the products that help us face the day.

by nylon

Tried and true: It's the only way we want to give you guys the deal on which beauty products are really worth it. The first-ever Nylon Beauty Awards were started to do exactly that. Our editors tested every single product, and several makeup removal towelettes later we got this awesome guide to the best beauty products on the market. (Haven't checked it out yet? Here you go.)

But there were so many products that we wanted to favorite that we couldn't tell you why, exactly, they're so good. So for the next few weeks, NYLON's digital team will be sharing our stories (and, in some cases, tips) so you know why we love these products.

Last week we kicked things off with the mascaras and liners that changed our lives, but today is devoted to what consider the true cornerstone of beauty: Skincare. Read our tales of the skincare products that help us put our best, glowiest faces (and moisturized hands) forward.


Like boozy work lunches and petticoats, brand allegiance seems like a vestige of our parents' generation. While it was once common for people to, say, fly with the same airline every time you traveled, today it's accepted that you'll go with whichever company is giving you the best deal for that particular flight to that particular place at that particular moment. Nowhere is my lack of allegiance more obvious than with my makeup. It seems that every week I'm loving a new mascara or perfume (this week: Clinique's High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara and MCMC's Love perfume), which is as much a reflection of the times as an indicator of my position as an editor who must try new things on a daily basis. But if you were to poke around my beauty stash you'd see one brand in particular that shows up repeatedly: REN. From their Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream in the morning to their Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Concentrate at night (used as much for its moisturizing abilities as the fact that it has the most heavenly apricot scent), my skincare routine is dominated by products from the all-natural British brand. It helps that REN boasts some serious all-arounders; that is, products that deliver results all while looking good on my dresser and smelling good on my skin. Not many companies can promise that, which makes this one particularly attractive. But even if you're still not convinced of becoming partial to this one brand, to promise to throw out your Dermalogica cleansers, your Tatcha exfoliators, and your Ioma body lotions--because let's be honest, I haven't either just yet--let REN's Radiance Perfection Serum be the one you try. It goes smooth but not greasy, smells citrus-sweet without being cloying, and basically provides the full-night's-sleep look that you wish your skin had regardless of what time you went to bed. One application on your face (I admittedly sometimes put this on my hands--but that's only because they get ridiculously dry and the Serum does the trick) and you just might rethink your theory on brand allegiance. Well that, and boozy lunches too.



I have to admit that I'm a bit of a moisturizer-phobic to begin with, so having greasy hands stresses me out. So does not being able to touch anything for ten minutes after I use my hand lotion. I'm afraid that my iPhone will slide right out of my hands (it happens) and I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry. The other "luxurious" lotions that I've used make my hands feel greasy, to the point where I have to wipe some of it off if I want to keep typing on my computer keyboard. The Diptyque Luxurious Hand Balm has all of the key properties of a super nice hand lotion: It's rich and creamy, it makes your hands feel shockingly soft, and it doesn't smell medicinal. This one is even better because it actually absorbs right away, while the other brands don't seem to at all. Normally floral scents bum me out, but its odor is subtle and pleasant, which isn't surprising considering I've never met a Diptyque candle that I didn't like. Since I've gotten hooked, there have been no cracked iPhone screen incidents caused by slippery hands and my handshake has improved considerably.



When it comes to "2-in-1" products, I'm a bit of a flip-flopper: I love my CD/iPod player from Brookstone, yet I've never purchased a 2-in-1 shampoo+conditioner (and doubt I'll ever be inclined to do so). So it makes sense why I was skeptical to try Tracie Martyn's Enzyme Exfoliant, which claims to function as both a scrub and an exfoliating mask. But having heard so many rave reviews about this particular product, I didn't let my fear of dual-performance stand in the way of testing it out. As it turns out, the exfoliant definitely lived up to my ridiculously high expectations: As a scrub, it managed to get my skin totally clean and free of makeup, without any discomfort or sting. Then, after about a minute of gently scrubbing my face, I left the sea green balm on for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the mask function to kick into gear. When all was said and done, I was shocked to find my skin without any redness or irritation.  Instead it felt smooth and clean, and I didn't mind the faint leftover seawater scent one bit. Sorry, Brookstone, but I think this just trumped the CD/iPod player in the 2-in-1 game.