By now, you've probably surmised that we test-drive a lot of beauty products here at Who What Wear HQ. From nail polish and makeup to hair and skincare, we're eyebrow-deep in all things new, exciting, and, yes, wish list–worthy. That said, due to the number of products we come in contact with, we've also transformed into the nitpickiest beauty consumers. Within seconds, we can tell if a new hair oil is too heavy, and we're quick to ignore a serum that yields disappointing results.
The good news? We're far more often impressed than unimpressed after trying out a new product, and usually, we simply can't wait to spread the word to all of our fellow beauty junkies (aka you). Therefore, we've decided gushing over our latest fave products should become a monthly ritual, and every 30 days or so, you can expect a full report detailing the highlighters, hair wands, and overnight skincare saviors we've become quickly addicted to.
For the most part, we'll be covering buzzworthy launches (as those typically take up most of the action atop our product-filled desks), but we won't dismiss new-to-us products, either. Because hey, sometimes our best discoveries are found on a friend's vanity or on someone's face at the bar—true story. Ahead, the best beauty products we tried in October! Grab your game face and wallet. You'll be needing both.
"I'm always trying out new eye creams because I basically never sleep (kidding, but also not), and the look of my shadowy under-eyes irritates the heck out of me. Plus, this time of year, they easily start to feel dry, tight, and all-around irritated. This new eye cream from The Inkey List has saved the day. (Or should I say season?)
"The cute little tube is only $10 (a major steal, especially compared to my other brightening favorite that clocks in around $250), and it does a spectacular job of brightening and diffusing the look of blue and purple-ringed eyes in an instantaneous flash. I also love the smooth consistency; it pairs perfectly with the soothing silver applicator. I've been applying it every morning after my other skin prep as a cherry on top."
"I was so excited when Recess founder Jackie Stauffer reached out over Instagram and offered to send me some of the brand's best-selling products. The brand's slogan is "Dedicated to making your in-between moments better," and it essentially offers a chicly packaged on-the-go shower routine via biodegradable, single-use wipes. (Think oil-absorbing hair blotters, deodorant wipes, facial cleansing cloths, and bacteria-fighting face wipes, all with clean, highly active ingredients.)
"I'm a total gym rat, and since I hate having to emerge into the world as a sweaty, smelly mess (I prefer to run home and shower there if I can!) I love that Recess has me covered. I've loved everything, but since my pores are prone to clog and pimple, I've been especially addicted to the Face 201: Bacter-Fighting Wipes. The mix of witch hazel, green tea extract, and green apple extract swipe away lingering, congestion-causing sweat and dirt until I can wash my face for real. I've been having fewer breakouts ever since I started packing them into my gym bag."
"I'd need to be an octopus to count on my hands the number of dry shampoos I own. However, I can count on just one the number of dry shampoos I actually use. Ouai's new Super Dry Shampoo is my latest obsession: It blasts hair with rice starch, Rhodiola rosea extract, and volcanic minerals to instantly soak up extra oil—it's one of the most absorbent formulas I've ever tried—and it lend lots of body and movement. So basically, on hair day three, you look like you're on day one.
"I have a lot of hair, but it's really fine and highly bleached, so it's important for me to find a dry shampoo that feels (and looks) weightless, but doesn't cause any extra damage of dehydration. This product does neither, and it has the added benefit of smelling sincerely lovely. I do notice it leaves my color looking a little lighter and brighter (which I love), so I'm not sure if darker hair colors might have issues with the look of powder or residue, but for blondies, it's also great for keeping the appearance of drastic root growth at bay."
"So Hum Nutrition's latest supplement debut isn't exactly a beauty product in the traditional sense, but it also kind of is. Firstly, the strategic mix of valerian root, passionflower, and hops has been proven to increase total sleep time, improve sleep latency, lessen the number of nightly awakenings, and alleviate insomnia—all perks I've definitely noticed since I started popping two capsules before bed. (Anything that promotes beauty sleep should automatically be called a beauty product, right?)
"Plus this supplement far exceeds any other sleep aid I've tried. It's formulated with ceramides, CoQ10, and ferulic acid, which work together to improve and enhance skin-cell turnover, skin hydration, and overall texture from the inside out. So yes, I'm calling this supplement a beauty product, and yes, it's one of the best new products I've tried this month!
"You know a product is good if it singlehandedly turns you onto a category of beauty products you previously never gave the time of day to. But I'm here to say Rodial's antioxidant-rich has officially turned me onto micellar water. I received this sample as part of Space NK's Fall Beauty Edit (which, sadly, is now sold out online), and thus far, it's been one of my favorite product offerings; I think it marks the beginning of a lifelong dependence.
