Certain beauty products leave us awestruck—and intensely curious. (Exhibit A: a magic wand that builds you a new set of eyebrows from scratch—say wha?) We couldn’t resist indulging in some beauty geekery to learn how these game-changers do their thing.
Developing this multitasker (toner, serum, and hydrator) wasn’t as simple as picking a single miracle ingredient. “I don’t believe in the ‘magic bullet’ theory,” says founder Linda Stephenson. The key was to combine the highest number of skin-improving actives (over 20 antioxidants alone) while protecting them from contamination, heat, and humidity. And with botanical ingredients, that can be a real challenge. Stephenson’s solution: The double-walled bottle, which insulates from unfriendly temps, and the pump closure, which prevents contamination from any bacteria that your hands may be carrying. The product’s aloe base also contributes a slew of built-in vitamins and minerals—as well as lignin, an agent that helps aloe (and all of the skin-savers suspended therein) penetrate skin more effectively.
Benefit’s latest brow product shrinks the gap between the haves and have-nots with its ability to create natural-looking, voluminous brows on even the sparsest of arches. Polypropylene micro-fibers mimic real brow hairs by clinging to the ones you’ve already got. Because polypropylene is so elastic, the fibers move with your natural hair for the most authentic look possible. Meanwhile, the tinted gel is thick enough to add shape, and has conditioning and moisturizing agents to help those little hairs live longer and stronger.
Cheek tints can be tricky: Leave them on for just a second too long before blending, and you run the risk of unsightly red stripes streaking across your face like some form of war paint. Which is why Stainiac is such a standout. The two-in-one lip and cheek tint leaves ample time to blend and keeps skin hydrated long after it sets. The secret? The lightweight gel base contains sodium hyaluronate and green tea extract, which take a while to dry and let you move the color around for perfect placement.
Pore-shrinking is one of the great white whales of skincare—and the beauty industry has had its fair share of Ahabs. “Minimizing pores can refer to many different factors: pore diameter, number of pores, or pore depth,” explains a spokeperson from DDF’s R&D department. DDF’s brilliant serum spears its prey by tackling that last one: pore depth. The formula helps pores appear smaller in two ways: by exfoliating the top layer of skin, thereby making pores shallower, and by diffusing light, so that pores don’t look as dark. The dual-phase technology was a challenge to package, however, because the developers didn’t want the two phases to mix until they came out of the pump. After many months of tweaking, they were able to create two formulas that separate naturally inside the bottle—just like oil and water.