An Honest Review of Tower 28 Beauty 2023

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According to a recent study, over 71 percent of adults say they have some form of sensitive skin. While plenty of us have overhauled our skin-care routines in search of gentle, sensitive skin-friendly products—we’re not giving our makeup bags the same treatment. That’s where Tower 28 comes in. The Santa Monica-based beauty brand is one of the few lines specially developed for sensitive skin, and it’s the only beauty brand that adheres to the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines.

We’ll talk more about that in a second, but let’s just say the internet is obsessed. From the mascara and the lip gloss to the derm-approved serum and facial mist—Tower 28 hits every time (and it’s all W+G editor-approved). Even celebs like Hailey Bieber, Khloe Kardashian and Olivia Rodrigo are hooked on its sensitive skin-friendly beauty products. If you’ve been itching (no pun intended) to try the brand for yourself and aren’t sure where to start, I tried and tested every Tower 28 product to see what’s really worth the hype.

More about Tower 28

A former beauty industry exec, Tower 28 founder, Amy Liu, was frustrated by the scant selection of brands that were “safe” for her to use. Products geared towards sensitive skin were bland, clinical-feeling, and lacked the playful flair that makes experimenting with beauty so exciting. So Liu used her 15+ years of beauty industry experience to launch the fun, sensitive skin-friendly brand that we all wanted to use. Named after the lifeguard tower where Santa Monica and Venice Beach meet, Tower 28 is giving beachy, California energy at every level. From the wavy, colorful packaging to the fuss-free formulas inside, the brand oozes fun.

Why it’s great for sensitive skin

What does it mean to be sensitive skin-friendly, you ask? It means being extra choosy about ingredients. Tower 28 has a hefty no-no list of ingredients that you won’t find in any of its products—including but not limited to preservatives, phthalates, nanoparticles, fragrance (synthetic and natural), essential oils, talc, mineral oil, petrolatum, and so much more.

Suffice it to say that if it’s known to make your skin angry, it won’t be in a Tower 28 product. But that’s not all, the brand swears by the National Eczema Association’s ‘no-no list’ too! Which is why it’s the only beauty brand to earn the association’s seal of acceptance on select products—impressive, I know. Plus, everything is gluten-free, derm-tested, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (aka non-pore clogging) so whether you’re sensitive, acne-prone or both, Tower 28 products are always a safe bet.

My honest thoughts on Tower 28 products

tower 28 rescue spray

Tower 28, SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray — $28.00

The SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray—derms love it, 500+ Sephora shoppers love it, and now I do, too. The calming face mist’s key ingredient, hypochlorous acid (which is made naturally by your skin, BTW), has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties—thus banishing blemish-causing bacteria, while soothing skin redness and irritation. It also smells like pool water, and I kind of love that. Whenever I’m dealing with gnarly breakouts, a compromised skin barrier, or am just feeling a bit sensi, the SOS Spray is what I’ll be reaching for first. It’s already semi-affordable by today’s standards, but it’s worth investing in the jumbo refill bottle ($68)—it’s that good.

  • Soothes irritation and redness
  • Helps clear breakouts
  • Simple and effective
  • Has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™

tower 28 rescue serum

Tower 28, SOS Intensive Rescue Serum — $34.00

A riff on the brand’s cult-classic facial spray, the SOS Intensive Serum is essentially hypochlorous acid in serum form. It packs all of the skin-calming and purifying benefits of the SOS mist, in a lightweight, watery gel texture. I apply 2-3 pumps all over my face after misting, and my skin chills out immediately. By morning, my skin is pretty much reset—blemishes are visibly less angry, signs of irritation are quelled and I’m a happy camper. What’s more, makeup artists swear by the Rescue Serum to prep the skin before applying makeup, and judging by the immediately glassy look it gives my skin, I understand why.

