I'm a beauty editor — these are the 10 products I'm swearing by this fall

I discovered them this summer — but I'm taking them with me into the fall!
woman applying makeup
Sand and Sky; Colorescience; Lano; Alba Botanica; Darphin; Getty Images

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This summer I did something I’ve never done before: I spent three months living at the beach. As a beauty editor, this put me in the ideal (and yes, enviable) position of testing out every warm-weather beauty product under the sun. Over weeks of experimenting, I discovered some great finds, including a moisturizing lip gloss that won’t stain a face mask, a gentle face wash that bubbles while it deep cleans and a fragrance that will transport you back to summer, even after the weather turns chilly. These products solved many of my beauty issues — which is why I plan on using them all year long!

1. Darphin Hydraskin Cooling Hydrating Stick for Face and Eyes

This hydrating stick, made of 80% natural ingredients, cools skin on contact. No joke — testing showed it instantly decreases skin’s temperature by 1 degree Celsius upon application! It’s a fast-acting moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C-rich pomegranate and frozen water algae to help skin retain water and keep it lubricated.

The stick form makes it so easy to use — simply pop off the top and rub the silky formula all over your face, then watch how it leaves your skin looking dewy with no stickiness or lingering residue. There’s a bit of a tingle and a slight tightening, which is why I use it in the morning to depuff my eyes and in the evening for a hit of moisture before bed. Truth be told, I’m a lazy girl when it comes to my PM skincare routine and this is a no-fuss way to add moisture to my skin at night.

I haven’t been wearing a lot of makeup these days, but it’s the calming scent that has me reaching for this tube throughout the day during these precarious times. Just a few whiffs of the spa scent and I’m instantly sedated. That alone is worth the $25.

2. EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser

I applied sunscreen to my face multiple times a day this summer, so I needed a strong cleanser to wash the layers of SPF off in the evening. Ironically, it was a gentle foaming cleanser that did the trick!

This cream-based wash comes in an easy-to-use pump bottle, so there's no fumbling with caps in the shower. Simply apply it to damp skin and massage it all around. The product’s microbubbles release in about 20 seconds, starting the self-foaming action and removing pollutants from the skin. There’s something about the bubbling action in this lightly scented cleanser that says “liftoff!” — especially when it comes to removing a day’s worth of sunscreen or makeup. The key ingredient within all this effervescence action is bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples that helps remove dead skin cells. The best part: The cleanser rinses off easily and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight or dry.

3. IT Cosmetics Brow Powder Universal Brow Pencil

Like most women, I haven’t worn a lot of makeup during the pandemic. But makeup artists stress a filled-in brow will accentuate your eyes and make you look younger, even on cosmetic-free days. So in the morning, I reach for this easy-to-use brow pen. The technology, created by plastic surgeons, allows you to control how light or dark you want your brows to appear based on how much pressure you apply. Match your brow hair to one of the four color categories — taupe, blonde, auburn, or brunette — and then stroke the hairs as if you were painting them with a small brush, pressing harder on the oval tip if you want to go darker.

This brow pen is loaded with beneficial hair and skin ingredients, such as biotin, lecithin, grape seed and green tea. The manufacturer claims it’s budge-proof, and I can pretty much attest that it’s waterproof, as it survived multiple swims in the pool and ocean.

4. Finn and Co White Sand Luxury Fragrance Oil

Years ago, when a fragrance hit the market that smelled like a bottle of Coppertone, this beach-loving girl thought she had found her forever fragrance. Sadly, it turned out the scent was too strong to wear in places like the office or a restaurant. This summer, I discovered a new organic fragrance oil that evokes the same feeling of summer days without being overly pungent. It comes in a rollerball, making it easy to control how much you apply (fragrance oils can be more concentrated), plus I can keep it in my bag without worrying about spillage.

Made of honeysuckle, mandarin, jojoba and apricot seed oils, I pull it out whenever I need a burst of warm sunshine or the scent of a sea breeze. I’ll be counting on this scent to carry me through the cold winter days ahead.

5. Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

Spending my summer days in the sun, wind, chlorine and salt water took quite a beating on my skin! From small flakes on my face to big ones on my feet, I needed an exfoliator that could deal with all that shedding skink, which is why I was excited to discover this botanical-based face scrub that can also be used on the body. Made with physical (bamboo and macadamia seed) and chemical exfoliants (finger lime, a vitamin C-rich citrus fruit native to Australia that breaks up dead skin cells), it also contains pink clay, which removes debris while tightening up pores.

