When you work in beauty, a big part of the job is trying out new products, no matter if you already have your favorite face moisturizer or red lipstick. Which isn't to say you can't have a few standbys, but the name of the game is experimentation: You're constantly moving from one product to the next to see what works and thus what's important to tell the world (i.e., you) about. It's a rare experience, then, to find yourself coaxing out the last drops from a moisturizer tube, or fumbling with a tiny stub of eyeliner. You gotta really love it. Hence this occasionally recurring feature: Things We Finish, in which we talk about the products that we spoiled beauty junkies squeeze, scrape, or shake 'til there's nothing left. Here are the beautiful empties we acquired this fall:
Used by Colleen Kelsey, Copywriter
"I only wear three shades of lipstick: red, and fuchsia and orange in the summer. I picked up this rich, cooler-toned wine-ish burgundy to one, be less boring, but also because I was looking for a lipstick with natural ingredients, fall was coming, and the packaging was really chic, so why not? The super-smooth formula smooshes on nicely for a stained effect over balm-ed lips, or layers seamlessly for a more modern update on a ‘90s Shalom Harlow vibe. I like it paired with a really clean, bare face, a touch of Kevyn Aucoin eye gloss, and freakishly long top and bottom lashes. Also works well with a suit and mules after dark."
Used by Melanie Masarin, Director of Retail
"I have unruly hair and have always dreaded shampoo nights—until someone gave me the Goop Scalp Scrub. Now washing my hair is an ACTIVITY. It's a soft, whipped cream-like mousse with Himalayan salt in it—really satisfying to dip your fingers into. It turns into a cloud when you rub-a-dub your scalp with it, and strips the lengths of buildup as you rinse it off, leaving your head squeaky clean and smelling of essential oils. It's a clean, color friendly formula, and I love that I only need to shampoo once, yet my hair stays clean longer than with other shampoos I've tried. I wish I wasn't hooked on $42 shampoo, but not being worried about aligning my hair washing schedule with my workout schedule makes it worth it."
Used by Erin Miller, Director of CX
"Of all the changes I've made in my skincare after turning 30, adding a double cleanse to my evening routine has made the biggest difference in my skin. Completely removing makeup, sunscreen, subway grime and whatever else has taken up residence on my face in a NYC day reduces inflammation, so I wake up looking more refreshed and less caffeine-deprived. The One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil (say that five times fast) is the best oil cleanser I've used. The texture is not too thick and gloppy, but not too light to really get in there with the rubbing action. I love the light almost pineapple-y scent from the papain enzyme. And, crucially, it's easy to remove with a second cleanse—no filmy feeling. A few times a week, I like to give myself an extended mini facial massage with this stuff and pretend I'm on a tropical isle of dewiness."
Finished by Ali Oshinsky, Editorial Intern
“I’m still a little shaky on what a toner is and why you should be using it—which is why I was so shocked to realize three (three!!!!) toners had found their way into my daily routine. I start with Collosol, follow with an acid like Paula’s Choice 2% BHA or P50, and finish with La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc Toner. Those are all toners, right? Sometimes I use Bioderma too, which is not a toner, but I bring it up as a means to say: I go through cotton rounds quite quickly. And these are the ones I like. Not the soft cotton side—the other side, which is made of a sturdier cotton and has these little dots that give my chemical exfoliators the sensation of a physical scrub. They’re $3 on Amazon, and if I run out a new package is just two days away.”
Used by Abby Tonkin, Brand & Campaign Strategy Manager
"My skin is on the dry-side, but I hate the feeling of heavy moisturizers. I want to feel hydrated not greasy, ya know? I'd never entertained the idea of using a serum instead of a moisturizer until I found Evolve Beauty's Hyaluronic Serum 200. This stuff is SO hydrating, smells like rose water, and contains natural and organic ingredients."
