Editors favorite beauty & grooming products

Buying beauty products can be a gamble, and that’s why the Underscored team tests hundreds of them each year. Along the way, we’ve found plenty of products — from viral hair treatments to the best beauty tools to celebrity-approved skin care and makeup — that stand above the rest and have become our all-time favorites.

Ahead, discover 50 products that have made an impact in our skin care, makeup, hair care and grooming routines.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream 

$62 at Kiehl’s and Sephora

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

I’ve been using this moisturizer on and off since I was 14 years old (that’s over 10 years now), and it’s the one I always return to for my nighttime regimen. It’s the perfect medium weight moisturizer that is light enough for summertime skin care, but rich enough to keep me hydrated during the winter. My skin really drinks in the squalane and glycerin, which helps keep it plump and hydrated. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Zit Sticka Megashade Breakout-Proof SPF 50 Serum

I started using this in June of 2021, and I called it one of my favorite new products at that time. I’ve remained a fan all year long, and this is still my go-to face SPF. I love the serum texture and the easy dropper applicator, the fact that it absorbs quickly and easily onto my face and I’m impressed with the way it layers perfectly with other skin care or makeup. I make sure to use at least two coats to get the full SPF 50 effect, and no matter how much I seem to use, it tends to absorb easily and leave my skin looking slightly dewy. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Harry’s Freshening Face Toner

I really like Harry’s line of men’s facial care products, but my favorite has got to be this face toner. After using your favorite face wash, just splash a few drops of this onto your face and you’ll feel more refreshed and hydrated. I especially like this toner because it’s only $8, which makes it a small investment to really upgrade your skin care routine. — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

$65 at Tata Harper and Sephora

Tata Harper Resurfacing BHA Glow Mask

This is the type of product that I treat like gold – because it really is skin care magic. I scoop out tiny scoops of this mask and apply the absolute thinnest layer to my face, all in an effort to make the jar last as long as possible. If you are looking for a mask to make your entire face look younger, tighter, glowier, brighter and generally just all-around better, this is that mask. I use it before any event and it’s gentle enough that it won’t cause irritation, but effective enough that it looks like you just got a facial without actually having to spend the money. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum

This hyaluronic acid serum is a skin care investment for sure, but it’s one that I’ve happily restocked because of its ability to hydrate the skin. Dehydration leads to wrinkles, and this serum contains a mix of high and low molecularly weighted hyaluronic acid so it is absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin. It also plays well with other skin care, so when I’m testing more reactive products, like retinoids or vitamin C’s, I can continue using this and getting its moisture-boosting benefits. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Vita Liberata Fabulous Gradual Tanning Lotion

As a Florida native, I’ve spent more than enough time in the sun. Now that I’m older and wiser and aware of the harmful effects of the sun, I love a good fake tan. I have many favorites but right now, I’m in love with the Vita Liberata gradual lotion. It’s not stinky or streaky and is super easy to use. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

The Skinny Confidential The Hot Mess Ice Roller

There is no beauty routine without an ice roller, especially being the puffy face-prone person I am! I exclusively use this cult-favorite hot pink, all-aluminum roller from one of my favorite brands, The Skinny Confidential. It’s so good that I even ditched what used to be my holy grail ice roller from Amazon! Not only is it a whole vibe, but it really does work to depuff, tighten and contour my face. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Sahajan Nourish Creme Riche

Sahajan’s moisturizer is the product I wish more people were talking about. I go through spurts of acne whenever it gets too muggy outside (which is basically right now in New York City) and one product I know will always help calm my skin down is this moisturizer. I’ve used it on and off for about four years now and have seen a true difference in my skin’s texture whenever I start to use it consistently. This is literally all I have to put on as a base before concealer and it leaves my skin glowy and so incredibly moisturized. I don’t even need to wear foundation! I had a patch of psoriasis on my face earlier this year and this cleared it up in literally 24 hours. It’s incredible. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Summer Fridays Summer Silk Nourishing Body Lotion

