Torture! We Made This Beauty Journo Pick Just 60 of 2022’s Best Beauty Launches
As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you’ll like too. POPSUGAR has affiliate and advertising partnerships so we get revenue from sharing this content and from your purchase.
Have you struggled to navigate the avalanche of new products hitting shelves this year? Never fear, we’ve been keeping track.
For many, December means trying to think of New Year’s resolutions you’ll actually keep, scrambling to book last-minute Airbnbs, trying to make heads and tails of office Kris Kringles, mounting gift lists for friends and family, all while looking forward to a well-earned break. For beauty journalists, after a calendar year of parties, products and generally having a pretty sweet gig for a job, it means a reckoning.
You see, the annual Best Of 2022 list looms large over the life of any beauty editor and requires feats of memory, tough choices and plenty of image resizing. Most beauty journalists are product enthusiasts, so leaving just one favourite behind can feel like a “Titanic” Jack-and-Rose-on-the-door, life or death situation.
Still, 2022 was an incredibly exciting year for beauty, as the many brands that had delayed product launches during the COVID lockdowns unleashed exciting ingredient combinations, innovative formulas and beauty products that solved problems you didn’t even know you had. Ahead, I’ve rounded up the best makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, body, tanning and nail products that had me swooning in 2022.
Best Makeup 2022:
Glow: Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation and Concealer
Housed in a recyclable pump tube, the medium coverage formula contains damask rose water, rose oil, coconut extract and hyaluronic acid, infused for all-day hydration and radiance without grease. Plus, the packaging makes it perfect for “glow on the go”, and, as trialled by POPSUGAR Australia editors earlier this year, suits a range of skin types from oily to dry.
The Charlotte Tilbury, Beautiful Skin Concealer ($49) is just as good, packed with niacinamide, vitamin C, smoothing natural waxes and natural oils to keep under eyes plump, hydrated and well covered.
Matte: Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation
One of the more innovative launches this year, Hourglass, Ambient Soft Glow Foundation ($87) contains light-diffusing pigments and blurring spheres that mean it achieves more coverage with less product.
Perfect for hot, sweaty days when you’re desperate to cut down on the layers of product on your face, this transfer and sweat-resistant product will provide you with an all-day, Bratz-doll polished complexion, whatever the weather.
No-Makeup-Makeup: Summer Fridays, Sheer Skin Tint
So light you would need a private investigator to detect makeup on your skin, the Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint ($63) is a 2022 no-makeup-makeup champion.
With effortless coverage, this product feels like you’re wearing nothing at all while keeping your complexion refreshed with hyaluronic acid and squalene. Handbag friendly, it’s one I’ll be reaching for all summer.
ABH Norvina Pro Pigment Palette Vol. 6 for Face and Body
This year, colour made a comeback as we veered away from bare lids and embraced dopamine, Barbie and “Euphoria”-inspired beauty looks.
The matte pastel and fluorescent pigments in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Pro Pigment Vol. 6 for Face and Body ($114) are intense, buttery and pigmented. Norvina Vol. 6 also contains soft, gel-creme holographic shimmers, which are practically made for out-of-this-world New Year’s Eve looks.
Best Cream Shadow:
Mecca Max Zoom Shadow Sticks
Quick, creamy and dreamy, the Mecca Max Zoom Shadow Sticks ($19) are perfect for a five-second eye look, and provide a great base for more intense smokey eyes.
Their matte shades are particularly good — perfect on-point neutrals that are long-wearing, but never drying or chalky. Whether I need a dramatic or office-appropriate look, I’ve been reaching for at least one of these sticks daily since their launch earlier this year.
Best Limited Edition Launch
Nudestix Euphoric Nudes Palette
As a rule, I try to limit the discussion of limited edition launches, because they only lead to heartbreak. However, I would love to see every item in the Nudestix Euphoric Nudes Palette ($146) back on shelves at Sephora, so please consider this my formal request (and until then, Cult Beauty still has stock).
From the wet-look finish Magnetic Luminous Eye Colour in “Dewwap” to the Nude Lip Glace in “Labadi” — a rose gold glass-gloss with a lilac reflect — these are perfect for any and all of your party season beauty looks.
Rare Beauty, Perfect Strokes, Universal Volumizing Mascara
Rare Beauty was one of the biggest entries to the market in 2022, and the Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes, Universal Volumizing Mascara ($34) was one of our favourites at the POPSUGAR Australia offices.
