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're solution-oriented. Got a problem? Let us help you fix it, in the fewest steps possible—from dry skin to smelly pits to sore muscles. Because sometimes, the most exciting products are the ones that make you think, 'Oh, finally.'
"To me, there’s nothing chicer than a shiny, buffed nail. It’s like no-makeup makeup for your hands: it says, I put time into my appearance, but I’m not trying to cover anything up. And natural nail color (that light pink-ish, beige-ish neutral) is so pretty, a whole industry of nail polishes exist to mimic it. The problem, then, isn’t in the look but in the means to achieving it. Nail buffing tools are simply not chic. One of two options is a foam buffer with four sides that you have to throw out after around 20 buffs. (Nail salons toss ‘em after each use.) The other is a chamois buffer, which looks like something from the 1800s and doesn’t work without a special cream. But the age of the lacquered set monopolizing smooth, modern nail care tools is over, because of Bare Hands. Their Dry Gloss—doesn’t the name even sound luxurious?—kit includes a small, moon-shaped glass file that does all the work of a buffing block in just one step. Founder Suzanne Shade discovered the technology in Korea, where tiny dots of specialized ink on glass replaced sandpaper grit to shine up nails. She modified the file shape to get up close to the cuticle, paired it with a nourishing oil, and the Dry Gloss was born. Unlike traditional buffers, one of these glass files can last up to a year with regular use, and you better believe I’ll be using it regularly."
"The days I choose to wash my hair are an intentional affair. It has to be a late weekend morning, when I’ve got some energy to carry me through. Only then can I whip out my curated armory of slippery conditioners and flexible paddle brushes for the time-consuming task of detangling. I’ve sussed out fun ways to kill time during wash day, and lately, experimenting with different detanglers on different parts of my hair (because varying curl patterns and hair porosities are real) and new shampoos are carrying me through. One of the most whimsical shampoos I’ve come across so far is Bread Beauty’s Milky Hair Wash. Its pillowy texture foams lightly but saturates my scalp’s square footage. My hair isn’t so cleansed that it feels deprived of moisture, but it also doesn't feel too heavy, like there’s product left on. It’s not really a shampoo, not a co-wash, but a kind of milky micellar water for your hair. And the saccharine smell of it all! Its fragrance lies somewhere between a Jolly Rancher and cotton candy, and when I say cotton candy, I’m channeling this refresher spray I stole from my big sis and salivated over for years. At the end of the day, it’s a hair wash that brings a smile to my face."
"Oh, big surprise here, huh? Glossier girl recommending the Glossier product. Well, there’s a good story to go with so hopefully it’s worth it… For roughly a year now, I’ve been using an exfoliating serum nightly that was so good, I touted it as the most important thing to have touched my face since prescription retinol. But tale as old as Top Shelf: The breakouts came back. With a vengeance. Blame quarantine, blame product testing, blame whatever you want. The stuff wasn’t hitting the same way anymore and I went on a mission to figure out why. My working hypothesis is that the alcohol content in this once-miracle serum started to dry my skin out, sending me into that tailspin toward so-dry-you-go-around-the-bend-to-oily-again. Solution packs quite the exfoliant punch with AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs (gang’s all here!) and count it: zero alcohol. And the try’s been worth my while. Texture and breakouts and blackheads are improving, and my skin feels more balanced throughout the day (regardless of the moisturizer I use—and I like to go heavy when I can). Ali has been telling me to ditch the alcohol for a while now. Ali, when you read this, feel free to scream 'I told you so' into the void."
"With two weeks of 90+ degree weather I hardly want to put on clothes, let alone a thick, sticky lotion. But a girl’s got to moisturize, so a body serum it is. This Nécessaire one takes the body serum cake. It’s lightweight and almost downright fluffy, and it spreads easily and doesn’t stick. It’s also fragrance-free, which I’d like to think also helps me with my little backyard mosquito issue. But the ingredients! That’s what I really love about this guy. They read like a face serum—there’s niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides, to boot. They all play together to make my skin look like vacation skin...you know the look. Plump, like it’s been in some humidity, and taut and glistening, as if I’ve just walked inside after a brief ocean dip. Best of all, it feels like nothing, which is honestly what I’m going for most these days—barely there and bare skin, chef’s kiss."
"About a year ago, after discovering my favorite skincare acid worked better than anything else I’d tried at controlling body odor, I had this idea that toner in a rollerball bottle would make an excellent deodorant. Of course, I didn't tell anyone about it. And though I could be bitter I didn’t act on the idea myself, I’m just glad someone did—because now I have this product, Kosas’ new Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant. The ingredient list reads like an expensive skin cream: aloe, peptides, and hyaluronic acid keep underarms smooth and soothed. Its slew of AHAs including mandelic, lactic, and shikimic acid (a potent skin lightener to get to work on armpit shadows) keep me smelling good all day. And the waterweight formula in that oh so easy to use rollerball means the whole application is mess-free. A swipe on of the fragrance-free version in the morning means I’ll smell totally neutral after a workout, a long walk outside, and a stress sweat-inducing panic attack. (It happens.) I was right! It's the deodorant of my dreams."
"Now this is a little woo-woo for me, but you asked what I’m loving this month so here goes: According to my mom, who heard it from her Pilates instructor, lemongrass essential oil (any you can find will do) is a wicked good remedy for muscle cramps and soreness. I don’t know why. I have not Googled it. Like any good child, I complained to my mother that my shoulders were sore from driving 12 hours to come and see her, and she told me this would fix it. I cannot confirm or deny if she was right. What I CAN say is that after patching myself up with more lidocaine Icy-Hots than I am proud to admit (to no avail), the lemongrass oil seemed to do the trick overnight! I don’t get it, but I love it. Only downside is you smell like Lemon Pledge until your next shower. There are worse things in the world."
"I recently moved into a new apartment! (Yes, it is exciting! Thanks so much.) It’s only a little over a mile from my former place, but that didn’t stop me from stuffing everything I own into a bunch of boxes to protect my goodies for the 7-minute truck ride over. At this point in the move, I’m done relocating but the beauty products I use day to day are not. They’ll stay unpacked and inaccessible until I have time to sort through it all—but for now, I’m using the products that were in the boxes I opened first, a game of beauty roulette for laziness’ sake. COSRX’s Snail Mucin Essence greeted my skin like a long-lost friend. It gives a heavyweight dose of hydration that keeps my skin from feeling tight throughout the day, no additional hydrating products necessary. It also doesn’t pill under my moisturizer or balmy sunscreen. I’ve been having such a great time with it, it’s got me thinking that goopy essences are the best shortcut for lasting hydration and instantly moisturized skin."
Photos via ITG