Melanie Bender’s Favorite Beauty Products of All Time

The Lineup is a monthly series where we’re giving you an inside peek at the beauty lineups of cool fashion people, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and estheticians—all the people we trust the most. Get ready for a behind-the-scenes look at all the can’t-live-without products that make their worlds go round.

In many ways, the world feels a bit out of control right now. There are stressors we’ve never encountered before creeping into our daily lives, and while it’s certainly not the most pressing matter on anyone’s agenda, delving into our beauty routines can offer a much-needed reprieve from the intense news cycle. But I was reminded recently by Melanie Bender—the president of Who What Wear’s clean sister skincare brand, Versed—that our beauty practices carry more weight than we often consider, not just for ourselves and our outward appearances but for our communities at large.

“In my early 20s, it dawned on me that this is the only skin I’ve got,” Bender tells me. Growing up in Hawaii, where she lived an active life involving surfing and playing water sports, she got more than her fair share of exposure to environmental stressors that can lead to all sorts of damage. “Then about a decade ago, I started working in beauty, where I learned about ingredients and product formulation from some of the industry’s leading chemists. It completely changed how I evaluated the products on my shelf, focusing on clean, science-backed ingredients and not getting caught up in the hype.”