Tested on every different lash type, from fine and sparse, straight, curly and thick, this mascara is truly universal. It lifts, curls and fans out the lash, all while conditioning the lashes with its castor oil enriched, water-resistant goldilocks formula that stops your lashes feeling crunchy throughout the day. Meanwhile, the curved brush has long bristles on one side for length and short bristles on the other for volume. Basically? It’s a favourite for a reason.
Amy Jean, Amy Jean Privée Brow Lamination Gel
This Brow Lamination Gel ($44) from Sydney-based brow expert Amy Jean features the kind of flawless, functional packaging design that answers a thousand brow lamination issues you never knew you had. Lost your spoolie? It’s in the cap. Brows stuck in a weird position? Flip the spoolie, and find a comb. Even better, the collagen-infused formula inside nourishes your brows while cementing them in place all day.
Westman Atelier, Vital Pressed Skincare Powder
Infused with vitamin C, when you set your face with this silky, satin finish powder you’re also creating an antioxidant shield that protects your complexion from pollution throughout the day (and stops your makeup from budging).
Westman Atelier, Vital Pressed Skincare Powder ($113) also features quinoa seed extract and jojoba seed oil, giving the powder its smooth, cushioning effects, as well as long-term sebum-regulating skincare benefits. Micro-milled, the only change to your makeup you’ll notice is smooth pores and day-long satin skin. Plus, as with all Westman Atelier products, the packaging is weighted, luxurious, and handbag friendly — exactly what you want for the price tag.
Trinny London Brushes
I’m a brush fanatic, and Trinny Woodhall’s tight edit of “midi brushes” are perfection. The Trinny London T-Brush set collection features three essential brushes with slightly shorter-than-average, sustainable birch handles.
Perfectly designed, soft and dense, the dome shadow powder brush provides smooth, streak-free application, while the Conceal/Eye Contour-Brush is the perfect multitasker, hooking into nooks and crannies as it blends and blurs powders and liquids to perfection. If you’re interested in completely restocking your brush collection, go straight for the Mecca Signature Line, but if you need some handbag-friendly touch-up options, grab the T-Brush Set ($110).
Best Cream Blush:
Espressoh Glassy Blush by The Glass
This year, beauty brand Espressoh became available in Australia and with it its viral Glassy Blush By the Glass ($40) — a ph-adjusting lip and cheek product that famously appeared in Julia Fox’s iconic March 17, 2022 (never forget) makeup tutorial — we were instantly hooked.
The totally clear formula dissolves on contact into a perfectly translucent and personalised watercolour flush.
Best Powder Blush:
Gucci, Blush De Beauté
I’ve been trying to make orange blush happen all year.
After having my eye on it all year, I finally caved and purchased this perfect peachy blush during the Sephora Black Friday sales, and I don’t know how I’ve lived without it for so long. Silky and seamless, the Gucci, Blush de Beauté ($83) deposits the perfect, believable wash of on-trend colour.
The formula contains shea butter, hyaluronic acid and black rose oil, and best of all, as a dry skin girly, this never gives me the tight feeling on my cheeks that can occur with powder products. Plus, the elegant pinky beige stars scattered compact is chic enough to justify the price point on its own.
Dior Backstage, Face & Body Powder-No-Powder
As someone with very fair skin, bronzer makes me nervous, and powder bronzers even moreso. Once it’s on, there’s no blending it out with foundation. That’s why I love the Dior Backstage Face & Body Powder No Powder, ($75). Created by makeup artists, this powder is designed to mattify and set, or bronze depending on your chosen shade. With a unique gel base, the talc-free formula is undetectable even on bare skin leaving a totally convincing, illuminating bronze.
Rose Inc, Solar Infusino Soft-Focus Cream Bronzer
Bronzer is a bit like highlighter, in that it likes to cling to texture where it can, which is why the best bronzers have blurring properties. The new Rose Inc Solar Infusion Soft-Focus Cream Bronzer ($54) contains tourmaline and quartz to soften rough edges, and rose oil that glides over your skin, and melts into your makeup seamlessly.
Best Skincare 2022:
Best Detoxifying Mask:
Fenty Cookies N’ Clean Detoxifying Mask
You don’t know how clean your skin can feel until you’ve tried Fenty Skin, Cookies N’ Clean, Whipped Clay Detox Face Mask ($49).
