The luxury beauty niche has some incredible offerings to peruse this holiday season. As a beauty editor, my job is to experience and learn about them, from the cult favorites to the cutting-edge newcomers.
The beauty industry’s evolution has been fascinating this past year. There is a continued integration of skincare with wellness that is fueling regimens made with science-driven actives from regenerative medicine, longevity supplements, age-old practices like lymphatic drainage, and more. The best part is that “smarter” formulations mean you can surpass dermatology’s former favorites with gentler formulations that are better for your skin.
After talking to industry experts, connecting with brands, and guinea-pigging my way through the buzziest treatments and products around, I definitely have an opinion or two. Keep reading and get your credit cards ready: I’ve highlighted my favorite luxury beauty buys below.
Lyma Laser, $2,695
Yelp data showed red light therapy (red and infrared LED) demand increased by 85% in 2023, making it a top predicted skin trends in 2024. The technology was first developed by NASA to help astronauts healing in space, but the most recent innovations are allowing for increasingly powerful devices for use at home. The therapeutic wavelengths of light energize the skin cells’ mitochondria, fueling their efficiency in cellular functions including tissue regeneration. The Lyma is the most praised, and the celebrity esthetician-beloved device really is worth it for treating wrinkles, targeting hyperpigmentation, and promoting elasticity. But my my favorite way to use it is as a spot treatment for breakouts: it drastically shortens the healing time and reduces inflammation, particularly under-the-skin cystic breakouts.
Canopy Filtered Showered, $150
After a traumatic experience on a remote ranch where the water filtration system for the well was out of commission, my appreciation for water filtration has surged. I plan to get water filters for every faucet in my house, beginning with the showerhead in my bathroom. This dermatologist-recommended pick requires no tools to install and comes with a replaceable filter that removes chlorine, heavy metals, and contaminants in the water supply. If you have eczema or skin irritation, this will be an absolute game-changer, but it can also impact the duration of your professional hair color and hair strength.
Heat Healer Energy Sauna, $1,748.60
Treat your cells to the a spa day, employing multiple modalities in one device. Heat Healer combines anti-aging red LED (660 nm) with a detoxifying sauna experience using FAR infrared heat (6-14 microns). Meanwhile Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency (PEMF) therapy can be set between 30Hz and 1 Gauss to optimize the bio-hacking experience. One of the best facials I have ever had was with Katie Sobelman AKA The Organic Esthetician who incorporates PEMF therapy into her treatments, and I highly recommend the added dose of relaxation and healing it brings. BTW, if you’re a germaphobe worried about keeping the device clean, it comes with an absorbent mat and pillow that can be washed in between each use.
You might have heard about exosomes, the regenerative ingredient secreted from stem cells that are transforming the way experts create their regimens. Well, celebrity esthetician Angela Caglia partnered with a USFDA-approved research lab to hand-formulate these exquisite, small-batch serums using adipose-derived stem cell-conditioned media containing exosomes and more. The donors are extensively-screened, medically-vetted twenty-year-olds whose stem cells are used for neurological research; but while the stem cells are proliferated in the lab, they secrete the beneficial, regenerative ingredients that go into these serums.
FTR, experts report that exosome treatments are not only surpassing the anti-aging outcomes associated with retinol, PRP, and PRF, but they are doing so incredibly gently. Other brands of exosomes exist, but this non-comedogenic formula is my pick for sensitive skin because it excludes potential irritants like vitamin C, and offers barrier-supportive, lipid lock technology without being comedogenic. Plus it comes with oodles of hydration via hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom extract (an efficacious hydrator that will be extra-buzzy in 2024).
This is another sensitive skin savior that comes with clinically-proven, anti-aging outcomes, including reducing fine lines and wrinkles, evening-out hyperpigmentation, refining the appearance of pores, and moderating sebum production. It uses Xycrobes, a beneficial substrain of C.acnes defendens bacteria, which balances your skin microbiome, feeds on the sebum of your skin, and begins secreting protective and brightening antioxidants. If you have dermatitis or otherwise irritated skin, this is a game-changer; it is also performing incredibly well in conjunction with micro-needling. Note: It works best if you use it without retinol and without antimicrobial actives that will kill the Xycrobes!
