Learn more about the benefits, ingredients, and my experience using the serum.
Product Card (small)
Generally speaking, most skincare is expensive. There are good options at low prices, but there are also one too many $300 night creams and pots of rare ingredients infused with gold flecks to call the genre accessible all-around.
Practically speaking, good skincare should be much easier to get your hands on. Certain ingredients just work, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to cut through the noise and formulate a product that combines those proven ingredients in a basic bottle that can retail for an affordable price.
That’s what Maelove CEO Jackie Kim thought when she set out to create a “radically affordable” skincare startup – and, in so many words, that’s what the company has achieved with its cult-favorite $28 Glow Maker Vitamin C serum.
Kim and co-founders Brad Yim and Rishi Khaitan, MIT graduates, leveraged artificial-intelligence techniques to scan millions of self-reported product reviews to determine which ingredients correlated with success, and which to avoid. The resultant three-years-in-the-making vitamin C serum has been generating enthusiastically positive reviews online, including from me.
The Glow Maker was designed to smooth, hydrate, and help with hyperpigmentation. It’s packed with ingredients like vitamins C and E for brightening, ferulic acid for antioxidation protection, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and a proprietary mix of botanicals (grape seed extract, aloe, aurantium dulcis, and magnolia) for nourishment and easier makeup application. The addition of extracts also makes the serum better for sensitive skin than most other vitamin C serums.
For reference, we compared the ingredients in the Glow Maker and the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum:
The ingredient list of C E Ferulic according to SkinCeuticals ($166): Aqua/Water/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.
The ingredient list of Glow Maker according to Maelove ($28): Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ferulic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Metabisulfite, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol.
What it’s like to use
In person, Maelove’s Glow Maker is noteworthy for more than just its origin story. It does what it’s supposed to do (brightens the complexion, lightens dark spots) but its real standout features are that it absorbs completely and almost instantaneously into the skin, and that it provides a glow that’s noticeable but not so over-the-top that people with oily skin should steer clear. There’s no tangible residue, and the skin doesn’t feel sticky or tacky post-use.
And while my skin is sensitive and can be dried out by all-over vitamin C application, I have not had that issue with Maelove’s iteration – something I’d credit to their botanical blend and hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
The bottom line
The Maelove team is an unusual one- comprised of cancer and brain researchers, chemical engineers, lawyers, doctors, and an obsessive skincare enthusiast – but that outsider perspective is its greatest advantage. The startup’s founding goals were affordability and accessibility, and thanks to obsessive research and a streamlined, no-fuss approach to an often stuffy industry, that goal is met with a product line unanimously priced under $30. The Glow Maker is a definite favorite, but other Maelove standouts include the One Cream ($28, currently sold out), Eye Enhancer ($28), and the perfectly gentle but effective Glycolic Acid cream, the Night Renewer ($28).
If you’ve been paying $166 for SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic Serum, you owe it to yourself to check out the Glow Maker. If you don’t love it, Maelove offers a 100-day return window for a full refund.
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We know that wearing sunscreen is crucial, but we often forget to apply it to our lips.
A good lip balm with SPF will block harmful UV rays while moisturizing your lips.
We consulted two dermatologists and gathered our nine lip sunscreen mainstays.
You’ve probably heard numerous times from your doctor, dermatologist, or favorite beauty YouTuber that wearing sunscreen every single day is a must. And they’re definitely right. But one part of your body that can sometimes get overlooked when it comes to SPF is your lips, which need protection just as much as the rest of your body.
A great way to deliver SPF to your lips on a daily basis is with SPF. But not all of these tubes are created equal. So we turned to Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics who advised us on working lip balms with SPF into our daily routines. You can read on to learn more from our experts and hear about our team’s nine tried-and-true lip balms with SPF.
Here are the best lip balms with SPF you can buy:
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen SPF 30
Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30 (small)
I’ve tried a few lip balms with SPF, but this one from Vanicream is my preferred pick. On top of a simple formula, the consistency is nice and creamy. It also lacks any sort of strong sunscreen smell or taste, which is a dealbreaker for me. However, without a mirror at hand, it’s hard to know if you’ve rubbed in all of the white cream and sometimes it takes a bit of lip-smacking to reduce the tint. — Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow
This lip balm contains both titanium oxide and zinc oxide for effective protection against damaging UV radiation. Additionally, it is water-resistant, free of fragrances, flavoring, and dyes, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. — Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics
Aquaphor Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment
Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment (small)
I bought this lip sunscreen ointment because I’m never without Aquaphor’s ultra-nourishing Lip Repair. The two products have similar ingredient lists and consistencies. And though I’m not a huge fan of the sunscreen smell and taste, they’re minimal and do not override the efficacy of this balm. The formula specifically caters to those with sensitive skin, and I find this to be true, as well. — Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm
Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm (small)
As someone who is sensitive to the sun and prone for my fair skin to burn, I’m especially cautious with the products I’m using. That being said, I use SPF just about everywhere, even in the colder winter months. I absolutely swear by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm. It has SPF 15 and also prevents my lips from being chapped. It applies buttery smooth, as its name suggests, and smells divine. — Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow
Kiehl’s Since 1851 Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30
Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30 (small)
I have a tube of this in the clear/untinted shade in every hiking backpack I own. It’s moisturizing without feeling sticky and goopy, and the balm doesn’t melt — even during multi-hour-long hikes in the sun. The SPF 30 is strong enough to keep my lips from burning, and the clear shade I use most often comes in handy when I need to reapply sunscreen on the bridge of my nose or the tops of my ears. The metal tube feels more substantial and luxurious than other balms, and the cap screws onto the tube so there’s no chance you’ll lose it at the bottom of your bag. It does, however, contain octocrylene so it’s not reef-safe and I don’t use this when I’m around the beach. — Jada Wong, senior editor
Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai
PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai (small)
The tube and formula remind me of old-school Vaseline, but much more protective and way less goopy. The SPF 30 is great for protecting my lips and the formula includes shea butter for lots of moisture. It doesn’t contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, or octocrylene that would be harmful to coral reefs, so I always use this when I’m around the beach. — Jada Wong, senior editor
If you’re looking for a quality plant-based sunscreen lip balm, this one from Coola offers broad-spectrum protection, instant moisture, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes and should be reapplied every two hours. Dr. Hayag says, “This is a good balm that provides broad-spectrum protection against UV rays while also providing hydration to the lips through ingredients like jojoba and avocado oil.”
Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35
Lip Shine SPF 35 (small)
For days where you want more color and luster, this lip gloss checks off those boxes — plus, it has broad-spectrum SPF 35 sun protection. You can reapply every two hours, but every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating a lot. According to Dr. Hayag, “This is a great gloss that contains zinc oxide and Vitamin E to aid in photoprotection. It also contains hyaluronic acid, helping the lips stay well moisturized. Additionally, it has peptides that give the lips a more plump appearance.” The shade selection includes rose, pink, champagne, coral, and clear.
CoTZ Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45
Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45 (small)
With a zesty kiwi-lime-ginger tang, this product is ever so slightly tinted to avoid that white cast other sunscreens oftentimes leave behind. It’s also cruelty-free, reef-friendly, and free of chemical sunscreens, oil, lanolin, and gluten. Dr. Hayag says, “This contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide to cover UVA/UVB rays and blue light. It is moisturizing, yet water-resistant and has antioxidant protection.”
MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30
Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30 (small)
This tinted lip balm has a gentle, cruelty-free, and reef-safe formula that does all of that, but of course fends off ultraviolet rays, too. The broad-spectrum SPF 30 sheer tinted balm comes in red, pink, and nude. According to Dr. Hayag, “It also has multiple ingredients in it to help keep your lips moisturized, like avocado oil and olive butter. The balm also contains shea butter, which is rich in antioxidants and soothes and softens the lips.”
What is SPF and what SPF should I wear on my lips?
SPF stands for sun protection factor, which is the measure of how well a certain formula will protect you from the sun’s rays. “For example, if you use an SPF 30 product properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen,” Dr. Hale explains. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF 15 for daily wear and SPF 30 for prolonged outdoor activity.
What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
There’s ultraviolet A (UVA), which is connected with skin aging, and ultraviolet B (UVB), which is linked to burning. Instead of worrying about whether your lip balm protects against UVA or UVB rays, Dr. Hale says to pick broad-spectrum sunscreen products, as they shield your skin from both rays.
What can sun damage do to your lips?
The skin on your lips is thinner and missing a layer that the rest of your body uses for UV protection, so it’s more susceptible to burning. Too much sun exposure without any protective lip balm can lead to dryness and flakiness, and even skin cancer. Dr. Hale says, “About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.”
Are there certain ingredients I should look out for?
According to Dr. Hale, there are two groups of UV-blocking ingredients: physical and chemical. The former are ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while the latter includes components like avobenzone and octisalate. “Look for products with antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C,” Dr. Hayag says. “They neutralize and boost protection from free radicals produced by UV radiation and visible light.”
As for ingredients to avoid, Dr. Hayag explains that products with menthol — the thing that gives cough drops and pain relief creams its cooling effect — can irritate the lips. You should also stay away from phenol and fragrance for the same reason.
When should I wear it and how often should I apply?
Our experts urge you to wear lip balm with SPF both outdoors and indoors, as the sun can penetrate through glass windows. And they suggest reapplying every two hours, but more frequently if you’re eating, drinking, or swimming.
What should I do if my lips get sunburnt?
Dr. Hale recommends the following steps: move into a shady spot, stay hydrated, take Advil or Motrin to reduce inflammation, and apply a water-based, moisturizing lip product. For the very last step, she advises steering clear of petroleum and oil-based balms that could possibly aggravate the burn.
Taking a multivitamin has always been common practice in my household – I grew up taking (and still do) every morning, but I never really stopped to think about why. After researching how some offer 100% of the US Daily Value (DV) for essential nutrients like iodine, vitamin D, and calcium, I realized multivitamins aren’t just a mundane part of my morning routine; they actually offer a sort of safety net to certain individuals, ensuring they meet recommended nutrient intakes.
Multivitamins are a bit of a hot topic. That’s because, while there are certain categories of people who can benefit from taking one every day, there is also a massive group of people who don’t necessarily need one. A 2020 study in BMJ Open found that people who take a multivitamin don’t have lower rates of illness or disease compared to those who don’t. However, people who take one daily said they feel healthier on a regular basis and, even if it’s a placebo effect, that counts for something toward wellbeing and adhering to healthier habits.
Also, that study didn’t measure actual nutrient levels, so we can’t say the multivitamin had no real benefit. What’s more, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2020-25 say about three out of four people don’t eat enough dairy, fruits, or vegetables.
Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, RD, Nutrition and Food Safety Professor at North Dakota State University, told Insider multivitamins can be the “nutrition insurance” if you’re not following an adequate diet. She advises aiming for a healthful diet first, as food contains a “complex array of nutrients and phytochemicals (‘plant chemicals’) that help fight disease.”
That said, there are certain groups of Americans who do need to have their vitamin and mineral levels supplemented.
What is the best multivitamin for women?
Once you know you need a multivitamin, you have to breach the next big hurdle: picking the right one. It seems like this should be an easy task, but multivitamins (like all supplements) are not regulated by the FDA, which means there’s no governing body confirming (1) what’s included on the label is in the supplement or (2) if it’s actually safe. What’s more, with how important it is to understand your body’s needs and how highly personal multivitamins are, it’s difficult to recommend just one that works for everyone.
We talked to a nutritional psychiatrist, a pharmacist, and a registered dietitian to help narrow down what’s available and hone in on the top multivitamins for women at different stages of their lives. At the end of this guide, we go into more detail about who needs a multivitamin and how to choose the right one.
Pros: Vegetarian, gluten-free, contains probiotics, optimal for women during reproductive years, no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners
Cons: Pills are large, must take four daily
The thing that makes Garden of Life’s women’s multivitamin rise above other brands is that it’s void of synthetic materials and contains the ingredients they claim — which you may think is a given, but a recent analysis by Consumer Labs found that 44% of multivitamins it tested didn’t actually contain the amounts of nutrients the label claimed.
A vegetarian vitamin, Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Women is made without binders or fillers and contains probiotics and enzymes to help with digestion. Vitamin Code for Women met all purity standards set forth by Labdoor and was given a B score.
The two drawbacks of this multivitamin are that each pill is quite large, about the size of a mini binder clip, and you have to take four daily. So those who have trouble swallowing big pills should probably opt for another supplement.
Pros: Provides immune support, includes 23 essential nutrients and 17 specialty minerals
Cons: Not for people under 18 years of age
Regular physical activity can affect your vitamin and mineral levels — which in turn can affect your athletic performance.
