As beauty editors, we test an enormous amount of products (hair, body, makeup, and skin care) in a given year in order to recommend what actually works, what is worth the price tag, what ingredients to look out for, and the items out there that are complete marketing stints (hello, green washing), interested in only your coin. As fun as it is to try out new launches before they release, there are only a few that we come back to time and time again — gaining a permanent spot in our medicine cabinets.
And because both editors and consumers are inundated with an ungodly amount of products on the market, we gladly do the dirty work for you and vet out all the best products that catch our eyes month over month. In May, we focused on lightweight products that don’t feel greasy when applied but are just as efficacious as the rich creams, under eye masks, and heavier winter fragrances we gladly put away with the coming of spring.
From skin care/makeup hybrid options, lightweight essences and serums, to hydrating cleansing oils, ahead are the best beauty products that have excited us and left us with a lasting impression this month. More importantly, these are the products that will be worth your while.
We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Face Gym Hydro-Bound Daily Serum
“I’ve been doing a lot of traveling the past few weeks and was in need of a product that was small enough to take in my hand luggage and equipped to give me radiant skin in climates that it isn’t typically exposed to. Face Gym Hydro-Bound Daily Serum has done just that. This small but mighty product blesses my skin with heavy hydration while still feeling lightweight. I use it every morning and night and it’s done wonders for the bounciness of my complexion. A little bit goes a long way here — after using it for about six weeks now, I am only halfway into the bottle. Such a good bang for your buck. ” — Natasha Marsh, beauty features writer, TZR
Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF
“Aside from the occasional wedding or black-tie event, I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. Lately, due to mask-wearing, I have developed some blackheads and blemishes underneath my nose and on my chin. Fortunately, it will usually go away in a few days if I don’t touch it, but the times when I need to leave my house for a work meeting or a hangout with friends, I’d rather not have acne on my otherwise glowing and clear skin. I started testing Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 over four weeks ago and have been impressed every single day that I use it. The innovative formula is so ahead of its time as it works to naturally blend into all skin tones, meaning there are no shades that you have to tediously match back to. This is a very hard concept for my olive undertone to understand and I have never really had success until now. When I apply it, the formula melts into my skin and completely matches the color of my complexion. What I love most about it is the insane glow it gives me that is not too much but just right. It also hasn’t altered or elongated my regime, holding the third and final step in my skin care routine. I can confidently say this new staple is something that I will absolutely be purchasing again.” — NM
Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum
“I’m obsessed with this eye serum. It absorbs quickly but still makes my under-eye feel hydrated and supple for hours on end. In fact, I’m often overly generous when I pump it out so I can apply any excess product to my mouth lines and neck area.” — Angela Melero, executive editor, TZR
Kinship Self Respect
“This sunscreen eliminates the need for skin care in the AM! I usually will just wash my face, slap on a serum or facial oil and then finish with this SPF and I’m good to go. The subtle sheen also leaves my skin looking radiant, so I typically eschew foundation and just let my complexion shine.” — AM
Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream
“This is one of my favorite sunscreens because it smells good, doesn’t leave a white cast on my face, and gives me a slight glazed donut look when I apply it. Even when I’m experiencing a breakout, this sunscreen is gentle enough to use over my pimples and keep my skin feeling hydrated throughout the day thanks to a mixture of African walnut oil, inca omega oil, and bamboo extracts. (One should note that this product contains both chemical and mineral ingredients, if that’s a concern for you.) I’ve been waiting for this product to come back in stock and now that it has, I’m adding another one to my virtual checkout cart STAT.” — Marina Liao, senior fashion news editor, TZR
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter
“I have the driest skin, which unfortunately includes my hands. I never go anywhere without hand lotion and one of my favorites has been this multipurpose Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter. I use it on my hands, neck, legs (now that it’s dress and shorts weather), and with all the reapplication, I go through the tube rather quickly. It’s very hydrating and I already bought five more of these babies, so it’ll be my go-to body butter for the rest of summer.” — ML
