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 eyebrow-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 July! Grab your game face and wallet—you’ll be needing both.
I’m a huge stan of M-61’s original PowerGlow Peel ($66)—using one of those spicy exfoliating towelettes roughly three times a week has practically become a religion for me. That said, I recently ran out, and after routing around my skincare cabinet, I found this extra-strength version from the brand. Dare I say they might be better than their lesser-strength counterpart? If you’re an exfoliation newbie, I definitely recommend starting out with the regular, but if you’re someone who can handle the heat, these are a dream. They have a higher percentage of skin-sloughing glycolic acid, and wow—the baby-smooth finish and pretty glow you get the next morning is pretty exceptional. I’m definitely re-ordering the regular strength, but I’m excited I found these to sprinkle into my rotation here or there when my skin is looking and feeling extra meh.
I pretty much only ever wear liquid formulas when it comes to eyeliner, so as a beauty editor, I kind of feel like it’s a cardinal sin that I only just tried this best-selling liner from KVD Beauty. Seriously, folks—I don’t think I’ll ever look at another one again! With just one or two quick flicks, I got the perfect, I mean perfect, dainty wing, and the super-fine tip was so easy to build and maneuver around my eyes and lashes. If you’re into super chunky liner or dramatic cat-eyes, this one probably won’t be thick enough for you, but if you’re like me and want a kick of extra definition around your eyes and just an extra little something’ somethin’ when creating your wing (aka something subtle) you’ll flip for this. I have both the black and the brown, but I have been gravitating toward the latter for summer.
Hoola is one of the most iconic bronzers in the biz, but to be completely honest with you, it’s never been my favorite. So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized I’d become super addicted to this new, limited-edition shimmery version from the brand. I’ve been wearing less highlighter and gleam-inducing products on my face this summer (heat-induced sweat seems to get the job done just fine), so I love that I can kill two birds with one stone when I swipe this around my face. It gives me a natural dose of sunkissed color with just a trace of light-reflecting shimmer.
I usually run away from contour sticks like they’re the plague, but over the past month or so, this one from renowned makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic has completely won me over—probably because it’s the antithesis to most other sculpting sticks I’ve tried. The formula is ridiculously soft and creamy, so blending it out and sculpting only where you want to sculpt is for once, an effortless process. It dries down to a natural-looking matte finish after you’ve applied, and the fact that it comes with a brush on the other end is just the cherry on top.
Cream and liquid blushes are really hit or miss for me. Either they result in what looks like muddly sludge on top of my cheekbones only to evaporate entirely two minutes post-application or they provide a lit-from-within burst of color that looks more natural than anything a powder could ever achieve. Well, after wearing this new clean formula from Bite Beauty for two weeks straight, I can safely attest that it’s the latter! The colors are dreamy and easily translate to that coveted “I just went for a light jog around the block” type of flush. It blends really easily (I’ve just been using my finger) and feels weirdly refreshing on the skin—almost like a nice cooling effect.
If I could only choose five clean makeup brands to wear the rest of my life, Róen would definitely be on the list. The brand’s glistening eyeshadows have always been the standout SKU for me, but the brand new tinted lip oil balms might just eclipse them… I can’t get enough! You get the best of all worlds: long-lasting hydration and shine courtesy of good-for-your-lips ingredients (think luxe plant-based oils and antioxidant power players), plus a flattering breath of color. People won’t actually think you’re wearing anything on your lips, they’ll just think you have great lips naturally. This balm’s enhancing powers are epic.
“Honestly, this is my favorite eyeliner. It’s the most perfect deep purple shade and really makes my eyes pop. I’ve been adding a bit to my top lash line and smudging it with a brush and it’s just—wow.”
“I just started using this and I’m already obsessed. It’s formulated with an exclusive vitamin C from spirulina, a blue-green algae with antioxidant properties. Basically, it helps brighten, even skin tone, and fight free radicals. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m already seeing a difference in my complexion.”
“It only took me until the middle of the summer to remember one of my favorite seasonal styling products: salt spray. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands over the years, and this is the only one that leaves my thick-but-fine hair actually feeling light and bouncy instead of weighed-down and greasy. I wash my hair, spray liberally from roots to tips, and then secure in a light braid with a silk scrunchie before bed. When I wake up, voila: beachy waves without ever leaving the apartment.”