Summer Fridays Body Lotion

Once I started using this lotion I never looked at another body lotion again. Simply put, the scent is the best thing I’ve ever smelled. It is light and subtle, but with a vanilla/almond scent, and it instantly makes me feel like I’m on vacation. The lotion itself is deeply moisturizing (and it’s so good that I use it throughout the winter), but it absorbs quickly and easily into my skin. My skin can sometimes be really dry, but since I’ve been using this body lotion, I’ve noticed that it feels soft and hydrated all day long. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Goshi Exfoliating Towel

I absolutely adore the Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel. It lathers up just as well as any loofah, but its length makes washing your back and other hard-to-reach places a breeze. Plus, its fabric is specially woven to exfoliate your skin while you scrub, which can really take your shower to the next level. I use it every time I shower and feel so much cleaner than when I use a loofah or normal towel. — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Sunday Riley Pink Drink

This might look like a typical face mist that does nothing more than refresh, but it’s so much more than that. I spritz it on morning and night, and I’ve noticed such an improvement in my overall skin tone since I started using it. The mist comes out in one perfect, even layer and the product dries quickly on the skin. It is meant to help fight premature aging, and I’ve noticed that my skin looks brighter and slightly more even (making the fine lines less noticeable). Since I’ve started using this product, I’ve had several people tell me that my skin looks amazing or that I look younger, so I’ll take that as a win. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Necessaire The Body Lotion

$25 at Nordstrom and Sephora

Necessaire The Body Lotion

I struggle with dry skin and psoriasis, and so I always try to look for nourishing lotions that don’t feel too goopy and also are unscented due to my more sensitive skin. This one is absolute perfection. I’ve used it for more than three years now consistently and have felt a difference in how smooth and firm my skin is. I also love how quickly it dries after the shower. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks

$26 at Wander Beauty

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks

If you regularly read CNN Underscored’s editors’ picks pieces, you’ve probably seen me rave about these gold foil eye masks before. I religiously use them on the plane, when I’m practicing self-care on a Sunday and before I apply my makeup for a night out. They’re really just as pretty as they are effective; after use, my under-eyes look visibly brightened, hydrated, de-puffed and any lingering fine lines are magically gone. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll never ever go back! — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner

I get so many compliments on the length of my eyelashes (weird, I know!) because of this product. I have used it on and off for years, and it genuinely provides dramatic results. With regular use, I notice a huge difference in my lash length. I don’t notice any strange side effects, and it’s far easier (and far less time consuming) than lash extensions. One small tube lasts for months, so even though it’s pricey, you don’t need to buy a new one for a long time. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Nuxe Paris Huile Prodigieuse

Slathering on body lotion in the hot summer months can feel absolutely disgusting sometimes. So, I’m going to let you in on my best-kept beauty secret: dry body oil. It sounds like an oxymoron but believe me, it’s the best. The French brand Nuxe is my holy grail. It absorbs quickly into the skin and the smell is heavenly. If you’re going to splurge on anything, let it be this. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpectraLite Faceware Pro

I’ve legitimately tried every single skin care tool and gadget that claims to diminish and prevent breakouts, but this one is by far the most effective and my favorite of them all! The device, which is pricey but worth it, features three settings — blue light to target acne, red light to target wrinkles or a combination of both — and you only need to use it for just three minutes each night on fresh, clean skin to see results. Over time, I’ve experienced fewer breakouts and overall a more even skin tone, which is why this device has earned a permanent spot in my coveted night skin care ritual. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Starface Hydro-stars

Not only do these star-shaped pimple patches bring me joy, but they also help me manage breakouts. The hydrocolloid stickers absorb the gunk inside of pimples, helping reduce their size and redness within hours. I also love that they come with a refillable yellow compact that is cute and convenient. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes

I don’t even know how this product wound up in my medicine cabinet, to be honest, but I’m so glad it did. I have under-eye circles that are both puffy and dark in the morning, and this product targets both of those issues like no other product will. I use this in conjunction with a few other products, but I’ve found that, when I wake up with particularly puffy eyes, this cream does the trick. I notice almost immediate results, and my under eyes are left tighter and brighter after each use. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist

