Best Beauty Buys 2015: Meet the Rookies
Estée Lauder Little Black Primer
Wear the tinted formula ($24; esteelauder.com) alone for subtle definition or layer it under your go-to mascara for fluttery volume. Swept on top of another formula, it works like a little raincoat, waterproofing your lashes.
20% off at esteelauder.com from 4/17 until 5/15 for the first 250 customers; use code INSTYLE20
Sarah Potempa Beachwaver S1
Ciaté Geltox Starter Kit
Gel color options generally leave much to be desired. But this topcoat ($99; ciatelondon.com) ups the ante, lending any polish the longevity of a gel. Paint as usual, sweep on the clear lacquer, then hold under the included LED for a minute. Chip-free tips last up to three weeks.
20% off at ciatelondon.com from 4/17 until 5/15; use code INSTYLE20
Cover FX Blemish Treatment Concealer
Unless you read the fine print, you’d never know this elegant stick ($25; coverfx.com), which comes in 10 shades, is spiked with skin enhancers. Salicylic acid and bisabolol zap acne and inflammation, yet the formula blends and covers as well as any unmedicated version we’ve tried.
Use the promo code INSTYLE20 for 20% off of your purchase.
MAC Cosmetics Mineralize
You’d think a foundation jam-packed with minerals would have a dry, gritty finish. Not this velvety cream ($35; maccosmetics.com), which hydrates with shea butter and emollients and takes only “a few swirls to blur imperfections,” says N.Y.C. makeup artist Anthea King.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes
Precise enough to draw a defined line but creamy enough to blend, this pencil ($19; sephora.com) is loved by makeup artists for the intensity of its pigment and how “it seriously never budges,” says L.A. makeup artist Carola Gonzalez.
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths
Sturdy cotton cloths are soaked with Japanese thermal water and infused with the brand’s cult-classic cleanser, a gentle blend of six botanical herbs and white birch sap ($39; sephora.com). “It’s the closest you can get to actually washing your face with soap and water,” says makeup artist Matthew Vannleeuwen. Not scratchy or filmy like some wipes, you’re going to look forward to taking off your makeup.
“You don’t need to go back three times to get these shadows ($25; sephora.com) to show up,” swears Julie Harris. Each of the 40-plus hues manages to be strong in color and elegant in texture, whether you’re going flat and matte or flashy and shimmery.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’er
The impossibly fine tip “feels like a calligraphy pen,” says Kathy Jeung, who loves the eyeliner’s sharp, shiny finish ($30; sephora.com). The inky pigment delivers type-A accuracy—no skips, jumps, or fading.
To celebrate 20 years of designing the sexiest makeup on the planet, François Nars debuted this coveted range of richly pigmented lipsticks ($32; sephora.com). “One coat and you’re full-on glamorous,” says Andre Sarmiento.
Bare Minerals Ready Eye Shadow 2.0
Mineral-based makeup usually looks suited for the Mediterranean—which is great if you’re sunning in Santorini. This range ($20; sephora.com) looks like heaven on lids no matter where you are on the globe. “It also stays put, which is basically impossible to find in a mineral shadow,” says Bedrani.
Just add water and this cream ($30; sephora.com) froths into a rich lather without stripping skin of its natural oils. N.Y.C. dermatologist Sejal Shah likes the cleanser, which is free of parabens and sulfates, for its skinfirming bark extract. “Studies have shown this ingredient legitimately reduces the appearance of wrinkles.”
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre Longwear Luminous Eyeshadow
These tiny little pots ($36; saksfifthavenue.com) pack a punch. The 12 shimmer-flecked shades leave behind an elegant smokiness that won’t slip or smear. “They’re really blendable, so you can get a light wash of color or a more smoldering intensity,” says L.A. pro Matthew VanLeeuwen.
Lipstick isn’t usually a numbers game, but these figures just add up. With a price tag under $5 and more than 100 shades, “they’re almost too good to be true ($4; ulta.com),” says VanLeeuwen. “If a client likes one, I’ll just give it away without worrying.” That’s the kind of calculus we can get down with.
Caudalie Deep Cleansing
Microparticles gently lift dead skin cells without any rips or tears, leaving skin primed for quenching grape pulp. "A lot of scrubs are made for oily skin," says Dr. Chiu. "This one ($35; sephora.com) is whipped and creamy, so it moiusturizers as it exfoliates. I don't know of any other like it."