"Gentle, hydrating, and soothing, it's loaded with the most amazing ingredients; dragon's blood (for comfort and hydration), rose water (for anti-inflammation), vitamin B3 (for brightening), and hyaluronic acid (for hydration and plumping.) It quickly wipes away daily buildup, makeup, and residue, and is the best way to kick off an evening skincare routine. Plus the mini size is perfect for travel or packing in your gym bag."
"I've always been a lipstick girl, but I stay loyal to select brands and colors because I'm picky. So you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to head over to Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills for a 'perfume tasting' with Steve Assous, head of education for Kilian North America. In addition to somehow falling in love with a million different fragrances, I also discovered that the cult brand makes the most stunning family of scented red lipsticks—Le Rouge Parfum.
"Aside from the fact that the tube smells intoxicatingly good, the packaging is unparalleled and the chicest thing in my makeup collection right now; the color and lipstick as a whole is also phenomenal. I opted for the matte finish (they also have a satin range) in the shade Intoxicating Rouge, which the brand describes as an 'elegant red, composed of rich blue undertones.' I'm obsessed, have been wearing it out every weekend, and love that it's my perfect shade. Plus it stays put, doesn't dehydrate my lips, and is all around the most perfect red lipstick that ever existed."
"I'm trying to up my skincare regimen and wanted to test a few products I've been hearing a lot about from The Ordinary. The cult-favorite Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (which is also available at the Club Monaco x The Ordinary pop-up in select CM locations like the Fifth Avenue and Beverly Drive stores) is designed to help reduce pores—something I need help with at the moment—and I'm already pleased with the results!"
"When I was in London last month, I had the chance to meet Fatma Shaheen for one of her signature facial treatments. After using a combination of cutting-edge devices and products from her skincare line, Skin Design London, I walked out with a sculpted face and glowing complexion. I wanted to replicate it at home and have been using her C Antioxidant Glow serum religiously every morning since. It's a cocktail that includes seven superstar ingredients like ferulic acid and 30% vitamin C to help promote collagen production, plump skin, and really make your complexion glow. And to top it all off, it includes vitamin C–rich Kakadu plums, which makes it smell heavenly."
"After a brief stint of devastation upon finding out that my favorite and only eyeliner shade (Nars Via Appia, if you must know) had been discontinued, I quickly sprung into action and found out that the brand had replaced the color with a similar shade in a new formulation. Last week, I got to try it and am pleased to report that I actually like it better than my old one. The new shade (Mulholland Drive) is a very close metallic brown to what I used before, but the formulation is much softer and easier to apply than the old one. I guess I found my new go-to."
"I'm obsessed with brightening products, so this mask has been on my radar for awhile. I finally got my hands on a jar of it (a very pretty jar, I might add), and it has undoubtedly lived up to its reputation. I prefer to do it in the morning before applying makeup, and each time that I've used it, I've found that I needed less makeup than usual. Plus my skin is noticeably soft and smooth for days after using it."
"If you're sceptical about a CBD foot cream that allegedly makes heels more comfortable, I totally get it. But you probably haven't tried this Lord Jones x Tamara Mellon collaboration. When applied about 30 minutes before wearing heels, the results truly last for hours. I've yet to experience any blisters since I started using it, and I don't feel that usual aching feeling after a day of wearing heels (not that it can only be used with heels—you can reap the benefits with any shoe style)."
"I started using this after an unfortunate mishap with retinol that was too strong for my skin (which is sensitive), and it's been life-changing. There's a noticeable change in my skin (it looks smoother, and I've seen fewer fine lines), and there's no flakiness accompanying it, unlike many strong retinols. She just gave it a makeover with this chic new packaging to match the rest of her skincare line, and as you can see, it's very vanity-friendly."
"I tried Paula's Choice Ceramide-Enriched Firming Moisturizer for the first time this month. My first impression: I was surprised to see the actual moisturizer is a golden color, but it goes on clear. It's a lightweight, great-feeling moisturizer that seems to hydrate well. As for the ingredients, ceramides are meant to help with the skin's moisture barrier, while the retinol is great for wrinkles. A win in my book."
"I can't believe it's taken me this long to try Charlotte Tilbury's celeb-loved lipstick, Pillow Talk. I finally got my hands on the lipstick and lipliner, and I love the tinted nude hue. It's the perfect everyday lipstick—and it doesn't wash out your skin like many nude lipsticks do."
