Welcome to Our Favorite Products, a monthly feature in which ITG's editors discuss our favorite products. They're the best things we've tried all month long, reviewed, photographed, and anthropomorphized before we have the opportunity to get sick of them and move on to something new. This March we've been masking and discovering the possibilities of shiny lipstick.
All kudos go directly to Ashley Weatherford for this one. After meeting with the good people of Gee Beauty (boutique and eponymous makeup line), she tested their tinted primer and passed on the good word to me. (The girl knows base makeup; when you get a personal recommendation, you take it.) If anybody remembers the now-discontinued Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer from way back when, Gee's formula is its long lost twin. It has the heft of a foundation, but the coverage of a tint—so pores disappear and a perfect canvas emerges, but not so much that you've got to spend the next 15 minutes blending and resculpting your face with three different shades. I like to buff it out all over my face with a medium-sized flat top kabuki brush. It's the perfect level of coverage before adding concealer or blush or highlighter (sometimes I find adding certain complexion products to bare skin without a base layer can look a little strange). Ashley and I literally cannot stop talking about it.
I've run out of clay masks! And instead of buying more, I'm trying something new: charcoal, the easy-to-use friend of clay. Still mattify-ing and zit-zaping, but a little easier to clean off your skin, and a lot less messy! If activated charcoal tablets can rid one's stomach of food poisoning, then I trust it to clear up my skin. I love this French drugstore one that comes in a pot. It spreads over your face easily, and it doesn't dry TOO soon, so you feel like you're getting a good effort out of it and it washes off soo nicely. Charcoal is my new clay.
Not going to lie: the packaging is a little cheesy, but I’ve never let wonky branding get in between me and a potential new cult favorite (see Aztec Indian Healing Clay and De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment for reference). So I gave it a try earlier this month, and you know that watershed moment when you discover something really good? Maybe the first time you buckled down and got a hold of P50, or a foundation that nailed it in both shade and texture? That’s what this mask is like—everyone, please try it. It’s two parts. There’s a Q-tip-adjacent applicator you use to deposit a mandelic acid serum all over your face. (Mandelic acid, by the way, is typically looped in the “gentle” acids category—great if glycolic acid is just too much for you.) And then you put the foil sheet mask on top and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The slight warming effect is supposed to make the ingredients penetrate deeper into your skin. When it comes off, your skin looks phenomenal—like you’ve just gotten a facial. Smooth, bright, and generously hydrated. I’m obsessed, and if you’re wondering, the answer is yes—I absolutely plan to use this on my wedding day, Tin Man look and all.
After I wash my face, I have a two to three minute window to moisturize before my skin's plumpness evaporates away. Sometimes I don’t make the time limit. In that case my skin dries out and I'm forced to get creative with adding more moisture. A face mist here, an essence there—and I’ll really load them on because I’m always paranoid there still isn’t enough moisture. Because Vichy Mineral 89 Face Serum is somewhere between a gel moisturizer and a face serum, its formula has some weight to it. And it stays. It plumps and softens, leaving me with a really good foundation for more action (i.e. serums! SPF!) or if I just want to seal the dampness with a face oil.
There's a new luxury shower cap in town, friends, and she's not here to play any games. If you've been reading closely, you'll know I've been a longtime defender of the ugly shower cap—the actually functional shower cap that doesn't need to look nice because she does a superior job tucking away baby hairs and fitting over ponytails. The new Louvelle may look nice on the outside, what with her turban twist shape and her fetching, colorful patterns. But on the inside, she's just as ugly as your grandmother's trusty cap. With her puffy nylon lining, she's saying "Don't judge a book by its cover—I may look sleek and sophisticated, but inside, I'm a puffy nylon mess, just like you like." I love her for her honesty. It slips on comfortably without stretching or pulling on hairs; it wicks water instantly and wipes dry fast. Also comes in a bigger size if you've got more hair. I'm thinking of investing all over again. —EJF
NOT an essence person here. Not one bit. Not ever! Here I am though, using one. It's because this winter I fell back in love with toners (love that my skin feels so clean after I do it), but now I need another step to balance my skin. I use this after cleansing and toning, and then add a light serum on top. It's great! The perfect amount of moisture without weighing me down (I hate heavy moisturizers). Now I'm dying to try the rest of this line.
I’ve never really been a big red lip person, but nude? That’s my calling card. It’s usually a matte nude, or maybe a creamy one, but never something glossy. Just seems like too much work, you know? You’ve got to do the lipstick first and then the lipgloss… But Vinylic Lip is different in that it gives a sheen you’d normally see in just a gloss, but the color payoff is akin to a lipstick. It’s a nude that leans more on the darker side for my skin tone (I’d say I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of Kerry Washington, for a visual). If your complexion is lighter, it’s even more of a deep nude; and if you’re darker, it’s probably the perfect nude. But any way you slice it, it just looks good.
Photographed by Tom Newton