and companies to manage their environmental impacts. Purchasing a product that is labeled or advertised to have more sustainable packaging in itself can have a positive impact.
“Maybe spending that extra 75 cents isn’t going to change the world, but that decision is part of a collection of decisions that people are making that creates a trend,” says Fischweicher. And, trends can become movements — the hope here is to make the movement big enough that it’s not even a possibility for brands not to act.
Packed with eye-opening ingredients like caffeine and hyaluronic acid, these top-rated picks help you fake a full night’s rest.
Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Microbiome Moisture Defense Eye Cream
The integrity of the skin barrier is so important to the look and feel of your skin, especially in the very delicate undereye area. The 2020 Best of Beauty-winning Peter Thomas Ross Vital-E Microbiome Moisture Defense Eye Cream relies on prebiotic and probiotic ingredients, as well as powerful antioxidants to protect skin and ultimately reduce the look of lines and puffiness.
The hint of yellow tint in 2020 Readers’ Choice and Best of Beauty Award winner Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème — which doesn’t actually contain banana, by the way — instantly brightens and color-corrects dark circles. Vitamin C and collagen support skin’s clarity and elasticity.
L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel
Equipped with a cooling rollerball applicator, L’Oréal Paris’ Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award for its depuffing and dark-circles-reducing abilities. The soothing combination of manuka honey, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid is especially perfect for dry, mature skin. Gently pat in any excess product with your fingers.
Retinol near your eyes sounds scary, but with this gentle cream you’ve got nothing to fear. RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream, an ophthalmologist-tested 2020 Best of Beauty Award winner, slowly releases the vitamin A derivative to fight fine lines around your eyes. And because it also contains hyaluronic acid, it does all this with lots of hydration.
The 2020 Best of Beauty Award winner (which was tested by ophthalmologists) slowly releases the vitamin A derivative to fight fine lines around your eyes. And because it also contains hyaluronic acid, it does all this with lots of hydration.
Dr. Loretta’s peptide-packed Tightening Eye Gel nabbed a 2019 Allure Best of Beauty Award for best de-puffing eye cream for the ability to improve the area’s contour. But there’s a bonus: The proprietary Chromabright complex fades uneven pigment, making this a great pick for dark circles too.
Wake up tired eyes with Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment, made with pro-retinol (a proprietary retinol derivative), vitamin C, and grapeseed extract. The trio works in tandem over time to brighten and minimize the appearance of lines and dark circles.
Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment
Like a tinted moisturizer for your undereyes, Tatcha’s almost-too-pretty-to-use The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment is available in three versatile shades to instantly mask discoloration and improve the appearance of skin.
This little white jar with its signature green text by Kiehl’s is a mainstay on top shelves around the world. Avocado oil in Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is one of the most potent natural moisturizers and works to nourish and hydrate the eyes.
Drugstore fave Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream is packed with potent hyaluronic acid, which as you may know, helps lock hydration into the skin. It’s one of those good-for-everyone picks: light enough for oily skin, hydrating for anyone, and the gel texture makes it cool to the touch.
Hydrate the delicate undereye area with a formula that’s infused with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and avocado protein extract. Plus, brightening ingredients like date seed extract mean less concealer over time.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex
Not getting enough of those all-important z’s? Keep ’em guessing with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, a luxurious gel-cream that combats the side effects of sleep deprivation, UV damage, and pollution buildup.
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes was born of studies about dark undereye circles. As it turns out, the blue ones are due to a lack of microcirculation, which can result from fatigue and are worse in the morning because we sleep horizontally; brown circles can result from sun exposure, genetics, and even excessive rubbing of the eyes. If you didn’t even know undereye circles came in two types, there’s good news: This innovative LRP product was created to target both.
Pitera is the ingredient that has made SK-II the global phenomenon it is today. And while I’d assume it’s pretty highly concentrated in its fan-favorite essence, the SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Eye Cream has eight times more of the ingredient than any product before it. The result? A rich, deeply hydrating treatment that nourishes the area and provides vitamins and nutrients to brighten, firm, and prevent damage from pollution.
