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 wish list–worthy. That said, due to the number of products we come in contact with, we've also transformed into the nitpickiest of 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 lovers (also known as 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 obsessed with.
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. Sometimes, our best discoveries are found on a friend's vanity or on someone's face at the bar (true story). Ahead are the best beauty products we tried in September! Grab your game face and wallet—you'll be needing both.
Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor
Here's the deal. I recently picked up a prescription for Latisse here in L.A., but this ultra-lengthening mascara from Dr. Devgan is so effing good I've put my Latisse trial on the back burner. I'm annoyingly choosy when it comes to mascara formulas (I swear the brush can make or break it for me), but it's like Dr. Devgan entered my brain and concocted the perfect mascara formula based on all my wants and needs. This product has a flexible rubber brush that can catch every last lash and yields A+ separation. Plus, the science-backed formula delivers the prettiest curl and extension-like length. As you can see from my pic above, two quick coats in the car really get the job done!
I used to be that person who thought I had to have a 10-step skincare routine in order to attain a smooth, healthy, lit-from-within complexion. Wrong! Over the years, I've found that the more complicated I make my skincare routine, the worse my skin actually looks. So these days, I've streamlined my morning and evening routines to roughly three or four products each. Because of this, however, I need high-quality products that do the absolute most. I'm a huge fan of peels that come in handy packets like this, so I was bursting with excitement when one of my favorite facialists in L.A., Vanessa Hernandez, launched her very own iteration. Folks, it's worth the splurge! Each pad is steeped in a strategic mix of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids for gentle exfoliation plus an extra hit of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and the real MVP, Swertia Chirata Extract, also known as SWT-7 stem cell. I swipe one pad around my face after I cleanse, and I wake up the next morning to dewy, baby-soft skin. It's the next best thing to getting an actual facial at the VH skin clinic!
Mario Basescu makes one of the few spot elixirs—this stuff—that can really truly help clear a pimple in 24 hours or less. (For me, at least!) So I was pretty ecstatic when the brand came out with a new line of acne patches to complement its aforementioned iconic Drying Lotion. I feel like I've been popping one on each and every night somewhere on my face, and the results have been impressive. First of all, they're the most adhesive (aka, budge-proof) dots I've ever tested, and they also seem to do the most in the flattening and fading departments—not surprising considering the nutrition label consists of vitamin C, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.
I'll give it to you straight: I had pretty much given up on "clean" shampoos and conditioners until these two gems from Crown Affair landed on my shower shelf. I'm obsessed with everything the brand has ever come out with (there isn't one product I don't force every single person in my friend group to buy), and this lush shampoo and conditioner are no exception. I'm the type of person who only washes their hair a couple of times a week, and frankly, most natural shampoos just can't cut the grime. Who wants to go through the whole ordeal of washing and conditioning their hair only to realize it's still dirty once it dries? Luckily, you don't have to worry about that here. Crown Affair's formula features naturally derived, coconut-based surfactants that easily lift grease, dirt, and pollutants from your hair without comprising the precious hydration balance. As for the conditioner, it's modeled (but slightly tweaked) after the brand's cult-loved Renewal Mask ($58), so you know it's an equally dreamy antidote for thirsty strands.
If I had to describe my fragrance MO in one word, it would be pretty. I tend to like light, floral, semi-sweet scents, but they have to have enough of a base to not lean too saccharine. Byredo's newest perfume, Young Rose, is pretty much the scent I've been waiting for my entire life, and I can't stop wearing it. I love rose perfumes, and this one balances Damascus rose with spicy Sichuan pepper, and headier hits of musk, Ambroxan, ambrette seeds, and orris, It's floral but far from basic. People always want to know what I'm wearing when they hug me, and if you ask me, it definitely deserves a spot atop your vanity this season.
Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
I am a huge Youth to the People fan. The brand's products are incredibly gentle on my skin, and this hydrating mist is no different. I use quite a bit of retinol, both day and night, so it really helps combat any dryness that may occur throughout the day. Pro tip: It also acts as an incredible makeup setting spray.
Listen, I know this serum comes with a hefty price tag, but I can tell you it's 100% worth every penny. I just started using it a few weeks ago, and I can already say with confidence that it's one of the best vitamin C serums I've ever used! In addition to vitamin C, it's packed with antioxidants and a potent blend of botanicals that makes your skin feel baby's bum–level smooth. Do yourself a favor and snag a bottle for brighter, clearer skin free of any pesky dark spots or acne scars.