As a dry-skinned girl, I’ve never had much interest in clay masks, but this one lured me out of my emollient and humectant-heavy routine in 2022. Pitched as a detox mask for all skin types — even sensitive — this next-generation clay mask has a whipped, bouncy texture with beads of charcoal that burst and “activate” as you work the moussey-clay-gel in. Along with bursting beads, this formula is packed with soothing panthenol and decongesting salicylic acid. What I don’t understand? How Cookies and Clean leaves my complexion feeling fresh and satin smooth days after application.
Best Hydrating Serum:
Tbh, Rebound Serum
Hannah English told POPSUGAR Australia she was looking for the perfect formula for sensitive and sensitised skin when creating Rebound Serum ($68), a “no notes, she’s perfect” barrier boosting elixir.
With panthenol, anti-ageing copper peptides, oat extract, centella asiatica and green tea, it may not be able to heal the traumatic memories of living through Sydney’s El Niña 2022, but it did sort out my mould (yes, mould) induced rash in 2022, for which I’ll forever be grateful.
Verso Super Elixir
An entirely new vitamin A molecule doesn’t hit the market often, so I leapt at the chance to try the Verso Super Elixir ($279) back in September, despite my rocky history with the much-loved ingredient. In theory, it’s a brightening, pore-refining and fine-line-eradicating wonder ingredient. In practice? The skin-cell turnover accelerating properties invariably leave me with more lumps, bumps and redness than I started with, which is something I am not here for.
Enter Near1, the new Verso vitamin A molecule that encapsulates a delicate symbiosis of vitamin A and niacinamide. Effective at just 0.037 per cent, the molecule can be used at a far lower concentration than traditional vitamin A compounds, which means less irritation for vitamin A sensitive babes.
I’ve been able to use this five times a week — which is a record — and within weeks, I noticed increased luminosity, a decrease in texture and a bright, even skin tone. You can read my full review and interview with Verso founder Lars Frederiksen here, but all you really need to know is this serum presents all of the rewards and non of the risks, something I’m all about.
Best Random Find:
Sephora, Outrageous Intense Lip Plumper
Want to see what you’d look like with lip filler before you sink thousands and a needle into your lips? Sometimes great products take you by surprise the Sephora, Outrageous Intense Lip Plumpers ($44 for two) were truly a stumbled-upon find.
I tried these lip plumpers on a whim and they’re just spicy enough to give you a Bratz doll pout, not so spicy it gives you a rash.
Dr Naomi LED/BDE
Despite many efforts, I have never committed to an LED mask. Why? Whatever their benefits, most are just very annoying. Time-consuming, bulky, and way too big (or small) for your head, there are so many ways an LED mask can let you down. The Dr Naomi LED It Glow LED Mask ($595) addresses all of these problems.
Made of velvety soft silicon, the mask moulds comfortably to your facial contours, sits snugly on my admittedly very small skull, and is lightweight and portable (you can answer the door for Uber Eats with it, which is something I have done).
Meanwhile, using 156 red and near infra-red wavelengths that fit the stringent gold standard parameters for effectiveness, the mask treats inflammation and redness while stimulating collagen and elastin. I have been using this five nights (or mornings) a week and have been rewarded with brighter, smoother, more tolerant skin. Now you can grab a vaguely BDSM version for your neck and deck too, and scare your loved ones even more. Read my comprehensive review and interview with Dr Naomi McCullum here, or take my word for it.
Best Day Cream:
Sunday Riley, Afterglow CEO Brightening Vitamin C Cream
This year Sunday Riley added a new addition to the family, in the Sunday Riley Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream ($98).
As I have mentioned probably 20 times during this round up, I have pretty dry skin, so “lightweight” moisturisers get a nose scrunch and side-eye from me. Not Sunday Riley Afterglow. This clever gel-creme contains allatonin, a humectant that snatches moisture from the air like a Venus Fly trap, and sodium hyaluronate that traps it there, holding 1,000 times its weight in water. Well hydrated, your complexion is then ready for a tbhc ascorbate (vitamin C) and amino acid brightening and strengthening injection. The cream glides on, sinks in and leaves me feeling nourished and balanced all day. Plus, it smells like a passionfruit mango sour which is, cosmetically at least, a nice way to start your day.
Best Beauty Tool:
Garnier Reusable Micellar Pads Reusable Eco Pads
Great beauty tools don’t always need to be high-tech, they just need to solve a problem. Controversially, I use toner and uncontroversially, I hate single-use products like cotton rounds. However, I’ve had a hard time finding reusable substitutes that don’t tug and tear at my complexion.
