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 experienced a record-breaking heat wave. While we blasted our AC and made plans to seek swimming, our beauty staples became grime-busting, acne-fighting, odor masking survival tools. Below, you’ll pretty much find one of everything to get you through another month of not the hot girl summer we asked for, but the hot girl summer we probably deserve. What are you waiting for?
"Imagine that meme format with evolving, explode-y brains. When it comes to cleansing in the summer, the first row of that would be foamy gel cleansers. They cut through grime like dish soap, and leave you feeling squeaky clean. Maybe… too clean? Above that would be oil cleansers: more gentle on your microbiome, super great at dissolving oils and heavy sunscreens, but kinda tricky to wash off. (Hence the double cleanse.) Fig. 1’s Micellar Oil Cleanser is the final evolved brain. Imagine a micellar water in reverse, meaning it feels and works like an oil but rinses off like it’s water-based. According to the derm behind the brand, the secret is a mix of oils and cleansing molecules that only form micelles (clusters of molecules with oil-loving heads pointing inward and water-loving tails pointing out) when they’re activated by water. A splash from the sink arranges those cells in a neat and orderly fashion for quick evacuation down the drain. And skin feels incredibly clean, but nourished. I’ve never used anything like this and am kind of obsessed with the tech—the only thing that sounds similar (on the US market at least) is from Neogen, and it’s next on my list."
—Ali Oshinsky, Associate Editor
"I thought I would never see the light at the end of my acne tunnel. Skincare has always been a clinical process for me—a ritual of cleansing and healing—and for the longest time I was so frustrated and mad at my genes. (Oily skin and large pores definitely run in my family.) So, with recommendations from my facialist, I started on a Face Reality acne regimen. The secret sauce is this mandelic acid serum, which is antibacterial, antifungal, and exfoliating, and so gentle. It’s absolutely brilliant, because I could keep using it without frying off my face. Nothing has had more of a lasting effect on the texture and tone of my face. But the craziest thing is that after a few weeks of daily use, I even noticed a decrease in the size of my pores. I never thought I’d experience that! The texture is a bit jelly-like—on the thicker side for a serum—but absorbs super quickly. And price-wise, it’s an absolute steal. I’d recommend it to folks of all ages struggling with bumps, dark spots, congestion, or just bad luck finding their glow."
—Julia Muntean, Experiential Designer
"As a POC, choosing lip product shades is always stressful—will it show up on my lips? Will I look insane in this color? I really appreciate that Ami Colé's Lip Oil Treatment only comes in one shade, designed to be flattering for two-tone lips and melanin-rich skin. Goodbye, decision fatigue and shade anxiety! And this stuff is like a good nude bodysuit: effortless, flattering, and barely there. It goes on thick and absorbs into my lips in minutes, which is the main reason I love this product so much. I get tint and shine, but instead of feeling sticky my lips feel super hydrated, like I actually drink eight glasses of water a day. That being said, they don't peel from over-hydration with frequent application (it’s no match for a meal), either—instead they get smoother, and I find I don't need to use lip scrub as often. At $20 it's not the cheapest, but my lips now have an auto-pilot skincare routine. Hallelujah."
—Doa Jafri, Senior Engineering Manager
"Things I love: being moisturized, baths, relaxing. I was first drawn to the Saint Jane CBD Body Serum because it checked my boxes as both a body moisturizer and bath oil (both of which it does stupendously.) But with the recent temperature and humidity changes in New York, my perioral dermatitis has been making a reappearance. Last time it flared I tried every at-home perioral dermatitis treatment there is, from zinc serum to diaper cream, and ultimately ended up on prescription doxycycline. But as I was doing my post-bath skincare routine one day I thought “why not” and used the body serum as a face moisturizer. Reader, I’m never going back. It helps my dryness, redness, irritation, and makes my skin dewy as heck. The consistency is a bit more oil-esque than a traditional serum, but sinks in decently quickly and doesn’t feel sticky. And while it’s definitely not a steal at 4oz for $58, it's one of the more affordable CBD-based products out there. I noticed an improvement in my skin within a week."