Dermatologists stress the importance of antioxidants to reduce skin inflammation and this one has three, including rosehip, grapeseed and olive oils. Gently (stressing gently if you’re using it on your face) massage the tiny microbeads onto damp skin once a week, leaving the mixture on for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water. Bonus: The happy-looking pink tube will cheer up any winter shower experience.

6. Lanolips Lip Water Watermelon Tinted Lip Hydration Fluid

I've never been a lip gloss kind of girl, so I would have never expected one to end up on my list of favorite summer finds. But a PR friend sent me this little tube of lip color and shockingly, I was hooked.

The tube is attached to a teeny, tiny brush. Upon first swipe, I noticed there was no tackiness and I quickly realized why they refer to this product as “lip water” — because it truly feels like water on your lips! The ingredients (which are 99.4% natural) include the emollient lanolin, moisture-inducing hyaluronic acid, glycerin and vitamin E. Although it’s super lightweight, this lip moisturizer doesn’t wear off quickly. Plus, you’re left with a sheer pink tint that looks good on all skin tones, along with a mouthwatering watermelon scent that had me at first lick.

7. Alba Very Emollient Bath and Shower Gel in Honey Mango

We probably had over five body washes in our outdoor shower this summer, but there was one that had to be constantly restocked. Its ingredients are 100% vegetarian, including honey, vanilla, mango and aloe, but it was the way this hypoallergenic, lightly sudsing formula made my skin feel — hydrated without having the need to follow-up with a moisturizer after a long day in the sun — that had me reaching for this bottle time and time again (well that and the delicious mango scent). Add a few drops to your bath this winter for the ultimate DIY tropical escape.

8. Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Sheer Matte Sunscreen Brush SPF 30

For years, dermatologists I’ve interviewed have recommended this mineral-based sunscreen, but I never tried it because I didn’t think I’d get the coverage I needed from a brush-on powder. But there were days this summer when I found myself cheating my skin of sunscreen, especially if I was working mostly indoors. So when I saw the company had introduced a sheer matte SPF 30 version of their original superstar product — one that not only included zinc oxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays but also iron oxide to fight the damaging blue light that radiates off our computer screens all day long — I decided to give it a try.

The matte powder is made for oily and blemish-prone skin (I have neither) but I love how the finish gave my skin a boost — like I was wearing makeup without having to apply any makeup. It’s also so easy to apply. You simply tap the top of the packaging to dispense the powder into the brush and swipe the bristles over your face and neck. No rinsing sticky SPF cream off your hands, plus you can reapply it all day long, even over makeup.

9. M-61 PowerSpot Blemish Lotion

I had breakouts along the top of my chest this summer, possibly from all the spray-on body sunscreen I was using, and needed a blemish fighter that would remain invisible since I was wearing a lot of skin-baring outfits. I have a favorite salicylic acid and sulfur-based zit zapper, but it leaves a pink tinge on my skin, thanks to the calamine in the product.

This blemish lotion, from Bluemercury’s house brand M-61, has a similar ingredient list — it contains sulfur, salicylic and glycolic acid, plus a host of other proven zit-fighting and skin-calming ingredients like witch hazel, aloe, cucumber, chamomile and tea tree — but it doesn’t leave any traces of pink on the skin. Simply hit the white sediment at the bottom of the bottle with a cotton swab (don’t shake) and apply the formula to any breakouts.

10. Soapbox Coconut Oil Rejuvenating Deep Conditioner

I was in a saltwater pool pretty much every day this summer and it’s no secret that salt can strip hair of water, leaving it rough and dehydrated. A dermatologist friend suggested I find a deep conditioner containing fatty acid-rich coconut oil to add moisture back to my hair and to protect my strands from future damage. Luckily, I found a deep conditioner that not only contains coconut oil, but also other moisturizing ingredients, including soybean and tea tree oils, vitamin E, shea butter and aloe.

The directions say to apply a generous amount, but because it’s so concentrated, I found a little went a long way. Normally, I limit deep conditioners to once a week, but I found myself applying this hydrating cream every third or fourth day, sometimes just to my ends, and sometimes as a 10-minute pre-shampoo treatment.

Another reason I’ll continue to purchase this product throughout the winter: For each purchase, the company donates a bar of soap to someone in need. You can even track the recipient by plugging in the “Hope Code” on the back of your jar. I did — and discovered my beneficiary was an orphanage in Mozambique. A total win-win.

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