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Including Dyson's latest hair innovation
At PEOPLE, we take beauty testing very seriously. We sift through hundreds — nay — thousands of pitches and products on a regular basis, carefully swatching, spritzing, and applying the latest and greatest offerings so that we can then share with you, dear readers, those that are worth your hard-earned money. And we're keenly aware that beauty products are subjective, which is why we consult with experts like dermatologists, makeup artists, and hairstylists to determine what will best suit our specific skin and hair types, and we also boast a large testing pool of varying beauty needs so that we're each giving the products a fair trial before writing them off. Sometimes, though, there are those especially shiny offerings that we feel the need to shout from the mountaintop of bottles, tubes, and compacts, which is why we started this monthly series of our absolute favorite picks.
Below, we're rounding up the makeup, skincare, haircare, and tools that made us do a double-take this month — and then reach for them again and again. From Dyson's latest hair-straightening innovation to a few popular Tarte launches, these are the best beauty products we used in May.
KS & Co The Complete Nurtured Brow
“Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mandy Moore are just some of the many celebs who go to brow artist Kristie Streicher for her trademarked 'feathered brow™' (yes, it's really trademarked). I've been lucky enough to have Kristie herself bestow her skills on my own non-celeb brows a few times, and I can attest to her genius. She recently launched her own brand, KS & Co., which has everything you need to get her signature natural brow look. I use all three of the products every day, but if you only get one, make it the Microfeathering Pen. It has a super-fine flexible tip that allows you to create the illusion of brow hairs. It's seriously a game changer for anyone with sparse brows who wants a fuller look.” — Andrea Lavinthal, style & beauty director
Price at time of publish: $99
Kerasilk Essentials Color Protecting Shampoo
“My hair type is best described as 'complicated.' It's fine, highlighted, and slightly oily at the roots but dry everywhere else. Like I said, complicated. As a result, I'm constantly searching for a shampoo that hydrates and protects my color without weighing it down. I recently tried Kerasilk Color Protecting Shampoo, which uses bioengineered vegan silk (the brand calls it "biomimetic silk") to make hair shinier and softer sans any silicones. It left my hair feeling clean but not stripped, and I had lots of bounce and body. And the fresh floral scent is a lovely bonus.” — Andrea Lavinthal, style & beauty director
Price at time of publish: $32
Glamnetic Press-On Nail Kit
“I have been doing my own nails since high school (no really, I haven't stepped foot in a salon in years), so it takes a lot for me to pivot from my deeply-ingrained DIY ways to boxed press-ons. But all of that changed when I was introduced to these gorgeous negative-space French tips from Glamnetic (I use the 'Heavenly' set) right before I took a long trip to Italy. All I had to do was find my correct sizing (each kit comes with several options of nail sizes and glue) and secure each nail down, taking easily less than five minutes total. These professional-looking results were just the quick and easy fix that a busy person in New York needs and ultimately saved me an expensive visit with a nail tech. Thanks to Glamnetic, I had picture-perfect nails all throughout my trip, proving that you don’t need to spend upwards of $100 to get vacation-worthy claws.” — Alyssa Brascia, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $15
Hourglass Equilibrium Resurfacing Retinoid Treatment
“With all of its rules and regulations, retinol can sound scary for skincare newbies (it’s even a little daunting to me). But this low-grade retinoid treatment has been the perfect introduction to the powerful ingredient, which can ultimately reduce the appearance of aging skin. I have particularly sensitive skin, and will break out after one small pick at my pores or a single use of an unfriendly product, which means that this serum’s success on my skin is nothing short of noteworthy. This light serum serves as my third layer after cleanser and Hourglass’ Restoring Essence, which I let soak into my skin before gliding on the Resurfacing Treatment. Blended with a smoothing cocktail of retinoid and niacinamide as well as tone-evening hexylresorcinol, this gentle serum both plumped, brightened, and treated the beginning stages of fine lines that had started to etch themselves into my skin. Though this treatment is safe to use daily, I use a small amount a few days a week to get my skin better acquainted to retinoid. For its non-peeling, preventative, and ultra-hydrating results, I couldn’t recommend this product more.” — Alyssa Brascia, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $110
Merit Shade Slick Gelée Sheer Tinted Lip Oil
“I'll admit it — I'm a lip product snob. I have very dry lips and hair that appears to magnetize toward them, so sticky glosses are always out of the question. Most lip oils tend to lose their glisten on me after about 20 minutes and either dry my lips out further or leave splotchy color behind. That is, until I met the Merit Shade Slick Gelée. It makes my old Dior lip oil feel sticky in comparison. The sheer wash of color feels almost watery on the lips and leaves behind a gorgeous light stain. I have it in every color, and I will never stop professing my love for it. It's that good.” — Cai Cramer, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $24