Finding the perfect pink lipstick can be a balancing act. I’m not talking about your bright fuchsias or orchids or Barbie pinks — I mean those soft, subtle pinks that are almost nude but not quite. The kind of pink you wear when you want people to notice how put-together you look without thinking you spent a whole lot of effort or time. That pink.
With soft pinks especially, it’s important to take your specific skin tone into account, otherwise, you might end with a lip that’s way lighter or darker than you wanted. According to bi-coastal makeup artist Lavonne, the selection process thankfully doesn’t have to be too difficult. “When I look at depth and undertones for a soft-toned petal pink lipstick, I start by looking at the natural color of the lips,” she explains to Allure.
With that perfect shade in hand, application should be a breeze. “I will choose a concealer to neutralize any blue, yellow, green, or purple [undertones] in the lips. This way I have an even canvas to work with,” Lavone explains. “I choose a lip liner to complement the skin tone and then blend it into the lip before applying lipstick.”
To simplify your search for that petal-soft shade, ALLURE editors have broken down the best nude pink lipsticks based on your skin tone below.
Deep: Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Retro Rose
Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick is every bit as comfortable as it sounds, thanks to its frictionless formula that’s packed with reparative castor seed oil. Retro Rose, shown above, is a glossy and sheer muted rose tone that looks stunning on deep skin.
Deep: L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain in I Rule
If you’re the type who likes super-matte lip that could last a zombie apocalypse, L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain is exactly that. When applied on deep skin tones, its deep mauve shade I Rule transforms into the perfect soft pink that’s not too light or ashy.
Deep: Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment
If your skin tone looks best when paired with cooler tones, try Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment. With just a hint of a purple undertone, this velvety matte lipstick brings full-color payoff with just one swipe.
Deep: Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam
Uoma Beauty’s Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam might look brown at first glance, but when swiped across the lips, its true neutral pink hue comes to life. And if you’ve tried any of the brand’s other lipsticks, you’ll know this one comes with the same suede-like finish and comfort level.
Deep: Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake
With a comfortable formula that lasts way longer than you’d expect for a cream, Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake is a deep pink with strong peach undertones. And thanks to its smaller-than-average packaging, you can pop it in your pocket and take it everywhere with you.
Medium: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Rebellious Rose
There’s a reason this shade of Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award. With sheer pigments in a classic muted pink shade, Rebellious Rose looks great on virtually everyone — but especially on medium skin tones with neutral or cool undertones.
You can never go wrong with one of MAC’s Matte Lipsticks, especially if it’s in the shade Kinda Sexy. This long-wear matte is equal parts pink, peach, and nude, making it ideal for warm, medium skin tones.
This medium-toned rose shade called Precious from Milani isn’t extremely light or dark, a perfect middle-ground for any medium skin tone. What’s more: Amore Matte Lip Creme glides on as a thin liquid and dries down to a matte finish, which means it’s practically weightless.
Medium: Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in Nude Venus
The slightly glossy and lightly pigmented Nude Venus shade of Pat McGrath’s Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shines couldn’t make a more perfect neutral pink for medium skin — take it from Cardi B, who wore it in her infamous “WAP” music video.
OK, so KKW Nude Crème Lipstick in 3.5 leans a little more into nude lipstick category than it does pink — still, with strong pink undertones and a super comfortable cream formula, we’d be downright silly not to give it an honorable mention.
Medium: Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse in Seduction
A Best of Beauty-winning formula, Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse matches even the most high-end lipsticks in terms of pigment, comfort, and overall quality. The shade Seduction might look like a warn nude at first glance, but its soft pink hue will be revealed the moment you swipe it onto your lips.
Light: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
If you ask around long-term beauty aficionados, you’ll find that few lipstick shades get as much talk as Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Matte Revolution Lipstick (a Reader’s Choice Award winner). And it’s no wonder, considering how pretty this muted light-pink with peach undertones looks on fair skin.
Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Lip Color in Babe has subtle blue undertones, which pair perfectly with skin tones that have cool or neutral undertones. Even better, this balm-like formula contains reparative vitamin E for added nourishment.
