Holiday celebrations aside, December can seem like a throwaway month when it comes to beauty. Winter wreaks havoc on hair, skin, and nails, causing breakage, flaking, and cracking that can make it feel fruitless to even attempt a routine. Yet, you might just find a savior in the industry’s latest launches, which are designed to soothe away the dryness of the season. Here, find our editors’ favorite formulas — from hydrating bath bombs to priming moisturizers — for delivering nourishing hydration (and relaxation) from head to toe.
Victoria Beckham® x Augustinus BaderTM Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer
Who: Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director
Why: I was not really a “primer” person (isn’t it just another way to market daytime face cream?). Then I tried Victoria Beckham’s new collaboration with Augustinus Bader on a formula dubbed “priming moisturizer,” and I’m now a believer. This is Beckham’s first foray into the skincare category under her recently-launched clean beauty brand. She teamed up with Augustinus Bader, a skincare brand known for its cult following, high price points, and patented TFC 8® technology (the latter is comprised of amino acids and vitamins for serious cell turnover). When compared against Bader’s other creams (the original and the rich), this primer is a lighter texture and a bit more taupe-hued than the other stark white creams. The shade variation helps with slight color correcting, putting it smack in that makeup and skincare hybrid category. It feels like a thin, nourishing moisturizer on the skin, and left mine instantly smoother.
Maybe you’re still wondering why it made me a primer convert? Well, this primer actually did the job. My makeup — especially blush — often slides off after a few hours, no matter how many mists of setting spray I apply. After using the primer (layered atop essence and serum), my blush actually stayed present for hours, even on a rainy NYC fall day. I was genuinely impressed and went back to the pump for more the next day.
Sally Hansen® Good. Kind. Pure.TM Nail Color
What: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure. Nail Color ($7)
Why: When it comes to affordable, vegan nail polishes — actually offered in desirable shades — the pickings have been slim. Thankfully, Sally Hansen just got into the game to shake things up! This just-launched, 16-free (meaning no toxic additives) line is offered in 30 chic hues, ranging from neutrals to bold berries and muted pastels. Pinky ClayTM, a dusty mauve, is my favorite right now. A standout feature is the nail polish brush, which features 100-percent natural, plant-based bristles. Since I am still pregnant, relying on cleaner products is a priority, and I’ve been happy to add these newbies to my weekly mani.
TrulyTM Black JellyTM Blemish Treatment Body Serum
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Senior Visuals Editor
What: Truly Black Jelly Blemish Treatment Body Serum ($28)
Why: There was a time in my life when I didn’t own a single serum. I’m not sure who that girl was, because she’s long gone — and now I own too many to count. I decided to take it a step further and try serum for the body. This formula from Truly contains lots of skin-clearing and soothing ingredients, like tea tree oil and black charcoal, which are perfect for the occasional bacne breakout. When it went on like a gel, at first I was concerned that the formula would be drying, but my skin soaks it in very nicely. I use it right out of the shower, while my skin is still damp, and follow with a body lotion to lock all the moisture in.
OUAI® Chill PillsTM Bath Bombs
What: Ouai Chill Pills Bath Bombs ($28)
Why: It’s now deep into hot bath season: my favorite activity to reward myself for getting through another freezing cold day in New York City. When I got these bath bombs in the mail, I was pleasantly pleased by the size. Because they’re called “pills,” I thought they’d be small and I’d have to use a few each time. However, they’re nicely-sized chunks of fizzy goodness with the lovely scent of jasmine and rose, which transform my bathwater into silky, milky greatness to soak all my cares away.
Melanin® Haircare Twist-Elongating Style Cream
What: Melanin Haircare Twist-Elongating Style Cream ($17)
Why: As an African American with thick and curly natural hair, there’s no influencer who I would trust more to come out with products that work for me than Whitney White (a.k.a. Naptural85). She is one of the original YouTube® gurus to start the big natural hair movement over a decade ago. I watched her tutorial and styling videos religiously while I grew out my relaxer (as we have a very similar hair texture), and for the past six years, she has been hinting at a project she was working on. I was thrilled when she launched this style cream with her sister. I’ve seen her concoct her homemade hair products online, so I knew it was going to be natural, free of any damaging ingredients, and most of all, would work for my hair.
Fast forward to recently: I washed and styled my hair in a braid-out (this is when you add product to your hair and sleep in multiple braids at night, taking them out the next day to reveal soft, defined waves) four days ago. My curls are still super defined and moisturized, and I haven’t had to restyle it at all. Kudos to all the hair-loving ingredients she added, which include shea butter and tons of other nut and seed butters and oils. Needless to say, my hair and I are fans.
