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I Haven't Shopped for Beauty IRL for a Year—These Online Finds Have Saved Me

Fun fact: Prior to COVID, I almost never bought beauty products online. I'm a super-visual and tactile kind of consumer, and I've just always loved the ritual of strolling through my favorite retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Violet Grey… The list goes on and on. It brings back lots of nostalgia (shopping for beauty products was one of my favorite things to do with my mom growing up), and it's kind of just become my happy place.

Like pretty much everyone this past year, I've been doing shopping of all kinds online, and while lots of stores have started to re-open, I still haven't set foot in a beauty retailer in over a year. Instead, I've been busy discovering new holy-grail finds via my laptop, while also restocking the tried-and-true favorites I've used and loved for years. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Since shopping for beauty online is hard with a capital H, (there are so many options and preferences are so subjective), I thought it might be fun to share a rundown of everything I've reordered, stocked up on, and bought for friends and family virtually, instead of in person. Keep scrolling for my editor-vetted list of online beauty standbys.

Tools

Hands down, this is the best at-home whitening method I've tried. It's affordable, it's quick (you'll get ultra-white results after just six 10-minute sessions!), and it's completely mess-free. 

I prefer high-quality dermaplaning tools for a nice dose of physical exfoliation versus harsh scrubs that scratch my skin up. This is my favorite model for maintaining a silky-smooth, fuzz-free complexion. (Just make sure to disinfect your blade after every use and replace your blade entirely, on a monthly cadence.)

Investing in this showerhead from T3 is one of the best things I've ever done for my hair. Since I haven't been able to give my strands the salon TLC they were used to pre-pandemic, I've been extra diligent about changing out my filters to keep unwanted chemicals and minerals from damaging and discoloring my hair. 

Even though I've been trying to lay off the heat as much as possible, this is my favorite hair tool, and I'm pretty much 100% certain it's the only curling iron I've touched my strands with in the last year. Since it's convertible, you have tons of different styling options and the results are just better. (I'm not sure why, but for now, I'll blame magic!)

Because of my job, I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to the number of fun services (facials included) that I get to try on a regular basis. Of course, that all came to a screeching halt a year ago, and I've had maybe one or two since last February. So I've really had to lean into my skincare and tool game to keep my skin as on point as possible until I'm back to regular programming. This mask is a stomach-twisting investment, yes, but it's one of the best things to happen to my acne-prone skin. (Plus, how chic is this new, limited-edition pewter color?!)

Nails

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss manicures this past year, but the believability of today's era of glue-on nails has left me super impressed. People always think my nails are real when I'm wearing one of Static's elevated takes. 

I'm also a huge fan of the new brand Tella Nails. The shape options you get are super inclusive, and they fit my nails like a glove. This Picasso-inspired set is so fun.

This complete mani-and-pedi set from Olive and June has been my saving grace. It quite literally has every single thing you'd ever need in order to treat yourself to a salon-grade paint job from the comfort of your own home. 

Fragrance

This just might be my favorite candle of all time. It smells amazing (exactly how I envision Alicia Keys smelling—is that creepy?!) and I've been burning through them with lightning speed.

Okay, hear me out. Fragrance is hyper-personal and subjective, but in the last year, I've discovered two new perfumes that are just so dang perfect, I feel 110% confident recommending them to anyone and everyone. This one from Tom Ford is a splurge, but the juicy blend of nectar, davana oil, rum absolute, jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli (and more!) is unlike anything you've ever smelled before. Trust me—you need this. 

And ditto goes for this one! I've put so many people onto this perfume this year that I've officially lost count. It's the most complimented perfume that I wear, and it makes me deliriously happy whenever I spritz it on. I just can't get enough of the combination of floral and musky notes.

An air freshener? Weird, I know, but I've oddly been so damn obsessed with this that I have to give it a shout-out. Car air fresheners always make me nauseous (plus they're filled with disgusting things you definitely should not be inhaling), but this one is the exception. Dedcool's fan-favorite scent called Taunt is everything (think amber, vanilla, and bergamot), and it's not overpowering or cloying. Mine is hanging in my car, but you can also keep it in your drawers or closet. 

Body 

I'm obsessed with this stubble cream. It keeps all of those extra sensitive areas (sorry, TMI?) smooth, calm, and bump-free. It's the only formula I let near my bikini line. 

There's just no competition here. By far, this is the best exfoliating body product I've ever laid my hands on, and when I accidentally left my bar in Arizona at my parents, I immediately made a 1:30 am purchase the second I landed back in L.A. It's next-level talented at getting every last scale of self-tanner off, and even when I'm not self-tanning, it gives my skin a baby-soft exfoliation treatment sans irritation. It's one of my all-time favorite products from Glossier. 

As is this! I think I'm on my third bottle. A) It's hella cute, and B) it hydrates supremely well, and C) I'm unhealthily addicted to the scent which is inspired by the brand's cult-favorite perfume, You. 

Again, here's another product that I'm already on my third jar of. Hanahana Beauty is one of my favorite brands in the body category, and I strongly suggest doing your thirsty skin a favor by treating yourself to this decadent, shea-, cocoa-, and mango-infused butter. You can't go wrong with any of the scents, but this new bamboo coconut number is currently sitting on my vanity. (So dreamy!)

I miss Kristyn Pradas' spray tans so dang much. I personally think she's one of the best tanning artists in L.A., and by no surprise, her very own line of self-tanning products is as fabulous as she is. This is the only self-tanning mousse I'll use anymore, and I've re-stocked at least two or three times since last March. (It's the next best thing to an actual tanning date with Pradas!)

Skincare

This is my all-time favorite cleanser, and it's one of the few formulas that actually gives essential moisture and TLC back into my skin versus stripping it away. 