My esthetician first introduced me to this ultra-refreshing, hydrating mist and since then, I haven’t been able to live without it being a part of my skin care routine. I love that it’s formulated with clean ingredients and always leaves my skin looking plump and even-toned. Not to mention, it smells absolutely amazing! I will be spritzing this all over my face at least a few times a day this summer. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Kimiko Master Your Brows Set

If you know me, you know that I refuse to leave the house without doing my brows, and this pencil and gel duo are the brow products I reach for each time. The coffee color pairs perfectly with my dirty blonde hair and each fine stroke could actually pass as real brow hair. The gel keeps my brows in place for hours (it even stays on when I sweat or swim), but it also gives me that laminated look the internet loves right now. Best of all, it’s formulated with multiple peptides and plant extracts to help nourish and strengthen my brow hairs at once. I’ve seen serious brow growth since using this gel and I’ll never use any other brow products again! — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Pat McGrath Mothership V: Bronze Seduction

$128 at Pat McGrath and Sephora

Pat McGrath Mothership V: Bronze Seduction

Whenever I’m in need of a fun eyeshadow, this palette is what I reach for. I’ve had it for more than two years now and despite heavy use it still basically looks brand new. The bronzes are just gorgeous, and the more pearlescent shades are so fun for a night out. The pink and browns mixed together are fantastic for fall shades, too. It’s a splurge for sure, but something you can have for a very long time before making a dent. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner has been in my makeup rotation for at least seven years. It’s precise and easy to use, dries matte and lasts all day and night. I’ve tried plenty of other liquid eyeliners, but this is by far my favorite for doing cat eye flicks and winged liner. Plus, it comes off easily with a cleansing balm or oil-based cleanser. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Tower 28 Beach Please Lip + Cheek Cream Blush

I’ve been obsessed with Tower 28 ever since I tried their cult-favorite illuminating bronzer, so it makes perfect sense that I can’t get enough of their lip and cream blush, which I use in the shade Happy Hour. Though it’s a multi-purpose product, I exclusively place it on and around my cheekbones and it leaves them looking extra illuminated and sun-kissed, like I just spent the whole day on the beach. I’ve tried a TON of cream blushes, but this one is my absolute favorite. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

$26 at Saie and Sephora

Saie Hydrabeam Concealer

Because I have drier skin around my eyes I’m always on the lookout for a concealer that helps moisturize my skin, all while effectively covering up my dark circles. This one, which I’ve been using for the past few months now, has been a game changer. Truly the best concealer I’ve tried — whether I’m focusing on my undereyes or covering up a few pimples — I’ve told everyone I know to go buy this immediately. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Joey Healy Brow Architect Stylo

Joey Healy is the king of brows, and his brow architect stylo makes it so easy to get the perfect, full brow without looking like you caked on too much makeup. I have been using this brow pencil for over a year, and it has lasted that entire time. The pencil itself is thick enough to make application quick and easy, and I love that I never have to sharpen this pencil because I’m extremely lazy. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

$56 at Kilian and Saks Fifth Avenue

Kilian Le Rouge Parfum Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick

This is the longest-lasting lipstick that I’ve ever tried. It stays on through drinking, eating and, yes, even kissing. It looks and feels velvety, but it doesn’t transfer, and the pointed applicator makes it easy to be precise. While many matte liquid lipsticks are drying, this one is perfectly comfortable as long as you apply some lip balm a few minutes before swiping on the lipstick. I love the true red of the Prohibited Rouge shade, and the Rose Cruelle is another great option for more of a mauve-berry look. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$34 at Charlotte Tilbury and Sephora

