Top Skin-Care Products to Try
Especially in winter, when it can get dry and irritated, give skin a boost with these smart products.
Here’s the rub with scrubs: They’re often too harsh for sensitive skin. But Sai-Sei Green Tea Purify Soap, a softly scented soap encased in a mesh bag, raises the bar on gentle exfoliation. As you lather up with the hydrating, antioxidant-steeped sudser, the netting helps slough off dead cells, leaving you velvety soft and conspicuously free of grit.
To buy: $20, spacenk.com.
Want even more smart skin-care options? See our roundup of the best skin-care products under $30.
Step It Up
Continuous Results by Elayda Skincare Regimen is a three-product set that includes a cleanser, an intensive anti-aging foam, and an SPF day cream. Each regimen—there are 12 in all—has a touch more retinol than the last. When your skin acclimates to one level, you can graduate to the next.
To buy: Unfortunately, this product is no longer available.
Step aside, soap on a rope: This ingenious cleanser comes with no strings attached. The tropical-flower–scented Kai Body Buffer is a hypoallergenic exfoliating sponge infused with a formula that cleanses and moisturizes. One puff (two are shown here) lasts for about 30 showers.
To buy: $40, barneys.com.
Good Thing in a Small Package
It may be only an inch high, but Absolution Le Baume wields mighty powers. Infused with beeswax and macadamia-nut and argan oils, the balm can soften and heal dry lips, cheeks, heels, knuckles—the list goes on. And its nonirritating antioxidants fight aging in even the most sensitive skin. (Sometimes it truly is the little things.)
To buy: $20, woodleyandbunny.com.
When your skin is red or rashy, spraying on a sterile-smelling salve can feel like adding insult to injury. CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray, which contains soothing chamomile and water lily, can be used all over the body to take the sting out of almost any irritation, literally and figuratively.
To buy: $34, cvskinlabs.com.
If daily exfoliation is the key to looking luminous, why do many scrubs leave skin so roughed up? One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque is a kinder, gentler choice. Mix it with water or soothing honey to leave your skin feeling smooth, not scoured.
To buy: $39, oneloveorganics.com.
It’s possible. More than 15 percent of women may be perpetually red from either rosacea or irritation. Rodan + Fields Soothe Sensitive Skin Treatment has anti-inflammatory ingredients and light-diffusing pigments to diminish irritation and redness when used daily on the face.
To buy: $80, rodanandfields.com.
Bronzer of the Year
Since no one’s face is the exact same color all the time, Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Season-to-Season Bronzer contains four colors that you can blend or use solo to enhance any skin tone in any season. The beveled brush helps you apply color evenly along and under your cheekbones. In two shade palettes.
To buy: $15 at drugstores.
Hope in a Jar
Resolved to make this the year you give back? A portion of the sales of Tay All-Purpose Shea Butter, an all-natural balm, goes to support forestation worldwide. Use it to hydrate rough skin or as a leave-in hair conditioner.
To buy: $28, tayeveryday.com.
A top-notch tinted moisturizer, Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40 Day Screen Tint not only hides imperfections but also guards against new ones, with a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen and an antioxidant that helps prevent wrinkles. In three shades.
To buy: $42, sephora.com.
MDSolarSciences Natural Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 40, a high-SPF, broad-spectrum chemical-free formula, is the perfect tool for covering spots—like lips, ears, hands, and the under-eye area—that you often miss during the ’screening process. And it fits in the tiniest of totes, so now there’s really no excuse for burns.
To buy: $18, mdsolarsciences.com.
Let go of the notion that your skin isn’t clean until you hear squeaking. Avène Cold Cream Ultra-Rich Soap-Free Cleansing Bar dissolves dirt and whisks off makeup without stripping the healthy oils from your skin. It’s so gentle, even kids can use it.
To buy: $9, skinstore.com.
By now you know that you should wear sunscreen daily, but it can be hard to find one that’s truly not greasy. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has all the ray-banning stuff, including free radical-fighting antioxidants, plus a dry (but not drying) formula that helps makeup glide smoothly and stay on longer.
To buy: $45, suntegrityskincare.com.
You already know there are wipes for removing makeup and applying self-tanner. Now there’s a new type of wipe to go nuts for: e.l.f. Cosmetics Studio Lotion Wipes. The eminently portable sheets are enriched with hydrating coconut milk. Just rub one into your skin, then toss.
To buy: $3 for a pack of 15, eyeslipsface.com.
It’s a hassle to seek out a new moisturizer when the season changes. Origins’ Make A Difference Plus + solves that: The trio features the hydration-promoting enzyme Caspase-14 and comes in three formulas: a light gel for summer, a rich cream for winter, and a lotion for the days in between.
To buy: $39.50 each, origins.com.
A topical alternative to furrow-disabling injections like Botox, Physicians Formula Expression Line Freeze delivers plumping peptides, moisturizing squalane, and exfoliating AHAs via a roller-ball tip, so you can smooth over fine lines with ease. Just roll to activate: You’ll feel an immediate lifting effect and may end up with fewer wrinkles over time.
To buy: $22, ulta.com.
Do yourself a solid and toss e.l.f. Studio Daily Moisture Stick in your bag. The 3½-inch-tall emollient contains antioxidant grapeseed extract and soothing shea butter, so it protects and softens everything from face to feet.
To buy: $6, eyeslipsface.com.
Even a self-tanner beginner can get great results with NIP + FAB 365 Body Glow Fix. The gel formula goes on clear, spreads easily, and dries quickly to a tack-free (and streak-free) finish. Then it develops into a believable golden glow within four hours.
To buy: $18.50, asos.com.
First came BB creams, which moisturize, protect, and treat. Now there are CC creams, which do everything that their predecessors do, but with tint. (CC stands for “correct” and “color.”) One that you’ll reach for even when there’s no time for anything else: Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer SPF 15. Available in three shades.
To buy: $22 at drugstores.
Shut the Pore
Until recently, the best you could hope to do was mask or temporarily tighten large pores. Enter Perricone MD Intensive Pore Treatment. The silky cream has ingredients, such as alpha lipoic acid, that tackle some of the root causes of enlarged pores: excess oil, dead skin cells, and collagen loss. In one study, 95 percent of users noticed visible improvement after four weeks.
To buy: $75, sephora.com.
Truth in Beauty
Consider Sprout Skincare Exfoliant a farm-to-face experience. Made from responsibly sourced ingredients (all listed clearly on the front) and free of chemicals and fillers, the product is also labeled with the name of the person who filled the container and on what date. Bonus: Fewer ingredients should equal fewer skin sensitivities.
To buy: $28, sproutskincare.com.
Want a Lift?
A potion that instantly makes you look younger may sound too good to be true. But DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment, from facialist Kate Somerville, really did perk up the complexions of the intrepid staffers who tried it. The serum’s potent hydrators and oxygen-infusing molecules help firm skin on contact.
To buy: $95, katesomerville.com.
Jane Iredale’s aptly named Magic Mitt removes even long-wear makeup and exfoliates skin with nothing but water (which makes it well suited to sensitive skin). How? The combination of knitted microfibers and water helps break up and brush away makeup, oil, and debris. Just wash the mitt with soap and hang to dry after each use.
To buy: $15, shop.janeiredale.com.
Tough on Grease
There’s nothing attractive about a slick of forehead oil—until you whip out these Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens. The portable shine-absorbing papers are not only pretty but also infused with antioxidant green tea, so they may help fight wrinkles, too.
To buy: $10 for a pack of 100, sephora.com.