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40 Skincare Products Changing the Game

Find your formula.

skin care products
Astrid StawiarzGetty Images

When you take skincare as seriously as we do, you're always on the hunt for the next generation of game-changing skincare products. You know the ones—those holy-grail, often best-selling products that not only cut down on time getting ready, but also restore your skin to its most glowy, angelic state (you know, what dreams are made of). But there's probably no market as saturated as skincare, making it a tricky one to navigate. With endless options, how do you know what's worth the splurge and what's not-so-hot? Well, you read round-ups like this—so you're already ahead of the curve. Then, you weigh your options and spend accordingly, because good skincare is an investment.

It should be noted: This list includes both splurge-worthy and cost-efficient skincare, and the choice is yours. It's all about whatever works for your skin type, which is unlike anyone else's. It sounds like a tall order, but I promise you that these 50 revolutionary products really, truly measure up. It also should be noted that as you read through, you'll see some recurring ingredients that we're particularly fold of. Hyaluronic acid, for instance, is always a good idea (and pops up in many of our faves). The same goes for niacinamides, salicylic acid, AHAs, and retinols. From cleansers and balms to concentrates and masks, get ready for a lifetime of five-star reviews of your complexion. Here, the best skin care products on the market for 2021.

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The Glow-Inducer
C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer
Courtesy
Ole Henriksen sephora.com
$46.00

Mark my words, you're guaranteed to have a good morning if you lather this cream all over your face. If you're tired of applying moisturizer multiple times per day because your skin can't escape dryness, this long-lasting hydrator will be your new holy grail. It has a creamy gel consistency full of vitamin C for a luminous, far-from-dull effect. It gives your skin this inescapable glow. Not to mention its light citrus scent will remind you of the tropics. 

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The Complexion Guardian
Catch Flights, Not Feelings
Courtesy of Good Habits Skin
Goodhabit goodhabitskin.com
$58.00

Have you been waking up just looking...blah lately? Whether your issue is dullness, dehydration, or tired-looking skin, environmental stressors can make these issues even worse. This serum acts like a protective shield against these pollutants, and it uses hibiscus fruit to hydrate and perfecting pearls to make your complexion look straight-up radiant. 

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The Icelandic Export
The Serum
Courtesy of Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Skincare bluelagoon.com
$180.00

If your wanderlust is a bad as ours, you've probably come across those gorgeous photos of Iceland's blue lagoon on Instagram. But its mineral-rich waters do more than create the perfect view—they help perfect your complexion, too. The brand's proprietary complex contains ingredients from the the bioactive water—microalgae and silica—that help strengthen your skin barrier and promote collagen production.

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The Midday Magician
Brume Éclat Anti-Pollution Mist
courtesy of brand
PAYOT amazon.com
$28.00

Now that some of us are back to the office, a desk mist is a must for staying fresh throughout the day. This adds an extra kick of radiance to your complexion, and it fights pollution too.

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The Olive Hero
Vital-C Antioxidant Day Serum
Courtesy of Circumfrance
Circumfrence net-a-porter.com
$80.00

Antioxidants are key for protection against harmful pollution and free radicals, and this vitamin C-infused serum is full of them, thanks to a potent dose of olive leaf extract.

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The Daily Gel
Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
Neutrogena ulta.com
$26.49

Let's say your skin is parched as the Sahara. Allow a very simple—and affordable—solution to take hold. This cooling gel cream is loaded with hyaluronic acid, which uses its humectant properties to draw moisture from the air into your skin. The result: Plumper, plusher skin—all day, erryday.

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The Smoothing Serum
Body Contour Serum
Courtesy of MUTHA
Mutha bergdorfgoodman.com
$95.00

The brand's best-selling body butter has a new sister, and we love to lather it on post-shower. The formula exfoliates, hydrates, and tightens to create smoother, more glowy skin.   

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This Clarifying Mask
Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask
Herbivore sephora.com
$48.00

An Instagrammable mask that also puts in work? We'll take it. Blue tansy is a powerful floral loaded with azulene, an excellent soothing anti-inflammatory. Here, it's balanced with a cocktail of naturally occuring AHAs and BHAs from white willow bark, papaya and pineapple. Snap a pic and settle in for a deeply satisfying masking experience.  

