It’s been called “herbal Botox” and a “natural retinol” — but does it actually work?
Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-KOO-chee-all”) is a “naturally occurring antioxidant found in the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia, a plant found in Eastern Asia,” explains Jesse Werner, founder of Whish, one of the first brands to incorporate the ingredient into its product offerings.
I’ve heard bakuchiol described as a “natural version of retinol” or an “herbal Botox,” so editors asked Werner if there was any truth to those claims. His answer made my highly-sensitive skin positively tingle with anticipation: “Clinical studies have confirmed that bakuchiol is a true retinol-like functional compound without the negative effects of retinol.” In other words, bakuchiol is a potential game-changer for those who struggle with sensitive or reactive skin and aren’t confident in the risk-to-reward ratio of retinol.
First, a quick refresher on retinol: A member of the retinoid family, which includes all vitamin A derivatives, it’s considered a Holy Grail ingredient for all things anti-aging and anti-acne; but even though it’s derived from natural vitamin A, the majority of retinoids are synthesized in some way. Retinol is commonly found in over-the-counter anti-aging products, and can be prescribed in higher concentrations by a dermatologist.
When applied to the skin, retinol “interacts with special retinoic acid receptors” and “initiates a biochemical cascade that leads to activation of certain genes that control collagen production, and reduction of the release of inflammatory mediators,” says Dr. Neil Sadick of Sadick Dermatology in New York City. The result? Smoother, clearer, younger-looking skin.
Oh, and potentially a whole lot of irritation.
Nearly all retinol users go through something called retinization: a period of about four weeks when redness, inflammation, dryness and even peeling occur while the skin adjusts to the medication. Dermatologists largely recognize this phase as temporary and safe, which is why retinol is so popular. But for some skin types, the “it-gets-worse-before-it-gets-better” functionality of retinol often ends at “it-gets-worse”. In addition to retinization, a small percentage of retinol users contract a red, scaly, itchy rash known as retinoid dermatitis.
While naturally derived ingredients aren’t always less-irritating than synthetics, the notion that bakuchiol may be a less-harsh anti-aging option is certainly an appealing one. “We were looking for the most effective ingredients to prevent and repair wrinkles, sagging skin and overall skin health. We kept coming back to retinol,” remembers Werner. “However, retinol is not natural, it’s very harsh on the skin, and it is very unstable. We searched the globe for an effective and natural retinol-like ingredient and we finally found bakuchiol.”
Bakuchiol doesn’t function in quite the same way that retinol does, but here’s the amazing thing: It offers similar results. “In one third party, 12-week clinical study, the conclusion was that retinol and bakuchiol do not have close structural similarities, yet they exhibit a similar gene expression profile especially on key anti-aging genes and proteins, which is remarkable,” explains Werner. In layman’s terms, bakuchiol visibly reduces fine lines, wrinkles and acne, and is considered a functional analog of retinol.
What’s more, the ingredient actually has some advantages over retinol, aside from simply being a natural alternative. Dr. Sadick confirms that it can be used “without any harsh side effects like irritation, flakiness and redness.” It also has photostability on its side; ulike retinol, which can break down and become less effective, it remains active even in direct sunlight.
It should be noted that bakuchi seed powder, sometimes called babchi seed powder, isn’t the same thing as bakuchiol – bakuchiol is the “compound extracted from the seeds using a solvent,” says cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski, who adds that “there’s not likely to be a downside to adding bakuchi powder to a facial mask.” He notes that “no topical treatment would compare to Botox,” but can’t deny that bakuchiol has all the makings of a natural alternative to retinol.
Bakhuchiol is actually becoming much more common at beauty retailers of late. The ingredient first started popping up in skin-care formulations back in 2014, and its popularity has only grown since then, though it’s remained somewhat under the radar and is still far from ubiquitous. If you’re curious to try out the natural alternative to retinol for yourself — and honestly, you should be — scroll through the gallery below to see some of fan-favorite formulas.
Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum
An all-in-one skin-perfecting day serum made with a natural retinol alternative that targets fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and dark spots, while instantly brightening.
REN Clean Skincare’s Bio Retinoid™ Anti-Ageing Cream minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for firmer skin. Its bio extracts moisturize your skin and help repair damaged cells. Rich in antioxidants that protect from free radicals, the formula leaves your skin looking younger and smoother.
Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer contains PlantGenius, a proprietary complex of wildcrafted and hand-cultivated botanicals grown at elevation in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This all natural, super-hydrator melts into skin leaving a fresh, velvety finish. Ceramides and squalane help fortify the moisture barrier; vitamin C helps brighten and support skin against environmental stressors; a non-irritating bio-available retinol diminishes the appearance of fine lines. Wild actives nourish with essential vitamins and fatty acids.
First of its kind, ultra-lightweight oil corrects the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone & texture. This advanced formula combines three separate but synergistic Retinol technologies, including naturally-derived Biomimetic Retinol – which mimics skin’s natural processes to better receive the benefits of Retinol ¿ with nourishing Squalane Oil and patented NIA-114 technology to limit sensitivity. Plant-derived Squalane & Chia Seed oils moisturize and replenished skin with essential fatty acids. Astaxanthin & Pro-anthocyanidins, two of the most powerful antioxidants, soothe and protect dry skin.
This squalane-based balm not only nourishes dry under-eyes, but it also is packed with concentrated encapsulated retinol (which is more gentle on the sensitives skin region) to smooth the look of fine lines.
From the brand’s first foray into the curly hair category, this cloud-like cream — designed for type 4A, 4B and 4C coils — gives game-changing definition. It also contains a Healthy Curl Complex, which provides a protective, strengthening barrier around each strand.
Besides looking oh-so gorgeous on your vanity, this pretty pink potion really does pack a punch. The eco-conscious brand (this packaging is 100% recyclable through Terracycle) partnered with Harvard University to develop a patent-pending booster that’s proven to pump up your skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid and collagen.
