One of the most fun parts of working at Well+Good—aside from the free Thursday lunches—is getting to test some of the best beauty products on the market. Our team of dedicated editors is tasked with sampling some of the best hair-care, skin-care, and makeup products on the market, and deciding which of them are worth telling you about. As you can imagine, we've accumulated a lot of products into our arsenals, but there are a few tried-and-trues that consistently top our list of favorites.
The coolest part? Many of our go-to products also happen to be among Sephora bestsellers, which means the rest of the world loves them just as much as we do. Scroll through to shop our picks, each of which are worth their molecular weight in five-star reviews.
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“Rarely do I rave about beauty products but I absolutely love this Merit mascara,” says Tamara Pridgett, Well+Good’s beauty and fitness editor. “I feel like it gives me all the drama and volume that I want while still somehow making my lashes look natural. Plus it doesn’t clump at all, which is great if you’re not too skilled at applying makeup like me.”
As someone who came of age during the heyday of Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life looking for a gloss that gives my lips the same sort of luminescence. I’ve found it in the form of Fenty’s Gloss Bombs, which offer a barely-there swath of color plus max shine. They aren’t sticky or goopy, and stay perfectly in place even under the confines of a mask.
I like to think of this as the boyfriend jean of my fragrance collection. I wear it all the time, and its fresh scent feels right whether I’m pairing it with leggings or a black tie gown (for what it’s worth, I’ve worn it in both scenarios). It’s designed for people who tend to shy away from standard fragrances, and delivers a lasting aroma that’s never overpowering.
I credit this sunscreen as the first to ever get me to wear sunscreen every day, mostly because I love the way my skin looks after I apply it (honestly, the fact that it delivers SPF 40 is just an added—and very appreciated—bonus). It leaves behind a dewy glow and evens out my skin tone with its subtle tint, making it the perfect “makeup” product that secretly involves wearing no makeup at all.
Nothing fills in the weird bald spot in my left eyebrow quite like this pencil. I start by coloring in the gap with the ultra-fine, goof-proof pencil (I use warm black/brown to match my super-dark natural hair), then brush it out with the spoolie on the other end. The result? Full, even brows without a sparse spot in sight.
Two years ago, I used one of these handy patches to heal the angriest zit this world has ever seen, and I’ve been hooked on them ever since. They’re covered in tiny microdarts that deliver acne-fighting ingredients like vitamin A (which stimulates cellular turnover) and salicylic acid (which clears oil and bacteria out of your pores) way down deep into your skin, and have also got aloe vera to help avoid irritation. Apply one of these babies before bed, and even the most sinister pimples will be gone before morning.
It’s rare that our entire beauty team can agree on a single “holy grail” product, but these wipes have become an all-time fave across the board. They combine AHAs like lactic, malic, and glycolic acids with BHAs like salicylic acid and willow bark extract, which come together to create a chemically exfoliating treatment that will totally resurface your skin.
“Drunk Elephant’s polypeptide moisturizer is great for my oily-combo skin—it keeps my face hydrated without being greasy, and helps with dullness,” says Gina Vaynshteyn, Well+Good’s senior commerce editor. “This is one of my favorites for fall and winter, and I swear it works it plumping. magic overnight.”
I’ve traditionally shied away from using gel cleansers on my dry skin, but I’ll make an exception for this one. It’s packed with superfoods (namely, kale and spinach), which make it rich in skin-nourishing antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and K. It effectively whisks away dirt, oil, and makeup.
“Last summer, I lived with a skin-care buff who got the Tatcha Water Cream as a gift,” says Francesca Krempa, a commerce writer at Well+Good. “She let me use it once, which led me to sneaking occasional swipes of it all summer long because it’s just so hydrating. Especially after a long, hot day in the sun, a burst of this water-based cream was a treat for my skin.”
“I love that the Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner instantly moisturizes my curls without weighing them down,” says Pridgett. “And the moisture seems to penetrate each strand, even after I wash it out.”
Per most stylists instructions, I try to limit my hair washes to once weekly, which is where this dry shampoo comes in handy. It’s made with fast-absorbing powders that address the look, feel, and smell of dirty hair—which is everything I need to trick people into thinking that my day-five roots have been freshly washed. The finely-milled powders soak up oil from your scalp and can be easily whisked away with a brush so that there’s no gross white cast left behind. “Perfect hair day,” indeed.
I rely on texturizers and dry shampoos throughout the week to preserve my blow-out (and to just avoid washing my hair) and the Briogeo Scalp Revival shampoo gently strips the inevitable build-up that’s clogging my pores,” says Vaynshteyn. “Not only does it make my scalp feel healthy, but it leaves my strands clean and shiny. Definitely my go-to when I need to give my hair some end-of-week pampering”
“I can’t even remember when I first started using Moraccanoil, that’s how long it’s been a part of my hair-care routine,” says Krempa. “If you have curls, this treatment is a must-have. It’s super nourishing, leaving curls glossy and smoother without ever weighing them down. The signature spicy scent doesn’t hurt either.”
When two of your favorite brands come together to create a product, you know it’s going to be good. Such is the case with this leave-in-conditioner, which combines the luxurious scent of Byredo’s Mojave Ghost fragrance with Ouai’s haircare technology. The result is a strand-nourishing detangler that’s just as effective as it is gloriously perfumed.
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