It feels strange: while many of us are shuttered in our homes trying to stay healthy (and sane), nature forges on. The weather is gradually getting warmer, plants are sprouting, flowers are blooming — yet mentally, many of us feel frozen in time, stuck in mid-March. But we’ve found that acknowledging and reveling in the shift in temperature, lengthened hours of daylight, and more seasonal switches is one of the best possible balms for a troubled mind.
If your situation allows, open a window, or better yet, take a walk in the most verdant area near you. Feel the breeze and remind yourself that it’s no longer winter — and that now, you have a chance to let your skin breathe a little bit. If you feel inspired (as we do), let this slide into summer motivate some changes in your beauty routine. Here, our editors share the essentials they’re swearing by this month, from natural perfumes and mineral bronzers to good-for-the-planet haircare. Keep reading to discover our favorites — and maybe a new one of yours.
LaBrunaTM Skincare Floral Roll-on Essence
Who: Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director
Why: Lately, I’ve been trying to support more indie beauty brands and use natural fragrances around my newborn daughter. This beautiful roll-on essential oil checks both buckets. Yoga teacher-turned-entrepreneur Nina LaBruna launched this holistic brand in 2018, and in addition to the soothing-scented scrubs, bath salts, and face oils, I adore this fragrance. First of all, the bottle is just beautiful — you can actually see the flowers within it. And, it contains clean ingredients, like apricot kernel and jojoba oils. These oils also offer skincare benefits, such as hydration and nourishing vitamins. The best part, though, is the lovely scent it leaves on my skin — similar to fresh flowers in the park after a spring rain shower.
Sundays Studio℠ Manicure Kit
Why: One way I am taking care of myself at home is by using this manicure kit from NYC nail salon, Sundays Studio. It comes with everything needed to trim and gloss nails including a file, buffer, hydrating base coat, top coat, cuticle eraser, cuticle serum, nail clipper, quick-dry oil, and wooden stick. While I am not the handiest manicurist, this kit is keeping my nails in a state that doesn’t embarrass me too much on virtual happy hours.
Maui Moisture® Smooth & RepairTM + Vanilla Bean Hair Butter
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Creative Lead, Digital
Why: As the self-proclaimed natural hair guru of our office, I’m a bit obsessed with my quest for the perfect curl. My main style is a braid-out, but the nice soft waves I get from this process are usually kaput after a few days, so I have to wash and reset. This is extra aggravating, because my hair type doesn't need to be washed that often, and actually flourishes when it is weighed down with oils and moisturizing products. The problem then becomes buildup (and a not-so-fresh smell), so when this richly-fragranced hair butter from Maui Moisture crossed my desk, I knew it was going to be my solution.
Besides helping with my breakage and split ends, the whipped, thick texture looks and smells like dessert, offers a soft hold I can’t even get from gel, and the kicker — boasts lasting benefits. I braid or twist my hair with this product every night, and it delivers good hair day after good hair day. Most recently, I went over three weeks without washing it, all while having a consistently fresh-smelling head of curls — and at a super affordable price.
Herbivore® PRISMTM 20% AHA + 5% BHA Exfoliating Glow Facial
Why: Lately, I’ve been noticing some rough, dry texture in my T-zone — an unexpected skin issue for me, since that is always my oilest area. Now that I have this new problem to tackle, I’ve found that the most effective technique to combat it is giving myself an at-home exfoliating facial once a week. And I have to say, I really prefer formulas chock full of skin-sloughing acids over scrubs. This glow facial from Herbivore has a ton of them, including glycolic acid from sugar cane to improve texture, and lactic acid, which is awesome for dark spots. After I cleanse with something mild (anything too harsh can make this mask sting more than tingle), I apply a thin layer and keep myself busy for 20 minutes. I follow-up with the line’s Lapis Blue Tansy + Squalene Balancing Facial Oil to soothe my skin, which definitely feels smoother and brighter. Bonus: this gorgeous iridescent glass jar is a pretty addition on my shelf.
Charlotte Tilbury® Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal ElixirTM
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
Why: You might assume that a makeup brand has no business making skincare — and in many instances, I agree. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and one of those is Charlotte Tilbury’s eponymous line. The makeup artist famously concocted her own moisturizer to give models a luminous glow on runways well before she ever launched her own brand (Charlotte’s Magic CreamTM, anyone?) because of her passion for beautiful skin. Her newest addition to her skincare range is a potent, lightweight serum formulated with vitamin C, niacinamide, and polyglutamic acid (an amino acid with hydrating benefits similar to hyaluronic acid). The result: a nourished, soft, smooth, and radiant complexion. Try layering it under your favorite moisturizer for a boost in hydration.