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The Skin-Saving Serum
AGE Bright Clearing Serum
Dermalogica dermstore.com
$68.00

Two types of complexion candidates benefit from this product. The first: someone who's experiencing pandemic stress breakouts...heyo! The salicylic acid will work to clear out pores and prevent them from clogging up and inflaming, without drying out your entire face. The second: those eager to ward off signs of aging. Niacinamide works to dull dark spots, neutralize redness, and soothe inflammation.  

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This Gorgeous Serum
Dreamskin Skin Perfector
Dior sephora.com
$85.00

Take the prettiest cream you ever did see and spike it with skin superstar niacinamide, longoza flower, and creamy shea butter. The result is a luxe lotion that you'll actually look forward to applying. 

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This All-Natural Balm
Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
Clinique ulta.com
$29.50

As winter approaches, a cleansing balm is just the ticket for skin that gets sandpaper-dry in the colder months. And that means you can skip your makeup remover—the oil-based wax readily dissolves eye makeup, lipstick and even tenacious primers and foundations. Massage onto dry skin with your fingertips, then rinse away with warm water for clean, hydrated skin.

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This Magnificent Moisturizer
Daywear Anti-Oxidant 24H-Moisture Crème
Estée Lauder nordstrom.com
$34.00

Words can't express how much beauty editors and dermatologists alike live for day creams with potent anti-aging ingredients and sunscreen. Here, broad-spectrum—meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays—SPF 15 is paired with a plush blend of antioxidant hydrators (barley, rosemary, wheat, lemon and caffeine). Skin is left protected and quenched.

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The CBD Eye Cream
Universal C Eye Perfector
Courtesy
BeautyStat beautystat.com
$65.00

If your eye area needs a lift, this right here will firm the skin right up in no time. It has two star ingredients worth noting: vitamin c, the end-all-be-all for bright and awake under-eyes and CBD (which you don't often find in eye creams) to act as an anti-inflammatory agent to soothe the sensitive skin around the eye area. Together, those two do everything you'd want in an eye cream, which is to brighten, smooth and soothe. 

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This Rejuvenating Serum
Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum
Lancôme sephora.com
$178.00

What's cool about this pricey serum is the combination of three known skin saviors: For starters, 10 percent bifidus, a prebiotic proven to enhance the skin's moisture barrier. It also contains hyaluronic acid and a hefty dose of vitamin C to brighten and scrounge up any degrading antioxidants.

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This Next-Level Sleeping Mask
Velvet Sleeping Mask
Courtesy
Sisley Paris nordstrom.com
$140.00

I know, I know: this price tag is a pretty penny. However, I've waxed poetic about how much this mask is worth it, and I'll say it again. Sleeping masks are tricky. You don't want a slippery formula that will smear all over your pillows, but it also can't be too tacky, sticky and dry in five seconds. This special texture treads the line while being super hydrating and absorbent at the same time. Using natural ingredients, like saffron flowers, thyme honey and shea butter, I wake up with the most supple soft skin with the mask. And everyone deserves to wake up like that.

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The Beauty Sleep Dream Cream
Skin Renewing Night Cream
Courtesy
CeraVe ulta.com
$16.99

Wondering why this specific night cream is steadily at the top of Amazon's wish list and has hundreds of five-star reviews? Because it's that good and it's under $20. Dermatologist-backed brand CeraVe knows a lot about anti-aging and the ingredients in this night cream work together to diminish the appearance wrinkles and fine lines overtime. It uses a combo of ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier overnight and hyaluronic acid for hydration. 

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This Luxurious Body Scrub
Body Scrub
Courtesy
Acqua di Parma acquadiparma.com
£50.00

Unlike other body scrubs that will scratch and irritate the skin, this one uses gentle grains of brown sugar, jojoba seeds and orange peel for a soothing skin exfoliation. And of course, it carries the Acqua Di Parma legacy of an amazing scent using notes that will give you a sweet whiff of the Mediterranean sea to transform you shower into a full-out spa session.

