This Toner is the Second Best Thing to a Facial

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich  Review

$43 at Whamisa

TL;DR:

  • What it is: A hydrating toner
  • What it does: Makes skin look radiant and dewy
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking for more hydrated skin

If you haven’t already tried hydrating toner, here’s the deal: The prep step makes skin look so much dewier than moisturizer alone. Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich has a soft, waterlike texture, a subtle rose scent, and a radiant finish — the whole shebang makes you feel, smell, and look like you just came from a facial. This is meant to be the first step in your morning skin-care routine. Smooth about a nickel-size amount onto damp, freshly cleansed skin, and then give it a few seconds to absorb before layering your other products on top. You can finish with a serum, cream, and/or facial oil (in that order) — and sunscreen always, always goes last.

You'll find Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich in the November 2021 Allure Beauty Box

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich

$43 at Whamisa

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Thank You, Dr. Aisha Allen, for Fearlessly Advocating for Equality and Happiness

The JapanBased Black Healthcare Advocate Who Teaches Joy Investing and Equality  Thank You Notes

This is part of Thank You Notes, a series of letters offering gratitude to the people and things that inspire us most. Like many others, Allure has spent the pandemic looking inward. What we found was deep gratitude for the medical professionals that cared for our communities and our country during a profoundly difficult time. Then we wrote. 

Dear Dr. Aisha, 

First, I should really thank TikTok. Because that’s how in the midst of the pandemic, I, a New York-based beauty editor, found you, a badass Black nurse anesthetist, mentor, and entrepreneur living in Japan and pursuing her pilot license in her free time. We may not have all that much in common on paper, but through your social media content, I found your refreshingly transparent videos on positive mindset, building wealth, and harnessing happiness. While the world was in uncertain chaos, I was assured and inspired by you, watching you encourage your followers about entrepreneurship, gratefulness, and advocacy. 

Growing up, I walked through the world with incredible ease — a white Midwestern student with tremendous privilege. I was allowed to question authority and deemed “plucky.” I was able to swap stories and compare experiences with every white student surrounding me for reassurance and encouragement. But you had the exact opposite — when you stood up for yourself, you were labeled difficult and obstinate. And you couldn’t turn to classmates to discuss a racist comment made by another student or teacher, because no one else noticed the commonplace derogatory slights. 

Your experience was different. Even as a five-year-old, your first-grade teacher assumed your perfect spelling-test score was the result of cheating. You could have taken it to heart — heard the unwarranted criticisms, the microaggressions, the blatant racial biases — and allowed it to alter you, but instead you powered on (with the guidance of a steadfast, confident mother). Many years later while in nursing school, a mentor balked at your hefty goals, telling you not to dream so big or else you’d surely be disappointed. You could have easily been discouraged. And yet, you carried on with your head held high and dreams as grand as your heart. 

You worked your way from RN to an advanced practice nurse, the only Black nurse in your class. That wasn’t unusual to you though. While your degree was an incredible feat on its own, it was especially so because only around 5 percent of physicians are Black, and only around 9 percent are nurses.

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Your entire life and career, you’ve been doubted, questioned, and challenged — but you haven’t let it get in the way of who you are meant to be. Instead, you’ve used your position to advocate for those without a voice. It’s heartbreakingly common for POC patients to feel unheard, disregarded, and invisible to a care provider — and that is exactly what has propelled you forward in your profession. 

As a nurse anesthetist, you’re the one who administers epidurals during labor. When we spoke, you recalled your first meeting with a Black mother who was visibly nervous — not just about giving birth, but about her horrifying reality. According to the CDC, Black women have a maternal mortality rate three times higher than that of white women. The estimated national rate in the United States is about 17 per 100,000 live births — but it is about 37 per 100,000 live births for Black women. When you introduced yourself and explained you were there to listen and keep her safe, she instantaneously calmed. You assured her, “If you feel like you’re not being listened to, have them call me, and I will be here to advocate for you.”

You’re also motivated to mentor those beyond your physical reach, becoming a spokesperson for a rather unfamiliar emotion in nursing recently: joy. In this unprecedented time, mental health for nurses is understandably on a decline, and a lot of health-care workers are feeling underappreciated. On social media, you’ve started to bring nurses to the conversation of what it means to be truly happy and create the life you want. You educate around developing life skills outside of your profession: finances, investment, and encouraging followers to try new things.

Your biggest goal — as someone who advocates about health and social disparities — is educating anyone, no matter their background or where they are in the world, so they can spread the message. Educating others leads to understanding, which leads to advocacy — and that can be a catalyst for impossibly great achievements. 

