Stories from Clean Beauty

Ready Your Cart: These Are the Absolute Best Beauty Launches of 2019

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerDecember 25, 2019

In June 2019, the global beauty market was valued at $532 billion dollars—and it’s growing faster than ever. That means that this year, there were a lot of new launches worth checking out, from new-to-market brands to innovative products that have the power to change your life—or at the very least, change your skin and hair.

Over the course of the last 12 months, Well+Good’s beauty team has tested hundreds (possibly thousands—I lost count somewhere around July) of these new launches. In addition to making our desks very messy, this gave us a chance to determine, for sure, what the best of the best have been. Below, our picks from 2019 that you’ll be using in 2020 and beyond.

Hair: Garnier Fructis Hydrating Treat with Aloe Extracts, $6

Aloe is stacked with 75 actives, including antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin E, and will leave hair clean, strong, and silky. It’s also ultra-moisturizing, which means hair won’t suffer during even the coldest, driest, most blowdryer-friendly times of the year thanks to this product line.

Photo: Garnier

Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots, $5

These hair booster serum shots will rehab dry, drab strands in a minute flat, leaving them looking shiny. Slather them through strands before hopping in the shower, then rinse them out and watch dryness become a problem of the past.

Photo: Pantene

Tresemmé Colour ShinePlex Sulphate Free Mask, $7

If you’re spending big bucks on a dye job, you want it to last, and that’s exactly what this mask is here for. It’s super gentle and uses conditioning actives to preserve color and nourish strands.

Photo: Tresemmé

Oribe Curl Control Silkening Crème, $42

This year, every time I’ve asked a beauty editor friend how they got their curls to look so good, this has been the answer. This line represents the brand’s first foray into curl-care, and with ingredients like avocado, apricot, and coconut it defines curls while also giving the the hydration they need.

Photo: Oribe

Kérastase Fusio-Scrub, $70

Scalp scrubs had a major moment in 2019, and this one is just about as glam as you can get. This invigorating sea salt formula is designed to clarify oily scalps, and you can choose to infuse it with peppermint, sandalwood and ginger essential oils to make your scrub session feel like a full-on spa experience.

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Photo: Kérestase

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Taming Overnight Serum, $69

Comb some of the overnight serum through strands before your head hits the pillow, and let red camelia work its magic to fight frizz and hydrate hair.

Photo: Shu Uemera

Frederic Fekkai The Pure Shampoo, $32; and Frederic Fekkai The Pure Conditioner, $32

In 2019, legendary hairstylist Frederic Fekkai dipped his toes into the clean beauty space for the first time, and the fruits of his labor did not disappoint. The shampoo and conditioner use plant-derived ingredients to protect from heat, pollution, and solar damage, and leave behind the signature Frederic Fekkai shine.

Photo: Frederik Fekkai

Pattern Hydration Shampoo, $20; Pattern Medium Conditioner, $25

Turns out, Tracee Elliss Ross is just as talented as a beauty brand founder as she is as an actress and advocate. Her new haircare line was developed with natural hair in mind, and cleanses the scalp without any harsh chemicals while simultaneously using ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, coconut oil, and honey to nourish strands.

Photo: Pattern

R+Co Moon Landing Anti-Humidity Spray, $32

Even the hottest summer months (TBT) are no match for this anti-humidity spray. It keeps frizz at bay without making hair feel heavy or greasy, absorbing instantly for a barely-there feel that works with any style and texture.

Photo: R+Co

Goldwell Curly Twist Surf Oil, $20

Give yourself straight-from-the-ocean beach waves all year long with this salt spray. The addition of oil on the ingredient label ensures that it won’t leave hair dry in the process.

Photo: Goldwell

KMS TameFrizz Style Primer, $14

Fighting frizz starts before you turn on the blowdryer, and this primer is proof. But, fair warning, it’s intense: It’s known to smooth strands for up to seven washes.

 

Photo: KMS

 

Makeup: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss, $27

The name “Jellyfish” is perhaps the perfect description for this product, which is part lip treatment, part lip gloss, and will leave your lips looking like they’ve been slicked in a jellied finish. It’s got ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and evening primrose oil that hydrate and protect your lips with a finish that’s never sticky and always looks good.