I’ll be honest: I’m highly skeptical when it comes to beauty brands founded by celebrities. But Selena Gomez has proven me wrong with her brand, Rare Beauty, and it’s now dropping a new spring collection.
The line features four brand-new Rare Beauty products: Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush, Stay Vulnerable Glossy Lip Balm, Stay Vulnerable Liquid Eye Shadow, and the Stay Vulnerable All-Over Eye Shadow Brush. With the exception of the brush, all of the products have the exact five-shade range with names that pretty much speak for themselves: Nearly Apricot, Nearly Rose, Nearly Neutral, Nearly Mauve, and Nearly Berry. In short: This collection is a makeup minimalist’s ultimate fantasy.
And thanks to the brand, Allure editors got to try the line before anyone else to give us the early reviews. Below, see a breakdown of the products, how they perform, and whether or not they’re worth backtracking on your New Year’s resolution to buy less stuff. Spoiler alert: They probably are.
Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush, $21
“I was biased the second I opened the retro-looking compact, but I have to hand it to this blush formula: Using the word “melting” in the name was a very intentional choice because that’s exactly what these blushes do upon touch. And that texture (combined with tons of pigment) is exactly what makes it so easy to apply either with fingers or a makeup brush.”
Thorne’s on the exact same page, even though cream blush isn’t exactly her thing. “I’ve recently gotten into cream blushes, but unfortunately some formulas are a bit too sheer for my brown skin,” she says. “These blushes didn’t come to play any games. They leave a healthy dose of pigment on the checks. I love how creamy and blendable they are.”
Stay Vulnerable Glossy Lip Balm, $18
Rare’s new lip products are a little mystical because you truly can’t limit them to one category. They have the nourishing quality and balmy consistency of a lip mask but they shine like a gloss — plus, they have just enough pigment to qualify as a lip tint. “Because they’re so simple and comfortable, I know they’re quickly going to become one of my go-to products for last-minute, Zoom-meeting makeup. The best part’, as Thorne will tell you, “is that anyone can wear any of these shades and get the same slight color and high shine.”
“The neutral and berry shades spoke to my soul the most, but I really liked the neutral shade because, despite the sheerness, its gorgeous caramel hue looked lovely on my lips with some brown liner,” Thorne says.
Stay Vulnerable Liquid Eye Shadow and All-Over Eye Shadow Brush, $20 and $15
Neither editors are frequent users of liquid eye shadows, but this formula is so easy to use it has convinced them to change their view. “The eye shadows are basically identical in shade to the blushes and glosses, but these are far thicker, creamier, and pigmented (as they should be). You get full-color payoff in one or two swipes; from there, you can let it dry down or blend it out to a subtle, sheer finish.”
And that’s where the All-Over Eye Shadow Brush comes in. It’s got a fluffy, tapered tip so application requires only two steps: Swipe some shadow all over the lid then wipe the brush lightly back and forth until it’s all blended out.
What’s left to say about the year 2020 that hasn’t already been said? These past 12 months may have tested humanity and the planet and every institution on it in ways most of us could never have fathomed — but even in the bad, weird, living nightmare times, the beauty industry did not quit.
Despite the odds, the economic downturns, the flailing retail structure, the unstable political climate, the sheer number of times the word “unprecedented” was uttered, beauty charged on. After all, there were game-changing formulas, groundbreaking technology and conversation-shifting campaigns to bring to market.
And so, as we look back at 2020 (and slowly but surely claw our way out of it), industry experts — ranging from dermatologists to Insta-famous makeup artists to beauty editors — identified some of the most noteworthy beauty launches of the year.
It was a big year for celebrity beauty, and a handful of star-backed brands had an impressive showing on this list, with multiple experts highlighting their superiority or buzz-worthiness amidst a sea of so many other celebrity lines. Skin care also reigned supreme, particularly as so many of us spent a record-breaking amount of time at home, staring at our own faces during Zoom calls. And perhaps most promisingly, brands that emphasized inclusivity — by serving marginalized and too-often underserved communities, by bringing all genders into the beauty conversation, by broadening the definition of what “good” skin can look like — were a welcome addition to 2020.
“Biden Beauty is an initiative that was near and dear to my heart because Very Good Light was behind it. It was a small idea that became a reality and was really amazing to see it thrive. We wanted to support the 2020 elections — arguably the most important of our lifetimes — and engage Gen Z and the beauty community to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. To do this, we [sold] a beauty sponge by the name of the Biden Beat from a beauty brand called Biden Beauty. We ended up selling one sponge every 60 seconds and it was probably the most meaningful initiative I’ve been a part of.” —David Yi, Founder and CEO, Very Good Light
“We don’t include men enough in conversations on skin care. Although Humanrace was created for all genders, [it’s] exciting to have a man at the forefront of the push to normalize skin care beyond just facial hair grooming. I love that the brand is guided by the expert input of his dermatologist with carefully selected science backed ingredients and prioritizes exfoliation and hydration as part of its simple three step routine.” —Dr. Adeline Kikam, Board-certified Dermatologist and Founder, @BrownSkinDerm
“[I] particularly [like] the Humidifying Cream. I wasn’t expecting to be floored by this product, but it’s honestly one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever used. I think we’re all a little burnt out when it comes to celebrity beauty launches — especially this year — but it seems like Pharrell actually put a lot of time and care into this one. He was thoughtful with his collection, from adding braille to the packaging to working with the brilliant Dr. Elena Jones to create simple and clean, but effective formulations, and I definitely appreciate it.” —Kayla Greaves, Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle
“Many men are not as passionate about skin care as they should be. And [Pharrell] is Benjamin Button! He’s pushing 50 and looks arguably 20-30 years younger. It’s about time he shares his secret to the fountain of youth.” —Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and Founder, BeautyStat
“Humanrace was a late entry this year, but made a lot of noise upon release. Although it’s a small launch it has the potential to attract a whole new audience to the skincare industry. It’s exciting to see.” — Saleam T. Singleton, men’s beauty advocate and contributing writer for Byrdie and AskMen
