What’s sparking joy for you right now? The pessimists among us — and, we’re willing to wager, a good deal of optimists, too — are likely to say “very little.” We get it: many of us are still self-isolating and social distancing, and the 24-hour news cycle is more stressful than ever. But if you examine the proverbial glass quite closely, you still might be able to see it as half full. This has been an important time for many of us, for introspection and creating powerful community ties that defy physical limitations. And now that a lot of Americans are ready to rejoin their communities IRL, it’s totally reasonable that they’d all want to put their best faces — and hair, and fingertips — forward.
Here, our editors outline the products that they’re using to showcase their assets this summer, from self-tanning serums to formulas helping them to get their closest shave yet. Read on — and we hope you relish any joy found in preparing for your own summer closeup!
Coral UV® 3-in-1 at Home Sanitizer
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Creative Lead, Digital
Why: What seemed like a blip in our lives a few months ago has become the new normal, and as a result, I am much more conscious about cleanliness in all aspects of my routines, including beauty. FDA- and EPA-approved as a non medical at-home cleaning device, this sanitizer from Coral UV now sits in my entryway, ready to disinfect my keys, cell phone, face mask (be sure to lay it flat inside), and anything else I’ve used while outside, slowly reintroducing safe activities and running errands. Using a high energy, artificial UV-C ray in the included light bulbs, the machine breaks down the DNA of bacteria and germs and disrupts their ability to reproduce, sanitizing anything the light touches. This device can clean most household items, which is all very necessary in the times we are living in. But the real joy has been being able to quickly sanitize my facial rollers, makeup brushes, chapstick tubes, toothbrush and more with a click of a button on this cute little cube — in as little as 10 minutes.
Naturium® Vitamin C Super Serum Plus
Why: Affordable skincare that feels like a luxury is something I always get excited about. And on days that I just don’t feel up to an eight-step routine, I reach for more of a serum cocktail, like this one from Naturium. Packed with five popular, potent ingredients (vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid), I can address a number of concerns with one bottle, including fine lines, acne, and dullness. The brand’s overall mission is to educate its customers on all ingredients used with an easily digestible library, so I feel super comfortable about what I’m putting on my skin.
Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.
Although salicylic acid is considered safe to use while nursing, be sure to avoid applying it to areas on your body that baby may come into direct contact with or inadvertently ingest it.
ISDIN® Uradin® Podos Hydrating Gel Oil
Why: Summer is in full swing, which means my feet aren’t getting a break from being on display. To show them a little extra TLC, I’ve been applying ISDIN’s hydrating gel morning and night to combat dryness, cracks, and calluses. Thanks to lactic acid (which exfoliates thick dead skin) and urea (a humectant that helps retain moisture), this formula works to soften skin, especially on the heels and balls of my feet. It performs even better when I use this lightweight, non-greasy formula as soon as I step out of the shower to lock all the goodness in, so I can skip around the house or down the street with confidence.
Victoria Beckham® Beauty Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer in Golden
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
Why: When I first pumped this formula onto my fingertips, I was wary — I have extremely fair skin, and this formula is a luminous, mid-toned bronze hue with subtle shimmer — but I needn’t have worried: it melted into my skin to impart a just-back-from-the-beach glow that would give all complexions a boost in radiance. However, it’s not designed to only give skin an instant luminosity: The product was developed in partnership with skincare line Augustinus Bader® to help minimize the look of fine lines, enlarged pores, and dull skin with ingredients like black tea ferment, papaya enzymes, and algae extract. By the way, may I remind you that all of these perks are built into a makeup primer? Before you’ve even put foundation on for the day, this product will help you vanquish some of the most common skincare concerns instantly and over time. Win, win!
