This Friday, ITG launches its edit of the best 25 products of the decade. But as the nature of “best of” lists go, cuts had to be made, leaving more than a few favorites on the cutting room floor. They’re off the list but not forgotten—here, they get a moment to shine. With Top 5, ITG editors make the case for their personal favorite products of the year. These are the game-changers that made the biggest difference in our daily routines from this past January to right now. Time will tell whether they’re the decade’s best. Until then, let’s get started.
Well hello, hello! It’s been a minute, but what a pleasure it is to be back on these hallowed pages of Into The Gloss. And under such ceremonious circumstances! The end of the year! The end of the decade! Just in time for ITG’s Top 25 2019! So much to celebrate, I barely know where to start.
I do have important business to attend to today: the top five products of the year, according to me. When Ashley requested that I partake in this exercise (only five, she said—no backups, no honorable mentions, trust me I tried), I said, “No problemo.” It’s nearly 2020! I’ve been thinking in the form of “Best Of” lists since the calendar hit December. If you’re not mentally cataloging your top movies, TV shows, podcasts, beauty products, and memes from the time you wake up to the moment you fall asleep in front of The Office reruns, then how, pray tell, are you spending your time?
All of which is to say: I am more than ready for this moment. 2019 was a big year for me in beauty. For one, it was THE year I finally cleared up my skin. It was also the year I figured out how to do my own hair. Plus, I can now say that I’m the proud haver of a Signature Makeup Look. See? Lots to talk about. So let’s get into it. The countdown starts now:
The five products on this list are not ranked in any sort of order, but if they were… this cleanser would be a strong contender for the #1 spot. At the very least, it’s my favorite product that launched this year. Deeply clarifying (that’s the lactic acid, kaolin clay, and tea tree oil) without ever drying my skin out (Renée threw in some glycerin to keep skin’s moisture barrier functioning on high), this is the cleanser I reach for whenever I sense any pore congestion or acne activity on the horizon. It doubles as a quick mask—I like to put it on 5-10 minutes before I hop in the shower and then rinse it off as I wash the rest of me. I use it twice a day for 1-2 days and any bumpy, red, pimple evidence is gone. Big claims, I know. But I mean them.
Miracle drops from heaven. That’s what iS Clinical should rename this product. I’ve tried many, many, many things to cure my cystic forehead acne: I went all-natural, I took pills, I added retinol, I nixed oils for a while… Some things helped, some didn’t, but nothing actually stopped my acne for good. Until this stuff. Bless the good and fine folks over at Glowbar (New York’s newest fast-casual facial spot that is a must-visit for the money—$65 for a super-effective 30-minute session, $55 if you subscribe to a monthly visit) who turned me on to it last September. The key ingredient is salicylic acid, with a sharp menthol kicker so you really feel the burn. I use three drops nightly, applied directly to my forehead and both cheeks to minimize waste by way of my hands. When I say I haven’t gotten a single cystic zit since I started using it, please know I’m deadly serious.
It’s kind of amazing what you can do once you’ve conquered your acne (knocks on wood vigorously). If the previous two products got me to ground zero, then adding a serious vitamin C serum took my routine to a truly holy place. Melanie Simon’s take on vitamin C doesn’t smell, doesn’t dry you out, and doesn’t go bad in sunlight or open air. (Her formulation is oil-soluble, unlike most formulas, and its only enemy is water). It’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Not only does it neutralize redness, erase imperfections, and seriously brighten my complexion, but the texture (similar to face oil) gives the perfect amount of glow under moisturizer and concealer in the morning. A twofer!
So the real hair tea is the Dyson Airwrap. But a little birdie told me you’ll be hearing more about that tomorrow. So until then, I’ll share this: For hair that needs a little moisture before going from wet to dry, this is the stuff. It makes my at-home blowout smooth and silky without sacrificing that fresh-from-the-salon clean feeling. In partnership with my Airwrap, I’ve fully given up my blowout bar habit—so the products basically pay for themselves.
Listen, I love makeup. I really do. I’m just no good at it. But I do have one (one!!) makeup look I can execute at a moment’s notice—and that is the minimal cat eye. It’s universally flattering and goes with everything. In years past, I’d use any old eyeliner rolling around at the bottom of my drawer. Now I’m going steady with Glossier Pro Tip. The brush tip makes it easy to go from a barely-there line to a thicker, blacker statement—without any skipping or pulling along the lash line. It’s as easy as liquid liner is gonna get (practice makes perfect), and it stayed on when I walked a mile and a half in the rain to get to a recent birthday dinner. What more could you ask for?
Photo via ITG.