This is the second installment in our brand-new monthly product round-up by our beauty and style editor Kayla Jacobs. Kayla grew up in London to a South African family, and her perspective on global beauty is kaleidoscopic. "I try so many new products, so it really means something when I find a handful that I keep reaching for day after day." Each month, she'll explore the latest and greatest products launching now, plus a few cult classics you need to know about.
My product picks for January center around seasonally apt palate-cleansing staples. The green beauty industry invariably rings in the New Year with innovative products that restore glow and evenness after weeks of overindulgence and sleeplessness have left their mark—there's a sense of clearing the decks, returning to basics, and having fun with beauty rituals.
I don't have a sweet tooth, but natural skin care brand Farmacy has won me over with its Raaka Chocolate hook-up Limited-Edition Box Set, packed with three of its best-selling, plant-based lip balms and correlating artisanal chocolate bar flavors. The unique herbal-based scents—apple rosemary, lavender mint, and strawberry basil—tickle all my olfactory fancies, especially when put on lips pre-chocolate eating. Farmacy Limited-Edition Sweet Lips Box Set ($48)
Sensitive-skin types (me) can now rejoice with this new beauty startup fresh out of Brooklyn. All the formulas steer clear of fragrances, toxins, and preservatives (parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, and petroleum) but also "harsh" botanicals, such as limonene, nut oils, and floral extracts, which founder Johanna Peet discovered firsthand "can be problematic for those with hypersensitive skin." This blend creates a lovely bloom on the skin and is chock-full of antioxidant-rich prickly pear oil, renowned for its healing capabilities. Peet Rivko Balancing Oil ($56)
Growing up in London makes you appreciate a great cup of tea, and Naturopathica's latest blend hits the sensorial spot. Infused with earthy notes of echinacea and elderflower to support the immune system and build vitality; stimulating spearmint, peppermint, and licorice; it's a distinct antidote to that third cup of coffee currently creeping up on my afternoon repertoire. Oh, and its mood-moderating effects never tasted (or looked) so good. Naturopathica Vitality Tea ($19)
Feeling soft and shiny from head to toe is a daily aspiration, and this dry body brush helps me take the art of self-care from standard to sublime. The ultrafine bristles of horsehair and copper wire on the brush form negative ions through friction to bring the electromagnetic energies in the body into harmony, while exfoliating the skin and oxygenating the cells. Here's to leaving your body looking and feeling altogether born-again. Karmameju Recharge Ionic Body Brush ($72)
Kosas founder (and avid painter) Sheena Yaitanes has a zero-waste philosophy about makeup that's translated into a range of eight stellar shades—reds, plums, and rosy neutrals (no beigey nudes)—that are my equivalent of sleeping in a great white tee. I'm particularly obsessed with Stardust because of its name obviously, and because the pigment imparts a sheer nude that amplifies my lips in all the best possible ways. I also love that the green tea, rosehip, and grapeseed oil formula is completely free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. Kosas Stardust Weightless Lip Color ($24)
Confession: I can get really oily eyelids. Maybe it's because I'm constantly slathering my face in essential oil concoctions, but all you need to know is that it's not pretty. Cue eye primer, which I think of as a genius pre-makeup "blot" that does wonders for my eyeshadow and liner lasting power. Alima Pure's is infused with squalene, an olive-derived botanical lipid that has mega-restorative skin-properties, shea butter, and clary sage water to calm my eye inflammation. Alima Pure Eye Primer ($26)
2017 is all about facial emulsions, intensely hydrating formulas often with the same consistency as water, but infused with nutrients and anti-aging ingredients. I've been squeezing one pump of 100% Pure's vegetarian cucumber emulsion (straight from the fridge) onto an organic cotton pad every morning and tapping it gently into my face, which incidentally looks pretty dewy these days. 100% Pure Organic Cucumber Juice Emulsion Tonique ($45)