The 5 Beauty Products ELLE Editors Are Obsessed With This Week


Welcome to ELLE’s Empties, a series where editors share the one beauty product that they are currently obsessed with in their rotation. Read on for our favorite gentle-yet-effective retinal serum, a great leave-in conditioner for 4C hair, and more.


The Moisturizer That Makes Kathleen Want An Italian Farm Vacation

“Irene Forte’s moisturizer has a really nice story. All the raw materials, like rosemary and pistachio, are harvested from an organic farm in Sicily. It’s made of icy, fresh, water from an Italian mountainous national park. If you were to add in a cute biodynamic lamb for weeding named Luca, the whole thing would be straight out of that Portlandia farm to table bit or a pastoral fever dream — but it is all real (minus the lamb). And while I appreciate the provenance of Forte’s Aloe Vera Face Cream, what I really like is how soothing and silky it feels. Many green moisturizers feel heavy because they’re made of heavy-duty butters or oils, which can feel cloying. This one has a light and silky feel, packs a moisturizing wallop that makes my skin feel soothed all day, and sits nicely under makeup without pilling. It also checks all of the clean boxes, being SLS and paraben-free, and surprisingly, despite the light scent and botanical base, essential-oil-free. The glass packaging also has a nice vanity appeal, is printed to look like ceramic, and includes a QR code with recycling information. And yes, the brand has a refill system too.” — Kathleen Hou, Beauty Director


The Hard-Working Deodorant For Margaux

“I like to shower at night but take a ballet class every morning, so I need a deodorant that will keep me feeling fresh through every plié and onto the rest of my day. The water-based formula goes on so smooth and leaves my skin really soft (whether or not I am shaving)—it’s an easy way to take care of my underarms without having to put much thought into it.” — Margaux Anbouba, Beauty Editor


Too Soft Leave-In Conditioner

The Haircare Line For Curly Queens Like Danielle

“I have tight, zig-zag curls that are often defined as “4c.” I have low porosity hair, which makes it difficult to maintain moisture and for my hair to absorb products. 4C Only came to my rescue with their shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, and styling cream. I know, I know—I’m only supposed to choose one product, but I swear by the entire line. I often suggest to newbies to buy the travel kit; it’s a more affordable way to experience the collection. If I must choose just one, I opt for the leave-in conditioner. It’s a thick formula but melts into my hair nicely without weighing it down and quickly revives my curls. The brand also boasts all-natural and/or organic ingredients and straightforward labeling so that, according to the FAQ on their website, “you can understand exactly what’s on your hair.” But seriously, try the whole line and thank me later fellow 4C queens!” — Danielle James, ELLE.com Interim Beauty Director


Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum

Youth To The People

$68.00

The Retinol Gentle Enough for Emily

“I have pretty sensitive skin, so I am often skeptical when adding new products to my routine, especially if it’s a retinol. However, my red, eczema-prone skin LOVES retinaldehyde or retinal, a gentler, yet still effective version of retinol (the strongest you can get without a prescription). This Youth to the People serum has .15 percent stabilized retinaldehyde, which improves texture, dullness, and wrinkles, but also includes healthy doses of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Ceramides also help the skin retain moisture, and everything works together to neutralize typical retinol sensitivity side effects (and common eczema traits, so win-win for me) such as dryness or flaking. The vegan, bright yellow serum, comes in recycled packaging and is free of parabens, phthalates, silicones, and sulfates. I started using this product every other night and slowly built up to daily use, which is the strategy I would also recommend to my sensitive skin squad. I didn’t experience any sort of flaking, purging, or redness. When I wake up the morning after using this, my skin looks brighter and dewier, and I’ve noticed that after using it for a few weeks, my pesky dark spots are becoming less noticeable.” — Emily Burns, Assistant Beauty Editor


Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream

The Air Drying Miracle Cream for Tatjana

The idea that I can actually airdry my 3A/3B curly hair is a complete miracle. This product has made it possible for me to just wash my hair, rub some of this cream through my ends, and go about my day, when I used to spend hours styling. The combination of hemisqualane and moringa seed oil reduces frizz, and it has a little bit of hold in it that helps form my curls. I also love that the tube is made of aluminum, which means when I’m finished I can just recycle it. Altogether, my hair looks shinier and healthier (and less heat damaged) than before. — Tatjana Freund, Beauty Commerce Writer

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