Tree Hut Bare® Hydrating Shave Butter in Coconut Lime
Why: This may sound silly, but up until recently — in fact, up until I tried this whole collection from Tree Hut — I was under the impression that my legs just couldn’t get smooth from shaving. I’m prone to a good deal of irritation and ingrowns, even when a blade is new, and just general rough, red, itchiness that I’ve blamed on the keratosis pilaris that plagues my legs. But I think I just wasn’t treating my shaving regimen with enough care. Tree Hut sent me a whole collection — including a pre-shave sugar scrub, a shaving oil, shaving butter, and a post-shave irritation-prevention mist — that showed me the error of my ways. The line is packed with shea butter, cocoa butter, and other nourishing ingredients to help condition your skin and the razor to glide across it, leaving skin silky smooth. In particular, using this product feels like shaving with a body lotion. It’s a strange sensation to get used to at first, but now I’m hooked on the results — my ability to flaunt soft, non-irritated legs all summer!
Seiso JBeautyTM Ceramide Moisture Milk
Why: The cornerstone of many K-Beauty and J-Beauty brands is sealing hydration into skin — layers and layers of hydration. For a lot of Americans (including myself, when I first became acquainted with this concept!), lots of moisture mentally translates into a greasy, pilly mess. However, when the formulations are done well — and layered properly, of course — all that’s left behind is dewy, touchably soft skin.
Seiso’s ceramide-enriched, multi-step system demonstrates the power of efficacious, moisturizing formulas beautifully. Every product, from the concentrated Pure Ceramide Concentrate to the Water Velvet Cream, floods skin with rich yet shockingly lightweight hydration. That said, my favorite product in the line is the Ceramide Moisture Milk. It’s packed with glycerin, shea butter, camellia, jojoba, and squalane in addition to the brand’s ceramide complex to leave skin silky soft with a “milk glass” sheen. The latter claim sounded like marketing lingo to me — but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my complexion had a radiant glow with a satin finish after application.
NakedPoppy® Revitalize Organic Facial Oil
Who: Thia Laurain, Senior Social Media Editor
Why: If you’re a fan of clean beauty and technology-driven innovation, chances are you already know about NakedPoppy. The next-gen clean beauty purveyor uses AI to recommend personalized skincare and beauty picks for you from its already hyper-curated clean beauty assortment. The brand also uses its tech to identify gaps in the market that it can fill with clean, effective, and affordable products. My latest favorite: Revitalize Organic Facial Oil. This ultra-nourishing blend contains organic argan, jojoba, poppy seed, and rosehip seed oils. It brightens and smooths skin with a high concentration of naturally-occurring vitamin C and barrier-building fatty acids. And it feels like luxury. Bonus: the rosehip seed oil is sourced from a women-led sustainable farm in Patagonia, Chile — so by applying this face oil, you’re not just looking good, but doing good, too.
KORRES® Tanning + Skin Perfecting Face and Body Serum
Why: While I may not be island-hopping in Greece anytime soon, I can at least look like I just got back from a week in Mykonos with the help of this innovative self-tanning serum. Packed with skincare-quality ingredients like hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, and oat seed extract, this formula hydrates and nourishes skin so your faux glow goes on smoothly and evenly. With a thicker gel texture, you can also be sure it won’t run or drip before you rub it into skin. I can attest that a single application left my fair skin looking golden and glowing for an entire week. I was also pleasantly surprised at how natural the tan looked even as it faded — almost as if it transformed into a spray of tiny freckles on my skin — with not a blotch in sight.
Amorepacific® Moisture Plumping Nectar Cream
Why: Dewy. Plump. Hydrated. Smooth. If these are adjectives you would like to describe your skin, I’ve found that a dollop of this lightweight, silky moisturizer gets the job done. The ultra-hydrating formula is packed with softening lotus flower extract, free radical-fighting green tea seed oil, and skin-strengthening bamboo nectar. The formula’s proprietary blend of bamboo sap and essence — which are harvested by hand over 25 days in May each year — provides a potent concentration of amino acids and nutrients. This hydrating cream is definitely at a prestige price point, but I believe the luxurious application experience, high concentration of rare, potent ingredients, and long-lasting moisture it imparts makes it completely worth the splurge.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian® OUD Satin Mood Scented Hair Mist
Why: Over the last few months of working from home, I have trained my hair to be washed only twice per week. This has kept my hair looking healthy and feeling strong, but not smelling as shampoo-fresh as I’m used to. A couple spritzes of this rose, oud, and amber scented hair mist, and any worries of stale-smelling strands wafts away. I’m a fan of many scents from the Maison Francis Kurkdijan line — the rose petal jam-inspired Anouche candle is a particular favorite — but the warm, woody, sensual OUD Satin Mood is officially my new go-to. And even long after we’ve returned to normal 9-5 office life, I think a daily spritz of hair perfume will be my go-to fragrance application method, too.
