Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers
In our series Auto-Refill, we ask some of our favorite people to share the beauty products that are so good they use them to the very last drop. We’ve gotten a peek into the medicine cabinets of everyone from model Ashley Graham to Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney to Kardashian favorite-hairstylist and OUAI founder Jen Atkin.
After a while, we started to notice a pattern: Some products were mentioned once. Then again. And again. More often than not, they became ones we found ourselves adding to our own shopping carts. Here are ten of them, including the sunscreen that works on every skin tone, the “Meryl Streep of foundations,” and the cleansing balm that takes off every bit of makeup and grime.
Former aesthetician and model Hope Smith founded MUTHA while she was pregnant and looking for a way to prevent stretch marks. Her concoction, stirred in the kitchen with her KitchenAid, uses a mix of shea, mango, coconut, and cocoa butters. Model and former Victoria’s Secret Angel Elsa Hosk used it throughout her pregnancy, too, and still swears by it post-birth. Violet Grey founder Cassandra Grey says it goes a long way, and that she feels its moisturizing effect even several showers later.
Smith, Atkin, and Merit and Versed founder Katherine Power all swear by Summer Fridays’ Jet Lag Mask (which is also Cut favorite). “I have dry, sensitive skin and this combination of vitamin C, chestnut extract, and niacinamide helps keep it balanced,” Power says. She uses it as both an overnight mask and a hand cream.
Black Girl Sunscreen’s SPF 30 is beloved for its lightweight formula that is truly invisible on any skin tone. Celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway, InStyle beauty director Maya Allen, and author Tia Williams are among its fans. It also “helps with hyperpigmentation and dark spots,” says Williams.
Charlotte Cho’s luxuriously rich cleansing balm has reached cult status since hitting the market in 2018. It gently melts and removes every bit of make-up, sunscreen, and dirt on your face, leaving it refreshed and soft to the touch. Former Allure editor-in-chief Michelle Lee especially likes it for its citrus-y scent. Strategist columnist Rio-Viera Newton and Em Cosmetics’ founder Michelle Phan agree.
Former Allure editor-in-chief and Flesh founder Linda Wells loves the original, unscented version of Nécessaire’s Body Wash. The eucalyptus scent is a favorite among celebrity make-up artist Nam Vo and Power, who says she recently traded in her drugstore body wash for this one because of its ingredient list (niacinamide, vitamin C, and vitamin E are among the mix). Even though it’s scented, Power promises it’s safe even for sensitive skin. Vo, meanwhile, says the fragrance makes her feel “invigorated.”
Supergoop!’s sunscreens are constant hits in Auto-Refill. Graham loves the Glow Oil SPF 50 PA++++, Vo opts for the Glow Stick SPF 50 PA++++, Wells prefers the Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++, and Smith reaches for the Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++, which she says is “every beauty lover’s best kept secret!” But the reigning champ is the Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++, whose lightweight formula You actress Shalita Grant says “goes on sheer and virtually disappears.”
Stephanie Shepherd Suganami, formerly Kim Kardashian’s executive assistant and now the co-founder of nonprofit Future Earth, uses her fingers to apply this cream blush. She uses it on her lips for a slight flush, too. Grey, like Steph Shep, also prefers the “Petal” shade and uses it before every Zoom call to liven up her face.
Is Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream the secret to fancy-person skin? Grey, who initially launched the moisturizer at Violet Grey, says, “People call it the best skin care of all time — and yeah, it works.” Wells agrees. Hosk, on the other hand, says she loves the decadent moisturizer because “you only need a tiny bit of it” — but she avoids using it on her chin, which tends to break out easily with heavier products.
The “Meryl Streep of foundations” is a makeup artist go-to for its buildable but dewy coverage that stays on even through long days and nights. Sweeney, whose skin is incredibly reactive and acne-prone, says, “this foundation doesn’t break me out or split on my face.” Camila Coelho, influencer and the founder of Elaluz, was introduced to the foundation by makeup artist Mary Phillips and uses it on red carpets because it can go a long time without touchups.
The Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask was one of the four original products Nancy Twine created for Briogeo in 2013. To this day, the founder uses it once a week for ten minutes “when my strands are feeling dry and damaged and need a dose of protein.” Power also uses it once a week and says the mask doubles as a conditioner. Pro tip: “I keep it in for 5 minutes while I’m in the shower, but if my ends are super dry, I’ll put on a shower cap and leave it on for 20.” Meanwhile, Smith, who has naturally curly and dry hair, says this mask “beats every other hair mask I’ve used.”