By now, you’ve probably surmised that we test-drive a lot of beauty products here at Who What Wear HQ. From
nail polish and makeup to hair and skincare, we’re eyebrows-deep in all things new, exciting, and wish list–worthy. That said, due to the number of products we come in contact with, we’ve also transformed into the nitpickiest of beauty consumers. Within seconds, we can tell if a new hair oil is too heavy, and we’re quick to ignore a serum that yields disappointing results.
The good news? We’re far more often impressed than unimpressed after trying out a new product, and usually, we simply can’t wait to spread the word to all of our fellow beauty lovers (also known as you!). Therefore, we’ve decided gushing over our latest fave products should become a monthly ritual, and every 30 days or so, you can expect a full report detailing the highlighters, hair wands, and overnight skincare saviors we’ve become quickly obsessed with.
For the most part, we’ll be covering buzzworthy launches (as those typically take up most of the action atop our product-filled desks), but we won’t dismiss new-to-us products, either. Sometimes, our best discoveries are found on a friend’s vanity or on someone’s face at the bar. (True story.) Ahead are the best beauty products we tried in August! Grab your game face and wallet—you’ll be needing both.
After trying this new cuticle and nail oil from Static Nails, I officially have to retract any former statements I’ve made saying miracle products don’t exist. They do, and you’re looking at one! Not only is the product itself 100% clear, fragrance-free, and super easy to apply, it expertly mends split skin and helps zip up stubborn hangnails—almost immediately. No matter how much hand cream I apply, the area around my nails is always a mess, and if you ask me, nothing sabotages a beautiful nail job than scraggly finger skin. Brimming with antioxidants, Static’s unique formula prioritizes lush, high-quality ingredients like apricot, jojoba, glycerin (and more!) that work to protect, refuel, and repair ravaged cuticles while also lending some much needed TLC to your natural nails, too. I hate greasy products, and this formula absorbs quickly, so I’m not slicking up my phone and laptop. It’s become my nightly ritual to apply it while I watch some TV before bed, and then I top it up with hand cream right before I hit the sheets.
Do you know what never, ever happens? Someone complimenting me on the way that I smell after I apply self-tanning lotion. Like, never in a million years. Until, that is, I got my hands on this gradual formula from +Lux Unfiltered. There are actually two different scents to choose from—Santal or Rosewood—but it’s the former that has me (and everyone I spend time around) completely smitten. But it’s not just the smell! This is truly the only self-tanning lotion that I have ever applied that doesn’t actually feel like self-tanning lotion. If I didn’t know it was designed to give me the perfect sun-kissed tan, I would just assume it was a super luxurious body moisturizer. It absorbs quickly, it doesn’t transfer or stain (I’ve even slept on white sheets after a fresh application), it doesn’t streak, and the results are so natural and glowy. And, as I mentioned, there’s the added perk of people shouting “Oh my God, someone smells so good,” whenever I wear it. Sorry, but all other self-tanners are dead to me now.
If you’re looking for a clean, *not* overly-ostentatious way to make your lids glisten this fall, I highly recommend these new liquid gel pigments from Exa. All four sheer, shimmering shades are gorgeous, and due to their supreme ingredient profile, they actually help hydrate and protect your lid area—even peeps who veer sensitive in the eye arena. The formula is easy to apply, blend, and layer, but once you smudge it out to your liking, it won’t budge until you’re purposely taking it off. I’ve been dabbing the shade Slumber Party on repeat.
Is there anyone on this planet who doesn’t want to smell like Rihanna? I had to wait a good month after receiving my bottle to be able to talk about this launch in public, and now I’m ready to shout about it from the rooftops. (And I doubt I’m alone since it’s already sold out on the Fenty website!) The bottle itself is beautiful and so is the scent. Interestingly, it’s comprised exclusively of middle notes and it has a unique, ultra-fine mist that rains down evenly on an entire area of skin—like your chest—without over-saturating. The smell itself is hard to describe, and unlike so many fragrances, it doesn’t translate as purely floral, fruity, or saccharinely warm and sweet. It balances magnolia, musk, tangerine, blueberry, and light whiffs of Bulgarian rose absolute, geranium, and patchouli. I highly recommend clicking on that “Notify Me” button on the brand’s website so you don’t miss out on one of the best fragrance launches of the year.
