Home News The 102 Best Skincare Products of 2022

The 102 Best Skincare Products of 2022

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Whether you’re a beauty product enthusiast or a minimalist, everyone needs a solid skincare routine. This process involves finding products that correctly address your skin type and concerns. While a sea of lotions and potions promise everything from clear skin to fewer wrinkles, it’s no secret that some formulas are better than others. 

But what makes a product one of “the best?” While personal opinion and how much time you’re willing to put into a daily regime come into play, we take things a step or two further. Here at the Derm Review, we’ve analyzed hundreds of products under a scientific lens to determine the best skincare products that are both effective and safe. We look at specifics such as formulation, including whether or not the ingredients are clinical yet clean. Of course, we also consider innovation and long-standing cult status. 

By no means is this an all-encompassing list. However, here are 102 of the best skincare products that caught our attention — and yours. 

Highlighted Skincare Brand of 2022: Carrot & Stick

Best Clinical Skincare Brand Carrot & Stick

Before we get into the nitty gritty best-of product list, we’d like to point out that we think one of the best skincare brands of 2022 is Carrot & Stick. Why? 

  • We love that the company takes a science-based approach to high-performing skincare that’s void of pollutants, irritants, or toxic chemicals. 
  • But Carrot & Stick offers the best of both worlds. The brand takes a tough-love approach that balances plants’ gentle nurturing with innovative science. 
  • Most skincare brands only have active agents in minuscule amounts because it sounds good in their marketing. They’d instead put ingredients such as silicone in your skincare, so it feels nice when applying it — even though it doesn’t do enough to make any real difference to your skin. That’s why Carrot & Sticks’ products are formulated with an abundance of clinically clean ingredients that get you the desired results. 
  • In short, Carrot & Stick takes a science-based approach for effective skincare void of pollutants, irritants, or toxic chemicals. 

 

Carrot & Stick Product Lineup

From best-sellers to new releases, let’s take a closer look at the brand’s products — click for a full description.

 

Cleansers

Carrot & Stick The Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $40
This gentle and effective oil-free cleanser for all skin types is formulated with natural plant extracts and natural hydrators. Coconut-based surfactants work into a luxurious lather. Skin will look nourished and soft to the touch. Antioxidant-packed ingredients help protect against environmental stressors that can cause fine lines and wrinkles. 

Carrot & Stick The Face Wash, $30
Gentle yet potent botanicals create a wonderfully emollient cleanser for all skin types that helps promote balance and never strips the skin. Expeller-pressed rose hip seed oil rejuvenates with essential fatty acids, geranium flower soothes, and red seaweed helps protect the skin. 

 

Exfoliators

Carrot & Stick The Honey Amber Exfoliating Polish, $50
This gentle scrub uses amber and bamboo powders to deliver mild yet efficient exfoliation. A blend of humectants helps lock moisture into the skin. Honey provides natural purifying and moisturizing properties that leave skin feeling soft, smooth, and rejuvenated. A unique sugar-derived complex improves hydration and supports water content in the skin. With the aromatic addition of vanilla, this scrub offers a sensory experience as it helps revitalize dull skin.

Carrot & Stick The Exfoliating Peel, $50
This multi-action exfoliating treatment relies on a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids to revitalize damaged skin, smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing the look of pores, sloughing off dead skin, and restoring youthful luminosity. Uneven texture and tone are visibly improved.

Carrot & Stick The Brightening Pads, $60
Reveal a fresh, smooth, and radiant complexion with these pre-saturated pads. A concentrated blend of salicylic, lactic, and mandelic acids sweeps away the build-up of dead skin cells, gently exfoliating to promote clarity, refine texture, and rid pores of impurities. Herbal extracts fight visible photodamage and help keep the appearance of redness in check. Resurfaced skin is smoother, brighter, and more receptive to the rest of your skincare products. 

 

Serums

Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum, $80
This high-performance serum is designed to visibly lift, tighten and firm as it helps defend against damaging free radicals. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E deliver an instant boost of hydration. A blend of synthesized growth factors encourages elasticity, cell turnover, and nutrient absorption to support revitalization. Seven plant-based neuropeptides enhance the skin’s structural integrity from the inside out, promoting smoother, more resilient-looking skin. Soothing and brightening botanicals, including chamomile, licorice root, and green tea, impart an ageless glow.

Carrot & Stick The Defense Serum, $80
This revitalizing serum contains antioxidant superpowers to help promote collagen production and visibly brighten skin. Three distinct vitamin C derivatives work together to fight visible free radical damage and enhance cellular longevity. Regular use transforms dull, uneven-looking skin into undeniable, radiant beauty. 

 

Moisturizers

Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, $60
This lightweight antioxidant formula is a hydrating powerhouse that leaves skin feeling remarkably smooth and radiant. Overflowing with potent plant proteins, vitamins, peptides, amino-collagen, and a stem cell extract from hardy alpine roses delivers multi-level hydration. 

Carrot & Stick’s active complex of three natural bio-ferments supports greater nutrient density and more efficient absorption. Caffeine adds an energy boost that revitalizes the skin, while five distinct coconut elements promote overall conditioning. 

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream, $60
A proprietary probiotic formulation keeps the microbiome operating at peak performance, skin looking hydrated, and visible issues diminished. The microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that live on the skin surface. Happy microbes equal a healthy microbiome, and a healthy microbiome equals healthier-looking, more radiant skin.

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream. For Dry Skin, $60
Experience a fragrance-free skincare cream uniquely formulated to nurture and protect the skin’s microbiome. The microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that live on the skin surface. If it becomes imbalanced, dryness, eczema, acne, and other skin issues can appear. The brand’s proprietary formulation of probiotics and natural, soothing plant extracts keep the microbiome operating at peak performance and skin looking hydrated and visible problems diminished. 

Carrot & Stick The Water Gel Moisturizer, $50Pe
rfect for oily skin. This gel moisturizer targets excess shine, blemishes, and prominent pores. The formula includes 10% niacinamide to balance sebum production, promote elasticity, and promote flawless clarity to the skin. Bouncy jelly-like texture creates a light veil of moisture while brightening dull skin and delivering an even, healthy appearance.

 

Face Oil

Carrot & Stick The Face Oil Retinoic, $70This co
mprehensive formula defends skin against free radical damage and reduces visible signs of aging, targeting the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as it fights blemishes. Deploying a next-generation retinoid and potent antioxidants, it supports the turnover of pore-clogging dead skin and addresses breakouts with less potential for irritation. Skin looks clear, firm, and supple. Effortless absorption imparts a beautiful smooth finish. 

 

Eye Creams

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $50
This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including eye bags and dark circles. The Persian silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) has an anti-glycation effect that helps delicate skin around the lids feel tighter. St. Paul’s wort (Sigesbeckia Orientali) boosts the appearance of collagen and elastin, restoring vitality.

Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70
A powerful wake-up call for tired eyes, this cooling multi-active serum melts into the skin to perceptibly illuminate and refresh. A blend of advanced peptides reduces the look of discoloration, and rich moisturizers combat dryness. Crow’s feet are smoothed, puffiness is reduced, and skin is visibly lifted and brightened with every application. 

 

Sunscreen

Carrot & Stick The Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $60
This Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Facial Lotion is derived from and formulated with mineral sunscreen; there are no harsh chemicals that can harm the skin and the environment, including our oceans. It’s specially formulated with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect skin against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB, which can hasten the effects of skin aging. The formula also contains natural hydrators and antioxidants, including Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract, and Hawaiian Kukui Nut Oil to keep skin nourished and smooth. No greasy feel after application, and the water-resistant formula delivers protection throughout the day with reapplication.

