not a professional. just crazy.

The 5 Best Products for Skin, Nails, and Hair That I Bought This Year

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

This past year, maybe more than ever, I felt totally bombarded by the ceaseless launches of new beauty brands and products, seemingly all of which claimed to have innovative formulas that promised to forever change my skin, hair, or nails. And I’m not alone: I found that many of my beauty obsessed peers and even my less fanatical pals were also daunted by what I’m calling the Beauty Boom of 2019. Another thing I’ve found is that lots of genuinely worthwhile products managed to get lost in this madness without receiving the credit they deserve from writers (including me).

So, with a few days left before we enter the next decade of beauty and whatever it brings, I thought I would name my hands-down favorite products from 2019 across five categories — hair, nails, skin care, makeup, and body. While I can’t predict what the future may bring, based on my own experience, I can foresee any (or all) of these helping you start 2020 on a high note — at least as far as hair, nails, and skin are concerned. Enjoy!

Hair

Ouai Super Dry Shampoo

While I don’t own or use any Ouai shampoos or conditioners, I love pretty much all of the brand’s treatment products. Its leave-in conditioner, wave spray, and hair oil are among some of my very favorites for treating and healing damaged, dry hair. However, I never really liked Ouai’s dry shampoo foam (which dries down into an oil-absorbing concoction). I don’t know what it was, but there was something about the foam that was frankly too confusing, and I could never make it work for me. So when Ouai launched this straightforward, new and improved dry shampoo, I was beyond excited to try it. Unlike most dry shampoos (like Klorane’s, for example) this leaves no white cast. It also smells like a bed of roses and doesn’t give your hair that sticky feeling. What it does do, though, is eradicate any excess oil in your hair and give a perfect boost of volume. I love it so much.

Skin Care

Then I Met You The Skin Balancing Duo

I’ve been using this toner and essence religiously — every morning and evening — for the past four months or so, and my skin has never been better. Instead of blasting my face with a supercharged, high-percentage exfoliant (like those found in cult favorites Drunk Elephant Baby Facial or Biologique Recherche P50), this toner, formulated with just one percent lactic acid, provides just a kiss of exfoliation to make skin soft and smooth. Both the toner and the essence have incredible hydrating and healing ingredients, including birch juice, Squalane, and black chokeberry. I struggle with acne and this duo has helped me combat any kind of irritation or redness immensely. My mom, however, is more concerned with firmness and brightness, and she equally adores this twofer. It’s by far the most impressive skin-care launch of 2019, in my opinion.

Makeup

Em Cosmetics Color Drops Serum Blush in Sunset Sky

I’ve tried many blushes in my day, but the formula of this magical serum blush created by OG beauty blogger Michelle Phan is definitely one of the most unique I’ve ever used. Which is why I think it is one of the most special blush launches of the past year. One of my old go-to tricks was to mix Glossier’s Cloud Paint with a little of my face oil in order to get that ultrahydrating, super-dewy, sheer effect. But from the bottle this blush feels exactly like that mixture, meaning no more need for all the mess and effort. And it isn’t just texturally similar: the Em blush does actually moisturize and soothe skin, thanks to its formula that has hyaluronic acid, Squalane, and vitamin E. I love it so much, I own it in every single color.

Nails

LFN x Circumference Daily Cuticle Oil

Per the advice of my nail technician Fleury Rose, I decided to invest in a cuticle oil. Fleury claims that consistent use of a cuticle oil can not only help moisturize nails, but make them healthier and appear shinier and more radiant. This one is really lovely — it’s light, deeply hydrating, and beautifully (and conveniently) packaged with a little roller ball that makes swift, on-the-go application super easy. The oil itself sinks into your cuticles immediately, giving them an intensive, quick-yet-effective treatment that helps keep them hydrated and healthy. I am always throwing it in my purse, especially when I fly.

Body Care

Nécessaire The Body Serum

Many people — including myself — have now written a lot about the benefits of using a hyaluronic-acid serum in your skin-care routine. But what is maybe written about less is how a hyaluronic-acid serum can be just as nourishing for your body as it can be for your face. I know what you’re thinking, Isn’t my regular lotion enough? The answer is, if you have insanely dry skin or intense eczema like me, maybe not! I mix two pumps of this Nécessaire serum into my everyday Lavido Tea Tree Cream — it acts as a supplementary boost of moisture and leaves my skin feeling so much more hydrated, moisturized, and soft. In the winter, this extra shot of hyaluronic acid in my body lotion makes a world of difference: I don’t wake up with cracked, dry elbows or itchy legs. It’s truly a magical wintertime treatment to ensure your body is properly quenched during these dry, windy times.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The 5 Best Beauty Products I Bought in 2019