Tangle Teezer® The Ultimate Vented Hairbrush
Why: Not sure if anyone can relate, but there’s always a downside after I’ve freshly blown out my hair — seeing all the strands that fell out during my styling process on my bathroom floor. I know it’s normal to lose around 100 strands a day, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see. While overall hair loss has many different factors, you can help slow shedding by using a gentler hairbrush. The teeth on Tangle Teezer brushes are designed to carefully detangle snarls and smooth hair, gliding through in lieu of ripping out already-fragile wet strands. This new tool in particular was designed to also improve the blowout process, thanks to the vented back of the brush that facilitates airflow and faster drying. I’ve already seen a difference — my tile floors look like less of a war zone these days, and my hair looks ultra glossy and full.
KBShimmer® Thermal Nail Polish in Where My Beaches At?TM
Why: Freshly-painted nails are a very small and easy source of joy in my life — and that joy is quickly amplified when my nails are tiny canvases for fun designs. Since I have neither the patience nor the tools right now to DIY nail art, I’m living for this color-changing lacquer from KBShimmer. The base shifts from a vibrant orchid to a very pale, almost-white lilac, depending on the temperature your nails have been exposed to. And, for extra fun, the formula is loaded with holographic flakes that flash rainbow shades. Catching a glimpse of my nails when I’m wearing this color never fails to make me smile.
Love, Beauty and Planet® Concentrated Shampoo
Who: Emily Orofino
Why: Did you know it takes 22 gallons of water to create one pound of plastic? On top of that startling news, take a close look at the back of your nearest bottle of shampoo, and you’ll likely see that the first ingredient is water — meaning that of all the ingredients inside, water is in there at the highest concentration. You may not even bat an eye at hearing this news, but consider it with a different mindset: Your typical bottle of shampoo is a scourge to water-saving efforts.
It doesn’t have to be that way — which is why Love Beauty & Planet has created an ultra-concentrated shampoo formula that not only uses less water than its original formulas, but the bottle also uses 30% less plastic. Because there is less water overall, the product is much thicker and requires you to use significantly less. My hair is very straight and fine, which means I have to wash it every other day. That always felt wasteful, but now I am happy to know that even though I’m lathering up, I’m still helping to save water.
Eve Lom® RescueTM Toner
Who: Thia Laurain, Senior Social Media Editor
Why: With all the additional (ahem) comfort food and snacks I’ve been consuming over the last month, my skin has understandably not been on its best behavior. Thankfully, I’ve managed to get it under control by drinking extra water, eating more fresh veggies, and adding this exfoliating toner into my skincare routine. I usually exfoliate twice a week, but I’ve been using this toner every day. That’s because the formula’s balanced combination of natural AHAs (derived from Australian Caviar Lime) and soothing ingredients (aloe vera, centella asiatica) ensures it is gentle enough for daily use. I also love the fresh, citrus-y scent, which is thanks to a hefty helping of organic Mediterranean bergamot water.
Kosas® The Sun ShowTM Baked Bronzer in Light
Why: If asked to describe my skin tone, the first word that comes to mind is “Irish.” That said, even though I don’t tan easily (or at all), I still feel more alive in the warmer months with a bit of bronzer across my cheeks. This buttery-smooth bronzer from Kosas — a first for the brand — is my new go-to for that glowy, golden hour look. Thanks to the shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil in this baked mousse formula, this bronzer is actually moisturizing, too. A few sweeps across the nose, temples, and cheeks leaves my skin feeling plumped and looking naturally radiant — no matter how pale it actually is underneath.
FleshTM Sheer FleshTM Hydrating SPF Serum SPF 35
Why: Even though I’ve been WFH for over seven weeks now, I have remained diligent about applying sunscreen every morning while indoors. I have several SPF formulas that I’ve remained loyal to over the years — Elemis® Pro-CollagenTM Marine Cream SPF 30 and Biore® UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++ being my top two — but I’ve found myself reaching for this ultra-lightweight serum every single day since the stay-at-home order began. Two pumps are all I need to hydrate my face with glycerin and honey extract, plus protect it from UVA/UVB rays with SPF 35. The non-sticky, weightless texture and sheer formulation also ensure this SPF is completely absorbed into my skin in less time than it takes to sip my morning espresso. Good morning, indeed!
