20 Beauty Products You Need to Try in July

From a reformulated Holy Grail liquid eyeliner and a second skin serum foundation to lipstick bullets that are almost TOO artistic to use and cuticle oil beads you can pop for a little anxiety relief along with your hydration, here are this month’s Best Bets and “must trys” for July.

Many beautyistas have long considered KVD Vegan Beauty’s Tattoo Liner in Trooper Black to be a Holy Grail, the best on the market, and perfection. Devotees celebrate the needle-precise brush, the inky shade, and the no-skip, stay put formula. It has fallen from grace a little in recent years, with fans noting it “flakes” and dries out, and isn’t quite what it used to be. These criticisms came from TWO of my BFFs who LOVE this liner as much as I do. So, when the re-branded brand reformulated the liquid liner to be waterproof and transfer-proof, as well as sweat and humidity-proof, I had to try it. The ink flow is optimized for better application and the aluminum pen is weightier, and feels heavy, sturdy, and steady in your hand. It also can help with the preciseness of your feline flick. I got mine, and, well, I love it. I have one in every makeup bag. My fave remixed aspect is the heavier feel of the pen as I applied my flick. My hand felt grounded and steadied and my flick was flawless.

If you need a new foundation, allow me to introduce you to Urban Decay’s Face Bond. What’s so special about it? Oh, well, it has 3% niacinamide, so it has serum benefits, while being medium coverage and buildable, yet lightweight. It comes in a natural, skin-blurring, and matte finish that is so thin your skin will feel naked. So it’s about as “no makeup” as you can get. It’s all you need this summer and on boiling hot days, since the self-setting formula contains a powder, thus negating the need for an additional layer of product in the form of setting powder. Go ahead and swim and sweat, and it will stay put. (Although, TBH, I don’t swim with my foundation on, so…) With 40 shades and a variety of undertones, Face Bond should find all the faces. You will love the squeeze drop tip. It dispenses carefully and just a dot or two gets the job done. It blends as beautifully with sponge as it does with a finger.

What’s Up Beauty’s Egyptian Queen Collection is… fit for a king, aka you. Let’s start with the packaging. The satin finish Liquid Eyeliner comes in a ribbed, cobalt blue component that’s substantial in your hands, while looking chic and expensive. The formula is inky and doesn’t budge. Cleopatra would heartily approve and so does Beauty News NYC. Rock the flick with Kemet (jettest of jet black) or Nebu (a gold x green x blue hue) or dare to do a double wing with both. The formula is thick and long-lasting, and requires a steady hand, so I’d recommend this for flick pros moreso than cat eye novices. But the crown jewel of the collection are the matte lippies, which come in similar cobalt containers. There are three nude shades that will look gorge on ANY skin tone and lip tone, because, remember, lip hues look different on all lips. But the issue here is that you won’t want to use them because they are WORKS OF ART! The bullets are intricately and painstakingly embossed with pyramids, hieroglyphs, and the bust of Nefertiti. You will twist the bullet and stare at the stunning sculpture in lipstick. It feels like an art museum in your hands. All the products are clean and cruelty-free, and are designed to be applied in one swipe. So there’s a simplicity that collides with the collection’s artistic opulence.

Need more royalty in your life? Okay, coming right up. Queen Cosmetics launched in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and after a tragic accident endured by its founder. The brand has been growing ever since and is a TikTok fave. While the social media app doesn’t ALWAYS dole out accurate advice when it comes to skincare and beauty, it is right on for making Queen Cosmetics go viral. Refillable, heart-shaped compacts that hold your shadow pans mean you carry your preferred hues in the cutest way. And, as an added bonus, you passively aid the environment by cutting down on waste.

Now, back to an indie brand we love and just spoke about. What’s Up Beauty’s Watch Me Mascara comes in a rectangular tube that always feels heavy in the hand. The clean formula will length, add volume, and curl… which is all the things most mascaras do. Big deal, right? No, this is actually a HUGE deal. That brush…OMG. This applicator is instantly iconic, thanks to the twisted hybrid bristles. Apply two or three coats with the twisted wire bristles then flip to the silicone comb side to define lashes and further distribute the product. Every lash will be the star of the show.

