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 month we braced ourselves for summer, with lighter moisturizers, cooling makeup, and pumped-up deodorants. We’re ready for the heat, here’s what we had to say:
As a person who tends to run hot, the summer is a complicated three months. On the one hand my cheeks will look naturally dewy and flush all the time, on the other hand a two minute walk to the deli invites my sweat glands to fire at will. I’ve resigned to comfort over vanity, which is why I always lug my fan around, but it’s not exactly my ideal solution. Something that has me hopeful for the dog days of July, however, is Chantecaille’s adorable water cream blush. It’s made with so much water that it literally cools your skin on contact—please, run to your nearest Bluemercury to experience this effect yourself. It’s sheer, so it blends well into any lightweight summer makeup aesthetic, and the finish is what I’d guess you call “natural”—neither super dewy nor super matte. I’m a fan of the Marigold shade, because the peach-pink color warms up my complexion. I know—it warms me up as it cools me down. As I said, it’s complicated.
I don’t like highlighters! They always read as glittery, they never look like skin, and when and why did we start using them on the tips of our noses? I’ve always felt like they’re a beauty phenomenon better suited to Instagram than real life, which is why I truly don’t know whose spirit possessed me when I grabbed this Kevyn Aucoin highlighter from the ITG closet. Apart from being a highlighter, it’s a bronze highlighter—I’ve never used a bronze highlighter in my life! But, guys, this is The One. First of all, the texture is not really comparable to any highlighter I’ve ever tried. I would describe the feel as closer to a gel moisturizing mask, actually, or maybe a balm. As soon as it hits the skin, the shimmery bronze that’s in the tube melts into this wet looking sheen, like I’m breaking a light sweat. It’s not sticky, but it doesn’t exactly absorb and definitely doesn’t mattify even with hours of wear. And the shade? Turns out it makes sense that if you put highlighter on the high points of the face where the sun hits anyway, a warm tint reads as a golden glow. And half a pump mixed in with moisturizer is the perfect no-makeup filter for all over. I’ll be taking this all the way into summer.
I came across Klur’s line of brown, Boston round bottled skincare like any well-meaning person comes across new beauty products—Instagram, the best place to source! Last month, when I asked via Instagram Stories which beauty product ITG’s followers loved the most during April, I was surprised to see a product from Klur pop up in every other DM. After trying their Gentle Matter Cleanser (plant-based and non-stripping) and their hyaluronic acid serum (reliably hydrating), it was their body oil—light, fragrant, and with a very efficient pump—that sealed the deal for me. Because it’s so small and portable, I’ve kept it in on my desk, thrown it in my bag, and bring it out whenever I need to moisturize my hands, arms, or elbows. Warmer weather means more exposed limbs, and I am mortified at the thought of looking ashy as it gets hotter in these NYC streets. It’ll seal whatever moisture you have on your body (so dampen your skin a little or drop it into a lotion before using), and thankfully it absorbs super fast, leaving behind only a dreamy scent of neroli and Bulgarian rose.
I'm not very brand loyal when it comes to beauty products. I've worked in fashion and beauty for over a decade on the editorial side (I just left ELLE after six years, hi I'm so happy to be here!) and I would just try whatever the beauty editor had lying around. But I've been buying this Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF for years because it provides just the right amount of berry tint so that I can put it on without looking in a mirror. This is key! I like the way my face looks better with a hint of color on my lips but I also don't have the time nor do I want to apply something as high-commitment and tricky as matte lipstick everyday.
Hallelujah, finally, a gel moisturizer I can get behind that is under $50. It took me a while but I'm here. I've wanted to try a lot of from TJ's new skincare lineup, but I guess I’ve made enough other impulse purchases there that somehow the skincare got pushed back. But I finally stocked up and I’m only mad that I didn’t do it sooner. The warmer it gets outside, the less my skin takes to anything thick, creamy, or heavy. But this moisturizer is amazing—super light, spreads really nice on the skin, not sticky, not irritating, and not drying. Factor in the convenience of it being located at my favorite grocery store, and the price tag, and I can almost quit my Tatcha Water Cream addiction.
