“Plasma Serum,” the Prettiest New Lip Color, and a St. Bart’s Tan: Beauty Obsessions for February

Written by: Jean Godfrey-June


Updated on: February 5, 2024


It’s a makeup-artist-and-hairstylist moment here in the beauty department: There’s a brilliant volumizing mist from top LA stylist Mara Rozak (above, with beauty editor Brianna Peters). An ingenious new mascara-and-liquid-liner hybrid (it has streamlined our makeup bags as it has defined and flirtified our lashes) from one famous makeup artist. And a chic, gorgeously pigmented new lipstick-meets-stain (in the prettiest colors we’ve ever seen) from another. Both makeup essentials last all day and long into the night, and in a case of absolutely perfect timing, we now have the ultimate cleansing balm with which to take all of it off. Made with exquisite flower oils and extracts, it turns from an oil into a milk as you splash with warm water, melting away makeup, sunscreen, and just about everything else and somehow—impossibly—leaving little trace of itself beyond fresh, moisturized skin.

  1. goop Beauty
    Luminous Cleansing Balm
    goop, $68/$61 with subscriptionSHOP NOW



Jean Godfrey-June

executive beauty director

A funny, soulful, gorgeous person who is always thinking, Jillian Dempsey is one of those makeup artists who can make anyone look beautiful—or, really, however they want to look. Her always-thinking thing gives her a near-constant glint in her eye and gives us things like: the greatest makeup bag of all time and a gold vibrating roller that lifts your face for an entire day (or evening on a red carpet). Now she has out-invented even herself, ingeniously combining mascara and liquid eyeliner in one.

Is mascara and liquid eyeliner in one a good thing? Try it and you’ll never go back. By try it, I mean fool around with it in front of a mirror for a few minutes: It’s like a regular mascara wand—and the mascara itself is A-plus mascara—but it has a small, flexible, flickable extension on the end that dispenses liquid liner. You can do natural, barely-there definition with it or a full-on cat-eye, and it gives you enough time to play, smudge, or Q-tip away a mistake before it sets (and thereafter never smudges). I get the liner right first, then glide on the mascara, and then, if I want a little extra oomph, flick the liner back out (you’ll understand when you try it) and dab a bit on the outer corner of my upper lashes—a Jillian touch, of course. Besides lush lashes and super defined, sexy liner, the FLYK Trick delivers something else for 2024: a less-cluttered makeup bag.

    FLYK Trick Mascara
    goop $26SHOP NOW


Everything in St. Bart’s is French, but the Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf, perched high in the hills over Gustavia, might be the most French. Particularly its beach outpost down the street, Shellona, an outdoor restaurant where the champagne comes in jeroboams even at lunch, the chaise longues are reserved months in advance, the bikinis are tiny, the accents are strong, and the tans are spellbindingly even and glowy.

I was glad to have come prepared: The night before leaving, I enveloped my body in an airy cloud of Saltyface self-tanning foam (here’s how), then brushed and misted on the water formula for face. It took all of 60 seconds and dried in even less time, and I was off to sleep (amazingly, it really doesn’t stain your sheets).

A day of terrifying air travel later, I stood on Shell Beach, my skin glowing as if—like the rest of my new plage-mates—I had been slowly burnishing it on the back of my yacht for the previous four months. The tan was subtle and toasty and natural; streakless; and, for me, anyway, sublime. I smoothed on my sunscreen and somehow, miraculously, nabbed a chaise.

Just off the beach, you can swim right up to rugged cliffs in the cool turquoise water; I soon found myself surrounded by some of the flashiest tropical fish I’ve ever seen. Down at the bottom was a not-very-big sand-colored flounder, whom I somehow felt a closer kinship with than I did his neon-striped brethren.

Whether your personal style is more French angelfish or lefteye flounder, if it’s a tan you want, get this set. Somehow the least amount of fuss, in this case, yields the most seamless, tawny, French-beach-appropriate result.

