The Best Beauty Products We Tried in August, Including Launches from Rihanna and Jonathan Van Ness

At PEOPLE, we take beauty testing very seriously. We sift through hundreds — nay — thousands of pitches and products on a regular basis, carefully swatching, spritzing, and applying the latest and greatest offerings so that we can then share with you, dear readers, those that are worth your hard-earned money. And we’re keenly aware that beauty products are subjective, which is why we consult with experts like dermatologists, makeup artists, and hairstylists to determine what will best suit our specific skin and hair types, and we also boast a large testing pool of varying beauty needs so that we’re each giving the products a fair trial before writing them off. Sometimes, though, there are those especially shiny offerings that we feel the need to shout from the mountaintop of bottles, tubes, and compacts, which is why we started this monthly series of our absolute favorite picks.

Below, we’re rounding up the makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrances that made us do a double-take last month — and then reach for them again and again. From Rihanna’s latest blurring stick to a concealer that visibly “lifts,” these are our favorites.

Amazon Versed The Purist Antioxidant Cleanser


“I’ve never tried a Versed product that I didn’t use to the last drop (the Dew Point Gel-Cream is a PEOPLE beauty team favorite) and the brand’s new cleanser is no exception. The fragrance-free formula contains a fruit salad of antioxidants (from blueberry, raspberry and apple), plus soothing cucumber extract. It has a satisfyingly thick jelly texture and leaves skin super soft and hydrated. Bonus: The blue bottle is a fun addition to my bathroom sink situation.” — Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director

Price at time of publish: $10

Revolve Diana Madison Beauty Illumin-Eye Saffron Oil Brightening Eye Cream


“When it comes to skin care, I cycle through eye creams faster than anything else. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than slathering on a thick layer (admittedly too much, but this is where I am extra) and letting it sink in while I drink my iced coffee. Right now, I am loving beauty influencer Diana Madison’s brightening one. Convinced that I’m entering my dark circle era (in part because I spend too long in front of a magnifying mirror), I swear this delivers on its promise to illuminate with potent saffron oil from Armenia, where Madison’s family is from. The ingredient also hydrates, while buckwheat oil depuffs — another major plus!”  — Jackie Fields, deputy beauty director

Price at time of publish: $47

Merit Solo Shadow


“I love cream eyeshadows — there’s no need for a brush, just your finger and the will to blend to perfection. Thankfully, with this new offering from chic makeup brand, Merit, you don’t need to work that hard at getting the perfect application — it’s super creamy and melts into the skin with a powdery finish so it doesn’t slip and slide throughout the day. My favorite shade has been Studio, a cool taupe that works well with my neutral skin tone. It gives the same effect as using a cream bronzer to define your lids, which is a method I’ve been seeing all over TikTok lately. — Lindsey Metrus, commerce director

Price at time of publish: $24

Sephora Kosas Brow Pop Nano Brow Pencil


“I’m 29 weeks pregnant, and instead of befitting from the lush and thick hair that some women get at this stage, I’ve noticed that my hair and brows somehow feel and look thinner (lucky me). As such, I’ve been in search of a great brow pencil to fill in all the sparse areas, and serendipitously came across this tiny powerhouse from Kosas. I love a mirco brow pencil to create hair-like strokes on my arches for a more natural look, which is exactly what this offering does. It also has a waxy consistency, so it doesn’t smear and smudge as you’re applying it.” — Lindsey Metrus

Price at time of publish: $22

Sephora JVN Hair Nurture Intense Hydration Mask


“I’ve been trying to be more intentional with my hair care, which has meant adding in products that feel luxurious but also truly work. This conditioning mask, which delivers on hydration and shine and smooths frizz, has been a simple way to give my hair a noticeable boost without weighing my hair down. Plus, it only takes 3-5 minutes of your wash routine, which is a win in my book!” — Michelle Lee, editorial assistant

Price at time of publish: $34

Amazon Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger HydraSoft Glossing Treatment


“Not to sound cliché, but this new Awapuhi Wild Ginger HydraSoft Hair Gloss from Paul Mitchell really does deliver professional-quality results at home. According to the brand, native Hawaiians have used awapuhi ginger for centuries to achieve silky-soft hair and rehydrate dry strands, and Paul Mitchell’s entire Awapuhi Wild Ginger line is made from awapuhi ginger harvested from its sustainable farm in Hawai’i. This hair gloss instantly hydrated my sun-damaged hair, and I feel even more confident recommending it because the brand has been supporting local Hawaiian organizations for decades and will continue to do so in light of the Maui wildfires.” — Erin Johnson, senior commerce editor

Price at time of publish: $35.50

Amazon Guinot Bioxygene Cleansing Foam


“As someone who needs to enjoy using their skincare products in order to stay on top of their routine, one product that I basically can’t wait to use every day as of late is the Guinot Bioxygene Cleansing Foam, which the brand generously let me try recently. There’s just something about a foaming face wash that feels decadent and relaxing, and this one certainly delivers, thanks to ingredients like glycerin and castor oil to nourish the skin and salicylic acid to clear breakouts. The mousse-like consistency (which can be likened to whipped cream) bubbles up beautifully as you massage it in and leaves your face fresh and clean without feeling dried out.” — Erika Reals, senior commerce editor

Price at time of publish: $42.50

Sephora Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Soothing Serum Skin Tint Foundation


“After trying just about every skin tint out there, I’ve finally found my holy grail in Danessa Myricks’ new serum-foundation hybrid. Not only does it feel light as air on my skin, but it also leaves behind the dewiest, most supple glow — I swear I haven’t reached for highlighter once since I’ve started testing it out.” — Karli Bendlin, associate director of content strategy

