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10 Game-Changing Beauty Products That Will Make You Say, "Dang, I Look So Good!"

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This post features a mix of items that we purchased with our own money and those that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review. (But! We’re under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.)

1. Maybelline SuperStay Full Coverage Foundation doesn't fail to impress even people who swear by high-end foundations — it provides a heavy-duty dose of all day, shine-free coverage without feeling or looking like you're wearing a lot. And! It ~melts~ into your skin without caking or settling into pores.

Maitland Quitmeyer

This "it'll-be-my-backup-foundation" has quickly become my morning go-to. I LOVE THIS FOUNDATION and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I recently turned my best friend onto it (die-hard MAC foundation wearer), and after buying it, she immediately texted me how impressed she was by the application and coverage.

The first time I applied this to my face I thought, "hot damn!" It has a thicker consistency than many foundations, but somehow just *melts* into your skin, never creasing, caking, or settling into pores. The formula covers redness and any acne/acne scars with just a few taps. It's incredible, full coverage without looking like you're wearing a ton of makeup! And it NEVER CAUSES SHINE! With every other foundation I've used, around 3 p.m. I have a super shiny forehead I need to blot a full two times. Not with this (note: I also recently switched my daytime moiturizer to Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream, which is under $10, amazing, and 100% helps with the afternoon shine factor). And the foundation isn't totally matte either — it gives a luminous quality to your face that looks totally natural, like you just have really nice skin. That's a win. —Maitland Quitmeyer

To learn more about this amazing foundation, check out her full review!

Get it from Amazon or Walmart for $9.49+ (available in 16 shades).

2. Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence disappears into your skin pretty much instantly for sun protection that doesn't feel like it's there (aka a goopy layer on top of all of your other skincare products) — it feels like, just as its name implies, an essence that your skin immediately soaks up with zero weight, heaviness, or white cast.

Look, sunscreen isn't the most exciting part of my skincare routine, but this Bioré sunscreen makes me look forward to putting it on. Why? Because it doesn't have the texture of a traditional sunscreen (aka, greasiness, tackiness, etc.) It doesn't leave any traces behind, right from the initial application. If you know me, I looooove my essences, so this is a major selling point. A few mere seconds of rubbing this into my skin, and my skin doesn't look or feel any different than its pre-sunscreen state — and it's prepped for makeup! I've also become a believer in chemical sunscreens (which convert UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin) as a whole because of their thinner textures and lack of white cast — but lots of Asian sunscreens nowadays contain a mix of both physical and chemical formulas (like Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen) for a happier in-between. They might not be the best bet for super sensitive skin or skin with a damaged moisture barrier, so do a patch test to make sure it's alright for you! My skin is prone to sensitivity, but I haven't had any problems.Even though I usually wear tinted moisturizers, I still stand by having sunscreen as a separate step — just like my own work ethic, I'd rather have one product do one job extremely well, then a bunch of tasks half-effectively. Now here's to wishing I'll be able to find Bioré sunscreens more readily in the U.S., but until then, Amazon's got my back. This essence-sunscreen is the truth (and pretty much the only one I ever use), and I'll never settle for a drugstore brand for the rest of my life!! —Sarah Han(I talk more about this sunscreen in a lil' post I wrote, "Cancel That 10-Step Skincare Routine For These Three Products," in case you're inclined to read.)Get it from Yesstyle for $9.16, Walmart for $16.19, or Amazon for $17.99.
Sarah Han

Look, sunscreen isn't the most exciting part of my skincare routine, but this Bioré sunscreen makes me look forward to putting it on. Why? Because it doesn't have the texture of a traditional sunscreen (aka, greasiness, tackiness, etc.) It doesn't leave any traces behind, right from the initial application. If you know me, I looooove my essences, so this is a major selling point. A few mere seconds of rubbing this into my skin, and my skin doesn't look or feel any different than its pre-sunscreen state — and it's prepped for makeup! I've also become a believer in chemical sunscreens (which convert UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin) as a whole because of their thinner textures and lack of white cast — but lots of Asian sunscreens nowadays contain a mix of both physical and chemical formulas (like Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen) for a happier in-between. They might not be the best bet for super sensitive skin or skin with a damaged moisture barrier, so do a patch test to make sure it's alright for you! My skin is prone to sensitivity, but I haven't had any problems.

