February 23, 2024

DIYClearSkin

Define Beauty Yourself

InStyle Best Beauty Buys 2023: Skincare

Table of Contents

Springing for a new skincare product can be a tough sell: Not only is it an investment of both your time and money, but there’s also not always a guarantee that it’ll fade your dark spots, clear your breakout, or brighten your eyes. Combine that with the number of options available on the shelf, and shopping for your skincare routine can start to feel like an impossible task.

That’s where we come in. We’ve sifted through the best skincare products and treatments, old and new, to determine what actually works. Does that fancy cleanser you’ve heard live up to the hype? Will that spot treatment really work for your zit? Yes, and yes. Consider these recommendations those that have proven themselves worthy of their place here — and get ready to face your healthiest, most radiant skin yet.

Best Cleanser: Shani Darden Cleansing Serum

Sephora


“This cleanser changed my life. I’m not kidding: When I switched to this gentle formula in my mid-20s, my skin evened out and my hormonal acne improved. It successfully leaves behind moisture while sucking out impurities, but still has a nice lather and foam to it.” — Madeline Hirsch, InStyle news director

Best Makeup Remover: Eadem Dew Dream Hydrating Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

Eadem


“For thorough cleansing that doesn’t leave my face feeling too tight, I turn to this cushion-y formula — which both makes quick work of my mascara and actually leaves my skin softer, calmer, and more hydrated.” —Deanna Pai, InStyle contributing beauty editor

Best Exfoliator: Alastin ReSURFACE Skin Polish

Alastin


“I’m not really a face-scrub person, but I’ve made an exception for this exfoliator, which pairs finely ground minerals with glycolic acid. It not only keeps my skin smooth and soft, but seems to have faded my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, too.” —D.P.

Best Toner: Tatcha The Texture Tonic AHA Liquid Exfoliating Treatment

Sephora


“The results of using this tonic are unreal. It contains niacinamide, fruit-based alpha hydroxy acids, wild rose, and Japanese mugwort to smooth uneven texture and gently exfoliate for clear skin. I’ve noticed my breakouts decrease dramatically since incorporating it into my routine.” —Audrey Noble, InStyle contributing beauty editor

Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum: SkinBetter Mystro Active Balance Serum

Skinbetter Science


“Instead of the usual ingredients, this unique serum pairs hyaluronic acid with plant-based adaptogens—which help bring down stress in skin—to calm redness, improve texture, and even out skin tone in a matter of weeks. Consider me obsessed.” —D.P.

Best Antioxidant Serum: Neostrata 15% Vitamin C + PHA Serum

Amazon


“This serum has antioxidant heavy-hitters: vitamin C, polyhydroxy acid, feverfew, and green tea extract. With such a powerful cocktail of ingredients, it not only targets dark spots but also other signs of aging as well. I’ve noticed a decrease in appearance in fine lines and wrinkles — and a huge boost in radiance in my overall complexion.” —A.N.

Best Anti-Aging Serum: Revision Skincare D-E-J Boosting Serum

Revision Skincare


“Thanks to a powerful mix of sunflower sprout extract and antioxidants, this serum works to support skin’s natural collagen and help firm sagging skin. I’ve noticed an improvement in both my wrinkles and fine lines as well.” —A.N.

Best Eye Cream: Drunk Elephant A-Shaba Complex Eye Serum

Sephora


“Think of this as a shot of espresso for your under-eye bags. It contains retinol, caffeine, and peptides to depuff and stimulate collagen for a smooth, firm texture. Faking sleep has never been easier.” —A.N.

Best Daytime Moisturizer: Epionce Renewal Facial Lotion

Amazon


“My combination skin calls for a lightweight formula that won’t break me out, and this formula — which moisturizes with a blend of botanical oils without feeling heavy — does the trick.” —D.P.