The Garnier Reusable Micellar Pads Reusable Eco Pads ($15) are incredibly soft, easy to clean and durable. They are advertised as lasting for 1,000 washes, and while I’m not quite there yet, my first pack is still going strong.
Best Brow and Lash Serum
The Ordinary, Multi-Peptide Brow and Lash Serum
Like LED Masks and facial toning devices, lash serums don’t work if you don’t… actually use them. This is something that after nine years in the beauty industry, I’ve finally come to terms with.
Even after finally coming to this realisation, I’ll admit: I’m still shockingly haphazard in lash serum compliance. But even though I only apply The Ordinary, Multi Peptide Brow and Lash Serum ($44 for two at Adore Beauty) maybe three-to-four times a week, I’ve seen real results.
It’s water-based, so it absorbs very quickly into lashes, which means it won’t make your liner and mascara smudge, and the formula stimulates lash growth with a range of peptides and nourishing natural extracts. Even better, it’s more affordable than the majority of effective growth serums on the market.
Cerave Vitamin C Serum
I’ll be honest, my favourite vitamin C serums are well over $100 and prior to this launch, I would have struggled to recommend a good one for less than three digits. That’s not because I believe great, inexpensive vitamin C doesn’t exist. It’s because as with vitamin A, my skin is finicky with this brightening, collagen-boosting superstar ingredient, and it makes me hesitant to steer away from my (admittedly pricier) favourites.
That is, until I was given the opportunity to try the new Cerave, Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum ($42). In an efficient aluminium tube, the serum balances the potentially irritating effects of vitamin C with hyaluronic acid and an intensive ceramide complex, and the slightly thicker gel consistency absorbs instantly, providing plenty of skin-balancing, plumping hydration. This easily rivals far more expensive vitamin C products on the market, and if you’re new to the category, I recommend starting here.
Emma Lewisham, Supernatural Sleeping Mask
Emma Lewisham skincare is a favourite at the POPSUGAR office, with environmental credentials you can take seriously, and products that work. In August, the Emma Lewisham Supernatural Sleeping Mask ($121) entered my life at just the right moment, while my complexion was suffering the impacts of insomnia.
The mask contains ingredients like melatonin, that assist in regulating your complexion’s “protection and repair modes”, as it triggers melatonin receptors with a special molecule extracted from the Gardenia Jasminoide plant. Very clever, very effective, it made me look like I’d had nine hours of sleep when I’d actually had 30 minutes.
MCo Beauty, SPF50+ Mineral Mattifying Sunscreen
My OG forever sunscreen, Ultra Violette, Queen Screen remained unchallenged in 2022. However, I did meet a mineral sunscreen I could get around. My primary issue with mineral sunscreens they usually have a peachy tint that looks like salmon on my very fair skin. The MCo Beauty, SPF50+ Mineral Mattifying Sunscreen ($35) mineral sunscreen, on the other hand, has a colour that can only be described as greige cement, but once worked in it disappears, neutralising redness in the process. I love this for days when I’ve pushed my skin to its limits with new products, plus, unlike many mineral sunscreens it sits perfectly under makeup. A win for the shopping centre aisle.
Best Night Cream:
Viviology, Ceramide Moisturiser
This year Adore Beauty launched the first of two in-house skincare ranges in Viviology, a collaboration with Melbourne complexion Svengali James Vivian. There is a lot to love about the range, including its accessible price point. The Ceramide Moisturiser ($45) moisturiser has become my go-to — along with tbh Rebound Serum — for when I’ve overdone it on the actives.
Perfectly formulated with ceramides, panthenol and polyglutamic acid, this is no traditional barrier cream. Its elegant, plush consistency sinks into the skin and cools and soothes on application. Heaven.
Best Eye Cream
Saint Jane Beauty, Bright Repair Eye Cream With 10% Vitamin C For Dark Circles
One big caveat with this one: this is a CBD product and therefore not available in Australia. I was presented with an opportunity to try Saint Jane and my natural rule-following nature was overwhelmed by the many, many, many awards they have accrued in the US. Sadly, I’ve fallen madly in love with the entire range, including the Bright Repair Eye Cream ($65 USD).
