After weeks of scrubbing, swiping and blending our way through this year’s crop of skin care, hair care and cosmetic launches, we’ve chosen 25 can’t-live-without favorites. From a serum that gives you an instant glow to a conditioner that restores hair in just one use, here are the winners!
MOST INDULGENT LIPSTICK
Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick, $34
A creamy lipstick on the outside plus a sheer gloss in the core equals the perfect balance of color and shine. Add in the most luxurious, glide-on texture, and shades handpicked by famous makeup artist Pat McGrath, and this just may be the perfect lipstick solution.
YSL Crème de Blush, $38
These intense colors blend into skin so naturally. Just smile, dab a bit on the apples of your cheeks, let the creamy texture transform into a feather-light powder and experience the most gorgeous, glow-from-within tint.
BEST NEW MINERAL MAKEUP
Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow, $20 for a set of two
Finally, no more messy loose powders! These mineral eye shadows are firmly pressed and, instead of fillers and chemicals, they have caffeine and cucumber to soothe puffiness. Brush on any of the 15 colors for a vibrant, velvety finish.
BEST CAT-EYE PENCIL
Maybelline Master Drama cream pencil, $8
Super-pigmented and oil-free, this precise liner makes the extra-dark, defined line you need for that perfect cat eye. And it’s waterproof!
Ojon Gloss Finishing Hair Spray, $24
A few quick blasts, and you get UV protection, major conditioning (thanks to the Honduran Ojon oil and blue-agave nectar) and a sweet scent of Neroli and violet. Spray it on damp hair before you style it to detangle and protect from heat tools, or try it on dry hair for an extra shine boost.
MOST ADAPTABLE FRIZZ FIGHTER
Bumble & Bumble bb. Straight Blow Dry, $28
Unlike other at-home keratin treatments, this cream tames your frizz without changing your texture. So whether your hair is straight, wavy, curly or extremely coarse, you can wear it stick-straight one day, curly the next—and still be frizz-free.
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner, $20
This conditioner claims to reverse the damage done from heat styling and chemical treatments in just one use. Skeptical? We were too—until we tried it. The sulfate-free, oil-rich formula left our hair incredibly soft and healthy. Now our testers won’t use anything else.
NIFTIEST HAIR TOOL
Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin Mini, $7 for two
There’s a new spin on the basic hair elastic! Twist your hair into a bun and corkscrew these metal coils into it. Your hair will stay put all day—without tons of bobby pins or that unsightly rubber band.
BEST DAILY SHAMPOO
Herbal Essences Touchably Smooth Shampoo, $4
Among tons of bottles in our shower, we found ourselves reaching for this more often than not. Pink lily and Asian silk soften and smooth strands, while lightweight conditioners won’t weigh down hair like other deeper formulas can.
SEXIEST TEXTURIZING SPRAY
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, $6
At least once a day, curly-haired staffers spritzed this on their dry strands to refresh their waves. It gave them that tousled, day-at-the-beach Gisele look, and made the office smell of coconut!
BEST DRY SHAMPOO
Suave professionals Dry Shampoo Spray, $3
When you’re on day two (or three) of not washing your hair, a few spritzes of dry shampoo keep the greasies away. This one’s a bargain, won’t leave a white cast on dark hair and scents your strands with a sweet tropical fragrance. You’ll feel as fresh as day one.
BEST AT BLENDING IN
Chanel Perfection LumiÈre Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup SPF 10, $55
Are you beyond frustrated that foundations never quite work with your skin tone? Give this new oil-free makeup a chance. With 20 shades, which come in 3 different undertones (pink, neutral and amber), chances are you’ll finally find your perfect match.
LOVELIEST LIP GLOSS
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Le Gloss, $8
It’s not at all sticky. It’s packed with moisturizers, like argan oil, omega 3 and vitamin E. It imparts a sheer, shiny tint. And it smells like icing!
MOST MESS-FREE MAKEUP FIX
Almay Oil-Free Makeup Eraser Sticks, $6 for 24
If a midday glance in the mirror reveals that—ugh—your mascara has smudged again, simply whip out one of these tiny sticks, snap the purple-striped end to release the makeup remover into the cotton swab, and wipe away that smear in seconds.
QUICKEST, PRETTIEST EYE SHADOW
CoverGirl Intense ShadowBlast, $8
All it takes is one swift swipe of the built-in wand to get a gorgeous, shimmery wash of liquid-to-powder color that stays put all day.
THE PERFECT-SKIN-IN-SECONDS AWARD
Estée Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, $85
This tinted serum has antioxidants (like rice bran and vitamin E) to reduce pigmentation with time and, for the impatient among us, lighteners to give an instant glow.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, $25
If you want incredible hydration without the thick, goopy, breakout-inducing formula of some moisturizers, try this superlight gel-cream. It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, nongreasy and melts into skin at lightning speed.
GENTLEST SKIN MOISTURIZER
Nuance Salma Hayek Wild Lime Exfoliating Facial Gel, $10
Normally we’d never describe using an exfoliator as a soothing experience, but that’s exactly how we feel about this one. The lightweight gel glides across skin, smells like a spa and is even gentle enough to leave on your skin all night (Salma does!).
BEST NEW ACNE KIT
Olay Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol, $42
The salicylic acid in these zit fighters is just like a vacuum: It sucks up all the dead skin cells, oil and grime clogging your pores and causing your breakouts. Use the cleanser, treatment and lotion nightly and not only will your skin clear up, but your now-clean pores will shrink too.
HARDEST-WORKING NIGHT CREAM
Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer, $45
Not only does this luxurious cream hydrate skin with a trio of humectants, but it also ever-so-gently exfoliates the dead cells that make your skin dull—which is why, when you wake up in the morning, you’re glowing.
MOST SKIN-SILKENING BODY LOTION
Fresh Seaberry Restorative Body Cream, $29
Your grandmother may have used seaberry (aka sea buckthorn), which is high in omega fatty acids, to treat eczema or a bad burn. Now the healing extract is showing up in beauty salves, including this rich cream. One generous pump will leave your skin satisfyingly smooth.
Nars Concealer, $22
Most concealers come in just a few shades, but this lightweight camouflage comes in 10! Plus it glides over skin, never gets cakey and hides everything.
BEST EYE BRIGHTENER
L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Eye Illuminator Eyeliner, $9
To hide tired eyes, makeup artists line the inner rim of lower lids with white eyeliner. This does one better: The nude liner (perfect for darker skin tones, since white would be too harsh) goes on your lower lash line. Then a complementary shade (made for your eye color) goes along upper lashes. Do both, and you’ll look like you got eight hours of sleep.
BEST NEW MASCARA
Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara, $25
Amid a crowded field of new mascaras, this cone-shaped wand stood out most. It reaches even the tiny lashes in the corner of your eyes, and the formula curls without clumping. The result: big, bold, fanned-out fringe.
LONGEST LASTING MANI
Red Carpet Manicure, $58
The salon-only gel manicure has spawned an at-home version! Prep your nails with the sanitizer and apply base, gel color and top coat, setting your fingers under the LED light between each coat. Then you’re all set! No sitting at a fan for 30 minutes, no chips after one day.