Welcome to Our Favorite Products, a monthly feature in which ITG’s editors discuss our favorite products. They’re the best things we’ve tried all month long, reviewed, photographed, and anthropomorphized before we have the opportunity to get sick of them and move on to something new. This month, we’re a reviewing group in two minds: on the one hand, we’re cocooning up in rich moisturizers, trying to keep our skin soft as the temperatures drop. On the other, we’re the busiest we’ve been in a while! After a year of mostly warming the bench, longwear makeup essentials and quick touch-up tools got a fair amount of play this month. If anything, our October essentials foreshadow the holiday season to come: parties and dry, flaky skin. Winter’s twin flames. Find your next beauty purchase below.
I think the best mascara is the one you hardly ever have to think about. You swipe, wiggle, and boom: great lashes. I’ve been using Ami Colé’s mascara for a month now and it’s the handiest mascara I’ve ever used. The brush is tapered so that the short end is great at grabbing my stubby lashes closer to the inner corners, and the longer end fans out the rest of my lashes in one cool swipe. Normally this would require some hand acrobatics, where I’d hold the wand vertically for the outer corners, and swipe more times than I’d like to admit to deposit just the right amount of black goop. Besides this being a no-brainer mascara, what’s super handy is that I don’t have to go back with a few delicate “cleanup swipes” that I’d typically have to maneuver to get rid of clumps. This clean formula gives me the fluffy lashes of my dreams without any of the fuss.
—Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor
Dune is both a film starring Timothee Chalamet and my skin every October. The combination of colder weather and indoor heating causes my nose and chin to literally begin flaking off! So when I saw this Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum pop up in Dr. Shereene Idriss’ Top Winter Moisturizers video, I was intrigued. At $17.99, I feel absolutely justified in slathering it all over my face and purchasing a new bottle every other month. (The only draw-back is its absolutely ineffective dropper cap, which I’ve been side-stepping by decanting it into an empty The Ordinary bottle.) I use it in the morning and at night, after cleansing and spritzing on whatever face mist I have handy. The consistency reminds me a bit of Cetaphil cleanser, and I find it sinks into my skin quickly. Then layer my moisturizer on top, for a flake-free, moist (but not greasy) feel that lasts a full 12 hours.
—Cati Pishal, gTeam Supervisor
I like things that are really easy to apply and that don’t require more than two steps. But I’m used to layering like three different black eyeliners to get a dramatic and intense eyeliner look. It’s really hard to find a black eyeliner that’s an inky black and really pigmented. I usually buy eyeliner at the drugstore, but in an effort to find the perfect one-step black eyeliner, I headed to Sephora. The rep at Sephora recommended I try the Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner, which felt like a splurge to me but I went for it. Now I’m obsessed! The packaging reminds me of my favorite writing pen. It fits perfectly in my hand, and doesn’t feel too thin or too bulky. Plus, I’m able to achieve the dramatic look I love with just one glide. I begin to draw a thin line from the inner corner of my eye to the outer corner, then press a little harder once I get to the outer third of my eye to create thickness. If you’ve ever struggled to find the perfect deep and dark eyeliner, this might be the one for you!
—Cherie Camacho, People Experience Lead
I’m not sure when it happened, but recently I have become someone that looks forward to taking a long shower and lounging around my apartment in a robe. When it comes to the weekends, rushing around is no longer my thing. And the Osea Anti-Aging Balm is the perfect complement to my new luxurious routine. I discovered it about a year ago at Credo—the name intrigued me, because I like the idea of a body moisturizer that does more than just hydrate. I can’t quite afford to buy it regularly or use it all the time, but it feels like a really nice treat, especially as the air gets colder. The texture is somewhere between a serum and a lotion, and it goes on as smooth as an oil but sinks in instantly without feeling sticky or wet. It’s very moisturizing, which I’m not sure how they achieve since the formula is so lightweight. But the real reason I keep coming back to it is the spa-like scent. It always manages to make me feel more zen.
—Leah Grubb, Sales Senior Manager, Makeup
I haven’t touched my eyebrows since early 2020, with the goal of getting any and all undergrowth to blend in and achieving that brushed up, feathered look. But my brows have always been full and unruly—they’re curly, grow in different directions, and are immune to the hold of most brow gels. After experimenting with hair gel, hair spray, and several bars of soap, a coworker’s selfie convinced me to try Brow Freeze. I had to go to several Sephoras to find it, but I finally made it from the ‘messy-patchy-awkward growth’ stage to ‘eyebrows of my dreams’ because of this little jar. The formula is totally clear and has a tacky, jelly consistency. I scoop a little out with an angled eyebrow brush, spread it on the inside of the cap, and then roll a clean eyebrow spoolie over it. Then I apply it: I brush all my hairs straight up to start, which looks insane, and then I play with them until I get everything in a position I like. The method practically doubles the thickness of my brows and it stays in place ALL DAY. Some people use the handle of their brush to really press the brows into the skin for a superrrr sleek look, but I tend to keep the pressure light to maintain that feathered, light effect. I think of it as laminating without the cost and hassle, and a sink-free and more compact alternative to soap brows. Truly can’t live without this stuff.