CO2 Lift Pro Carboxy Treatment Mask, $270 for 3
This three-pack of face masks will repair your skin barrier, brighten your skin tone, eradicate redness, and help to heal the skin — whether post-treatment, suffering from breakouts, or simply in need of an anti-inflammatory boost. Its healing power comes thanks to oxygen, which the mask harnesses via the Bohr effect by sending carbon dioxide onto the skin topically, which is then compensated for as the body flushes the region with fresh oxygen in your blood. If you have dry or sensitive skin, or are simply looking for a glow, this mask will forever change your skin regimen.
Orveda Eye Unveiler 422, $290
Orveda has long been one of my favorite luxury brands, designed for sensitive, “over-processed” skin that cannot handle the onslaught of lasers, peels, and aggressive dermatological ingredients that characterize our regimens. Instead, it relies on one of biotech’s most potent, marine antioxidants, thermus thermophilus, prebiotics, and a ratio of ceramides to properly mimic your skin barrier’s natural function. The best part about the line is that it will make your sensitive skin absolutely glow — a side effect of the prebiotics, but also the health of a flourishing microbiome.
These luxurious lip salves will take your lip care — and your vanity — to a new level. Embrace the notion of slow beauty and mindfully apply the raw, botanical ingredients, housed in soul-soothingly wabi sabi vessels. First scrape out the salve and allow it to melt into your lips, applying it once in the morning and once in the evening. Increase your water intake and have patience: after three days’ use, you will feel the difference.
My shower regimen is never complete unless I have this supremely hydrating, sugar scrub for a last step. I have extremely dry skin on my body, which can become especially itchy in the winter months. My recommendation is to use a nourishing body wash like iota Body Wash, shave with a gentle Athena Club Razor Kit, and then use this lipid-rich oil concoction to gentle impart moisture and smooth your newly silken legs. Once you get out of the shower, the regimen continues. Move on to the iota Superplant Body Serum while your skin is still damp and then slather on the others below.
My Florentine boyfriend took me to see the meticulously-concocted beauty products at Santa Maria Novella when we were in his hometown last summer. Florence, or Firenze, is a city that prides itself in being stewards of the cultural history they live amidst, and these exquisite botanical creations from the historic Medici gardens are no exception. I highly recommend the blue tansy-infused “dry” body oil, which will soothe any potential irritation with a non-greasy finish that allows you to top it with a lotion or balm. (If you prefer a one-step solution, the Dermo Protective Oil is a more traditional pick; however, I happen to be a sucker for anti-inflammatory blue tansy!)
I fell head-over-heels in love with this botanical body balm after visiting the gorgeous Aman New York property. The natural oil blend has a thicker texture to lock in the ingredients that come before it, while soothing the compromised moisture barrier associated with dry skin types to prevent irritation. The best part is that the botanical powerhouses it contains will nourish the skin and leave you with a silken finish. If you want to try another balm that is slightly less costly, I have been buying and gifting Skincando Combat Ready Balm for years and have gone through countless tubs of it.
CO2 Lift V, $600 for 6
I was a super-fan of this company’s face masks before I was brave enough to try their vaginal masks. But after speaking with OB-GYN’s and MD’s that raved about the formula, which is actually beneficial for the tissues and health of your below-the-belt region, I finally gave it a try… and became hooked. It takes getting used to, but hear me out: this pH-optimized mask will give you the best sex of your life as the oxygenation it cues helps regenerate tissue, but also increases sensitivity. I recommend using it weekly before bed. It will leak, so wear a pad or underwear you won’t mind having to wash. Then, rinse it out in the morning. All I can say is that while that does not sound glamorous, it is truly worth it. It takes getting used to, but your sex life will level-up and your partner will be smug thinking they’re an absolute animal in bed. Use code JessicaO for 15% off.