“I think Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace debut was incredibly successful and highly anticipated. The man is practically a vampire and for years we’ve been dying to know (beyond the fact he has melanin on his side) how he continues to look like he’s in his 20s. Not only is it a simple system of just three products, but it’s also eco-friendly. Wins all around!” —Julee Wilson, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan
TATCHA THE SERUM STICK
“I’m already a loyal fan of the entire dewy skin collection, but the stick is like Chapstick for the face and perfect for the random seasonal dry spots. I also use it as a highlighter in makeup applications when I’m looking for a shine without any pearl. Being a hands-free application and a multitasking product, it feels like a true hero of the year.” — Shayna Goldberg, makeup artist and consultant at The Wall Group
KOSAS REVEALER CONCEALER
“This concealer-meets-eye-cream has enough coverage to work on the toughest spots, but is flexible enough that the 16 shades work for every one of my clients all wrapped up in a dreamy formula.” —Tony Tulve, freelance makeup artist
“Patrick Starrr’s One/Size truly brought some new, better and different to the market. Yes, it was makeup, but it was gender-neutral makeup and represented a new breed of founder at Sephora. Patrick is unabashedly himself and wants others to be as well, which is so needed in an industry that’s striving to be inclusive but not quite there.” —Priya Rao, Executive Editor, Glossy and host, “Glossy Beauty” and “Unfair” podcasts
“It seemed like the world stopped when Rihanna came out with her skin-care line. Everyone either had already tried it, wanted to try it or was watching YouTube videos of people trying and reviewing it. It’s so revolutionary for the simple fact that it’s Rihanna, a well-known Black woman, showing that you can [create a] business that feels true to you.” —Ali, beauty model, creator and makeup artist at @SweetMutuals
“I haven’t tried any of the products myself, but many of the reviews I’ve seen have been more lukewarm than I would have expected. Much of the trepidation from the online skin-care community came from the use of fragrance in the Fenty Skin products. This product launch ignited a wide-ranging debate about the function of fragrance in skin care and whether the fears surrounding it are warranted. While most consumers probably have no idea about the debate around fragrance, I think there are a few lessons to be learned here: First, skin-care hobbyists can be extremely discerning, and not even someone as universally adored as Rihanna may not be immune to their criticism. Second, for the many celebrity skin-care launches that followed it (we’ve already seen entries from Pharrell and Jennifer Lopez this year), we can expect even more criticism as these people are seen as outsiders with little experience by the industry.” — Dr. Angelo Landriscina, board-certified ermatologist in New York City, @DermAngelo
“Fenty Skin broke barriers when it came to promoting sun protection for darker skin tones. The brand messaging is very inclusive, showing that skin care is for everyone.” —Tiara Willis, esthetician and influencer, @MakeupforWomenofColor
“Fenty Skin was for sure the most talked-about, most debated, most anticipated launch of the year, mainly because of innovation (Fat Water and the idea of the toner essence), effectively speaking to young, Black consumers about the importance of SPF and because of ingredient discussions on witch hazel and fragrance.” —Dr. Ranella Hirsch, Board-certified dermatologist in Boston
“[Selena Gomez] entered the already crowded celebrity-with-a-beauty-brand space, but gave it purpose in 2020. It’s so refreshing to have a brand centered around giving back to the community Gomez herself is part of with the Rare Impact Fund. Everyone at Elle has been obsessed with the products to the point where we won’t shut up about them. To more inclusive and transparent brands with a mental health impact in 2021!” —Chloe Hall, Beauty Director, Elle.com
“Rare Beauty was the most exciting launch for me, mostly because it felt genuine. Celebrity brands will always make headlines, but not all launches are up to snuff. But the team managed to carve out a unique space for themselves while creating a great lineup of staple products. It was a cohesive launch with purpose. I respect the brand for creating the Rare Impact Fund, which promises to donate $100M over the course of 10 years, starting with 1% from Rare’s first year of sales. As someone who’s often pitched new brands and products on a daily basis, it’s important for me to see that this celebrity-faced brand has a long-term vision.” —Kirbie Johnson, content creator and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
“When Selena launched Rare Beauty, it was clear that she really took her time to build this brand. The product formulations are innovative (that Lip Soufflé is so good!), the packaging is gorgeous and most impressive was Rare Beauty’s commitment to being a mission-driven brand. While I’m hoping fewer celebrities feel the need to launch their own beauty brands in the future, I do hope that those who do take note from Selena.” —Sara Tan, beauty editor and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
SUPREME X PAT MCGRATH LIPSTICK
“This was Supreme’s first foray into makeup in its 26-year history, and the Pat McGrath Labs brand was the perfect co-conspirator. Streetwear is supposed to be about breaking the rules and foraging new paths; McGrath has done both her entire career. I think there are a lot of lessons the beauty world can learn from the streetwear space from both a marketing and storytelling perspective, and visa versa. So much so, I once wrote about it earlier this year. I’m interested to see how else these worlds may dance together.” —Darian Harvin, Beauty Reporter, Beauty IRL
TATCHA THE LIQUID SILK CANVAS PRIMER
“I’m always looking for products that can retain longevity and stretch makeup to new boundaries through intense color payoff or innovative formulas. Tatcha’s launch of Liquid Silk Canvas Primer in the spring of 2020 was the [brand’s] first bridge product integrating innovative skin-care ingredients into makeup. This product became the makeup magnet of the year locking down whatever you put on top of it.” —Daniel Martin, makeup artist and global director of artistry and education at Tatcha
MAKEUP BY MARIO
I had to personally add it to this list, how could I not? One of the most world-renowned and looked-up-to makeup artists came out with his own makeup brand exclusively at Sephora in 2020. The brand’s mission statement is:
“Created by Master Makeup Artist Mario Dedivanovic, MAKEUP BY MARIO features pro formulas and tools in the most universal shades and easy-to-use textures. Infused with Mario’s philosophies and techniques, each product is crafted to provide an effortless makeup experience and inspired artistry.”