I want to preface this by saying I’m not a lip mask person, but this new launch from Fresh has officially turned me into a lip mask person. I personally think Fresh makes the best lip products on earth, and I’ve turned everyone in my circle—from guys to girls to my family—onto the brand’s Advanced Therapy Treatment Lip Balm ($26), so I guess it should be no surprise that if one brand could turn me, it would be Fresh. I can’t stand lip products that are overly sticky or gloopy, so I appreciate that this one is pure shine with just enough slip to make it pleasant to wear and live your daily life in. Technically, you’re supposed to wear it at night so it can really work its reparative magic while you sleep, but I love wearing it 24/7 instead. If you’re a lip balm or lip mask addict, you need this.
Blanche isn’t a new fragrance from Byredo, but in my opinion, it’s one of the best—and often forgotten—treasures within Byredo’s legendary catalog. I’ve always loved Blanche, but I’m super jazzed about this new collector’s edition the brand just released, and the clean, I-just-want-to-wrap-myself-up-in it scent proves itself just as addictive as I remembered. It’s crisp yet soft, floral yet human—think an epic mix of aldehyde, rose centifolia, peony, violet, musk, and sandalwood. In my opinion, a press release from the brand puts it best: “Blanche explores the smell of texture and skin; bodies slipping beneath fresh sheets; laundry baskets filled to the brim; and a punch of detergent.” Trust me—it’s dreamy, and you’ll love it.
“I just tried Necessaire’s new shampoo and conditioner, and I’m excited to continue to use them. They’re formulated specifically to take care of your scalp, which is perfect for me because my itchy, dry scalp definitely needs some TLC. I thought the shampoo felt very purifying and the conditioner felt moisturizing, leaving my hair clean and healthy-looking. I also tend to get a lot of frizz, and this duo helped tame it down a bit.”
“I’ve heard my colleagues wax poetic about Ilia’s mascara, so it’s always on my wish list. When I found out the brand was launching a new volumizing version, I knew I had to try it. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. It made my sparse lashes look so voluminous, thicker, and longer. I also loved that it didn’t seem to weigh them down, plus it was long-lasting and my lashes still looked fresh after a couple of hours.”
“This is easily the most luxurious mascara I’ve ever tried. Ever. And no, it’s not just because it comes in a golden tube made of brass, but because my lashes have truly never looked so long, with only a few coats! The wand is also really unique: It’s composed of both vertical and horizontal bristles which makes the application real precise. I wore it to a wedding and can happily report that I had absolutely no smudging by the end of the night, and let me tell you, it was a long night with lots of dancing.”
“I’m a sucker for a good highlighter and anything pint-sized, so this basically has me weak. I love the lightweight, blendable formula and how little I need to brighten up my entire face! I like to squeeze a small amount onto my fingers and dab it onto my cheeks, blending in as needed.”
“I’ve tried plenty of tanning products for my face but have never found one that I like enough to stay loyal to. But that might change—I just received this in the mail and so far I’m obsessed. It’s an extra hydrating daily face moisturizer infused with self-tan. Not only does my skin feel ridiculously soft after using it, but I’ve noticed a subtle color change in my complexion that’s anything but orange. The brand recommends using it daily, but I’ve been using it every other, and so far I’m really happy with the results.”
“This year, I’ve become pretty invested in finding the ultimate brow products. I’m still a huge fan of Merit’s Brow 1980 (it’s truly the perfect shade of brown) and Anastasia’s Brow Freeze, but I’m currently all about this. It’s basically a brow wax-gel hybrid and it comes with a double-ended brush applicator that sculpts, shapes, and sets hairs in place. It just does such a good job of making my brows look expertly groomed on the daily. I usually just use it on its own, but when I have an event or wedding to go to, I usually use the Brow 1980 and set my hairs in place with this. Not sure how I ever lived without it!”