Physically-active women, especially those who do aerobic exercises like running and biking, are more likely to be iron deficient, according to researchers at Cornell University. What’s more, a 2017 study from the National Institutes of Health found that some women (in general, not just athletes) are deficient in folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, three vital pathways used during exercise. If your B vitamins and folate levels, in particular, aren’t up to par, it can impair your athletic performance and increase fatigue, risk of injury, and ability to concentrate, the study adds. Your doctor can test your levels, and if he or she confirms yours are low, you would be well-served to opt for a multivitamin designed for an active lifestyle.
The Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women multivitamin is formulated to help women with an avid fitness routine score enough nutrients to keep their active bodies healthy and strong. It’s curated with 100% DV of B vitamins, folate, and iron. In addition, the multivitamin provides 17 other specialized minerals, one being calcium phosphate which aids in vitamin D absorption to keep muscles healthy.
Though Consumer Labs has not reviewed this specific multivitamin, when they surveyed more than 9,700 respondents on “overall customer satisfaction” in February 2020, Optimum Nutrition was named a top-rated vitamin and supplement brand. The Opti-Women formula did receive a C grade from Labdoor, namely because the amount of vitamins in the tested formula differed from the label. However, the biggest discrepancies (vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc slightly lower than the label; vitamin D and B-complex slightly higher) aren’t at harmful levels, Véronique Taché, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UC Davis Health, confirmed during medical review. Plus, the formula met all purity standards.
Pros: Great value, 23 nutrients, contains the daily recommended amount of iron and calcium, great folic acid count for prenatal or pregnant women, more vitamins per bottle; only need to take one tablet daily
Cons: Some may find pills to be large and may be hard to swallow for some
Vitamins can be expensive. If you’re looking to cut the cost without eliminating the essential nutrients, Nature Made Multi for Her comes at a great value: 300 capsules for less than $30.
The multivitamin contains all the major nutrients vital to women’s health (23 total), including the daily recommended amounts of iron, calcium, and D3. It also contains more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) of folic acid, a key nutrient for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. C. Michael White, PharmD, department head of University of Connecticut’s pharmacy practice and dietary supplement researcher, told Insider adequate levels of folate help to reduce the risk of having neural tube defects as babies are growing.
While this multivitamin is catered toward females, it still contains sufficient vitamin levels essential for both men and women. Uma Naidoo, MD, director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital told Insider the 13 essential vitamins, including A, B, C, and D, play an important role in the body and are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones for both men and women.
This multivitamin met all Labdoor’s purity standards, but inconsistencies in the formula earned it a C grade overall. The biggest formula-to-label discrepancies include slightly less vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as slightly more vitamin B-6, folic acid, and vitamin D3, but still within safe ingesting levels, Dr. Taché confirmed. Though this is its worst offense, nutritional value and safety outweigh this satisfactory rank, making it a top pick still.
Ritual Essential for Women is vegan, gluten, and major-allergen-free, focusing on brain health, bone health, blood-building, and antioxidant support.
Pros: Vegan, subscription model with free shipping for easy refills, free of gluten and major allergens, no artificial colorants or synthetic fillers, good for brain and bone health, infused with mint for freshness
Cons: Not found in stores
Because people who follow a vegan diet don’t eat animal products, they are usually deficient in key nutrients abundantly found in meat, dairy, and seafood. A 2016 study in the Journal of Osteopathic Association found vegans are often deficient in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Ritual Essential for Women is completely vegan and outlines a visible supply chain of ingredients so you know what you’re intaking. Ritual’s brand mission is to “bring foundational health into focus,” and its supplements are designed to boost brain and bone health, promote red blood cell formation, and provide antioxidant support with vitamin E.
Ritual’s vitamins are vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free. Ritual also operates on a unique direct-to-door subscription model, automatically sending a fresh bottle to you each month so you’ll never run out.
Vegan multivitamins tend to include plant-based ingredients, like calcium. While some calcium supplements are oyster-shell based, Ritual uses vegan-certified ingredients, like vitamin D, to rid worries of consuming a multivitamin using shellfish in the manufacturing process.
If you aren’t vegan but like the convenience of a multivitamin that will be automatically refilled and delivered, you can certainly take Ritual’s vegan multivitamin, but you should opt for their water-soluble option if you don’t have a specific deficiency. Dr. Naidoo told Insider that if you take a fat-soluble vitamin and are already getting sufficient amounts of those nutrients from your diet, your body will store the excess in your liver and fatty tissue which can accumulate to toxic levels. With a water-soluble vitamin, though, the excess is just excreted through urine. Ritual features both options to help fill gaps in your diet and support nutrient levels.
Though Ritual was not yet tested by Consumer Labs, it’s USP-verified, confirming that it contains what it lists on the label, contains safe nutrient levels, is void of harmful substances like heavy metals and pesticides, and can be broken down and released into the body as intended.
Pros: Certified USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, contains 16 nutrients over the 100% Daily Value (DV)
Cons: Pills are large
Though not a hard-and-fast number, when females hit 40, their body and hormones typically begin to change as they are maturing past childbearing years into perimenopause and menopause. Because of this, Dr. Naidoo says you may need less folate and iron, and more:
Calcium: This helps to prevent and slow bone loss
Vitamin D: This is essential for bone and skin health
Vitamin B12: This is key for brain health
More water: This is important as kidneys tend to become less efficient in detoxifying the body
The Garden of Life myKind Organic Women’s 40+ Multi is our top pick due to its precise amount of nutrients of concern for middle-aged women. And, it’s the only brand on the market that is dual-certified as both USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, meeting purity standards and void of genetic engineering in the manufacturing process. Though pricier than other options, the vitamin is optimal for middle-aged women and provides an extra boost to a balanced diet.
Garden of Life’s formulation is made exclusively from whole foods, which may lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
Though this multivitamin has not yet been tested by Consumer Labs or Labdoor, myKind is one of Consumer Labs’ approved brands based on product quality, appropriateness of dosage, formulation, and value.
Who should consider a multivitamin
Generally, people who are pregnant, underweight, elderly, who don’t get enough sun exposure, or who have a chronic medical condition [like heart disease, certain cancers, and individuals who had bypass surgery] should consider taking a multivitamin, Uma Naidoo, MD, director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital told Insider. Those who follow a stricter diet, too, like vegans and vegetarians, should take special caution; low intake of B vitamins, as well as iron and possibly zinc, will likely lead to a deficiency.