Price at time of publish: $36

Ulta Tarte Shape Tape Radiant Concealer


“For years, I’ve patiently listened to beauty lovers rave about the Tarte Shape Tape concealer — but to be honest, it didn’t quite work as well for me. While the coverage was impressive, even a thin layer of the creamy concealer would somehow crack on my dry skin by the end of the day. The new Shape Tape Radiant concealer, however, is a game-changer. It provides medium to full coverage and a soft blurring, dewy finish — and, best of all, absolutely no cracking or settling into fine lines, even after a full day of wear on my parched under eyes. I’ll shout it from the rooftops: I love this concealer!” — Cai Cramer, commerce staff writer

Price at time of publish: $29.30

Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick


“This little stick is the low-maintenance makeup-lover’s dream. For me, it does the job of a concealer and a foundation; I apply it on my dark circles and the red spots around my nose and forehead, then pat it in with my fingers for a skin-like finish. Unlike other concealer sticks I’ve tried, the creamy formula blends seamlessly into all of the textures of my face, including the dryness around my nose and oiliness on my forehead, and seemingly adapts to both to provide coverage that stays without flaking or streaking. It’s creamy, pigmented, and provides natural-looking coverage that can be built up as desired. The Minimalist stick has replaced a color corrector, tinted moisturizer, and concealer in my routine, getting me one step closer to being a true makeup minimalist.” — Cai Cramer

Price at time of publish: $38

Sephora Makeup by Mario SurrealSkin Awakening Concealer


“It takes a lot for me to break up with the concealer I’ve repeatedly bought since I was 17 years old, but I’m officially moving on with the Makeup by Mario SurrealSkin Awakening concealer. I’ve never found a shade match that matches my skin tone so quickly, despite me being an odd, somewhat-sunkissed (but mostly pale) shade right now. I wanted to test the staying power on this self-setting formula (it dries down semi-matte), so I wore this concealer to work, the gym, and all of my events for a week to see how it held up throughout my busy days. I consistently had crease-free under-eyes, filter-like blurred skin, and a lifted effect that never faded by the end of the day. I’d say I was surprised, but I know what creator Mario Dedivanovic is capable of — and it’s safe to say that this concealer massively lives up to the hype.” — Alyssa Brascia, commerce staff writer

Price at time of publish: $29

Sephora Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick


“In the words of Rihanna herself, ‘where have you been all my life?’ Ever since I started using the above concealer and the Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blur + Smooth Tint Stick, my base routine has been changed forever. To say this product is easy to blend is an understatement — its stick formula glides on like butter, feels like air on your skin, and blends like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Designed to be blended with your fingers, this is the girl-on-the-go’s must-have product. One swipe of this stick was highly pigmented, but sheered out into a medium-coverage skin tint that canceled out my rosacea-induced redness, blurred my texture, and sat beautifully on top of my daily SPF. Stick foundations have notoriously been heavy products for a foundation base, but I truly have never experienced a cream product so weightless, pore-minimizing, and natural-looking on my skin.” — Alyssa Brascia

Price at time of publish: $35

Amazon Kenzzi IPL Hair Removal Handset


“I recently revived my Kezzi IPL Handset, and I instantly remembered why I used to love it so much. After one treatment a week for the past five weeks, my legs have been soft, smooth, and practically hairless. I haven’t had any hair growth in over two weeks aside from some sparse hairs. I only use this on my legs, but it has been a dream come true not to have to shave every other day, and a great addition to my self-care routine this summer.” — Dhara Patel, commerce project manager

Price at time of publish: $199

Ulta Kopari Golden Aura Body Oil


“This year, I became a body oil fanatic, and I’ve found my favorite in the Golden Aura Body Oil. I’ve tried products with 24 karat gold in them (which is said to work as an antioxidant), but none have had me glowing like this one. I love that this body oil has hyaluronic acid, making it even more moisturizing than other oils without leaving stickiness on the skin. I love applying more before I go out, whether I’m going to a wedding or drinks with some friends; it adds an extra sheen to the skin that looks like a glow from within rather than the chunky or shimmery glitter look that most body glow oils create. It also smells absolutely dreamy, with notes of jasmine and creamy musk.” — Dhara Patel

Price at time of publish: $39

Snowfox Gua Sha Hair & Scalp Revival Brush


“I’ve been using this hairbrush since early this summer and it seamlessly glides through my thick, wavy hair. Each brush is handcrafted by local artisans in Taiwan, which contributes to the cost, but adds significantly to the quality. This is a brush that lasts — making it a good investment for your hair. And the name Gua Sea isn’t just symbolic, this brush actually massages your head with each stroke, so brushing your hair is stimulating your scalp’s skin as well. You won’t experience the same busted bristles like you’ll find with a drugstore hairbrush; these are made with 24 karat gold and titanium plating so they are incredibly sturdy. Plus, the brush is easy to grip and has a lightweight design, so in the off chance it takes you a while to brush your hair (unlikely due to this brush’s ability to ease tangles apart), your hand won’t get tired.” — Madison Yauger, senior commerce writer

Price at time of publish: $98

Kevyn Aucoin Signature Sculpting Collection

Kevyn Aucoin

“When it comes to my makeup routine, simplicity is the name of the game. I want to do as little as possible without having to buy a million products, and the three products in the Kevyn Aucoin Signature Sculpting Collection create such a simple and natural look. It includes The Lightning Stick (highlighter), The Color Stick (cheek and lip tint), and The Contrast Stick (contour), but you can buy each item separately for $53 a piece. I have very fair skin and I really like natural-looking makeup, so I was obsessed the first time I tried these. I use the ‘Soft Light’ Lightning Stick, ‘Awaken’ Color Stick, and ‘Shape’ Contrast Stick — they create such subtle definition in my face. Plus, they’re super compact and easily portable for travel.” – Madison Yauger

Price at time of publish: $53 per item

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