Thank you, Dr. Aisha, for being you. You're a nurse anesthetist, an educator, a mentor, an advocate — but you’re also a business owner, an investor, a soon-to-be pilot, a hiker, a vegetarian, and so much more. You can’t be defined by a single sentence — and that has inspired me in my own life. You’re more than just a job title or career, you are multifaceted, and you are manifesting a whole world of your own creation. 

XOXO, Kristin

The Best Under-$15 Products From Viral Skin-Care Brand The Ordinary

19 Best The Ordinary SkinCare Products for Clearer and Brighter Skin 2021

Clara Hendler / Allure

If you somehow haven't managed to hear about The Ordinary or seen it all over skin-care TikTok, then you're about to let in on one of the buzziest, most affordable skin-care brands in the game. But for most skin-care devotees, The Ordinary is basically vernacular. 

For the uninitiated, The Ordinary is owned by parent company Deciem, which is also the home and incubator of Niod, Hylamide, and more. However, The Ordinary has made waves as the most budget-friendly out of the bunch. Its star-studded lineup includes a Best of Beauty-winning hyaluronic acid serum that can double as a hair serum, social-media-famous face peel, and countless other skin-care products (with a smattering of makeup and hair care) that belong on your shelves. It's enough beauty knowledge packed into one brand to practically transform you into a pseudo cosmetic chemist.

As such, The Ordinary has evolved into one of the golden standards for affordable (under $15), to-the-point skin-care products that address just about every skin issue under the sun. Do you have dry skin? Would you like marula, argan, or rosehip seed oil? What about dull skin? There's a salicylic, lactic, or mandelic acid for you. The names themselves, like AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, are extremely transparent and list out the exact percentage of active ingredients, so there's no second-guessing involved. As always, patch test when in doubt and always, always wear SPF — but especially the morning after you use actives and acids to fully protect your skin from damage.

And after launching at both Ulta Beauty and Sephora, the brand is more accessible to consumers than ever before. We rounded up the best The Ordinary products that we are beloved by Allure editors, readers, and board-certified dermatologists alike. With such reasonable price points, we wouldn't blame you if you went ahead and bought a handful at once. After all, skin care is highly personal and takes a lot of trial and error to perfect. The Ordinary simply lessens the burden on your bank account in doing so.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Keywordsbeauty productsskin carethe ordinaryaffordable beautyserumspeelscleansersoilstonersacidsshoppingbeauty shoppingretinolniacinamideazelaic acidconcealerbase makeupFoundationhyaluronic acidglycolic acidsalicylic acideye serumcaffeinevitamin cZincFoundationsliquid foundationshopping guide

Finally, an Eyelash Curler That’s Not Intimidating

Eyeko Eyelash Curler  Review

$15 at Eyeko

TL;DR:

  • What it is: An eyelash curler
  • What it does: Makes lashes look lifted and curled, with an easy-to-use cushy pad and gentle arc
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking for major lashes

I thought you needed a surgeon’s steady hand to get lifted, curled lashes — and then I was asked to write about Eyeko Eyelash Curler for work. The gentle arc and cushy pad of this tool make it easy to use (there was no accidental pinching!) and the handle rests comfortably on your cheek to make curling a breeze. There are so many different techniques for curling lashes, but I love this one shared by a top makeup artist: Curl your lashes by the base, apply one coat of mascara, let it dry completely, curl again, and then apply more mascara. Waiting a few seconds before going back in with the curler is key. If your lashes are wet, they may stick to the curler or clump.

You'll find the Eyeko Eyelash Curler in the 2021 November Allure Beauty Box.

Eyeko Eyelash Curler

Eyeko Eyelash Curler

$15 at Eyeko

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Neogen’s Probiotics Youth Repair Cream Is My Go-To Moisturizer In-Between Botox Appointments

Neogen Probiotics Youth Repair Cream Is My GoTo Moisturizer InBetween Botox Appointments  Review

$48 at Neogen

TL;DR:

  • What it is: A whipped cream moisturizer that feels amazing
  • What it does: Nourishes, hydrates, and smooths skin with peptides, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a rich moisturizer, especially for dry and/or mature skin

Inside this pretty pink jar lies a whipped, luxurious cream that coddles both dry and mature skin — a feat much-needed (and appreciated) during an extended work-from-home period when Botox appointments are few and far between. The Neogen Probiotics Youth Repair Cream is formulated with peptides (11 of them, to be exact), along with hydrating hyaluronic acid and nourishing ceramides, to not only moisturize skin, but give it a bouncy, slightly lifted disposition. I like to slather on a hefty helping after my nightly retinol application to give fine lines and laxity a one-two punch. And yes, I’m aware this K-beauty cream doesn’t work exactly the same wonders as my beloved Botox, but it sure is a nice temporary stand-in.