—Bela Yousif, Senior Communications Manager
I’ve been loving the new Tower28 SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen, which feels more like a smooth serum than other sunscreens I’ve used in the past. It’s easy to apply with my fingers and, because it’s so thin, doesn’t feel like it’s too heavy or pore-clogging. It doesn’t ever dry down too much, which is key because my dry, sensitive skin never feels parched or tight, but it’s also not overly dewy. You know how some dewy foundations can skew greasy on oily skin? This one wouldn’t do that. On gloomy days when I don’t feel like applying a separate SPF after my moisturizer, it has become the perfect 2-in-1. Ideal for work days too, since my desk is in front of a window. And on top of being really elegantly formulated, this stuff has the perfect amount of tint. I was a little worried about choosing the right shade online, but it was easy to find my perfect match because their pictures were very easy to navigate. Sunnydays gives me that hydrated, not-at-all tired, so healthy glow from within. $30 for 30 mL is perfectly priced in my book.
—Ariella Pasman, Product Development Associate
After hating eye primers for years, I’m in love with this new one from Colourpop. I don’t know if it’s just that primers have gotten much better recently, or if this one is especially good… It’s been years since I’ve tried one because I’ve always hated the feel of them. So goopy and sticky! Honestly, I didn’t even go looking for this stuff—it was just bundled with a palette I wanted for 4 bucks, so I added it to my order on impulse. I’m so glad I did. It comes in a tube and you apply it with a doe foot. It has a very unique texture, sort of like a lightweight concealer, that basically vanishes. It’s completely transparent, and I can barely feel it’s there. But eyeshadows stick so well to it. The pigments apply so saturated and evenly, the lack of fallout is magical, and it lasts all day without creasing. I will say that it gives kind of a matte finish to any shadow you apply on top, so it might not be the best if you’re a big metallic user. But shimmers still look excellent! And considering it’s just an $8 product, we can work with that.
—Rachel Schactman, Lead Product Manager, Growth
Klorane Aquatic Mint Dry Shampoo. I will die on this hill. I recently went to five weddings in five weeks, so I’m exhausted. Like, put my car keys in the fridge exhausted. I have been running around like a hamster on a wheel, and in an effort to achieve some efficiency in the morning, I’ve been using dry shampoo. I’ve always been obsessed with dry shampoo—I’ve tried them all, and… Let’s be real. They all have their downfalls. Nothing beats freshly washed hair! But this is one of the only dry shampoos that actually makes me feel soft, bouncy, and clean, like I didn’t just spend five days avoiding the blow dryer. It works wonders for me. No white cast. No stiffness or weird residue. Barely any scalp buildup. No overpowering fragrance, just a good refreshing scent with the magical power to actually deodorize. It makes my hair feel and look like my hair, and not like it’s been dunked in sand or white powder. And for that I will forever be grateful.
—Liana Franklin, Senior Manager, Product Marketing
My skin is equal parts dry, sensitive, and acne-prone—a combination that can be difficult and confusing to care for. It definitely wasn’t something I thought I’d still be dealing with in adulthood: I really thought that when I turned 18, my zits would just be memories. I was wrong! I’ve tried a handful of exfoliants to help me treat them—the physical exfoliants were a bit too drying, the gentle chemical exfoliants that would side-step the sensitivity issue were too gentle for my needs. Some were tricky to apply, some left a filmy residue on my skin. But I found my holy grail in Glossier Solution. It delivers on utility (I love the thoughtful, no-tilt packaging), is an absolute pleasure to use, and doesn’t leave any residue. I noticed an improvement in my skin’s tone and texture the very first week. There was a period of a few months where I stopped using it—sometimes my curiosity leads me astray! I don’t think I’ll do that again. I’ve learned that patience, consistency, and simplicity are key when it comes to treating adult acne, and this stuff is truly a lifesaver. I swipe it on after cleansing, before moisturizing, and that’s that.
—Valerie Choe, Communications Operations Associate
Is it just me, or do some body moisturizers flat out not work? I don’t really understand why it happens—there’s no real through line between the moisturizers I don’t like, and theoretically anything creamy should be able to replenish the softness my legs lose in winter. No? But, alas: even when I take the time at night to slather my body from head to toe in lotion I often wake up feeling just as dull and rough. When something actually works—or rather, when I find myself caressing my kneecaps with my left hand while I type with my right—it feels like a miracle. My latest success is this Cocokind Sake Body Lotion. It’s made (obviously) with sake, the same kind of fermented, lightly exfoliating rice wine used in SK-II’s famous essence. This stuff feels so elevated, from the skincare-esque, fragrance-free formula to its chic beige post-consumer recycled plastic bottle. But it’s less than $20! The surprisingly lightweight lotion sinks in quickly without feeling sticky or greasy. (Though, be forewarned, Ashley had a tricky time getting it to rub into her darker skin; my advice would be that a little goes a long way). And I feel so, so smooth when I use it. That’s really all I’m asking for.
—Ali Oshinsky, Associate Editor
Photo via ITG