Another entry in the “ALMOST TOO GORGEOUS TO USE” lipstick sweepstakes is Westman Atelier’s Lip Suede Matte Lipstick. The canisters are thicker and rounder than your typical lippie but those bullets? They are embossed with hearts. Good lord, Gucci Westman. You are tempting us, daring us, and practically begging us to NOT use ’em. The velvet-y, rich texture is so creamy and won’t dry out your pucker, which is often the case with so many mega mattes. They glide across lips and you will need a makeup remover wipe to get the color off.

Do you wear contacts or have sensitive eyes… but love a lived-in, smudgy, smoky, messy eye look? The kind that looks like you slept in your makeup (not a recommendation, of course, because that’s not healthy)? Me too. That’s why I fell deeply in love with twenty/twenty beauty‘s Visionary Eye Shadow Sticks. They were developed by a board-certified ophthalmologist, so you can rest assured they are safe for your delicate peepers. The twist up sticks can be applied straight to your lid and the creamy formula blends out via a finger. The brand nixes mica and mineral powders, which can be irritating, in favor of good-for-your-skin-and-lashes ingredients, like castor oil, argan oil, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and Konjac Root Powder. Even if you don’t know what those things are or what they do, they are good for your skin. So go nuts. Apply three layers, smudge them on bottom and top lids and in the inner corners and head to the nearest rock show.

I really hate it when my makeup bags get grimy and gross. It’s an occupational hazard, though. Storing mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, and lip gloss means they’re bound to get dirty — due to leaks, packaging mishaps, you forgetting to securely close a palette, and then the shadow dust coats EVERYTHING from the lining to the other products. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to get them clean — makeup wipes, makeup remover, scalding hot water and soap… but nothing works. KUSSHI has solved this conundrum, thanks to washable makeup bags with incredible organizational capacity. They are not only durable and can withstand 20 washings over their lifetime, but they are stylish and cute. IDK if I will ever be able to use another makeup bag ever again bc I crush on my KUSSHI bag so much. I am a makeup and travel maximalist — I NEED CHOICES even for a weekend trip! — and KUSSHI allows me to pack all my faves and to find everything easily.

Retinol is a polarizing skin care product. Personally, my skin gets super red and irritated when I use it, so I tend to not reach for it, if I’m being honest. However, I’ve never met a lip serum I don’t like, and when PRMR (Primera) Retinol Lip Serum landed on my desk, I was intrigued and willing to see if it would have a similar effect on my lips. It goes on clear like a gloss and is loaded with good stuff — plant-derived Collagen, PRMR’s Seed-TechTM, Ceramides, and Hyaluronic Acid. You can use it multiple times throughout the day, too. So what’s the verdict? The sleek, mirrored bullet is so chic and the silicone applicator is flexible and forgiving. The formula is thick and moisturizing and you will feel some heat immediately, but nothing intolerable or that you will wipe off. The end result is a high shine lip look. Thumbs up!

If you have beautiful, melanin-rich skin and are all about “French Girl Beauty” aesthetic, then you are going to j’adore EADEM’s Le Chouchou Softening Lip Balm. Co-founder Marie Kouadio Amouzame was born in West Africa and raised in France so the brand and its luxe products take direct inspo and interpretation from her background and we’re lucky she shares it with the world. This is the multi-tasker of all multi-taskers — glossy shine, lip mask-level hydration, and gentle exfoliation. It also enhances rather than hides dual-toned lips. The formula is unscented and thick like Vaseline, so slather it on for sumptuous shine and deep hydration.

Dry cuticles are an issue for me year-round. They soak up every drop of cuticle oil, so I am apply it daily while on work calls or sitting in traffic. I just can’t get them moisturized enough. BUBBEAU Cuticle Oil Beads are the most fun you can have with nail care and while banishing those annoyingly dry cutes. You grab a few of the beads, pop them like packaging material, and smooth the oil all over your cuticles. It’s very relaxing… like physical ASMR for your nails, if that makes sense. The oil inside the balls is perfectly measured out so there’s no waste, no excess grease, or goop to wipe on your jeans or to repurpose as a hair oil hack. It’s the perfect amount to absorb into your cuticles. They come in refillable jars, too.