Bioré Self Heating One Minute
The 100 percent natural balm ($4; drugstore.com), made with beeswax and vitamin E, does wonders for restoring lips to a baby-soft smoothness. And where other sticks seem to make your lips crave more moisture, this no-nonsense version leaves them totally quenched.
Philosophy the Microdelivery
In this case, “scrub” is a bit of a misnomer, as there’s not a walnut shell, a microbead, or an apricot pit in sight. This pearly formula ($28; sephora.com) harnesses the power of apple amino acids and “gives you a soft exfoliation without being abrasive,” says Cambridge, Mass., dermatologist Ranella Hirsch.
If you’re going for that just-bitten look, a little of this bloodred liquid ($30; sephora.com) goes a long way. And the results are far from sinister, says Malouf, who blots the bottom lip with three dots, then asks her clients to press their lips together. “It never looks too heavy.”
Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy
When skin needs TLC, this cushiony cream ($45; juicebeauty.com) provides open arms with a trifecta of potent ingredients. Vegetable-based hyaluronic acid plumps, peptides firm, and a cocktail of fruit acids smooths. “It delivers just as well as any other product on the market,” says Mount Kisco, N.Y., dermatologist David Bank. In this case, it’s easy being green.
Nars Velvet Matte
Most women wisely take their time applying matte color, only to have it gunk up after their first latte. This easy-to-handle pencil ($26; sephora.com) makes application a cinch. And it stays. “You’d have to rub fried chicken all over your lips to get this off,” says Tasha Reiko Brown.
Colorescience Anti-Aging Serum
“These glosses ($18; sephora.com) glisten and make lips look instantly fuller,” says Kimberly Bragalone. Hydrating shea, avocado, and murumuru butters plump, while vitamins A, C, and E play defense against environmental stressors.
Murad Skin Smoothing Polish
Tanda Zap Acne Spot Treatment Device
The blue light emitted from this affordable device ($37; walmart.com) is like kryptonite to P. acnes, the pesky bacteria responsible for most unsightly blemishes. Hold it to the affected zone for two minutes, then follow with your go-to topical. “It can really reduce a blemish and calm inflammation,” Dr. Palm says.
Gillette Fusion ProGlide
Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray
Like a push-up bra for lackluster strands, this translucent blend of polymers and white lupine protein ($25; sergenormant.com) lifts, plumps, and perks. Even better, unlike most volumizers that have to go on sopping strands, this one is meant for dry ones.
20% off at sergenormant.com from 4/17 until 5/15; use code INSTYLE20
L’Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 Restoring
Raise your hand if you color your hair, dry it, or style it. That’s what we thought. “Most of my clients need to target a few different concerns—dryness, heat damage, split ends,” says Hawkins. This oil-and-silicone blend ($5 each; lorealparisusa.com) works to moisturize smooth cuticles in one nourishing formula.
Clarisonic Smart Profile
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glotion
First, glycolic and lactic acid gently exfoliate; next, caffeine tightens and hyaluronic acid hydrates; then willow-bark extract creates a smooth canvas for tanning agent DHA ($38; dgskincare.com). More requests? We didn’t think so.
20% off at dgskincare.com from 4/17 until 5/15; use code INSTYLE2015
Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50
What looks like an elegant powder—both on the face and in the self-dispensing brush—is one of the high- est SPF mineral sunscreens ($65; colorescience.com) on the market. “I’m always telling patients to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but it’s so hard to do,” says Dr. Annie Chiu, who keeps one of these in her purse. “This makes it easy.”
Harry Josh Pro Tools
Weighing just over a pound, this unit ($300; dermstore.com) delivers a whoosh of 80 mph wind loaded with three million ions per second to bombard cuticles, leaving hair soft, shiny, and decidedly unfrizzy. (Turn ions off for more volume.) “This is the Maserati of dryers,” says Corney. “It’s got that vroom power.”
Aveda doesn’t just slap eco labels on its bottles and call it a day. The company has deep commitments to every aspect of environmental responsibility ($24; aveda.com). To name a few: sustainably sourced ingredients, plant-derived plastics, and recycled packaging.
Smashbox Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer
It looks like a lip gloss, feels like a lip gloss, but one look in the mirror—hours later—will tell you that this lacquer ($24; smashbox.com) is a heck of a lot more. A generous splash of vitamin E helps keep color in place without any shriveling.
