The Best Beauty Products From 2015 — According To Pros

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
This has been one helluva year for beauty: We baked and strobed our faces; gold took over Fashion Week; Kylie Jenner dropped a highly anticipated launch; and we tried scores and scores of new products. It seems no matter the challenge or trend, the industry keeps coming out with new and innovative takes on your run-of-the-mill hair, skin, and makeup finds — and 2015 was no exception.

As the year comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on the best of everything we've seen and tried, across all categories. And we asked our fellow beauty-editor friends to give us their picks, too. So get ready to block out some time to click through (spoiler alert: this is gonna be a long one), and make a list, because these are the kinds of products you'll want to add to your routine ASAP.




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"Kurkdjian, who's behind some of the best fragrances on the market (Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Elie Saab Le Parfum, Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male), just celebrated his 20th year in the business. And his signature line, known for clean, perfectly constructed floral and citrus scents, keeps getting better and better. His latest launch is no exception: a zingy blend of citruses and spices that positively radiates off the skin." — Anne-Marie Guarnieri, deputy beauty editor at Refinery29

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Forte, $275, available at Neiman Marcus.
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"A few weeks ago, people started telling me that my skin looked amazing. (And they weren't the sort of people who have to tell me this stuff.) I hadn't changed anything in my skin-care routine, I certainly wasn't getting enough sleep, and my diet, well, it's the holidays. I'm drinking my meals right now. But what is different is that I'm using this amazing foundation hybrid that sweeps on like a cream, but dries quickly to a soft powder finish. It's fuller coverage than anything I normally use and obliterates redness and unevenness, but it doesn't feel like I have anything on my face. It's the second amazing product I've tried (and loved) from this new Korean brand, and I'm sure it won't be the last." — Anne-Marie Guarnieri

Chosungah22 Bounce Up Pact Powder Foundation, $36, available at Sephora.
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"I've never been able to pull off the dewy-skin look; on me, it just careens quickly into greasy territory. But as I get older, my skin seems better able to handle products that provide a dewy effect without the shine. This sheer, hydrating serum absorbs quickly and works wonderfully under makeup — and keeps my skin from looking oily, even as it feels ultra-moisturized." — Anne-Marie Guarnieri

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum, $110, available at Nordstrom.
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"I try very hard to not be influenced by a product's description, and I'll admit, this one ("melting hearts," "sneaking kisses") contributed to my delay in testing it. Fortunately I smartened up, because Secret Genius is, in fact, secretly genius: a vanilla, caramel, and sandalwood blend that somehow manages to smell totally grown-up and not like a grocery-store cupcake. It's also super-affordable. And it was created by Harry Fremont, a legend in the fragrance world (CK One and Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, among other knockouts), which serves to remind me, all the time, to never judge a scent by its marketing materials." — Anne-Marie Guarnieri

Pinrose Secret Genius Eau de Parfum, $55, available at Pinrose.
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"TMI moment: I've recently stopped wearing deodorant. It never seems to work, and I got tired of all my white clothes being stained in two certain areas. But to ensure that I won't lose friends or my job, I've come to rely on the super-cleaning and natural scents of natural essential oil–based body scrubs to maintain the area. This one is my favorite. Despite its name, I can't smell anything sugary or sweet (not a big fan). All I smell is the eucalyptus, which I find quite comforting." — Jane Larkworthy, beauty director at W and founder of The Fraudulent Chef

Nannie Inez Energizing Sugar Scrub, $32, available at Nannie Inez.
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"I can't get enough of cleansing balms. I have about three or four of them, but if I had to pick a favorite, it's this one." — Jane Larkworthy

Erborian Solid Cleansing Oil, $39, available at Sephora.
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"This spray is the quickest gray fix, and I feel very lucky that it matches my hair color perfectly." — Jane Larkworthy

Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray in Light Brown, $29, available at Neiman Marcus.
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"A few pumps of this light cream on my neck, and I swear it looks firmer!" — Jane Larkworthy

Lancer Contour Décolleté Firming Concentrate, $185, available at Nordstrom.
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"I've never really thought of fern as a skin-care ingredient, but after testing out this new cream, I've clearly been missing out. Created by one of Germany's top dermatologists, Dr. Timm Gouleke, the Royal Fern line protects skin from genetic and environmental aging (screw you, sunlight and pollution). As I'm just starting to get into the whole anti-aging game, I can't really attest to its wrinkle-stopping powers, but I can rave about how soft and glowy it made my skin look and feel. Royal Fern has a lot of cool new stuff coming down the pipeline (including a cleansing balm that is the actual bomb), so keep an eye on this brand in 2016." — Megan McIntyre, beauty director at Refinery29