Katie Berohn, Associate Beauty Editor
I normally steer away from lip glosses because I find them to be sticky or too shiny, but this gloss looks really natural and subtle with just the right amount of shine. I've been using the shade Chill, and I find that it amplifies my natural lip color. Not only does it look good, but I love that it's also packed with ingredients like vitamin E to nourish and moisturize my lips and apple extract to slough off dead skin cells. When I wear this gloss, I don't have to mix in a chapstick throughout the day to keep my lips hydrated.
Kat Collings, Editor in Chief
Double-cleansing is something I've been resisting for a while. It feels like a lot of effort, especially when washing my face already seems like a chore. That said, I'm well aware of how much is left over with just a single cleansing pass, so I like to put any new cleansers I try to the test. I wash with the new cleanser and then follow with a micellar wipe to see what is left over. It's rare for a cleanser to do such a good job that there isn't at least a little makeup on the follow-up wipe, but not so with Facile's new Bare Necessity Hyaluronic Acid Gel Cleanser. One pass left my skin as clean as if I had double-cleansed. That is a huge win in my book. And the fact that I can get a moisture boost with the hyaluronic acid is just a bonus.
Caitie Schlisserman, Beauty Director, Branded Content
I don’t have a signature scent and probably never will (I’ve written about it here), but this is such a special perfume. There are notes of jasmine, gardenia, cedarwood, and marigold, and it sounds so silly, but it honestly just makes me happy whenever I get a whiff.
Technically this isn’t new, but I’ve reintroduced it into my routine because I was having a little breakout on my chin that I wanted to get under control. It's a vitamin C antioxidant serum with silymarin and ferulic acid, which basically provides environmental protection for oily and blemish-prone skin, reduces oiliness, refines skin texture, and visibly improves skin clarity and fine lines. My skin looks and feels so much better!
Most firming and tightening lotions I’ve tried are pretty meh, but so far, I really like this one. I’m not sure if it’s actually toning my skin, but my legs do feel really soft and smooth after continuously using it. It’s made with the brand’s exclusive melon leaf stem cell technology to help support natural collagen production along with hyaluronic acid to help firm and tighten the skin.
I don’t dye my hair anymore, but I do get a gloss treatment every six weeks or so, and my hairstylist recommended I try this. So far, I’m totally loving it. Not only does it protect my hair from UV rays (which is 100% necessary in L.A.), but it also preserves color longer. I use a couple of drops every morning after I shower and scrunch it through my hair.
Anyone who has read my stories before knows how much of a gua sha fan I am, but I’ve never used one for my body. This little set includes four products that really work together to help tight muscles, stimulate lymph flow, and smooth skin. The Aura Sweeper is essentially a dry brush; the Aura Activator should be slathered onto your body post-shower to help boost circulation; the Aura Oil should be applied to areas where you’ll be using the gua sha to provide more slip; and then the Aura Stone should be used on specific parts of your body to break up tension in muscles and fascia. This has truly become the ultimate form of self-care. It’s been so nice to add these steps into my routine a few times a week. It’s hard to know if it’s actually improving my lymph flow, but I’d rather judge it based on how I feel, which is great.
Drew Elovitz, Director of Content Strategy & Senior Managing Editor
I know the seasons are beginning to change when my skin starts freaking out. As NYC shifts from a sweaty summer to a quick and crisp fall, my skin has felt unusually dehydrated from head to toe. It's still too early to switch over to my winter skincare routine, so I've been loving two products that have been perfect for this time of transition. First, the Frank Body Glide 'n' Go Body Oil Stick is my go-to for allover moisture. The stick makes the product easy to apply without getting hands greasy, and it glides on arms, legs, hands, feet, or wherever else needs a bit more TLC with ease. I've been putting this on before I get dressed in the morning—it takes a few minutes to fully absorb—and my skin feels much happier throughout the day. Bonus: It smells great.
For my face, I've found myself reaching for Bad Habit's daily dose multivitamin moisturizer. It's somewhere between a gel and a cream and, thanks to mandarin and ginger, is a beautiful pearlescent yellow that is an instant brightener. TBH, I love the matcha mint daily cleanser, too.
I recently got highlights for the first time in a very long time, and since my salon appointments have been irregular at best, I am trying to take better care of my hair at home. Enter Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner. These purple bottles pack a serious punch when it comes to keeping my fine, color-treated hair looking its best. After several washes, my color has yet to turn brassy and remains bright and vibrant. Plus, my hair has felt dehydrated, but that brittle feeling is gone after regularly using this combo.
September was a stressful month for 101 different reasons, which is why I found myself reaching for my new favorite beauty tool every night before bed. To say that I'm obsessed with the Solvasa Crystal Energy Wand would be an understatement; it has done wonders for helping me unwind and release the tension that has built up in my face after hours of staring at a computer screen. I enjoy pairing it with the recommended DeStressance Serum ($85), which helps the crystal glide effortlessly over my skin. If you're new to facial massage, I definitely recommend checking out the brand's app for tutorials and mindfulness meditations.