The Best Skincare Products of 2022: The Hot List

 

Best Cleansers

Carrot & Stick The Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $40

Carrot & Stick The Face Wash, $30

Formulyst Gentle Foaming Cleanser, $29

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $15

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $14

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, $39

Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser, $37.50

Erno Laszlo Sensitive Cleansing Oil, $58

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water, $10

Eve Lom Cleansing Balm, $80

Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, $32

eSkinSheet The Cleansing Coins, $20

 

Best Exfoliators

Carrot & Stick The Honey Amber Exfoliating Polish, $50

Carrot & Stick The Exfoliating Peel, $50

Carrot & Stick The Brightening Pads, $60

Formulyst Microdermabrasion Exfoliator, $75

OPULUS Beauty Labs AHA Refresh Facial, $295

Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub, $32

Proactiv Skin Smoothing Exfoliator, $48

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula, $24

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, $88

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial, $80

Neutrgena Deep Clean Purifying Gel Scrub, $8.99

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $28+

 

Best Toners and Essences

Charlotte Tilbury Glow Toner, $55

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, $99+

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, $38

HADA LABO Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Toner, $15

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $49

AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence, $175

florence by mills Episode 4 Soak It All In Blue Light Protection Toner, $18

NueBioMe The Biotic Glow Ferment Essence, $84

Pixi Glow Tonic, $29

Tatcha The Essence, $105

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, $22.99

MUTHA The Cell Rejuvenating Essence, $95

 

Best Serums

Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum, $80

Carrot & Stick The Defense Serum, $80

Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate, $129

Skinceuticals C, E, Ferulic, $166

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, $62

Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Serum, $98

Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum, $88

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $178

LilyAna Naturals Super C Serum, $28

M-61 Hydraboost HA Serum Pads, $68

Lunar Nectar Neptune Hyaluronic Acid Blur Serum, $27.00

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, $75

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, $24.99

Phyto-C Signature Serum, $275

RescueMD DNA Repair Complex, $88

 

Best Moisturizers

Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, $60

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream, $80

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream. For Dry Skin, $60

Carrot & Stick The Water Gel Moisturizer, $50

Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream With Retinol, $59

Strivectin Contour Restore Tightening & Sculpting Face Cream, $99

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 1% Retinol + 12% C Ferulic & E Complex, $75

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Matte Moisturizer, $38

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, $42

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $22.40

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $265

iS Clinical Firming Complex, $130

Dr. Zenovia Skincare Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer, $38

Lancôme Renergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Firming and Dark Spot Correcting Moisturizer SPF 30, $109

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, $36

SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, $125

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $32

 

Best Face Oils 

Carrot & Stick The Face Oil Retinoic, $70

House of GRŌ WOKE Rejuvenating Face & Neck Oil, $125

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, $55

Mad Hippie Antioxidant Face Oil, $24.99

La Mer The Renewal Oil, $260

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil, $4

Eminence Organic Facial Recovery Oil, $76

 

Best Eye Creams

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $60

Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70

Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85

Dr. Brandt needles no more NO MORE BAGGAGE, $42

Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Under-Eye Cream, $72

Serucell KFS Cellular Protein Complex Eye Serum, $145

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $39

Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $97

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 15, $100

Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm, $65

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15

Plexaderm Rapid Reduction Eye Serum, $59.95

 

Best Sun Protection

Carrot & Stick The Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $60

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $37

Vivier Sheer SPF 30 Mineral Tinted, $52

Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow

Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $39

Skin Authority SkinSuit Face, $59

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $35

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, $19

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants, $9.70

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60, $29.99

 

Best Masks

Formulyst Lifting and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, $80

AMBARI Gold Perfection 22 Mask, $92

GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD, $60

Sunday Riley Good Genes, $122

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $42

 

What to Avoid in the Best Skincare Products 

Do you look for specific ingredients in your skincare products? If so, you’re not alone. According to research by The Benchmark Company, ninety-five percent of U.S. females look for specific ingredients to combat their top skincare concerns. Consumers are looking for a combination of the latest buzz-worthy ingredients such as niacinamide and tried-and-true staples like aloe vera. 

While it’s great buyers are becoming increasingly savvier regarding how and what their skincare is formulated with, energy should also be directed towards understanding which ingredients shouldn’t be present on the label.

Products containing clinical yet clean ingredients are part of Carrot & Stick’s core values, which is why the brand abides by what it calls the “Nix List.” While you can rest assured that any of Carrot & Stick’s formulas are void of the following ingredients, check out the label of your other products to ensure you’re not doing your skin more harm than good. 

  • Parabens: Parabens belong to a family of preservatives used since the 1950s. They’re controversial because they mimic estrogen in the body and are endocrine disruptors. According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, studies have shown that parabens can affect the mechanisms of normal breast cells and potentially influence their abnormal growth, leading to increased risk for breast cancer.” 

Furthermore, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) reports that parabens are also linked to reproductive, immunological, neurological, and skin irritation problems.

  • Sulfates: The controversy surrounding sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate has to do with that unique ability to cleanse and foam. Those who advocate for avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS argue that the ingredient strips the skin and hair of its natural oils, leaving them susceptible to irritation and sensitivity. This is partially true. 

Sodium lauryl sulfate removes the skin and hair’s natural oils to cleanse; however, this is not necessarily bad and may not cause irritation or sensitivity in most skin types. However, it’s best to avoid SLS if you have sensitive skin or a condition such as eczema.

  • Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals found in body washes, fragranced lotions, and cosmetics, as well as products such as toys and vinyl flooring. They help make skincare products smoother. 

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, they have been linked to “endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer, have been banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but remain prevalent in U.S. products.”

  • Mineral oil: Mineral oil in skincare and cosmetic formulations has always been met with controversy. The controversy around this ingredient mainly focuses on where it is derived and anecdotal evidence that it clogs pores.
  • Retinyl palmitate: Retinyl palmitate is a type of retinoid used in skincare products due to its ability to improve visible signs of aging and hyperpigmentation while supporting the treatment of acne. Some studies have suggested that retinyl palmitate may have some adverse effects. 

It is important to remember that a few studies don’t indicate a causational link. Retinyl palmitate has been reassessed and revealed to be safe for use.

  • Oxybenzone: This popular sunscreen ingredient has a controversial past in that it was once believed to destroy the coral reefs — but studies proved otherwise. However, four studies published in 2020, after the FDA released its draft proposal due to increased concerns about the ingredient, support previous findings that oxybenzone can act as an endocrine disruptor and may increase the risk of breast cancer and endometriosis.
  • Hydroquinone: While nobody disputes that hydroquinone works, controversy swirls around its safety. It is banned in Europe, Australia, and Japan due to concerns that it may be a carcinogen. The FDA has even put a limit to the percentage that can be used. 

Hydroquinone can also irritate the skin; some studies indicate it may be linked to altered immune function. With long-term use of a high concentration of hydroquinone, the product can cause ochronosis or increased pigmentation and darkening of the skin. 

  • Triclosan: Triclosan is a preservative with antibacterial and antifungal properties and is used in soaps, body washes, cosmetics, and toothpaste. According to the National Resources Defense Council, “the chemical disturbs thyroid, testosterone, and estrogen regulation, which can create a host of issues including early puberty, poor sperm quality, infertility, obesity, and cancer.” 