Photo: Kosas

Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara, $28

Finding a natural mascara that actually works has always been a huge feat… until this one came out. It lengthens lashes so well (and doesn’t smudge, drip, or clump) it’s no wonder it was sold out almost immediately after it hit the market.

Photo: Ilia

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 in Icon, $24

Fresh’s lip balms are a beauty bag staple for anyone in the know, and the brand’s latest crimson shade might just be its best one yet. Icon gives lips a veil of color without feeling too high-glam or over the top, making red lipstick accessible to even though who swear they’re “just not a red lipstick person”.

Photo: Fresh

Pat McGrath Labs ChromaLuxe Hi-Lite Cream Highlighter, $30

The term “subtle glitter” might feel like an oxymoron, but this highlighter has somehow managed to make it a thing. It’s got the perfect amount of shimmer to add a little oomph to any look, whether used on cheeks or shellacked on lids.

Photo: Pat McGrath Labs

Armani Beauty Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick, $38

Armani Beauty has traditionally been known for its line of statement-making red lipsticks, but 2019 marked a move away from cherry hues. These neutral liquid lipsticks deliver a velvety veil, and despite the matte finish won’t dry out lips in the process.

Photo: Giorgio Armani Beauty

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $47

After years of being one of beauty editor’s favorite tinted moisturizers on the market (it was my first foundation purchase more than 10 years ago), Laura Mercier updated the product’s formula to remove parabens and added in hydrating ingredients and antioxidants to protect from environmental damage. Plus, the brand upped the SPF factor from 20 to 30, so it’s safe to say we’re in love.

Photo: Laura Mercier

Benefit Cosmetics Brow Styler Eyebrow Pencil & Powder Duo, $34

Benefit’s brow products have always been the best of the best, and the latest styler is no exception. With more than 1,000 reviews and a near perfect rating on Sephora.com, the eyebrow pencil-powder duo is enough to amp up any set of brows—all in one easy-to-transport stick.

Photo: Benefit

Tom Ford Soleil Neige Highlighter & Blush Glow Stick, $55

Gone are the days of needing to carry two glow-inducing products at the same time—this highlighter-blush stick gives it to you all in one.  Use the stick to sculpt and define—and add a splash of understated color—for a luminous glow wherever you want it.

Photo: Tom Ford

Beauty Blender Opal Essence Serum Primer, $32

Give any foundation a dewy, opalescent finish with this primer, which also happens to be ultra-hydrating for dry skin. It will lock the rest of your look in place all day long, ensuring you look glowy, never greasy.

Photo: Beauty Blender

Physicians Formula Natural Defense Triple Defense Multicolor Stick SPF 20, $11

Physicians Formula’s latest product line protects against pollution, and this use-anywhere chubbystick does so while also giving off a sheer layer of color.

Photo: Physicians Formula

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Plump & Shine, $8

Lip plumpers are officially back, and this product launch is proof. Each of the nine shades will leave lips looking glossy, pumped up, and moisturized.

Photo: L’Oréal

Skin care: KILLA Kit by ZitSticka, $29

2019 was the year of the pimple patch, and this pick is the best of the bunch. It uses microneedles with hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide and oligopeptide-76 to blast your zit from the bottom up, which means even the most deeply-rooted suckers don’t stand a chance.

PhotoL ZitSticka

Neutrogena Bright Boost Illuminating Face Serum, $16

Forget layering on multiple serums at once to get the results you want—this drugstore beauty buy does it all thanks to a molecule called “glucosamine.” It brightens with vitamin C, hydrates with hyaluronic acid, and stimulates cell turnover with retinol, which means it can stand in place of all three—for only $16.

Photo: Neutrogena

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser, $34

We always get excited when Drunk Elephant launches a new product, and their latest did not disappoint. The cleansing balm isn’t goopy or greasy (like so many others on the market), and comes with exfoliating beads that you can add in to get two products for the price of one.

Photo: Drunk Elephant

Laneige Lip Glowy Balm, $15

If a lip balm and a lip gloss fell in love and had a baby, this would be it. It hydrates and nourishes lips while leaving behind the perfect shiny (and in some cases, tinted) finish. Fair warning: After you try this product once, you won’t want to leave home with out it.