Resore Body Towel, $99
I will admit that I have become a bit of a germaphobe as I have aged (to be fair, OCD runs in my family). But there is actual merit in shopping for textiles infused with antimicrobial silver ions which help to prevent bacterial proliferation (I checked with one of my favorite cosmetic chemists). Dermatologists actually recommend changing out your pillowcases, wash cloths, and towels nightly if you have a finicky or acne-prone skin types due to the rapid bacterial proliferation that occurs on our towels and pillowcases between washes. But each of these luxuriously soft, high thread count towels is infused with anti-microbial silver technology to keep them cleaner for longer. Hint: If you are a fan of using cleansing balms or oils to remove your makeup, they also sell wash cloths for the face.
The celebrity-beloved brand Augustinus’s Bader is known for imparting glow to the skin thanks to its proprietary nutrient delivery system. But this year I’d rather focus on the brand’s admirable scalp and hair-care line, as the scalp and hair will be trending in 2024. The shampoo was initially so raved-about that I could only try it once during a blow out with their global ambassador, celebrity hair stylist Glen Coco, but I have been wanting to stock up on it ever since. The Scalp Serum is non-greasy and made my hair grow like crazy, delivering nourishment that worked like hair-fertilizer. Lastly, the Eyebrow and Lash serum really do deliver effects, nourishing the hair follicle (which, by the way, is a place where stem cells can be found!) to expedite the growth of healthy strands.
Whenever I interview dermatologists about beauty supplements, they are hesitant to vouch for the effects of pre-formulated supplements — except when it comes to the hair, for which ample studies exist. Dr. Nadia Musavvir is a naturopathic doctor with a special passion for hair thickening treatments, and I recently started her hair supplement. To be honest, I did not even start it for the hair-enhancing effects, the researched-vitamins it contains were just great for my thyroid… but after a few weeks, my friend and makeup artist Diane Caranica noted that I was having “a really good hair day.” Because my hair, brows, and lashes were all having an extra good day, that’s when I gave the bottle of vitamins a second look — and highly recommend that you do too.
I recently fell in love with the Sisley Paris blow dry brush for the way it gives my hair life. In my regimen, moisture and smoothness are the priority, and I typically use a hair masque — the Davines Oi Butter is my current favorite (but all of their hair masks are fantastic) — in the shower and comb it out with an Yves Durif Comb before rinsing. Then I add-in a touch of my favorite leave-in conditioner, Sangre de Fruta Botanical Hair Elixir, and tuck it up into an absorbent Aquis Hair Towel until I am ready to blow dry.
When the time comes, I section out my hair using a Kitsch Absorbent Scrunchie or The Crown Affair Clips, and use this fantastic, lightweight round brush to get my tresses dry in sections. My former-favorite was from Balmain, a haircare line that I still adore, but I was always concerned that the base of the brush was made of metal and might heat up from the blow dryer and damaged my hair. This one is made of wood, so you can rest insured there will be no additional heat damage imparted by the must-try styling tool.
For years, I never heat styled or colored my hair, and loved how healthy, long, and thick it was. In fact, when I moved back from Paris in 2021, I epitomized French girl-hair to the point that one hair stylist told me it overwhelmed my petite frame! But alas, I now have to cover my greys, and became concerned about maintaining its health since it was being color processed again.
That led me to the Bioprogramming Repronizer line of hair tools, a Japanese brand that claims to use quantum physics to circumvent heat damage and actually improve hair health. The celebrity hair stylists I have spoken to swear by these products, mutual friends vouch for them, and I will admit that my hair texture, moisture, and quality holds up quite well even though I now blow dry and heat style regularly. One of my beauty editor friends, Maryam Lieberman at W, swears by their curling iron, too, but I have not given it a try yet because, well, they’re pricy enough I want to be sure I’ll use it.
Top off your tresses with the easiest way to embellish and fasten a sleek updo from home. Deborah Pagani’s collection of minimalist hair pins was joined by this dual serpent-embellished design, crowning your locks with a symbol of rebirth, immortality, love, and wisdom.