Zoya® Calm CollectionTM Nail Polish in ColleenTM
Why: In these turbulent times, I’ll take all the “calm” I can get, which is why I’m loving Zoya’s spring 2020 Calm Collection. The comfort I get from seeing these soft shades — including a delicate spring green, soft powder blue, and a sweet peachy-pink (my favorite) — is the perfect antidote to the uncertainty I’m feeling about the rest of the world. I’ve also been using the brand’s Gelie-Cure® system ($85) to DIY my own at-home gel manicures, with stellar results. The system works with regular color polish (!) thanks to an innovative demi-gel base and top coat that binds with regular color polish, and is then cured using a portal LED light. Simple, satisfactory, and oh-so-soothing to do.
Philip B® CBD Scalp + Body Oil
Who: Madisen Theobald, Senior Social Media Editor
Why: At my very first beauty gig, I once heard the expression “healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp.” I have kept that phrase in the back of my mind whenever testing, trying, or purchasing haircare products. Not only are those words I now live by, but they are also words that Philip B himself lives by. The Philip B® CBD Scalp + Body Oil is a testament to this old-time saying. And here’s how — I apply the refreshing CBD oil to my dry scalp, work it through with my fingers, comb it through, and run a blow dryer over my head for about five minutes to allow the CBD oil to soak and penetrate. As I work the oil through my dry, over-processed hair, it helps slough off the dead skin cells, while the CBD soothes and calms my stressed-out scalp — which is left feeling refreshed (the formula is minty and invigorating!) and soothed.
Mineral Air® Skin Renewal Serum System
Why: I don’t think there is a more suitable product for this time than the Mineral Air Skin Renewal Serum System. This chic device is designed to deliver skincare ingredients hands-free, so I’ve said goodbye to touching my face altogether (which I am sure the CDC℠ would be ecstatic about!). It pumps out an ultra-fine mist of the included Renewal Serum, which is enriched with hyaluronic acid, renewing peptides, and niacinamide. I simply charge it up with a USB, pop in five to six drops of the serum, and my skin is greeted with instant hydration and glowy radiance. Even after quarantine, I will continue to spritz my face with this hydrating tool at home, on a plane, and at work.
Summer Fridays® Lip Butter Balm
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
Why: How many lip balms does the world really need? Such was my initial thought when this lip balm landed on my desk. As it turns out, this one is special. Texturally somewhere between a lip balm and a lip mask, it’s ultra-buttery without being waxy or greasy. Murumuru and shea butters leave my lips ultra-soft — and, thanks to an indulgent hint of vanilla, it’s quite tasty to boot.
The Beauty Chef® Omega Elixir
Why: My colleagues and I have a running joke about how much salmon I consume. Obviously, it’s delicious — but the main reason for my copious consumption is the fact that salmon is one of the healthiest skin-nourishing foods around, thanks to its fatty acid-rich omega 3s. If — for some reason — you’re not a salmon fan, or if you’re vegetarian, consider this omega-rich skin elixir. It takes the principle of ingesting healthy fats for good skin by deriving omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9 from plant-based sources, including chia and black cumin seeds. Theoretically, you could pat this oil directly onto the skin; its ingredients and glossy finish are similar to those you’d expect from a face oil. Technically, though, this elixir is meant to be ingested — a true lit-from-within glow! It has a slightly zingy lemon flavor that enlivens any boring desk salad. My favorite way to eat it? Drizzled over salmon, of course!
Kora® Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask
Who: Cat Matta, Copy Editor & Fact-Checker
Why: With so much time at home lately, I’ve become a bit of a masking maniac — and this Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask from Kora quickly earned a spot at the top of my rotation. It’s both a physical and chemical exfoliator, which combines quartz and rosehip seeds with aspen bark, a natural BHA, to tag team dead skin cells and dullness. The dark brown formula spreads on with vibrant trails of yellow from the brightening turmeric, and dries down similarly to a mud mask. I like to put it on before a shower, because by the time I rinse it away and dry off, my skin is visibly invigorated and like velvet to touch.
InstaNatural® 30% Glycolic AHA Chemical Peel
Why: Sometimes, when I would rather focus on other aspects of my skincare routine or home life, I want an exfoliator that works in a flash — and this peel from InstaNatural delivers. Simply spread a thin layer on cleansed skin, wait 30 to 60 seconds, and voila, smoother, brighter, and softer skin. In addition to polishing my complexion, the peel infuses hydrating, antioxidant-rich hyaluronic acid and sunflower seed oil, along with vitamins A and C to help combat dryness and fine lines.
Discover more product reviews here:
- Why This Vitamin C Serum Is Garnering a Cult Following
- Glossier’s Futuredew Serum Crosses Uncharted Territory
- I Attribute My Even-Toned, “Amazing” Skin to This 1 Cica Serum
Some complimentary products were provided to the authors for the purpose of writing this article.
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