Light: Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick in Honeymoon
When Huda Beauty named this lipstick formula Power Bullet Matte, it really was not kidding because this formula is as matte as they come — thankfully without sacrificing any comfort. The shade Honeymoon, above, gets its slightly dusky quality from cool lavender undertones.
No matter how much beauty ads promise, there really is no such thing as a magical cure-all that’ll make you look like a woman who always drinks enough water and clocks eight hours of sleep each night. Even if you are that woman (secrets, please?), dark circles can still be hereditary.
However, there really is some truth to the best eye creams. No, they won’t entirely get rid of that puffiness and blueish tinge or erase wrinkles overnight, but there are a handful of options with ingredients that actually do tighten, brighten, and generally make your need for concealer a little less. Since the skin under our eyes is more delicate, targeted formulations with active ingredients like retinol (or bakuchiol), vitamin C, and caffeine can pack more pick-me-up power than your average face cream or serum.
Best Overall: Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Eye Balm
It’s not just that Tata is the queen of formulating with the cleanest ingredients—it’s that she pushes the envelope so we can have clean ingredients and clinically proven skin rejuvenation in one little bottle. This eye cream is gentle on my reactive skin and highly effective in softening lines and hydrating that thin, delicate, and previously crepey skin around my eyes. —Katey Denno, celebrity makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best Luxury: La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Eye Cream
I made it all through my 20s without undereye issues, but I swear the second I turned 30, the effects of a late-night Netflix binge (or God forbid, a night out) started to manifest on my face. And that’s when I decided it was time to call in the big guns. La Prairie’s Platinum Rare Cellular Eye Cream gets its muscle from a potent blend of peptides and hydrators to brighten, smooth, and tighten your skin. It’s basically Spanx for your eyes. —Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
For someone who spends way too much time up late in front of a computer screen, this serum is like the equivalent of a cup of coffee for my eyes. It’s formulated with caffeine and green tea to jolt awake their appearance and minimize the look of dark circles and puffiness. Best $7 I ever spent. —Aimee Sy, contributor
Best for Puffiness: Sisley Paris Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid
After a few rotations around my eye socket with this mysteriously cold ceramic applicator, I was hooked. Like all of the products in the Black Rose Collection, this formula smells (no essential oils, just May Rose water) and feels amazing. Best of all, it depuffs, hydrates, and brightens and instantly makes me look more rested. —Robin Black, makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best for Tired Eyes: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex
Since I’m still in my 20s, I usually just need moisture under my eyes, but when I need something more (like when I’m hungover) this is what I reach for. I love the classic Night Repair serum, and this eye treatment is just as effective. It has a cooling gel texture, and it instantly makes me look more awake, less puffy, and as if I could be the kind of girl who meditates and drinks green juice every day. I’ve even noticed that if I use this one consistently, my dark circles look slightly better (it’s a cream, not a miracle) thanks to the brand’s ChronoluxCB complex. —B.C.
Best for Dark Circles: It Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream
I have pretty bad dark circles (genetics, unfortunately) and have tried everything from very expensive products to drugstore brands. It wasn’t until this one that I noticed a difference—literally, after a day of using it. It’s super lightweight and makes it look as though I hit snooze just a little longer each morning. —Azadeh Valanejad, contributor
Over the years I’ve tried various eye creams, from drugstore buys to mysterious potions I’ve picked up from the Glamour beauty closet, but Dr. Barbara Sturm’s was my first foray into a luxe product line, and man, did it not disappoint. Just a slight tap of the cream every night has made the fine skin around my eyes look tighter and more youthful. The cream feels indulgent and rich on my skin, while still having a super-light, airy consistency. I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic Dr. Barbara Sturm works with, but consider me all in. —Caitlin Brody, entertainment director
Best for Fine Lines: Tatcha The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream
Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but they’re also the first place to show signs of aging. That’s why I’ve been using eye cream since I was a teenager. But as you get older, you need different formulas, especially if you wear makeup. The key is an eye cream that will help act as a barrier so concealer and foundation won’t settle into fine lines, but will also still hydrate. I’ve found that with Tatcha’s Silk Peony, which has a unique melting texture to smooth and blur the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains 30% Hadasei-3, which is the brand’s signature trio of pure Japanese superfoods, including Uji Green Tea (to detoxify), Okinawa maluku algae (to help retain moisture), and protein-rich Akita rice to nourish and go on smoothly. And as with all Tatcha products, it’s cruelty-free and formulated without sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. —Jessica Radloff, West Coast editor
Best Multitasker: Glossier Bubble Wrap Eye and Lip Plumping Cream
Wrinkles aren’t my top concern yet, so when it comes to eye cream, I’m looking for something no-fuss that hydrates, plumps, and is a great base for the gobs of concealer I need to hide my sleeping habits. Bubblewrap is the answer to my prayers; if I could bathe in it, I would. It’s a cushiony eye and lip cream that has a thin yet lush texture and is packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and avocado oil. Tapped on my undereyes, it made me look more awake, refreshed, and made my concealer glide on crease-free. While it’s a fab eye cream, I’m also obsessed with it in place of lip balm at night for full, plush lips by morning. And of course, the packaging looks perfect in my medicine cabinet. —B.C.