With 10 percent vitamin C, this award-winning lightweight cream brightens and strengthens the delicate skin under the eyes with stimulating green tea and grapeseed extract. CBD is intensely anti-inflammatory and its presence here allows for a higher concentration of vitamin C than my particularly fragile and sensitive under eyes would typically be able to tolerate. Once I’m finished, I’ll return to my under-eye staple — Drunk Elephant, C-Firma — but until then I’m enjoying a smooth, dark circle-free ride.
Best Face Oil
Alpha H, Golden Haze Face Oil
Oils are classically used as heavy hydrators that seal in your serums and humectants, but Alpha H Golden Haze Face Oil does a lot more than that. I would describe Alpha H, Golden Haze Face Oil ($70) as a “smart oil.” This elixir combines nine multi-molecular weight oils, from sebum-regulating jojoba and squalane oils, to barrier protective antioxidant-rich rosehip and fine, skin-penetrative watermelon seed, camelia seed and camu camu extracts, which all work to refine skin tone and deeply hydrate at multiple levels. Providing a perfect, glossy base for makeup, this has become my go-to daily oil.
Barbara Sturm, Better B Niacinamide Serum
If I could only use one vitamin C serum forever it would be Skinceuticals, CE Ferulic, and if I could use one niacinamide serum forever it would be the Barbara Sturm, The Better B Niacinamide Serum, ($219) which I was given the opportunity to try when it launched earlier this year.
Along with vitamin B, a known melanin inhibitor, sebum regulator and anti-inflammatory, Better B contains amino acid ectoin, and plankton-derived polysaccharides that shield the complexion from environmental damage while increasing skin resilience. In the event that your complexion, like mine, is already irritated, it also contains panthenol, an ingredient I refer to as a “complexion antihistamine”.
The silky emulsion texture gave my complexion a plump, lit-from-within look that saw me forgetting makeup and looking like I’d slept nine hours around the two-week mark. For that, I’m three digits grateful and miss Better B terribly.
Best Hydrating Mask
Go-To, The Repair Shop
This year has been full of stressors, both environmental and psychological, and my skin has been more reactive than ever. As I mentioned arrogantly in my initial review, my skincare routine is “vigorously on-point, so I often skip hydrating masks as I figure there’s nothing they can do that an extensive collection of night creams can’t”. I stood corrected with Go-To, The Repair Shop ($50) this year.
This is a thicker salve than the Viviology, Ceramide Moisturiser so is definitely a “few times a week” rather than nightly option, however, it has immediate soothing effects for every discomfort from reactivity, to sunburn and instantly knocks out redness. It’s the kind of bedside staple I no longer feel safe without, and has stayed with me all year.
Best Haircare 2022:
Virtue Flourish Range
Like many hair ranges this year, Virtue Flourish was designed to address hair loss and breakage. Following a fairly severe bout of COVID, I started using the Virtue Flourish 3 Month Hair Rejuvenation Treatment Range ($192). Formulated with clinically trialled alternatives to prescription hair growth booster minoxidil, the Flourish range contains Larch Wood Extract, probiotic ferments that support scalp microbiome, peptides and the brand’s patented keratin complex.
I’ve been using the shampoo, conditioner, scalp serum and mask all year have been blown away by the results. It’s now sitting in the showers of friends and family after I’ve preached its benefits as if I were engaged in a multi-level marketing scheme, but I am yet to hear complaints from my converts.
Christophe Robin, Colour Shield Cleansing Mask
This year I fell in love with hair extensions and went from bleached blonde to copper. I needed to make some radical changes to my every-second-day hair washing and heat styling routine, and in that process I discovered the Christophe Robin, Colour Shield Cleansing Mask ($63), a rare 2-in-1 personal care product that actually works.
Once a week I sub out my normal shampoo and conditioner and slather this on for twenty minutes, allowing the macadamia oil, vitamin C and sunflower seed extract-rich treatment to soak into my heat-styling-fried tresses. The magic of this product is that it rinses completely clean, leaving hair weightless and cutting the need for conditioner.
Best Scalp Treatment:
Sashajuan Scalp Treatment Duo
The Sachajuan Scalp Treatment Duo ($75 for two) is a fine gel serum designed to be applied to wet or dry hair, making it a perfect between-washes refresh. Salicylic acid buffs away at dead skin cells while ginger and rosemary extract quiet irritation, whether from product buildup or heat damage, and the pinpoint precision nozzle makes targeted application easy.
Obsessive hair washing (something I’m guilty of) is as much about feel as it about looks. so while this scalp treatment is hydrating and calming, it also has a touch of menthol which gives my scalp the tingling, fresh feeling I crave in between washes.
