Our Favorite Products: August 2021 Edition

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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’ve settled any outstanding scores with summer: it brought the heat, the humidity, the blazing sun, and we figured out ways to avoid those discomforts with beauty products. Of course, some things aren’t completely unavoidable: you’re always going to sweat. But since you can’t stop sweat, may as well have a lightweight, oil-absorbing powder that won’t dull your shine. If humidity wants to add five pounds to your porous hair, a strong-hold hair cream can help pump it back up. And if UV rays insist on causing damage, a glowy SPF stands strong at the ready. You might say we’re transitioning into fall three months older and a whole world wiser—it might be back to school season, but these products have already passed finals with flying colors.

A Hand Soap That's An Experience

byredo

At the beginning of the pandemic, the joke was that an alarming number of people were suddenly getting into handwashing. I’m way too anal to relate to that, but handwashing did become more fraught for me. Instead of washing to be clean, I was washing with extraordinary purpose; to kill those bad boy germs that scientist of our time Blue Ivy articulated, “might get you sick.”](https://www.instagram.com/mstinalawson/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=a7ae07f9-95ca-437d-b0ab-109064e7089d) In the past 1.5 years I went through too many soaps to count to upgrade the whole experience. Byredo’s Rose is the one I keep returning to—sorry, I can’t help it. It’s a soap, yes, but it’s also a pure-rose perfume that stays with you long after your hands have dried. It’s also maybe aromatherapy? One whiff and a wave of calm washes over me. It’s 1000-percent a crazy indulgence, but dammit in these crazy handwashing times I think I’ll allow it.
—Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor

A Gravity-Defying Hair Cream

oribe

Last time I was getting my hair colored, I heard my stylist instruct his assistant to really take his time towel drying my “sneaky amount of hair.” Which is a good description! It’s very fine, very straight, but deceptively thick—because of this, my hair tends to lay pretty heavy at the roots. For years I have been curling it for almost every event, feeling like my straight, flat hair couldn’t look “done up.” And the first time I rubbed a quarter-sized dollop of this Oribe blowout cream through damp strands, I had full intentions of heating up my iron later. But as I was blow-drying with a round brush, I noticed my hair looked lifted at the roots, and that the ends were finally swooping in and out obediently. That’s how I discovered a better name for this product might have been “Hairspray Crème.” I ended up ditching my curling iron that night and rocking straight, long hair for the first time in a very long time—but since, I’ve also experimented with rough drying it quickly and adding movement with my Hot Tools tapered wand. Both ways result in natural body, volume, and soft, bouncy hair. And unless I’m attending a major event, I skip hairspray!
—Chenaya Milbourne, Director of Product Marketing

A Body Sunscreen That’s Glowy, Never Chalky

supergoop (1)

I have fair, reactive skin, so SPF is a must for me. And not just facial SPF—I need a thick coat on my whole body. I’ve been trying to spend more time outside thanks to the pandemic. But I’ve never been able to get over my childhood aversion to body sunscreens, particularly the mineral zinc kind, which always seem to get all over my clothes and leave me feeling like a white, sticky mess. Though, I wasn’t really thinking about that when I first bought Supergoop’s Glow Oil—a mini qualified my Heyday order for free shipping, and that was good enough for me. I’ve rebought the full-sized bottle several times since! The spray tip makes application super easy and mess-free, the oil itself is lightweight and dries down quickly, and the SPF 50 protection is nothing to sneeze at. I’m much more likely to reapply when I have this in my beach bag, which has led to a dramatic reduction in sunburns. Definitely an August lifesaver!
—Kathryn Lawrence, Senior Software Engineer

A Pressed Powder That Won’t Dim Your Light

kosas

This is the best powder for people who hate powder. Pressed powders tend to get a bad rep among makeup users for being too drying and cakey. Especially if you’re going for a no-makeup dewy finish, the last thing you want is a powder to kill all the glow you just worked so hard to apply! I’ve used a lot of pressed powders on my acne-prone combo skin in my day, and though I never want to be fully matte, I am looking for longwear and a little blur. This stuff sets my makeup, adds a light wash of color, and smooths everything out—my friend told me I literally looked Facetuned. The ultra buttery smooth powder sops up excess oil but still allows my glow to continue to shine through. Then it stays fresh for around eight hours (or, about the length of the workday). When my natural oils do start to pop through, touching up is a breeze—I always carry the minimalist, frosted compact in my bag when I’m out and about. I really think everyone would love it.
—Michael Rango, Support Desk Technician

A Drugstore Cleanser That Outperforms Its Price Class

bliss

A friend introduced me to the Pink Jelly Glow Cleanser from Bliss. It’s effective, gentle… I have combination skin that can be really sensitive to exfoliators, so I was shocked that my perfect solution was at the drugstore for around $10. I've since turned all my friends onto it, too—even men who would normally balk at pink packaging. And this stuff is bright pink, a shade I can only describe as unicorn goop. I use it as a second cleansing step, squirting a dollop into my hand in the shower after I’ve already gone in with Glossier’s Milky Jelly or another soft cleanser. As I’m scrubbing, I can feel the plant-based fibers picking up all the bumps and grime on my skin without being abrasive at all. And every time I use it, I come out of the shower feeling cleaner than ever. I have yet to find any other products that are comparable. I can't live without this stuff—I’ve actually started keeping two handy, one in the shower and a backup under the sink, so I don’t have to.
—Robby Grodin, Senior Engineering Manager

An Objectively Great Serum From A Semi-Biased Source

dieux

Some parents hang their kids’ artwork, but mine is stored under my childhood bed. If there’s a lesson I’ve projected onto this probably innocuous fact, it’s that sometimes the things made by people you love are just not very good. I worry about bias clouding my judgment and end up being more critical of things my friends make—so when I started using my friend Charlotte’s lightweight, scentless gel-serum, I followed its twice-daily instructions skeptically. Thankfully (for my skin and the sake of our friendship) this stuff is the real deal: After one week of use alongside a super simple routine I noticed my skin looked less red and had an unmistakable glow. Two weeks in, I saw red and brown spots fading faster than usual and no new breakouts. It didn’t turn on me by the end of the month, and in fact, I even left the concealer and color corrector at home when I headed upstate for my roommate’s birthday weekend. Photos were taken. My skin looks great in all of them. I love Charlotte, and I love Deliverance, and I’m genuinely confident those statements have nothing to do with each other. It just came back in stock—get it while you can.
—Ali Oshinsky, Associate Editor

Photo via ITG