Best Soothing: Volition Beauty Helix AM/PM Eye Gel
I’m one of the people who think eye creams are kind of B.S.—a regular light moisturizer does that trick just fine for me—but I’ve recently noticed how damn puffy my area looks. Blame it on an excess of salt and not enough water, but I started using this collagen-rich gel, which I keep in the fridge, and found it actually works to depuff and hydrate. It also promises to blur fine lines, though I don’t have those yet, but I’m planning to stick with it, mainly thanks to its powerful helix complex, an organic compound rich in allantoin, collagen, elastin, and glycolic acid. —Perrie Samotin, digital director
Best Brightening: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum
I’ve been obsessed with finding the right treatment for the dark circles under my eyes, and this is definitely the winner. This serum doesn’t have the stinging retinol sensation that a previous eye cream had, nor does it leave my skin feeling tacky. I’ve been using it for the last two months, and the difference is noticeable. I’m already dreading the day I have to replace it. —Khaliha Hawkins, producer
Best Primer: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base
My undereyes are regularly dry, and my concealer always creases no matter what, until I tried Bobbi Brown’s new Vitamin Enriched Eye Base. Its creamy shea butter formula means a pea-size amount is plenty to go around both eyes. I use my fingertips to gently pat this soothing primer into my skin before concealing my uninvited dark circles for a smooth canvas that never creases. —Talia Gutierrez, beauty assistant
I’ve been slowly replacing the skin-care products in my beauty routine with ones that are plant-based—and my latest fixation is Haoma’s Eye Cream. Rich in skin-brightening ingredients like yarrow, licorice, mulberry, and CBD, this balm has an airy, velvety texture that goes on smooth and absorbs in no time. I dab a pea-size amount under my eyes after cleansing, and it straightaway makes the purplish circles feel lighter and brighter. That, and it’s the perfect second step in my morning routine to trick my mind into instant “awake” mode. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
I’ve always been a fan of Embryolisse’s skin-care products. They’re a staple in makeup artists’ kits. The same goes for this undereye stick. It’s multifunctional: It refreshes tired eyes, diminishes signs of fatigue (like puffiness), firms, is highly hydrating, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It also brightens your undereye area and improves texture. Not to mention it’s incredibly cooling when you glide it on. I like to use it right before I put on makeup, during skin prep. —Carola Gonzalez, celebrity makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best Eye Serum: Lancôme Advanced Génifique Yeux Light Pearl Concentrate
There’s nothing I love more than popping a jade roller in the fridge and running it under my eyes in the morning to wake up. This is the eye serum equivalent. The metal applicator is cool and refreshing as you glide it on, and the gentle but tough-acting mix of caffeine, prebiotics, and vitamin E go to work to jolt life back to your undereyes. Bonus: You can use the serum on your lashes to make them look more nourished. —L.S.