Royal Fern Phytoactive Anti-Aging Cream, $250, available at Space NK.
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"Poppy King is a queen in my eyes, and with good reason — the woman just gets lipstick. Not only does she bang out new formulations and colors at a breathtaking pace, she also manages to reinvent the lipstick wheel. Case in point: these metallic lipsticks she just launched this winter. Instead of the usual shimmer you see in many existing metallics, King used ultra-fine pearls to give her lipsticks a foiled effect. She also had the genius idea to make those pearls complementary to — not matching — the lipstick color. Which is why you see a surprisingly flattering purple with turquoise pearl, and, my personal favorite, the deep red with fuchsia pearl that makes up the gorgeous and traffic-stopping Paint the Town." — Megan McIntyre

Lipstick Queen All That Jazz Lipstick in Paint the Town, $30, available at Lipstick Queen.
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"My breed of cat-eye is thin, refined, totally understated. And this is the liner I use to get it. The brush is insanely tiny, like the size of a detail nail-art brush. It lets you get really, really close to the lash line, and the formula is blacker than black, if that's even possible. And it's refillable! So eco-chic." — Jenna Rosenstein, beauty writer at Allure

Surratt Beauty Autographique Eyeliner, $42, available at Barneys New York.
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"I was stopped by coworkers multiple times after I used this iron for the first time. Everyone wanted to know what I did to my hair to make it so shiny. The answer? Nothing, other than running this flat iron over it a few times. It makes my thick, wavy, annoying hair into the shiniest and straightest princess hair of my dreams." — Jenna Rosenstein

GHD Platinum Styler, $249, available at GHD Hair.
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"I finally worked up the courage to try a highlighter after seeing a ton of makeup artists and beauty bloggers obsess over this one. So I picked it up, and now I'm obsessed over it, too. The shimmer is so fine that it's really hard to overdo it, and the warm champagne color isn't too jarring on my fair skin." — Jenna Rosenstein

(Ed. Note: Anastasia Beverly Hills' Illuminator in So Hollywood is currently sold out. We will update this story when it is back in stock.)
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"In a sea of 8 bajillion liquid matte lipsticks, this one rose to the top. At first, it applies like a gloss: shiny, smooth, hydrating. But give the formula a few minutes and it dries down to the most perfect matte lipstick. And it lasts pretty much all day. I fell in love with this true-red when I saw it being used backstage at the Jason Wu spring show." — Jenna Rosenstein

Maybelline ColorSensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick in Rebel Red, $7.99, available at Drugstore.com.
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"I used to always have a lip balm on my nightstand to apply before I go to sleep. Though I still have one in my purse, my desk drawer, my coffee table (I'm a bit of an addict), I've swapped out my bedtime tube for the South Korean brand Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask. Though I think the whole 'sleeping mask' name is a bit of a gimmick, the results are no joke. I don't load it on like they say to (maybe that's the mask part), just apply it like I would any lip balm and it feels just about the same, but my lips are super-soft when I wake up in the morning. I also find my fiending for multiple balm applications throughout the day has significantly lessened." — Megan Cahn, senior beauty editor at Refinery29

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $25, available at Peach & Lily.


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"I apply this lightweight styling cream (made with yummy things like watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts, plus coconut, avocado, and apricot oils) to my towel-dried hair, and it curbs my usual abundance of frizz and defines my curls." — Megan Cahn

Oribe Curl Control Silkening Crème, $38, available at Net-a-Porter.
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"A dark burgundy was my go-to fall and winter nail hue forever and ever, but this year I switched it up thanks to this guy. It's a little chicer than my usual, softer than a black, yet still has that edge I go for, and it looks good with everything. It's the perfect deep-winter gray." — Megan Cahn

Smith & Cult No Poem Nail Lacquer, $18, available at Neiman Marcus.
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"Honestly, what's better than a Drizzy Drake and Tom Ford mash-up? Now I can finally have Drake off my mind and in my makeup bag where I can see him. From music to makeup — and everything in between — is there anything Drake can't do?" — Deena Campbell, hair and beauty editor at Essence.com