If you know or you’re wondering whether you fall into the category of nutritional deficiency, it’s important to get your levels checked by your doctor. Though others may not need one, Dr. Naidoo advised reviewing your daily nutrition with your doctor to see if you need a multivitamin as well.
A daily multivitamin may holistically bring benefits, but Garden-Robinson notes there can be risks with oversupplementation. She and Dr. Naidoo said excess calcium may increase the risk for urinary stone formation in some people, while oversupplementation of vitamin A may promote birth defects and liver damage. An abundance of vitamin C can cause cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. That said, be sure to check out the DV for guidance on how much of each nutrient you daily need.
What to look for & other FAQs
If you’re wondering what to look for in a multivitamin and how to shop for one, check out our very detailed multivitamin FAQ page.
Tight, red, itchy, rough – these are all descriptors of dry skin. And while dry skin on its own is tough, peeling or flaking can also appear, especially during the transition from the summer season to fall and winter, no matter your skin type.
If you notice your skin experiencing dryness, you likely also notice that not all facial moisturizers can get the job done in curing it. The most important things to keep in mind when buying a moisturizer are the ingredients and consistencies of the lotion itself. We spoke with Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology, and Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, to break down these details, and help guide us toward the best moisturizer for dry skin.
Click to jump to the best face moisturizers for dry skin that you can buy:
The best face moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Moisturizing Cream (small)
This cream has a thick consistency, so you’ll never have that tight, still-dry feeling. But it’s non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t clog pores or leave you feeling greasy, either. It’s free of fragrance and other common irritants, which is why it’s a great choice for sensitive skin types. — Kyle Kerchaert, senior video producer, beauty and style
Once I reached my mid-30s, it felt like all the moisture had been sucked from my skin. The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream was the only thing that calmed and hydrated my face. And though I was originally worried that it would be too thick, it absorbs quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft, not greasy. — Jamie Feller, account executive
I grew up with severe eczema on my face, and this moisturizer was the only thing that was gentle enough to be used on my sensitive skin. While it may seem too thick at first, it absorbs very quickly, leaving your face soft and dewy. — Grace Wade, associate health reference editor
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Ultra Repair Cream (small)
I have recommended First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream time and time again because it’s just that good. It’s unscented and has a creamy consistency. I apply it every night to my face and neck, and it has never led to breakouts on my sensitive skin. — Victoria Giardina, buying guides fellow
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Moisturizing Lotion (small)
The Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion is ideal for dry, sensitive skin. It contains no fragrance, dye, formaldehyde, or lanolin. It contains both humectants and emollients to provide a mix of hydration and moisturization. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
I have dry, sensitive skin as well as rosacea, and this has been my year-round lifesaver. It’s a gel-cream so I initially had my doubts, but whenever I even think of trying another moisturizer, I come back to this. This product is paraben-free, fragrance-free, and oil-free, and also has hyaluronic acid and aloe water. — Magenta Ranero, senior chart editor, Insider Intelligence
The best face moisturizers for dry, acne-prone skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin
Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin (small)
My skin feels soft, hydrated, and supple when I use this gel cream, especially during the cold winter months. I appreciate that it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog my pores, as I have acne-prone skin. It’s also fragrance-free. This moisturizer contains humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, along with emollients like olive extract — all of which help to pack quite the punch in the best and most hydrating way possible. — Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow
Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream
Skin Plumping Gel Cream (small)
I discovered this moisturizer on a desperate Reddit search for an oil-free formula that wouldn’t irritate the seborrheic dermatitis that sometimes pops up on my face. This gel formula is gentle and non-irritating, and it feels like a glass of water for your skin. It also cleared up the minimal flaking I was experiencing from my AHA serums. It does leave a bit of a dewy finish, so I prefer it at night or with some extra setting powder under makeup. — Kyle Kerchaert, senior video producer, beauty and style
C’est Moi Gentle Moisture Lotion
Gentle Moisture Lotion (small)
C’est Moi is better known for their colorful makeup, but I picked up this moisturizer on its website on a whim and have loved it. My skin gets very dry in the winter, and so I’m always on the lookout for products that deliver a lot of moisture for a budget price. This one isn’t greasy or oily at all, and I was shocked at how moisturizing even a small amount of product felt. — Allison Jiang, story production fellow
Lotus Moon Vitamin B Hydrating Gel
Vitamin B Hydrating Gel (small)
I have dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin and this plant-based moisturizer is a champion at hydration. It has a gel formula, so it’s lightweight, absorbent, and doesn’t make me sweat on hot days. It also smells lovely and helps keep my breakouts at bay. — Stephanie Hallett, senior personal finance editor
The best face moisturizers for dry, mature skin
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
A.G.E. Interrupter (small)
The A.G.E. Interrupter is an advanced wrinkle treatment that combats the visible signs of aging caused by glycation, which is a major factor of the natural aging process. — Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (small)
The Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 contains free fatty acids to replace cellular lipids and nourish dry skin. This is a crowd favorite for those with extremely dry skin that is worth the splurge. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream
Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream (small)
This is actually a night cream I use as a regular moisturizer in the winter when my skin is its driest for a big hydration boost. It works great under makeup, helping to impart a dewy look that I generally have trouble achieving due to my skin’s aforementioned dryness. It’s essentially an amped-up version of my other favorite Fresh moisturizer. — Ellen Hoffman, executive editor
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer (small)
This moisturizer is probably my most-recommended skincare product ever. I generally have really dry skin, but you’d never know it when I’m using this gel-like formula from Peter Thomas Roth. It makes my skin soft and plump, but never leaves behind a sticky residue. The best part about it, though, is that its effects last all day (and I’m not just regurgitating brand copy here — this is literally one of the only moisturizers I truly feel this way about). — Sally Kaplan, deputy editor
The best moisturizers for extremely dry skin
SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream
Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream (small)
The Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream is a deeply hydrating face cream with active lipids, peptides, small particle hyaluronic acid and rich shea butter for brightening, firming, and plumping. — Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology
Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion
Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion (small)
The Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion contains argan oil to replenish moisture and rosewater to improve tone, hydration, and elasticity. Shea butter acts as a seal to lock in the moisture and repair the barrier. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Healing Ointment (small)
My eczema reacts so badly around my eyes that even the best eye creams and the best moisturizers cannot bail me out. In times of distress, I smear just a small amount of Aquaphor onto my under eyes to restore moisture. I apply it as needed, but most typically before bedtime to lock in moisture and before I apply makeup so my eyelids can soak it up and prevent my concealer from looking cakey. — Jacqueline Saguin, style & beauty reviews fellow
Which ingredients should you look out for when buying moisturizer for dry skin?