20% off at smashbox.com from 4/17 until 5/15; use code INSTYLE20
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30 PA+++
Some sunscreens claim to be invisible, but, well ... they’re not. Murad is so confident about its claim that the formula ($65; murad.com) actually comes in a transparent vial. But sunscreen is just the start. Peptides encourage collagen production, while black currant and rosemary improve overall texture.
20% off at murad.com from 4/17 until 5/15; use code INSTYLE20
St. Tropez Dry Oil
Never seen an oil-based sunless tanner before? That’s because the tanning agent DHA usually repels water. (St. Tropez spent two years developing this genius blend, $50; sephora.com). Smooth it on for instant vacation legs—the dry oil “gives a beautiful golden glow,” says Julie Harris—and eight hours later you’ll have a convincing tan.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 100+
With a little salt and a lime, a shot of tequila disappears quickly. Covering your body in a full ounce of sunscreen ($11; drugstore.com)? Now that’s a challenge. “That’s the amount you need to get full coverage,” says L.A. dermatologist Karyn Grossman. “It’s tough to spread so much lotion.” This spray makes short work of the task; mist on the broad-spectrum shield until “skin looks wet.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight
Christian Louboutin Beauté Rouge Louboutin
It was a swipe of Christian Louboutin’s assistant’s firered nail polish that originally inspired his iconic red soles. Now his own signature crimson lacquer ($50; sephora.com) trumps every other red on the market. “If you can’t afford the shoes, this red looks just as sexy,” says N.Y.C. manicurist Elle.
Chanel Cream Blush
Gwyneth Paltrow’s healthy lifestyle isn’t the only thing that gives her a flushed glow. This cream formula ($38; bloomingdales.com), which Los Angeles makeup artist Jeannia Robinette uses on the star, “melts into skin beautifully. Gwyneth loves it—and she only likes makeup that looks real.” All shades have rich pigment and are crazy easy to blend.
Oribe Curl Gloss
This clear liquid ($36; oribe.com) slides onto ringlets, coaxing natural waves and curves from formerly unmanageable tangles. “Before, my curly haired clients had to use a cocktail of four products to achieve the same result,” says Beverly Hills stylist Amanda George.
Aveeno Shaving Cream
Blended, this gel ($4; drugstore.com) turns into a creamy whip that's loaded with a moisturizing soy complex. "Studies show soy can reduce hair growth," says Dr. Francesca Fusco. "I like the dispenser—you can control how much comes out."
Leonor Greyl Paris Eclat Naturel
Of course the French discovered second day hair perfection and bottled it in a non-descript white tube ($46; nordstrom.com). Hairstylist Adir Abergel works a dime-sized dollop through Kristen Stewart’s clean, dry strands. “It takes away the puff of fresh hair and gives that broken-up coolness,” he says. (Not that K.Stew is ever lacking coolness.) It also boasts UV protection, so it’s très bon for color-treated strands.
Tarte Amazonian Clay
A few sweeps of this golden powder ($30; sephora.com) hint at a soul-restoring vacation in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s not a chunky shimmer,” says King. Extra points for the clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon—that absorbs oil without looking dry or flaky.
Bumble and Bumble Semisumo
L.A. hairstylist Charles Dujic likes to warm this honey-scented balm ($29; sephora.com) between his hands and rake it through damp strands. Afterward, “it takes on whatever shape you want”: pompadour, beehive, or a Betty Draper bouffant.
Harry Josh Pro Tools
Fact: A flatiron is actually the most versatile tool in your kit. Abergel uses this one ($250; dermstore.com), with its beveled edges, 45-second heat-up time, and ceramic plates, to smooth and “create great angles and waves.” The “edge-to-edge” heat means fewer passes for sleek strands.
Call it a matter of semantics, but pros swear this creamy balm ($38; beauty.com) delivers a gleam, not a shimmer. When applied along cheekbones, the nose, and the collarbone, “it gives the skin a natural, believable glow,” says L.A. makeup artist Darlene Jacobs. “I use it on every one of my clients and wouldn’t be caught dead without it in my kit.”