“I’ve definitely had a bit too much fun with DIY manicures over the past year, so in an effort to give my nails a break from opaque polishes, I’ve switched to nail stickers. After applying a clear base coat, I add a cute little sticker to each nail and secure it with a clear topcoat. Just be sure to let each layer dry between applications, otherwise, the edges of the larger stickers will curl up. That’s it!”
“What can I say? I love SPF! An esthetician once told me that you only need to wear sunscreen on the days you brush your teeth, and that definitely changed my skincare routine for the better. These days I never leave home without a hat and a full face of sunscreen (I love the Bask spray for the body), and I keep this little guy in my bag for touch-ups on the go. Bonus: It looks like a dewy highlighter, so the skin is both glowing and protected.”
“This product isn’t sexy, but it works. Seriously. After a year and a half of sanitizing like crazy, I was thrilled to discover this hybrid sanitizer and lotion that moisturizes hands and kills germs in one go. It also has vitamin E so you know it’s good for the skin, too.”
“I’m not a huge fragrance person. I tend to find something I like, and stick with it—for years—so I was pleasantly surprised to discover Avec Amour, a musky vetiver scent in a beautiful roll-on bottle. With layers of santal, ylang-ylang, and bergamot, this scent feels truly timeless. It has definitely earned its place on my vanity.”
“I tend to switch between gel and cream moisturizers depending on the season, but this product is both light-weight and hydrating enough to be kept in constant rotation. Bonus: It contains Bakuchiol, a gentler alternative to retinol that leaves skin smoother and brighter without irritation. Definitely reordering.”
“I love it when one product does many things and does them well. This lightweight cream (which feels more like a serum) contains powerhouse ingredients retinol 8, niacinamide, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. It has a slightly shimmery golden hue that leaves the prettiest glow and makes your skin dewy without being overly dewy. I apply it to bare skin before SPF and makeup and it makes me look better. I know this isn’t a scientific statement but I tend to be my harshest critic, so take it as a strong seal of approval.”
“They love these Kosas lip glosses on TikTok and I can see why. I’ve used some of the existing shades in the past, but these new ‘like your lips but better’ shades get an A+++. They last for ages and make your lips look plump and amazing. My favorite shade is Unhooked but you should probably just try all three from the Undressed Collection and pick a favorite yourself.”
“I’m a sunscreen devotee, so I’m always up for trying a new one. I recently got my hands on this very high-rated one from Sunday Riley and it succeeded my already high expectations. It’s so light and non-sticky (sticky face sunscreens are a dealbreaker for me), making it perfect for wearing under makeup. It contains both mineral and chemical sunscreens, which is a bit rare, but it certainly keeps it from leaving that telltale streaky white case. Last but not least, it’s perfect for travel.”
“I’m a huge fan of gel moisturizers, especially during the summer months because they just feel so cooling on the skin. My skin has been freaking out a lot this summer—it’s been so dry and peeling lately. I’ve been relying on this gel cream from Kiehl’s to soothe and hydrate it. It’s so lightweight and absorbs quickly. It doesn’t even feeling like you’re wearing much!”
“I’ve been trying to be very vigilant about my sunscreen application this summer. I just tried this sunscreen stick and it’s a new favorite for me. I love that it goes on clear and is easy to apply. Because it’s in stick form, you won’t get your hands greasy or messy. The sunscreen itself is very lightweight and really doesn’t leave a sticky, greasy layer that you might get with other sunscreens. And my favorite part? The stick is compact and fits into my smallest purse, so it’s perfect for when I’m on the go.”
“An oldie but a goodie! I recently brought this face mist back into my rotation after a multi-year hiatus and I can’t believe I ever went without it. I keep it on my at-home desk—aka my dining table—during the day and spritz my skin whenever I need a little boost. The scent also makes for a great midday pick-me-up.”
“My friend packed this sunscreen stick on a recent beach vacation and I ended up borrowing it more times than she probably would have liked. I love the light texture and that the product goes on clear. I also didn’t not by my own after the trip simply for the adorable packaging.”
