It might be difficult to choose the proper skincare product until you are aware of your skin type and what suits you.
Whatever your skin type—oily, dry, normal, or sensitive—this list contains a variety of products that can address your needs. In order to expose beautiful skin, we’ve also incorporated items that address hyperpigmentation, dullness, pimples, and other issues at once.
For over two decades, SkinCeuticals has been a go-to, dermatologist-recommended brand. They’re all about science-backed skincare (which is why it’s such a hit in the medical community), and have a wide array of products that can both prevent, protect, and correct signs of aging.
Dermatologists love it. Beauty editors are obsessed. In short, this serum is legit. It’s pricey, but worth every penny, thanks to the scientifically-proven combo of antioxidants—vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid—that shield skin from free radical damage caused by exposure to things such as sun as pollution. TBH, it does smell a little bit like hot dog water, but you quickly get used to it, especially once you see for yourself just how skin-changing this serum is.
The name is cute and the packaging adorable, but make no mistake about it—Drunk Elephant offers some seriously legit skincare products. What started as a way for founder Tiffany Masterson to try and make some money during the recession turned into a hugely popular brand, creating all kinds of serums, masks, and more that beauty editors and consumers alike adore. They also hit a unique note in the market with what they call “clean clinical” skincare, using synthetic ingredients, but only those that have a direct health benefit for the skin.
Despite the fact that this weekly exfoliating mask packs a hefty 25% concentration of alpha-hydroxy acids, plus a 2% concentration of beta-hydroxy acid, it magically doesn’t irritate skin, even sensitive skin. (Credit the fact that it’s specially pH balanced.) You’re left with a radiant, clear, even complexion, no redness in sight.
You don’t need to spend tons of money for effective products that derms love; Neutrogena is touted as the number one dermatologist-recommend skincare product and you can find it at the drugstore. They’re all about using scientifically-backed ingredients in formulas made to address any and every complexion concern, from acne to aging. Oh, and they kill the sunscreen game, too.
Meet your new summer moisturizer. Packed with lightweight hyaluronic acid, this hydrates without ever feeling greasy or heavy. Instead, it’s fresh and cooling (even more so if you stash it in the fridge), a must for hot, humid days, or for anyone whose skin is perpetually slick.
A longtime beauty industry veteran, Kenda Kolb Butler founded Alpyn Beauty after moving from New York City to Jackson Hole. Working in a skincare spa, she realized a need for products that actually delivered, and was inspired to use the incredible plant-based ingredients in her local environment in creating the line. As such, the brand focuses on, “wildcrafted active,” all sustainably harvested in Wyoming. It’s also a clean brand, a repeated Eco Beauty Award-winner.
Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue recommends this wash to everyone, thanks to its ability to both effectively remove makeup and actually cleanse your skin. It exfoliates ever-so-gently with a blend of AHAs and fruit enzymes, though also contains hyaluronic acid so your complexion never feels stripped. Bonus points for the subtle floral-citrus scent and fun-to-use frothy formula.
This brand shook-up the industry in big way when it hit the market in 2017. The premise: Offering proven, big-time ingredients at jaw-droppingly low prices. (We’re talking a hyaluronic acid serum for $7.) You need to know your ingredients for sure; there are no cutesy product names, just ingredients and concentrations listed on the labels, but it’s one of the best affordable lines we’ve seen to date.
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Retinol is a tried-and-true powerhouse, with the ability to do everything from stimulate collagen production to clear up breakouts, but it’s notoriously irritating. That’s why we appreciate that The Ordinary offers it in several different concentrations to help your skin gradually acclimate, all coupled with hydrating squalane. This is the lowest, a top choice for retinol newbies.
Dr. Barbara Sturm
The eponymous line from one of Germany’s most renowned aesthetic doctors is chock full of youth-boosting that products that actually work. Sturm started in orthopedics, where she developed unique anti-inflammatory treatments using patients’ own blood. This then translated to skincare; her bespoke M61 cream, which contains your own plasma, is a favorite among celebs like Hailey Bieber and Cher . Her full skincare line launched in 2014, with simple—yet highly effective—products.
Byrdie Senior Editorial Director Hallie Gould calls this her, “most treasured moisturizer,” while Dr. Sturm refers to it as, “your cell spa while you sleep.” It delivers an intensely regenerating effect, thanks to the addition of several different herbs. So much so that Gould says your skin will look more youthful come morning.
Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau has not only spent 30 years taking care of her client’s skin, she’s also a true treasure trove of skincare info, a go-to resource for beauty editors. It’s that combo of hands-on experience and encyclopedic knowledge that makes her line of products so great. And rather than just offering options for the standard dry, normal, oily skin-types, she has picks for nine different kinds of skin, including an emphasis on safe and effective choices for the sensitive set.
Another “ride-or-die” product for Gould, she says you’ll notice a difference in your skin after just one 10-minute application of this at-home peel. At work, a combo of exfoliating AHA and BHAs, antioxidant-rich berries (hence the name, and yummy, jam-like scent) and enzymes. The result is a formula that quickly fades discoloration, purifies pores, and generally leaves your complexion bright and glowing.
Another one of those brands you’ve likely seen at the derm’s office, Alastin creates both the products you need for an everyday skincare routine and ones specially formulated to support in-office procedures. As the name hints, there’s a strong focus on supporting your skin’s own elastin (and collagen), making for a highly efficacious line-up of anti-agers.
If we were forced to pick one sunscreen we had to use for the rest of our lives, this would easily be it. Hands down our favorite face formula, ever, it marries the perfect blend of hydration, subtle color, and a glowy finish that’s so good we often use it in lieu of any kind of foundation. Of course, it also delivers that oh-so important broad-spectrum SPF, in an all-mineral formula that’s also oil- and fragrance-free, so it won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.