Finished by Melissa Souto, Director of Product Development
"Volume Cream. It sounds like an oxymoron. Wouldn’t a rich cream just weigh down my fine, thin hair? Regardless, I went against my instincts and picked up this Sachajuan product the last time (read: only time) I was in Stockholm, straight from the Swedish source. And what it lacks in conceptual sense, it makes up for in, well, volume. The ingredients aren’t great (alcohol denatured is second on the list, dimethicone, etc.) but this cream manages to make my hair look and feel healthy regardless. Its silicon-y texture melts onto damp hair and easily absorbs to a non-existent finish. My hair routine as of late looks something like this: I soak my head in Bedhead Queen for a Day, concentrating on my roots and make sure to get where my hair falls flattest. Then, I come in with Volume Cream starting mid-way down my hair toward the ends. After blow drying upside down, the result is more fluff without any stiffness, stickiness, or dryness. It feels just like my hair would naturally feel if I took the Viviscal everyone touts."
Finished by Emily Ferber, Editorial Director
"After reading Ashley's piece last summer, I am very on the serum-as-moisturizer bandwagon, only adding extra product when I can tell my skin really needs it. This serum is a hybrid of the two—not heavy, but not super aqueous either. I reached for it initially to help with some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but I've kept it around for its absolutely optimal level of hydration. That, and I've yet to meet a Renée product I don't like. And that doesn't like me."
Finished by Jess Kennedy, Executive Assistant
"My skin is temperamental. She takes after her mother. She is especially testy when there are drastic weather fluctuations, which unfortunately is just part of living in NYC. I have mild rosacea, and my skin can go from dewy and glowing, to tight with red patches, peeling, flaking, etc. at the drop of my own sweat (seriously). I discovered the Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask by way of a free sample from Credo before a cross-country redeye flight. I applied before takeoff and magically arrived looking hydrated, plump, and alive. I immediately purchased the full size and have used it nearly every night since. It has cured me of any morning tightness and redness. Plus, it's all-natural and smells heavenly."
Finished by Ariel Gitlin, Coordinator of First Impressions
"As much as I’d like to wake up in time to do a full routine in the morning before work, that’s just not in the cards for me. The thought of putting both a sunscreen and a moisturizer on before dealing with makeup makes me sick to my stomach—two steps?! Before even getting any makeup on?? You’re insane, sir. Please never speak to me again. That’s why this SPF/ moisturizer combo is my best friend. The kind ladies at Heyday gave it to me, and by that I mean, they convinced me to buy it when I was in a hazy, post-facial, blissful state and I handed over my credit card without blinking twice. Since then it’s pretty much been the only constant in my morning routine. It’s moisturizing, gives me a glowy (but not shimmery) finish, and smells like candy in a good way. Once it’s applied, it sinks in right away and I never have to think about it again—or at least until the next morning, when I roll out of bed six minutes before I have to leave my apartment."
Finished by Katarina Zhu, Creative Operations Coordinator
"This Pai Moisturizer is the BEST moisturizer ever—particularly for wintertime and for people with dry skin. This is the only thing that completely gets rid of the dry patches on my cheeks and chin—I use one pump before bed and my skin stays smooth and soft all throughout the next day. It absorbs quickly, never leaves my skin feeling greasy or looking oily, and the scent is nice and light—like fresh fruit, but not overwhelming. My face seriously feels the softest it has ever felt."
Finished by Kendall Latham, Senior Experiential Designer
"Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream is the skincare equivalent of chewing gum that tastes so good you just eat it even though everyone says it stays inside your stomach forever. It smells like fresh, sweet honey and feels silky on your skin. Typically, I am very critical of fragranced products because my face goes bonkers when I use them; however, this cream is an exception. Because of all the different honey compounds in this cream, it’s super moisturizing (great for winter), anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory, so it keeps my crazy-sensitive skin moisturized, protected, and calm throughout the day. I especially enjoy the fresh, dewy glow it gives my skin without looking or feeling greasy or thick, plus it makes my face smell like freakin’ honey! It’s a tad pricey, but if you decide to try it please put it on your face instead of eating it even though you’ll want to really bad."
Photo via ITG