year in review

Every New Beauty Product From 2017 That Was Actually Good

Photo: f

It seems like just yesterday we were waxing poetic about the 2016 release of Dyson’s first hairdryer, and then poof! We landed in 2017. This year Rihanna, in a moment of benevolence, gave us a best-selling makeup line; Gwyneth Paltrow dished out expensive wellness pills; and the fine folks at Vinter’s Daughter turned us into oil evangelists. But which products did we love more than anything? Which creams were absolutely life-changing? Read on for our edit on the best beauty products of the year.

The Shampoo Made With Human DNA

Virtue Smoothing Shampoo
$42 at Amazon

Keratin, a protein known to strengthen hair, can be found in many popular hair-care lines, but Virtue is the first company to perfect a keratin derived from humans — resulting in a formula that works better. Their thick, Smoothing Shampoo cleans without stripping out moisture, doesn’t build up like some protein treatments, and makes hair feel uncannily smooth. —Ashley Weatherford

The Rock-Star Foundation

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
$34 at Sephora

While most beauty lines still don’t have a robust foundation range, Rihanna developed a makeup line as diverse as her fan base. Pro Filt’r, Fenty Beauty’s foundation, has 40 shades. Three months after launching, the brand struggles to keep some of its darkest offerings in stock. The smooth, buildable coverage doesn’t hurt either. —Ashley Weatherford

The Ultimate Face Oil

VINTNER’S DAUGHTER Active Botanical Serum
$305 at Net-A-Porter

Vintner’s Daughter’s face oil made the rounds on blogs and instagram earlier this year. Initially, I was a skeptic. But after using it for the suggested two weeks, to my shock people kept telling my I looked “glowy.” And the best part is that it’s replaced all my other serums with a single step — now I go to bed a lot earlier and wake up with better skin. —Kathleen Hou

The Eyelid Bronzer

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette
$54 at Sephora

The latest of its wildly successful “Naked” range, Urban Decay’s Naked Heat features 12 “warm” eye-shadow colors. Like a great bronzer, these colors will make your eyes shimmer with the illusion of health and sunshine. Even if you aren’t a person who wears a lot of eye shadow, this palette might convince you to rethink your stance. —Ashley Weatherford

The Ultimate Lipstick

PAT MCGRATH LABS MatteTrance™ Lipstick
$38 at Sephora

Give me every shade of Pat McGrath lipstick and I may never need another lipstick again. The reds are so pigmented that you can apply them with just your finger, and the result is a super-sensuous, lived-in looking red lip. —Kathleen Hou

The Oil That Makes Showers Fun

Glossier Body Hero Oil Wash
$18 at Glossier

Glossier’s Body Hero Oil Wash smells so good it might inspire you to take an extra shower or two. Plus, the fragrant neroli oil softens your skin with each use. The experience is decadent; fortunately, the price is not. —Ashley Weatherford

The Hair Care That’s Better Than the Expensive Stuff

Kristin Ess Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray
$14 at Target

When you’re at home for the holidays, browsing Target with your parents, check out this line by hairstylist Kristin Ess. It’s a dupe for beloved luxury brand Oribe, but at half the price point. Try the Shine Beach Spray which gives you beach waves without any stickiness. —Kathleen Hou

A Crazy Good Concealer

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer
$31 at Sephora

The rich pigment of Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer corrects and conceals bluish and brownish undereye marks as if it were some sort of magic wand. Even better, the concealer doesn’t crease, so you can wear it for hours on end. —Ashley Weatherford

The No-Makeup-Makeup Blush

Kosas Cosmetics Saturate + Illuminate Cream Collection 8TH MUSE
$34 at Shen Beauty

You can tell that a painter obsessed with chemistry created the new brand Kosas, because of the attention paid to both color and textures in all of her products. You barely need to blend the non-waxy, illuminating blush and highlighters to infuse into your skin with the perfect J.Crew-winter-catalogue-flushed-cheek. —Kathleen Hou

The No-Hairstyle Hairstyle Trick

HAIR BY SAM MCKNIGHT Cool Girl Texturising Spray
$25 at Liberty London

Just like no-makeup-makeup, we’re in the era of no-hairstyle-hairstyle. But as with all things “effortless” it takes work to make it look good. This hairspray is the answer to that paradox. Developed by Princess Diana’s hairstylist, it gives texture, verve, and attitude to flat, boring, pillow-smashed hair. Just spray a little at the roots, rough up your hair and run.