The thing about pimples is that they usually make you mad. If you’re me, you unleash that aggression out directly by assaulting them with acid, taking a scorched earth approach. This is not good! I know that, you know that, we all know that… But Super Pure is the only thing that’s been able to stop me from my skin-directed aggression. With its two hero ingredients, niacinamide and zinc, I’ve begun to think of it as my gentle approach to breakouts. It soothes redness and inflammation, the things about pimples I find to be the most annoying. Used daily in the morning (occasionally twice daily if I’m going through something), it’s my insurance against picking and prodding so much. How responsible of me!
Last March I survived a journey inside City-Pharma, and after several months of rigorous testing, I'm inviting you to bear the fruit of my labor. First up is this body oil cleanser. It’s not the best cleanser (it struggles to lather), but I like to use it as a kind of body conditioner, usually after an intense scrub. So, after I’ve exfoliated with my favorite bar on the planet, the Crystal Peel Microdermabrasion bar, I rub this oil all over and rinse. It does everything that a great hair conditioner does: softens, smells great, and rinses clean. And it serves as a sort of primer for my body lotion. I like it way more than an oil that you’d leave on your skin—if you own any silk or linen, you know why—especially since the skin payoff is just about the same, minus the anxiety of an oil stain. So my skin is glowy, soft, and smooth—ready for June.
Turns out, we're willing to put up with annoying things when they're hot. Sometimes they're unavoidable (backless bras) and sometimes they're addicting (reality TV), but every once in a while an alternative comes around that makes you question all that well-meaning patience. These glosses from Kiehl’s (OK technically they’re oils—it’s in the name!) achieve a juicy, glass-like shine with no tackiness and no fuss. Midnight Orchid is my favorite shade, and I apply liberally. Eventually it absorbs and actually moisturizes your lips, and in doing so leaves behind the most beautiful stain like you just ate a popsicle or a whole bowl of cherries. I don’t know what’s in a traditional gloss, but I’m convinced they should all just be oils. Collect the whole lot to feel a warm wash of nostalgia for Juicy Tubes of yore, minus the drama.
Wearing natural deodorants regularly comes with a practice of trial and error. You try one, it works for a bit...and then your underarms start to ache for no apparent reason. You try another one, it works for a bit...then 4PM rolls around, and your ‘natural odors’ come out for a spin. The charcoal ones leave a gray stain on your white tees. Other ones pill if there’s any residue from the day before. Until now, I’ve made do (because I’m committed to this journey!) but I’m SO happy to have found Type A’s deodorants. So far, it’s passed all and any tests. I realized this the other day, when it struck me that I haven’t had to think about my deodorant. Whether I’m slipping in a quick post-work elliptical run, or going about my business at work, my mind is at peace, knowing that my pits aren’t stinking up the place. Isn’t that what deodorants are for anyways?
I stole this from my mom. I think someone at Sephora convinced her to try it, and she found the coverage too sheer, but I loved the soft-focus effect it gave my face without sinking into my pores. I've never worn foundation and could never commit to a tinted moisturizer—it just felt like too much of a production and too messy. This is very contained and goes on so easily with a little pad. I honestly didn't even know it also had broad spectrum SPF 50 when I started using it so now I feel incredibly virtuous and responsible.
I need to move on from neroli scents. At one point I had three variations of Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino—I'm a MONSTER, I know—but it's lost a bit of its magic. On the hunt for something new, I tried a Régime des Fleurs sampler flight a while back. Waves stuck with me the most—I love it SO much. It’s light, crisp, clean but not floral or sweet. More specifically, Waves smells like clean green mint. It'll be my new “neroli” in the summertime.
As a beauty editor, there is nothing more gratifying than finding a steadfast basic. Nearly everything I come across is special or new fangled or fancy. It’s refreshing to grab for something and know, “I’m going to reach for this for years to come.” That’s how I feel about this mid-weight, unscented moisturizer from one of my favorite lines, Renée Rouleau. At first scoop, it's rich and comforting but breaks into a featherlight texture on skin. It immediately addresses skin dehydration—like…you can feel it working. I’ve started layering it under my nightly face oil and I’m shocked by how healthy my skin looks. No makeup days ahead!
Photographed by Tom Newton.