Best Hot Tool:
Ghd, Thin Wand Hair Curler 14mm
Whether it’s styling a shag, giving tight coils definition, or putting the finishing touches on face-framing details, the ghd Thin Wand Hair Curler 14mm ($250) was a genius addition to the already iconic line in 2022, and has been on regular rotation in my hot tool wardrobe since its launch in February. This is the kind of line extension that makes you wonder why a million other hot tool brands haven’t already done this.
Dyson, Airwrap Multi-Styler
In June, Dyson updated the Airwrap, with its revamped version including enhanced airflow, rotating cool tip styling barrels and their much-longed-for smoothing attachment.
The Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler ($899) famously “wraps” or vacuums the hair to the barrel, skipping the need for curling tongs or extended blowdry sessions. When I was finally able to execute this correctly, it resulted in soft, shiny curls I would usually only be able to achieve with a significant amount of hair spray and deep frying.
Best Heat Protectant:
Colour Wow Dream Cocktail Leave Treatment
Designed for colour-treated hair, Colour Wow’s Dream Cocktail Coconut Hair Spray ($53) is a heat-activated, leave-in treatment that gives porous, damaged strands an injection of hydration as you blow dry and heat style. Upon application, the treatment seals individual strands in an impenetrable lipid membrane, locking in moisture and creating a heat-proof shield. I apply this, then douse my hair in ColourWow, Dream Coat ($61) colour shield for super glossy locks.
The Best Treatment Mask:
R+Co Gemstone Ultra Shine Glossing Treatment
Another product that will deliver hair so silky it will slip through your butterfly clips.
Along with ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E and guava butter, R+Co, Gemstone Ultra Shine Glossing Treatment ($56) has a complex called “phytoshine” that gives a “cosmetic” lacquer to dull, straw-like strands. It also has an energising lemon, tangerine eucalyptus and moss scent, which makes for a totally transportive bath-time ritual.
Best Fragrance 2022:
Byredo, Night Veils Vanille Antique
This year, Byredo founder Ben Gorham launched the brand’s first venture into vanilla-led fragrances, with Byredo, Night Veils Vanille Antique ($422). Byredo are known for cerebral, evocative scents and the Night Veils fragrance suite of parfums uses raw ingredients and pure essences to evoke, you guessed it, the night.
The scents lean unisex and sultry, and Vanille Antique is no exception. With none of the cloying sweetness of traditional vanilla, this is the note at its most raw and carnal. Gorham described the scent as being designed to evoke the “world of possibilities” the night presents, and with notes of ciste, dry cashmere wood, plum and musk, it takes you on a debaucherous adventure to the forest floor.
Best Baccarat Rouge 540 Dupe
Eau D’Italie, Mystic Sunset
Is it possible to push heat, sunlight, and sweet summer air through an atomiser and onto your skin? Eau D’Italie, Mystic Sunset ($248) comes close. With dry, toasty saffron, the fresh notes of cedarwood and cassis, and the addictive burnt sugarcane, dry down.
While I fundamentally disagree with the concept of dupes, Mystic Sunset does have many of the charms of Baccarrat Rouge 540, although it’s considerably lighter (a win in my books, Baccarat is too heady for me). Consider it a sweet, snackable macaroon to the famous parfum’s red velvet cake.
Most Intriguing Citrus:
Escentric Molecule, 01+ Mandarin
Perfumer Geza Schoen launched Escentric Molecules first with their Iso E super-only scent, Escentric 01, in 2006, at which time the single note fragrance was an entirely new concept.
Described as an “aroma molecule”, Iso E Super is used in many fragrances in small doses to amplify surrounding scents. On its own, it’s a shapeshifter with a faint vanilla muskiness, morphine to the wearer’s individual body chemistry. It became an instant cult classic and Escentric has since launched a range of accented Iso E super iterations. My favourite by far is this year’s launch — Escentric Molecul, 01+ Mandarin ($188). Citrus scents typically don’t linger long on the skin but combined with Iso E Super, this blast of succulent and energising mandarin has excellent sillage.
Best Night Time Fragrance:
YSL Black Opium, Illicit Green
Launched in 1977 by Yves Saint Laurent, Opium eau de parfum was the designer’s baby. He oversaw the design of the bottle, the press kit and the scent itself, and while the name has become controversial, the iconoclastic scent has remained a classic.
