Getting out in front of the holidays delivers an I’ve-got-this feeling not unlike that of a good hair day or a foolproof outfit. So the beauty department has started stocking up on gifts early this season, and we all agree that the limited-edition, doesn’t-need-wrapping version of Augustinus Bader’s famous Rich Cream is Most Wanted this year: Most Wanted by us, and Most Likely to Be Wanted by the majority of our potential recipients. It’s a splurge, but it’s a gorgeous one; we’ve also found hair secrets, balms, compacts, and a brand-new ZIIP to obsess over.
Augustinus BaderThe Rich Creamgoop, $300SHOP NOW
Coolness is much more elusive than it once was. I don’t know why, so I blame the internet. It’s not to say that hotness is more elusive, or even that great style isn’t out there, but actual cool gets ever more rare. The coolest girl I know told me about Iris&Romeo; she is so cool that I had to try it all, right away. Of course, it’s cool, and it gives the wearer that essential element of coolness, the not-looking-like-you-tried. In the case of my very favorite item, the silky Weekend Skin, you don’t have to try: You wake up and smooth it on and you’ve instantly done all your skin-care steps—stabilized, time-released vitamin C; moisturizer; niacinamide; and mineral SPF 50—plus, you’ve subtly evened, blurred, and glowified your skin. There are two shades, and either works on any skin tone: Universal is a sheer glow, and Warm is a sheer glow tinged with gold. Both make you look gorgeous in about a second, and you stay that way all day, whether you’re living it up on a sunny weekend or feeling weekend-y all week, as many of us do.
One look at the box and I am fully ready to join this commune: Remarkably good-looking, vaguely ethereal operatives cavort, glowy-skinned in fresh, unrumpled white linen. Inside, the chicest-ever aluminum pump bottle contains thick, luscious hand cream that smells subtly of grapefruit, cypress, and geranium. It looks so good (and the cream is so incredible) that I want to station a bottle in practically every room. It’s also one of the prettiest, most delightful yet practical host/hostess/fellow commune member gifts you will ever find.
Related: If the ’60s and ’70s could see us now, their collective jaws would drop at the iPhone and AI and all the rest, to be sure, but if they got a glimpse of Flamingo Estate, they’d be like, “Really? We weren’t thinking crunchy was going to evolve into luxe…but why not?” No one wonders why not better than the fabulous Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles, where the ingredients are regeneratively farmed and biodegradable, honeybees buzz in the sunshine, olive oil drips slowly over ripe vegetables, and vintage cars are stuffed with organic roses and champagne.
The rosemary-bergamot shampoo smells like a garden in California, and every time I use it, I think of something garden designer Miranda Brooks once told me: that women should touch rosemary every day. The shampoo leaves any hair type fresh, shiny, and beautifully nourished. The ultramoisturizing conditioner is made with organic lavender from near the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and it smells like a different section of the same idealized California garden. They’re both made sustainably, regeneratively, and palm-free with cold-processed seed oils and powerful botanicals, and they come in tall green pump bottles that instantly make any shower about 70 billion times more glamorous.
I think that when people envision a beauty editor, they see someone in the midst of a manicure or pedicure, checking their phone for updates. This happens maybe once a year for me; the rest of the pedicures (and they are mostly pedicures, as manicures last about a day on me) happen on my bathroom floor. I love a professionally done pedicure, particularly at the airy, all-clean Dear Sundays loft in NoMad, but the next best thing is either their sheer nude No. 7 polish or No. 19, their absolutely perfect red, hastily applied while I’m checking my phone for updates, Zooming with the camera off, or streaming Sex Education. A quick dash of their genius topcoat makes it last two weeks. The sleek box keeps everything luxuriously together in the beauty cabinet. (When I do go, I first do a Jivamukti-style class at the nearby wide-wood-floored, beautifully tiled, incredibly good Souk yoga studio, then get the Deep Hydration pedicure—talk about walking on air.)
I’m the biggest ZIIP fangirl, so when I was presented with the chance to try the new-and-improved ZIIP HALO with founder Melanie Simon herself, I jumped. As she prepped my skin with her moisturizing conductive gel, she explained what had been improved ZIIP-wise: “Think of it like a phone upgrade,” she said. “We crowdsourced reviews from our users to tweak even tiny details, like the placement of the off/on button (it’s now on the bottom) and the sounds of the beeps (they’re louder). Plus, it’s sleeker, lighter, and more compact to make it easier to use.”