However, the FDA stated, “Some short-term animal studies have shown that exposure to high doses of triclosan is associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones — but we don’t know the significance of those findings to human health. Other studies have raised the possibility that triclosan exposure makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”

  • Triclocarban: Dermatologists tend to discourage antibacterial face wash products that contain detergents. Some antibacterial face wash products contain harsh chemical components such as triclocarban or triclosan. These ingredients can be harmful, especially to those with sensitive skin.
  • Synthetic fragrances: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis (rash), poison ivy, nickel, nail cosmetics, latex, and cement. 

Many skincare products have fragrances, but the confusion is that some products are listed as “fragrance-free” while others are “unscented.” However, unscented doesn’t mean fragrance-free, as the scent may come from a naturally perfumed ingredient, such as an essential oil.

Best Skincare Products of 2022

 

Best Cleansers

Carrot & Stick The Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $40
This gentle and effective oil-free cleanser for all skin types is formulated with natural plant extracts and natural hydrators, including hyaluronic acid, that won’t strip precious oils, disrupting the surface barrier. Coconut-based surfactants work into a luxurious lather. Skin will look and feel nourished and soft to the touch. Antioxidant-packed ingredients help protect against environmental stressors that can cause the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The formula is void of harsh sulfates and fragrances that can potentially irritate the skin. 

Carrot & Stick The Face Wash, $30
Gentle yet potent botanicals create a wonderfully emollient cleanser for all skin types that helps promote balance and never strips the skin. Expeller-pressed rose hip seed oil rejuvenates with essential fatty acids, geranium flower soothes, and red seaweed helps protect the skin. 

Formulyst Gentle Foaming Cleanser, $29
The ideal cleanser should give skin a deep clean without stripping it of too much moisture, which means your face will be squeaky clean without feeling tight and dry. Formulyst’s ultra-gentle foaming cleanser whisks away dirt, sweat, and makeup but won’t overdry the skin. Skin is left clean and feeling soft and supple, thanks to nourishing rosehip seed oil and vitamins A, C, and E.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $15
This cult favorite cleansing oil removes dirt, oil, and makeup in one fell swoop. The very first ingredient is olive oil. Phenolic compounds in olive oil serve as effective antioxidants. This repairing oil has also demonstrated wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects, possibly positively affecting skin aging. Olive oil is mainly made up of oleic acid, a fatty acid that is deeply hydrating and non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores). DHC’s formulation also contains vitamin E, another formidable antioxidant that reverses free radical damage. 

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $14
Cetaphil claims their wallet-friendly drugstore face wash is “gentle enough for a baby’s skin.” This formulation works for all skin types, including sensitive, thanks to a soap-free composition that won’t strip skin’s natural oils or overdry. Another desirable aspect of this cleanser is that it’s only formulated with eight ingredients, which likely accounts for its gentleness. 

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, $39
This soap-free, lightweight gel cleanser is one of Dermalogica’s best-selling products — among the first, we might add. It doesn’t disturb the skin’s natural moisture balance despite having a foaming action. It’s formulated with soap bark extract, a botanical that contains saponins that act as natural surfactants to cleanse the skin gently. To top it off, calming balm mint and lavender extracts soothe the skin, so it’s gentle enough to use daily. 

Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser, $37.50
This cleanser is just one of many Renée Rouleau products that have attracted loyal customers, including celebrities, beauty experts, bloggers, editors, and mere product junkies. If your oily skin is acne-prone, it’s an excellent choice because AHAs and BHAs help reduce pimples and blackheads by helping to unclog blocked pores. This cleanser also contains salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids to effectively cut through excess oil without leaving the skin too dry or tight.

Erno Laszlo Sensitive Cleansing Oil, $58
Although this oil-based makeup remover is ideal for all skin types, this Erno Laszlo cleansing oil features soothing plant extracts to calm skin and reduce irritation making it suitable for sensitive skin. Ingredients include moringa oil, jojoba oil, and calendula to help reduce the appearance of blemishes. Green tea works as an antioxidant to combat free radical damage. It’s also an excellent cleanser for acne. 

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water, $10
A French pharmacy favorite also available in the States, Bioderma’s micellar water cleanser is free of sulfates, parabens, fragrances, oil, soap, and alcohol. It’s incredibly gentle and thoroughly cleanses the skin of grime and makeup without stripping away vital natural oils.

Eve Lom Cleansing Balm, $80
Eve Lom cleansing balm is great for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive. It’s also an effective makeup remover. Clove oil has antiseptic properties, which can help it reduce bacteria on the skin’s surface, leaving it perfectly clean and free of blemishes. Eucalyptus and hop oils remove impurities and restore the skin’s pH balance, while Egyptian chamomile oil and cocoa butter hydrate, soothe, and soften.

Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, $32
Avene’s XeraCalm Cleansing Oil is precisely what inflamed, itchy skin needs — it’s specially formulated to treat those suffering from eczema or atopic dermatitis. It contains patented I-Modulia, a complex derived from Avène’s proprietary thermal spring water, to soothe itching and irritation. Cer-omega, derived from evening primrose, hydrates, restores the skin’s barrier and prevents transepidermal water loss.

eSkinSheet The Cleansing Coins, $20
Did you know that most Americans aren’t washing their face correctly? If you’re looking for a seamless way to remove a day’s worth of environmental pollutants, sebum, and makeup, these genius cleansing cloths should be a part of your routine. These little cloths ensure you’re getting a thorough cleanse every time — Each 1-inch “coin” conveniently expands to a 10 x 10-inch cloth when moistened — we love how there’s a woven finish that provides deep cleaning and exfoliating benefits. Even sensitive skin types can benefit from these innovative sheets — bonus points for being an excellent vehicle for applying toners, essences, and serums. 

 

Best Exfoliators

Carrot & Stick The Honey Amber Exfoliating Polish, $50
This gentle scrub uses amber and bamboo powders to deliver mild yet efficient exfoliation. A blend of humectants helps lock moisture into the skin. Honey provides natural purifying and moisturizing properties that leave skin feeling soft, smooth, and rejuvenated. A unique sugar-derived complex improves hydration and supports water content in the skin. With the aromatic addition of vanilla, this scrub offers a sensory experience as it helps revitalize dull skin.

Carrot & Stick The Exfoliating Peel, $50
This multi-action exfoliating treatment relies on a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids to revitalize damaged skin, smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing the look of pores, sloughing off dead skin, and restoring youthful luminosity. Uneven texture and tone are visibly improved.

Carrot & Stick The Brightening Pads, $60
Reveal a fresh, smooth, and radiant complexion with these pre-saturated pads. A concentrated blend of salicylic, lactic, and mandelic acids sweeps away the build-up of dead skin cells, gently exfoliating to promote clarity, refine texture, and rid pores of impurities. Herbal extracts fight visible photodamage and help keep the appearance of redness in check. Resurfaced skin is smoother, brighter, and more receptive to the rest of your skincare products. 

Formulyst Microdermabrasion Exfoliator, $75
A skin-refining superstar, Formulyst’s Retexturizing Microdermabrasion Exfoliator is formulated to gently exfoliate built-up layers of dead skin to expose the younger, more vibrant-looking skin beneath. Fine aluminum oxide crystals effectively remove dirt, excess oil, and dead cells.

At the same time, nutrient-rich jojoba oil, red tea extract, apricot kernel oil, squalane, and hyaluronic acid deeply nourish and soothe newly exposed skin. The result is smoother, perfect-looking skin with less visible lines and wrinkles.

