Truly exciting formulas are few and far between. I don't mean to sound jaded—I love beauty products. I love the ritual of the whole thing, the textures, smells, and results. I love it all. But as I sit here, surrounded by products at my desk (a place I lovingly call a luxury garbage dump), it's easy to feel overwhelmed by excess and sameness.
That said, there are always offerings that catch my eye. And rather than dump hundreds of products in here, I decided to list off the few I'm planning to buy in 2022 (after my gifted sample inevitably runs dry), and include the rest of our Byrdie editors as well. That's right, these are the cream of the crop, in our humble opinions. I'll continue adding to it slowly as the year goes on, so make sure to check back here often. Below, find the products we've fallen in love with.
Hallie Gould, editorial director
I'm officially calling it: This is the year of the body bar. Body care has been growing for a while now—products are launching left and right with formulas to treat body concerns with the same care we do our faces. Think actives, treatments, tools, the works. Born from that sensibility and a focus on sustainability, body bars are primed to be 2022's biggest thing. One of my very favorites, a new launch from Payot's new Herbier line, is this massaging solid made with rosemary essential oil and butters. It's incredibly luxurious to use and smells even better. Afterwards, my skin feels soft and fresh.
No matter the season, it's important to remember to apply sun care daily. I haven't always been as diligent as I should be, so this year I'm investing in the good stuff. Skinceuticals' tinted option is a serum-y formula with glowy, sheer coverage and an SPF of 50—so it protects, feels comfortable, and looks great in equal measure. It's one of my absolute must-haves.
I'm a sucker for a good product name and there's something about "Cream Skin Mist" that really tugs at my heart strings. It just sounds so divine. The second thing I fell in love with—after the name—is the the nozzle offers an even, comfortable distribution of product. No more drowning in facial spray. The hydrating blend is packed with white leaf tea water, glycerin, and meadowfoam seed oil to keep your barrier protected and skin glowy and soothed. It actually is that good.
Star Donaldson, senior social media editor
In 2021, I got serious about my clearing my hormonal cystic acne—and this year, I'm coming at it with the same energy. I exclusively use Face Reality skincare because the formulas are basic and it's easy to tell if something is working. Initially, I used Face Reality's Mandelic Serum 8%, until my esthetician—Sofie Pavitt—bumped me up to 11% after my skin got acclimated. It's made an amazing difference. Mandelic acid is known for its ability to increase cell turnover but is gentler on acne than other AHAs. This is the one product in my routine I can't live without, as it has decreased my breakouts and hyperpigmentation significantly.
I've been wearing wigs a lot lately—which has really made me miss my natural curls. This product is the hero in my washday routine because it adds so much hydration and definition with just a dollop of product. If I don't have the energy to do a deep condition (or I use up my curl-defining gel), this Curl Enhancing Butter Creme does the job of both. Plus, I am always happy to put my money in the hands of small Black-owned businesses.
Lindsey Metrus, project director
I've been a micro-brow-pencil-or-bust kind of person for years. My brows are so sparse that no tinted brow gel or pomade can effectively fill them, so I usually stick to what I know. But when I ran out of my faithful pencil, I dug through my beauty stash to see if I had something that could work in the meantime.
I came across this brow trio from Valentino Beauty—a wide, flat pencil, liquid liner, and brush all stashed in one handy pen. Curious, I decided to give the liner a try, and was shocked at the natural-looking results. The felt tip is super thin, so it mimics brow hairs pretty astonishingly, and shade Taupe 01 matches my coloring to a tee. It's hard to tell where my real brow hairs end and the liner begins. Add to that the staying power—I can accidentally rub my face and not worry about any smudging or movement. At this point, I can't see myself returning to pencil any time soon and will definitely repurchase this product as soon as it runs out.
My skin gets easily congested (read: tiny little pesky bumps on my cheeks and jaw), so I've been alternating between both gentle physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation to clean out my pores. One of Shani Darden's newest launches, an AHA and PHA exfoliator, is moderate enough to use daily, plus it's got hyaluronic acid and aloe to impart hydration while it goes to work. I'm a huge fan of Shani's products (specifically her Retinol Reform and Intensive Eye Renewal Cream), so I have a feeling this exfoliator will also take up permanent residency in my vanity.
Aimee Simeon, senior editor
As a curly girl I can confirm: This is—hands down—one of the best hair products I've ever used. I went natural for the second time during the pandemic and I've gone through tons of products on the hunt for shine, definition, and long-lasting hold. This delivers on all fronts in one formula, making my washday much simpler. I carefully rake it through washed and conditioned hair and then follow with a thorough diffuser session. The results are soft defined curls that last me days. My only wish is that it came in a bigger tub or pump format to last even longer.
I recently finished this scrub's standard size to the last drop. The formula is incredible for buffing off dead skin without causing irritation. I slather a thin coat on and massage it in a circular motion and watch all of my sad, dead skin buff away. I take the treatment down to my neck, chest, and back when I have some extra time on my hands, so I'll be investing in the value size this year.
Jesa Calaor, editor
I spent 2021 trying to perfect my version of the at-home blowout. While it was a successful endeavor (my round-brush curls have never seen such bounce), my hair ended up fried, with my natural waves looking limp and stringy. This year, my goal is to nurse it back to health—starting with a major chop of five inches and ending with a routine of emollient products like the Sol de Janiero Nourishing Hair Oil. It's a mix of three moisturizing oils that smooth ends, add shine, and make my hair look and feel its best. Even better: It has the brand’s signature Cheirosa '62 fragrance (which blends together sweet scents of vanilla, pistachio, and caramel).
Olivia Hancock, editor
For me, fragrance is an integral part of my self-care routine—and I'm focused on expanding my fragrance wardrobe this year. One of the newest additions to my collection is Moodeaux's Worthy Supercharged Skinscent. Boasting a mixture of floral, woodsy, and citrus notes, the scent is unlike anything I have ever worn before (in the best way). Every time I wear it, I get compliments on how unique it smells. I'll definitely be ordering more bottles for myself and my loved ones throughout the year.
Karli Bendlin, senior editor
I was so excited to try Fenty's new liquid highlighter, I gave myself a paper cut when tearing through the packaging (sad but true). Though, the light-as-air formula made me realize it was worth the temporary pain. It blends beautifully and shines bright like a diamond (excuse the pun). The glitter effect is intense—so it's more of a special occasion highlighter than an everyday one for me personally—but nonetheless I'm obsessed. I'll be purchasing one in every shade.