If months got their own mantras, we like to think that August’s would be “no regrets.” It’s the last month of the summer, and it’s worth a few sleepless nights to cram every last happy hour, beach barbecue, and pool party into your schedule before PTA meetings and other fall activities take over. And truthfully, when we live our lives without regrets, that includes a few superfluous beauty purchases — as long as they can stand up to the challenge of a carefree, action-packed lifestyle. Keep reading: our editors have rounded up some of our favorite formulas for the dog days of summer, including a travel-friendly shampoo and conditioner bar, crease-proof liquid eyeshadow, fuss-free self-tanning serums, and many more.
Who: Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director
Why: When I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was time to resign my beloved Biologique Recherche® P50 1970 to the back of my shelf (it’s not advised to be used by expecting ladies). So, I was left with the dilemma . . . what magical pore-eliminating toner could replace it? Thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow’s mission for cleaner offerings, I found an option from her Goop line. This recently-launched tonic features a medley of ingredients to combat my hormonal breakouts and clogged pores without the banned stuff (such as salicylic acid and retinol). It contains exfoliating fruit acids, as well as nourishing hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3, and seawater from France (known for its skin-benefiting minerals). Now, the tonic does contain glycolic acid, which is considered to be preggo-safe, but it’s always recommended to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by those who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
Why: Steamy August is not my favorite time of year for heat-styled hair. As I embrace my natural waves, I plan to enhance them with this fresh spray from Shu Uemura. It contains seawater from Japan, which adds hydrating minerals and nutrients to your strands. This gives hair that just-walked-on-the-beach, airy texture — the kind of look that’s difficult to create without a boardwalk nearby. It’s not sticky, so you can use it post-shower (to air dry) or on styled hair (for some added oomph). And yes, it smells all beachy and floral. Unlike most volumizing sprays, it’s not meant to be applied on the roots, but rather the middle-to-end of your mane as a styling tool.
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Senior Visuals Editor
Why: I’ll admit, I have been hesitant to try retinol (on my list of goals for fall) due to my already sensitive skin, so an all natural retinol alternative sold me pretty easily. The result? One of my new favorite serums that has a special place on my bathroom shelf. It glides on like silk, and is a great base before moisturizer. I also really like knowing that I have amethyst extract on my face every day — giving my skincare routine some added luxury.
What: L’Occitane® Purifying Mask ($34)
Why: For me, New York in August is the muggiest, grimiest month of the year. That means my face never feels truly clean (thanks sweat) and my pores feel constantly clogged (hello pimple in a place I never get pimples). The moment I applied this cooling, pleasantly green-colored mask to my face, my skin felt instantly soothed and less irritated. While so many people seem to be in Europe for the summer, I truly enjoy letting this mask’s fresh-cut thyme and olive leaf powder from Provence give my skin a little vacation of its own.
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
What: Moodcast® Fragrance Co. SoloistTM Scented Candle ($42)
Why: I don’t know about you, but when I light a candle, it’s because I’m feeling — or hoping to feel — a certain vibe, not because I want my apartment to smell like gardenia or freshly baked bread (though I’m not against that either). Moodcast’s gorgeous collection of scents is designed to celebrate different sides of your personality with fragrances inspired by aromatherapy, so you can burn a candle in line with whatever you’re feeling to indulge and enhance that mood. I have yet to find a votive by this brand that I don’t love, but I’m particularly fond of Soloist, which is meant to be burned during reflective, introspective moments. It’s a blend of Turkish rose, black currant, and Muhuhu wood that smells soft, sultry, and cozy, and just begs to be lit while I’m shuffling my tarot cards.
What: R+Co® Balloon Dry Volume Spray ($32)
Why: I have fine, straight, slippery hair that won’t hold anything — volume, a style, a hair accessory — even when the grittiest texture spray is added to it. But Balloon somehow defies all styling logic, pumping up my strands to give me sexy, Brigitte Bardot-level body that lasts, without ever making my hair feel crunchy, sticky, heavy, or tangled. While it’s especially amazing when added into freshly curled hair, I also love spritzing it on throughout the day for a little boost.
What: Stila® Cosmetics Suede ShadeTM Liquid Eye Shadow ($24)
Why: I’m a big fan of the brand’s Glitter & Glow® liquid shadows, but as much as I love glitter, I just can’t get away with wearing a thick coat of it on my lids every day. This new formula features subtle iridescent pearl to add dimension to lids, while creating a soft, sueded finish that won’t crease. Depending on how much you layer on, you can create a very professional look or a super sexy one. I’m particularly fond of using the shade SassyTM on the lid and Midnight EspressoTM in the crease for the world’s laziest smoky eye. Plus, the formula has serious staying power — I found it lasted through a work day, a sweaty SoulCycle® class, and a shower.
Who: Julie Ricevuto, Senior Beauty Writer
Why: I am not a “beauty bar” person, meaning I hate bars of soap, facial cleansing bars, and body wash bars because, ironically, I don’t feel like they are very clean. Thus, I was super skeptical when trying this shampoo bar for the first time. I figured it wouldn’t wash my hair efficiently and I wouldn’t get that foamy lather that I enjoy during my showers. Lo and behold, I was completely wrong. Not only did this bar lather into a foam as I rubbed it in my hands and across my scalp, it cleansed my hair just as well as any regular shampoo would. Plus, ingredients like Amazonian murumuru butter moisturize your strands with every use. And as a bonus, it has a light, floral scent. Consider me a beauty bar convert.
What: Paula’s Choice® Defense Triple Algae Pollution Shield ($31) - available August 13th
Why: As someone who lives in an urban environment, pollution is my skin’s worst enemy. And until now, it’s been pretty difficult to protect my complexion from the daily pollutants and environmental aggressors it’s exposed to regularly. Luckily, this gel-textured cream does just that. It uses glutathione and grape seed to shield my skin from harmful, airborne particles, while also repairing skin cells. Simply apply it before you put on SPF each day, and rest assured that your pores will be perfectly protected. It’s that simple.
