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.

Supernal Cosmic Stone Gua Sha Tool

Pick your poison: jade or nephrite? Either way, you’re getting an excellently designed facial massaging tool with four different edges to accommodate different contours, nose to tail.

Lights Lacquer polishes

It’s fall if you couldn’t tell by my manicures — which have taken on warm, rich tones like a vizsla puppy. While I don’t think I’d do the standard wine or oxblood often synonymous with the season, I will do coffee and chocolate hues. Lights Lacquer has a whole lineup named after either Renaissance artists or mutant turtles which embody an autumnal palette: Raphael (tortoiseshell brown), Donatello (cool, ochre coffee), Leonardo (almond milk), and Michelangelo (pumpkin latte). Cowabunga!

Hero Pore Release

Do you have a week? If you do, then you have enough time for less congested pores. Splash some of this toner with 5% PHA, 2% BHA, and 1% AHA to reduce pore visibility, loosen debris within pores, and even prevent build-up for more well-behaved skin. Seven days? That’s nothing!

Epres Bond Repair Hair Treatment

The inventor of Olaplex, Dr. Eric Pressley, is at it again with more hair-repair science. To use it, you pour the concentrate into a continuous spray mister bottle and top it off with water. You douse your hair with the mist and leave it in for at least ten minutes. I left it in for several hours while I took a nap and then rinsed it out like normal. My hair was softer and more malleable, especially on my dry (typically rigid) ends, while not being the slightest bit weighed down.

AmLactin Rapid Relief Body and Hand Cream

“The more you use this, the less you need it.” That’s the slogan that should be on this gigantic tub that would look more at home in a proctologist’s office than in a Brooklyn washroom. I started using this cream on my top hooves (hands) and bottom hooves (feet) nightly. With 15% lactic acid that loosens dead skin over time, I can now get away with a once or twice-a-week application.

Hocus Pocus 2

Yeah, yeah. It’s officially October, which marks the season of the best scary films of the year: including the sequel of 1993’s Hocus Pocus. I won’t give away too much, but do note: Bette Middler delivers a monologue at the end that I find at once so heartbreaking, tender, sophisticated, and restrained that I believe it could be studied for years to come.

A.P. Chem Microdose Magical Moisturizer

Here’s another brand to watch: A.P. Chem — a new buzzy skincare brand founded by NYC dermatologist Dr. Sherwin Parikh and beauty industry vet Sandra Statz, rather than, say, Brad Pitt. A rich face cream made with eight skin-beneficial mushrooms to firm, brighten, protect, and perhaps most importantly: leave me feeling supple well into my sixth hour of jury duty, basking in government-levels of air conditioning.


Editor’s Picks September 2022
Something for your face, nose, body, and ears
Editor’s Picks August 2022
Great googly moogly, time sure is flying.
Editor’s Picks: July 2022
‘Life’s Too Short’ for bad products.
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