This, friends, is the ultimate buy for the beauty witch. There is no way to better elevate your space than this cult-favorite Smokeless Smudge formula housed in a hand-carved, quartz crystal spray bottle. Rest assured that the Witch-sourced crystal was sourced and handled with meticulous attention to respect for the earth, and stores only the purest energy imprints. It is ready to be programmed with your intentions, or simply to elevate the vibration of its ambiance-clearing contents.
I interviewed the founder of Perfumehead and fell in love with his fragrance osmocosm. Each fragrance in the collection is inspired by his love of Los Angeles, and are precious in their own right. I had the hardest time selected which would be my inaugural scent from the line but ultimately went with the classic: Cosmic Cowboy.
The fragrance profile is a “Sunset in the 70’s” inspired aroma that is not too sweet, but not too savory. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but it is the perfect musk whose aroma evolves in complexity as time goes on. A hint of sweet amber, a hint of cinnamon spice, and the sultriness of tobacco leaf make this the “haute couture” of fragrance in my book. I am always a sucker for the amber and tobacco leaf combo, and my favorite candle (Ghosting by Anecdote), which is constantly burning on my nightstand, will prove it.
OTM Collection Cannes, $245
The first time I saw OTM Collection’s vanity cases, I fell in love with the aesthetic and their black and tan color palette. I especially like that they use animal-friendly vegan saffiano leather, affording a chic texture that is also more durable than smooth leather. But the more you learn about these luxury beauty-keepers, the more you will appreciate the way that they house and protect your investment in your skin regimen, like that they are lined with Pristinium to regulate the temperature and keep your serums shelf stable while you’re on the go.
Craft your perfect smokey eye or perfectly-imperfect wing with the best kajal eyeliners on the market. These cult favorites have a buttery texture that allows you to line and shape your eyes while relying on the blended, soft edge for Cool-girl effortlessness that is also easier to apply. Rather than going for the severity of black, I think the shade ‘Ash’ works great for everyday, but they come in multiple hues to take you from office to party with ease.
Prime Skin is the best versatile complexion product. You can wear its glowy tint on its own for light coverage, use it to prep the skin for foundation, or — my personal favorite — mix-in a pump with your favorite foundation. I fell in love with it the first time I mixed it with my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation and set it using the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder. It has been a regular on my vanity ever since.
I first tried the Orcé Come Closer Foundation with celebrity makeup artist Zara Kaplan and loved it so much I bought one for myself. Just one pump imparts a surprising amount of coverage and it is one of the most frequent foundations that I now reach for. The shade selection was designed to match the undertones of Asian skin tones in particular, helping to boost inclusivity in the luxury sector, but I have an olive-neutral undertone and it suits me perfectly. For reference, the coverage falls on the medium-full end of the spectrum, and it has a dewy finish so you’ll want to set with an ultra-fine powder.
I have really fallen hard for the Gucci beauty line and use their bronzer and Luminous Matte Blush in Silky Rose almost every time I wear makeup. I recommend applying the bronzer and blush with the Hourglass Veil Powder Brush, using the smaller end for the blush and the larger end to disperse the bronzer. My other favorite from Gucci is their L’Obscur Lengthening Mascara, which is one of two that I reach for regularly. (When I want a tubing mascara, I use Exa Lash Amplifying Mascara.) Keep in mind this bronzer is efficient and pigmented, so apply it lightly and plan to build on it.
Hourglass is another luxury beauty brand I have become addicted to this year, and I feel good about it knowing they are cruelty-free and made up of dedicated animal advocates. I am especially fond of their ultra-pigmented concealer above and corresponding Vanish Seamless Finish Concealer Brush, as well as their Mineral Veil Primer SPF 15, the talc-free Setting Powder, and the dual-ended Veil Powder Brush. I use all of these every time I do my makeup now!
The iconic Streicher sisters are well-known for being powerhouses in the beauty industry, with Kristie being the ultimate eyebrow goddess. In fact, if you ever wonder who rehabilitated the celebrity brows from the over-plucked days of the nineties, it was Kristie — and she’s been fostering fuller, feathery brows ever since. She not only shapes and oversees the brow regrowth of countless A-listers, but recently launched her own line of brow products that absolutely must be tried.