The Beauty Products Janell Hickman-Kirby Swears By

Welcome to I Swear by This, an interview series where we chat with our favorite fashion and beauty insiders about the beauty products they use down to the last drop. This week, we asked Janell Hickman-Kirby, a beauty writer and content manager, to share all the products she’s loving right now.

Working in the beauty industry for more than a decade, Janell Hickman-Kirby has a vanity that rivals the Sephora in Times Square, but the quarantine forced her to scale back on her routine. “It was the first time I’ve had so many empties,” she says. “Something about consumerism and the ‘buy, buy, buy’ mentality really became a turn-off for me, so I took the time to use what I already had and discover my favorites.”

The result was a more scaled-back routine with an emphasis on luxury. “Not only do these products work, but they’ve made my routine feel more like a ritual,” Hickman-Kirby says. “I wake up feeling excited to use them in the morning.”

Below, the products she currently has on rotation, including a TSA-friendly face cleanser, the body balm that transforms her shower into a spa, and her holy grail serum.

Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum

“This is one of the best dark spot serum-lotion hybrids I’ve tried; it’s not too heavy, and it’s not too light either, making it perfect when you’re layering on other products in your routine. I also really like the founders—I’m always impressed by brands that start out with just one product. It shows to me that they’ve tested it and they’ve perfected it. I use it everyday and I’m currently on my third bottle.”


Even Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum

“This is another one of my holy grails for dark spots. It has vitamin C, which helps my complexion stay even-toned and radiant. I use this interchangeably with the Eadem serum.”


Active Botanical Serum

“I’ve used this serum since it first launched. It’s the perfect formula—it keeps my skin hydrated, it doesn’t make me break out, and my skin looks so luminous after I use it.

“Whether my skin’s breaking out or it’s feeling extra dry, I pat on this serum and we’re back to normal in no time. It’s absolutely worth the money; I’m on my sixth bottle.”

Vitner’s Daughter

The Moisturizing Soft Lotion

“I love this lotion because it’s not too thick or overpowering, but it’s not watery either. I like to layer this overtop my other products to seal in moisture when my skin gets a bit dehydrated.”

La Mer

Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil

“This product is really interesting because it’s a serum, an essence, and an oil. If there’s a morning where I don’t have time to do a full routine, I’ll use this because it’s a multitasker, then I’ll use a moisturizer. You shake up the bottle then you take the dropper and massage it into your face. It smells delightful, which creates a luxurious experience when you work it into your skin.

“It leaves behind a nice sheen that makes your skin glowy and dewy, not oily or too shiny.”


Darker Skin Tones Enzyme Cleanser

“This is the best cleanser to travel with because it’s just a powder. I like the fact that it doubles as a mask, too. It really gets rid of dead skin cells, making my skin feel so smooth. I use it about two to three times a week.”

Dr. Barbara Sturm

Anti Aging Body Balm

“This transforms my everyday shower routine into a luxury experience. It spreads onto your skin smoothly and absorbs instantly. Plus, it has a light smell that isn’t overpowering—it makes your bathroom feel like a spa.”


Boum-Boum Milk

“I’d say this product is similar to a facial mist; it’s not going to moisturize your skin to the point where you can skip your face cream, but if your skin’s feeling dehydrated, it would help you out. It also leaves behind a subtle glow; if I’m about to hop on a call and I need to look presentable, I’ll spritz this on and swipe on a lip, then I’m good to go.”