Because the ink doesn’t go as deeply into the skin as body art, microblading fades over time. Depending on your skin type, it could last one to two years. Sometimes, you even need a touchup four to eight weeks after your first appointment.
However, getting that touchup right now isn’t exactly an option. With salons across the U.S. shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been trying professional services on themselves, like facials and haircuts. But at-home microblading is absolutely not an option. Luckily, brow pens that create the same effect — no painful incisions necessary — exist. Sure, their hair-like strokes for the illusion of fuller, defined arches last only about two days, but the pens work in a pinch. They provide a quick touchup for your next Zoom meeting and will hold you over until you can finally make an appointment with your favorite cosmetic tattooist once again. For those who’ve never gotten the procedure done before, consider this a way to satisfy your microblading curiosity, too.
Most of the brow pens on this list take a three-pronged approach to master a microblading effect — literally. Milk Makeup and Maybelline New York launched pens with toothed applicator for quickly etching on lines that look just like naturally grown brow hairs. MAC and Urban Decay also make ones with felt or brush tips like your go-to liquid liner, so you’ll be used to maneuvering it. No matter what applicator you prefer, you’re sure to find a suitable option for your brow grooming routine on this list of best brow pens for creating a microblading effect, below.
Essence The Eyebrow Pen
The Essence The Eyebrow Pen is a no-nonsense take on the toothed marker trend. Rake it through your arches with short, upward strokes, and your handiwork won’t budge until you wash your face. Fans of the tool also speckle on faux freckles with the pen.
Glossier Brow Flick fills in where Boy Brow doesn’t. The latter tames and fluffs up arches; the paintbrush-like applicator of Brow Flick, on the other hand, focuses on the details.
Fill in gaps and add definition where you need it, but keep this tip from New York City-based makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes in mind: the pen works best on “completely clean, oil-free brows, so you shouldn’t have any moisturizer on them or any oils or serums or any skin-care product — and no highlighters.”
Comb the L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen through your brows like a little brush to bolster every hair for up to 48 hours straight. Its applicator has the sharpest edge on the market. Flip it over and elongate the tails of your arches with it.
The ingredient list for the Milk Makeup Kush Triple Brow Pen could be confused for a skin-care product as it touts aloe, sunflower oil, and CBD oil – all to help nourish your brows and the skin underneath them. The pen is offered in a whooping eight hues in warm, cool, and neutral tones of blonde and brown, as well as auburn and black, so you’re find to find your perfect match.
The Revolution Pro Build & Grow Brow Serum Duo wants to be a part of all of your beauty routines. While doing your makeup, uncap the pigmented side in one of three variations of brown: ash, warm, and dark to sculpt your brows.
When it’s time for your nighttime skin-care regimen, remove the white cap to reveal a market-like applicator to coat your arches in a transparent serum. We can’t attest to its hair growth claims, but millet seed extract and panthenol are sure to moisturize the area.
The forces of a pen and powder join together in one powerful baton. One of the MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint is an ultra-fine felt tip liner to fill gaps; the other houses a self-depositing sheer pigment in its cap that clings onto the spongey tip. Smooth it onto arches to add dimension and lock in your brow look all day long.
Press down the tip to conveniently replenish the long-lasting inkiness of the Maybelline New York TattooStudio Brow Tint Pen — a genius feature most of the other pens lack. (For the others, store them cap side down to force the pigment to collect at the tip.)
Another thin brush tip option if the three-pronged applicators intimidate you: the Sephora Collection Microblade Effect Brow Pen. You can pick from two universal shades – light and deep – to make the faux microblading process that much more foolproof.
Although the Urban Decay Brow Blade is the priciest option on this list, it’s the perfect selection if your partial to a pencil. The two-in-one solution has a tiny retractable one that’s equally as neddle-like brush applicator for a subtle stain. Its shade range is also the most numerous with nine to choose from, including a universal color called Taupe Trap.
Best Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin: Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer
“Less moisture in the air causes skin dryness,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “If your skin’s natural moisture barrier isn’t properly hydrated, it’s not as equipped to fight off acne-causing bacteria.” If you deal with constant blemishes, look for an oil-free, water-based lotion or gel that will moisture skin without clogging pores. This Boscia gel offers a soothing formula, rich with calming tea tree extract that will minimize breakout-induced redness.
Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 15
If your skin leans on the sensitive side, Dr. Nussbaum recommends avoiding moisturizers with “irritants such as fragrances, dyes, lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde.” This drugstore staple checks off all the boxes. Aveeno’s moisturizer is light, fast-absorbing, and is formulated with skin-calming botanicals. Bonus: It also serves as a second layer of SPF protection.
Best Moisturizer for Hyperpigmentation: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++
Whether your uneven skin tone is the result of a bad breakout or caused by sun damage, a vitamin C-infused moisturizer will help brighten dark spots while simultaneously hydrating skin. But don’t forget the sunscreen. “Moisturizers containing SPF will reduce the oxidative damage of the sun,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. That’s exactly what this Murad tube is made to do.
Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
Fun fact: Hyaluronic acid is an all-star moisturizing ingredient, because it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. That’s what makes Neutrogena’s gel-based, HA-packed moisturizer ideal for oily skin types. Instead of a heavy cream, this lightweight water-based product pulls in moisture without clogging already congested pores.
Best Moisturizer for Combination Skin: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
The Gemini of skin types, finding the right moisturizer for combination skin can be tough because it has to jive with both oilyness and dryness. That’s where The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors comes in. The lightweight, non-greasy cream includes dermal lipids to protect the outer skin layer, hyaluronic acid to draw in moisture, and amino acids to hydrate. It’ll moisturize the right areas of the face without making oily spots shinier.