Opium has gone through several iterations including Black Opium, a coffee, cedarwood and orange blossom concoction, and now YSL, Black Opium, Illicit Green ($116) — a potent and unapologetic after-hours iteration of the concept. Fuel for the nightlife, this cocktail-inspired take blends bitter coffee notes with succulent, edible accents of fig and fresh mandarin.
Best Range Extension
YSL, Libre Le Parfum
In 2022, YSL launched Yves Saint Laurent, Libre Le Parfum ($265) as a parfum, taking the classic, sunny scent of French lavender and Moroccan orange blossom, layering these notes with heady jasmine, vanilla bourbon absolute, honey, tonka bean and vetiver. The result is a heady, syrupy concoction perfect for evening.
Best Fresh Scent:
Versace, Pour Femme Dylan Purple Eau De Parfum
Versace, Pour Femme Dylan Purple Eau De Parfum ($175) is fresh, fun and unpredictable, which makes it perfect for summer 2022. Heavy on Iso E super, the scent contains airy notes of pear, bitter orange and bergamot, with unexpected twists of mahonia, freesia and pomorose.
It smells like a fresh breeze from the ocean getting tangled up in flowers, and its airy aquatic polish is thanks to a base heavy on fragrance amplifiers like ambroxan, Iso E Super, sykolide that allow these light as air scents to last on the skin.
Tom Ford, Rose d’Amalfi
Under the stewardship of Estee Lauder, Tom Ford launched a collection of rose scents in 2022 which included Rose De Chin, Rose D’Amalfi and the more classically Tom Ford, “Rose Prick.”
It’s Rose D’Amalfi ($385) that’s been flying off shelves, though, which is no surprise given our return to travel. This scent is heavy on heliotrope, an interesting fragrance known to stimulate endorphins and even increase libido. Heliotrope adds a warm vanilla and musk accent to an otherwise fresh floral scent, which creates buzzy vacation vibes year-round.
Best Body Care Products 2022:
Kate Somerville Exfolikate for Body
Cleanse, buff, tighten and tone with Kate Somerville, Exfolikate For Body ($84), the full-body version of the cult face exfoliant.
Perfect for post-sweat and humid days, this is a truly resurfacing product. With deep pore cleansing salicylic acid, soothing lactic acid and gentle, brightening pineapple to loosen up dead skin and decongest, the perfectly spherical (never scratchy) pumice buffs away dead skin while honey, aloe and soybean oil nourishes and soothes.
Fresh, Milk Body Lotion
You’ve buffed, now it’s time to replenish with Fresh Soy Milk Body Lotion ($50). These two have been my favourite combination for summer. The fresh lotion is like a protein smoothie for your skin, and uses plant-based milks, centella, rice extracts and linseed to soothe and strengthen. Perfect for post-shave, the very fine emulsion consistency sinks in instantly, which also makes it perfect for hot weather or pre-tanning.
Sol De Janeiro, Beija Flor Elasti Cream With Squalane and Collagen
Scroll through any beauty FB group and you’ll find desperate fans looking to get their hands on sold out variations of Sol De Janeiro, Bum Bum Cream. The cult body butter is as known for its distinctive Cheirosa ’68 scent — which is heavy on pistachio, salted caramel and vanilla notes — as well as its skin circulation-boosting and toning Guaraná (that boasts for caffeine than coffee) and replenishing cacao butter.
A new addition to the family is the Beija Flor Elasti Cream, ($70) a lighter-weight treatment butter designed with anti-ageing in mind. Boosted with plant-derived collagen, squalane and vitamin A mimicking cacao oil, this silky butter promises to turn back the clock.
While I was sold on the concept, I wasn’t sure I’d love the fragrance, but turns out the complexities of life in 2022 have made me more receptive to the simple things in life. Will it make my skin as supple as it was in 2003? Probs not. But the scent, with fruity floral notes like pink dragonfruit and lychee essence, light vanilla and musk, makes me feel like I’m digging for Supré slogan tees at the mall in 2003 and I’m kind of into that.
Best Body Serums:
Mecca Athletica Replenishing Body Serum and Nécessaire Body Serum
If the notion of a lotion or cream is too much for you, MECCA had us covered with two launches this year – the Mecca Athletica Replenishing Body Serum ($54) and the Nécessaire Body Serum ($40). Both are water-based, fast-absorbing serums that provide hydration minus the film. Nécessaire contains multi-molecular weight hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides, and the fragrance-free formula has been formally approved by the national eczema association. Silky and smooth, it slips over your bod like a veil and absorbs instantly. Mecca Athletica, meanwhile, is perfect if you need a little more heft to your serum, but still want to skip a lotion. With 10% niacinamide, anti-inflammatory cycanocobalamin (vitamin B12) and panthenol (vitamin B5), this serum also has a dose of fatty acid-rich marula oil.