—Cati Pishal, gTeam Supervisor
"There are lots of fancy things you can buy to smooth and hydrate body skin. Some of them might even be worth it! But my favorite not-so-secret secret is that one of the best (if not the best) is $20 in a frumpy pump bottle at the drugstore. No, Amlactin Rapid Relief isn't fancy or sexy; but it doesn't have to be. This bottle of Amlactin is betting that it's so full of skin-smoothing lactic acid (15-percent!) that you won't care that it doesn't have Instagram-ready branding or make your Top Shelf look like you're a billionaire. None of that matters when this stuff gives you the body skin of a movie star. Not only are you moisturized (thanks to glycerin, vitamin E, and cholesterol) but your smoothness will be off the charts. It's the kind of smoothness only a dermatologist-recommended acid treatment can give you—perfect prep for a self tan, which I recommend after the last 18 months we've all had."
"Makeup-wise, my second greatest love affair has been with eyeliner (my first love will always and forever be lipstick). Give me a good liquid liner that goes on evenly and doesn’t smudge, and I swoon. I usually go with tried-and-true black for my preferred minimalist cat eye but have been branching out lately with Le Liner de Chanel in Bleu Cobalt. Sure, the thin felt tip makes it easy to apply and build up, but it’s the shade that really does it: it’s a gorgeous deep blue that’s surprisingly wearable. It makes me feel a bit dressed up with very little effort, and I love that the color is almost like a secret—in a regular indoor setting or over Zoom it looks nearly black, but if I step near a window and the sun hits just right, it’s suddenly clearly a vivid cobalt. Highly recommend trying, especially since it’s a limited-edition color."
—Leaya Lee, Senior Copywriter
"Growing up in Texas, there was nothing worse than putting on deodorant and having to re-apply an hour later—not because you smell bad, but because you don't smell like the deodorant you just applied. Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist deodorant solved that—my high school best friend Rachel turned me onto it, and we’ve both been loyal for 10 years. At the time spending anything over $4 on deodorant seemed ridiculous, and thanks to both inflation and demand now a sleek cream cylinder will set you back 30 bucks. But I work with numbers, so I figure I’m getting a good price per wear since it lasts around three months and I don’t have to reapply. I kid you not—this stuff lasts 24 hours. Through a Texas summer day, through a New York summer commute, through a 45-minute workout class and beyond. The deodorant itself is a smooth white paste that doesn't pill up, and I often get complimented on how I smell when I'm wearing it. Rachel and I had a scare last month when it seemed to be discontinued—I almost bought a three pack on eBay for more than I would like to admit. Luckily a woman at Nordstrom revealed there was just a production delay, and I can take my beloved with me into July."
—Michaela Pecoraro, Senior Corporate Accountant
"I’ve never thought myself a picky shaver. I’ve always grabbed a 5-pack of women’s or men’s or literally whatever razors, and that was that. My impetus for picking up my first Flamingo razor a few weeks ago was actually the little suction-cup-shower-wall-hanger-thing (I don’t think that’s the scientific name) it came with. I feel gross when razors are just sitting on the ledge of the tub, and my dog likes to steal them as chew toys, so this was a great solution. I used this razor once, and I’m a picky shaver forevermore. For the duration of the pandemic, my perpetually-legging-clad legs have been seriously neglected (the stubble has turned into full grown hairs, dry patches have gone unmoisturized for months), and, still, this razor took it all in stride. It has some kind of big moisture strip on the top and a really flexible head that actually does what all the razor commercials claim, literally gliding over knees and ankles. It’s a sports car going 100 mph on a windy, mountain road like it’s nothing. I didn’t get a single knick, had no irritation, and when I examined my legs in the sunlight, couldn’t find a single hair it missed."
—Amanda Keffer, Senior Copywriter
It’s really hard for me to praise antioxidant serums because, unless it’s a vitamin C, where you’re expected to observe some relatively immediate benefit, you have to imagine it’s working for you in the long run. Because antioxidants, for the most part, are a long game gamble. Which is why I am more shocked than anyone that I am obsessed with Holifrog’s antioxidant serum. Guys! This thing is amazing! It gives you that lit-from-within glow that I’d normally get from a highlighter. I use it every day, where its azelaic acid works overtime to smooth my skin, and hyaluronic acid, aloe, squalane, and marula oil make my face look plump, soft, and healthy. It’s heavier than a watery serum, but lighter than a moisturizer, making it the perfect hydrator to wear in lieu of lotion on especially hot days. And while the antioxidants are surely working hard behind the scenes, the immediate effect is winning me over—why wouldn’t I want to keep this up? The antioxidant effect can take its time.
—Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor
Photo via ITG