Our Favorite Products: July 2021 Edition


Welcome to Our Favorite Products, a monthly feature in which ITG's editors and our Gloffice co-workers... 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’ve had heat waves, hazy skies, and muggy rainstorms. All likely to continue through August! But you’re not tuned in for a weather report, so we’ll cut to the chase. Below, find a bug spray that doesn’t fail, smoothing leave-ins to coddle frizz, a fragrance that bottles summer nostalgia, and lots more. Think of it as your summer survival guide, but sexier—we’ve still got one month left, give or take.

A workhorse hair mask

“I’m truly terrible at getting regular trims in any given ‘normal’ year, let alone during a global pandemic—great for my wallet but terrible for my ends. And sometimes my ends get so bad that I’m embarrassed to slither into a hairdresser’s chair at all! Imagine the judgment! So it’s kind of amazing that I found a mask that truly masks my neglect. K18 is kind of like Olaplex in that it literally reverses damage, except it’s lighter, you use a heck of a lot less, and it’s also a leave-in. It’s not like other heavy duty masks or leave-ins that are loaded with lots of moisturizers—not that there’s anything wrong with those, it’s just that moisturizers only do just that and skimp on the actual repair job. But because K18 is formulated with peptides, it gets into hair at a cellular level and gets to work by quite literally mending broken keratin chains. ‘Miracle product’ gets tossed around too easily these days, but when I tell you how my horse hair ends improved after two solid weeks of use...please take my word for it.” —Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor

A dry shampoo with an SPF secret

"I have fine hair and a middle part and I have always struggled with sun burns on my sensitive scalp. A cursory search for scalp sunscreens a while back was unsuccessful—most of them were sprays or mists, and my fine hair gets greasy too easily for any liquid-y product. Those weren't for me. After that I assumed I would be destined to wear a straw hat every day, forever. Until I found Supergoop’s Poof powder. I love the texture of this stuff, because it’s almost like a dry shampoo (and smells like one too). Any time I’m out in the sun I do a few sprays on my part—and also spray it onto my two kids' scalps as well—and I am good to go! It is a bit of a splurge because I don't tend to spend a lot on SPF, but this product is so unique that, for me at least, it’s definitely worth it. I also love that it’s small enough to easily fit in a purse or a beach bag." —Kate Weizman, VP, Sales

A serum that works as hard as a cream

"I've been using Cocokind's Ceramide Barrier serum morning and night for almost two weeks—it’s full of ceramides and lipids to support the skin barrier. The serum comes in a cute glass bottle, equipped with a dropper that makes using the right amount all too easy. I also like that Cocokind lists their sustainability facts on the package. It makes me feel better about how often I’ll repurchase, which is probably… a lot. This stuff makes my dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin soft and hydrated, and I think it’s been helping with redness too. My best friend's grandma complimented me on my makeup-free skin over the weekend, and even after a late night and sleeping in my makeup, a couple drops and my skin still somehow looked good? No breakouts or weird irritation—it felt like magic. And at only $20 a bottle, it’s such a steal. I’ve pretty much given up all my other serums now." —Renee Probetts, Business Intelligence Engineer

A candle that’ll cool you down as it burns up

"Liha was founded in my hometown of Hackney, London, but was inspired by co-founders Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan’s African roots. In classic Yoruba tradition, each product is handmade in small batches from vegan and ethically sourced ingredients. This candle is named after queen Idia, who (myth tells) had two incisions on her forehead that gave her metaphysical healing power. I cannot describe how good this candle smells, but I’ll try: hibiscus and lavender are balanced by heady geranium and frankincense, and the eco-friendly coconut wax fills your space as it melts. To get the full experience, I like to light it in my bedroom an hour before bedtime/reading time—once the top layer of wax has melted I gently blow her out and enjoy the fragrance. This candle has lasted me for ages and has the added bonus of coming in a beautiful glass jar I’ll eventually use to propagate my succulents. If you buy one candle this summer, make it this one." —Annabelle Scown-Geary, Senior gTEAM Editor

A no-service sign for hungry bloodsuckers

"I'm always the first person in a group to get bitten by mosquitoes, and at this point in my life, I feel like I've tried most techniques to keep bugs away: rubbing lemongrass leaves on my skin (ouch), essential oils (why?), wearing insect repellent anklets (that didn't work). Until someone invents a natural insect repellent that actually works, I'll be using this picaridin lotion from Sawyer. I first bought it after one Amazon reviewer identified the target user as someone who’s a Michelin star restaurant for mosquitoes. The brand recommends applying it directly to skin, and it does not smell, goes on clear, and absorbs rapidly without leaving a sticky or greasy residue. I even put some on my face. I tested it on a three-day camping trip upstate and a hike near Lake George and didn't get a single bite. No reapplication necessary! (It's supposed to provide 14 hours of protection.) At $10 for the 4 oz lotion, it's a steal." —Roxane Cosnard des Closets, Manager, Financial Systems