To start, it’s helpful to know the three categories of moisturizing ingredients: occlusive, emollient, and humectant. An occlusive forms a barrier to retain moisture, an emollient traps water, and a humectant brings water to the top layer of the skin. Dr. Mariwalla and Dr. Hartman recommend ingredients that fall under these groups, including ones like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, squalene, petrolatum, shea butter, and lactic acid.
On the flip side, there are of course ingredients that could further irritate your dry skin, such as fragrance, retinoids, glycolic acid, alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and salicylic acid, according to both dermatologists.
What are the differences between creams, lotions, and gels?
The key differences are their ratios between water and oil. According to Dr. Hartman, creams are composed of half water and half oil, lotions contain mostly water and less oil, and gels are water-based and lack any trace of oil. This matters because, according to Dr. Mariwalla, thicker creams typically deliver more moisture than thinner lotions and watery gels. For example, extra dry skin might require a heavy cream, while dry, acne-prone skin might benefit from a lightweight, oil-free gel.
Is there anything else I can do for my skin before applying my moisturizer?
Face moisturizers alone likely won’t relieve your dry skin. Dr. Hartman recommends washing your face with a cream or oil-based cleanser and staying away from foamy ones. For good measure, Dr. Hartman adds, “Avoid hot water, use less soap or cleanser, and wash for shorter periods of time. Moisturizer works to strengthen the skin barrier and to trap in water, so apply the moisturizer immediately after washing.” After applying moisturizer in the morning, Dr. Mariwalla advises layering on sunscreen to block harmful UV rays, which is a step all skin types should take.
Rest assured, if you consistently experience dry skin, seeing your dermatologist is a good idea. Your dermatologist can help uncover the reason for your dry skin and if you perhaps need stronger prescription treatments.
Many of us neglect our skin from the neck down but moisturizing our limbs is equally as important – especially when you get out of the shower. As your skin dries, the water evaporates off the top layer, which can sap moisture from your epidermis. Smoothing on moisturizer keeps your skin feeling soft and hydrated instead of tight and itchy. This is doubly true for folks with skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis. Proper hydration can help you avoid painful flare-ups, making a body moisturizer a must-have in your beauty arsenal.
There are all sorts of body moisturizers out there – from balms to creams to lotions – and the one you choose depends on your skin type and preference. To save you time and effort finding the right one for you, we’ve rounded up the best ones, some with self-tanning properties and others boasting antioxidants for skin-boosting benefits. If you have a specific skin condition, however, it’s a good idea to check in with your dermatologist before starting any new project regimen, just to make there won’t be any adverse effects.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is our top body moisturizer overall because it gives you soft, smooth, and healthy-looking skin with immediate results.
Pros: Good for normal, dry, or sensitive skin; no added synthetic fragrance
Cons: Some may find it a bit greasy
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is a lifesaver that targets dryness, dullness, and uneven skin texture, giving you brighter-looking skin. It nourishes, locks in moisture for hydration, and leaves your limbs feeling soft and smooth.
The rich body lotion is packed with a powerful blend of ingredients, including antioxidant-packed beta-carotene, skin-softening cocoa butter, and moisture-replenishing olive-derived squalane. The beta-carotene is also what gives the lotion its slightly orange tint.
In testing, I found Kiehl’s Crème de Corps had a whipped butter-like texture and a pleasant, subtle fragrance that stems from the ingredients. The body lotion absorbed quickly leaving it looking instantly smoother. However, despite claiming to be non-greasy, it did feel a little greasy on my skin, possibly due to the cocoa butter and oils like olive and avocado.
The best drugstore body moisturizer
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion is an award-winning drugstore moisturizer that hydrates without leaving behind a greasy feeling — and without the big price tag too.
Pros: Affordable, fragrance-free, non-greasy, non-comedogenic, soothing oatmeal is good for eczema and itchy skin, great for all skin types including sensitive, oily, and dry skin
Cons: Left behind some residue on skin
Designed to absorb quickly and last 24 hours, this body moisturizer’s gentle formula promises to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and healthy-looking
Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion works wonders for dry skin and is ideal for daily use. It contains natural ingredients like oatmeal to relieve dry, itchy skin, while emollients soften dry areas.
In testing, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion was the perfect consistency — not too thick or too thin. It didn’t irritate my sensitive skin and made it look smooth, though it left a slight residue. I appreciate its pump dispenser (for extra convenience), and the fact its fragrance is subtle.
Cons: The scent can be a little strong, especially if you use a lot of product
Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream product smell like coconut trees and sandy beaches. Its consistency is super smooth and glides seamlessly over the skin. It’s especially great for dry areas and, though I focus the product on my upper thighs during the summertime, it’s still a go-to in colder months when I hop out of the shower.
It’s also fast-absorbing. In fact, your skin will feel instantly hydrated the second you swipe it on. Though the scent may be too strong for some, I only noticed an extra potent scent if I apply more product than average.
At $45, this body butter is a bit of a splurge. But if you want to cut costs a bit, the brand has a mini version for $20. — Victoria Giardina, buying guides fellow
Pros: Formulated with vitamins A, C, and E; fast-absorbing, paraben-free
Cons: May be greasy if much product is used
Necessaire’s Body Lotion is a top-tier product for including popular skin-care ingredients in its body-care products. This ensures the skin on your arms and legs is just as hydrated, healthy, and nourished as the skin on your face.
This minimalist tube is packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 for an added, antioxidant-filled boost. There’s even niacinamide — an ingredient more commonly found in serums — to help soothe irritated skin and smooth out fine lines. The formula still manages to absorb quickly and doesn’t leave much greasy residue, though that depends on how much you pile on.
This multipurpose moisturizer is formulated with vitamin E, collagen, elastin, and ginseng to help hydrate, firm, tighten, and improve the elasticity of your skin. What’s more, its color-enhancing complex subtly yet gradually deepens your skin tone, so you don’t need to worry about looking like an Oompa Loompa.
