You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.
Soon after it launched in 2009, beauty and skin-care brand Herbivore Botanicals went from little-known Etsy soap shop to selling its all-natural, super-effective products at places like Madewell and Sephora. Its serums and scrubs popped up on the vanities of influencers (including the always-honest gelcream, who loved their now-discontinued Brighten Mask) and in many a celebrity skin-care routines. It’s been nine years, and still: You don’t have to go far to find people raving about Herbivore’s facial oils or waxing poetic about its body scrubs (including Billy Porter, who says he used their Lapis Facial Oil daily on the set of Pose). And as someone who is both incredibly picky and prone to skin-care skepticism, I can say that their products do, in fact, live up to the hype. To celebrate their ninth birthday the brand is having a massive sale — the entire site is 30 percent off through Monday, July 13. Everything worth copping, below.
This is the first product I ever tried from Herbivore, and subsequently, the first one I evangelized about to other people. And I’m not the only one: This scrub continues to rank on the brand’s best-sellers list. It buffs dead skin away without leaving your skin feeling stripped (this is thanks to the virgin coconut oil) and works well as a pre-shave or weekly treatment. Moroccan Rose gives the scrub its slightly floral scent, which is pleasant without being overpowering and dissipates shortly after you wash it away.
Clay masks are notorious for being drying, but that isn’t the case with this one, which uses ingredients like aloe, fruit enzymes, white willow bark, and Blue Tansy to soothe, exfoliate, and unclog pores. It’s a good alternative to harsher, physical exfoliants, which can be stripping and irritating to the skin’s natural barrier. This one is so gentle you can use it two to three times a week, and helps to keep acne-prone skin in check.
On the topic of chemical exfoliators, this serum is also a good option, especially if you have ultra-sensitive skin or want to dip a toe into chemical exfoliation without throwing your skin out of whack. It exfoliates using a combination of naturally-derived AHA’s like lactic, glycolic and malic acid and BHA derived from willow bark along with vitamin C (this comes from Kakadu plum), which brightens the skin and helps with hyperpigmentation.
As the name suggests, this is practically a facial in a jar and is even more potent than the serum. It’s the kind of mask that’s perfect for a quarantine skin care routine: packed with effective ingredients and dazzlingly simple to use. All you have to do is slather it on your skin and pad around for a few minutes while it gets to work. Like in the serum, AHA’s and BHA’s work together to exfoliate, help with hyperpigmentation, and reduce the size of pores—a surefire combo for glass-looking skin. The brand recommends using this weekly to cut down on the potential of overexfoliation. (As a side benefit, it comes with a sample of their popular Lapis Facial Oil to really give you that at-home facial experience.)
Gua sha tools are good for improving the elasticity of skin and depuffing, too. I like to use them when my skin needs a little lift, (they’re particularly effective at creating a slightly more sculpted look) but really you can use them to your heart’s content. Some of my favorite influencers use them daily and have the bright, chiseled faces to show for it. These come in various shapes, ranging from a brutalist-looking square to the ubiquitous vague heart shape you’ve likely seen all over your feed.
I have the kind of obsession with facial oils that I can only explain by telling you about my other obsession: taking photos of myself in direct sunlight. The glow you get after applying this oil is unmatched, and makes my skin shimmer like I’ve been drinking lots of water and getting adequate sleep, ever if neither thing is true. It uses ashwagandha root and shiitake mushroom to help with environmental stressors and hemp seed oil to calm skin. Even better, $1 from every purchase of the emerald oil goes toward Americans for Safe Access, which supports safe and legal access to cannabis for therapy and research.
I’m a big fan of face rollers—lymphatic drainage and de-puffing benefits aside, there’s just something nice about rolling something cool across your face and pressing your serums and oils deeper into your skin. This Amethyst double sided roller is capable of relaxing your facial muscles into submission, and also happens to also be extremely aesthetically pleasing. I like to stick it in the fridge before use, although they tend to run pretty cool on their own.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.