Best Moisturizer for Aging Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Important PSA: The sun can still cause oxidative damage in the winter, which can lead to photoaging. That said, Dr. Nussbaum suggests looking for a moisturizer that’s packed with antioxidants to counteract the harmful effects of UV/UVA rays. What else should an anti-aging moisturizer include? Retinol, along with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and moisture-sealing ceramides. “Certain moisturizers will contain a form of retinol that increases skin cell turnover,” she says. “The shedding of the dead skin cell layers also enables increased absorption of moisturizers.” Look no futher than this Dr. Dennis Gross jar, which is formulated with both retinol and ferulic acid, a powerful antioxdant.
Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
“Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. “In dry, cold weather, your skin’s ability to naturally produce ceramides may be compromised, leading to dry, dull skin.” If your skin is extremely dry year-round, go with a ceramide-rich moisturizer for winter, like Dr. Jart+’s cult-favorite cream. The lipids will strengthen the skin barrier so less moisture gets out.
Best Moisturizer for All Skin Types: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer
If your skin doesn’t fall into one particular category, Dr. Nussbaum is a fan of Olay’s Sculpting Cream because it’s a rich, nourishing cream that works well for balanced skin, but also targets dryness and aging. “It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), a hard-working ingredient which regenerates surface cells and strengthens skin’s natural moisture barrier,” she says. “It also contains amino-peptides, known to boost collagen production and improve skin’s elasticity, smoothness and firmness as well as hyaluronic acid & glycerin.”
Ask any skincare lover, and they’ll tell you there’s no better feeling than coming home after a long day, removing all your makeup, and applying your nighttime skincare routine. While you can use the same cleansers, toners, and serums that you applied in the AM, if you’re looking to really transform your skin, you should be using a night cream as the last step in your PM routine instead of your regular face moisturizer.
According to New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, that’s because “night creams are more nourishing and hydrating than your daytime moisturizer. Generally, night creams contain more moisturizing ingredients and are thicker in texture.”
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner agrees on the importance of having a night cream in your beauty arsenal, telling InStyle, “We know that skin goes through circadian rhythms, where specific activities occur in the morning and others in the evening. Skin hydration levels start to decline in the afternoon and continue into the evening, and skin cell turnover increases while we sleep. So a night cream is important to address the specific issues that the skin faces in the evening — offering hydrating and enhancing skin repair and collagen production.”
When it comes to choosing the right night cream for your skin, Dr. Zeichner recommends looking for creams that are “designed for nighttime use, usually containing ingredients that stimulate collagen production to address fine lines and wrinkles, such as retinol, hydroxy acids, peptides, or specialized botanical ingredients.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Jaliman says that in addition to formulas that will stimulate skin cell renewal, the best night creams should also feature moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and ceramides. That’s because “improving our skin’s hydration as we sleep is very important.”
With so many night creams on the market, it can be tricky figuring out which ones are actually worth buying, so with these dermatologist guidelines in mind, InStyle editors rounded up 20 night creams that customers say help them wake up with glowing skin each morning. From a retinol-infused night cream to a multitasking option and an affordable drugstore pick, keep reading to shop them all.
Top-Rated Option: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
Over 10,000 Amazon shoppers are obsessed with this CeraVe night cream, with many calling it a “miracle in a jar.” The popular product is packed with ceramides and peptides that work together to soften and rejuvenate your skin overnight, so you’ll wake up with a refreshed and glowing complexion. Even better, it’s also infused with hyaluronic acid to target fine lines and wrinkles. “This product is amazing,” raved one shopper. “I saw results the first morning after use. Unbelievable. Significantly less redness and a huge reduction in acne. It’s been about two weeks now and my skin looks the best it has in years. I’ve even had compliments this week on my clear, youthful skin! I’m hooked for life.”
Best Dermatologist Pick: Senté Dermal Repair Cream
Santé’s night cream may be pricey, but Dr. Jaliman says it’s worth every penny. It’s one of her top picks because “it contains green tea and hyaluronic acid and has an ingredient called Heparin Sulfate Analog (HSA) that works to deeply hydrate and maintain your skin’s health. It helps lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” In addition to hydrating skin and reducing redness, Dr. Jaliman says it’s a great option “for those who need to repair the skin barrier.”
Best for Dry Skin: L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Shea Butter Cream
This L’Occitane night cream uses shea butter and glycerin as its active ingredients, which makes it a great deeply moisturizing treatment. Shoppers with extremely dry skin said this product is the only thing that finally got rid of their dry patches and flaky skin. Plus, they love that the night cream left their skin looking fresh and dewy and not greasy. “This is my holy grail product for my super dry and dehydrated skin. It is a lifesaver during the cold and drying winter in Massachusetts,” raved one reviewer.
Best for Dull Skin: Clarins Extra-Firming Wrinkle Control Regenerating Night Cream
Clarins’ overnight cream will revive lackluster skin and give you a more youthful appearance. Dr. Zeichner is a fan because it’s “a rich, hydrating cream that contains a blend of botanical extracts to help firm and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles.” Reviewers say that it made their skin look firmer and smoother in just one use. One shopper called it “an overnight facial in a bottle,” before adding “My skin was glowing and plump. I was in awe of how much it changed my skin in less than seven hours. I repurchased this again finally and this morning my boyfriend mentioned how supple and radiant my skin looked”
Best Collagen-Infused: Maryann Organics Collagen Night Cream
This night cream by Maryann Organics is infused with collagen to help reverse prominent signs of aging. The multitasking product smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, diminishes the look of dark spots, and hydrates skin at the same time. Customers love how the cream is made in the U.S. from organic materials and that it doesn’t leave behind a sticky or tacky feel. “I love this moisturizer,” said one reviewer. “It’s not super pricey and it does exactly what I need, evens out skin tone and helps wrinkles — really makes me feel awake and young just after 20 minutes of putting it on. Especially overnight I wake up feeling great on my skin in the morning.”