This clean micellar water formula from Sephora Collection has been such a great discovery, and it's always in my cart whenever I make a purchase from Sephora. I go through a bottle a month, and additions like zinc and aloe vera make it especially smart for people with oily and/or acne-prone skin.

This is another product I began incorporating into my routine about a year ago (after two different celebrity facialists, Shani Darden and Melanie Grant) both recommended it to me, and it's done wonders for my skin. It's a hyaluronic acid serum so it nourishes the complexion with lots of hydration, but it also helps even out skin tone and reduces redness. I'm hooked for life, and I think I'm on my fourth bottle now. 

This is brand new from SkinCeuticals, and it's the only vitamin C serum that hasn't made my skin freak out and burst into a fit of pimples. You can read my full review here, but essentially, it's a sister to the brand's iconic C E Ferulic serum especially geared towards people who veer oily and breakout-prone. 

Gross but satisfying, these are the best acne dots on the market, IMO. I'll stick one on to A) prevent myself from touching or picking a bump, and B) to help treat a zit that's super-duper close to the skin's surface. There are lots of hydrocolloid acne patches out there, but this is the Wonder Woman version—strategically infused with niacinamide, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and tea tree oil.

Can you tell I was really on a ZitSticka kick this year? I'm not normally a sheet-mask type of gal, but these high-tech, ultra-penetrating exfoliating ones from the brand are the next best thing to a facial appointment.  I like to use them at night, and then the next morning I wake up to skin that's smoother, less inflamed, and altogether more even and healthy-looking. 

If you have stubborn acne scars or dark spots, I'm pretty convinced this serum-filled wand is one of the best treatments on the market. 

You're probably sick of hearing me talk myself blue in the face about this SPF-enriched lip-plumping gloss, but it's one of my favorite beauty products of all time. It's formulated by top plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, (so you know she knows what's up), and it *almost* made me forget about my pre-pandemic lip-filler appointments.

I've been dangerously dependent on these beloved glow-inducing peel pads for a few years now, and they're probably one of my most frequent online beauty purchases. Whenever I think I can go without them, I only last a week or so before my suddenly dull skin proves me otherwise.

I'll be blunt. So many oil-free moisturizers just plain suck, leaving my skin feeling overly matte, stripped, and dry. Facialist Renée Rouleau is not only one of my favorite humans, but she also makes some of my favorite skincare products. I've heavily relied on this calming face lotion to keep pimples at bay without disrupting my skin's dew point and moisture levels.

Haircare

Not to be morbid, but I'll probably leave a note in my will to be buried with my collection of Olaplex bottles. I'm that obsessed! I commit to doing a treatment once a week or so, and it's completely curbed any snapping and breakage. Despite the fact that bleach and tones have been my M.O. for a year and a half now, my hair has never been fuller, stronger, or longer than it currently is. I hold this stuff, and my amazing colorist, Cass Kaeding, completely responsible. 

Okay, this stuff is the shit, and when I was getting ready to come back to L.A. this past February after almost four months of staying with my family in Arizona, my mom and I literally fought over this tub of hair magic. (She won, so I bought another as soon as I got back.) Saturate your dry strands, let it marinate for as long as possible, wash, and you'll know what I'm talking about. So much shine. So much softness. And the smell is ridiculously divine. Sisley really outdid itself with this launch.

I highly recommend adding this gentle clarifying shampoo into your hair queue every few washes. It ups shine, moisture, and volume while giving the boot to unwanted residue and buildup that hampers your hair goals.

I'm super picky with dry shampoos, but this one has impressed me this year. It smells good, it keeps my hair looking fresh and clean, and it even helps boost hair growth efforts. What's not to love?

I've used this detangler from Unite for years, and no other formula can hold a candle to it in the shine, softness, and snag-free comb-through departments. (Oh, and it smells so freaking good.)

My love for customizable haircare brand Prose is no secret, but I'm still not over how glossy and velvety this pre-shampoo hair mask leaves my finicky strands. 

Makeup

This stuff is ridiculous. I know the bizarre little rod shape has you suspicious (believe me, I was too!), but I've never tried another lash product that lifted, lengthened, and curled so well with so little effort. This won't give you tons of volume, but if you're after a sky-high extension effect, this prismatic little tube is well worth the $50 plunge. 

This adorably little tube is my secret weapon for a "your lips but better" finish. The shade Pink Beet is the perfect complementary hue for my natural lip tone, and the non-sticky shine and perfect amount of color payoff is a match made in heaven for a minimalist makeup esthetic. Plus, it's formulated with clean ingredients you can feel really, really good about swiping across your lips. 

I'm normally a full-coverage kind of foundation girl, but I can count on two hands the number of times I did a full face in the past year. French brand By Terry carries a goldmine of glow-enhancing skin and makeup products, but this hydrating concealer has been a standout. Getting good sleep has always been tricky for me, but 2020 really took the struggle to new levels. This feather-light concealer has a luminous, semi-matte finish that seamlessly helps camouflage my dark circles while simultaneously hugging my under-eyes which with lots of skin-loving hydration. I also like to use it on other areas of my face that might need a discreet hit of coverage.

I'll end with this: I haven't even looked at another highlighter since trying this balmy stick from Merit. It gives you everything you want in a highlighter (i.e., clean, non-comedogenic ingredients combined with a dewy, halo-like glow) and nothing that you don't. (Ahem, over-obvious sparkle that dangerously treads tacky.) Pat and blend it onto the high points of your face, and you'll basically just look like you have perpetually great lighting wherever your go.

Next: I've Spent Years Honing My Glowy-Skin Routine—Here's Ever Last Detail

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