(Ed. Note: Tom Ford's Drake lipstick is currently sold out. We will update this story when it is back in stock.)
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"Now that the weather is chilly, it's the perfect time to light a candle and unwind. This new candle is spicy, honeyed, and has a smooth scent that lasts long after I remember to burn out the flame." — Deena Campbell

Jo Malone London Mimosa & Cardamom Home Candle, $65, available at Jo Malone.
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"Airbrush devices are always awkward. They can be bulky, noisy, and not exactly user-friendly. But the new Temptu cordless airbrush device is unlike any other. I love that it omits a fine mist that warrants a perfect finish. And it's small enough that I can bring it with me on all my travels." — Deena Campbell

Temptu Air, $195, available at Temptu.
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"I've always liked Glossier's original Balm Dotcom, but the coconut version is to die for. I apply it every night before bed, and every morning after I brush my teeth. And since no real coconuts are in it, you can use it even if you have coconut allergies. Genius!" — Deena Campbell

(Ed. Note: Glossier's Coconut Balm Dotcom is currently sold out. We will update this story when it is back in stock.)
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"The sleeping-mask trend kind of came and went — but I'm holding on because this La Prairie mask is the best part of my day. I sweep it on with the fancy brush and fall right to sleep — waking up to softer skin and a brighter complexion. (Neutrogena's Aqua Mask is a great drugstore alternative!)" — Cat Quinn, deputy beauty director at Refinery29

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask, $315, available at Nordstrom.
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"Do you know how often I have a spare cotton pad around to wipe my face with essence? Practically never. So when they decanted it and put it into a spray bottle, my praise hands emoji went straight up." — Cat Quinn

Sk-II Pitera Mid-Day Essence, $80, available at Sephora.
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"I cut my bangs this time last year and they lasted about…oh, two weeks. I quickly realized that blunt bangs just did not match my lifestyle, and this can of hairspray got me through the grow-out phase. It's strong-hold, but with a soft finish, so I could just spray my bangs back in a ponytail and — poof! — they were gone. No pins required." — Cat Quinn

R+Co Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray, $29, available at Birchbox.
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"My favorite lip color of the year was created by Troi Ollivierre, the makeup artist who does the J.Crew campaigns. This tomato red has just the right amount of orange. You might think that a bright color would be hard to pull off, but counterintuitively, this one is just the easiest thing to wear." — Annie Tomlin, beauty director at Self

Troi Ollivierre Lipstick in George, $28, available at Troi Ollivierre Beauty.
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"This one snuck up on me because I'm usually promiscuous when it comes to cleansers. (It's a job requirement!) But this one is just so lovely. No bells and whistles, no mountain of foam — just a gentle, effective way to cleanse without drying. My skin just seems calmer since I've started using it." — Annie Tomlin

Honest Beauty Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser, $18, available at Honest Beauty.
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"This nail polish was reformulated to be slightly thicker, and now I like it better than ever. It's extremely shiny and lasts for more than a week without chipping — I wore it throughout New York Fashion Week and it looked brand-new the entire time." — Annie Tomlin

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $9.99, available at Ulta.
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"This dry shampoo is an incredible game changer. Not only does it lift away dirt and oil, it sops up post-workout sweat — which is why so many of my Self colleagues are similarly obsessed. I gave a can to a friend who insisted that dry shampoo is the absolute worst (too powdery, too sticky), and now she's a convert." — Annie Tomlin

"I've written about this product countless times on TotalBeauty.com, and I've recommended it to practically every human I know. Unlike powdery dry shampoos that sit on your scalp and feel itchy, this one cleans hair (almost like you washed it) and doesn't leave behind any residue. It's the only dry shampoo that lets me go three days without using real shampoo." — Dawn Davis, beauty director at TotalBeauty.com

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, $22, available at Sephora.
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"I hate putting on body lotion — it's like I have a mental block against it. But for some reason that doesn't apply to this in-shower version, which I actually enjoy using. It smells amazing (coconut is my favorite), sinks in fast, and, since you don't rinse it off, doesn't leave your tub slippery." — Dawn Davis

Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer With Refreshing Coconut Oil, $7.99, available at Ulta.
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"I think I tested every new mascara in 2015, and I can say without hesitation that this one was my favorite. It thickens. It curls. You can apply a quick coat for a subtle look or pile it on for drama. I even like the rubbery handle. It can be a little tough to remove, but sometimes that's a good thing." — Dawn Davis