A something-blue mask to commit to

"I’m getting married in August, which I’ve decided is a pretty good excuse to stop doing the least with my skincare. I still wanted to keep it pretty simple: I’d add one product, with the goal of targeting texture and clarity. Herbivore’s Blue Tansy mask had served me well in the past, when I was dealing with persistent acne. I remembered it was really effective at soothing my redness and clearing up my skin, so I took advantage of Herbivore’s summer sale and restocked. I love its herby and slightly medicinal scent, and the cooling gel texture has been so nice during the summer heat. (Note: it is quite laborious to take off, so I get help from a muslin cleansing cloth.) After the first week I also saw my redness begin to clear up and the texture I tend to feel on my forehead get smoother. And now I’m fully committed—I even added 'MASK!!!' to my planner every three days leading up to the big day so that I stay on track." —Zoe Green, Senior gTEAM Editor

A frizz tamer that’s beach wedding-proof

"A flatiron hasn't touched my strands in almost two years, and in that time my hair doubled in size and length. (Never realized how damaged it was—yikes.) It takes every serum there is plus over an hour with my arms above my head to blow dry my fine, curly hair, and as soon as I’d step outside, it would spring right back up. I had a beach wedding to go to in the middle of June, and after falling down a late-night Reddit rabbit hole looking for a solution, I found Color Wow Dream Coat. I went to the wedding with oil and bobby pins in my bag, expecting to throw my hair up in a bun like I always do. But smack-dab in the middle of summer heat and salty air, I was perfectly coiffed. Plus there’s no scent or weird technique necessary. Here’s what I did: after washing and towel-drying my hair, I sprayed it thoroughly with Dream Coat and brushed it through. After that I blew it dry in small sections with a thick, round bristle brush, and sealed it with a silky oil. That’s it!" —Liana Franklin, Senior Manager, Product Marketing

An insurance policy for your cat eye

"Extra-hold setting sprays may keep makeup perfect forever, but so many feel sticky and stiff. I prefer when setting sprays are weightless and refreshing, and Milk’s is both while still doing a pretty dang good job of keeping my makeup in place on the sweatiest of NYC summer days. (And I’m a pretty sweaty person.) It’s not quite as grippy as Mac Fix+, but I like that it’s hydrating—plus, once it dries down, you can’t feel it at all. I use one to two sprays on each side of my face after finishing my makeup in the mornings, never spraying straight on. And when I went roller skating outside in Brooklyn the other day, my eye makeup basically didn’t budge! It’s not the cheapest product at $36, and felt like a bit of a splurge, but it seems to last forever. " —Rachel Schachtman, Lead Product Manager, Growth

A “sunscreen” as sweet as a summer fling

"I have the biggest summer crush on this fragrance collab between ERL and Comme des Garçons called Sunscreen. Fragrantica is my number one bookmarked website, and the consensus over there is that Sunscreen is a unisex spring/summer, daytime eau de toilette. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes to smell really clean and beachy, not in a 'I'm on vacation' way, but more in a 'I casually surf' way. It opens with slightly powdery 'solar notes' (sounds bizarre but it actually smells like sunshine), a zing of peach, and bergamot. As it sets in, there’s a twist: coconut, musk, and cedar. I spray it on my wrists, elbows, neck, and body right after a shower, and for the first few hours it’s acidic and bright, then it mellows out—by the end of the day it smells way more like palatable cotton candy. The combination definitely gives me Byredo Pulp meets Pink Sugar 2008 mall girl vibes, which is really exciting to see in a unisex fragrance. My boyfriend steals it every morning." —Sam Sonntag, Senior Designer, Creative

A drugstore liner every light-eyed person needs

"Brown eyeliner. Not groundbreaking! But only certain brown eyeliners can turn green eyes celery and blue eyes aquamarine, and all the ones that do are warm. I’ve come across many that try admirably but fail on account of being either not warm enough or way too red or orange, and the only one I consistently return to is Nars Mambo. But it’s much darker and sultrier than this Canmake one I spotted at Teso Life, and I was skeptical that a lighter shade could work the same magic. After waffling at the checkout, I’m glad I splurged the 10 bucks. The name, Bitter Caramel is actually perfect, because I’ve fucked up stovetop caramel enough times to recognize the vibrant russet it turns when it’s burnt. It’s neither red nor orange but so much more dimensional than a regular brown, and applies smooth and creamy. I trace my eyes haphazardly, then smudge it out and watch as they become a million times brighter and more interesting than they actually are. I know that people with light eyes are already sunshine selfie menaces. Sorry that this will probably make it worse." —Ali Oshinsky, Associate Editor

Photo via ITG