Even though I usually wear tinted moisturizers, I still stand by having sunscreen as a separate step — just like my own work ethic, I'd rather have one product do one job extremely well, then a bunch of tasks half-effectively. Now here's to wishing I'll be able to find Bioré sunscreens more readily in the U.S., but until then, Amazon's got my back. This essence-sunscreen is the truth (and pretty much the only one I ever use), and I'll never settle for a drugstore brand for the rest of my life!! —Sarah Han

(I talk more about this sunscreen in a lil' post I wrote, "Cancel That 10-Step Skincare Routine For These Three Products," in case you're inclined to read.)

Get it from Yesstyle for $9.16, Walmart for $16.19, or Amazon for $17.99.

3. Karma Organic Spa Nail Polish Remover kicks skin-drying and enamel-deteriorating ingredients to the curb, so you can remove your natural and "regular" nail polishes with ease, speed, AND actually moisturized nails, cuticles, and fingers. Also, anything lavender scented is wonderful — fact.

I was seriously critical when I first saw this natural nail polish remover on Amazon. "No Acetone?" "Made from Soybeans?" I thought maybe this would work with my natural nail polishes — but it all seemed to good to be true: no chemicals, no dryness, and organic. How could this be? I figured that since it wasn't too expensive, I might as well try it.Well, great news: it exceeded all of my shady questions. This nail polish remover feels lush, if a nail polish remover can even feel that way. It smells of lavender, which is naturally stress-relieving and a scent I tend to appreciate. To use, I created the same process I had used for drugstore acetone brands: cotton balls and nail polish remover, and me rubbing my fingernails for the next ten to twenty minutes. To my surprise, it took about five minutes and left my fingernails feeling soft and moisturized. After my first use, I was hooked. I always hated how my nails would feel after taking polish off and had felt guilty about it for years. It also dried out my cuticles, leaving my fingers dry, cracked and sometimes even bloody. Finally, something that worked!I'm also happy to report that this nail polish remover works on "regular" drugstore nail polish too. So it's not just for the hippies-at-heart types like me. I'm happy to say that I've been using this brand for for years and it still holds up. Recently, I was flipping through channels and landed on a re-run of Shark Tank. A man from New Jersey explaining his soybean-based nail polish remover began to pitch Mark Cuban and the rest and I realized that I was watching the owner of my favorite brand. Seeing their success (and 4.5 star reviews on Amazon) makes me happy to think that so many others out there are living their lives with moisturized nails too! —Whitney JeffersonGet it from Amazon for $11.99 or Jet for $13.86.
Whitney Jefferson

I was seriously critical when I first saw this natural nail polish remover on Amazon. "No Acetone?" "Made from Soybeans?" I thought maybe this would work with my natural nail polishes — but it all seemed to good to be true: no chemicals, no dryness, and organic. How could this be? I figured that since it wasn't too expensive, I might as well try it.

Well, great news: it exceeded all of my shady questions. This nail polish remover feels lush, if a nail polish remover can even feel that way. It smells of lavender, which is naturally stress-relieving and a scent I tend to appreciate. To use, I created the same process I had used for drugstore acetone brands: cotton balls and nail polish remover, and me rubbing my fingernails for the next ten to twenty minutes. To my surprise, it took about five minutes and left my fingernails feeling soft and moisturized. After my first use, I was hooked. I always hated how my nails would feel after taking polish off and had felt guilty about it for years. It also dried out my cuticles, leaving my fingers dry, cracked and sometimes even bloody. Finally, something that worked!