Oribe Shine Light Reflecting
Some days a coffee is enough. Other days call for an espresso shot (or two). This argan oil, sunflower and lemongrass extract mist ($39; oribe.com) has the same enlivening impact on your strands. A three-second spritz leaves behind a thin veil of twinkly light. “It’s the perfect finishing touch for blowouts or air dried hair,” says L.A. hairstylist Raquel Martuscelli, who also likes it “when curly hair looks dull.”
Sometimes affordable makeup comes with a tradeoff: the colors are less cool, the finishes more sheer, and the formulas don’t last past lunch ($8 each; flowerbeauty.com). Drew Barrymore’s collection of blushes, shadows, liners, lipsticks, and foundations adjusted our expectations. Shades range from petal-soft to high-voltage, and finishes are silky, elegant and last forever. Equally impressive: Not a single piece is over $15.
Urban Decay EyeShadow Primer Potion
This classic acts like a magnet for pigment. A wand applicator makes it easy to swipe the creamy base over lids, neutralizing redness and locking in color for budgeproof wear ($20; sephora.com). Editors and pros, like makeup artist Sabrina Bedrani, can attest to its holding power. Yep, it's tough enough to anchor your smoky eyes from evening cocktails to midnight toast.
Living Proof No Frizz
There was a time when silicone had a monopoly on taming fuzz. Then this duo ($24 each; sephora.com) came along and took smoothing to another level with their ultralight OFPMA molecule, changing the game forever. Instead of feeling weighted into submission, strands are “light and soft” without that “greasy, limp” look says hairtylist Domingo Quintero.
Oh, you’re one of those people who think that unless your face is naturally flawless, foundation just makes you break out? Please reconsider. Blend a pump of this mousse-like whip ($55; sephora.com) and watch it dry down to a soft, shine-free finish thanks to oil-absorbing kaolinite clay. “It’s not a matte that looks dull, either,” says L.A. makeup artist Carola Gonzalez.
These makeup brushes have soft bristles, which makes makeup application smooth and effective. I also love that they are 100% cruelty-free with bamboo handles ($10; ecotools.com).
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
In the beauty world, “miracle” is generally a word we could do without. This two-step polish range ($10; ulta.com)—which mimics the gloss and longevity of gel manis without a single LED lightbulb—earns every letter. The key is the top coat’s natural light activated photoinitiator which cures the polish for 14-days; 47 juicy shades eliminate the need to compromise style for durability.
Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing
“Breathes life” into lackluster spirals, kinks, and coils with Tahitian manoi oil and coconut extract ($21-$22; sephora.com), says L.A. stylist Charles Dujic. For strands that have been run-down by chemical treatments or straightening, “it’s healing and reparative” after one wash. It also smells good enough to garnish with a little umbrella.
L'Oreal Extraordinaire by Colour Riche
While some drugstore glosses deliver leave a sticky shimmer suited for fangirls at a 5SOS concert, this silky formula ($10; ulta.com) is all grown-up thanks to five nourishing oils and sixteen alluring shades—from ballet slipper to pinot noir. “They’ve got great staying power with a good sheen that doesn’t dry,” adds makeup artist Julie Harris.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Moisture Velvet Shampoo and Conditioner
Camellia oil—an extract the company says geishas used to smooth and soften their hair—fortify brittle strands. We just know it works ($48-$58; shuuemuraartofhair.com). Hairstylist Racquel Martuscelli, who has “very damaged, thick hair” lets it “air dry with minimal product” when she lathers with this. “It gives you those really polished, glassy strands.” Konnichiwa, good hair days.
Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer Broad Spectrum
Smoothing silicones make this powder ($20; bareescentuals.com) feel light and soft, not chalky, while lemon peel extract fades dark marks over time. Makeup artist Kimberly Bragalone loves the eight versatile shades. “If you’re trying to cover deep purples or blues, most concealers look gray,” she says. Here, copper particles lend a flattering orange tint that cancels dark circles right out.
Remington 3-in-1 Styler
The cords of your flatiron, curler, and dryer shouldn’t resemble Clark Griswold’s Christmas lights. This multitasker ($33; remingtonproducts.com) can help you declutter. Two detachable sleeves—one rounded, one studded with spikes—transform this straightener into a curler and a volumizer. But here’s the thing: All three functions actually work, meaning you can be Gisele one day and Ariana Grande the next.
20% off at remingtonproducts.com from 4/18 until 5/16; use code INSTYLE20