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I've Tried Thousands of Beauty Products—Here Are 32 I'd Buy Without Hesitation


During my tenure as a beauty editor, I've put thousands of products to the test. I've trialed moisturizers formulated by scientists, serums developed by influencers, clean makeup, every shade of nail polish known to man, and the list goes on. All this to say, I've got some pretty strong opinions on which items are worth spending those hard-earned coins on. And even though it's my job to tell you what's new, noteworthy, and worth buying (or skipping!), I also like to make sure I'm giving you enough reasons to justify any given purchase.

If you ask me, a good sale is the ultimate rationale for making some additions to any beauty arsenal. As it turns out, it's everybody's anniversary this month and that means the savings are coming in hot. And in fact, two of my favorite destinations for those worth-it beauty buys, Nordstrom and Dermstore, are each celebrating decades in the business by doling out mind-boggling discounts. 

While savings at Nordstrom won't be available to those who aren't members until August 19, now is the perfect time to check out the selection so you can be the first in line once the most coveted items become available to everyone. And at Dermstore, simply use code CELEBRATE at checkout to cash in savings of up to 25%.

Without further ado, I give you 32 body, makeup, skincare, and hair care items from both sales that stand out from the rest.

This giant bottle of lotion has been part of Nordstrom's big sale for as long as I can remember, and not a year goes by that I don't buy it. It's the perfect fast-absorbing, unscented lotion to have on deck all year long.

Speaking of items that come around every year, this candle set is another one I never pass an opportunity to buy. I keep them on deck to set the mood for my frequent baths.

I accidentally got my partner hooked on luxury hand soap and now that we each wash our hands even more obsessively than we did before, buying the stuff on sale is an absolute must.

Washing your hands more means being even more diligent about keeping them covered in lotion. They say your hands start to show age the fastest, but I refuse to let my germ-busting nature speed up the clock in that department.

Fragrance trends come and fragrance trends go, but Le Labo is always a good idea.

Wearing lipstick makes me happy, even when no one else can see it. Although I'm more into the Pillow Talk Intense shade (you can see me wearing it above), this set has everything you need to create the perfect pout in the original shade.

Even if you're wearing way less makeup than usual right now, keeping your brow game on lock is a quick and easy way to pull yourself together for video calls. I'm never not surprised by how much more alive I look after a few flicks of this pencil and a swipe of brow gel.

This set contains what are, in my humble opinion, among the very best Dior beauty products ever. The Lip Maximizer in particular is just phenomenal. It's thick without being sticky, shiny without being greasy, and imparts a tingly sensation on application. Sold.

Now is an excellent time to invest in the future of your lashes, and this growth serum gets rave reviews.

Behold, the only two products you need to create a blurred, satin-finished complexion that's at once perfectly undone and totally pulled-together. 

We're pro pores over here, but using Alpha Beta Peels will make yours appear much smaller. Real ones know my love for these two-step peel pads runs super deep, so you already know I'm excited about this deluxe set that has 90 of them, along with a tube of cleansing gel to round out your routine.

This one will cost you, but adding these luxurious additions to your vanity is bound to make up for the dent in your wallet.

Every beauty editor I've ever known can talk until they're blue in the face about these serums by Dr. Barbara Sturm. It's the science, for me!

I'm currently having a love affair with my natural hair texture (see the photo above for a little curl appreciation) and doing everything I can to impart as much TLC as possible. I'm very careful about supplements, but my commitment to my hair health lead me to these gummies, which I've been loving.

I'm on a fast from heat styling, but if you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that this was one of only two flat irons I'd ever let touch my hair. My last GHD  iron lasted for more than a decade.

My 90-year-old grandma loves this Oribe dry shampoo to prolong her blowouts. (Which my mom gives her—how cute are they?) If it's good enough for Grammy and every other dry shampoo lover with discerning taste, it's good enough for me.

It's not often I get to recommend a product that produces such tangible results as this one. If you've yet to experience Baby Foot for yourself, it's time to join the ranks of the thousands of us who are utterly amazed and simultaneously grossed out by the foot peeling action these little booties set in motion.

My fellow beauty editor and human beauty encyclopedia Erin Jahns turned me on to Kayo last year, and it's quickly become one of my favorite body care brands. This all-over serum is meant to smooth and tighten the skin and I am here for it.

Ilia purchases earn double Dermstore points.  Any time I'm asked about my favorite foundation, the person on the other end of that question gets an earful about this lightweight one by Ilia. For some insight into why I love it so much, just look to the photo above to see the glowy, skin-like finish I can't get enough of.

I can make a lot happen with just my fingers and a blending sponge, but I reach for this brush when I don't want to do any work and still look like I spent several minutes blending.

Confession: I've got a flaky scalp. This exfoliating shampoo has the slightest grit to it that gets my scalp super clean but rinses out of my thick hair easily.

Olaplex purchases earn double Dermstore points.  I love using this strengthening treatment a couple times a month to help seal the bonds of my fine, medium porosity hair. The best thing about it is that it can help strengthen hair that's compromised for any reason, including bleaching and heat damage. If you have thick or ultra-long hair, you might want to spring for this larger sized bottle.

Elta MD purchases earn double Dermstore points.  This sunscreen has been recommended to me by more skin experts that I can even count at this point. It's that good. And on top of being beloved by so many, it also doesn't leave a ghostly cast on my dark skin.

If you struggle from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, then an effective spot treatment is a must-have for evening out those darkened marks. This one relies on the BHA salicylic acid and chlorophyll to exfoliate and brighten the skin.

I keep packs of eye gels like these cult-favorites in my fridge so that I get an extra cooling effect whenever I pop a pair on my face.

If you're a fan of Caudalie's Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, you're not alone—one bottle of the grape-powered potion sells every 30 seconds around the world. With this exclusive set, you also get to try minis of the essence and night cream, all for the same price you'd pay for your beloved serum on its own. That's a deal if I ever saw one!

Micellar water is one of those things that some people don't even know what to with, while others use it for every skincare function under the sun. I identify with the latter and keep a bottle of this French pharmacy staple on hand for removing makeup and toning my skin. 

Full disclosure: Your hands are the only tools you really need to clean your face. This device definitely helps get a deeper clean, but the real magic is in how much circulation the micro-pulsation brings to your face. I like to focus this soft silicone gadget around my jaw when it's feeling particularly tense and ender my eyes when a lack of sleep starts to show up there.

I've said it countless times, but I credit this specific pair of products for the clear, bright condition of my skin today. I haven't used them in a while, but they truly saved me after a battle with hormonal acne left my face scarred, bumpy, and uneven. I can't say enough good things about these guys.

This is the best physical exfoliator in the game, and that's on period. You can quote me.

Hyaluronic Acid is a pretty polarizing ingredient, but I'm devoted to it anyway. This one was recommended to me by a facialist years ago and is still one of the best I've ever tried.

Vitamin C serum is everything to me. I'm running low on my current bottle, and as I ponder my next move I think I'll be revisiting this tried and true classic. The 449 five-star reviews on Dermstore just convinced me! Up next, I'm finally treating my body as well as my Face, starting with these cult faves.