WANDER Beauty’s Lipsetter pens are just what you need in every crossbody, every tote, and every pocket. These space savers will lead you to the easy, breezy beauty promised land and come in four neutral tones, from rosy to mauve to taupe, so they work with all lip and skin tones. The formula finds a creamy, semi-matte lipstick on one end and a matching, highly pigmented liner on the other. The tube is slim and allows for better control in your hand and thus a more precise lip. Summer glam needs to be easy because you don’t want to waste precious time getting ready, and WANDER understands this universal truth with the Lipsetters.

A $68 lip treatment? Well, when stripped down to basics, that’s what UBeauty’s The Plasma Lip Compound is. Ditch the marketing jargon and it’s an expensive lip gloss. But the formula is indeed majorly plush, giving you that plumped and pillow-y pout. The slanted metal applicator adds to its luxe vibe. The brand just dropped Rom Com, a baby pink shade in collaboration with influencer Tinx. It’s the softest and sweetest pink you’ll come across. If it’s in your budget, the PLC is a worthwhile splurge, since it’ll coat your lips in long-lasting hydrating and drench them in juicy shine. If it’s not in your price range, then it’s an extravagance that you might be able to treat yourself with. That said, you can wear it as a gloss, a balm, as a lipstick topper, or a nighttime mask, so it serves MANY purposes and provides more value.

Two of the Internet’s fave brands — OUAI hair care and Tower Beauty — have collided to drop the Tower 28 x OUAI Limited Edition St. Barts Lip Jelly. It’s clear and hydrating, and smells like a fruit bowl. It’s summery, yummy, and really simple. If you are all about minimalist beauty on the hottest of days, this is all you need.

COVERGIRL‘s Clean Eye Color Sticks were also made for easy summer glam. They pack efficiently, so you can bring like six colors on a weekend trip and not take up too much precious real estate in your makeup bag since they are slim pencils and don’t need a brush for application. Thanks to the rounded tip and easy blend, creamy formula, you can apply any of these looks-good-on-everyone, shimmery neutrals straight to your lid than buff with your fingers. Who needs a brush when you have fingertips? Grab, glide, and go! Who wants to waste time putting on makeup when it’s so nice out? You can get glam and head out to the boardwalk quickly.

Hard Candy also has an EXCELLENT eyeshadow stick collection, adorably named Hard Candy Eye Def. From sky blue to ink jet black, these creamy and pigment–saturated, shea butter-infused sticks will let you create fun and funky summer boardwalk looks. As with the COVERGIRL sticks, dab directly onto your lid, smudge it with your pointer finger, and go. You can also pump up your lower lashline or waterline with a pop of color. This formula DOES. NOT. BUDGE. Not even a little bit. I legit had to double cleanse with extra strength eye makeup remover to get it off. So it lasts through the night, humidity, and waterproof makeup remover.

Need an every day neutral eyeshadow palette for ALL seasons? Then Polite Society, the new brand launched by Too Faced‘s Jerrod Blandino, has you and your lids covered. The vegan VIP Palette holds four, foil-like shimmers and five mattes in sunset hues, so you can go for low key glam or super smoky by layering, blending, and buffing. The best thing about this warm-toned palette is that you won’t have that ONE straggler shade that you never reach for while hitting pan on all the others. The hues are all THAT wearable and compatible. The texture is so majorly creamy, too.

Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Beauty keeps going and growing from strength to strength. The newly launched Rhode Pocket Blush is the cutest and creamiest to wear. There are six wearable shades from pink to orange to oral and they melt into skin for the most natural glow. You can dab onto your cheeks and build out your sun-kissed, dewy hue. It has a bonus function as a lip color, too. So go ahead and get matchy matchy.

OK, a bit off topic, but this totally needs to be on your radar Tangle Teezer just dropped a collection of pet hair brushes, BTW. Because your furry friends and fur babies need as much love and self-care as you do. I’ve been using them to de-shed my English Bulldog Wilbur and to keep my one-eyed, long-haired black cat Midnight free from those pesky mats that often pop up in his long, luxurious coat. Both of my children with paws love the gentle massaging action on their skin. I love that it gets the “dead hair shed” process going and keeps both of their coats shiny, fresh, clean, and healthy.