Benefit Roller Lash Super-Curling & Lifting Mascara, $24, available at Birchbox.
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"I always thought day creams with SPF were bogus. The SPF is usually too low for my vampire-like skin, and they're generally formulated with chemical sunscreen ingredients, which I try to avoid. This moisturizer is the only day cream I truly believe in. It has mineral SPF 46, it's an awesome primer for makeup, and it keeps my skin matte all day." — Dawn Davis

Phace Bioactive Soothing Day Cream + Primer SPF 46, $86, available at Phace Bioactive.
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"This concealer is simply magical. It's creamy, but it doesn't crease. And it covers both dark circles and breakouts beautifully." — Dawn Davis

Urban Decay
Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer, $28, available at Urban Decay.
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"SheaMoisture came out with a new professional line this year that deserves all of your money — specifically, the hair masque. It leaves my hair as soft as a baby's bum even days after using it and cuts down on my detangling time immensely. It is pricier than the average Shea products, but it's well worth the couple of extra bucks." — Taylor Bryant, beauty news editor at Refinery29

SheaMoisture Professional Rehydrating Hair Masque, $19.99, available at Sally Beauty.
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"Korean brands are obviously at the forefront when it comes to beauty innovations, and Too Cool for School is no exception. And its products are now available at Sephora, so no more going through sketchy sites to score them. My favorite of the brand's bunch is its mousse body oil. It comes out like shaving cream and, once you rub it into your skin, instantly turns into a silky oil. It makes the banal act of putting on lotion a whole lot more fun." — Taylor Bryant

Too Cool for School Egg Mousse Body Oil, $25, available at Sephora.
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"I've been talking up DevaCurl's new Decadence line to death, but that's because it's deserving of all the accolades. Their styling cream is one of my favorites from the collection, because it not only works wonders on holding my curls, but it's also super-hydrating." — Taylor Bryant

DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler, $28, available at Sephora.
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"I've been wearing my hair in its natural texture for ages, but this is the first cream I've ever used that actually helps make said texture look great. It helps define my curls, cuts down my frizz, and does all of this without weighing down my strands. Major." — Maria Del Russo, beauty editor at Refinery29

Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It (H)Air Styler, $30, available at Sephora.
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"This was the year I really nailed down scents that I loved — but my favorite has to be this one from Lake & Skye. It's allegedly inspired by the teachings of Kundalini yoga and the color white. It's the perfect mix of musk and and floral — an incredibly sexy and mysterious scent. Marilyn Monroe may have worn Chanel No. 5 to bed, but I've been wearing this." — Maria Del Russo

Lake & Skye 11 11 Fragrance, $48, available at Lake & Skye.
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"My coworkers like to tease me about my love of this bottle, but dammit if I can't stop spraying it! Tory Burch, seemingly the queen of all things girly, makes this rich, well-rounded fragrance that's anything but basic. Black currant, rose, tuberose, jasmine sambac, and cedarwood come together for a smell that is part sexy, part playful, and totally wearable." — Maria Del Russo

Tory Burch Absolu Eau de Parfum, $100, available at Nordstrom.
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"This eyeliner is so incredible for tight-lining that I wrote an entire lengthy love letter to it. Seriously, this stuff doesn't move — even if you cry (yes, I 'tested' this)." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty editorial assistant at Refinery29

DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliner EX, $10, available at DHC.
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"I have pretty oily combination skin, which means during the winter, powder can make my face look like a flaky mess — but skipping powder means looking like an oil slick by midday. I've tried scores of mattifying primers in the past, but they were always full of silicone and made me break out. This one, however, is silicone-free and feels like a moisturizer. The best part? It keeps my foundation in place all day without the need to powder at all." — Mi-Anne Chan

Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer, $38, available at Jouer Cosmetics.
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"This is yet another hero product I've given some love to on Refinery29. It's hands-down the most comfortable matte lipstick I've tried all year. If you're new to the line, try this deep-raspberry hue (After Dark) for a beautiful pop of bold color that's a little more unexpected than your traditional red or pink." — Mi-Anne Chan

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick, $22, available at Urban Decay.
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"I got this curling wand (which has a handy detachable clamp) after seeing it in action in a coworker's story. Before then, I wasn't a fan of curling my hair, but this makes it so easy to create effortless, beachy waves that I think I've been converted. Sure, I don't use it daily, but when I do want to do a little more with my locks, I always reach for it." — Mi-Anne Chan

Harry Josh Pro Tools 2-in-1 Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron 1 Inch, $175, available at Dermstore.
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