Best Nighttime Moisturizer: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

Charlotte Tilbury


“This cream works to boost moisture and improves radiance of the skin, offering both immediate and long-term improvements. Containing a combination of hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin C and E, and more, it can help to plump the skin as well as improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I especially love using it prior to makeup application to give the skin a hydration boost.” —Marisa Garshick, MD, board-dertified dermatologist

Best Face Sunscreen: Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Sunscreen

Neutrogena


“Offering SPF 60 broad-spectrum coverage, this has UV protection while also containing antioxidants that provide defense against environmental factors. It is lightweight and easy to apply.” —M.G.

Best Sports Sunscreen: ZO Skin Health Gel Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

Zo Skin Health


“A good sunscreen is hard to find for when I run — most either drip into my eyes or slide off once I start sweating. I love that this is fragrance-free, lightweight, and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes, and the gel formulation sinks in ASAP. My 5Ks will never be the same…in a good way.” —D.P.

Best Mineral Sunscreen: Colorescience Total Protection No Show Mineral Sunscreen

Colorescience


“This lightweight formula can be used on the face or body and, in addition to zinc oxide, contains moisturizing ingredients, such as silver ear mushroom extract to help boost hydration. As the name implies, it absorbs easily and won’t leave behind a white cast.” —M.G.

Best Face Oil: Eve Lom Renewal Treatment Oil

Dermstore


“I’m not usually a fan of facial oils, but this non-greasy, weightless oil converted me. The blend of argan, meadowfoam, and rosehip seed oils softened my skin on the spot, and my skin tone looked more even in a matter of weeks.” —D.P.

Best Face Mask: BeautyStat Universal Microbiome Purifying Radiance Mask

BeautyStat


“For when my skin needs extra TLC, I turn to this mask. It pretty much does it all to give my skin a reset. With ingredients like charcoal, antioxidants, ceramides, and jojoba-based exfoliating beads, it gently sloughs away at dead skin cells to deliver a more radiant complexion and clearer, smoother skin.” —A.N.

Best At-Home Peel: Dr. Loretta Micro Peel Peptide Pads

Dermstore


“These peel pads manage to be both effective and gentle, a combo I’ve been looking for since I first started writing about skincare over eight years ago. They deliver results without burning or stinging, and are the only way I’ve been able to conquer those stubborn, painful deep blemishes not yet at skin’s surface. And, when I use them regularly, my skin gets a lit-from-within glow.” — Amber Rambharose, InStyle fashion writer

Best Wrinkle Treatment: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Cream

SkinCeuticals


“I haven’t been able to use my usual anti-aging ingredients (see: retinol) since I’ve been pregnant, so I’ve turned to this balm-like formula to keep me covered in the meantime. It offers all the moisture I need without breaking me out, and my forehead looks noticeably smoother after just a few weeks of using it twice a day.” —D.P.

Best Acne Treatment: Luminance RED Acne Device 

LuminanceRED


“This FDA-approved red and blue light treatment device targets pimples. The best part? It’s practically instantaneous: 77% of users said they saw a noticeable improvement within 24 hours of two treatments. It’s on the expensive side, but let’s be honest, you can’t put a price on clear skin.” —Tessa Petak, InStyle staff writer

Best Pimple Patch: Hero Cosmetics Micropoint XL for Blemishes

Courtesy


“Since I’m prone to acne, it’s essential to have a pimple patch at the ready. These extra-large Hero Cosmetics patches have been lifesavers on so many occasions. They not only cover a wide area of breakout clusters all at once, but also have microneedles that deliver blemish-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid, niacinamide, and willow bark, to the skin to treat acne and reduce inflammation.” — A.N.

Best Dark Spot Corrector: ISDIN Melaclear Advanced

ISDIN


“I have medium-tan skin that hyperpigments in a matter of seconds, so I usually turn to this dark spot corrector to clear things up. It pairs tranexamic acid and niacinamide, two ingredients that interfere with the pigment process to keep my skin even and bright.” —D.P.