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This Star Sunscreen
Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Courtesy
Supergoop! sephora.com
$44.00

Meet the MVP of sunscreens (yeah, I said it). Supergoop! makes applying sunscreen cool again, thanks to its incredibly innovative formula that puts all other thick, gloopy sunscreens to shame. It's a truly universal formula that's completely invisible on all skin tones. The velvety-soft texture sinks into your skin, bringing frankincense, red algae and meadowfoam seed along for smooth, sun-protected skin. 

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This One-of-a-Kind Shea Butter
Vanilla Lavender Shea Body Butter
Courtesy
hanahanabeauty.com
$26.00

You've used shea butter before, but you've never used Hanahana Beauty's shea butter. This butter imparts ingredients from sustainable direct sourcing in Tamale, Ghana. Made in small batches with care, each jar encompasses cocoa butter, mango butter, grapeseed oil, avocado oil and more in a fluffy, whipped texture that melts right onto your skin in seconds for long-lasting hydration. This vanilla and lavender medley of a scent is unbelievable.

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This Brightening Eye Cream
Eyes Brightening Eye Cream for Dark Circles
Courtesy
Olay amazon.com
$24.99
$13.12 (47% off)

Ever noticed how eye creams are one of the most expensive skincare products on the market? Today's your lucky day because thanks to this $20 steal, you won't have to hand over triple digits for a formula that works. This eye cream brightens dark circles, smoothes wrinkles, fine lines and puffiness. The vitamin c, b3 and caffeine acts as a tall glass of water to wake up your tired eyes with hydration.  

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This Luxurious Balm Cleanser
Moringa Cleansing Balm
Courtesy
Emma Hardie dermstore.com
$60.00

Treating your skin to an old-fashioned rub down with an oil-based cleanser is sometimes all you need. Emma Hardie's moringa-based balm has the works, like vitamins wild sea fennels, to shrink the size of pores, melt away makeup, and hug your skin with hydration for hours on end. It even comes with a muslin cleansing cloth to gently exfoliate and nourish the skin without stripping it of essential oils. 

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This Heroic Serum
The Concentrate
Courtesy
La Mer sephora.com
$190.00

Not many serums can stand a chance against this skin savior. It's one of those top-shelf items you cherish until the very last drop because it truly works like a magic trick to reduce redness, calm inflammation, and hydrate the skin. This is a bestseller because it can't be put into a box—it just works. Whether you want to use it as a spot-treatment to erase a pimple overnight or as an all-over hydrator, the choice is yours. 

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This Incredible Serum
Active Serum
Courtesy
iS Clinical dermstore.com
$138.00

Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden examined my acne-prone skin and suggested I start using IS Clinical's active serum asap. One does as Darden says (and the rest of the world, who swears by this product), and in just under two weeks I noticed a prominent difference in my pesky dark spots and less and less surprise breakouts. It's called an "Active Serum" because you can can actively feel it working on your skin. If your skin is super sensitive, I'd recommend easing into this combo of salicylic acid and herbs to see how you react to it. 

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This At-Home Facial in a Bottle
Triple Berry Smoothing Peel
Courtesy
reneerouleau.com
$88.50

Many times, they tell us quick skin fixes don't happen overnight. This miracle worker completely changed my outlook on that, though, because it definitely delivers baby-soft glowing skin in minutes. This at-home exfoliant is made of pure, antioxidant-packed berries that will literally eradicate dullness and bring on a major glow. It's a perfect pre-event treatment to give yourself an at-home facial when you want a renewed radiance that'll last. 

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This Dermatologist-Approved Sunscreen
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Courtesy
La Roche-Posay ulta.com
$36.99

With all of the FDA's regulations and changes to safe sunscreen, it's smart to lean on tried-and-true protectants that are boasted as the very best. This is where La Roche-Posay's Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen comes in. This quick-absorbing, water-resistant, oil-free sunscreen leaves behind an universal tint fit for all skin tones  and uses a cell-ox shield technology to protect skin from overexposure to the sun. 