OPULUS Beauty Labs AHA Refresh Facial, $295
Before you get sticker shock, this price includes the sleek OPULUS activator (a one-time purchase) and seven spa-grade at-home facial treatments activated right before use. This is key as the active ingredients are entirely stable, so you’re receiving the maximum benefits. The innovative activator perfectly blends each treatment while gently warming it to help maximize product absorption (but it feels lovely on the skin, too!). This results-driven two-phase peel is formulated with 12% acids, humectants, and emollients to reveal a fresh, healthy glowing complexion in just 20 minutes — you won’t be disappointed.

Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub, $32
Tula harnesses the power of skin-friendly probiotics in its products, strengthening the skin’s microbiome that can become disrupted from over-exfoliating, using the wrong skincare products, medication, allergies, and environmental stressors. This scrub is formulated with sugar that naturally dissolves during the exfoliating process, so it’s more gentle on the skin. Adding fruit enzymes ensures you’re getting a thorough yet pure exfoliation.

Proactiv Skin Smoothing Exfoliator, $48
To be clear, it’s never a good idea to aggressively exfoliate acneic skin because you risk spreading breakouts and causing further inflammation. However, mild acne can benefit from a scrub such as this formula from Proactiv, one of the leaders in acne skincare. It’s formulated with micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide to treat blemishes and keep new ones from forming.

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula, $24
This popular Clinique exfoliating scrub gently sweeps away rough patches and flakes, improving texture and radiance — it even helps minimize the appearance of fine, dry lines. Your serum and moisturizer will penetrate more effectively while providing the perfect canvas for makeup. Silica provides a gentle exfoliation that’s, as the name suggests, safe enough to use every day. The formula is void of parabens, phthalates, fragrance, colors, and denatured alcohol.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, $88
These peel pads are among the most popular on the market — and with good reason. They’re saturated with a compelling blend of seven alpha and beta hydroxy acids, sodium hyaluronate, squalene, saccharide isomerate, and Chinese foxglove to effectively target the skin concerns associated with oily or dry skin — or a person dealing with a combination of both. Skin texture and pores become more refined, fine lines and pores are softened, blemishes are controlled, and the skin is balanced and hydrated for up to 72 hours after use.

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial, $80
One of the brand’s most popular products is this mini facial in a bottle. Star ingredients include alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), two highly effective exfoliation agents that dig deep to unclog pores and remove layers of dead skin cells. This particular formulation contains 25% AHA and 2% BHA, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid — a veritable treasure trove of acids that join forces to help you achieve a healthy, glowing complexion. Topping it off is niacinamide, a vitamin that can do everything from countering hyperpigmentation and wrinkles to improving elasticity.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Gel Scrub, $8.99
This popular Neutrogena scrub gently yet effectively exfoliates and removes impurities while salicylic acid targets breakouts. The formula features proprietary Barriercare cleansing technology to ensure the skin remains soft and balanced versus stripped of its natural oils. It works best on oily and acne-prone skin types.

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $28+
Lotion P50, a cult favorite, is a lactic acid exfoliator that helps improve skin texture and dissolve dead skin cells. Lactic acid encourages cell turnover, zaps blemishes, and helps soften fine lines and wrinkles. Other vital ingredients include sorrel (anti-inflammatory), myrrh extract (moisturizing), myrtle (astringent), and onion (rejuvenating), which means the scent may take some time to get used to — but it’s worth it. There are several types of the Lotion P50. P50V or P50V 1970 is formulated for dry skin, while P50W and P50W 1970 are designed for sensitive skin. Finally, P50 PIGM 400 was made specifically to treat hyperpigmentation.

 

Best Toners and Essences

Charlotte Tilbury Glow Toner, $55
If you Love Magic Cream, Glow Toner will be your latest Tilbury product obsession. The recently launched acid-free toner is formulated with niacinamide for baby soft, smooth-feeling skin and refined pores. It’s also enriched with proprietary blends such as resurfacing acid-alternatives Super Peptide Royalepigen P5 and EXFOLACTIVE, and plant-derived, pore-minimizing PORETIGHT. ​​Sodium Hyaluronate — penetrating the skin deeper than hyaluronic acid — provides a serious moisture boost that plumps and smooths the skin’s appearance.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, $99+
The brand’s signature- and best-selling- product contains over 90 percent pitera, a by-product of yeast fermentation that includes minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Pitera is an ingredient exclusive to SK-II that helps refine texture and minimize pore size, boost elasticity to keep skin tight, hydrate and plump up wrinkles and make skin radiant by evening out tone. This treatment also contains galactomyces ferment filtrate, a fungus used to heighten moisturization to keep skin fully hydrated and conditioned. To use it, sprinkle a small amount in your hand and press the essence gently on your face and neck.

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, $38
Formulated with lactic and azelaic acids, this is the toner that your skincare routine is lacking. As the name suggests, this ingredient-packed formula refines skin texture, softens fine lines, brightens pigmentation, reduces acne and pore size, hydrates, and gives you a from-within glow — it’s no wonder it’s a best-seller.

HADA LABO Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Toner, $15
Hada Labo is one of Japan’s most popular drugstore brands, and the Goku-Jyun toner has achieved cult status for anyone with dry skin (just check out the Reddit reviews). Simply dispense the product onto your hands before patting it onto the face. It contains three different types of hyaluronic acid to help attract and hold water, leaving skin looking plump and hydrated.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $49
This cult favorite for finicky skin has been around for a long time — and with good reason. Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is infused with rosemary, mint, and organic rose oil to help soothe and refresh skin. Skin is left looking hydrated and more radiant, thanks to grape extract. Apply after cleansing or throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up — it’s also an excellent travel companion. 

AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence, $175
While this K-beauty essence is a bit of a splurge, it’s still one of the brand’s best-selling products. The formula promises to protect skin from pollution, UV rays, and free radicals. Its secret lies in the green tea leaves gathered from the foothills of a mountain on Jeju Island in South Korea. The active, protective ingredients in these leaves help nourish, hydrate, and rejuvenate skin, making it feel softer and look brighter and plumper.

florence by mills Episode 4 Soak It All In Blue Light Protection Toner, $18
If you’re obsessed with Stranger Things like most of the world’s population, then you know who Milly Bobby Brown is. While you may know she’s a talented actress, perhaps you’re not privy to the fact that she has her own clean and cruelty-free skincare line, florence by mills. Given her background, it’s apt that the brand developed a product with plankton extract to help combat the damaging effects of artificial blue light emitted from your electronic devices. Other key ingredients in this hydrating toner include jojoba, baobab, and watermelon seed oils. 

NueBioMe The Biotic Glow Ferment Essence, $84
Formulated with probiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics, the ingredients in this results-driven, alcohol-free essence work synergistically to promote a healthy skin microbiome — something we’re really into here at The Derm Review. Glycolic acid and saccharomyces cerevisiae ferment soften wrinkles and banish a dull, lackluster complexion. Tasmanian pepperberry, African whitewood, and Panax ginseng keep oiliness at bay without stripping the skin of vital hydration. 

Pixi Glow Tonic, $29
This award-winning cult tonic may have a cheeky name, but there’s nothing playful about this 5% glycolic formula that deeply cleanses, gently exfoliates, and promotes a radiant, glowing complexion. It’s alcohol-free, so you don’t have to worry about dryness. The addition of aloe vera provides soothing hydration, while red ginseng naturally energizes your skin.

Tatcha The Essence, $105
This much-loved essence relies on powerful Japanese superfoods (green tea, rice, and algae) to provide anti-aging benefits, potent hydration, and a beautiful plumping effect. These superfoods are fermented to create lactic acid, which helps exfoliate to boost cell turnover, revealing a radiant glow while reducing dullness and rough texture.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, $22.99
This hydrating toner from Fresh takes an old-school remedy and kicks it up a notch with additional evidence-based ingredients. It’s infused with real rose petals to soothe and nourish the skin. The formula gently wipes away any traces of dirt from the face while leaving it balanced and refreshed. Thanks to Angelica leaf extract and hyaluronic acid, it’s also profoundly hydrating. 