I’ve tried tons of eye creams that do literally nothing, but Belif’s eye cream doesn’t have that problem: This spin-off of its moisturizer leaves my undereyes looking smooth and way less crepey within minutes. —Sarah Morse, contributor
Best Hydrating: Hada Labo Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream
Hada Labo makes reliably excellent skin care, and this eye cream is no different. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid, caffeine, collagen, and light-diffusing pigments. Smooth it on and it’ll blur and diminish your dark circles while giving your delicate undereye area a noticeable boost. —Sarah Wu, beauty contributor
As it turns out, that extra glass of Gut Oggau rosé may not be the only reason your morning eyes resemble those of Bridget Jones after a bender. Pollution, poor sleep, inadequate makeup removal, and hot, dry indoor air are all among the root causes of puffiness, says Hollywood facialist Mila Moursi.
So, too, are heavy eye creams, which can overburden skin at night and lead to swelling the next day. “The skin around the eyes is so thin and fragile, but sometimes people treat it like it’s leather,” explains Moursi, who suggests applying a light, breathable, gel-based formulation in the morning with a gentle massage.
Yet the real “cure,” she continues, is one that’s also an Instagram phenomenon: eye masks. Though not intended for everyday use, they offer a “boost” to the under-eye area on especially swollen mornings, Moursi notes. The latest wave of products pack a host of depuffing, fine-line–plumping actives, from caffeine and rejuvenating rose quartz to 24-karat gold.
A pair of eye masks that de-puffs and brightens the look of eyes while diminishing the appearance of fine lines. A favorite in the Vogue office, BeautyBio’s collagen-infused gel masks—made with illuminating pearl and colloidal silver—fake the appearance of a full-night’s rest, even if life is running at a breakneck pace.
Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Flash Eye Revitalizer
A two-step eye care system that starts with an intense roll-on serum followed by hydrogel patches for immediate revitalization and radiance. Consider Chanel’s luxe firming two-step system—a roll-on serum and hydrogel patches stamped with the French house’s logo—the 2.55 of eye care.
Rose Quartz Antioxidant Eye Mask Collection use GEMCLINICAL® technology which blends the special properties of precious minerals and gemstones with proprietary skincare formulas packed with active and clean ingredients. All the products are then charged with loving, healing Reiki energy promoting a state of total relaxation and well-being. Who could say no to these pretty-in-pink eye masks that target dark circles and dryness while simultaneously opening the heart chakra with their Reiki-charged rose quartz?
A soothing eye treatment that revives the delicate skin under your eyes. Experience celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas’s sought-after touch from the comfort of your own couch with these brightening eye patches, which are the go-to among many a Hollywood starlet.
A eye mask set that will give you hydrated, de-puffed eyes without all the harsh chemicals. Free of sulfates and parabens, these all-natural eye stickers—shaped like shooting stars and infused with gold, rose flower oil, and bitter cherry extract—deliver a double-tap-worthy glow.
Once carried back from Parisian pharmacies by the trunk-full, Klorane’s petite patches, laced with anti-inflammatory cornflower, are the not-so-secret weapon of French girls (and those who aspire to be).
Nannette de Gaspé Eye Masque
Don’t let Nannette de Gaspé’s dry mask fool you: the patterned woven fabric, which slips over ears and extends across the face, may be made for Instagram, but its active blend also delivers real-life results—no filter required.
Verso Eye Reviving Mask
A moisturizing hydrogel mask with Retinol 8 that provides energy to the skin area around the eyes. Erase last night’s sins with Stockholm-based Verso’s moisturizing mask, which is formulated with a unique retinol complex to supercharge the delicate area around the eyes.
Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask
A set of powerful eye masks that hydrate, brightens the appearance of dark circles, and smooths the appearance of fine lines in as little as 15 minutes. Shiseido’s Benefiance pads pack a one-two punch: In addition to smoothing the appearance of wrinkles near the eyes, they can also target laugh lines when placed around the mouth.
Stay red-carpet-ready thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s facialist, Mila Moursi, whose bio cellulose patches are made with apple stem cells, royal jelly, and calming ginger root to naturally lift the under-eye area.