It comes in two shades (fair to medium and medium to dark) and leaves behind uniform color with a streak-free finish. For best results, exfoliate first before applying all over your body, but do so sparingly on knees, elbows, and ankles. Wait a few minutes for the lotion to dry before dressing and be sure to wash your hands — unless you want them to be extra tan.
This is my go-to body moisturizer for parties, weddings, or whenever I want to take my fair skin a hue tanner. It does the job and always results in a smooth finish in less than a day. And, unlike many self-tanning products, the smell is bearable thanks to odor-reducing technology.
A good razor will smoothly and effectively remove unwanted hair without irritation.
We asked our Insider Reviews team for their go-to shavers to compile a master list of our top picks.
Shaving is a totally personal choice – one that not everyone decides to participate in. But if you’re someone who prefers to remove their body hair, there are several ways to achieve smooth legs, hair-free underarms, and a groomed bikini line. But the fastest, easiest, and least painful is generally shaving. That’s why we gathered up our top picks for women’s razors based on research and testing.
Whether you prefer a subscription-based razor so you’ll always have one on hand or need a specially-designed trimmer for sensitive areas, these are the ones that do the best job. They remove hair and stubble without irritation (also known as that dreaded razor burn), making shaving a self-care process rather than a chore.
For the full experience, you may also want to grab some great shaving cream and a good moisturizer once you’ve settled on the right razor for your needs.
Here are our top picks for the best women’s razors:
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Billie Razor Starter Kit
If you’re always out of fresh razors, subscription-based startup Billie has high-quality razors at a budget-friendly price.
Billie’s Razor Starter Kit is all about convenience, with the brand delivering a high-quality razor straight to your door as often as you need. With an easy-to-grip handle, flexible head, and more space between the blades than other razors, it makes shaving simple and ergonomic. The pastel and punchy hues coupled with a sleek design also can be a decor piece for a shower shelf, too. The razor also comes with a magnetic mount that sticks to your shower wall, so you never have to go hunting for your razor.
The downside of the subscription model is that you can’t purchase one at the drugstore in case of an emergency, so you’ll be left using another brand-new-to-you razor you may not like.
But that doesn’t mean you should discount this service. Insider Reviews strategic partnerships manager Elisabeth Chambry is a fan, saying that it immediately stood out to her because of the design, price, and effectiveness. “It consistently produces the smoothest shave I’ve ever experienced.” You can read our full review on the Billie Razor here.
The Starter Kit (small)
Gilette Venus Extra Smooth
The Gillette Venus Extra Smooth has five blades for a super-close shave, but the “moisture ribbon” can protect your skin from nicks, cuts, and razor burn.
The Gillette Venus Extra Smooth Women’s Razor provides a super-close shave, thanks to the razor’s pivoting head that glide over knees, ankles, and contours of underarms. Irritation isn’t a concern, thanks to its “moisture ribbon” — an extra slip to help prevent shaving mishaps and irritations. That said, the strim is thin, so it’s best to use shaving cream to prevent cuts.
Depending on how often you shave and the sensitivity of your skin, the disposable blades can last anywhere from three to 10 uses. The handle initially comes with two blade cartridges, but after that, you’ll need to buy more. The Venus Extra Smooth‘s handle fits comfortably in your hand, making it easier to reach those tricky spots on the backs of the ankles or under your arms.
I’ve been using this razor for years and always buy the product in bulk every time I go to Costco. They last long, work well with my sensitive skin, and never leave a trace of stubble. — Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow
Extra Smooth Green Women’s Razor (small)
Schick Intuition Sensitive Care Razor
The razor cartridge has four blades surrounded by a water-activated, soap-like shaving “gel.” It provides enough slip for a comfortable, close shave, but on the downside, the gel wears away within just a few uses, so you must replace the cartridge while the blades are still usable or use a separate shaving gel until the blades become dull enough to swap for a new cartridge.
Intuition Sensitive Care Razor for Women with Natural Aloe (small)
Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle
Ideal for bikini lines, the battery-powered trimmer on the Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle makes cleaning up your bikini line a breeze. We tested this razor in the shower on the bikini area for many months and never experienced a nick or cut — even without shaving cream.
The trimmer blade comes with a comb covering that’s adjustable to four different lengths. You can also remove it entirely for a closely-cropped trim. This isn’t the razor for you if you’re looking for an ultra-close shave. But for fast, irritation-free trimming and shaping, it’s an effective tool.
The gentle AAA-battery-powered vibration delicately and easily removes hair with one pass of the shaver. On the opposite side of the trimmer, you’ll find a traditional five-blade razor surrounded by a water-based hydrating serum that you can use on your legs, underarms, and even sensitive areas. This two-in-one trimmer proves you don’t need a separate razor to remove unwanted hair.
Hydro Silk TrimStyle (small)
Gillette Venus Snap
Despite its miniature size, the Gillette Venus Snap does just as good a job of removing hair as its full-size relatives.
The Gillette Venus Snap is small enough for travel, yet mighty enough to achieve smooth, bare skin. We’ve used the Venus Snap while traveling and really appreciated not only the carry-on-friendly size but also the convenient plastic carrying case. This razor is also refillable, so you can replace a dulled cartridge with the Venus Extra Smooth refills.
The razor’s head is a regular-sized Venus Extra Smooth blade, so you’ll get a super-close, long-lasting, and comfortable shave on your legs, underarms, and — if you’re careful — your bikini line as well.
It’s the diminutive handle that makes this razor so special. It’s miniature and well-designed for an easy grip, so you’ll have as much control as a full-size razor.
These teeny Schick Silk Touch Up razors are a godsend for those of us blessed with more peach fuzz than we really want. They’re also great for removing any hair on the chin, upper lip, and even patches of dry skin around the chin, nose, or mouth. Insider Reviews editor Maria Del Russo loves to use her Touch Ups around her eyebrows. She credits the angled blade with making it easy to maneuver around your arches without worrying about knicking off the wrong hair.
The razors have a protective guard that prevents cuts or irritation to the skin. The blade lasts a long time before going dull and the razor comes with a small plastic cover to protect it when not in use. One of the best features about the Schick Silk Touch Up razors is how it leaves the skin: Silky smooth for a polished, near-flawless look, serving as a wonderful base for foundation makeup.
Silk Touch-Up Multipurpose Exfoliating Dermaplaning Tool (small)
Check out our other hair removal guides
Have you ever reached the end of Amazon page results?