You’ll find Neogen Probiotics Youth Repair Cream in the November 2021 Allure Beauty Box.

Neogen Probiotics Youth Repair Cream

Neogen Probiotics Youth Repair Cream

$48 at Neogen

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

These Are Allure Editors’ Favorite New Beauty Products

Allure Beauty Editors' Favorite Products This Week  Reviews

Courtesy of brand

At Allure, we get inundated with the latest and greatest beauty offerings every day. Most of it is exciting, some of it confusing, and sometimes it gets overwhelming, especially now that our homes have become our offices. Alas, that is the beauty editor's burden to bear.

When we really like something, you can trust that our opinion has come from vetting it against everything we've seen before, including our longtime favorites. (We've even written love letters to some of the products we hold most dear.) But we're always open to finding — and sharing — new favorites. It's a big beauty playground out there, so we'll gladly do the dirty work to test everything under the sun. And the crème de la crème often graduate to our Best of Beauty trials.

But let's stick to the present for now. Each week, Allure editors select the new hair, makeup, and skin-care products we're currently obsessing over. Trying to narrow down our favorites to just one or two products can be hard, but we manage. Check out what our editors can't get enough of right now.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Keywordseditors' favoritesbeauty productsallure editorshair careskin caremakeupfragrancehair toolseditors picksshoppingshopping guideAllure Beauty BoxABB Productsbrow pencilFoundationbody lotionHuda Beautydeciemlip balmscowash

Tarte’s Shadow & Liner Stick Just May Be the Perfect Cat Eye Tool

Tartes Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow  Liner in Rose Gold Luster  Black  Review

$25 at Ulta Beauty

TL;DR:

  • What it is: A black liner with a shimmery rose-gold shadow on the other end
  • What it does: Lets you create sparkling cat eyes, or smudgy smokey looks
  • Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a quick eye shadow look

Every great cat eye requires two things: a precise liner and a shimmery shadow that I can use to highlight my artistry. Tarte’s Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow & Liner in Rose Gold Luster & Black comes equipped with both. The thin, charcoal-black liner is one of the smoothest pencils I’ve used (and I’ve tried just about every gel, liquid, and pencil out there). The creamy texture glides along my lash line seamlessly, creating a smooth wing. Then I scribble the metallic, rosy shadow stick (which has more of a golden payoff on my brown skin) at my inner corners and smudge the shadow for a soft finish. It’s anywhere eye makeup—and it looks good everywhere.

You'll find Tarte’s Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow & Liner in Rose Gold Luster & Black in the 2021 November Allure Beauty Box

Tarte Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow

Tarte Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow

$25 at Ulta Beauty

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

This Oil Made My Skin Softer Overnight

Pili Ani SelfCare Night Recovery Oil  Review

$72 at Pili Ani

TL;DR:

  • What It Is: A lightweight face oil enriched with squalane and plant extracts
  • What It Does: Hydrates, smoothes, and softens skin overnight
  • Who It's For: Anyone booking to double-down on moisture

If you haven’t yet added face oil to your skin care routine, I’m actually jealous — because there’s nothing quite like that first morning you wake up after using face oil as your last step the night prior and realize your skin feels so much more hydrated than it does after using moisturizer alone.

As a diehard face oil fan, I’ve gotten used to that feeling — so to really wow me, a formula has to go beyond simply helping to hydrate. Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil is one of those formulas: not only did it leave my skin feeling more moisturized, but noticeably smoother and softer, too.

The blend is stacked with one of my favorite hydrating ingredients, squalane, along with a laundry list of plant-derived extracts including calendula and chamomile. It’s hard to say which one in particular is responsible for the softening and smoothing I noticed — but if you ask me, that’s all part of the magic.

You'll find Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil in the November 2021 Allure Beauty Box

Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil

Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil

$72 at Pili Ani

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How Charcoal Clears Up Oily and Acne-Prone Complexions

Model with slickedback long black hair looking up with smoky dark blue eye makeup onGetty Images

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Around 2015, charcoal went from simply a fire starter and an emergency room treatment for overdoses and poisonings to an ingredient that set the food and beauty industries aflame. Lattes, smoothies, cleansers, and face masks alike were spiked with the sooty powder to give them a pitch-black hue that brands swore helped with detoxification. Years later, charcoal's popularity in foods has waned, but it's still a reoccurring inclusion in skin-care products to this day.

