As the holidays roll in and the year comes to a close, it’s time to be reflective. Folks are thinking about the big life changes that occurred within the past 365 days, their resolutions for the year ahead — and the beauty product launches that positively changed their routines.
It’s the latter that Bustle’s beauty team is particularly reminiscent of. While the year brought tons of newness in the skin care, makeup, hair care, and body care realms, a select number of launches stand out in terms of innovation, formula, and results.
Since it’s our job to try everything that comes out, we’re well familiar with what makes a beauty product an MVP — hence why we’re sharing an ode to the launches that have transformed our skin, hair, and makeup regimens.
Read on for 2023’s 21 best beauty launches, each of which has become essential in our routines (so you’ll want to make space in your virtual carts).
1 The Buildable Foundation
“If there's one thing I'm most picky about, it’s my foundation. It has to have beautiful buildable coverage, but never look cakey. It should have a natural finish, but not get too oily or dry in spots throughout the day, and it should feel lightweight but still have that flawless finish.
The Sweetener Foundation truly has everything. Plus, it contains skin-nourishing ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. Needless to say, it’s become my everyday go-to since its launch.” — Olivia Rose Rushing, beauty writer 2 The Sweet Scent
“Before I ever was a beauty writer, I worked at a fragrance house — which basically means that my perfume wardrobe is extensive, to say the least. Throughout the years, I've found a few (mostly gourmand) scents that I adore, but Cherry Ambition is truly the sultriest
cherry perfume I've ever worn. It has a complex juiciness by way of plum, and a dark smokiness with hints of heated saffron that simply intoxicates. Obsessed is an understatement.” — ORR 3 The Gentle Exfoliant
“As someone with sensitive skin, finding a routine that actually works can be a bit of a struggle. All of The Outset's products —
and especially the Micro Polish — have remained tried-and-true staples this year. Safe to use every day, the gentle exfoliant is truly like a luxe facial in a bottle, revealing skin that is clear, bright, and squeaky-clean.” — ORR 4 The Creamy Blush
“When it comes to my makeup routine,
layers of blush are no doubt my favorite step. Amongst my most beloved formulas is the Kylie Cosmetics Glow Balm. A bouncy cream that effortlessly blends on the skin, this blush has a plumping effect that makes your cheeks look juicy, softly dewy, and ultra-hydrated. Bonus points for making monochromatic glam easier than ever with a few swipes on the eyelids and lips, too.” — ORR 5 The Luxe Face Cream
“Year-round, I love to have the look of ultra-moisturized, dewy skin. This rich cream from Summer Fridays does just that, so much so that applying it is almost akin to
"slugging" your face. Powered by hydrating squalane, juicy glycerin, along with a blend of powerful fruit-based extracts, a little bit of this dreamy product goes a very long way.” — ORR 6 The Skin-Plumping Serum
“This firming serum from Glow Recipe has become an essential part of my skin care routine ever since it launched. It keeps my skin looking healthy and plump while being a delight to use — the milky texture feels like a tall drink of water for my skin, and instantly preps my skin for makeup, too.” —
Faith Xue, beauty director, BDG 7 The Acid Toner
“Danucera's entire line is the sleeper hit of 2023 — and I just know it's poised to be the next cult skin brand of 2024. The tonic has the perfect cocktail of acids to exfoliate gently without irritation, and I've seen a noticeable difference in my skin texture ever since I started using it morning and night.” —
FX 8 The Must-Have Lip Balm
“There are other peptide lip treatments on the market, but Persona's is superior in my opinion if you prefer a less shiny finish. I use the pomegranate shade anytime my lips look dull or feel dry. The soothing balm adds instant hydration without excessive shine or stick, while the pigment adds the most natural-looking flush of color to my lips.” —
FX 9 The Liquid Blush
“This blush is the best do-it-all product to fake a well-rested glow and is basically a blush, skin hydrator, and highlighter in one — hence why I'm never without it. I use the shade Orgasm to add a sheer, peachy sheen to my cheeks, while the lilac shade Wanderlust is a sleeper hit that will make anyone believe in