To me, it sounds more like a riddle of what would happen if you were to reach the ends of the earth or beat an unbeatable video game. Does the internet break? Does time cease and then, rapidly, ominously, move backward?
Guessing by Amazon’s sheer selection size, we aren’t going to find out any time soon so put that existential dread to bed. The online behemoth’s plethora of options makes it both the most convenient place to buy things you already love, and one of the tougher places to apply its frequent discounts to new worthwhile buys – like skincare, which can be more expensive than it warrants thanks to beauty industry markups.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of 23 solid skincare products flying under the radar on Amazon that you may want to check out the next time you need a vitamin C Serum and don’t want to drop $100 or more on one. The following cult-favorites have hundreds – if not thousands – of five-star reviews you can vet yourself before buying, too.
23 under-the-radar skincare products with hundreds of near-perfect Amazon reviews:
The skincare community has adopted this new spot treatment for its gentle approach to targeting acne — no popping necessary. Our team loves it too. Just clean the area you want to apply it to, stick a patch on, and wait overnight.
Comparable to Vaseline, this thick ointment cream is used to relieve dry, cracked skin. People often use it to treat severe eczema and psoriasis. But even for more tame skin, a little bit goes a long way and is useful to have if you live in an area with cold weather or frequently use hand sanitizer.
These handheld brushes are a gentler alternative to washcloths and a more effective technique than your hands. For people with sensitive skin who cannot use harsh scrubs, this turns your everyday facial cleanser into a light exfoliant.
Thayers’ witch hazel toner is a cult favorite of the online beauty community, and it’s consistently one of Amazon’s most popular skincare products under $25. Rose water, aloe vera, and a proprietary witch hazel extract work gently and efficiently to cleanse and hydrate skin, tighten pores, and control oil production.
Thayers supposedly creates the only witch hazel products made of non-distilled extract from the witch hazel shrub, meaning they should maintain the highest levels of therapeutic tannins (mild antioxidants that nourish the skin).
It’s been called the ‘world’s most powerful mask’ and with good reason: the 100% natural calcium bentonite clay draws out all the impurities deep in your skin, and, especially if mixed with apple cider vinegar, effectively exfoliates the surface of the skin for a smoother, more even texture.
Insta Natural’s gel facial cleanser combines vitamin C, organic aloe, and green tea extract for a gentle face wash that works to remove dull cells, fade sun spots and discoloration, and leave skin feeling hydrated and clean.
New York Biology’s Dead Sea Mask is designed for all skin types. It’s infused with minerals, aloe-vera, chamomile extract, vitamin A, sunflower seed oil, and jojoba oil, and claims to leave you with a clean, refreshed feeling.
Micellar waters are beloved for their ability to refresh and cleanse skin while respecting its natural moisture barrier, and they’re often used as the first step in a dual-cleansing routine. Garnier’s version has racked up thousands of glowing reviews for its gentle, effective cleansing.
LilyAna Naturals’ Retinol Cream Moisturizer works to fade sun damage, dark spots, and acne scars, and to reduce fine lines. It also contains a hydrating combination of hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, green tea, shea butter, and jojoba oil to balance the dryness of retinol with prescription-strength effectiveness.
EltaMD UV is an oil-free facial sunscreen has zinc oxide with broad-spectrum coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays. It’s lightweight, silky, and good for sensitive- and acne-prone skin as well as those dealing with rosacea and discoloration.
Mario Badescu Rosewater and Green Tea Facial Spray Duo
Mario Badescu’s bestselling duo includes two of its cult-favorite facial sprays: Rosewater and Green Tea. Both combine gentle and non-irritating aloe and herbal extracts to serve as a “pick-me-up” for dry, tired skin — either on their own or to set makeup.
CeraVe’s bestselling cleanser is formulated with essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid that cleanses, hydrates, and helps build up the skin’s own protective barrier. It’s fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and non-drying to aid the skin’s natural moisture levels.
This fast-absorbing vitamin C Serum works to brighten and even skin tone as well as boost its collagen production. Vitamins E and C fade hyperpigmentation, fade scars, and reduce fine lines, and it should be gentle enough for all-over use. LilyAna Naturals also has a 100% money-back guarantee, in case it’s not a fit for you.
CeraVe is a trusted drugstore brand with a dedicated band of followers. This face and body cream for normal-to-dry skin moisturizes, restores, and maintains a protective skin barrier to keep skin looking and feeling rejuvenated.
Paula’s Choice is best-known for its gentle, transparent skincare products, and this Skin Perfecting 2% BHA is a good example. It has 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid to unclog and minimize enlarged pores, exfoliate dead skin, and reduce fine lines. The exfoliation should also brighten and even out skin tone.
Neutrogena’s 1.7-ounce, non-comedogenic gel face cream is a godsend for ultra-dry skin. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the skin, that can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
Some vitamin C serums go for $160 and up, but this one has garnered a loyal following for much less (you should also check out Maelove’s $28 Glow Maker). It lightens dark spots, reduces fine lines, and improves clarity with a blend of nutrients designed to aid collagen production. You’ll find ingredients like vitamin C, botanical hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and aloe vera, witch hazel, and organic jojoba oil to nourish skin.
Exfoliate dead and dull skin cells and moisturize your skin’s base with this microdermabrasion facial scrub. It’s designed to buff away dirt, grime, and tired skin cells to reveal brighter, healthier skin underneath. Afterward, the skin should appear more even and feel softer and smoother to the touch. Aloe vera and manuka honey help replace moisture.
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Even with a sea of options, it’s hard to find haircare that feels like it’s really made for you.
Function of Beauty is changing that with custom haircare that’s based on your quiz results.
We tried it and loved the personalization process, but our thoughts about the formulas were mixed.
Product Card (small, Preferred: Function of Beauty)
Human beings are unique. We wear outfits that show off our personal style. We create playlists so we can listen to the music we love whenever we want. We have myriad interests and passions which we proudly display on our social media profiles – and talk about often in person. For the most part, the world that we live in makes it easy for us to personalize everything in our lives – from monogrammed phone cases to data-driven subscription boxes.
So, why doesn’t our haircare get the same treatment?
Function of Beauty was founded in 2015 with the intention of helping people embrace their one-of-a-kind hair- and shaking up the shampoo aisle with some much-needed personalization. After all, we search for customization in so many other aspects of our lives, why should we settle for two-in-one shampoo and conditioner?