A Drugstore Cushion Compact

Maybelline Dream Cushion Fresh Face Liquid Foundation
$15 at Ulta

People tend to like cushion compacts because the “wet formula” dabbed on with the flat sponge delivers an “airbrushed” effect on your face. Maybeline’s new version is really excellent, and lucky for you, it’s easy to find in your local drugstore. —Ashley Weatherford

The New Skin-Care Cure-All

THE ORDINARY Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
$6 at Cult Beauty

The Ordinary (a.k.a., the Everlane of skin care) is one of our favorite new brands. They use niacinamide (a form of Vitamin B3), a relatively new ingredient in skin care that that has been hailed as a cure-all, making your skin softer, refining pores, and polishing dull texture and uneven skin tone. It’s so popular that it’s sold out on almost every site. (Note that on Amazon, it’s available for twice the price). —Kathleen Hou

An Affordable Mascara That’s Actually Great

Catrice Prêt-à-Volume Smokey Velvet Black Mascara
$7 at Ulta

Occasionally, like a shooting star, a captivating new mascara bursts onto the scene. Catrice’s Prêt-à-Volume Smokey Mascara’s enormous brush flares out lashes, while it lengthens and paints each little hair a vivid black. If you’re looking for lashes that look too good to be real, there’s no better place to start. —Ashley Weatherford

The Makeup Collection My Friends Kept Texting Me About

NARS + Charlotte Gainsbourg Lip Tint
$24 at Net-A-Porter

In a year full of makeup collaborations that are generally overhyped and uninspired, the Charlotte Gainsbourg collection was one of the best makeup collaborations of the season. Every single product from the collection was a winner. I’ve been hoarding the Lip Tints, which were glossy and non-sticky and the perfect “my lips but better” lip color. There are other great, wine-stained lip shades too. —Kathleen Hou

The Heavy-Duty Moisturizer That Feels Like Air

Tatcha The Water Cream
$68 at Sephora

Within a month of its debut, Tatcha’s The Water Cream blasted to the top of Sephora’s bestselling-moisturizer list. The cream’s encapsulated water droplets are more than a marketing gimmick — they deliver light-as-air hydration the moment they touch your skin. Because it’s not greasy, the cream is the ultimate moisturizer for oily skin. But because it moisturizes so well, it’s perfect for dry skin, too! Like Tatcha’s founder, Victoria Tsai says, “it’s like a sprinkler for your skin.” —Ashley Weatherford

The Lotion That Gives You Baby Skin

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion
$29 at Dermstore

For “impossibly smooth skin,” look no further than Paula’s Choice’s glycolic acid lotion. A cocktail of eight-percent glycolic acid and antioxidants transforms uneven, dull skin into skin that practically glows. It absorbs quickly, so you can easily apply sunscreen over it. —Ashley Weatherford

The Foundation for the One Percent

CLÉ DE PEAU BEAUTÉ The Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 21
$250 at Nordstrom

Every time I start to recommend this foundation to my friends, I remind myself of the cost. But if money were no object I’d say, “This foundation is so supremely smooth that you can put it on using just your hands! It will make your face look like a mannequin, in a good way! Think of the money you will save on Beauty Blenders!” The texture is like the world’s richest tinted moisturizer, but with surreal, perfect, even coverage. —Kathleen Hou

The Pink Light Bulb Moisturizer

SISLEY PARIS Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream
$195 at Nordstrom

Maura Lynch, the beauty director at Women’s Health, says using this moisturizer is like “turning on the lights in your skin.” I couldn’t think of a more apt description. It’s a gel cream that transforms into a soft oil on the skin. It feels heavenly and makes my skin glow like it’s under a pink light bulb. —Kathleen Hou

The Lipstick You Can Only Buy in 2017

Chanel ROUGE ALLURE VELVET
$37 at Chanel

Chanel released three, limited-edition shades in very festive red packaging. They’ll make your lips look like rich, burnished velvet, just like the name promises. —Kathleen Hou

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Here Are the Best Beauty Products of 2017