MUTHA The Cell Rejuvenating Essence, $95
If you’ve already been using essences, get ready to be wowed. This formula starts as a gel before transforming into a light fluid immediately absorbed into the skin. Along with softening fine lines and restoring resiliency, it also preps the skin to receive the rest of the products in our routine. The secret sauce is MUTHALOAD Core Technology, a proprietary blend of bio-fermented and evidence-based ingredients such as a hyaluronic acid complex, rice peptide complex, and rice kefiran that work together to promote a healthier-looking complexion.

 

Best Serums

Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum, $80
This high-performance serum is designed to visibly lift, tighten and firm as it helps defend against damaging free radicals. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E deliver an instant boost of hydration. A blend of synthesized growth factors encourages elasticity, cell turnover, and nutrient absorption to support revitalization. Seven plant-based neuropeptides enhance the skin’s structural integrity from the inside out, promoting smoother, more resilient-looking skin. Soothing and brightening botanicals, including chamomile, licorice root, and green tea, impart an ageless glow.

Carrot & Stick The Defense Serum, $80
This revitalizing serum contains antioxidant superpowers to help promote collagen production and visibly brighten skin. Three distinct vitamin C derivatives work together to fight visible free radical damage and enhance cellular longevity. Regular use transforms dull, uneven-looking skin into undeniable, radiant beauty. 

Formulyst Ultimate Youth Concentrate, $129
Stave off the signs of aging with Formulyst’s Ultimate Youth Concentrate. This silky serum is bio-engineered from plant stem cells and loaded with a potent combination of five peptides. The deeply hydrating formula helps soften and smooth skin and is formulated to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Skinceuticals C, E, Ferulic, $166
This facial serum is arguably SkinCeuticals most famous product. When it debuted in 2005, it was a game-changer for combining vitamin C, ferulic acid, and vitamin E. This trio is meant to be more potent than vitamin C used on its own, and the formula has an optimal pH balance. This super serum helps protect the skin from environmental aggressors while softening the look of fine lines.

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, $62
This clean beauty brand is an Instagram favorite, and its devoted fans say it helps leave skin look and feel softer and smoother. This resurfacing serum includes 10% lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates and enhances cellular renewal by increasing cell turnover rates in the upper layers of skin. It also acts like a magnet to attract and retain moisture in the skin. While all skin types can benefit from this serum, it’s ideal for those dealing with rough, bumpy, and/or dull skin. Applying this serum nightly should help promote a smoother and softer texture, visibly diminished fine lines, and an overall brighter complexion.

Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Serum, $98It
’s not too often that you see a serum incorporating retinol and vitamin C because they thrive in two different pH environments. However, Kate Somerville has managed to formulate a serum that harnesses both of these power-packed ingredients. It works while you sleep to brighten, tone, and revive a dull, uneven skin tone. Clinical studies indicate that 97% of users noticed improved fine lines and wrinkles after just one use. After one week, 93% saw an improvement in skin elasticity, and 90% said their skin tone looked brighter.

Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum, $8
8
Choosing a favorite product from AOS is like trying to pick a favorite child — impossible. So, let’s leave it up to actress January Jones as this potent 20% vitamin C and 2% citrus cell complex infused serum is one of her favorites from the brand. The C in this formula has a cumulative effect, so it’s suitable for all skin types. An antioxidant complex of glutathione and three potent antioxidants brightens, firms, and provides protection against environmental aggressors immediately and over time. 

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $178T
his serum is fortified with five different HA and skin-plumping peptides to intensely hydrate, smooth, and soften the signs of age — immediately and over time. The formula harnesses SkinMedica’s VITISENCE Technology power, a blend of potent antioxidants derived from the Vitus flower stem cell extract, polysaccharides, and a peptide complex to help the skin replenish its hyaluronic acid levels.

LilyAna Naturals Super C Serum, $28This cult-favorite natural (and vegan) beauty brand formulated the secret sauce for glowing skin with 85% natural — and
naturally derived — ingredients. Along with 10% vitamin C, plant stem cells, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, coenzyme Q10, rose flower water, aloe vera juice, and a seaweed complex work together to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and dark spots. Additionally, this serum hydrates, calms inflammation, improves elasticity, and neutralizes free radicals. 

M-61 Hydraboost HA Serum Pads, $68
Don’t let your travel plans be an excuse not to maintain your skincare routine. In fact, from dehydration due to air travel, excess sun exposure, or too much imbibing poolside, hyaluronic acid is a must-have item in your toiletry kit because your skin is drier than ever. M-61’s genius serum pads have all the benefits of triple-action HA, peptides, vitamins B3 and E, and Centella Asiatica, but in the convenience of a lightweight pad that hydrates for up to 48 hours.

Lunar Nectar Neptune Hyaluronic Acid Blur Serum, $27.00
While you may have experimented with a hyaluronic acid serum before, we’re confident you’ve never tried one with a blue tint. That’s because Lunar Nectar has developed the first-ever azure blue-hued formula, thanks to the addition of clitoria ternatea, aka butterfly pea flowers. While HA is the gold star ingredient, the serum is infused with helichrysum, green tea hydrosol waters, and lactobacillus ferment. This serum is unique because it delivers a matte, blurred look while delivering deep moisture when applied. 

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, $75
You’re probably already familiar with this cult serum, but you may not be aware that it’s recently been revamped with a “revolutionary formula” patented until 2033. It now contains Chronolux™ Power Signal Technology to help address the multiple signs of aging caused by the environmental assault or extrinsic aging. This pioneering serum is said to help with loss of firmness lines and wrinkles, dryness, dehydration, dullness, loss of radiance, and uneven skin tone.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, $24.99
Everyone loves a good drugstore buy, especially one focused on effectiveness, not fluff. Formulated with RoC’s award-winning retinol, this serum is clinically proven to make the skin look ten years younger in as little as four weeks. Of course, that all depends on your age and the current state of your skin — but this serum wouldn’t be on the best-of list if it didn’t visibly produce noticeable results, especially over time.

Phyto-C Signature Serum, $275A propriet
ns while reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin perfections over time. The skin is left visibly revived, and skin texture becomes improved. It’s one of the most potent and premium serums Phyto C offers. 

RescueMD DNA Repair Complex, $88
While prevention is vital, if you find yourself battling the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, this serum (developed by a plastic surgeon) may be for you. The critical ingredient is lapachol, a clinically proven, potent anti-inflammatory that supports the skin’s natural ability to repair and regenerate. Additionally, a proprietary DNA Repair Complex helps stimulate collagen production. The formula is boosted with botanicals, antioxidants, moisturizing agents, and skin protectants. This soothing serum is also a remarkable healing agent after surgical treatments or in-office procedures.

 

Best Moisturizers

Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, $60
This lightweight antioxidant formula is a hydrating powerhouse that leaves skin feeling remarkably smooth and radiant. Overflowing with potent plant proteins, vitamins, peptides, amino-collagen, and a stem cell extract from hardy alpine roses delivers multi-level hydration. 

Carrot & Stick’s active complex of three natural bio-ferments supports greater nutrient density and more efficient absorption. Caffeine adds an energy boost that revitalizes the skin, while five distinct coconut elements promote overall conditioning. 

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream, $80
A proprietary probiotic formulation keeps the microbiome operating at peak performance, skin looking hydrated, and visible issues diminished. The microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that live on the skin surface. Happy microbes equal a healthy microbiome, and a healthy microbiome equals healthier-looking, more radiant skin.

Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream. For Dry Skin, $60
Experience a fragrance-free skincare cream uniquely formulated to nurture and protect the skin’s microbiome. The microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that live on the skin surface. If it becomes imbalanced, dryness, eczema, acne, and other skin issues can appear. The brand’s proprietary formulation of probiotics and natural, soothing plant extracts keep the microbiome operating at peak performance and skin looking hydrated and visible problems diminished. 

Carrot & Stick The Water Gel Moisturizer, $50
Perfect for oily skin. This gel moisturizer targets excess shine, blemishes, and prominent pores while helping to support more even-toned skin. Includes 10% niacinamide to balance sebum production, promote elasticity and bring flawless clarity to the skin. The bouncy, jelly-like texture creates a light veil of moisture while brightening dull skin and delivering an even, healthy appearance.

Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream With Retinol, $59
Specifically formulated to target the visual signs of aging, Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream profoundly moisturizes and visibly transforms your skin while you sleep. An advanced overnight formula penetrating deep below the surface, innovative Encapsulated Retinol Technology delivers a higher concentrate of the essential vitamin retinol to your skin for intense rejuvenation while naturally nourishing jojoba and safflower seed oil lock in long-lasting hydration. So you can wake up to skin that looks and feels beautifully renewed.

Strivectin Contour Restore Tightening & Sculpting Face Cream, $99
Most anti-aging products make an abundance of claims without rising to the occasion, but that’s not the case with this face cream, one of the latest innovations to be added to the Strivectin lineup of age-fighting products. Providing you’re dedicated to applying the cream to your face and neck twice daily, it truly does as the name suggests. It’s formulated with elastin-targeting dipeptides to address the loss of volume and sagging skin — even along the stubborn jawline— for a visibly lifted, plump looking.

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 1% Retinol + 12% C Ferulic & E Complex, $75
This clean and clinical anti-aging complex is one of DERMAdoctor’s latest product innovations. It combines 1% high-potency retinol, 12% stabilized vitamin C, ferulic acid, and a vitamin E complex to help soften fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and address discoloration. The potent cream also wards against free radicals to help prevent further damage — just don’t forget to wear your SPF, too, as ingredients such as retinol and C make the skin even more sensitive to the sun’s damaging UV rays. The brand recommends starting with a pea-sized amount no more than every other night. 

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Matte Moisturizer, $38
Hormonal breakouts are tricky. It’s unpredictable and often associated with painful cystic acne that forms under the skin along the chin, jawline, and cheeks. Even so, it still needs ample hydration to soothe the look of dry, flaky, overly treated acne-prone skin. This matte gel moisturizer harnesses the power of 2% salicylic acid to help clear acne blemishes and prevent future breakouts. 

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, $42
This multi-tasking lotion has plenty of loyal fans. It’s essentially a moisturizer but also pulls double duty by refining the skin and helping to unclog pores thanks to retinol (vitamin A) and queen of meadow extract. Retinol is one of the most potent exfoliating agents and helps slough off dead skin cells to give skin back its radiance. Queen of meadow extract is an astringent that can help reduce excess oil. Hydration comes courtesy of panthenol (a provitamin of vitamin B5) and honey. Allantoin and arnica help counteract any potential irritation from the retinol in this formula. 

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $22.40
If you’re looking for an affordable moisturizer for mature skin packed with great ingredients, this just might be the cream for you. The Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream features hyaluronic acid, amino peptides, and vitamin B3 (niacinamide). Together, these ingredients help fight the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, laxity, and hyperpigmentation. Regular use of this cream can help minimize and prevent these signs of aging. 

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $265
This dermatologist, celebrity, and beauty editor’s favorite moisturizer was created by Augustinus Bader, a world-renowned physician and researcher in the biomedical field and an expert in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. This ultra-hydrating face cream (an upgrade to the original formula, The Cream) stimulates the skin’s natural rejuvenation process to reduce the signs of aging, including the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It also reduces redness, calms stressed skin, evens skin tone, and promotes a glowing complexion. 

iS Clinical Firming Complex, $130
Lighter than a cream but heavier than a serum, this nighttime formula is ideal for those with oily, acneic skin. Fruit acids — natural alternatives to alpha and beta hydroxy acids — resurface the skin, improving texture, tone, and pore size while reducing inflammation at the same time. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 deeply hydrate and replenish the skin, while powerful antioxidants promote wound healing. 

Dr. Zenovia Skincare Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer, $38
This results-driven moisturizer is formulated with a proprietary REG-ulate360 Complex, a potent cocktail of medical-grade actives including resveratrol, vitamin E, green tea, bakuchiol, and a cutting-edge, plant-derived phytoestrogen known as geinstein that helps balance hormones at the skin level. By regulating hormonal fluctuations at the skin level, you experience fewer acne flare-ups.

Lancôme Renergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Firming and Dark Spot Correcting Moisturizer SPF 30, $109
This day cream is an excellent choice for those who are battling with mature skin that’s associated with dark patches. Hydroquinone-free, glycolic acid is the key ingredient that improves skin texture, reduces wrinkles and pigmentation, lifts, and firms. The addition of an SPF 30 protects the skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, $36
This best-selling nourishing cream is ideal for those prone to sensitivity, redness, and dryness. It’s formulated with nourishing emollients like shea and jojoba, which create a protective layer on the skin to help prevent trans-epidermal water loss while sleeping. Colloidal oatmeal (5%) and licorice soothe and reduce redness, and hyaluronic acid hydrates and peptides soften the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and texture. It’s an excellent choice for those with extra dry skin or eczema.

SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, $125
As the name suggests, this intense, results-driven night cream harnesses the power of an alpha hydroxy acid and a retinoid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving elasticity and tone. You’ll reap all the benefits minus any irritation thanks to SkinBetter’s proprietary retinol technology (and a blend of skin-soothing ingredients). Glycolic acid visibly improves the skin’s texture while stoking the other components to increase efficiency. 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $32
The brand’s best-selling moisturizer is a derm favorite because it’s void of parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates, mineral oil, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, and several other ingredients on our Nix List. Despite having an ultra-lightweight texture, it provides long-lasting hydration for up to 24 hours, thanks to squalane, glycerine, and glacial glycoprotein. It’s clinically tested to smooth and soften dry skin on contact and more so over time. 

 

Best Face Oils 

Carrot & Stick The Face Oil Retinoic, $70
This comprehensive formula defends skin against free radical damage and reduces visible signs of aging, targeting the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as it fights blemishes. Deploying a next-generation retinoid and potent antioxidants, it supports the turnover of pore-clogging dead skin and addresses breakouts with less potential for irritation. Skin looks clear, firm, and supple. Effortless absorption imparts a beautiful smooth finish. 

House of GRŌ WOKE Rejuvenating Face & Neck Oil, $125
If you choose to hydrate your skin with a face oil (or use it as a compliment to your moisturizer), the integrity of the oils is vital. You don’t have to worry about that with this face and neck oil — or any of the brand’s other products. All ingredients are clean, and many are certified organic to boot. Their tagline is “reset your skin’s microbiome with plant power.” Topping the list in this formula is wild harvested inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) extract and 500Mg full spectrum (hemp-derived) cannabidiol — infused in grape and celery seed base — which promotes a vibrant, glowing, and energized complexion. Tea tree, rose geranium, and lavender essential oils provide an aromatic boost while enhancing the skin’s radiance and softness. 