Best Drugstore Option: L’Oreal Revitalift Night Cream
If you’re looking for an effective night cream that won’t break the bank, thousands of Amazon shoppers recommend L’Oreal’s Revitalift version. The product’s three main ingredients (pro-retinol, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C) hydrate and smooth skin while evening out your complexion. According to the brand, you’ll see brighter and firmer skin with just one week’s use, and tons of customers agree. “After a week, I felt that I had a younger glow. After at least two weeks, my skin actually does look a more consistent texture and color — I haven’t even been wearing makeup,” raved one shopper. “It’s lightweight and smells delicious and is very inexpensive, which surprised me. I almost feel like it’s too lightweight to work, but the ingredients must be doing something for my skin.”
Best Multitasking Option: RoC Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Restoring Night Cream
The best beauty products can tackle more than one issue at once, so it’s no wonder this multitasking RoC night cream is so popular with Amazon shoppers. The five-in-one product smooths wrinkles, reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, tightens and hydrates skin, and evens out skin tones at the same time. Plus, the product is non-comedogenic, so you never have to worry about it clogging your pores or causing breakouts. One shopper wrote, “I can’t rave enough about this product! I’ve been using it for over a year now and can really tell the difference when I miss a few days. When you put this on the night before, your skin feels so smooth and supple the following morning. Some days I can actually skip my day moisturizer, this product works that well. It is definitely a workhorse against fine lines and pores. I’ve used products costing far more that do much less.”
Best Cruelty-Free Option: Kleem Organics Anti-Aging Retinol Cream
If shopping cruelty-free products is important to you, check out this night cream from Kleem Organics. Along with toning and firming your skin, the paraben-free product also works to improve the look and feel of your skin’s overall texture. For these reasons and more, over 4,000 customers have given it a perfect five-star rating, with one writing, “This stuff feels like silk going on and works great. Soaks in immediately. I used it twice a day when I first received it because of the cold weather my face turns into scales. It worked overnight it seemed. My face is as smooth as a baby’s tushie.”
Best Brightening Option: Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Overnight Cream
Using viniferine and hyaluronic acid, this brightening night cream by Caudalie will visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation while also plumping your skin. In a clinical self-assessment study, 95 percent of users said their skin looked brighter and 100 percent of users said their skin looked more rested after using the night cream for just 56 days. “I’ve used this consistently at night for a least a year now, and I can honestly say this is one of the BEST night creams on the market,” raved one shopper. “No matter what my skin is going through, this cream restores my skin texture at night and leaves it bright come morning. I’ve also seen the effects of brightening as my dark spots have faded tremendously.”
Best Firming Option: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer
To start off their day with firmer and smoother skin, hundreds of Amazon shoppers slather on this StriVectin night cream before they go to sleep. It’s loaded with powerful ingredients like copper tripeptide and retinol to minimize the look for wrinkles, tighten crepey skin, and increase your skin’s elasticity. “I have definitely noticed a positive effect on my skin. I’m 58, and have fair skin with a tendency to dryness, and, in this recent foul weather, redness. This intensive night moisturizer has done a lot to alleviate that. It goes on easily, and you don’t need a bunch to get good coverage. My skin is clearer, firmer, and some of my fine lines have already started to disappear,” said one shopper.
Best Strengthening Option: Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Overnight Moisturizer
This Lancome night cream is a favorite of Nordstrom shoppers who love how well it hydrates their skin and improves their complexion. The popular skincare essential uses a unique strengthening complex made up of omegas 3 and 6 and vitamins E and C, which work together to hydrate skin and protect it from external aggressors. “Absolutely love this night cream,” said one customer. “Best I’ve ever used. I suffer from dry skin on my forehead and cheeks and clogged pores on nose and chin. This has done wonders to hydrate and smooth my skin. I’m 41 and have finally found my holy grail! Better than any other high-end or drugstore brands I’ve used including those twice as expensive.”
Best Hydrating Option: Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream
Target dryness by letting your skin soak up this Burt’s Bees Night Cream while you sleep. Made from 98.9 percent natural ingredients like jojoba oil and Clary sage, the top-rated night cream promises to hydrate your skin for up to 24 hours at a time. After using the cream for a few weeks, many shoppers said it not only softened and moisturized their skin, but it also reduced redness and inflammation. “This feels amazing and creamy,” wrote one customer. “Rubs in well, leaves a little oily sheen, but I like that. I have super dry skin, particularly in the winter so it’s very soothing. I’m sensitive to smells and this doesn’t bother me. I’ve tried multiple natural night creams but none of them leave my skin feeling as hydrated as this one.”
Best Fast-Acting Option: It Cosmetics Confidence In Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream
While most skincare products can take weeks or months to work, It Cosmetics says you’ll see results from its night cream in just seven days. The fast-acting formula is full of hyaluronic acid, adenosine, and ceramides that smooth out fine lines, wrinkles, as well as revive dull, dry, and saggy skin, all while you sleep. Shoppers also love how great it smells. “What’s not to love with this cream? It has a pleasant, light lavender scent — perfectly relaxing for nighttime,” wrote one shopper. “I love that it’s thick enough to have that luxurious feel on my face, yet so absorbent that it immediately sinks into the skin. I never knew just how thirsty my skin was until I started using this. And bonus — my fine lines on my forehead have started diminishing after one week of use. It’s noticeable!”
Best Day & Night Option: Tula 24-7 Hydrating Day & Night Cream
Looking for a super hydrating night cream that’s also lightweight enough to be used during the day? Check out this option from Tula. The moisturizing treatment gives your skin a dose of olive oil squalane, shea butter, grape seed oil, and vitamin C to increase skin hydration and target dark spots, fine lines, and more. Meanwhile, the probiotics in the cream work to calm skin and reduce inflammation. “This product is amazing and is by far the best moisturizer I’ve ever used,” wrote one reviewer. “I first started using it when I was getting hormonal acne and it soothed my skin almost immediately (along with the salicylic acid gel). Then, I moved from a humid climate to the Arizona desert and it supported me through that too! The only con is the price, but the little jar lasts me well over a month, so no big problem.”