Byroe Tomato Anti-Aging Serum
“Those with sensitive skin know that the search for a great serum is hit-or-miss. Most daily treatments have either too many actives for delicate skin or don't really do anything at all. That's where the Tomato Anti-Aging Serum from Byroe changes the game — it's packed full of plumping peptides, vitamin C, and amino acids that immediately sink into the skin to impart a plump, juicy glow. Even my rosacea-prone skin was left feeling soothed and hydrated (a feat that no other vitamin C-infused product has been able to replicate for me). It's so rare for me to find a skincare product that delivers immediately visible results and won't sensitize my skin, so the Tomato Anti-Aging Serum is worth every penny to me.” — Cai Cramer, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $150
YSE Beauty Your Favorite Ex Exfoliating Pads
“How long have I been covering beauty? So long that I remember when Molly Sims first started blogging about beauty. Since then, I have become devoted to her social media posts breaking down and demo'ing her favorite finds because I know she's the real deal. Now, she's got her own skincare brand, Yse Beauty, and I am hooked on these exfoliating pads. As one who would eagerly scrub my face off with physical granules, these glycolic acid-soaked pads prevent me from going overboard. Sims says everyone's got a favorite ex. I can't say I agree, but thanks to her, I have a favorite exfoliator.” — Jackie Fields, deputy beauty director
Price at time of publish: $72
True Botanicals SuperSEA Firming and Lifting Treatment
“I recently said the four magic words — 'you've got great skin' — to a pregnant friend, and she shared that this is the difference-maker in her regimen. I already use so many actives that I was worried this would rock the boat, but so far, it's been smooth (pun intended) sailing. Sculpted cheekbones, here I come.” — Jackie Fields, deputy beauty director
Price at time of publish: $188
Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm
“I have a short attention span when it comes to my lip products (there are just too many good options out there!), so it's rare that one stays in my rotation for more than a few weeks unless it's a true shining star. That being said, I have not been able to stop applying Tarte's Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm for months. One swipe of the hybrid gloss-balm leaves behind the juicy, hydrated lips of my dreams, and the color lasts for hours. You won't find me without it this summer.” — Karli Bendlin, senior editor
Price at time of publish: $24
Payot Lisse Plumping Booster Serum
“I love the idea of a serum that's actually a thicker gel-cream so it doesn't feel like it's immediately evaporating from the skin, which is exactly the case for this offering. It's über hydrating thanks to hyaluronic acid as well as Swiss pine and wild pansy extract, both of which help to increase your skin's natural hyaluronic acid levels. My skin drinks it right up and instantly appears plumper and juicier. Any signs of skin flaking and dryness have all but disappeared — I actually look forward to applying it morning and night.” — Lindsey Metrus, commerce director
Price at time of publish: $58
SOL by Jergens No Wait Tropical Tan Tinted Mousse
“I absolutely love using self-tanner but hate the inconvenience of it. if I want a tan for an event, I need to apply it the night before and arrange to shower the next morning to wash off the indicator color (the tan shade that initially appears on contact). I also need to slip on my ugliest pajamas to account for all of the color transfer that's bound to happen and basically form a blanket cocoon around myself so that I don't destroy my white comforter while I sleep. Enter Jergen's new instant self-tanning mousse, which immediately (and gradually) gives you a beautiful bronze glow without transfer. I can now tan the morning of my trip or event and get dressed after the product dries down without worry — and with a beautiful sun-kissed tint to boot. It withstands several showers (even pool time!). I opted for the 'medium' shade because I'm naturally fair, but actually think I could bump up to the 'deep' version because medium was a bit lighter than I was seeking. My only complaint is the strong perfumed smell, but given how well it works, I'm willing to deal.” — Lindsey Metrus, commerce director
Price at time of publish: $24
Dyson Airstrait Straightener
“Dyson has done it again, cutting your morning routine in half with this supercharged Airstrait hair straightener. It utilizes an engine equivalent to an F1 race car to straighten your hair without any heat damage. I particularly love the wet-to-dry technology, especially on shower mornings when you're already running late and don't have time for a full blowout. Instead, I can just grab the Dyson AirStrait and simultaneously dry my hair while the intense air pressure smoothes my waves into a straighter style in roughly five minutes or so. Through no fault of my own (I blame NYC transit), I am chronically late, so this powerful straightener is a game-changer for me.