“Technically this isn’t a new product for me, but for whatever crazy reason, I stopped using it for like a year and just reintroduced it into my routine. I feel silly for ever stopping because it truly is so good. I mostly use it on my neck, morning and night, rubbing it up my neck. Not only does it smell delicious but it does such a fantastic job at hydrating my skin and leaving it with a subtle glow.”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t instantly drawn to Vacation’s ’80s beach-culture packaging. Just look at it, it’s so good! Out of the four products that I’ve been sent, this is the only one I’ve been able to try so far. I love a good oil that smells coconutty that also offers an insane sheen—something that’s not always easy when it comes to SPF. It’s also formulated with a ton of healthy ingredients like chardonnay grape seed oil, which contains vitamin E and is known to help strengthen and moisturize the skin and deliver a shine that’s anything but greasy. I’ll be using this long after summer is gone.”
“I try to be as low maintenance as possible when it comes to my hair—luckily, it’s pretty cooperative. But due to the pandemic, I’ve only gotten my quarterly haircut and highlights once in the past two years. In addition to my hair growing its longest in about a decade, it had also become a bit brassy and dull. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to try out Pureology’s new Color Fanatic Top Coat, and wow—it blew my mind. Although I got the treatment in a salon from Pureology’s creative director, Jamie Wiley, it is both easy enough and affordable enough to do it at home. TBH, my hair looks so good I don’t even feel the urgency to book an appointment for fresh highlights.”
“I was so excited to test out Dr. Dennis Gross’ new Texture Renewal Serum with advanced retinol and ferulic. As someone who has always been a bit skeptical about retinol, I really appreciated how Gross explained the ingredient and how it works in his formula. I used just a few drops of this little potion all over my face every other night for a few weeks, and the difference in my skin texture was readily apparent. Even my facialist noticed, which is a sign that a product is really doing its job. Not only will I be repurchasing, but I will also highly recommend this magic serum to anyone who compliments my skin.”
“The good and bad thing about getting really into skincare over the past few years has been coming up with and sticking to a routine. Since the pandemic, I’ve barely left my neighborhood but recently spent a weekend away visiting family. Obviously, I couldn’t bring my entire regimen, so I narrowed my stash down to a few must-haves, including Codex’s BIA Hydration Heroes. My skin tends to freak out when I travel, but luckily, this dynamic duo was all I needed to keep irritation at bay. The gentle exfoliating wash was through yet refreshing, and the moisturizer is so lush and creamy that I couldn’t believe how quickly it absorbed. Although I was a bit out of my element, my skin still felt right at home.”
“After this sweaty NYC summer, I’m ready for the seasons to change, and just one spritz of Huda Beauty’s new Kayali Invite Only Amber 23 perfume has me dreaming of crisp fall weather. The warm and spicy scent is not what I typically go for, but the amber and cinnamon notes instantly remind me of apple orchards, blanket scarves, and cozy fires. Basically, it’s October in a bottle—no pumpkin spice needed.”
“I just ran out of my beloved Vintner’s Daughter face oil but I’m pleased to say that this one is up to snuff (and my face oil standards are high). It’s called Heavenly Sixteen because it combines 16 oils that serve different purposes, such as plumping, moisturizing, and protecting against free radical damage. Thus far, I’ve found it to noticeably reduce fine lines and revive my perpetually flaky skin. It’s quite thick but it spreads easily and sinks right in.”
“I usually only go for toothbrushes you can get at the drugstore but Cocobrush might’ve changed me for good, partly because I’m already obsessed with Cocofloss. Aside from just being really cute, the bristles are somehow both super soft and firm and I can tell that it reaches every crevice when I brush. It’s honestly worth the few extra dollars.”
“This is my first experience using an at-home light therapy device so I didn’t quite know what to expect but I’d heard a lot about the effectiveness of Dr. Dennis Gross’ SpectraLite FaceWare Pro device, so I was eager to try the new Bodyware device. It has different settings for anti-aging and acne and you can even use them simultaneously. It can also be used for pain management. I’ve only used the anti-aging setting, which takes just 3 minutes each day and is said to stimulate collagen in 10 weeks. I’m not quite to 10 weeks yet but so far I love how quick and easy it is to use (it molds to fit any body part) and my neck and check are already looking a bit smoother. I’ve also been using it on my hands and knees, because why not? I’ll report back soon!” Up next, check out which products we couldn’t get enough of last month.