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

Ah yes, the cult-favorite lipstick to end all cult-favorite lipsticks. But really, Pillow Talk is so good. It’s the perfect mix of mauve and light pink, and is a truly universal shade for so many different skin tones. It’s that my-lips-but-better color that I feel like so many of us are always after. I already know I’ll be buying several tubes of this throughout my lifetime. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

bareMinerals Gen Nude Under Over Lip Liner

The bareMinerals Gen Nude Under Over Lip Liner is hands down my favorite lip product at the moment. My go-to shades are On Point and Borderline. The color stays on for hours, even after eating and drinking. If you’ve been dying to try out the TikTok famous “Gym Lips” trend, these are a must-have to perfect the look. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Merit Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade

I’ve talked about how much I love Merit’s products (namely the Flush Balm) before, and its brow pomade is just as rave-worthy. With the perfect little spoolie brush that gets just the right amount of product on every time, and sleek gold packaging that feels expensive, I get a little thrill every time I reach for the tube. You can build the formula on your brows as well, and I honestly have not experienced a single smudge or messy gloop of product yet. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Beautycounter Beyond Gloss

I’m picky about lip products — usually opting for none at all — but this product convinced me to start wearing lip gloss more often. It contains jojoba seed oil and vitamin E, so it really does feel like it conditions the lips, and it doesn’t feel sticky or goopy in the slightest. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand 

$40 at Charlotte Tilbury and Sephora

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand

I first discovered this highlighter wand on TikTok, and I can confirm it’s absolutely worth the hype — and the wait. (I was literally on the waitlist for six months before I finally got my hands on one). I apply the product to my cheekbones and on the tip of my nose using the sponge-tipped wand, and the rose gold formula instantly blends into my makeup (which consists of mostly Charlotte Tilbury products), leaving me with an illuminated, glowy look that’s perfect for summer. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

Odele Air Dry Styler

I’ve been using this product since it first came out, and I don’t even want to remember what my hair used to look like without it. I air dry my hair every day, so this product is a great first step (even if I wind up styling my hair after letting it air dry). I apply it after hair serum, and it adds a light layer of hold, control, and shine without being noticeably heavy or weighing my hair down. I have fine, wavy hair and this product has allowed me to embrace its natural texture. I also love how affordable it is – as soon as I finish a bottle, I reach for a new one. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

$46 at Oribe and Amazon

$48 at Oribe and Amazon

Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner

Once I started incorporating this purple shampoo and conditioner into my hair care routine, my colored strands have never looked better, brighter or blonder. I use it every other few washes to revive my dull hair in between my color appointments and the bottles have lasted me for what feels like forever. The results, including the phenomenal smell, are salon-worthy. — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

$27 at Ceremonia and Revolve

Ceremonia Pequi Curl Activator

Ceremonia has become my absolute favorite hair care brand, and I can’t stop raving about the brand’s curl activator in particular. I wear my naturally wavy hair air dried most days, and I use this curl activator after the Odele Air Dry Styler for the best results. A little product goes a long way, and I love how it adds hold to my waves without any stiffness or strange texture. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

oVertone Ginger Healthy Color Duo

Hair color upkeep can cost a ton and I was cringing at the hundreds of dollars I was spending every few weeks when my orange hair was starting to fade. To save some cash, I started using oVertone hair color between visits. You don’t need any previous experience to use the products and the color results are amazing. You also get a ton of product in each container and $47 is a much easier price to pay for repeat use. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

$49 at Oribe and Amazon

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

I have included so many hair products here because I genuinely use about five to six products on my hair when I let it air dry each day. This texturizing spray provides a good amount of hold on my thin, fine hair, but it doesn’t add any stiffness or unnecessary weight. It gives me the best volume and texture possible, plus it adds a beautiful scent. I use this as the final step when styling my hair, whether I’m air drying it, blow drying it or curling it, and it provides the finishing touch to keep my hair looking great all day (or all night) long. I do use a lot of this product each time I apply it because I love it so much — I tend to stock up on these bottles during Prime Day. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