Zahir Dossa may not seem like your typical beauty brand founder. But, the MIT alum (with four degrees from his alma mater) saw a need for customization in the space. While receiving his PhD, Dossa started working on a beauty cooperative. When he asked a group of people for feedback on the same product, he was surprised at the wide range of answers he received. It was that experience that planted the seed that would soon become Function of Beauty, a haircare brand that lets people customize their routine with totally personalized shampoos and conditioners.
The personalization process
Using Function of Beauty is simple. You’ll follow these steps to create your customized formula:
Fill out a quiz about your hair type and hair structure (curly, straight, thick, fine, etc.)
Choose five hair goals (Do you want to banish brassiness? Reduce oil? Add shine or volume?)
Pick out a fragrance (some of the scent options include eucalyptus, shea butter and vanilla, and peach)
Choose from seven color tints (all 100% vegan and sulfate-free; you can also choose to leave it dye-free)
The hair quiz tells the FOB team everything they need to know about your hair, and the brand’s algorithms will get to work to find you the perfect formula. Your products will also come to your door in cute personalized bottles.
There are a few ways to buy Function of Beauty products. You can choose to get a delivery just one time, every six months, every three months, or once a month. In terms of size, you can choose from an eight- or 16-ounce bottle of either shampoo or conditioner. The pricing ranges from $29 for a single eight-ounce shampoo bottle to $49 for a 16-ounce shampoo and conditioner set. These are definitely pricier than your drugstore haircare brands, but the price tag reflects the custom approach as well as the high-quality ingredients used.
Function of Beauty also recently released a more affordable product line at Target where you can pick out a base formula and then mix in booster packets that address specific hair needs. The base formulas are $10 each and the booster packets are $2.99 each. You can read more here.
What we thought after trying Function of Beauty ourselves
Function of Beauty has received tens of thousands of five-star reviews, but we wanted to see how it actually worked on our own hair. So, three of my colleagues and I swapped out our regular shampoos and conditioners for customized Function of Beauty regimens. We all filled out the hair quiz and received an eight-ounce shampoo and conditioner just for us. Find our reviews below.
Connie Chen, senior reporter:
Hair type: Dark brown, medium coarseness, straight, medium-length
Products: shampoo in purple, pear scent; conditioner in blue, pear scent
Experience: Both my scalp and my actual hair tend towards dryness, so I’m always looking for shampoo and conditioner that hydrates and conditions it. After a few weeks of using my customized Function of Beauty products, my hair has been reinvigorated and overall feels softer and less dry. The colors are pretty and I’m also in love with the scent – this might be the best-smelling shampoo and conditioner I’ve ever used.
Alyssa Powell, associate graphic designer:
Hair type: Black, tightly coiled, thick, short
Products: shampoo in blue, pineapple scent; conditioner in orange, pineapple scent
Experience: As much as I love my tightly coiled, well-put-together hair, maintaining moisture, retaining length, and finding the right products have always been a struggle for me. It’s been a year since I did my big chop. Ever since then I’ve been particular about the products I use and have been consistent with my routine.
The packaging of these products was beautiful. I loved how my name was printed on the bottles and on the direction booklet. I followed all the directions except one: to cleanse or condition three to four times per week. For those with coily hair (who don’t rock wash-and-gos) you know washing too often can strip the much-needed moisture from your hair. I did my normal routine washing once a week in the shower, followed by moisturizing with Uncle Funky’s Daughter Extra Butter, and then styling with mousse.
After one month of using the products, I don’t think Function of Beauty is right for me. My hair felt clean, the pineapple smelled amazing, and my twists still looked great. However, my hair did not feel moisturized.
Products: shampoo in purple, nude peach scent; conditioner in purple, nude peach scent
Experience: I can never really get a read on my hair. It’s frizzy and dry one day, oily the next. I usually alternate between a slew of haircare products each week – my attempt at giving my hair everything it needs. I was excited to try Function of Beauty and try to slim down my routine.
Doing the hair quiz was quick and fun. I chose the following goals for my wavy and fine hair: lengthen, reduce brassiness, color protection, oil control, and volumize. If you choose reducing brassiness as one of your goals, you’ll get Function of Beauty‘s purple shampoo. While I love Clairol’s iteration, I had recently had a hair treatment that required me to use sulfate-free shampoo, so I was happy to get this new sulfate-free brass banisher.
My favorite parts of Function of Beauty are the customization features. I love the light peachy scent, the cute purple colors, and the bottle which is sweetly labeled “Function of Remi.” All of these aspects make washing my hair a little more fun. It doesn’t hurt that the bottles look absolutely adorable in your shower.
In terms of how well the products are working, I’ve been using them for over a month and am still not really sure. My hair feels very clean and soft, but I haven’t noticed a real change in volume or how long it takes my hair to get greasy. I’m definitely satisfied with the products, but I haven’t noticed enough of a difference to justify the price, which is double what I usually pay for shampoo and conditioner.
Mara Leighton, senior reporter:
Hair type: Brunette (color-treated), thick, wavy, long
Products: shampoo in purple, eucalyptus scent; conditioner in purple, eucalyptus scent
Experience: My hair is wavy, long, and verges on as dry and frizzy as grass in a drought on its worst days. Since sulfates can over-dry the hair (and humid summer weather is not the time to tempt such problems), I’ve been trying to find a sulfate-free formula that I really like – and Function of Beauty did the job.
The personalization test is a nice touch – I already knew my bottles wouldn’t have a host of potentially bad ingredients, but a personalized formula meant I felt assured that they would actually have all the ingredients that I specifically needed in their stead (like those combating brassiness in color-treated hair, rebuilding strands, boosting shine, and taming frizz). I also loved the ability to choose a big bottle of conditioner and a smaller bottle of shampoo – for perhaps the first time ever, I won’t run out of conditioner before shampoo.
In practice, the formula is really good. It smells fresh and clean (my preferred scents), and manages to make my hair feel clean, lightweight, and keep frizz to a minimum without dampening volume. I shower at night and let my hair air dry, and my waves seem to look more uniform, though not exactly glossy. I could still be using too much shampoo. Either way, I really love the effect and am fine supplementing with a hair mask in my routine.
And, while not as important as the formula, it doesn’t hurt that the bottles look so nice in my bathroom. Even having the small personalization of “Function of Mara” on them makes the act of showering feel kind of like a treat.