"These days, I'm looking for anything that'll help me brighten my tired and puffy under-eyes. I recently discovered Pathology's eye gels, and they're pretty amazing! At night, I place the gels onto the under-eye area for five minutes, and after I take them off, I'll massage in the remaining serum into the skin. I really see a difference, especially when it comes to hydrating and brightening the eye area. They're perfect for travel and jet-lag!"
"A vitamin C serum has been touted as one of the most important steps any skincare regimen, and especially for those seeking brighter skin. As a black woman who deals with hyperpigmentation on the regular, I've known for some time that it's a must-have. But I've admittedly been skipping vitamin C as of late, for no reason other than running out of my go-to formula a few months ago and just never reupping my supply. The result of not using a vitamin C serum started to show on my face within weeks, when I lost some of the luminosity that I had grown accustomed to. Then came this formula by Farmacy. Within one week of using it every morning, I actually see a difference. Others have noticed it, too, and several co-workers and friends have commented on my glowy skin."
"I wear my hair up 99% of the time, and lately I've noticed some breakage in the areas where I'm often securing hair ties—yikes. I love the idea of wearing scrunchies instead, but they just aren't secure enough to keep my hair in place. Enter: this amazing hair tie by Invisibobble. I'm obsessed with this thing. It's a velvet scrunchie on the outside, but inside, it's got the classic colily Invisiboble creaseless hair tie for a more secure, zero-damage hold. This bunhead gives it two thumbs up."
"Ever since I developed an allergy to sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) in natural deodorants—I'm talking painful, angry rashes—I've been on the hunt for a replacement for my beloved Lovefresh Super Strength Deodorant ($12). PS, if your skin can tolerate sodium bicarbonate, I swear this is the most effective natural deodorant on the market. Get the travel size first to see if you like it.
"Since I begrudgingly had to move on from Lovefresh, I've been through several baking soda–free deodorants. Each left me smelly enough by the end of the day that it was starting to stink up my clothes. Not okay. Sidenote: This odor-eliminator spray on Amazon is freakishly good at removing smells from clothing. It's intended for stinky sports equipment, so it worked a treat on the not-so-fresh pits of my shirts. Jessica Alba is apparently a fan of it, and it's made from clean ingredients.
"Back to the deodorant saga. Wildist sent its sensitive deodorant for me to try, and lo and behold, it has held up really well so far. I just had a sweaty Sunday in a thick wool sweater on a hot day, and you wouldn't know it from sniffing my pits! The branding is also super cute, and the stick formula glides on just as well as Dove and all the mainstream antiperspirant brands."
"I think of Butter London as a nail polish company, so I almost didn't take this home to try when it was sent to the office. I liked my go-to foundation a lot, after all. However, I'm so glad I added it to my makeup bag on a whim, because I'm officially converted to using the LumiMatte Blurring Skin Tint as my everyday face makeup. It's clean, which is a must for me, and it blew me away with how good it made my skin look. Butter says it's 'not a foundation, but rather a skin perfector,' so it feels weightless when it goes on, working to blur acne scarring or uneven skin tone.
"My chin is a testament to how the skin tint works. See how it literally looks blurred in the unedited photo? I've been self-conscious of the skin texture on my chin ever since an oh-so-tactful esthetician said I needed Botox to fix my 'orange peel chin.' In photos, I used to smooth it a little to make the texture look more even, but now with this product, I don't need Facetune or unnecessary injections. Needless to say, I'm so happy I took a chance on this product—it's now my secret weapon for faking flawless skin."
After adding Caudalie's Vinoperfect Radiance Serum to my morning routine over the past month, I realized exactly why this product has the cult following that it does. Nothing has brightened my skin and left me with a, well, radiance quite like this potent little serum. All-natural ingredients like organic grapes and squalene work to lighten dark spots, and the brightening effect can be compared to having a professional spotlight turned on your face. Yep, it's that good.
Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are two of the most essential components to any successful skincare regimen, and while I apply them via serums and other topical products, my skin has benefitted from the additional "inner" hydration it gets from these gummies. I keep a stash of them at my desk and have gotten into the habit of popping a few as an afternoon snack. As it turns out, they're so delicious that I never forget to take them.
I never felt that a fragrance was very "me" until I tried Le Labo's AnOther13. With rich notes of musk and lighter hints of jasmine to balance it, it's the perfect everyday scent for someone like me who prefers something a little muskier to something more floral or citrusy. Similar scents probably exist elsewhere, but I prefer Le Labo's oil-based formula, which is more concentrated than most so all you need is a single spritz.