“This month, consistency with my skincare routine has taken a huge nosedive. Few days I have the time to properly devote to every step of my routine, so my skin has been looking far from its peak without makeup. I’ve been turning to concealer to ‘mask’ everything including any tired eyes or dark patches. I’m a fan of how buttery smooth this one is and how easy it is to blend into my skin. It’s not tacky at all like some concealers can get, so I end up using it more like a foundation for fuller coverage all over my face.”
“I used to spend so much time filling in my brows with gel and then concealing them that it was a 10-minute job at minimum. Now I spend a minute tops thanks to Glossier’s Brow Flick. There’s definitely a learning curve to mastering it, but the convenient part is that it applies similarly to a felt tip marker. The pigment paired with the applicator allows for a more realistic brow hair look than just with thick gel or pencil alone. It’s become my ride-or-die brow product.”
“NYC’s heat has been unbearable for many reasons, and I’ve found that the heat has wreaked havoc on my skin, hence why I jumped at the chance to test drive. Then I Met You’s Rose Surfacing Facial Mask. The formula includes rose petals and lactic and salicylic acid that is meant to help peel the skin and help with brightness, and boy, does it do just this. I have to admit the thicker formula was a bit of a surprise when applying it to my face and letting it soak on my skin, but after washing it off, I so clearly saw my skin bounce back from the terror of extended heat waves. Whether you suffer from dry skin or oily and acne-prone skin, I highly recommend you try this face mask.”
“When I tell you that I have a serious obsession with face creams, I’m not hyperbolic. For me, the base of any dewy look comes down to the moisturizer, so I was excited to test out the small, Korean-owned skincare brand 107 Beauty’s plump hyrdo cream. What makes this cream unlike the others is that its main ingredient is vinegar, aged for over seven years. As beauty lovers, we always hear about insane-ish ingredients that are hyped-up to be effective, but this cream can back up its hype. I don’t think my skin has ever been dewier than it is using this every single day. I’m in love with it.”
“Now that I’ve been going out more and more, making sure my manicure situation is on-point is a priority. I’ve been loving and living in OPI’s beautiful nude hue, Samoan Sand. It is the perfect summer nude.”
“I made a mistake once this summer of forgetting to put on sunscreen, but now that I’ve been using Nuria’s mineral sunscreen, I’ll never make that mistake again. The formulation is light and doesn’t feel like it’s going to clog your pores, but it lasts all day in the NYC humidity, which is a feat if you ask me.”
“No matter if I’m going to the beach or exploring the city, one of my biggest priorities in the summer—besides beating the heat—is making sure my skin stays hydrated. If it gets too hot, I will immediately break out in eczema and heat rashes, and no matter what I do, the arsenal of products can’t seem to remedy the dry patches until I found this shea butter. Shea Grower’s is a small, Black-owned brand that imports shea from Ghana. And what I love about this product is that while other topicals have failed, the simplicity of the formulation of this shea butter keeps my skin’s dehydration at bay. It is magic in a container.”
“This may be the first time I’m singing my praises for this SPF, but it definitely won’t be the last. The formula has a magical way of giving your skin a next-level lit-from-within glow which I’ve quickly become addicted to. I only added it to my rotation a month ago but it’s already the workhorse of my routine—whether I wear it underneath my foundation (it’s also a great primer) or apply solo on makeup-free days (it does a good job of evening out my skin tone), I reach for it on the daily now.”
“Normally, I’m not a big fan of thick moisturizers, but Herla’s Super Lift Cream is the skincare equivalent of chugging a tall glass of water: hydrating and restorative. It’s sprinkled with flecks of 24k gold which, yes, is just as fancy as it sounds. I like applying it as the last layer in my nighttime routine—throwing on a silk robe, slathering a layer of this rich cream, and diving into bed—what could be more heavenly? As for the details, skin experts say that 24k gold has a number of lovely benefits including aiding with hyperpigmentation and quieting skin inflammation, both of which I’ve definitely noticed. If you want to feel luxurious and pampered, this jar is it.” Next: 26 Handpicked Beauty Products WWW HQ is Currently Freaking Out Over