I'm also happy to report that this nail polish remover works on "regular" drugstore nail polish too. So it's not just for the hippies-at-heart types like me. I'm happy to say that I've been using this brand for for years and it still holds up. Recently, I was flipping through channels and landed on a re-run of Shark Tank. A man from New Jersey explaining his soybean-based nail polish remover began to pitch Mark Cuban and the rest and I realized that I was watching the owner of my favorite brand. Seeing their success (and 4.5 star reviews on Amazon) makes me happy to think that so many others out there are living their lives with moisturized nails too! —Whitney Jefferson

Get it from Amazon for $11.99 or Jet for $13.86.

4. TheBalm Cosmetics Mary Lou Manizer imparts a subtle champagne glow — which you can totally build up or keep as is, for a buttery boost of shimmer that compliments natural light and isn't overdone.

Nikki Francois

I absolutely LOVE wearing highlighter, because it looks just so dang pretty and dewy on my skin. However, I'm not a HUGE fan of wearing super glittery highlighter on an everyday basis. This is where the Mary-Lou Manizer comes in! It's absolutely perfect for a subtle, champagne glow — but you can build it up to get a more blinding highlight. It doesn't add texture like other highlighters I've tried, and it's easily bendable if you need to tone down your look. Compared to other highlighter pans, it's more buttery and melts right into your skin. I use a fan brush to apply it to the tip of my cheekbones, and you usually only need one swipe or two because it's pigmented. Bonus — it also looks great as a subtle glowing eyeshadow.

Plus, it's really long-lasting! I wore it when I was a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding, and it lasted through the whole day — and I don't even use a liquid highlighter base for it. I'll get compliments on my highlighter hours after I have applied it.Nichole Francois

Get it from Amazon or Jet for $22.80 (available in two other shades).

5. MAC x Nyma Tang Lipstick paints your lips a delicious shade of warm red that'll become your go-to for all of fall, and beyond — while it's currently sold out, Ruby Woo is ~the~ classic, universally-flattering red that def won't disappoint!

I thoroughly love red lipstick — it can make you feel feminine, sexy, powerful, and just like a full-on girl boss. I have 80 million red lipsticks in my beauty arsenal, but when I heard about the new red lipstick collaboration with YouTuber Nyma Tang and MAC Cosmetics, I knew. I knew. I KNEW I would get my hands on it.Especially for brown skin, red lipsticks need to be formulated very specifically so it's not overbearingly bright nor ashy. I'm someone who loves to share my skincare tips and beauty secrets, but I get frustrated sometimes by the limitations (or repetitions) I tend to see in beauty for brown skin. I've been told before that black girls can't wear red, but honeeeeey, I'm slayin'. I love that this lipstick is a "true" red and it compliments my skin — it also doesn't get everywhere, and it's a red unlike any other red I've worn before. The best part was that I didn't even need a lipliner to keep it from bleeding or to help it blend into my skin. I used the sides of the lipstick to line my lips, and then did a few quick swipes across for color. It says it's a matte, but it doesn't dry your lips out or wither away super quickly. So yep, this is my red lipstick for the fall — no buyer's remorse here. —Jamé JacksonIt's currently sold out on MAC's website, but fan faves like MAC Ruby Woo ($18.50) and Fenty Uncensored ($24) look absolutely stunning on darker skintones!
@theblondemisfit / Via instagram.com

I thoroughly love red lipstick — it can make you feel feminine, sexy, powerful, and just like a full-on girl boss. I have 80 million red lipsticks in my beauty arsenal, but when I heard about the new red lipstick collaboration with YouTuber Nyma Tang and MAC Cosmetics, I knew. I knew. I KNEW I would get my hands on it.

Especially for brown skin, red lipsticks need to be formulated very specifically so it's not overbearingly bright nor ashy. I'm someone who loves to share my skincare tips and beauty secrets, but I get frustrated sometimes by the limitations (or repetitions) I tend to see in beauty for brown skin. I've been told before that black girls can't wear red, but honeeeeey, I'm slayin'. I love that this lipstick is a "true" red and it compliments my skin — it also doesn't get everywhere, and it's a red unlike any other red I've worn before. The best part was that I didn't even need a lipliner to keep it from bleeding or to help it blend into my skin. I used the sides of the lipstick to line my lips, and then did a few quick swipes across for color. It says it's a matte, but it doesn't dry your lips out or wither away super quickly. So yep, this is my red lipstick for the fall — no buyer's remorse here. —Jamé Jackson

It's currently sold out on MAC's website, but fan faves like MAC Ruby Woo ($18.50) and Fenty Uncensored ($24) look absolutely stunning on darker skintones!

6. Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner is a super mild, non-drying option that even the most sensitive skin will love — whether you pat it on or use a bottle to give yourself a spritz, it's super refreshing.

Bek O'Connell

I have pretty finicky skin so I've been on the hunt for a toner for a while. Originally I was using Mario Badescu's Rose Facial Spray, but eventually my skin decided it didn't like it, leaving me with big blotchy redness. After some trial and error, I found a toner so mild, even my dry and very sensitive skin likes it. Kiehl's calls their Cucumber Herbal Toner the "mildest of all our toners," and I can definitely believe that.

This calming and gentle solution leaves my face feeling refreshed and soothed. This toner is non-drying, alcohol-free, and has just a hint of a cucumber smell. I like to put this in a glass spray bottle and give my face a spritz after washing my face in the morning and at night. If you have dry, sensitive skin and need a good toner, this is a great option! —Bek O'Connell

Get it from Sephora for $16.

7. Milk Makeup Cooling Water soothes and depuffs your undereyes — as well any other areas of your face that could use an anti-inflammatory boost of caffeine, seawater and aloe juice.

I don’t prefer a 10-step skincare routine, especially in the mornings before work. A rather quick, simple touch-up-and-go does the job for me. Lately, I haven’t been getting much sleep adjusting to my new schedule, and this Milk cooling stick works great for depuffing my under-eyes with its infusion of caffeine and seawater. Most mornings I’m in a rush, but with its large round applicator, all I need are two to three quick swipes under the eyes and I’m good to go. Just after applying, I notice an instant glow that subtly covers up the four to five hours of sleep I had the night before. I’m all for a nice, dewy skin finish and I love that the cooling stick can be used as an all-over facial moisturizer, in case you need to bring your look to life for the day. No need to worry about an icky residue or an increase in oil production either — the cooling water seeps right into the skin shortly after applying. Some days I’ll pat in the cooling water for a more seamless look, but either way you’ll look awake depuffed and flawless! —Amani RichardsonGet it from Sephora for $14 (0.12 oz) or $24 (1.2 oz) or Milk Makeup for $24.
@milkmakeup / Via instagram.com

I don’t prefer a 10-step skincare routine, especially in the mornings before work. A rather quick, simple touch-up-and-go does the job for me. Lately, I haven’t been getting much sleep adjusting to my new schedule, and this Milk cooling stick works great for depuffing my under-eyes with its infusion of caffeine and seawater.

Most mornings I’m in a rush, but with its large round applicator, all I need are two to three quick swipes under the eyes and I’m good to go. Just after applying, I notice an instant glow that subtly covers up the four to five hours of sleep I had the night before. I’m all for a nice, dewy skin finish and I love that the cooling stick can be used as an all-over facial moisturizer, in case you need to bring your look to life for the day. No need to worry about an icky residue or an increase in oil production either — the cooling water seeps right into the skin shortly after applying. Some days I’ll pat in the cooling water for a more seamless look, but either way you’ll look awake depuffed and flawless! —Amani Richardson

Get it from Sephora for $14 (0.12 oz) or $24 (1.2 oz) or Milk Makeup for $24.

8. PMD Pink Personal Microderm Pro Device uses patented spinning disc technology and a vacuum suction to help blur the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes — so your skin is exfoliated, brightened, and better at absorbing skincare products.

