Best Beauty Products February 2023

Robert Hundley

At PEOPLE, we take beauty testing very seriously. We sift through hundreds —nay — thousands of pitches and products on a regular basis, carefully swatching, spritzing, and applying the latest and greatest offerings so that we can then share with you, dear readers, those that are worth your hard-earned money. And we’re keenly aware that beauty products are subjective, which is why we consult with experts like dermatologists, makeup artists, and hairstylists to determine what will best suit our specific skin and hair types, and we also boast a large testing pool of varying beauty needs so that we’re each giving the products a fair trial before writing them off. Sometimes, though, there are those especially shiny offerings that we feel the need to shout from the mountaintop of bottles, tubes, and compacts, which is why we started this monthly series of our absolute favorite picks.

Below, we’re rounding up the makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrances that made us do a double-take last month — and then reach for them again and again. From an eye cream that smells and feels amazing to a TikTok hair wax dupe that’s only $10.

About Face Cherry Pick Lip Butter

About Face

“About Face’s Lip Butters could not have come into my life at a better time, because if you’re anything like me, my lips get über dry in the winter and gloss is a nightmare with the long hair and wind combo. The Lip Butters are the perfect cross between a lipstick and gloss, acting like your favorite hydrating balm and leaving a high-shine finish. It feels like a moisturizing mask on my lips each time I wear it without being heavy, and the color selection is a lip-lover’s dream (my personal favorite? “Pamplemousse”). All of that for $15? I’ll need a dozen, thank you.” — Alyssa Brascia, commerce staff writer

Price at time of Publish: $15

Nick Stenson Beauty Root Lifter Spray


“A blowout is only as good as its volume, and this root-lifting spray from Nick Stenson takes my roots to sky-high levels without grit or grimy residue. Just spritz the product on your scalp before going in with your blow dryer of choice to achieve soft body with a side of heat protection.” — Cai Cramer, commerce staff writer

Price at time of Publish: $36

UMA Citron Glow Body Balm

Uma Oil

“Body balms are fiercely underrated — I haven’t tried one I didn’t like. This particular winter-skin savior, which has a citrus and sandalwood scent, is loaded with luscious butters and oils (but doesn’t have a greasy feel) as well as antioxidants to improve the skin’s tone.” — Jackie Fields, deputy beauty director

Price at time of Publish: $60

Ciaté London Wonderwand Mascara


“I require a few key things of my mascara: it needs to have a big fluffy wand; an inky-black, super volumizing and lifting formula; and a flake-free finish. This mascara (which isn’t a new launch but rather a new-to-me, fan-favorite formula that sells at a rate of one tube every two minutes, according to the brand) does all of this and more. The large, full-bristle wand grips onto my lashes nicely, delivering a thick coat of product that lengthens and bulks up my lashes in a drastic way. I’ve also found that it can be reapplied even after the formula has dried down without clumping or creating that dreaded spider-lash effect. I use it every single day!” — Lindsey Metrus, commerce director

Price at time of Publish: $22

Margiela Replica On a Date


I received a sample of this bottle around Valentine’s Day which was indeed a timely arrival given the name and the sensual nature of this blend. It’s got notes of black currant liquor accord and rose petal, a scent profile that would typically read a bit too fruity and floral for me, though a heady base of patchouli adds a woody finish that perfectly balances out the sweetness of this warm, romantic fragrance. I got stopped in the elevator by a group of women asking me what I was wearing, which is all the validation I need that my scent is a winner.” — Lindsey Metrus, commerce director

Price at time of Publish: $160

Gisou Honey-Infused Hair Wash Shampoo


“I’ve tried an absurd amount of hair care products, and I have to say, I’m a big fan of the entire Gisou collection (specifically the honey-infused shampoo). Using ingredients like argan oil, honey, and a proprietary, hydrating pea protein blend called KeraMatch, this shampoo really moisturizes your hair and leaves it absolutely silky. I was honestly surprised how clean it got my hair — it wasn’t salon-level, but pretty dang close. They also have a conditioner and leave-in conditioner to really round out your hair routine.” — Madison Yauger, commerce staff writer

Price at time of Publish: $37

Ilia Bright Start Activated Eye Cream


“Eye cream is something I love using when I remember to do it, but it doesn’t always make it into the nightly rotation. That said, since I’ve started using Ilia’s Bright Start Activated Eye Cream, I’ve become much more methodical about it. The packaging serves as a container and applicator which makes the cream so easy and enjoyable to use. It has a ceramic rounded tip that’s cool to the touch, so you just squeeze the container and then use the tip to massage the cream into the area around your under-eye. The cream smells and feels amazing, and my skin texture is vastly improved after use.” — Madison Yauger, commerce staff writer