Why: I’m constantly at war with my pores. They always appear riddled with blackheads and too enlarged for my liking — which is why I was stoked when this pore-refining serum entered my life. Phytic acid pentasodium dissolves waxy plugs, while retinol increases cell turnover with every use. The result? Less noticeable blackheads and smaller-looking pores. Now, I can happily say the war against my pores has (temporarily) ended.
Who: Thia Laurain, Social Media Editor
What: Tan-Luxe® Super GlowTM Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum ($49)
Why: As someone who is naturally very fair with cool undertones, I tend to approach all new self-tanners with a healthy suspicion. One swath of the Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum, however, and my skepticism was quickly quelled. The five-in-one formula boasts a heady skin-boosting cocktail of hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidant thwarting raspberry seed oil, and free radical-fighting cocoa seed extract — all suspended in a silky self-tanning serum that will literally make your skin glow, and provide even more radiance with daily use. Start with four drops if you’re hesitant like I was, but rest assured even an entire dropper of this vegan serum will leave you with the most natural-looking tan.
What: Jo Malone® Orange Blossom Hair Mist ($60)
Why: I’m a fan of all Jo Malone fragrances, but if pressed to select my absolute favorite, I’d have to choose their delicate and timeless Orange Blossom Cologne. So when I saw that the sparkling citrus and floral accord was available in a limited edition hair mist — in a stunning coral-capped bottle, no less — my heart skipped a beat. Three to six spritzes of this nourishing mist through my stands is a fresh way to wear fragrance that I particularly love for the warmer months. If you’re a fan of their Wild Bluebell or English Pear & Freesia colognes, you’re also in luck: the two scents have been added to the hair mist collection permanently, so your hair fragrance wardrobe can be on rotation all year long.
Who: Madisen Theobald, Social Media Editor
What: Color Wow® DREAM FILTERTM ($24)
Why: This #HotGirlSummer, I have been taking every opportunity to splash around in (chlorine-filled) pools and coastal oceans — and my hair definitely is paying the price. So whenever my hair is feeling extremely dry and faded, I reach for Color Wow’s new DREAM FILTER. It takes my hair from a dull, brassy blonde to an icy, fresh bombshell blonde in just three minutes. Its non-harsh, non-stripping (pre-shower!) spray removes environmental elements that can wreck color such as iron, aluminum, and even chlorine. Every time I use this mineral-removing, miracle spritz, my light blonde hair looks like I just hopped out of professional salon chair. I have no doubt my colorist will be singing my praises by the end of summer!
Why: This year, I have become obsessed with all things teeny-tiny because it allows for more room in my overflowing bathroom, gym bag, and, of course, suitcase. Psst . . . world travelers, this duo in particular is for you! Despite their size, the Eva NYC Mini Healthy Heat Pro-Power Dryer and Mini Healthy Heat Ceramic Styling Iron are a surprisingly powerful pair that provides a glossy, frizz-free finish to my over-processed hair. Not only do they come in a super chic pink color, but these mini hot tools also radiate far-infrared heat to lock in moisture, soften strands, and make my platinum strands extra glossy. Now, I am happily saving space and saving my hair at the same time.
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
What: Dior® Capture Totale® DreamSkinTM 1-Minute Mask ($75)
Why: By 5 o’clock, my skin looks flat. I brought this mask home hoping that it could revive my glow before an impending sushi soiree with my boyfriend, and it did not disappoint. The gel to cream formula is so silky and comfortable, I hadn’t even realized that it’s also spiked with exfoliating AHAs. After one minute (yes, that’s truly all it takes!), my skin looked significantly more alluring and felt petal soft. I’m filing this one under “best ways to fake great skin in a flash.”
Why: Face oil and sunscreen are steadfast components of my skincare routine. So, when I caught wind of this hybrid product, I was thrilled. Not only is the oil completely invisible (no white cast!), it also consolidates two steps of my morning routine. Admittedly, the formula is a bit slick — but if you like that hyper-glowy skin look, I’d highly recommend.
Who: Cat Matta, Copy Editor & Fact-Checker
What: Glo® Charcoal Detox Mask ($48)
Why: As someone with dry skin almost all year round, I appreciate the increased oil production that the summer heat brings. But my pores only know how to work in extremes. Often, by the end of the day, after sweating in the sun and dripping in the stifling subway, my face can feel greasy and down right dirty. Instead of scrubbing it raw when I get home, I reach for this not-so-ordinary mask. It combines charcoal powder, two types of clay, and exfoliating jojoba beads with a cell detoxifier, to siphon up all the extra sebum and grime. When I wash it off only 10 minutes later, my skin feels perfectly balanced — no longer sullied, yet not dry, and silky soft to the touch.
Why: There are days my ears won’t stop ringing from how loudly we sing the praises of the gold star anti-ager, retinol. Yet, my skin has struggled to acclimate to its tune. Admittedly, a few days of flaking after a too-heavy-handed application has, at times, hampered my motivation for sticking with it. But once in a while a product will come along that piques my interest enough to give it another try. Such was the case when this triple-threat crossed my desk.
In addition to retinol, this formula contains sister superstar vitamin C for brightening and antioxidant wild gooseberry extract to fight free radicals. And there’s no debate over what time of day to put it on, as it is specifically made to be worn while you sleep; the added benefit, for me at least, being that I can gauge the level of potential flaking when I wake, and concoct the proper morning skincare mixology to combat it throughout the day.
Some complimentary products were provided to the authors for the purpose of writing this article.
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