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It took a long time for me to end up on beauty TikTok considering it’s how I spent the entirety of my day as an editor. But when I enter the TikTok app, my entire feed is Euphoria, the trials and tribulations of online dating, and thirst videos of a certain US Senator that I will not name because I cannot further the algorithm’s idea that I want to see those. Then I joined beauty TikTok, and all hell broke loose. I had full carts on every retailer of beauty products I’d likely seen for years but passed up (hiiii, Clinique Black Honey)—all for them to abruptly sell out before I could purchase. The horror.
A world in which every single raved-about beauty product is unavailable for purchase is one that I don’t want to live in. So, in fear of my favorites suddenly becoming so hyped they sell out, I gatekeeped, just as any girlboss would. Every product that came across my desk that could even possibly blow up and sell out? I went hush-hush. But I couldn’t live like this anymore. I am a beauty editor for Christ’s sake; my entire livelihood is built on the foundation of showing people the best products out there. It’s why my vanity is filled to the brim and my skin will always be feigning some sort of reaction.
So, here I am, living my truth: I wanted to hide these amazing products from the world so they’d never go out of stock, but I just can’t. I have to discuss.
Forget The Filler Lip Plumper Gloss
Gone are the days that a plumping lip gloss will *literally* burn your lips off. I like a slight tingle to my gloss, but I can’t function if my lips feel like they’re on fire. Lawless made my perfect gloss when they figured out a way to bring together a slight plumping effect with a moisturizing, non-sticky, wet-looking, glossy formula, and I truly have barely left my home with anything else since. I am already running low on the clear one because I’ve used it practically every other day since it came in the mail. No gloss has ever impressed me this much, and I genuinely just tossed a handful of old, gross formulas that I’ve had for years because I need nothing but this anymore.
SwipeUp Brow Gel
Last summer, I tried the Refy Brow Gel and never saw myself needing another brow gel until the end of time. I even forwent a brow lamination appointment because this gave me the exact look I wanted for a quarter of the price. But I’m finding that my brow tastes are teetering in a different direction lately where I want a product that gives me a fast, filled-in effect that looks ultra natural. My brows are quite straight and thin, and I’ve officially stopped fighting it, but that brow lamination look just doesn’t follow that at all. So, I finally tried the SwipeUp Brow Gel from Persona.
This brow gel is quite simple, but that’s what makes it so good. It takes two seconds to do my brows, and I barely even fiddle with pencils anymore. This sets them in place, adds a smidge extra fluff, and lets me go on my merry way. I’ve barely touched any other brow product since this came into my collection, and I don’t see myself picking up anything new anytime soon.
Mushroom + Moss Gel Cream
I love a thick, occlusive moisturizer as much as the next person (I have at least two Vaseline’s in my home at all times), but in the morning, I have to use something lightweight or else my makeup is a shiny mess. So, I’ll always opt for a gel-style moisturizer in the mornings, and this has been my go-to lately. It is extremely moisturizing, but the gel allows it to sink right in like I have nothing on my face. I even found myself using it at night because it’s so comfortable and soothing but doesn’t skimp on hydration. I was intrigued as mushroom is a trending skincare ingredient for its hydrating properties (it’s even more hydrating than hyaluronic acid, so let that sink in), and I am beyond impressed. Plus, it’s under $30—what else could I want?
Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm
You know the TikTok trend of applying Vaseline to your under eyes after using eye cream to act as an occlusive and lock the moisture in? This does that in one single step. I avoid using my prescription retinol under the eyes because of irritation, but I love using a retinol product under the eyes to prevent fine lines. This product uses a retinoid that is gentler than retinol but still effective, encased in a balm that feels ointment-like to touch. This coats your under eyes, locking in moisture and adding that extra benefit of the retinoid. I never knew how much my eyes were screaming for more moisture, but they’re in a happy place now, thanks to this.
The Creme Gradual Self-Tanning Face Moisturizer
I immediately texted my BFF a selfie of my skin after I used this for the first time because I needed photographic evidence of how good the tan was. I’ve tried just about every facial tanner out there, and I haven’t liked any of them. Drops don’t do anything for me, sprays can get streaky, and other moisturizers have broken me out, so when this landed in my inbox, I judged it hard. Little did I know this would become the best facial self-tanner I’ve ever used. It was actually noticeable, not orange, not streaky, and my skin didn’t have a reaction. It’s like a self-tanner unicorn. I love how easy it is to apply and add to my skincare routine, and after a few days, my skin has such a strong glow. Please, please, I’m begging, do not sell this out before I buy four tubes.
3D Daily Leave-In Hair Thickening Treatment
Fullness and volume are my biggest hair concerns and the #1 thing I look for in a hair product. But I’ve recently been trying to figure out if it was possible to simply make my hair fuller so I could spend less energy and money gunking it up with products to achieve that look. I was in luck, because Amika launched this nightly spray treatment to help thicken your actual hair over time. I decided to try it with a healthy dose of skepticism, and I’m pleased with the result. I thought it was maybe a placebo effect that made my hair look and feel thicker, but I started getting compliments from friends and coworkers that my hair was looking fuller, making me think it just might be legit. I love how easy this product is to apply, and it doesn’t make my hair greasy or sticky. I’m going to keep using it, but so far, I’m already noticing a difference.
The BARRIER Bioactive Treatment
It burns me to talk about this wildly expensive product, but I simply cannot with a good conscience warn people about the powers of this treatment. The first time I used this, I was stunned. There are products that make me look a little brighter or maybe more glowing after I use them, but this practically transformed my skin overnight. My skin was clearer, brighter, smoother, and more hydrated—and each time I use it, those benefits compound. You’re only supposed to use this treatment 2-3 times per week, so I am hankering for it every single night. If I have somewhere to be the next day, you can bet I’ve used this the night before.
Forgive me for turning you onto this, but I promise, you’ll thank me. The price reflects the product, as it contains tons of highly-researched, good-for-skin ingredients, including: urea, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B6, a handful of fruit AHAs, and U Beauty’s patent-pending Siren Capsule Technology that targets free radicals.
3-in-1 Tinted Skin Conditioner
I wanted a good skin tint that I could bring on a few upcoming warm weather vacations that was lightweight without compromising on coverage. I’ve tried countless skin tints, BB creams, and tinted moisturizers in my day, and they always leave me wanting a little more. A lightweight foundation with a little bit of coverage shouldn’t be that hard to find—and luckily for you, I did the hard work of finding it. TLB nailed this product. It feels like I’ve just put a little bit of moisturizer on my skin, but it leaves it looking even-toned and very dewy.
Because TLB caters to Black and Brown women, the shade range is focused on those groups, meaning there aren’t a ton of shades for very fair and light skin tones. I would consider myself light/medium, and the lightest shade matches me. If you have a fair skin tone, the most similar product I’ve tried is the L’Oreal Skin Tint which offers a wider shade range for light skin tones with a little bit less coverage.
A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t prepped my skin with this primer before makeup since this landed in my hands, and I’d like to never be without it again. I’ve spent the last six months raving about Youthforia’s BYO Blush Oil (it’s the coolest product… ever), so when the brand had a new release, I dropped everything to test it ASAP. This is unlike other primers; while it definitely makes my skin glowier and makes my makeup last longer, that’s not its sole purpose. This primer acts as a separator between your makeup and skincare, so makeup doesn’t clog your pores. It’s genius, and it actually works. I’ve noticed way fewer blackheads and clogged pores since using this, and my makeup even goes on a lot smoother.