Best Vitamin C Cream: Derma E Vitamin C Intense Night Cream
This Derma E night cream is loved by hundreds of Ulta customers because it uses vitamin C to make dark spots and hyperpigmentation much less noticeable. The vegan face cream also helps smooth wrinkles, improve skin texture, and even out skin tone. “I apply a thick amount right before I go to bed, and magic seems to happen overnight. I’m a skincare buff and have tried so many products. I’m hooked on this night cream. My acne scars are slowly fading and skin is consistently smoother and more radiant. And the price for this cream is incredible, compared to hundreds I’ve spent on other brands that haven’t worked half as well.”
Best for Wrinkles: No. 7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Night Cream
Ulta customers say their wrinkles have met their match with this night cream by No. 7. According to the brand, your fine lines will be reduced and skin will appear firmer with just two weeks of use. The product also targets dark spots and scarring at the same time, leaving you with a brighter and smoother complexion. “This cream does exactly what it states it does, just better. In less than two weeks, I could see a huge difference in my skin,” raved one shopper. “Both my face and neck are so amazingly soft now. It has made me just speechless at how wonderful this product works.”
Best for Sensitive Skin: Clinique Smart Night Custom-Repair Moisturizer Cream
If you suffer from sensitive skin and need a night cream that won’t cause any outbreaks or irritations, consider this Clinique option. Along with being non-acnegenic and allergy-tested, the cream is also free from any fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Shoppers love the skincare product because it revived their dull and dry complexions and left them with smoother, firmer, and plumper skin. “I’ve been using this moisturizer for a little over a month now and I am quite pleased,” wrote one customer. “It is not heavy, has not caused any breakouts and I have noticed improvement in the appearance of my skin. I’m sure the longer I use it, the more it will help, and I look forward to further results.”
Best Splurge: Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Regenerating Moisturizer Night Cream
If you’re willing to splurge on a top-of-the-line night cream, Nordstrom shoppers say to make it this Shiseido option. The rich and hydrating formula features the brand’s signature SkingenecellEnmei complex, which “slows down the appearance of visible signs of aging and helps restore and prolong a youthful look.” The cream is also infused with Brunet extract and Japanese botanicals that make your skin look and feel more supple. One shopper wrote, “This cream is amazing. It makes pores tiny, leaves a beautiful texture on your skin, and my face has a healthy glow all day. I went on vacation and forgot my regular very expensive cream at home. Had a sample of the Future Solutions cream and used it. I kept looking in the mirror because my skin looked gorgeous after one day. By the time I got home, I had to buy cream! It continues to make my skin look terrific, and I will continue to buy it.”
Best Retinol Option: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
Retinol is the main ingredient in this Murad night cream, meaning it will boost skin’s natural collagen production and help reverse prominent signs of aging. The cream’s ultra-hydrating formula also features niacinamide and picolinamide, which help even out skin tone and leave you with a glowing complexion. In a four-week clinical trial, 83 percent of users said they “noticed firmer, more supple skin,” while 80 percent said they “saw increased radiance and glow.” One shopper called it their “holy grail” before adding, “This night cream is great for those who want to reduce fine lines and reduce breakouts. I was struggling with acne after stopping birth control and was under quite a bit of life stress (i.e. wrinkles formed) and this stuff has saved my skin.”
Best Mask: Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask
This Glow Recipe Sleeping Mask is one of Sephora’s most popular overnight treatments with an impressive 205,000 “loves” from shoppers who say it has transformed their skin. Like the other night creams on this list, the nighttime product should be applied to your face before you go to sleep. The hyaluronic acid and AHAs in the formula to exfoliate dead skin cells and shrink the look of pores, while the watermelon extract and peony root work together to hydrate and brighten the skin. “This stuff is amazing! The first night that I tried it, it made my face tingle. The next morning I woke up with a very noticeable difference. My pores were minimized, my skin tone was even, my fine lines were less noticeable, my skin looked healthier than it has in a long time. Very polished. The results got even better as I kept using it.”
Unlike a good blush or incredible lipstick, the best setting powder isn’t made to be a look—which is why it’s an easy step to skip when you’re pressed for time or money. It’s got a bad reputation of making your face look dry and cakey, which certainly doesn’t help either.
So let’s reframe it for you: Think of setting powder as a tool (and a highly underrated one at that) that can vastly extend the life of your makeup, like the way a topcoat does for your manicure. A few dabs can lock your makeup in place, keep shine to a minimum, and soak up sweat and oil—qualities that are undeniably useful when the weather’s hellishly humid or wet. It can be just as reliable during the winter too. The latest formulations include hydrating and brightening ingredients like vitamins C and E to give your skin a smooth Instagram-filtered finish, instead of one that’s rough and wind-chapped.
From Cover FX’s talc-free formula—perfect for those with sensitive skin—to Ilia’s natural loose powder, here Glamour editors tested the top tinted and translucent options in order to share which stood above the rest.
Best Setting Powder Overall: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Talk to any makeup artist, and you’ll likely find this setting powder in their kit. That’s because one fine layer of this silky, hydrating formula rivals Instagram’s Subtle filter (you know, the one every influencer uses). The secret? The formula is infused with light-refracting diamond powder, which gives your skin a glisteny (but not sparkly) blurred finish. I’ve seen artists use it on a range of skin tones and never has it left a white cast. Skeptical? Read all its five-star reviews. This powder is a winner. —Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
Best Drugstore Setting Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Loose Finishing Powder
I’ve got super oily—but dehydrated—skin, so I’m constantly dealing with a complexion that somehow looks greasy and dry at the same time. This is the only drugstore powder that manages to put both issues to rest. I’ve found the trick is to press it in with a makeup puff (instead of swirling it on with a brush), which leaves behind a blurred, your-skin-but-better finish that looks flawless both in real life and photos. —L.S.