"It can be used on wet or dry hair, but I find that most of the Dyson Air-family tools work better on wet hair, so you can always dampen your strands first for even smoother results. Also, unlike the Airwrap, the Airstrait has a sleep mode, so if you're mid-style and need to grab something from another room, the tool will stop the airflow once placed down on a counter and kick back on as soon as you pick it up again. It also has an auto shutoff function after five minutes, so you won't have to stress about whether you left it on or not.” — Madison Yauger, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $500
Philips One by Sonicare Rechargeable Toothbrush
“Though a giant in the dental industry, the Philips One by Sonicare Rechargeable Toothbrush was a new addition to my routine and has thoroughly improved my tooth-brushing regimen over the last six months. Using it really makes me focus, being sure to get all the tricky-to-reach spots around my teeth (rather than zoning out and just going through the motions of brushing, which is all too common). It uses micro-vibrations to gently scrape any plaque or food residue away but has soft bristles, so there’s little risk of irritating gums. It vibrates along a timer that lasts two minutes with 30-second intervals, so you know when to move on to the next row of teeth. The battery lasts for 30 days, and the brush comes with a charger to give it a refresh when it runs out of juice.
"My teeth are usually pretty white, which has remained consistent while using this brush, but the biggest difference is my gums aren’t irritated by it, which is huge since other brushes in the past have caused me discomfort while brushing. Plus, the handy case makes it super easy to travel with, and you only need to replace the brush head about every three months.” — Madison Yauger, commerce staff writer
Price at time of publish: $30
Kulfi Underlined Waterproof Kajal in Tiger Queen
“If you want to dip your toes into adding a pop of color to your eyes but aren't ready for bright hues, I have the perfect solution for you. The Kulfi Kajal in Tiger Queen is a reddish brown terracotta color that compliments every eye color. They apply incredibly smoothly, and the bold and neutral colors add a subtle pop to either your waterline or lashline. You can also smoke it out with a liner brush for a more diffused look. What's more impressive is it's waterproof, long-wearing and formulated with aloe vera and vitamin E to add an extra dose of moisture to your lids.” — Dhara Patel, commerce project manager
Price at time of publish: $20
Live Tinted Hueguard 3-in-1 Broad Spectrum Mineral SPF 30 Primer
“Finally, a sunscreen that leaves no white cast on my skin! I have never come across a sunscreen with such a unique color. It dispenses as a light orange, almost creamsicle-like shade and is specially formulated to be used as a primer to avoid the white cast that many of us get when applying sunscreen under makeup. The consistency of the product is so easy to blend and does not feel heavy on the skin. I personally prefer to wear this sunscreen alone and apply it all over my body. However, it works just as well under makeup, and there is no trace of it when I take flash photos.” — Dhara Patel, commerce project manager
Price at time of publish: $58
Tula Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm
“It was love at first swipe for this Tula Skincare eye balm that helps add a bit of life to my under-eyes. I have been using it every morning, night, and throughout the day when it feels like my under-eye area is getting too dry or just needs a pick-me-up. It feels so good once on the skin and provides a subtle cooling sensation that lasts beyond just the application. Made with a combination of caffeine, hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, and rosewater, it hydrates the under-eye area as well as helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles — and you can easily wear it under or over makeup. I can't wait to bring this on my next international trip, as it will help keep me looking alive and my skin hydrated amidst all the air travel and jet lag. And, since it adds a bit of glow, you can also use it as a highlighter!” — Erika Reals, commerce editor
Price at time of publish: $34
Tarte Shape Tape Radiant Concealer
“Summer is almost here, and the last thing I want to do is apply a full face of makeup. I've been using this Tarte Radiant Concealer as my foundation, and I love the light coverage it provides (with the tiniest bit of glow). It spreads easily, has a 'barely there' feel, and gives me just enough coverage for a natural, summery look. Plus, it's buildable, so a few extra dots will brighten up my under-eye area without much effort on my part.” — Erin Johnson, senior commerce editor
Price at time of publish: $31
Yensa Super Serum Silk Cream Blush
“I’ve always been a sucker for blush. This one from YENSA instantly had me hooked with its melt-in-your-fingers formula (powered by nourishing superfood ingredients) and buttery application. My go-to shade is Moody Mauve, which is a quintessential pink blush hue that gives my skin a natural glowy flushed look. It's the perfect way to get into the beauty sphere's rosy-cheeks trend.” — Michelle Lee, Editorial Assistant
Price at time of publish: $32
Dermelect Luminous Peptide Polish
“I’m making an effort to dedicate at least one day of the week to treating myself with an at-home manicure. Doing so is made much easier with Dermelect’s new brightening polish treatment, infused with strengthening peptides. A couple of coats of this on my nails gives them that fresh-from-the-salon look, especially with its iridescent sheen that sparkles when it hits the light. My confidence is boosted knowing that I’m doing my nails good while making them look good too.” — Michelle Lee, Editorial Assistant
Price at time of publish: $18
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