Let’s face it, if you’re in the beauty industry, you’ve become accustomed to being underwhelmed by what’s available out there. Brands make grand claims, but these products and tools often don’t deliver. After weeks of putting dozens of items to the test, I found 15 sensational products that fulfill their promises and then some. If you work for a brand, this level of quality and efficacy is something you should be striving for.
SteelMcLean Gel Cream: This unisex, lightweight styling lotion by hairstylist Rayon McLean makes hair practically weatherproof, which coming from someone with a mountain of frizz-prone curls, says a lot. It contains sunflower and jojoba oils and provides volume, shine, and UV protection for curly or straight hair.
Novex Mystic Black Leave-In Conditioner: This rich, leave-in hair cream is designed for thick and/or curly hair, so I’ll say that up front. It detangles, defines, and nourishes, while also controlling frizz. You can use it on damp or dry hair, so it’s very flexible. A little bit goes a long way, unlike competitive products.
Aquis Hair Towels: Have you heard of water fatigue? It’s the stretching and swelling that occurs when hair is wet for too long. These thin towels dry the hair 50 percent faster without any friction, so hair can bounce back to its healthy self more quickly. Not only does it get you out the door faster, it requires less time under the heat of a hair dryer or other hot (damaging) styling tools.
Myaderm CBD Blemish Control Cream: If you’ve been curious about products with marijuana-derived ingredients, this certified organic lotion, which contains 100mg of pure cannabidiol (from the cannabis plant), is your gateway product. It’s a light moisturizer for blemish-prone skin, but for my tween daughter and me, it’s our go-to spot treatment. Me—when I break out from testing new products, and her—well, she’s a tween. In all my years of testing products, I haven’t found an acne treatment that banishes blemishes as quickly, and as gently, as this one. Use code TBODGE for 10% off plus free shipping!
Retrouvé Nutrient Face Serum: Yes, this serum is pricey. But, if you’re looking for real results and want to avoid more aggressive anti-aging measures, it’s SO worth a try. It’s packed with potent ingredients that nourish and protect the skin while providing anti-inflammatory and stem-cell–activating benefits, and no serum compares. Use it day or night and your skin will thank you.
Seriously Fab Zinc It Over: This sheer, vegan facial mist can be applied over your makeup throughout the day when needed, helping to refresh and set makeup, and providing hydration and a non-toxic SPF of 25. It can be misted directly on face or sprayed onto your hands and pressed into the skin, which is how I like to use it.
Goldfaden Plant Profusion Lifting Neck Cream: If you have been neglecting your neck and décolleté, putting on a summer sundress or tank top can be a harsh reminder. Packed with plant-based emollients, this cream will replenish lost moisture while helping to smooth and firm sagging skin. Apply regularly, but also apply before a big night out—you will feel its tightening effects immediately.
Recipe for Men Anti-Shine Moisturizer: Most guys are pretty low maintenance when it comes to skincare, so multifunctional products are key. This gel contains a micro pearl system to hydrate and improve elasticity, while also absorbing oil and providing a matte finish. His skin will look great, and he’ll love the minimal effort required.
Jade Roller: Despite seeing face rollers here and there, they didn’t really catch my attention until my friend Felicia Walker Benson of ThisThatBeauty (who has gorgeous skin) used one in her Instastory. I found one for $13.99 on Amazon, so why not? Rollers have been said to improve circulation and elasticity and I have found that to be true. I use mine day and night after my serum and moisturizer, and I feel like my skin is smoother and firmer as a result.
Mehron Celebré Pro-HD™ Conceal-It Palette: This palette will help you weather those skin tone changes throughout the year. These cream concealers are so flexible that they can be used anywhere on the face, and with so many color options, you can achieve the perfect shade all year round. And if you’re struggling with issues like redness, sallow skin, or dark circles, add the Correct-It Palette to your arsenal. The toner shades will help neutralize discoloration in a snap.
B-Glowing Illuminate + Shine Palette: With this “age embracing” palette designed for maturing skin, you can create an array of beautiful looks. The eight powder shadows, cream highlighter, and neutral primer contain MicroVector Plump GABA-HYA, which helps to hydrate and plump the skin. The tasteful, zippered case can also be reused as a travel case for jewelry or makeup.
No7 Airbrush Away Tinted Skin Perfector: For those days that you just want a little something or for when your skin is having an off day, a drop of this primer/foundation will do the trick. Available in three shades and extremely flexible in terms of the skin tones it works for, this lightweight product will blur the skin like a subtle Instagram filter.
One Two Lash: If you love lashes but hate the whole process of applying them, these magnetic lashes will be your new best friend. Once you get the hang of them—which I found didn’t take long—you can snap them on in a flash and they’ll stay put past last call.
Floxsee: Whether you’re styling or coloring your hair, trying to see the sides or back of your hair is a real struggle. This clever mirror hooks over a door and, when opened, allows you to see your hair from every angle, hands-free. It can be easily adjusted to the perfect height and it folds flat when not in use.
Billie: If you need one less thing to think about, Billie takes care of your shaving concerns. The Starter Kit contains a beautifully designed razor, a clever magnetic holder that hangs on the wall, plus five moisturizing blades. The replacement blades ship automatically on a schedule determined by you.
Photo: Raw Pixel via Unsplash