I love a flawless no-makeup makeup look, and stan by any and all products that help me get a little closer to that. The translucent color works well on my fair skin, and since I don’t use foundation, I’ve been applying it over my concealer for a little extra sparkle. It sure is pricey, but if luxe beauty is your vice, then it’s totally worth it. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
Best Translucent Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
I’ve tried a lot of loose powders before, and they all either make my skin look blotchy, or go on white and make me look like a ghost. This does neither! It applies flawlessly and keeps my oily pores at bay, but not to the point that my skin produces more oil. Also, Jackie Aina loves it. In my opinion, there is no better endorsement than that. —Khaliha Hawkins, producer
Best Loose Setting Powder: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder
I’ve used setting powder only a handful of times before, since it always seemed like an extra step I could easily do without. However, the Fenty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder went above and beyond. True to form, the brand came through with a wide range of skin tones to choose from (eight is a lot for this kind of product—some brands offer just two), so it blended well with my medium-tan skin and yellow undertone. Rihanna knows a thing or two about being camera ready, and it’s obvious with this product, because the pore-blurring, mattifying effect would be worthy of digital camera days of the early aughts, or even the brightest of Lumee Lights. —Erin Parker, commerce writer
Best Pressed Setting Powder: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder
For someone who just started dabbling with setting powders, I really enjoyed this one from Neutrogena. The shade range isn’t as robust as some other brands’, but it’s still a great starter product since the pressed powder makes it easy to control the amount you apply—especially for smaller coverage areas like under your eyes. Plus, for someone who has dry skin, it’s formulated with hydrating and brightening antioxidants like vitamin B5 and vitamins C and E. —T.A.
Best Setting Powder for Dry Skin: Tarte Shape Tape Setting Powder
My skin is Mojave Desert–dry, so setting powders aren’t something I typically gravitate toward (I’m more of a desperate-for-dewy kind of person), but Tarte’s Shape Tape Setting Powder has officially changed my makeup routine. It blurs any blemishes and sets my makeup without gathering in the cracks in my (and I can’t stress this enough) dry skin. Plus the little powder puff that it comes with is so soft and plush it’s worth the price of admission alone. —Shanna Shipin, commerce editor
Best Setting Powder for Acne-Prone Skin: Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
I have combination skin, so it’s tricky to find a powder that can mattify any shine I may be dealing with without it clinging to dry patches. Most mattifying powders are way too cakey, and more luminous ones make me look too slick. Then I came across this Nars powder. It’s hefty enough to soak up any lurking oil, yet so finely milled that it takes a lot to overdo it and look powdery. Although it’s described as light-reflecting, there’s no visible shimmer—it just has a natural finish that makes my skin look airbrushed, which is always the goal. —Isabella Cacciatore, beauty associate
Best Setting Powder for Oily Skin: Marc Jacobs Beauty Finish-Line Perfecting Coconut Setting Powder
This is the powder to grab in summer, when the heat is at its most unbearable, or before/after a workout. It’s so lightweight—and, real talk, so good at soaking up your sweat—that you’ll forget you’re even wearing makeup. —Anna Moeslein, senior editor
Best Setting Powder for Sensitive Skin: Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder
I swear by the Cover Fx Power Play foundation and concealer, so trying the powder was a no-brainer. Unlike the foundation and concealer, the powder doesn’t have a large range of shades, so choosing between the light and dark was very time consuming. The Translucent light shade was perfect and didn’t leave a white cast on my face. It blended in well and didn’t let the oils in my skin shine through. —K.H.
Best Vegan Setting Powder: Ilia Soft Focus Finishing Powder
We all want a loose powder that will survive the humidity of the New York City subway system, right? Well, how about a powder that can combat sweat at the NYC Pride Parade? Yes, I’m serious. After testing this, I’ve concluded that either my skin is magic or this product is (and I’m pretty sure it’s the latter). Lightweight and cute, it’s dependable for any occasion. —E.P.
Best Setting Powder for Combination Skin: Milk Makeup Blur + Set Matte Loose Setting Powder
This setting powder is seriously a dream. Not only does it eliminate oil and shine, but the lightweight formula keeps my makeup looking fresh all day. It lies perfectly over my concealer and doesn’t make my skin look dry or chalky. —E.P.
Best Lightweight Setting Powder: Lawless Seal The Deal Loose Setting Powder
I’ve gone through a lot of loose powders over the years, some good, some bad. When I learned that Lawless Beauty was launching one with no talc, I knew I had to try it out. I’ve been using this for a couple weeks, and my skin is noticeably different. The best thing is that as soon as I started to use it, all my breakouts disappeared. I use the Brightening Translucent shade to set and bake my foundation, then dust on the Golden Translucent to contour. I really don’t think I’ll ever use another powder. Lawless uses mica, which is not only healthier than talc, but is the secret to making this powder so lightweight that it doesn’t cake onto your skin. —Azadeh Valanejad, contributor
Best Antiaging Setting Powder: Onomie AHA Perfecting Setting Powder
I’ve fallen in love, and the object of my affection is this powder. The featherlight formula goes onto my skin seamlessly, leaves me looking fresh and rejuvenated, and doesn’t look even remotely mask-like. What’s more: It left my face feeling baby smooth. That’s probably thanks to all of its good-for-you ingredients, like skin-softening lactic acid and collagen-boosting peptides. Oh, and let’s not forget its inclusion of vitamin C, which helps block free radicals. Into it. —Jennifer Lance, weekend writer
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.
After gliding the cool-to-the-touch stainless steel surface up the neck and over the cheeks – you can soon feel and look refreshed. It’s nothing short of a godsend.
If you’re experiencing puffiness, be the cause too much salt or a poor night of sleep, within seconds, the eyes are less swollen, cheekbones more defined; and complexion appears calmer. Vogue’s senior fashion writer Liana Satenstein agrees: “It tightens, lifts, and reverts my skin to how it looked when I first came out of the womb,” she says in a text accompanying a (very sculpted) selfie.
Its utilitarian—dare I say ‘uncool’—design oddly makes it all the more appealing in a market flooded with three-figure sleek shapes and unnecessarily complicated gadgets; and it miraculously manages to maintain its freeze.