A hydrogel eye mask that brightens, revitalizes and hydrates the delicate eye area. Packed with organic aloe, cooling cucumber, and vitamin C to instantly quench dehydrated cells, 100% Pure’s verdant biodegradable mask is a green juice for the eyes.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask
An intensely concentrated eye mask to rejuvenate eyes after life’s stresses and instantly reveal a fresh, more rested, luminously youthful look. Stave off signs of aging with Estée Lauder’s celebrity-approved reparative eye treatment, a must-have for frequent travelers and evening revelers alike.
A pre-moistened eye mask that calms and soothes skin while decreasing puffiness and lightening undereye circles. Made with cold processing technology, Kat Burki’s KB5 Recovery Mask—with its anti-aging blend of smoothing silk amino acids and protective avocado oil—is the perfect treat for tired eyes.
Two sets of hydrating microcrystal eye masks, that contain approximately 900 crystals each, help visibly plump and reawaken fatigued eyes while diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The microcrystals are enriched with a super-blend of Vegetable Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, and Argireline® Peptide that dissolve deep into the skin’s surface to deliver a targeted dose of visibly restoring, plumping and youth-enhancing benefits for eyes that look well-rested and renewed. Boscia’s new vegan plumping patches—dotted with nearly 900 crystals—offer a fast fix after a long night out. Pro tip: Store them in the fridge for an instant chill upon waking.
Parisian makeup artist Violette’s top secret for how to apply foundation? Execute it without a trace. “I want people to say, ‘Oh my god, your skin looks amazing!’ not, ‘Your foundation is so great,'” she explains. And while finding the perfect formula is half the battle, once you have it, making like Houdini and ensuring it vanishes into your complexion is just as crucial. Here, three in-demand makeup artists share their fine-tuned tips for how to apply foundation and achieve that ever-elusive, second-skin finish.
Create a Glowing Canvas
Clean and moisturized skin is a no-brainer, but to really supercharge your glow, begin with a hydrating mask and follow it up with a lymphatic facial massage. When makeup artist Nina Park works with clients such as Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, she begins with a sheet mask specifically targeted to their skin type, with ingredients such as rose to combat oiliness, aloe to treat dryness, and green tea to soothe inflammation. After masking, gently massage your moisturizer into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says makeup artist Kira Nasrat, who helps give Jessica Alba that perpetually luminous complexion.
Prime as Needed
To prime or not to prime? It’s an eternal question for amateurs and pros alike. While Violette typically skips the extra base step in the interest of using as little product as possible, when applied correctly, it can prolong foundation for all-day wear. “I use an anti-shine primer for hotspots like the forehead, hairline, sides of nose, and around the mouth, and then a sheer, illuminating one for the tops of the cheekbones,” explains Park, adding that she applies each with her fingertips.
Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favorites. “Start in the center of the face, on the apples of the cheeks, and slowly blend out,” she instructs, adding that another key part of the face is the area around the mouth, which is prone to yellow undertones and shadows. To ensure the foundation looks as natural as possible, Violette often skips the bridge of the nose—letting freckles show through for those who have them—and the corners of the nostrils, so the pigment doesn’t cling to dry patches.
Don’t Paint, Buff
No matter what tool you’re using—a foundation brush, a BeautyBlender, or your fingers—buff (or bounce, if you’re using a sponge) the foundation into your skin as opposed to “painting” it on to build coverage smoothly and avoid streakiness, says Park.
Strobe Wherever the Sun Hits
For dimension, blend highlighter into the high planes of the face that catch light naturally, such as the cheekbones, temples, and Cupid’s bow. “I’m not a fan of powder highlighters because it looks a bit fake to me,” says Violette. “Creamy balm textures will give you a dewiness as if you’re not wearing any products.”
Blot, Then Set
First, sop up excess oil with blotting papers. Then, look to a featherweight translucent powder to seal in foundation and prevent unwanted sheen. “Use a brush to apply it very lightly and only to the areas that get the most shiny,” says Nasrat, adding that the leftover luster is what will really drive home that second-skin guise. Silky smooth and even-toned, with just the right amount of lit-from-within dewiness, that’show you execute believably perfect skin.