Best Lip Balm: Eos Organic Lip Balm in Sweet Mint

EOS


“I just want a basic lip balm that’s clean enough to eat, and I’ve gotten it with this formula. I keep one at my desk and another in my purse; a single swipe keeps my lips soft, smooth, and comfortable.” — D.P.

Best Cleanser for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Augustinus Bader The Foaming Cleanser With TFC8

Augustinus Bader


“This cleanser strikes the perfect balance of stripping away the heaviest makeup and debris — while also being very gentle and hydrating on the skin. It foams for a nice lather that clears pores and offers a great headstart for the rest of my routine.” —A.N.

Best Toner for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Strivectin Multi-Action Clear Daily Brightening & Retexturizing Toner

Sephore


“When you break out often, you’re plagued with uneven texture and some discoloration. But this new toner tackles those skin concerns so you get the clear skin of your dreams. It contains a mix of tranexamic and succinic acids to reduce the appearance of my dark spots and redness and smooths out my skin.” —A.N.

Best Exfoliant for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Acid Serum

Sephora


“This ticks off all the boxes when looking for an acne-fighting serum. Thanks to ingredients like strawberry, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid, this works to exfoliate, reduce oiliness, and clear out buildup in pores. You’ll not only notice an improvement in acne, but skin becomes smoother over time for a super-soft complexion — goals.” —A.N.

Best Moisturizer for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Double Repair Matte Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Ulta


“This lightweight gel helps to replenish moisture without leaving the skin looking shiny — and while also working to repair the skin barrier. It contains a combination of ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier and niacinamide to soothe the skin. While especially helpful for those with oily skin, it is still suitable for those with sensitive skin.” —M.G.

Best Sunscreen for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 42

Sephora


“I know to always trust a Shiseido sunscreen for the ultimate sun protection — and its latest launch is perfect for my oily skin. It has SPF 42 protection, is made with hyaluronic acid for extra hydration, goes on super lightweight, and is oil-free, so it doesn’t clog pores. I’ll be keeping this handy every day, especially on all my summer adventures.” —A.N.

Best Face Mask for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Know Beauty Glacial Bay Clay Mask

Amazon


“While you may be skeptical at a celebrity beauty brand — especially skin — Vanessa Hudgens’s clay mask is the real deal. It’s made with nourishing ingredients such as sea kelp and Canadian colloidal, kaolin, and bentonite clays to gently draw out impurities without drying skin. The formula also has lactic acid to keep breakouts at bay and provide gentle exfoliation. It also only takes four minutes to use —and has made masking fun again.” —A.N.

Best Cleanser for Dry and Sensitive Skin: Neocutis Neo Cleanse Gentle Skin Cleanser

Dermstore


“Sometimes, all a girl wants in a cleanser is a formula that thoroughly removes makeup and grime without stripping skin of moisture. This super-gentle formula does just that — all without stinging my eyes.” —D.P.

Best Exfoliant for Dry and Sensitive Skin: YSE Beauty Your Favorite Ex Exfoliating Pads

YSE Beauty


“This exfoliant combines glycolic acid, gluconolactone, and ectoin to gently but effectively exfoliate and brighten the skin. Containing sodium polyglutamate, it also hydrates the skin, making it a great exfoliating option even for those with sensitive skin.” —M.G.

Best Moisturizer for Dry and Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

La Roche-Posay


“Nothing hydrates and cushions my skin like this balm. My dry skin owes a lot to this product: It’s saved my face in the desert and supported me through the early weeks of tretinoin use. I like to call my ‘overnight slugging in a tube’ because it works just as well. With a mix of moisturizing and humectant ingredients, nothing brings red or irritated skin back to life like this classic.” —M.H.