Ranavat BotanicsTM Luminous CeremonyTM Cream Cleanser
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
What: Ranavat Luminous Ceremony Cream Cleanser ($42)
Why: This time of year, I officially press pause on using all of my more active and aggressive cleansers in favor of more hydrating, nourishing formulas. Right now, I’m indulging in this recent launch from Ranavat. The silky cream-balm texture glides across the skin (wet or dry) to remove any traces of makeup, oil, and other grime, while perfuming the air with the delicate scent of roses. Bonus: the product contains manjistha, an Ayurvedic superfood that helps purify the complexion. For a super luxurious experience, I recommend pairing this face wash with a soft cleansing cloth — you’ll get every last speck of mascara off and feel like a million bucks while doing so.
Chanel® Stylo Yeux WaterproofTM in Khaki IntenseTM
What: Chanel® Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Khaki Intense ($33)
Why: Truthfully, I don’t typically get too excited about pencil eyeliners — what’s really changed in the category in the past several thousand years? — but I was totally charmed by this one. The product is actually waterproof (with no mid-day smudging or streaking), glides on with ease, and is remarkably flattering. The unique shade reads as an iridescent olive when swatched on the hand, but when sketched onto the lashline, it looks like a taupe hue with a certain je ne sais quoi. It brings out the green in my light brown eyes without making my makeup appear too severe.
The Nue Co.TM Skin FilterTM Capsules
Who: Thia Laurain, Social Media Editor
What: The Nue Co. Skin Filter Capsules ($60)
Why: While rigorous with my daily skincare routine, I am the first to admit that the same discipline is lacking when it comes to taking a daily vitamin. For the last 30 days, however, I’ve been diligently taking The Nue Co. Skin Filter every single day, and my skin has never been brighter. The easy-to-swallow capsules are filled with a patented blend of vitamins and minerals that features champagne grape seed, melon, vitamin C, and zinc. Those key ingredients are clinically proven (thanks to a 60-day study conducted en France) to improve the three main issues responsible for dull skin: collagen degradation, melanin overproduction, and impaired elasticity. Try them for yourself and see if your skin ends up on the bright side, too.
BenestemTM Serum Gentle Moist
What: Benestem Serum Gentle Moist ($35)
Why: I’m a devoted fan of Benestem Human CBCMTM Cream — as soon as it got cold this fall, I started using it every night to soothe and repair my skin. Since I love the cream so much, it was only natural I’d fall for the rest of the line, too. Now, I’m equally-smitten with the brand’s Serum Gentle Moist. With an ultra-soft, air-whipped texture, this affordable stem cell serum quickly melts into skin, providing deep hydration and protection for delicate (read: winter-chapped) skin barriers. I especially love to use this serum after doing a peel or exfoliating mask, when I know my skin could use some extra-gentle hydration and healing.
Kosas® Wet Lip Oil Gloss in MalibuTM
What: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss in Malibu ($27)
Why: I declared 2019 my “Year of Lip Gloss,” and the latest launch from Kosas has ensured I finish out the year on a high note. The slippery, non-sticky formula contains an all-natural blend of primrose oil, hyaluronic acid, and peptides to hydrate and plump lips both instantly and over time. I love that the gloss is wet-looking without being overly shiny; its sophisticated finish and saturated, rosy pink pigments would flatter lips of all ages and skin tones.
RAINCRYTM Rebuild Bond Repair with 300mg CBD
What: RAINCRY Rebuild Bond Repair with 300mg CBD ($38)
Why: My hair is currently very long — as in, to-the-middle-of-my-back long. I’m considering a big chop in the near future, but until then, I’m focusing on keeping my strands as healthy as possible. This leave-in treatment from RAINCRY has been helping to fortify the strength of my hair with bond-building collagen peptides, lotus flower, and 300mg of CBD oil in every tube. I massage a silver dollar-sized dollop into my ends, and then run my fingers through my hair from the bottom up to distribute any excess. Thanks to an ultra-lightweight texture and paraben-free formula, this product doesn’t weigh my hair down or leave any greasy residue behind.
PYT BeautyTM Glam Glitter Gel in Iridescent
What: PYT Beauty Glam Glitter Gel in Iridescent ($18)
Why: I was recently at a party and saw a woman with the most eye-catching highlight from across the room: the bright pastel shimmer orbited her brow bone and upper cheek, magically changed colors in the light, and completely lit up the inner corners of her eyes in the most arresting way. I had to know what it was, so I asked. Turns out it was not any of the usual suspects, but the new Glam Glitter Gel by PYT Beauty. I immediately got my hands on a tube, and have been glowing ever since. If a bold, white-blue reflect isn’t your thing, this multi-purpose gel also comes in baby pink and a rich, burnished gold that looks expensive. Slick it on lids, cheeks, or the high point of your choice, and you’ll be the one turning heads at this month’s festive holiday gatherings.
