Our Favorite Products: September 2020 Edition


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 focused on the exceptions, not the rules—the one clay mask that's good for dry skin, a leave-in conditioner that shines from scalp to ends, an uber-forgiving matte lipstick. Don't they all sound like oxymorons? When the world seems so topsy-turvy bizarre, it's nice to know that beauty can still surprise us. Here are the products we're taking with us into October and beyond:

A Clay Mask For Dry Skin

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“I have a similar relationship with clay masks as I do with bangs. Love ‘em! Just not on me. When I used to give facials, I’d always be mesmerized by how a clay mask and a quick steam could seemingly coax gunk out of pores and make extractions a breeze (or sometimes, unnecessary). But the absorbent quality of clay masks, the reason it’s so good for oily skin, makes my skin feel tight and dry. Klur’s new Supreme Seed mask stands apart from all the others because it feels more like a gorgeous, whipped moisturizer than a clay mask, and though it hardens, it rinses off slippery, like I had slathered my face in a rich cream then changed my mind. Actually, the first time I used it, I had to check the product page to make sure there actually was clay in it and I hadn’t misplaced my marbles. (For the record, there is, it’s kaolin, and it’s the fourth ingredient.) I put it on when I had two painful zits a-brewing on my nose and chin, and when it came off my skin felt more balanced all over and the breakouts had calmed. So sure, Supreme Seed is a clay mask. But it’s also an aloe, centella, vitamin B5, calendula, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E mask, and my skin loves it.” —Ali Oshinsky

The Perfect Patent-Finish Liner

“Anyone who lives and dies by liquid liner understands my pursuit of the perfect one. I wanted one that gave the ideal swoosh of a cat-eye without much headache, with super black finish and a seamless application. In my early days, that quest had me frequenting Targets, Sephoras, and my big sister’s makeup bag—today, if you dropped me in a beauty aisle in Anywhere, USA, I could find a liquid eyeliner that meets my criteria in five minutes flat. My cheat code? Going for an inkwell liner with a brush-tip applicator. The brush is flexible enough to get close to your lash line and follow any shape you’re going after, but firm enough to follow your range of motion and not spin out before you make your flick. Of course, you’ll get a little drippiness—everyone’s liquid liner skill level is different, but my expertise can handle it. Plus, that inkiness is what leaves my cat-eye jet-black every time. For as long as I can remember my holy grail inkwell liner has been the unbelievably affordable Wet n Wild waterproof one, but using Marc Jacobs’ Highliner gives me a bit more control and never leaves my eyes feeling irritated. Also, it’s chrome, streamlined...and chic. It’s the liner I’d want someone to borrow from my makeup bag.” —Utibe Mbagwu

An Oil Cleanser For Your Hair

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“If the best part about curly hair is the versatility, then the worst is all the scalp buildup. And it’s so easy to happen because curly hair requires so. many. creams. I’ve tried to knock it out a few ways (scrubs, scalp massagers...), and the latest tool I’ve added to my kit is this oil detox. It’s really a multi-phase solution, where after four months I’m supposed to have shinier, healthier hair overall, but in the first month it’s all about tackling the buildup. The way it works is that before my regularly scheduled hair wash I douse my scalp with this guy and let it sit for 20 minutes. The oil loosens up the buildup like an oil cleanser loosens makeup, and then a good healthy shampoo and rinse clears the gunk away. Act + Acre has a whole mantra about how their cold-pressed tech makes the oil better, but I’m just going off results at this point and the results are that my flaky scalp is no more—good stuff!” —Ashley Weatherford

A Tube Of Bright Red Joy

“To be honest, I wasn’t super excited when these came in the mail. Sure, I love makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, and I knew they had sold out a few runs in the past, but full-pigment matte lipstick isn’t really my jam. In a Zoom to celebrate the launch, Lisa explained that these lipsticks were so difficult to get right she almost gave up—traditional matte formulas didn’t give the plush finish she wanted, and her samples were full of so much pigment they kept breaking in the tubes. Sold on the story, I rushed to the mirror right after I signed off. Now, I can confirm the result of her years of work is truly special: a matte lipstick with a velvet finish that smooths on easily, fills lines, and blurs the lips instead of holding on to every chapped flake. Every other red I’ve ever used now feels like a simulacrum—you know how black velvet pants look so much more black than non-velvet ones? It’s like that. Pure color. I’ve been letting Velvet Ribbon, the classic Lisa Eldridge red, replace my morning cup of coffee for a quick energizing jolt. I’d suggest getting in on the pre-order while you can, because these guys tend to go quickly.” —AO

A Leave-In Conditioner That’s Good From Roots To Tips

“I like to use Adwoa Beauty’s Leave-In Conditioner on my ends when my hair needs some moisture, but I genuinely look forward to using it right after I wash my hair. After I’ve towel-dried it from soaking wet to damp, the leave-in absorbs almost immediately, and while doing so creates a clarifying sensation—it’s like I can feel my scalp breathing as I braid my hair. Sensation aside, what makes this leave-in conditioner stand out is the way my hair feels hydrated for so, so long. It reminds me of what I used to experience with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie, but without the coil shrinkage and oiliness that came with using too much. A common error! With Adwoa’s cream, my hair feels soft and bouncy but doesn’t lose the length I get from my braid out over time. If I’m feeling particularly lazy after I’ve washed my hair and applied it, I won’t add hair oil to my strands until the next day when I’m re-braiding before I go to sleep. Finding tried and true staples for my hair hasn’t been an easy task, but I’m happy to say that I’ve found one here—plus, it has a pump!” —UM

A Statement Mascara That's Also A Workhorse

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“Byredo makes makeup! When I first heard about this I knew at least the product units would be pretty (Byredo knows their way around good design), but the actual makeup? Wasn’t so sure. More often than not, companies tend to stumble when they start out in one direction and then suddenly go the way of makeup or skincare. But silly me, with makeup wunderkid Isamaya Ffrench attached to the launch I should have known better. My favorite product is the mascara. Its thin wand is equipped with short bristles that define and lengthen the heck out of my lashes. It deposits just the right amount of product to coat each hair for volume, but not too much that it immediately clumps. The small brush is also fit to coat my lower lashes without making a big ol’ mess. Listen, at the end of the day it’s just mascara, but in all seriousness, it’s one of the best.” —AW

Photos via ITG