Curology® Acne Body Wash
Who: Madisen Theobald, Senior Social Media Editor
Why: I would like to thank all my tight workout clothes, the times I didn’t shower right after a hot yoga sesh, and (of course) my adult bacne for introducing me to the new Curology Acne Body Wash. To be honest, it was a much-needed rendezvous — over the past few months, I have been struggling with terrible breakouts on my shoulders and back. Curology’s new dermatologist-designed body wash is designed to help treat and prevent acne. This luxe sudsy formula is chock-full of salicylic acid (acne’s worst nightmare) which encourages exfoliation, helps to prevent blemishes, and works to treat blocked pores.
Here’s how I like to use it: When I’m in the shower, I take my cedar, long-handle bath brush and pour a quarter-sized amount of the cleanser onto the brush, and start scrubbing in circular motions on my back. I let the formula sit and dig deep into my pores for about two to three minutes while I wash the rest of my body. My backless crop tops and I can attest that this breakout-fighting body wash definitely feels and looks like it is doing the job — all without irritating my skin.
e.l.f.® Cosmetics Retro Paradise Line and Shine Lip Kit
Why: I’ve been on Tik Tok for months now, and I still can’t get that “eyes, lips, face” sound out of my head thanks to e.l.f Cosmetics. If you haven’t seen this particular Tik Tok hashtag challenge: it’s a challenge based on women showing off their facial features — eyes, lips, and face. So, here I am about to enter the #challenge space with their new Retro Paradise Line & Shine Lip Kit.
This micro lip kit is inspired by paintings and colors in the Bahamas. Each of the four liners are ultra-creamy and pigmented for defining, sculpting, and filling in summer pouts. My favorite liner in the set is Nude 03. It gives the ultimate 90s vibe with its deep golden brown tone. I love to use the liner on the contours of my lips and then blend the liner into the middle of my lips with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Editor’s Tip: You can also use this shade to add depth to your lips by applying more pressure and line thickness to the inner corners. Next, I pop on the Dream On lip gloss for some sheer, iridescent shimmer. All these paradise hues truly make me look like I hopped off a plane from the breezy Bahamas, even though I was most likely just hanging in my own backyard.
Donna Bella® Hybrid Weft Extensions
Why: I am once again sharing the latest and greatest from the hair extensions world. I like to think of myself as a hair extension “expert” because I have tried almost all types, shapes, colors, and forms on the market. This month, I decided to put these new 100% Remy hair extensions by Donna Bella (leader in professional hair extensions) to the test on my fine blonde hair.
Time to geek out: these hybrid weft extensions are a combination of two popular methods: hand-tied and machine-tied extensions. If you know extensions like I do, you know this is major. I had my hairstylist meticulously sew a few into my hair, and I instantly found that they have the thinness and comfortability of hand-tied extensions, but allow for easy customization without shedding like machine-tied extensions. My fellow hair extension aficionados, if you are looking for something more permanent and seamless (unlike clips or halos), I urge you to try out these new hybrid locks. And, I bet you know one will even notice they are in!
Who: Priscilla De Castro, Visuals Editor
Why: I have been doing my own manicures at home these past couple of months, and while I’ve improved over time, one hump I can't get over is that my left hand never looks as good as my right hand — ever. Recently, a friend shared her solution for leaving both hands looking good: ManiMe, stick-on gel manicure designs that you buy online. Before you even pick a design, the company has you take and upload photos of your nails to tailor your own custom fit. I did just that, then selected the “Not So Mellow Yellow” design, which I received in the mail in four business days.