Best Nail Products 2022:
Best Top Coat:
Sally Hansen, Extreme Wear Colour Therapy in “On Cloud Shine”
The Sally Hansen, X-Treme Wear Colour Therapy in “On Cloud Shine” ($4) top coat is like a highlighter for your at-home manicure. With particularised holographic shimmers, one swipe instantly lifts the most basic manicure, giving it a dimensional finish and a flash of luminescent colour.
Best Press Ons:
Paint Lab Press on Nails
Press on nails were amongst the (few) winners of the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns, and their charm endures.
Essie Hard to Resist Nail Strengthener
Take a break from your press-ons without feeling totally unpolished. I had never received compliments on my next-to-bare nails until I wore Essie, Hard to Resist Nail Strengtheners ($18). Since then, I’ve come to describe these cellophane-hued lacquers as like “tinted moisturisers for your nails”. They smooth ridges, and give dull nails with a flattering tint, and score compliments. What more could you want?
Gucci, Vernis à Ongles Nail Polish in “Melinda Green”
Green in its many varieties has been trending this year, and this perpetually sold-out Gucci “Melinda Green” ($58) shade perfectly represents its eye-catching, reptilian charm. Try to get your hands on it.
Pax Polish, Nail Colour + Treatment
PAX Polish ticks a lot of feel-good boxes: Australian-made, female-founded, and free of the 10 nail polish inclusions that some polish users prefer to skip (I personally don’t remember to paint my nails enough to worry about them).
I care more about what a formula does include than what it doesn’t, and the PAX Polish, Nail Colour + Treatment contains an impressive list of skincare-esque ingredients. These include: nail-strengthening celery seed extract, pomegranate seed oil, vitamin B and vitamin E. The most important box, however, is an on-trend colour range and a long-wearing formula, and PAX delivers on both. My favourite and most complimented shade is Edith ($29) a light grey-blue.
Best Base Coat:
Orly, Bonder Rubberized Base Coat
The Orly Rubberized Base Coat from Orly, Manicure Keeper Duo Set ($29) acts like “double-sided sticky tape” and essentially glues your nail polish to your nail bed.
The formula, which contains a higher level of “plasticizers” than most polishes, creates a seal over your cuticles while providing a flexible base for your polish. This means it doesn’t crack while your nails flex and bends doing tasks like washing up (sigh) and furiously texting.
Best Fake Tan Products 2022:
Best Gradual Tan For Face:
Tan Luxe, The Créme Advanced Hydration Self-Tan Facial Créme
I find that a little bit of colour on my face allows me to skip foundation, but I am both too afraid of UV damage, and genetically incapable of developing a tan, so it’s a gradual tanner for me.
Tan-Luxe Advanced Hydration Self-Tan Facial Creme ($75) supports your complexion with amino acids, antioxidants and lipids, while slowly developing a believable glow.
Isle of Paradise, Hyglo Self Tan Serum
I prefer gradual tanners because as a pale girl, I like to stay in the driver’s seat. That’s why the water-based Isle of Paradise Hyglo Self Tan Serum ($54) ticks all boxes, and is one of 2022’s MVPs.
Think of this as Nécessaire Body Serum, but with gradual tanning benefits. With avocado oils and a grapefruit and chia seed complex, along with aloe vera, coconut oil, sodium hyaluronate and glycerin, this serum sinks straight in and develops an even glow you can control.
Best Self-Tanning Drops:
St Tropez, Luxe Tan Tonic Drops
With niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, echinacea and acerola cherry extract, along with vitamins C and E, the St Tropez, Self Tan Luxe Tan Tonic Drops ($24) have compelling skincare credentials. I found that just two drops with my moisturiser added a natural even glow without diluting the potency of my other products.
Naked Sundays, Golden Glow Body Sunscreen
Naked Sundays covered all our glowing gams bases this year with the Naked Sundays Golden Glow, Body Sunscreen SPF50 ($45). Apply liberally to limbs and décolleté with their handy buffing brush and benefit from goddess-level glow, sun protection and green tea and vitamin B.