September 22, 2023

Every day, new products make their way onto my (WFH) desk and it’s my job to try them out. The good ones find their way into various roundups and stories across and, and the OMG-this-stuff-is-amazing ones go on to live right here, in my faves of the moment column. Behold, my latest loves.

Caliray Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara, $31, SHOP HERE

The fuss-free mascara that’s sure to become a bestseller: I’ll just come out and say it: I’m quite positive this is the best mascara I’ve ever used in my life. It’s perfect, I tell you. Perfect in every way imaginable. The brush is long and slim and made of actual bristles — unlike those big plastic spiky thingies that jab you in the eyeball. It wiggles its way into the lashline without any need for eye widening or facial contortions. It just, swish!, gets the job done. The formula is a tubing one — my favourite kind — that wraps every lash in a flexible film (no stiffness to be found) to lift and deploy. It’s like your lashes are doing jazz hands. And it doesn’t move, even if you sweat or cry or get caught in a snowstorm. Then, when you’re ready to remove it, you just massage your lashes with a little warm water and it rolls right off (you see the fibre-like “tubes” just … slip away). Wende Zomnir, Caliray’s co-founder (you can also thank her for starting Urban Decay back in the ’90s), is a makeup wizard. She didn’t just make a brilliant mascara, she made a really sustainable one, too. The tube is made of upcycled ocean plastic, which you can then resend to the brand so they can have it recycled (a prepaid shipping label is included with orders). Genius all around.

Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream, $55, SHOP HERE

Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream, $55,

The eye cream that doubles as a brightening primer: I usually like to try a skin care product for a full month before delivering a verdict, but this one is so amazing, I couldn’t wait. In clinical trials, 97 per cent of people found their eyes looked well rested after four weeks. I noted the same result the very first time I used it. Granted, that’s partly thanks to some clever smoke and mirrors action, namely natural light-reflectors (the formula is a tad pearlescent) that provides a much welcome “I sleep eight hours every night” effect. Even better, the cream is the same peachy tone makeup artists tell you to apply as a colour corrector to neutralize dark circles. This nifty feature, coupled with the quick-absorbing texture, makes it a dream under concealer. Your undereyes look super smooth and radiant. I’m sold as it is but I also look forward to reaping the formula’s long-term benefits. There’s caffeine in there to depuff, peptides to firm and vitamin C to brighten even more.

JVN Complete Instant Recovery Leave-In Serum, $36, SHOP HERE

JVN Complete Instant Recovery Leave-In Serum, $36,

The serum that makes your hair baby soft: A serum? In a jar? But it’s thick and creamy. Are you sure it’s not a … Look, if Jonathan Van Ness says it’s a serum, it’s a serum, honey! The Queer Eye star and human equivalent of sunshine recently launched an eponymous hair line and it’s all kinds of wonderful. The headlining ingredient is “hemi-squalane,” a super fine squalane molecule ethically derived from sugar cane that penetrates deep into the hair. My fave from the range is this “Is it a serum or is it a cream?” treatment. My hair type can best be described as thin and scraggly so I usually steer clear of anything thick that might weigh it down. But this leave-in is so light (like a freshly whipped meringue), there’s no risk of that happening. It’s meant to deliver nourishment and heat protection pre-blowout, but I go off-label and comb it through before letting my hair air dry. I swear it’s like a time-machine. My waves sparkle with the innocence of hair that’s never been bleached or flat-ironed or otherwise tortured. It’s suddenly soft and fluffy like the corn silk strands of a child. I don’t care what it is — serum, cream, both — it’s incredible.

Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm, $45, SHOP HERE

Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm, $45,

The cleansing balm that makes makeup removal a dream: You know when you’re watching a show on the couch at night and your eyelids start getting heavy and you know you should resist and go wash your face and get into bed, but surrendering to the pull of sleep feels like sipping the nectar of the sweetest of forbidden fruits? Just me? Well, lately a certain yellow jar has been making peeling myself out from under the throw blanket just a wee bit less painful. It is a balm made for cleansing but the sensorial pleasure brought on by its utter butteriness makes it a balm for winter-weary souls. It starts out all thick and unctuous but as you begin to glide it over your face, it melts and gives way to the most satisfying slip. Add a bit of water and boom! It’s now lathered into a creamy milk. Makeup — all makeup — dissolves on contact with no rubbing required. The same goes for water-resistant sunscreen. It even continues to amaze after you’ve rinsed it off. There’s no oily film but no tightness or dryness either. Instead, skin emerges fresh and plump thanks to hyaluronic acid, nutrient-rich oils and superfood berries (even sweeter fruit, but not forbidden). It’s so good, I actually kind of look forward to washing my face now.

Everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate, $28, SHOP HERE

Everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate, $28,

The body wash that’s kinder to the planet: Canadian-grown Everist is single-handedly changing the beauty game. Their premise it’s simple: Just add water! Traditional shampoo and conditioner bottles are mostly filled with the stuff anyway (about 70 per cent) so why not just replace it with the water you’re already using in your shower? Smart, right? It’s no wonder their ingenious waterless shampoo and conditioner concentrates received a slew of honours last year, including a Kit Beauty Disrupter Award and a spot on Time Magazine’s list of best inventions of 2021. Now the eco-minded brand has made over another resident of your shower: body wash. Like its predecessors, the formula is completely waterless, plant-based and designed to be activated by the water in your shower. It’s laced with aloe vera and vegetable glycerin to soothe and hydrate, and smells lovely and invigorating courtesy of citrus and herbal essential oils. Use the tube key to squeeze out a pea-sized amount, lather it up in your hands and suds away with a clearer conscience.

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Katherine Lalancette is the beauty director of The Kit, based in Toronto. She writes about beauty and trends. Reach her on email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @kik_tweets