I Interview Hundreds Of Beauty Experts — These Are The Must-Have Products Right Now
Each week, I interview beauty pros on my podcast Clean Beauty School. I also interview folks for stories—be that celebrities, dermatologists, stylists, makeup artists, and estheticians—to get a peek into their beauty routines and hear their best advice. And not for nothing, but I also spend some time at various beauty events chatting with experts and editors about what’s happening in the beauty market.
This is all to say, a decent portion of my time is spent getting an understanding of what folks are into right now, so I can better decide what to try myself—and, of course, relay back to you.
So when I start to see patterns and repeated recommendations, my interests are piqued. Here, five that I get again, and again, and again.
I talk about the skin microbiome a lot—not just because emerging research around the topic personally fascinates me, but because so many of the experts I trust and respect also see the potential in microbiome skin care.
One of my favorite people to chat with about the microbiome is mbg collective member and board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. At this point, she’s best known for her skin care routine “skin cycling” that went viral last year, but she’s also a regular for many media outlets, talk shows, and has amassed a huge following on social media.
A core part of what she talks about in skin care is barrier support—starting with the microbiome. “The skin barrier is a living, thriving ecosystem. It's so much more dynamic and complicated than what we originally thought," she told me. "We need to find ways to keep it balanced, rich, and thriving. And in terms of repairing the skin barrier, it really needs to start with the microbiome."
And to do so, she turns to pre and postbiotics. For example, postbiotics are nonliving beneficial outputs from probiotics that can "interact with the epidermal cells and your skin barrier in a very positive way." She explains that there are several types of postbiotics, including essential fatty acids, antimicrobial peptides, and so on. Prebiotics are like fertilizer, which can help "nourish the good bugs."
At-home professional-grade tools cost a pretty penny—certainly “investment” is a worthy descriptor of how we should be thinking of these. So I’m always very careful to recommend tools unless I have personal experience with it, or have a trusted pro who can vouch for it.
Well, Therabody TheraFace PRO has received high praise from several folks I trust. Most recently holistic esthetician Kristina Holey talked about it on this week’s episode. Cosmetic chemist and beauty expert Krupa Koestline also made the investment. "I think that really helps. It was quite expensive, as they tend to be, but it lasts a long time, and I think it was totally worth it. In my head, I have issues with sagging, so this helps address that. Plus it feels really good to just take a minute and do the whole routine."
A lot of folks are understandably skeptical of clean mascara—but don’t overlook the new wave of clean wands that deliver and then some. Whenever I talk to beauty fanatics about makeup, one talking point always comes up: Just how good modern mascaras have gotten.
Take, for example, Ayurvedic beauty expert Shrankhla Holecek, MBA, who told me, “When going the clean route with makeup, I was expecting to make a few compromises with performance—but this mascara is just incredible,” about Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara.
Or on Jas Imani’s brow and lash episode of the podcast, she said, “we’re in a realm right now where clean mascara is really stepping it up.” Her go-to recommendation? Tower 28 Beauty MakeWaves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara, which is ideal for anyone with sensitive eyes.
Sophisticated mineral sunscreen
Let me tell you something: People are excited about sunscreen lately—practically buzzing. I feel like every beauty editor I talk to says something along the lines of, Can you believe how good sunscreens are as of late?
Beauty journalist Jennifer G. Sullivan said almost that phrase in her episode when we got to what she’s into lately. (In the episode she said that she’s been loving Naked Sundays lately.)
This is a much needed upgrade from the goopy messes of yore. Take for example product developer Angela Ubias who raved about Le Prunier Plumscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 31. I personally love OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30. And a derm favorite from board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D. is a fan of ISDIN Eryfotona Acticina.
A high-quality concealer
Lots of people consider concealers a desert island product—a little pot or tube of liquid that can make anything practically disappear? Sounds like magic! Certainly I have a hard time imagining my beauty routine without a concealer.
The one I hear about time and again is the Kosas Revealer Concealer. Take influencer and actress’s Denise Vasi’s word for it: She calls it her “savior product” and loves it so much she always has three different shades at a given moment: "I use shade No. 6 under my eyes to lighten up my dark circles. I use No. 7 on and around my face to fix any little imperfections that I want to cover up. And then I use No. 8 basically as a bronzer to contour and shape a little bit.”
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.