Price at time of Publish: $46

Strip Makeup Whipped Coconut Makeup Remover


“I’m not sure what I like more about this makeup remover: that my skin feels so soft afterwards thanks to vitamin E-rich mango seed butter, or that the coconut oil makes it smell a bit tropical. The light, fluffy formula removes all visible traces of makeup, whether I had on just a little around the eyes or a full face, and a little dab goes a long way.” — Laura Gurfein, commerce editorial director

Price at time of Publish: $28

Refy Cream Blush – Malaya


“When I say this blush is pigmented, I mean it deposits the perfect amount of pigment onto your cheeks. Unlike other popular cream formulas, this cream blush is blendable without completely disappearing. I love the shade range on this product and how the color actually shows up on my skin tone without me having to add multiple layers of the product. I can use this blush for both everyday no-makeup looks and glam looks. Refy says their cream blush “enhances and compliments the natural color of your cheeks,” and I’d have to agree with them completely. The blush added a glow to my face that looked flushed and natural. I love the shade Malaya because it’s such a unique color. The best way to describe it is that it’s a blend of mauve and hot pink. It compliments my golden undertones and looks great on the apple of my cheeks and the bridge of my nose.” — Dhara Patel, commerce project manager

Price at time of Publish: $20

MAKEUP BY MARIO SurrealSkin™ Liquid Foundation


“I never need more foundations in my collection, but when I heard Makeup by Mario was coming out with a new formula, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The product lives up to the quality of the brand’s other products and feels almost like a second skin (read: it’s not heavy at all). The foundation can be described as medium-coverage and leaves a luminous, glowing finish.” — Dhara Patel, commerce project manager

Price at time of Publish: $42

Payot Lisse Wrinkle Smoothing Cream


“I’ve tried so many wrinkle creams to smooth the subtle lines and uneven texture I developed in my 20s — but nothing compares to this. I’ve only been using it for about a week, so can’t speak to the long-term effects, but my skin feels more soft, smooth, and plump just in that short timeframe. The velvety cream is made with Swiss pine and wild pansy extracts along with hyaluronic acids that boost skin elasticity and also help protect from aggressors like blue light. The best part is that it smells heavenly — like I need this scent in a candle.” — Erika Reals, commerce editor

Price at time of Publish: $58

SNTE Hair Wax Stick


“I was officially influenced by TikTok and bought this hair wax dupe that’s supposed to give you that slicked-back bun effortlessly. And to my surprise, that’s exactly what it does. For only $10, the wax stick — made with beeswax, castor seed oil, and avocado oil — is perfect for styling hair or smoothing frizzy edges, resulting in a covetable smooth and shiny look. All you do is pull off the cap and swipe onto your hair — it’s that easy.” — Erika Reals, commerce editor

Price at time of Publish: $10

Joanna Czech Skincare: The Balm

Joanna Czech

“Okay, so this is what true hydration feels like. I am all about a good drugstore pick, but there’s also something to be said for a high-end product that works as well as The Balm from Joanna Czech. Its application has become a morning ritual that I truly look forward to and this clear balm locks in a hydrating glow for the entire day. Plus, a little goes a very long way.” — Erin Johnson, senior commerce editor

Price at time of Publish: $230

Alleyoop Game Face Second Skin Concealer


“I’m 8 months pregnant and running around after a 2-year-old, so I really need my concealer to do some heavy lifting. A friend introduced me to this brand and after one swipe, I immediately knew it was going to help not only my under-eye area but also conceal any blemishes. I love that it also acts as skincare thanks to the aloe stem cell extract which helps with dry skin and redness and the rosehip oil to promote a more youthful complexion. We need all our products to pull some double-duty, amiright? That’s why this is at the top of my rotation.” — Brittany Talarico, deputy style director

Price at time of Publish: $25

Vegamour Hydr-8 Shampoo


“I’m always skeptical about new shampoos (I find that they rarely do what they say they’ll do) but this one from Vegamour is built different. It leaves my hair feeling soft, even before following up with conditioner. And despite having ultra-dry hair that’s used to a once-weekly wash, this shampoo helps rid my scalp of buildup while hydrating and deeply nourishing. Needless to say, the rest of my shampoo collection has been relegated to the bottom shelf while this bottle has been sitting firmly at the top.” — Cai Cramer, commerce staff writer.

Price at time of Publish: $38

Violette FR C’est La Cream

“This moisturizer is the epitome of quality skin care (in my book). From the minimalist packaging to the fragrance-free, luxurious formula, this face cream is one that I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day seamlessly. My skin is not immune to the windburn and seasonal dryness that winter brings, so I’ve needed a fast-acting yet lightweight moisturizer that I can use for both morning and night, and C’est La Cream has checked every box. From infusions of hydrating squalane, glow-enhancing vitamin C, and French marshmallow root for barrier protection, your winter skin will be looking more supple than ever, even in the dead of winter, thanks to this miracle-in-a-tube moisturizer.” — Alyssa Brascia, commerce staff writer

Price at time of Publish: $68

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