For those who never fully considered what the charcoal in your favorite product actually is, it's basically wood burnt down to an absorbent powder composed of carbon and ash, cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure tells Allure. But how does it work its magic for our complexions? We asked experts to share how charcoal rids skin of nastiness. 

How does charcoal benefit skin?

If you ask Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., charcoal is like a Dyson — vacuum, not blow-dryer — for your pores. "It sucks up everything by electrically drawing out bacteria, dirt, and oil from skin," she explains to Allure.

In fact, the carbon molecules act as charcoal's power source to pull toxins away from your skin. They have a negative charge that attracts impurities, says board-certified dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, M.D. "Every day, we come into contact with free radicals and other environmental aggressors that can clog our skin," she adds. Needless to say, charcoal can come to the rescue to detoxify the situation.

Those with oily, acne-prone complexions will benefit most from including charcoal in their skin-care routine, both of dermatologists say. "It just helps to even out the slate, minimizing the nutrients that feed zits," Dr. Gohara adds.

What are the downsides of charcoal skin-care products?

As charcoal absorbs excess oil and debris from skin, it can sometimes do its job too well by also taking away moisture. In the process, it can make skin more susceptible to dryness and irritation, Dr. Zubritsky says. So if your complexion tends to be on the drier side, charcoal doesn't need to be incorporated into your skin-care routine. Instead, retinol, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and beta (BHAs) will help exfoliate away impurities on the surface of your skin.

Alternatively, Dr. Zubritsky says you should skip reaching for products with these ingredients when using ones infused with charcoal. Dr. Gohara echoes this advice, adding charcoal may even suck up those actives, particularly retinol, and make them less effective.

Overall, charcoal isn't harmful for skin and "has minimal to no risk of causing allergic reactions," Dr. Zubritsky says. "However, most skin-care products do not contain just charcoal and typically have other ingredients that could be allergenic," she adds. "I always recommend performing a patch test prior to using any new skin-care product."

Which charcoal-infused products do the experts recommend?

With all of this in mind, charcoal-based masks and moisturizers are the best possible way to put the ingredient to work. Leave-on products are ideal because "charcoal works best when it can be absorbed into the skin over a long period of time," Lam-Phaure says. Her personal favorite (as well as Dr. Zubritsky's) is the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores because it's also spiked with kaolin, which "enhances the oil-absorbent properties of charcoal," she adds.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

$28Shop Now

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask

$60Shop Now

PCA Skin Detoxifying Mask

$62Shop Now

Dr. Zubritsky also loves the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask. If you're worried about charcoal drying out your skin, but still want to take advantage of its oil-absorbing benefits, she recommends this mask because it's formulated with hydrating ingredients, like glycerin and hijiki seaweed. (You should also look out for hyaluronic acid and ceramides.) For the same reasons, Dr. Gohara's go-to charcoal mask is the PCA Skin Detoxifying Mask, which also touts glycerin. 

All of these masks also double as spot treatments, Dr. Zubritsky says. When you feel a breakout coming on, dab one directly onto it — instead of all over your face — to help it clear up faster. 

If you prefer not to wash off a charcoal mask and get the dark powder all over your skin, you can try some Allure-editor picks: the Mediheal W.H.P Brightening & Hydrating Charcoal Sheet Mask and the Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Overnight Moisturizer. 

Mediheal W.H.P Brightening & Hydrating Charcoal Sheet Mask

$2Shop Now

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Overnight Moisturizer

$6Shop Now

Wander Beauty’s Newest Mascara Give My Eyes All the Glam

Image may contain Cosmetics and Mascara

$26 at b-glowing

TL;DR:

  • What it is: A dramatic mascara with lash conditioning ingredients
  • What it does: Nourishes while adding length and volume
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking for major lashes

As someone who wears mascara most days, I appreciate a formula that does more than the minimum of merely tinting my lashes. Wander Beauty Upgraded Lashes Treatment Mascara gives my eyes all the glam — without the unwanted drama of smudging, flaking, and clumping. Its hourglass brush is covered with comb-like bristles to separate every single lash for maximum definition. What’s more though is that the jet black ink is infused with conditioning peptides and nourishing panethenol, so my lashes are conditioned with every swipe. I apply one or two coats for a my-lashes-but-better effect or layer on the buildable, mess-free mascara for perfectly fanned-out fringe.

You'll find Wander Beauty Upgraded Lashes Treatment Mascara in the November 2021 Allure Beauty Box.

Wander Beauty Upgraded Lashes Treatment Mascara

Wander Beauty Upgraded Lashes Treatment Mascara

$26 at b-glowing

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.