Once they arrived, it took about 10 minutes to apply them and file down the excess (no drying time, of course!). This was just the first of many perks of a DIY ManiMe manicure. I could not believe how precise the fit was to my nail bed — and the best part was that both my hands looked like a professional manicurist painted them. Designs like this can cost upwards of $75+ in NYC, so ManiMe is a steal! My nails garnered me many compliments when running errands in Brooklyn — plus lots of inquiries asking where I got a fancy gel manicure when everything is closed. (Another plus: ManiMe recently launched the CARE collection, which boasts chic designs from 11 diverse celebrity manicurists — trust me when I say it's going to be hard to pick just one.)
A lot of stick-on designs get flack for wearing off quickly, but my ManiMe manicure lasted a little over two weeks through showering, working, washing dishes and doing yoga. My nails also felt just as strong with these stickers as they do with a standard gel manicure. Lastly, one of my personal downsides to getting traditional gel manicure is that once my nails start growing, I pick off the gel, which is bad for natural nails. When I do it with ManiMe, they peel off easily — with no damage and all the peel-off satisfaction.
Kristin Ess® Hair Signature Hair Gloss in Black Iris True Black
Why: My hair is naturally black, but I get brown highlights — and during quarantine, they’ve grown out and turned a bit brassy. While I’d normally leave my hair to the experts, I was itching to go all black, and was tempted to try an in-home color/gloss treatment. After some searching, I came across Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss. As the name suggests (and as the reviews I read swore), this product provides a “true black” look, without any red or blue undertones.
This was my first time trying out an at-home color treatment, and I was pleasantly surprised. The smell wasn't overpowering at all, and the product itself was easy to use — I simply mixed the two included bottles of formula together, then applied it to my wet hair. After waiting just 20 minutes, I was done. Once I rinsed it out and blew out my hair, I was excited to see that my brassy highlights were gone — the gloss even covered up some grays! — and, most importantly, it looked like my natural black hair. The gloss also left my hair incredibly soft and shiny-looking for about four weeks (I couldn't stop running my fingers through it!). At just $14 bucks a box, I am happy to incorporate this product into my hair routine between salon visits.
Tula® Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
Why: Of all the sparkly sunscreens I’ve tried, this might be my favorite. More glinting than glittering, its shimmer-level is “sensible” enough to wear in the most buttoned-up locales, yet amply reflective to emit an ethereal glow when it catches the light. The cooling, gel-based formula not only feels quenching — it actually supports your skin’s moisture barrier, thanks to probiotics.
Luxy® 16” Halo® Hair Extensions
Why: I’m famously bad at doing my own hair — which does not bode well when you’re riddled with dry, dead ends and no salon to turn to for months on end. Alas, I — like so many of us — have felt compelled to summon my inner Edward Scissorhands® as of late. (Need I say more?)
Luckily for us scissor-happy folk, celeb-approved hair extension brand, Luxy, launched an easy-peasy extension option just in time for societal reintegration. I’d heard of halo-style extensions before trying Luxy's, but I’d always been skeptical of whether a headband-style hairpiece — or any extensions applied outside of a salon, for that matter — could actually look natural.
Made with real, high-quality human hair, this halo looks impeccably natural; so natural, in fact, it can be tricky to tell where my hair ends and where the extensions begin. Comfort-wise, they’re lightweight enough for hours-long wear. The extensions come with multiple band sizes, so choosing the right fit requires a bit of trial and error. Once I perfected my fit and positioning, though, I was flipping my lush locks all around my apartment.
Discover more editors’ favorite products:
- Let’s Discuss: Does the DERMAFLASH Really Work?
- This Is the Only Makeup Product I Want to Wear While Working From Home
- The Scoop on the Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar
Some complimentary products were provided to the authors for the purpose of writing this article.
Product prices may vary from the time this article was written.
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.