I couldn’t believe how good my skin was after: My breakouts looked soothed. My cheekbones looked sculpted. My whole face glowed like a goddess. Newly motivated, I went home and started doing The Lift (a program that comes preinstalled on the HALO) every other day. In four minutes, it lifts, firms, brightens, sculpts, and glowifies my skin. When I need something more (like breakout-soothing or under-eye-depuffing), I connect it to the ZIIP app and choose from the huge library of options. It was in that library that I discovered a new treatment—The Best Skin of Your Life in 30 Days—which is most definitely up next.
I keep a stash of Inaru chocolate in my pantry, and the stash I keep in my beauty cabinet is actually quite similar: this hands-down-best-mask-on-the-planet whipped chocolate face mask. Once a week, I smooth a thin, creamy mousse-like layer over my skin, and in 10 minutes it clarifies my pores with bentonite and kaolin clay; exfoliates with lactic and glycolic acids; nourishes with botanical oils like calendula, jojoba, and evening primrose; and protects with cacao seed butter. It smells and feels every bit as fantastic as you’d hope a chocolate mask would. It’s my absolute favorite indulgence—beauty or otherwise—and it never fails to leave my skin cocooned in moisture, baby-soft, and beautifully radiant.
If, like me, you love a French pharmacy, you have to get Le Balm. Made by an actual French pharmacist (who now lives in NYC), it’s a generously sized tin swirled with a cushiony, does-it-all solid serum-balm that, when warmed with your fingers, miraculously melts into a nourishing oil. It’s waterless, noncomedogenic, and packed with a supercharged blend of lipids, actives, and plant stem cells sourced from the South of France that really works to moisturize, soothe, and protect your skin. I bring it everywhere (especially when I travel) and use it to smooth and silkify my lips, face, cuticles, elbows, even my hair. It smells fresh and romantic, with a hint of roses, and it makes me feel as French as can be.
When I need to pull myself together with a little low-key glamour, I pull out this beautiful baby-blue lacquered lip compact from the brilliant New York City makeup artist Fara Homidi. It combines a creamy matte lip color and a nourishing clear lip balm in one place. I use a lip brush (also by Homidi) to apply the priming balm all over my lips before layering the pigmented color on top, smudging it just slightly outside my lip line for a sexy diffused lip color. My favorite shade is Nude 1, the most beautiful mauve-y, dusty-rose pink. It’s made with skin-care ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter that leave my lips feeling hydrated, nourished, soft, and plump every time I smooth it on.
I’d worn the same scent—it was the single remaining not-clean beauty product in my cabinet—for the last 12 years. I love the idea of a signature scent (my grandma has worn the same fragrance since the ’70s), and every clean fragrance I’d tried hadn’t really lasted, so I’d just stuck to what I knew.
When I saw the luxe flower-painted box of The Herbalist, I had to at least try it. It’s a collaboration between clean perfumer Douglas Little of Heretic Parfum and Drew Martin, who’s taken cannabis to new, incredibly chic heights. The result is crisp, warm, vibrant, sexy, and herbaceous (and entirely non-CBD/THC), and it lasts literally all day. The light herbiness comes from hemp leaves; once combined with lemon, hinoki, and thyme, it becomes pure magic. So good, in fact, it successfully converted both floral-loving me and my musk-loving sister. It’s complex, airy, and sexy—and I’ll likely be wearing it for the next 12 years.
This cream is the ultimate wind-down treatment before bed. After one too many restless nights, my husband and I revamped our entire evening routine: We limit Netflix to one or two episodes (and red-lens blue-light-blocking glasses look insane, but we wear them), drink hot tea (Good Earth’s Sweet and Spicy), and give each other a foot massage with this incredibly hydrating cream. It’s made with moisturizing shea and olive butters and vitamin B5, plus something called safou oil, which is rich in minerals and antioxidants. It’s thick, so a little goes a long way, and it has a very faint woodsy-citrus scent. Knead it around your ankles, on the bottoms and tops of your feet, and in between your toes. You can rub the excess on drier skin like your knees and elbows. You’ll sleep like a baby (and in the morning, your feet will be baby-soft).
KOBABottom-Up Foot Creamgoop, $45SHOP NOW
I prefer waxing over shaving, but there’s one major pitfall: I get noticeably more ingrown hairs when I wax. But this sandalwood-and-citrus deodorant addresses exactly this problem, and leaves me smooth and smelling fresh all day. It’s made with willow-bark extract (salicylic acid), which gently exfoliates skin to discourage ingrown hairs, and radish root ferment, which helps protect against odor-causing bacteria. It’s water-based and glides on clear, so it doesn’t ruin my dark fall wardrobe.