Justine MarjanTM x KITSCH® Patent Knotted Headband with Chain in Blush
Who: Madisen Theobald, Social Media Editor
Why: If you have scrolled through Instagram® lately, you may have noticed that headbands are the latest accessory trend to grace our feeds. Not just any ol’ headbands, though — I’m talking plush, bedazzled, pearl-covered, dripping-in-chains, faux leather-topped headbands. Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan took the trend to the next level: Her most recent hair collab with Kitsch® features a large array of leather scrunchies, crystal-encrusted barretts, and, of course, this chic patent headband that is now in my hair accesories arsenal. “Dressy” hair accessories are such a fun and easy way to remix your look — especially if you’re wearing the same LBD from last year’s holiday party.
ColourPop® Pretty FreshTM Hyaluronic Concealer
What: ColourPop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Concealer ($9)
Why: I have been a huge fan of ColourPop since 2015, and I pay close attention to every new launch. The new Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Concealer is dehydrated skin’s dream, because it’s loaded with the moisture-craving ingredient hyaluronic acid. Not only does the formula quench your undereyes’ thirst, but it gives you cushiony yet creamy full-coverage that will last you all day. The new lineup features 30 creamy shades, so you are bound to find a perfect match. I started using this HA-infused concealer earlier this month, and my undereyes have never felt more smooth and/or crease-free!
ChloéTM L’Eau Eau De Toilette
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
What: Chloé L’Eau Eau De Toilette ($65)
Why: The original Chloé Eau de Parfum was my first “adult” fragrance — and, over a decade later, I’m still partial to the powdery, sophisticated floral scent. Since then, the brand has launched various spin-offs of the original, with Chloé L’Eau EDT as the latest addition to the family. While its virtually identical bottle suggests that L’Eau might bear a twin-like resemblance to the original (in terms of overall scent), a quick spritz proves that the two are more akin to cousins. L’Eau shares some notes with my beloved EDP — including cedar and magnolia — but it’s devoid of that overtly feminine powderiness for which the original is known. Instead, notes of rose, grapefruit, magnolia, and cedar mingle for a drydown that’s both sexy and casual. Dare I say that this rendition is going to become as much of a crowd pleaser as the original? I think so.
Dr. Barbara Sturm® Ski CreamTM
What: Dr. Barbara Sturm Ski Cream ($115)
Why: As its name suggests, this cream is specifically formulated for snow-loving sportspeople. As someone who relegates herself to the bunny slopes, however, I can attest that this cream still serves those of us who haven’t a sporty bone in our bodies. Winter winds, snow flurries, and overzealous heaters render my skin rawer than tartare. (A symptom of a compromised skin barrier.) This ultra-thick cream creates a physical, protective shield from the elements by way of shea butter, black currant oil, and balloon vine — a curious-sounding plant known to calm inflammation and soothe itchiness. A pea-sized amount is all you need; because the formula is so thick, a little bit goes a long way. It’s also worth noting that this cream takes longer than most to absorb — but once it does, you’ll be ready to face whatever weather whims winter may have in store.
THE ROUTETM The Party PeelTM
Who: Cat Matta, Copy Editor & Fact-Checker
What: THE ROUTE The Party Peel ($65)
Why: I’m always on the lookout for a good peel, be it a peel-off, rinse-off, or pre-soaked pads, and I’m making a resolution for myself that in 2020 I will be more regimented with them. THE ROUTE The Party Peel might just be my motivation. The wash-off golden mask contains a proprietary blend of perfectly pH-balanced acids, along with a Chardonnay Grape extract, which instantly make skin softer, and refine tone and texture over time.
The best part, however, is its oxygen delivery system that gives birth to tiny bubbles once the peel comes in contact with skin. This not only enables actives to penetrate more deeply, it also creates the sensation of a miniature party dancing across your face (I love when I can feel products working!) Pro tip: If you want to reactivate the bubbles when they begin to dissipate, simply massage the peel while it’s still wet.
Laneige® Kiss Me All DayTM Lip Glowy Balm
What: Laneige Kiss Me All Day Lip Glowy Balm ($35)
Why: There are people who are obsessed with lip balms, stashing them everywhere in fear that they’ll be left dry (and chapped). I am one of those people. That’s why when I came across this trio, I didn’t think twice about giving them a try. And I’m so glad I did. Each of the flavors (Berry, Peach, and Pear) taste remarkably like their namesakes, making them delicious as well as delightful to put on. The former two are tinted to provide a glaze of color, while the latter creates a translucent shine.