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We admire the pragmatic approach of people who stick to the same beauty stalwarts year after year, buying the same tried-and-true products over and over again—but we can’t say the same for ourselves. Blame it on our line of work or our unabashed need to take all things new for a test drive, but we’re constantly switching it up around here. The downside is that our desks at work and dressers at home are barely visible but for new shit; the upside is that we know what’s worth trying and what you’re not missing out on.
These 10 products definitely fall into the former category: Of all the things we’ve tried this year, these are our top picks. If they’re not new to the market, then at least they’re new to us, which just goes to show that a little bit of adventurousness does pay off.
That hint of hoarding, on the other hand? Nothing more than an occupational hazard, we swear.
“Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 “1970” ($95) is hands down the best thing I have tried all year—possibly in my life! It’s a daily exfoliating toner that facialist Georgia Louise recommended, and while I’m not really a toner type of gal, this one is a game changer that neutralizes the pH of the skin and provides many vitamins I’m sure my skin was lacking. The main selling point, though, is the results: Literally within days I noticed the texture of my skin had improved and was brighter and more vibrant.” –Jessica Teves, editor in chief
“In 2015, I tried approximately 5,643 new beauty products—hey, we all need a hobby—and while narrowing my favorite down to one caused an internal struggle worthy of Macbeth, I think the new MAC Velvetease ($20) lip pencils take the crown. They combine the creamy color of a lipstick with the functionality of a mechanical pencil (no sharpener required!), and it’s almost bizarre how long they stay on without being chalky or thick. There are 12 in total that range from buttery nudes to deep plums, but the one I can’t stop wearing is Temper Tantrum, a bright orange coral that makes my entire face come to life.
And—in case you’re curious—a few of my 2015 runners-up include Valmont’s ridiculously softening Eau Micellaire Précieuse ($140), Redken’s miracle-working Frizz Dismiss shampoo ($19.99), Dolce & Gabbana The Brow Liner ($45), and NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator ($7.50). –Perrie Samotin, site director
“When your skin is feeling extra dehydrated—or you’re hungover or taking a flight—you pop one of the Environ Intensive Hydrating Capsules, massage it in, and your skin will feel like silk. A vacation for your skin in a little capsule.” –Melissa Medvedich, creative director
“I’m not one to shop for makeup at the drugstore, but on a whim, I tried Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Eye Shadow + Built-In Primer ($9.49) and flat out stopped using my high-end eye shadows—that’s how good these little palettes are. The quads come in neutral colors and contain only the four hues you’d actually use on the daily—none of those superfluous shades you have no idea what to do with. Like the name suggests, the silky formulas have primer built right in so the shadows not only stay put all day without creasing—even on oily eyelids like mine—but save you a step in your makeup routine. Plus, the under-$10 price tag is pretty unbeatable.” –Cristina Velocci, managing editor
“For me, 2015 will go down as the year of obsessive face misting. After watching a colleague mist her way through any and every stressful situation, I decided to try out a few products for myself—and I now rely on them for just about everything. Tired? Face mist. Overwhelmed? Face mist. Makeup too heavy? Face mist. Hour-long wait for a table at brunch? Face mist. My favorite by far is Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist ($41). I love that the dewy effect sticks around for hours after a spray, and I find that a quick spritz helps me refocus on tasks at work, de-stress, and even get motivated ahead of a workout.” –Jasmine Garnsworthy, editor
“If a carpenter is really only as good as his tools, then this beauty addict is only as good as her brushes, right? Until this year, I’d kind of just used whatever brushes I had lying around, or the tiny ones that came with makeup sets (seriously, do those even work?). But 2015 was the year I broke out of my makeup rut and discovered Artis. It’s a gorgeous ergonomic set of space-age-looking brushes made by a former MAC pro, and—bonus points—it’s cruelty free, doesn’t shed a single fiber, and makes cleaning a breeze. So now I can create my makeup masterpieces with the proper tools.” –Beth Stebner, lifestyle editor
“My skin savior this year has been Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu CX30 Vitamin C Brightening Powder Cleanser ($45), which a beauty editor friend of mine hooked me up with this summer during a phase when I was obsessed with vitamin C skin care products. (FYI, I’m still in this phase.) The bright orange powder smells like a tropical fruit, and it can turn into a creamy cleanser or an exfoliating scrub depending on how much water you add. It makes my skin super soft, and I swear that my face practically glows as soon as I rinse off the cleanser. I attribute it to the high vitamin C content—apparently the Camu Camu berry has 30 times as much vitamin C as an orange.” –Cady Lang, social media editor
“I could rattle off the names of about 50 products I tried for the first time this year and loved, but if I have to choose just one, it’s going to be & Other Stories Eyebrow Crème in Triptych Coal ($15). I became attached to it so quickly and so steadfastly that, after receiving a sample months prior to the actual release, I experienced very real anxiety over the possibility of using it all up before it was available to purchase. It’s long-lasting and water-resistant, so it doesn’t go slipping and sliding around on my oily skin, and it leaves brows looking naturally full and dark yet keeps wayward hairs in check like rubber cement. Also, this shade is on point for anyone who has dark brows with cool undertones—as in, filling them in with brown makes you look like you have dirt on your face. This stuff is very good for not making you look like you have dirt on your face.” –Rachel Krause, associate beauty editor
“I was very, very skeptical of Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer ($6.99). Applying moisturizer when you’re still dripping wet just sounds kind of disgusting. Plus, I’m really particular about moisturizers: They can’t be too thick, and they have to have just the right fragrance. Finding one that doesn’t feel greasy or transfer onto my clothes is a process. This one is meant to be used on wet skin, and I was really surprised by how fast it absorbed and how hydrated and soft my skin felt.” –Victoria Moorhouse, associate beauty editor
“My top pick is definitely Son & Park Beauty Water ($30). I’ve been a dedicated toner-hater since I was a teenager, and this has changed my entire game. It’s so good that even my dermatologist has commented on the difference in my skin since I started using it—it’s super-hydrating, doesn’t strip my skin and helps combat my retinoid-induced dryness. Plus, the bottle is so stylish; I love how it looks on my sink.” –Alle Connell, beauty editor