  • Soothes redness and irritation
  • Great skin prep
  • Helps combat breakouts
  • Lightweight feel
  • Lightly hydrates
  • Has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™
  • The watery formula shoots out of the pump if you’re not careful

tower 28 beach please blush

Tower 28, Beach Please Luminous Tinted Balm — $20.00

If you love a dewy-yet-pigmented blush look, you’ll love the Beach Please Luminous Tinted Balms. The super emollient balms come in a range of summer-ready shades (I’m wearing “Office Hours,” a sun-kissed mauve, in the above photo) and couldn’t be more user-friendly. Tap them in with your fingers or stipple them on with a brush, you’ll get a fresh-faced, radiant flush without fail every time. You can even use the balms on your lips and lids for a monochrome look. The balms are made with skin-nourishing ingredients, like green tea extract, aloe vera and shea butter—and in true Tower 28 fashion, they’re free of anything that could irritate sensitive skin or clog your pores. Pretty pigment and blendability aside, though, I found these to be a tad too dewy for my liking—but anyone with dry skin is sure to love them.

  • Multipurpose
  • Pigmented
  • Easy to blend
  • Moisturizing formula
  • Might be too dewy for some

TOWER 28 make waves mascara

Tower 28, MakeWaves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara — $20.00

If you’re going to try anything from Tower 28—make it the MakeWaves Mascara. This mascara gives you a little bit of everything: it lengthens, volumizes and gives my stick straight lashes a bit of curling help thanks to its curved synthetic brush. A trio of flexible bands makes it easy to wriggle through my lashes, and ensures every last one is seamlessly coated. And if you want a bolder look, MakeWaves’s buildable formula can be layered without clumpiness. The cherry on top? The tubing formula is easy to remove (all you need is warm water and light massaging), and seriously budge-proof. I can even apply it to my lower lashes without racoon eyes!

  • Safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Lengthens and volumizes lashes
  • Doesn’t flake or smudge
  • Easy to remove

sunny days spf from tower 28

Tower 28, SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen — $32.00

Sunny Days is a tinted mineral sunscreen, but unlike others on the market, Tower 28’s buildable, light-to- medium coverage is better than foundation—and it’s safe for sensitive skin (*chefs kiss*). The lightweight formula covers up redness and evens out my skin tone while still letting my skin breathe. What you get is a natural, satiny finish, that’s devoid of cakey-ness. And while I usually skip makeup when my skin is in the middle of a breakout, Sunny Days is the one of the few I can reach for worry-free thanks to trusty skin-soothers like aloe vera and prickly pear.

  • Mineral SPF 30
  • 17 flexible shades
  • Light-to-medium coverage
  • Natural, satiny finish
  • Not cakey
  • Safe for sensitive and breakout prone skin
  • Has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™
  • Might be too drying for drier skin types

tower 28 lip jelly

Tower 28, Shine On Lip Jelly — $16.00

Take the glassy shine of a lip gloss, add the moisturizing feel of a lip balm and subtract the stickiness, you’ve got the Shine On Lip Jelly. These cushiony, smoothing glosses defy all logic in my book—giving me a sheer wash of color (there are also clear and ‘milky’ shade options), juicy shine, while leaving my lips feeling pillowy soft and hydrated for hours. And instead of “glossing” over dry, chapped lips, the Shine On Lip Jelly gets to work on solving dryness with an ultra-nourishing blend of oils (like apricot, castor, avocado, raspberry oils—the works!). Even more incredible, they’re under $20! So there’s no going wrong.

  • Not sticky
  • Shiny finish
  • Moisturizing formula
  • Great shade selection
  • Affordable
  • May be too sheer for some, according to reviews

tower 28 bronzino

Tower 28, Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer — $20.00

For a radiant, tanned look without the skin damage, Tower 28’s Bronzino is for you. It has a similarly emollient, balmy consistency as the brand’s Beach Please blushes, in five gloriously bronze, shimmery shades. While I was admittedly skeptical about the shimmer at first, it’s hardly noticeable on the skin, and gives the bronzer a beautiful, glowy (but not glittery) finish. I use “West Coast,” a warm medium bronze shade that’s just as gorgeous on the eyes as it is on your face. I buff it out around my cheekbones, across my nose and lightly dust it on my forehead and temples for an easy sun-kissed look. If you can get past the shimmer (and use a separate contour if that’s what you’re used to), Bronzino is totally worth picking up—especially if you have drier skin.