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizing Cream With Squalene
“I tend to finish a product and then move on to a new one. But, I just finished my second Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and am considering buying a third one — it’s just that good. It has the the ideal whippy-yet-light thickness so it does its duty as a cream but absorbs within an hour of application, depending on how dry my skin is that day. I used it year-round and sometimes at night when a night cream felt too thick and heavy for my skin. I find it hard to find the right balance of moisture and texture with day creams, especially one to use for all four seasons. I know that I’ll be using this one time and time again.” — Kathy Lee, editor-in-chief, TZR
Tatcha Camelia Cleansing Oil
“I love this oil cleanser because it moisturizes and protects the skin barrier on my face while getting rid of the the makeup and whatever NYC pollution settled on my skin that day. It cleanses without leavening any leftover residue, and is mild for daily use.” — KL
Vertly Lip Butter
“I live for a lip moment when it comes to my makeup, and in the summer that means easy-to-use tinted balms and butters. This CBD-enriched formula not only gives my lips a pillowy soft finish and keeps my pout hydrated for hours, but it also provides the most gorgeous rosy flush that looks like my lips but better. I’ve gifted this to every woman in my family and will be quickly re-ordering to keep my stash in stock.” — Hannah Baxter, deputy beauty editor, TZR
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
“Using an essence in my skin care routine is non-negotiable since I have dry skin, and SK-II’s signature Pitera ingredient (or fermented yeast) keeps my skin bouncy and supple year after year — seriously, I’ve gone through about five big bottles at this point. The 50 added nutrients and vitamins soak into my skin and leave it feeling unbelievably nourished. And, yes, I do actually see a difference when I forget to back my travel size bottle on vacation. I know it’s a pricey skin care splurge, but it’s one I’ll happily make over and over again for the sake of my healthy, glowing complexion. I’m almost down to the last drop so time to reorder!” — HB
Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser
“This is my first ever bottle of this product and to say I loved it was an understatement. After trying it for the first time a few months ago it quickly replaced the oil cleanser I had been using. I love the milky texture that melts into a light oil when worked into my skin. Even more, I love that it emulsifies and washes it off easily without leaving any film or residue on my face. While it’s sad to part with this bottle — it’s actually not that sad, my next bottle is already in the mail on its way to me.” — Annie Blay, Associate Beauty News Editor, TZR
BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
“When it comes to moisturizers my oily skin prefers the lighter variety, so it’s not a surprise how well it took to this lightweight cream from BeautyStat. This product was my introduction to the brand and it definitely left a good impression. The Moisture Boost Cream is an airy oil-free formula filled with ceramides that leave my skin feeling well moisturized but never greasy. And the fact that BeautyStat is Black-owned made using this all the more enjoyable.” — AB
Suntegrity Skincare Face 5 in 1 SPF30
“Look, as someone who has been working in the fashion and beauty industry for over a decade… I know, I know, I know you are supposed to slather yourself with sunscreen everyday AND reapply. But do I? Of course not. As someone with two little kids and a full-time job, I have roughly five minutes in the morning to put anything on my face. Luckily, however, this lightly tinted 5-in-1 SPF lotion packs hydration, sun protection, acne treatment, priming, and concealing all in one quick step. If nothing else, I always put this on after my shower — and when I start to run low, I’ll cut the top off and scrape out what I can until I procure a replacement.” — Alison Syrett, deputy fashion editor, TZR
Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk
“OK, yes, maybe $60 is a little much for a cleanser. But hear me out! Not only do you need just the teensiest amount to melt the day’s makeup off, but using it really is the most soothing, spa-like experience — I love to gently rub it on my face and then rinse with a super hot towel. It typically takes me several weeks to go through one container and then when I get to the end, I tip it upside down in a shaving cream cap so I can, quite literally, squeeze out every last drop. Bonus: Once it’s empty, the bottle makes for the cutest little vase for single stem flowers.” — AS