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, $55
Feed your skin with its daily recommended serving of greens with this award-winning facial oil. It’s formulated with a highly concentrated blend of 9 “superfood oils,” including broccoli, rosehip, flaxseed, and daikon radish, to hydrate, plump, smooth, and enhance the skin’s radiance for a glowing complexion. Independent user trials revealed that 89% agreed that this face serum enhances skin radiance and minimizes dullness while leaving the skin feeling smooth. 

Mad Hippie Antioxidant Face Oil, $24.99
Mad Hippie is a clean beauty brand built on the notion that natural skincare can be as effective as traditional skin care. This super-charged antioxidant-rich face oil combines a laundry list of skin nourishing ingredients such as organic argan oil, which provides instant, non-comedogenic hydration while reducing the appearance of scars. Additionally, it’s formulated with several antioxidants and essential fatty acids, such as sea buckthorn berry, blueberry extract, pomegranate oil, broccoli and raspberry seed extracts, and sunflower seed oil, and camu camu berry, to name a few. 

La Mer The Renewal Oil, $260
This multi-tasking, dual-phase oil is like a big drink of water for the skin. It provides instant radiance, thanks to a host of oils, including meadowfoam seed, sweet almond, and jojoba, to name a few. Additionally, you’ll find several plant extracts and active ingredients like niacin, caffeine, and the brand’s proprietary “Miracle Broth” that work together with the oils to improve overall firmness while softening fine lines’ appearance wrinkles.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil, $4
If you’re looking for a face oil that won’t break the bank, this one’s for you. The formula is simple: 100% pure, sustainably-sourced, organic, and cold-pressed borage seed oil. It’s a desirable oil for sensitive skin because it has a soothing effect. It has a high concentration of gamma-linolenic, a vital essential fatty acid, critical if sensitized skin is accompanied by dryness. Note that borage seed oil has a distinct odor, so don’t confuse this scent with rancidity.

Eminence Organic Facial Recovery Oil, $76
This multi-award-winning organic face oil is vegan and void of soy, nuts, and gluten. Precious herbs and nourishing oils sourced from Demeter International Certified Biodynamic farms tone and hydrate sensitive and aging skin — it only takes a drop or two to achieve a natural, from-within glow. User reviews suggest this face oil is also effective in fading scarring from burns or acne. 

 

Best Eye Creams

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $60
This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including eye bags and dark circles. The Persian silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) has an anti-glycation effect that helps delicate skin around the lids feel tighter. St. Paul’s wort (Sigesbeckia Orientali) boosts the appearance of collagen and elastin, restoring vitality.

Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70
A powerful wake-up call for tired eyes, this cooling multi-active serum melts into the skin to perceptibly illuminate and refresh. A blend of advanced peptides reduces the look of discoloration, and rich moisturizers combat dryness. Crow’s feet are smoothed, puffiness is reduced, and skin is visibly lifted and brightened with every application. 

Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85
A breakthrough anti-aging treatment specifically developed to target the delicate skin around your eyes, Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Eye Cream blurs away dark circles, puffiness, and even stubborn crow’s feet. These imperfections are all caused by sun, stress, and environmental pollutants. Formulated with a clarifying concentrate and moisture-rich complexes that stimulate, strengthen and hydrate, this lightweight formula is also enriched with Hyaluronic acid to help restore your skin’s natural suppleness and elasticity while visibly smoothing away wrinkles.

Dr. Brandt needles no more NO MORE BAGGAGE, $42
While nothing can replace a good night’s sleep and ample hydration, this lightweight gel cream is the closest thing to a “fake it til you make it” approach. The undereye area appears as though you’ve had a solid seven hours of much-needed rest in just five minutes. Skin-plumping peptides help support elasticity and firmness so that under-eye bags and dark circles are less prevalent. The brand’s Filmatrix Technology, a blend of algae, plant extracts, and silicates, creates a thin film around the eye area that temporarily tightens and lifts in less time than it takes to eat breakfast. Considering the state of the world over the past couple of years, everyone could use a jar of this mini miracle worker.

Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Under-Eye Cream, $72
This eye cream may be new to the scene, but it already garners hundreds of nearly five-star reviews on the brand’s website — and with good reason. When’s the last time you heard of a formula that brightens the orbital area and visibly reduces the look of not one but three types of under-eye discoloration: brown, blue, and red? The secret is three potent forms of vitamin C and ferulic acid. As if that wasn’t enough to make you ditch your concealer and snag a bottle, peptides help banish bags. At the same time, a biomimetic oat protein soothes and calms — something anyone living behind an electronic device could use.

Serucell KFS Cellular Protein Complex Eye Serum, $145
You may have experimented with several eye products to help banish your orbital woes, but according to Serucell, you haven’t tried anything like this serum before. The brand claims its the 

“first and only product of its kind” to use KFS, a propriety blend that harnesses the dual-cell technology of keratinocytes and fibroblasts. In layman’s terms, over 1,500 vitamins, hyaluronic hydrators, collagen boosters, and naturally derived proteins and working overtime to address the six main types of eye wrinkles. One bottle is less than a trip to the derm’s office, but you’ll still receive visible (and impressive) needle-free results.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $39
This cult favorite and makeup artist must immediately color-correct dark eye circles and brightens the eye area. The addition of vitamin collagen supports the skin’s elasticity. While the product can be used alone, this creme is a beautiful canvas for a smooth application if you wish to use an actual makeup-type concealer. 

Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $97
This multi-award-winning eye cream is formulated with glycyrrhetinic acid to help lighten dark circles’ appearance while caffeine reduces puffiness. Growth factors lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and bisabolol soothes and banishes signs of fatigue, which is good news for those who are always staring at the computer screen.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 15, $100
This multi-defense eye cream uses idebenone (the single most powerful antioxidant) to fortify the delicate skin under the eye area while treating and preventing the signs of aging, such as crow’s feet, with continued use. It’s formulated with encapsulated SPF 15 sunscreens to guard against daily sun damage minus any irritation. 

Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm, $65
This cult-favorite eye cream has been a Dermalogica staple for years — and with good reason: it works. Retinol and seaweed extract target fine lines and firm the delicate eye area, while vitamins C and E improve elasticity and ward off environmental aggressors. Unlike some eye creams, this one works perfectly in tandem with eye makeup — it’s an excellent base.

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15
Backed up by over 20 years of research, this regenerating formula can be used on the lids and below to address crepiness around the entire eye area. Additionally, it reduces the appearance of crow’s feet, puffiness, and under-eye bags. The innovative applicator dispenses the perfect amount of product, taking the guesswork out of how much to use. 

Plexaderm Rapid Reduction Eye Serum, $59.95
This eye serum is formulated to temporarily reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and wrinkles for several hours. To understand how Plexaderm works, you have to look at the two key ingredients —  sodium silicate and magnesium aluminum silicate, which works as an adhesive. It glides onto the skin in a liquid or gel form, and when it dries, a thin film forms, which causes a slight contraction or pulling of the skin. When applied to under-eye bags and wrinkles, it can cause a temporary tightening and lifting effect as the skin appears tauter. Again, remember: results are only interim.