  • Easy to blend
  • Moisturizing
  • Radiant formula
  • Doubles as a cream eyeshadow
  • Not very long-wearing
  • Shimmery formula isn’t for everyone

Super dew highlighter from tower 28

Tower 28, SuperDew Highlighter — $18.00

I kind of love that slightly sweaty dew you get after a few hours in the sun—and Tower 28’s SuperDew is that in balm form. There’s absolutely zero color or shimmer in it, just the most natural-looking shine. And just a touch is all you need for a “glass-skin” effect. In keeping with the rest of the Tower 28 lineup, SuperDew has super great ingredients—we’re talking skin-soothing chamomile, antioxidant green tea and nourishing shea butter—so it essentially takes care of dryness while imparting a luminous glow. If you’re not a glitter gal but still want to highlight, pick this up ASAP. You can even use it on your eyelids for a glossy look!

  • Easy to use
  • Moisturizing and soothing formula
  • No glitter, pigment or shimmer
  • Natural, dewy finish
  • Multipurpose

tower 28 sculptino contour

Tower 28, Sculptino Soft Cream Contour — $20.00

One of the brand’s more recent launches, the Sculptino is the secret to achieving a chiseled, contoured look with barely any effort. It’s like Bronzino’s matte, shimmer-free sister. It comes in four shades that are somehow neutral and slightly warm at the same time—and it applies like a dream. The silky soft formula can be applied with a brush or your fingers, and because the formula is sheer it’s nearly impossible to mess up. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll dip my fingers into the compact and sweep Sculptino on my usual contour points (hollows of the cheekbones, temples and jawline) before haphazardly blending it out with my fingertips. The result? A sculpted and defined complexion in seconds. It’s a YES from me.

  • Creamy matte finish
  • Sheer formula
  • Neutral undertones
  • Easy to blend
  • Multipurpose

tower 28 juice balm

Tower 28, JuiceBalm Tinted Lip Balm — $16.00

One thing about me is I can’t say no to a tinted lip balm, and the JuiceBalms are no exception. These super smooth balms give your lips a punch of pigment and juicy shine, and promise to leave your pout more hydrated than before. My only gripe is that they’re not all that moisturizing. The formula, while pigmented, is too thin and slippy to give my dry lips any meaningful hydration. That being said, the popsicle-like pigment and dewy shine couldn’t be more perfect for summer. So while these aren’t my first choice when it comes to a moisturizing lip balm, the wearable shades make them worth keeping in my makeup bag.

  • Juicy, dewy shine
  • Bold and sheer shades
  • Smooth glide
  • Not very hydrating
  • Formula is thin and slippery

tower 28 multiliners

Tower 28, OneLiner Multi-Liner — $15.00

If it wasn’t already clear that Tower 28 has fully mastered multipurpose products, this last product ought to do the trick. The OneLiner Multi-Liner is an endlessly versatile, matte pencil that can be used on the eyes, lips and face to create a bounty of different looks—it’s the only makeup pencil you’ll ever need. I have the shades “Fill Me In” (a rosy nude) and “Draw Me” (a chocolatey brown) and I use them both all the time. “Fill Me In” is my lip liner of choice—though scribbling it onto your cheeks as blush is a delightful experience I’d highly recommend you try—and “Draw Me” is my go-to eyeliner, smudged out along my lashline. Both glide smoothly without skipping or dragging, and they stick around throughout the day. And for only $15 bucks? They’re so worth a try.

  • For eyes, lips and cheeks
  • Smooth glide
  • Creamy matte finish
  • Safe for sensitive eyes

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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