  1. Saltyface
    Essentials Tanning Set
    goop, $119SHOP NOW

In a world of even-keeled “partners” and coolly scheduled hookups, the word “lover” sends people scrambling. In the ’70s, it was the most modern thing you could say. There’s something so torrid about it, it almost sounds like a commitment. (I was not old enough to be discussing lovers in the ’70s, but I was avidly reading The Serial [right], in which Bay Area denizens batted around lovers like so many briefly lit fireflies. Read it, laugh, and wish for such blithe-spirited days.)

The Maker—where, whether with a partner, a hookup, or a lover, you should go—is bringing “lover” back, with a vengeance, in this little bottle of scent just in time for Valentine’s Day. Everything about it is sexy, but more than sexy: It blows in with an airy, flinty woodsiness that mixes with dusky flowers and fruits like jasmine, narcissus, and fig. Like a relationship involving people who refer to each other as lovers, it’s both very complex and very simple at once, with sandalwood and vetiver and even the tiniest smash of a clean, fresh patchouli. It’s gorgeous, it smells incredible on everyone I’ve tried it on (all genders), and it’s bound to get a rise out of someone.

  1. The Maker
    Lover Eau de Parfum
    goop, $175SHOP NOW


“You haven’t tried the Metacine Plasma?” It’s hard to shock this particular friend of mine, but her jaw dropped when she heard that I, a beauty editor, wasn’t already bathing in a new cult serum that looks—in passing, at least—something like blood. I don’t listen to every fervent recommendation I hear, but this friend has absolutely fantastic skin despite a decidedly unmonastic lifestyle that includes late nights, cocktails, and sweets.

I got right on it. Based on the ideas behind platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments, which are used in sports medicine and high-tech facials (including founder and Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Jason Diamond’s famous InstaFacial, which the product is named for), the serum is bioengineered with growth factors said to simulate PRP’s ability to support skin renewal and repair. Because it’s made with hyaluronic acid, it sinks in instantly (a fine thing for a liquid that otherwise resembles blood). I layer it under oil or cream and sometimes over my vitamin C. I think of my friend—and her lineless, lifted, firm, glowy skin—and sometimes I add a second layer.

    InstaFacial® Collection Plasma
    goop, $200SHOP NOW




Brianna Peters

beauty editor

Standing in the middle of the beige-and-butterscotch East Village hair salon Jenna Perry Hair, surrounded by clouds of hair mist and buzzing blow-dryers, legendary LA hairstylist Mara Roszak looked radiant in a burnt-brick-red top and her signature beachy waves. I was there to get a blowout, and I could not wait.

While my hair was still wet, Roszak started spritzing in her just-launched eco-aerosol volumizing spray. I asked her to go easy—I never use volumizers or even hair spray because they leave my fine hair sticky, crunchy, and frozen in place. Roszak kept spritzing. “You’ll see,” she said. “It’s buildable, it feels and looks invisible, and it works for any hairstyle or type. It’s going to give you beautiful lift, flexible hold, and full body that lasts.”

I left her chair with shampoo-commercial hair: It was so soft, I couldn’t believe it—and sexy, bouncy, and full of volume. The effect lasted for days, too. A week later, on a day it rained and rained (humidity usually leaves my hair lifeless, frizzy, and flat), I tried the new spray second time. Adding a few drops of silky oil for my ends, and my favorite twist-and-clip air-dry method, I air-dried my hair into waves, and again it was full of volume, with beautiful texture. “Bardot on the Riviera,” pronounced my friend at lunch. For my hair in February in New York, that’s a miracle.

