It is a small, but substantial part of our job to routinely test products so you, the good readers of VGL, can sort through the cruft and find the bestest stuff. Every month, we’ll sort through our bathroom counters and makeup bags to find the ones that stand out the most. They will be cataloged here, in no particular order.

On occasion, our picks will be associated with affiliate links, of which we receive a small percentage. This fact bears no relationship to our independent editorial selections! It merely helps keep the lights on.

Loli Date Nut Brûlée
This is a solid food-grade salve that melts with body heat and works a treat for making the dry spots on my knees, feet, and cuticles disappear. It has a softly nutty, almost sweet scent to it that really does make me feel like I’m rubbing custard on my body. –Or Gotham

Herbivore Prism 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum
Every summer, I want to glow — I want sparkly, shimmery glazed donut skin. To achieve this, I’ve been focusing on adding exfoliating products into my routine. This one knocks it out of the park (apologies for making a baseball reference?) — it’s light enough that I don’t worry about it stripping my skin, and strong enough that I know it’s working. And the bottle’s so pretty, I could just stare at it and be happy enough. –Nicole Swiggard

Topicals Faded Serum
When my ancestors passed along the melanin, they forgot to warn me about the hyperpigmentation and scarring that comes with it. Just looking at my acne too long causes it to scar. This serum uses a blend of acids and melatonin to put my scars to bed. I recommend it to literally everyone I know so, welcome to the club. –Madison Marsh

Costa Brazil Sol Body Oil
If you catch me outside without my legs and arms basted in this lightweight oil with miiiiiiicrofine, golden reflective particles, and a heady herbal scent— no you didn’t because I wouldn’t, ever! -OG

dpHue ACV Rinse
I have color-treated hair, so to make the dye last longer, I don’t wash it every day. Unfortunately, I also have a very greasy scalp, so while my mid-lengths and ends benefit from less frequent shampooing, the top of my head gets oily in between washes. I do use dry shampoo, but I’m not a huge fan of the filmy feel it can leave behind. This shampoo substitute from dpHue is mild enough that it doesn’t damage my hair in between proper washes but still cleans my scalp. –Zoë Wu Fried

good light Order of the Eclipse Hylauronic Cream
Here’s a prime example of how the hybrid rich-but-lightweight formula of this moisturizer comes in handy. It’s summer, and my skin sort of has a perpetual crisp feeling to it. (Like a panko coating.) I don’t want to feel bogged down under an occlusive face cream, so I reach for this to impart hydration that is deep like poetry. Store it in your fridge so it’s waiting for you after a long day at the park. –OG

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil
My bare face isn't really complete without filling in my eyebrows. This brow pencil easily shapes beautiful, natural brows. It's waterproof; able to withstand both dry and humid heat conditions for long-lasting coverage and fullness. –Bri Shufford

ZO Skin Health - Illuminating AOX Serum
Every summer, my morning routine gets a few steps longer and this makes a perfect addition. She does it all — she blurs, she brightens, she protects from the environment and pollutants. And it gives me a lovely little shimmery glow, like a toned-down Edward Cullen. Perfect! –NS

Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Coco Naughty
This may come as a secret to no one, but I don’t know how to apply eyeshadow or bronzer. So naturally, I use this bronzer as an eyeshadow for my typical no-makeup makeup look, which is a foolproof way to add natural-looking depth to my eyes. –MM

Italic Water Melt Hyaluronic Acid Serum
This is probably my favorite hyaluronic acid serum that I’ve tried. First of all, I really enjoy that it’s a pump, not a dropper packaging, but I really love the actual formula, too. It glides over my skin without pilling and it doesn’t feel too sticky like some other hyaluronic acid serums do. My skin is super plump every time I apply this as a penultimate step right before my moisturizer at night. –ZWF

Rare Beauty's Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
With Rare Beauty products, a little goes a long way. This foundation is no exception. I love how light it feels on my face and the smoothness of the application process — a quality that is created by their Botanical Blend formula. This will probably be my go-to foundation for eternity. –BS

ONE/SIZE On ‘Til Dawn Mattifying Waterproof Spray
This season is dedicated almost exclusively to trying to mitigate my face oils. Of course, Patrick Starrr made one of the most potent ones out there — it applies like a fine-mist hairspray, diffusing shine and making your face transfer-proof. –OG

Lawless Forget the Filler Overnight Lip-Plumping Mask
This is like a lip BBL, except relatively painless (save for a little tingle) and cherry vanilla scented. It doesn’t make you swell up like the ‘Kylie Lip Challenge’ of 2015 — consider this your reminder that that was something we did — but it gives a natural plumpness. It hydrates at the same time, so you’re left with perfectly smooth and soft lips. –NS


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