Best Sunscreen for Dry and Sensitive Skin: Mara Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Mineral Sunscreen Sérum SPF 30

Mara


“This is wonderful — it goes on clear and has strong antioxidant properties.” —Angela Lamb, MD, board-certified dermatologist

Best Face Mask for Dry and Sensitive Skin: Sisley Paris Exfoliating Enzyme Mask

Sisley Paris


“This is one of my favorites of the year; it goes from a dry enzyme to foam. Apply in the shower, leave on for one minute, and rinse. It leaves skin dewy without a harsh or tight feel.” —A.L.

Best Drugstore Cleanser: Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Gentle PHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Amazon


“If you don’t yet have the scoop on polyhydroxy acid, or PHA, it’s a cousin of alpha hydroxy acid that’s far gentler — making it perfect for a cleanser. It’s enough to lightly exfoliate my skin daily without leaving it red or inflamed.” —D.P.

Best Drugstore Face Serum: L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum

L’Oreal Paris


“The ultimate dark spot corrector, this serum contains niacinamide and amino sulfonic and ferulic acid to reduce the appearance of dark spots and exfoliate the skin for a clearer and brighter complexion. You also don’t have to wait long to notice results, with clearer skin appearing in just about two weeks.” —A.N.

Best Drugstore Moisturizer: Burt’s Bees Renewal Firming Day Lotion SPF 30

Burt’s Bees


“Sure, you get broad-spectrum SPF 30 in this weightless, fast-absorbing day cream — but it also includes argan oil, jojoba oil, and squalane for added moisture. It’s the perfect one-and-done product for a streamlined A.M.” —D.P.

Best Drugstore Eye Cream: Olay Eyes Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Brightening Eye Cream

Amazon


“If dark circles are your main skin concern, look no further than this eye cream. It contains vitamins C and B3, as well as peptides to hydrate and instantly brighten up the eye area. It’s lightweight and, as an added bonus, has a nice, cooling feel.” —A.N.

Best Drugstore Sunscreen: Eucerin Sensitive Tinted Mineral Face Lotion

Target


“This is one of the best new drugstore brands of sunscreen on the market. It’s mineral-based and good for all skin tones, with some light cover up.” —A.L.

Best Body Wash: Dove Calming Body Wash with Oatmeal and Rice Milk

Dove


“The OG Dove body wash has been a mainstay in my shower routine for years — and it just got a major upgrade. The new formulation is more hydrating than its predecessor, thanks to its proprietary technology that delivers moisture more efficiently to the skin. Just when I didn’t think my skin could get any softer, Dove goes above and beyond.” —A.N.

Best Body Lotion: SkinMedica Firm & Tone Body Lotion

Amazon


“I’m finally paying attention to the skin on my body after years of slapping on moisturizer and calling it a day. Infused with caffeine, lemon balm, and rice protein, this non-sticky lotion leaves it soft, smooth, and firm, hitting all the marks.” — D.P.

Best Body Oil: Kate McLeod Daily Pebble Bath & Shower Oil 

Kate McLeod


“Inspired by chocolate truffles, these teeny bath treats look like sized-down versions of Kate McLeod’s solid body moisturizers. Drop one or two to your water to add the most calming scent and add a blend of moisturizing jojoba, baobab, and kukui nut oils to your bathtime experience.” —Lindy Segal, InStyle contributing fashion editor

Best Body Scrub: Versed Buff It Out Body Scrub

Amazon


“When it comes to skin below the neck, the more exfoliation, the merrier — which is why I love this body scrub. It pairs glycolic and lactic acids with pomegranate enzymes and microfine pumice to smooth and brighten my skin from head to toe.” —D.P.

Best Body Serum: iS Clinical Youth Body Serum

iS Clinical


“This is more than just a hydrating body serum. Yes, it’s made with hydration superstar hyaluronic acid, but it also contains watermelon, blue microalgae, licorice root, and holy herb extract to protect the skin from environmental aggressors for the ultimate skin treatment.” —A.N.

Best Body Sunscreen: Elta MD UV AOX Mist

Elta MD


“This mineral sunscreen leaves behind a sheer finish and contains antioxidants to help protect against free-radical damage. It is lightweight and won’t feel greasy — while still leaving the skin feeling hydrated. It has a white-to-clear technology that makes it easy to see how much you’re applying, but then absorbs easily without a white cast.” —M.G.