  1. ROZ
    Root Lift Spray
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  1. Crown Affair
    The Air Dry Clips
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One pump of this subtly rose-scented, weightless dry body oil and I’m instantly transported to LA—to the exquisite, Ayurvedic Surya Spa. The limited-edition oil is a beautiful blend of roses, saffron, almond, jojoba, coconut, and essential oils that founder and Ayurvedic practitioner Martha Soffer supercharges with intentions, mantras, and love. Soffer says rose is supposed to work “subtle magic” on the heart, and the oil has inspired me to restart a morning practice that I’d slacked off on: I say three things I’m grateful for and three things I love about myself into the mirror. I smooth on the oil all over, then have my moment in the mirror and, I swear, I somehow always have a better day when I do it. Beyond the mental benefits, I love the way my skin looks, feels, and smells all day afterward—soft, supple, beautifully hydrated, and lightly scented with roses.

  1. Surya
    Rose Petal Abhyanga Massage & Body Oil
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Choosing between charming hillside villas in Italy with flowering gardens and ancient olive groves sounds dreamy, but because I’ve been planning my wedding, it was giving me breakouts and splotchy, flaky skin. Somehow the universe knew, and this creamy-textured, bright-olive-green exfoliating treatment showed up. I tried it almost immediately and was amazed at how incredibly gentle, moisturizing, and cushiony it was—and how well it polished my skin. Olive leaf water, olive oil, papaya and pineapple enzymes, sugar beets, and a mix of olive pits and perlite (made of tiny, skin-buffing granules) come together to both exfoliate and moisturize. I’m still deep in wedding planning, with no decisions made and plenty of stress, but I’m using this green concoction two or three times a week, and my skin is now calm, smooth, clear, and really glowy.

  1. Furtuna Skin
    Triple Active Exfoliator
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Emma Brophy

assistant beauty editor

I bought a stunning Danish mid-century chair that needed a lot of TLC. Restoring furniture is no place for glamour, but after five days covered in wood stain and sawdust—my hair, skin, and clothes a mess—I still wasn’t done, and I wanted to feel just…a little prettier. I picked out one of these new silk scrunchies—the deep-rose one—and put my hair up, and it more than did the trick.

Since then, they’ve kept my hair up, in place, and crease-free, not just as I’ve hunched over sanding and staining but also in hot yoga classes and while sprinting down the street with my two large dogs (the ultimate test). I choose the small scrunchies when I want a little more grip (they’re perfect for the gym) and the large one—it’s printed with flowers—as a statement piece (like when I really want to wow in the aisles of Home Depot).

  1. Slip
    Flora Scrunchie Set
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Ask any aesthetician or dermatologist and they’ll tell you to use retinoids or retinol. This is a daunting prospect for people (like me) who get both redness and irritation when they try to use retinol. But this serum is made with a new patented retinol said to work twice as fast as typical retinol. At the same time, it’s also less irritating. It’s bolstered with soothing primrose and antioxidant-charged astaxanthin, and for me, it’s gentle enough to use every night without causing any trouble. My skin is noticeably smoother, clearer, and more radiant, allowing me to pare my skin routine down to just three steps at night: Cleanse, smooth on this serum, and then take a minute to appreciate the glow in front of the mirror before bed.

  1. True Botanicals
    Phyto-Retinol Sleep Serum
    goop, $90SHOP NOW

I’m a major RMS Beauty fangirl. The UnCover-Up concealer was my first taste of clean beauty, and it converted me immediately. Everything I’ve tried since—it’s all created by the brilliant makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift—has been skin-loving and glowifying, and this lipstick is even more so. Part lipstick, part lip stain, it’s made with hydrating bitter-cherry water, antioxidant-rich kakadu plum, and a special wax complex for a stunning velvety finish. I glide the rich pigment on and, with a slight cooling sensation, it immediately melts into my lips. I blot the excess with my fingertips and tap that into the apples of my cheeks; the combination is all I need to wake up my face in winter (seriously, no mascara, concealer, or anything). The shade Miranda is a delicate rose-ish shade, with a bit more pop, that makes me look naturally flushed rather than made-up (although you can build up the color if you want). And because it’s a stain, the beautiful color lasts all day.

  1. rms beauty
    Legendary Serum Lipstick
    goop, $35SHOP NOW