R+Co Moon Landing Anti-Humidity Spray

$33 at R+Co and Amazon

R+Co Moon Landing Anti-Humidity Spray

Humidity is the worst for many reasons. If you’re like me and your hair frizzes at the slightest bit of moisture, you need to try out R+Co’s Moon Landing Anti-Humidity spray. Use it as the final step in your hair routine to tame frizz and repel humidity. If you can get past the sticker shock, I promise you’ll be in for a treat. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

K18 Hair Mask

I’ve been using this product since I dyed my hair lighter a few months ago, and it’s a new favorite. I have found that a little product goes a long way, and now that I know how to properly apply it (allow it to sit for four minutes without combing or styling!), I really see results. Any time my hair is looking dry, brittle or parched, I apply this after shampooing (but without conditioning!) and I notice that my hair seems healthier and softer. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil

Olaplex talks a big game in the world of premium hair care, offering a complete 9-product system designed to repair your locks and keep them looking healthy. I use their shampoo and conditioner, plus this hair oil when my hair is damp out of the shower. It’s really made a difference in the shine of my hair after air drying, keeping my waves soft without frizz, stringy-ness or oily residue. The oil also reduces the time it takes to blow dry my hair, minimizing heat damage. This oil is on the expensive side, but I think it’s worth it — a little bit goes a long way. Caroline Curran, associate editor

$18 at Ceremonia and Credo

Ceremonia Guava Rescue Spray

This is another product that has vastly improved the look and feel of my hair overall, and I genuinely think my hair looks healthy in spite of the fact that I just lightened it. I use this spray before heat styling, and often when I air dry too, simply because it adds a nice shine and the scent is amazing. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Bevel Safety Razor

I love the simplicity of this safety razor from Bevel. With only one blade, I can get a smooth, gentle shave without any razor bumps. I also love the fact that its refill blades are dirt cheap, especially compared to the standard multi-blade packs you’re probably buying now. And, since every component is made from stainless steel, this razor means I’m cutting down on my single-use plastic too! — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Billie Razor and Whipped Shave Cream

My grooming routine simply isn’t complete without Billie. I’ve been using both their razor and shaving cream for years, and it leaves my legs and underarms feeling smoother and looking shinier than ever before – minus the irritation many other razors cause! Need I say more?! — Stephanie Griffin, senior digital content strategist

OPI Nail Laquer in Coca-Cola Red

My nails are my wearable art and I love trying out new colors and designs each week. Pinks, reds and yellows are my go-to summer colors, which is why OPI’s Coca-Cola Red has become one of my favorites. The color is bright for summer and the polish stays shiny with just two coats. — Katelyn Gendron, SEO manager

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover

My nails are currently in their main character phase after too many months of neglect. Since I’m not a nail salon person, I’ve been trying to give my nails some much-needed TLC at home. The Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover is a game-changer. It also works fantastically on your toes. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Seche Clear and Seche Vite Base and Top Coat

$9.74 at Amazon

Seche Clear and Seche Vite Base and Top Coat

There isn’t another base or top coat that competes with Seche Clear and Seche Vite. The top coat specifically helps prolong my at-home manicures. It takes about five minutes to dry my nails, and once they’re completely dry, they stay shiny and chip-free for at least a week. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil

Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil

My cuticles are always cracking and Sally Hansen’s cuticle oil is the only one that keeps my cuticles soft and healthy. I’ve tried many cuticle oils, many of which have some sort of scent infused in the oil that irritates my sensitive skin, however, this product is light, applies smooth without irritating my hands. — Katelyn Gendron, SEO manager

Chillhouse Chill Tips

I started trying press-ons during the pandemic, and I’ve stuck with them! The Chillhouse Chill Tips are by far my favorite because of the amazing designs and the durability. The nails tend to last at least two weeks, and I’m rough on my hands, so they’re way more cost effective than manicures. They’re super easy to apply, and they come in so many fun colors and designs. — Haley Saltzman, head of social

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Silver Eau de Parfum

While I totally get the appeal of Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540, I’m more partial to this fresh and clean scent from the brand. Made intentionally as a genderless fragrance, it’s become my daily perfume of choice. It has notes of juniper berries, coriander and vanilla that are bright and crisp. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

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