Best Deodorant: Glossier Deodorant in Sandstone

Glossier


“It’s tough to make deodorant something you want to actually use and have out for people to see, but Glossier’s sculptural, all-white, and refillable packaging is all that — plus a great natural deodorant. The Sandstone scent is earthy and warm, a nice switch-up from things like powder, flowers, and whatever other brands think ‘Arctic rush’ is. It’s always sold out and I can attest to why: It works.” —Christopher Luu, InStyle senior news editor

Best Anti-Perspirant: Degree Advanced Motionsense Stress Control Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick

Degree


“This helps control sweat even on the hottest and most humid days. It boasts 72-hour sweat and odor protection thanks to unique microcapsules, which release fragrance whenever you move.” —A.N.

Best Shaving Cream: Eos Cashmere Skin Collection Shave Butter

EOS


“If you’re looking to give your skin a smooth shave with silky-smooth results, turn to this shave cream. It goes on thick to give your skin a barrier from the blade, and is packed with nourishing ingredients, such as cupuaçu butter and aloe, to soothe any irritation. Plus, the smell is divine.” —A.N.

Best Razor: Oui The People Brushed Chrome Sensitive Skin Razor

Oui the People


“Of all the razors I’ve used, this has truly been the best one yet. It’s built so that only a little bit of the razor is exposed to shave off hair and not the skin. This all means that you can avoid accidentally cutting yourself and reduce the risk of post-shave irritation. It also has a weighted feel, so that you don’t have to put on extra pressure while shaving.” — A.N.

Best Skincare Device: SolaWave Radiant Renewal Wand

Solawave


“Sydney Sweeney, Priyanka Chopra, and Pedro Pascal are just a few of the celebs who have prepped their skin with this multitasking skincare tool. It combines four therapies — red light therapy, Galvanic current, facial massage, and therapeutic warmth — to soften lines, reduce puffiness, and more. It feels amazing, and on days I don’t use it, I wish I did.” —L.S.

Best In-Office Treatment for Your 20s: Vivace Ultra

Courtesy


“Vivace Ultra, a radiofrequency microneedling device that incorporates ultrasound technology, is a great option for someone in their 20s. The ultrasound allows for mapping to customize a treatment plan that will help build collagen and prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also be a great option to address acne scarring, pores, and general textural changes.” —M.G.

Best In-Office Treatment for Your 30s: Botox

Allergan Aesthetics


“I began getting Botox at 30, starting with my forehead and eventually including my crow’s feet. While I’ve had to pause treatments due to being pregnant, I notice a difference in my skin without it — and while it’s subtle, i’m looking forward to going back to my usual low-key, well-rested look once my dermatologist clears me for it.” — D.P.

Best In-Office Treatment for Your 40s: RHA Collection

RHA Collection


“This collection is a great option for someone in their 40s who wants natural results. It is especially helpful at targeting dynamic lines — or lines that are a result of expression, such as the perioral lines, as this filler works to adapt to facial movement. It is formulated to closely mimic the natural hyaluronic acid found in the skin.” —M.G.

Best In-Office Body Sculpting Treatment: EmSculpt

Body by BTL


“The road to a stronger core and more contoured mid-section starts with EmSculpt. This device contracts stomach muscle about 20,000 times over 30 minutes to help you build muscle. While the more toned appearance of my stomach is a major plus, it is the strength I’ve built to make other workouts easier that makes this worth every penny.” —A.N.

Best New In-Office Treatment: Juvederm Volux

Juvederm


“Juvederm Volux is the first hyaluronic acid filler approved by the FDA to help improve jawline definition. It’s injected deep onto the bone along the jawline and chin to help provide structural support and help contour the jawline — and may give the appearance of a more lifted and defined jawline.” —M.G.