Photo: Laneige

Dr. Jart CicaPair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30, $52

For anyone with rosacea, this entire line of products is a game-changer. It uses inflammation-fighting cica—otherwise known as “Tiger Balm”—to calm redness, and will leave your once-angry skin feeling smooth and happy.

Photo: Dr. Jart

 

Simple Compostable Wipes, $6

Everyone’s favorite clean facial wipes got a biodegradable upgrade this year, which means you can feel good about using them to wash away makeup before bed. They still work just as well as ever, but thanks to their new tech, they’ll be nothing but a memory after 42 days of wasting away.

Photo: Simple

HoliFrog Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash, $38

A good skin-care routine starts with your cleanser, which is something that new-to-market brand HoliFrog takes very seriously. The line of all-natural face washes includes a gel cleanser, an acid wash, a cleansing balm, and a milky wash so that there’s something for everyone and every concern.

Photo: Holifrog

Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream, $68

This cream works its lifting, sculpting magic while you sleep. Apply it to your chin, neck and décolletage for firmer skin and a cream-meets-jelly texture you’ll love.

Photo: Clinique

Kinship Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser, $20

With an ingredient list that came straight from the produce aisle, this ultra-clean cleanser makes good use of papaya’s brightening enzymes, nutrient-rich vitamins, and purifying antioxidants. It’s also got jojoba and sunflower oil to nourish skin, and the entire combo is gentle enough to be used on all skin types.

Photo: Kinship

L’Oreal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum, $30

Fans have been singing the praises of L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid Serum for as long as we can remember, so it was hardly a surprise that the line’s latest launch is equally as praise-worthy. It’s got 10 percent glycolic acid in its formula, which effectively exfoliates skin to help with texture issues and discoloration.

Photo: L’Oréal

Curél Intensive Moisture Facial Cream, $30

Japan’s go-to brand for sensitive skin has officially come Stateside, and this moisturizer is only ting you’re going to want to put on your face during dry skin season and beyond. It’s packed with ceramides, aka the building blocks of your skin, and will keep your skin barrier hydrated and strong.

Photo: Curél

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Serum, $29

Drugstore retinols were once few and far between, but this year, that changed. Olay launched three new products, including this serum, that offer 24-hour potency and are formulated in a skin-friendly way that won’t leave irritation behind.

Photo: Olay

Cle de Peau Protective Fortifying Emulsion, $155

Soften and support skin with this moisturizing emulsion, which increases the resilience of your barrier to help it protect itself from the environment. It also refines skin texture, defends against UV rays, and helps makeup stay put post-use.

Photo: Cle de Peau

 

Body Care: Nécessaire The Body Serum, $45

If you’re one of those people who hates putting on body lotion because of the scent, texture, or some combination of the two, this body serum will change your life. It’s lightweight, fragrance-free, and absorbs immediately into your skin, making the entire application process feel like a luxury experience.

Photo: Nécessaire

Dove Body Wash Mousse, $6

Forget bar soap and body wash as the only options for getting clean. This new “shower mousse” looks and feels like whipped cream (without the stickiness, that is) and moisturizes skin as it cleanses. Plus, it goes without saying, but it is really fun to use.

Photo: Dove

Schmidt’s Hemp Rose + Black Pepper, $8

Schmidt’s has been lauded as one of the most effective natural deodorants on the market, and its new magnesium formulas officially make it friendly for sensitive skin.

Photo: Schmidt’s

Lord Jones X Tamara Mellon High CBD Formula Stiletto Cream, $70

Celebs (and editors) have been touting the benefits of CBD cream for high heel pain for years, so Lord Jones took that intel and applied it to its latest launch. The cream is meant to keep those dogs from barking in even the highest of stilettos.

Photo: Lord Jones

Yuni Beauty Shower Sheets with Cucumber and Rose Extract, $24

There was plenty to love about Yuni Beauty’s OG shower sheets—from their massive size to their effectiveness to the fact that they’re compostable—and this new scent kicks things up another notch. They smell so good (and have such wonderfully hydrating ingredients) you won’t even want to shower after the gym.

These were the beauty brands Redditors couldn’t stop talking about this year, and the skin-care rules dermatologists taught us to live by.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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