Finally, just for fun, I've been loving the Orly x Lisa Frank nail wraps. I'm stocking up now so I can dole these out to friends over the holidays—it reminds me of my second-grade sticker book in the very best way.
Yusra Siddiqui, Assistant Market Editor
Technically, this isn't a new item in my beauty drawer, but something I'm falling in love with again. Why did I ever stop using Tarte Shape Tape? The world may never know. I've had a lot of weddings to attend this season, and after a while, my dark circles were starting to get hard to cover, but I ended up purchasing a new bottle of Shape Tape, and lo and behold, it was the makeup trick I needed for a foolproof under-eye look. It's a little too heavy for me for every day, but I'll be turning to it for special occasions.
I've been wanting this perfume for a while, and I have to say it lives up to the hype. I've always leaned more "basic" when it comes to scents. Floral scents win my heart—what can I say? I want to smell like a botanical garden when I leave the house! I loved Daisy by Marc Jacobs throughout high school, and this feels like a more grown-up and polished version of that. It's soft and subtle, and although it's known as a summer scent, I'll be wearing it into fall.
Yes, I know this is a men's bodywash, but when my bodywash ran out, I resorted to my husband's, and then I just… never stopped. It has such a fresh and serene scent that I'm close to buying one of my own. It also lathers on the skin well and doesn't leave my skin irritated, which many scented bodywashes tend to do. Plus, for only $7, it's a steal.
I've raved about Merit's Shade Slick in Marrakech before as it's my favorite lip color, but I've been really digging the new clear shade called Bel Air. I love how it has rose-hip oil and shea butter, and it's a great addition when I go out with no makeup but still want my lips to feel hydrated and have a nice sheen. I've also been layering it over lipsticks, and it gives every color the perfect subtle gloss.
Michaela Bushkin, Senior Fashion Editor, Branded Content
This isn't a new product, but I can't rave about this mud mask enough. It's the perfect pick-me-up whenever my skin starts to act up (which, lately, has been more often than usual). I've been using it about once a week to clear my pores and exfoliate.
This moisturizer is for those of us who love an ultra-thick, ultra-hydrating cream. I would typically only use a product like this during winter to combat the drying effects of cold weather, but it's also helped to revive my skin every time I spent multiple days in a row in the sun this past summer. I just finished my first full container and will be replenishing ASAP.
Anna LaPlaca, Editor
Despite having a makeup drawer overflowing with lip products, I think I exclusively wear Merit's Shade Slick now. The consistency is so yummy and hydrating, but unlike other tinted glosses, it's never sticky. I recently got my hands on the brand's new array of colors and immediately gravitated toward the Cara Cara color, a warm reddish-orange hue that I was surprised to like so much. It's the perfect shade to bring out the last bit of my end-of-summer tan.
Not to brag, but I managed to get through a marathon few weeks that involved traveling for my sister's wedding, attending fashion week shows and parties, and pulling some very late nights covering red carpet events for WWW without so much as coming down with a cold. Shocked? I know I am. After the year we've had, I fully expected my immune system to crumble at even the slightest diversion from my routine, but I'm pleasantly surprised to report that I feel at 100 (okay, a bit tired, but what can you do?), and I give full credit to The Beauty Chef's immune support supplement. It's the real MVP here. Essentially, it's a bio-fermented mushroom powder that's loaded with zinc and vitamin C but also with prebiotic fiber and probiotics for gut health because apparently, 70% of our immunity lies in the gut. Who knew? Dropping a teaspoon in a glass of water does the trick—it's got a subtle berry-banana flavor, so I honestly look forward to taking it every day.
I've been using this cleansing duo for a week now, and when I tell you my skin has never felt softer, I mean it. I've dabbled in cleansing balms and oils in the past, hoping to make the switch for good since I always hear how they're much easier on my dry skin than a typical foaming formula, but to be honest, I've never been able to get past the messiness. That said, I'm impressed with the Nudestix Makeup Melt because the squeezable bottle makes it so easy to use. Not to mention it's infused with citrus, so it smells amazing and feels like a whole spa experience. I also have to give a shout-out to its partner in crime, the Gel Cleanser, that I follow up with to remove any excess oil. I'm obsessed? With a gel cleanser? I know—who have I become? It's just so featherlight and gentle but gets the job done. Suffice it to say, my skin is very happy with this swap, and I plan on making them fixtures in my nighttime routine.
Up next, read all about the products we couldn't get enough of last month!