@pmdbeauty / Via instagram.com, Elena Garcia

I have big pores and I cannot lie! I also have fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and honestly, the overall texture of my skin just kinda sucks (thanks, life). I’d try anything at least once to get awesome-looking skin, or to make it appear less awful. So when I heard about the PMD Pro I was so curious to try it. It’s a safe at-home way to give yourself a microdermabrasion, which is basically a gentle way to sand your face. Just like sandpapering furniture, if it's done gently and correctly, microdermabrasion can be great for your skin. It’s also normally expensive AF to get it done by your derm or esthetician, so an at-home option seems AMAZING to me.

The PMD has a spinning disc and a calibrated vacuum that you very gently glide across your face. The sanding disc combined with the suction of the vacuum can help brighten, smooth, and even skin tone and texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, and enlarged pores — giving you the kind of #nofilter skin you’ve only ever dreamed of.

The key is that you need to ease into it. Start off with the gentlest exfoliation disc, which is the grey training disc, learn how to move it across your skin, and never, ever, leave it in one place for too long. You slowly upgrade to the colored discs (I’ve been using this for about a month now and I’m just starting the second disc). I use it about once a week, but you should really gage your skin’s reaction to determine a schedule. Once every other week might work best for especially sensitive skin. I see a bigger difference in my skin than what I’ve noticed with any other cream, machine, medicine...anything! I’m gonna keep it up and I’m basically convinced that by Christmas I’ll look like porcelain doll! —Elena Garcia

Get it from Sephora or Nordstrom for $199.

9. Clove + Hallow Hydratint is a gorgeous blush-serum hybrid infused with hyaluronic acid and meadowfoam oil for a subtle flush that also treats your skin lovingly — hello, blush that elevates your natural skin!

Kayla Suazo

I love eyeshadow palettes, mascaras, and liquid liners — but TBH, I’ve never really paid attention to blush. Really, I think I have been using the same CoverGirl blush since high school and never thought to switch things up because I was comfortable with the results it gave. Then I found Clove + Hallow’s Hydratint and I am honestly ANGRY with my stubborn self for not exploring the blush world sooner.


First off, this product (along with all of Clove + Hallow’s products) is vegan and cruelty free. We love. Secondly, it’s like this magical formula that seamlessly blends in with my skin, leaving me with a flushed look that’s the perfect amount of noticeable — not too bold, not too bright. Again, I’ve never been one for blush or playing around with colors, so I love that this is incredibly buildable while still being natural looking. It keeps my skin hydrated, which I am forever thankful for as my cheeks tend to get dry during colder months. But it also looks amazing when used with a setting powder on humid days. And because it’s a lightweight serum, it’s incredibly easy to blend with other colors in the Hydratint line. 

Lastly, it’s in the cutest bottle and ya really can’t top an adorable product that gives stellar results. —Kayla Suazo

Get it from Clove + Hallow for $20 (available in four shades).

10. Island Apothecary Everyday Cleanser packs a mere seven ingredients into its formula, all of which are natural oils that nourish the skin and melt away all the makeup and grime on your face — and, very importantly, it's safe for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies!

Island Apothecary, Conz Preti

When I got pregnant I realized that many of the products I was using on my face were neither pregnancy- nor breastfeeding-safe, which sent me into a frantic Google search of products that would keep the baby safe and me looking fabulous. I changed my routine to all natural products and loved every minute of it — the only thing I hadn’t replaced yet was my cleansing routine, which I still relied heavily on wet towelettes for and didn't end up doing, like, 70% of the nights. During my maternity leave I bumped into this all-natural, organic, small batch, and island-made line of products and decided to test their cleansing oil — OMG, WHY DID IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO FIND IT?

It is magic. It’s totally natural and so easy to apply that I’ve been cleaning my face every single night since I got it. Plus, since all you need is a washcloth to remove the product from your face, I am generating less waste — which as a new mom, let me tell you, we should all be generating less waste. My skin has never looked this good, which makes me feel great especially after all the changes my body has been through in the last year. It also feels great to support a small business that's so focused on natural skincare *and* doesn't have any confusing words in their ingredient lists. —Conz Preti

Get it from Island Apothecary for $28.

A cleanser so safe, Dumbo could even use it!

Disney

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