purple blush. I love how the serum-like texture sinks in and leaves the most natural-looking glow.” — FX 10 The Alluring Fragrance
“I haven't stopped wearing this scent since it launched — it was love at first spritz. A luscious blend of sandalwood with just a tinge of sweetness (thanks to jasmine and fig), it's the type of fragrance that makes people stop me in the street and ask what I'm wearing.” —
FX 11 The Sculptural Lip Balm
phallic lipstick is an interesting conversation starter that I love pulling out of my bag. In fact, I love it so much that I keep it out as an artful tchotchke on my dresser whenever I’m not using it. But the lip balm itself is just as cool: It’s incredibly moisturizing, and delivers a subtle dark, shimmery shine to my pout for a soft goth touch.” — Rachel Lapidos, senior beauty & lifestyle editor 12 The Brow Essential
“I’ve always been a tinted brow gel girly, but this product made me a believer in pencils. The shape and width of the tip allows you to add fullness to your arches in the most natural-looking way, and the spoolie blends it in perfectly. It’s become an everyday staple for me.” —
RL 13 The Body Milk
“Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been raving about this body milk since it came out. Simply put, it’s the quickest, easiest way to infuse your limbs with weightless moisture — no stickiness or dry time required. On top of that, it comes in delicious scents, like Wake The F*ck Up, which is a fruity eucalyptus blend. I’ve gone through two bottles of it so far.” —
RL 14 The Hair Oil
“Since my hair care regimen is barely a regimen (I’m an air dry-kinda gal), I’m always looking for multitasking products. This year, I fell in love with K18’s hair oil, which really does the most. I smooth a bit onto my hair — both on wash days and between them — and it takes care of frizz, protects my hair from heat, adds shine, and makes my ends look healthier than ever. And it does all this without weighing my strands down or making them look sticky.” —
RL 15 The Ultimate Concealer
“This year gifted the world a
lot of great concealers, but this one’s my favorite. It contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing centella asiatica extract, so it’s good for your skin — but it also offers buildable coverage that expertly hides redness, dark circles, and blemishes. Sometimes I wear just this without any foundation and it still makes my complexion look bright, glowy, and even.” — RL 16 The Floral Fragrance
“As soon as I read this fragrance's description — a warm floral with notes of rose, magnolia, and sandalwood — I had a strong feeling that I would love it. Those sentiments were confirmed with one whiff, as it combines the woodsy notes I gravitate toward with beautiful, soft flowery notes. I can see why the full-sized perfume is currently sold out... but you can still snag the rollerball for now.” —
Erin Stovall, senior beauty editor 17 The Body Cream
“This rich body cream has proven to be perfect for both the balmy summer months
and the frigid winter weather when my skin is extra dry and needs a bit more TLC. I also love that it's fragrance-free, so I don't have to worry about its scent competing with my perfume.” — ES 18 The Matte Blush
“I've always been a fan of powder blush, but this product officially converted me to the liquid life. Whether I use a small dab for a light flush or build up the coverage with multiple layers, it gives me a natural wash of color that seems to perfectly complement any makeup look I'm creating. Another bonus: You simply can't beat the $5 price point.” —
ES 19 The Body Wash
“I'm willing to play the field when it comes to body washes, but I always find myself coming back to Caress. While its drugstore staples have evolved over the years, the best qualities — standout scents that linger on your skin, generously-sized bottles, and formulas that don't leave my skin feeling dry — have remained the same.” —
ES 20 The Deodorizing Powder
“As a hot sleeper, I've grown to love using a couple pumps of this before I go to bed. Formulated with kaolin clay and sandalwood oil, it has a light scent, doesn't make a mess, and helps neutralize any sweat that occurs as I'm snoozing.” —
ES 21 The MVP Beauty Tool
“I love testing high-tech beauty tools and this one was definitely my favorite of the year. It's not your average LED mask. There were two amazing features that made it unique: the protective mask that shields sensitive eyes from the light, and the ingenious vibration therapy that delivers a calming face and scalp massage while it's in use.” —
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