 

Best Sun Protection

Carrot & Stick The Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $60
This Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Facial Lotion is derived from and formulated with mineral sunscreen; there are no harsh chemicals that can harm the skin and the environment, including our oceans. This SPF is formulated with Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB, which can hasten the effects of skin aging. It also contains natural hydrators and antioxidants, including Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract, and Hawaiian Kukui Nut Oil to keep skin nourished and smooth. No greasy feel after application, and the water-resistant formula delivers protection throughout the day with reapplication.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $37
Sun exposure is the number one cause of aging skin, so it should be included in your skincare routine daily. Dermatologists and the Skin Cancer foundation favor the sunscreens from EltaMD. This particular version is formulated with niacinamide (vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid, promoting healthy-looking skin while protecting it from harmful UVA/UVB rays. It’s lightweight and suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

Vivier Sheer SPF 30 Mineral Tinted, $52
Perhaps you’ve passed on tinted sunscreens for fear of the color not quite matching up to your skin tone — we get it. But Vivier has eliminated this problem with their new tinted mineral formula that features a revolutionary “ChromaTint” technology. The tint adapts and seamlessly blends with your natural skin tone, resulting in a flawless, radiant complexion that looks so great that you may even forget that you’re being protected from the sun, too. As a bonus, this SPF is formulated with antioxidants and botanical extracts to help boost hydration and protection from the sun’s harmful rays. 

Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow
This incredible SPF provides ultimate sun protection and weekend-worthy skin every day of the week. The transparent mineral SPF 50 gives the skin an immediate healthy and radiant-looking glow. Along with protecting from the sun, this formula contains vitamin C and niacinamide to help brighten while neutralizing harmful free radicals. Are you worried about existing dark spots becoming even darker? There’s zinc to the rescue. It’s genuinely an SPF and anti-aging skincare product in one.

Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $39
This ultra-sheer zinc oxide SPF provides a high level of protection against UV/B rays while simultaneously giving some other skin-loving benefits. Rosehip oil helps firm and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while a tri-hyaluronan complex provides an immediate and long-term moisture boost with regular use. Bonus points for the formula being both 100% natural and reef safe.

Skin Authority SkinSuit Face, $59
There are moisturizers with SPF, and then there’s this super formula from Skin Authority. For starters, it has a broad spectrum SPF of 50, which can be hard to come by. But it’s also a high-performing moisturizer that protects against blue light, infrared radiation, activity-induced heat, and pollution. We can’t forget to add that the formula contains retinol (an anti-aging powerhouse) and vitamins C and E — up to 200%. Even though this moisturizer seems to do pretty much everything, it’s void of parabens and fragrance.

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $35
Fenty’s Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 functions as your daytime moisturizer and sunscreen. It’s lightweight, oil-free, and invisible on all skin tones. The brand has included chemical sunscreen ingredients (avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate) in this formula to provide broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection. 

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, $19
The Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment is a green-to-beige color-correcting treatment that corrects redness and helps protect skin from environmental aggressors. It provides SPF 30 protection from UV light and forms a dust barrier to protect the skin from the environment while enhancing its viability. 

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants, $9.70
The Ordinary range of Mineral UV Filters formulas provides SPF protection, antioxidant, hydration, and anti-irritant support sans the use of any nanoparticles. At a low price point, you’ll get a fine dispersion of micronized ZnO and TiO2 in flexible, high-volatility, non-comedogenic silicones that enable the formulations to remain extremely lightweight by optimizing the amount of the blocking agents. 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60, $29.99
This light, matte formula quickly absorbs into the skin, making it an ideal makeup base and an effective moisturizer and sun protectant. It’s also chock-full of free radical-fighting antioxidants to help battle the signs of skin aging, including fine lines and discoloration. Not to mention, it’s a face moisturizer with SPF 50, which is harder to come by. 

 

Best Masks

Formulyst Lifting and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, $80
While this is technically a rich cream, it can also double as an overnight mask when applied as a thick layer. Formulated to help lift, smooth, and refine your skin’s appearance and tone, this velvety smooth formula contains a powerful blend of lipids and botanicals with targeted anti-aging benefits. Enriched with Moringa seed oil for intense moisturization, Evodia Ruteacarpa Fruit extract helps to brighten and refine visibly. In contrast, peony extract improves the appearance of skin density for a smoother, recontoured look. In the short term, skin appears smoother and healthier looking, while over time, your complexion feels firmer and visually lifts with a radiance.

AMBARI Gold Perfection 22 Mask, $92
AMBARI prides itself on formulating performance-driven products that help you achieve an at-home facial experience, and this award-winning exfoliating mask lives up to that promise. In five minutes, you can achieve a glowing, radiant complexion that looks like you just spent hours at the spa. Thanks to the brand’s signature blend of adaptogenic reishi, naturally derived AHAs, and a broad-spectrum oil, you get the results of a pro peel minus any downtime. You’ll immediately achieve a from-within glow and improved skin texture. With regular use, fine lines and discoloration from acne scarring are softened — bonus points for being void of toxic ingredients and cruelty-free.

GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD, $60
GLAMGLOW’s BRIGHTMUD is perfect for individuals who claim they don’t have time to mask and exfoliate in the same week. This dual action treatment (from the brand that has mastered the art of the facial mask) physically and chemically eliminates dead skin cells thanks to a powerful combination of lactic acid (AHA), salicylic acid (BHA), and gentle microfine pumice that won’t create microtears to the skin. Additional key ingredients include niacinamide, acetyl glucosamine, and vitamin C. The result is a brighter, healthier, smoother-looking complexion. While you’ll notice results immediately, the brand suggests using the treatment three days in a row to start, then two to three times a week for maintenance. 

Sunday Riley Good Genes, $122
This clean beauty product claims to plump up wrinkles in as little as three minutes. It’s formulated with lactic acid, which helps soften fine lines and wrinkles while also being an effective blackhead treatment. Licorice addresses hyperpigmentation, while lemongrass boosts radiance to make skin sparkle. Aloe is there to soothe and calm as lactic acid can be potentially irritating. Use this treatment a few times weekly for a bright, refined complexion. It can be used as a mask or left on the skin as an overnight treatment.

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $42
Formulated to wear while you sleep, this creamy, nourishing mask is formulated with antioxidant-rich avocado, exfoliating PHA, and a gentle form of retinol. This mask is said to reveal smoother, hydrated skin with each use. It can be used by those with normal, dry, and sensitive skin and can address dullness and signs of aging.

Best Skincare Products of 2022: The Final Word

Whew! Are you still with us? We hope you found some new skincare finds to add to your list. Remember, product choices are subjective. What works for you may not work for someone else. 

22 of the Best Anti-Aging Face Serums for Your 30s and Beyond

What’s really important is that you understand your skin type (see a dermatologist or esthetician if you’re on the fence) and are making sure the formulations you’re using are as clean and results-driven as possible — like those from Carrot & Stick and the majority of the other brands on this index. Remember, you can also refer to our “Nix List” above if you question a particular ingredient. The Derm Review also offers a robust Cosmetics Ingredients Glossary to help you put together a skincare routine that’s both safe and effective.

Sources:
“Consumers’ Skincare Ingredient Preferences,” GCI Magazine, February 2021.
“Parabens,” Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
“Parabens,” Safecosmetics.org.
“Phthalates,” Safecosmetics.org.
Zasada M, Budzisz E.Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments.” Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2019 Aug;36(4):392-397. doi: 10.5114/ada.2019.87443. Epub 2019 Aug 30. PMID: 31616211; PMCID: PMC6791161.
Leyden J, Stein-Gold L, Weiss J.“Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne.” Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Sep;7(3):293-304. doi: 10.1007/s13555-017-0185-2. Epub 2017 Jun 5. PMID: 28585191; PMCID: PMC5574737.
“The Trouble With Ingredients In Sunscreens,” EWG.org.
“The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps,” NRDC.org.
“Eczema Types: Contact Dermatitis Causes,” American Academy of Dermatology Association.
“Study: The Majority of Americans Are Washing Their Face Incorrectly Or Not At All,” SWNS Digital.



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