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This Cream for Darker Tones
Darker Skin Tones Face Cream
Courtesy
Dr. Barbara Sturm sephora.com
$215.00

Meet the moisturizer of my wildest dreams. As a woman of color who is heavily concerned with dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, I take claims to fade dark spots very seriously. This luxury line, complete with skincare products made specifically for darker skin tones, is endorsed by Angela Bassett and Jada Pinkett Smith—both of whom have ageless, unicorn skin. This light-weight consistency has African botanical ingredients and lumicol to stop excess sebum flow, amp up radiance, and even out the complexion. 

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This Lifting Eye Serum
Skin Caviar Eye Lift Serum
Courtesy
LA PRAIRIE nordstrom.com
$485.00

You'd be fibbing if you didn't admit how appealing a non-surgical eye lift sounds when puffy, saggy, and tired-looking eyes are your normal. However, they don't have to be. This dual-phased eye serum features a ton of actives, caviar beads, and a gel-to-cream emulsion to literally lift the eye contour area and give you bright and bushy-tailed eyes—even when you're running on zero hours of sleep, and I'm proof because I tried it.  

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This Praise-Worthy Serum
C E Ferulic
Courtesy
SkinCeuticals dermstore.com
$166.00

If you've ever wanted to work wonders on your skin, you need this do-it-all serum stat. Loved by dermatologists, beauty editors, and aestheticians alike, this powerful potion is no joke when it comes to protecting, brightening, and maintaining a youthful glow to the skin. It's made with a concentrated amount of vitamin C (15-percent, to be exact), along with vitamin E and ferulic acid to keep environmental stressors at bay keep your skin nourished and immune to the BS.  

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This Extra-Hyped Moisturizer
The Rich Cream
Courtesy
Augustinus Bader neimanmarcus.com
$265.00

Skin enthusiasts everywhere have spoken: this moisturizer's hype is real. Its magical powers come with a triple digit price tag for a reason: the formulation was mastered by 30-year skin cell research expert professor Augustinus Bader, who created a trigger factor complex to speed up your skin's cells. The result is an especially rich, whipped texture ideal for reversing dry skin, visibly reducing fine lines and wrinkles, strengthening the skin's moisture barrier, and more. 

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This Beauty Sleep Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper Overnight Facial
Courtesy
Allies of Skin dermstore.com
$120.00

Yes, this little tube of serum is hella expensive, but when it has the ability to clear up acne in under 48 hours (like it did for one of our editors), the price becomes easier to stomach. The formula is filled with gentle pore-clearing and bump-smoothing acids, along with a major dose of hyaluronic acid and caffeine to hydrate, plump fine lines, and reduce puffiness, all at once. Apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin overnight, then wake up with amazing skin in the morning.

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This Rich and Gentle Moisturizer
Tolerance Extreme Cream
Courtesy
Avene dermstore.com
$38.00

Ask me what my favorite beauty product is, and I'll launch into a Shakespearean sonnet about this cream before you can finish the question. But it's not hyperbole—the formula is simple (only seven gentle, non-irritating ingredients that won't break you out) and incredibly moisturizing, making it a holy-grail product for dry, sensitive skin types.

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This Repairing Moisturizer
Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Courtesy
Biossance sephora.com
$52.00

Squalane (not to be confused with squalene, a skincare ingredient derived from sharks that can cause you to break out) is an insanely moisturizing molecule that exists in your own body, but in small quantities. Biossance found a way to derive it from sugarcane, making it pore-friendly, incredibly soothing, and—when mixed with a bunch of probiotics, like in this lightweight gel moisturizer—a total skin-repairing powerhouse.

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This Exfoliating Cleanser
Regenerating Cleanser
Courtesy
Tata Harper amazon.com
$86.00

This all-natural exfoliating cleanser is one of the best of the best, not only in the green community, but in the cleanser community in general. The reason? It has the ability to gently dissolve dead skin cells and gunk, while also clearing pores with a mix of water-soluble oils and enzymes, all of which work together to stave off breakouts. Oh, and did we mention it smells like an ethereal garden of happiness? Yeah, that too.

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This Redness-Reducing Moisturizer
Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30
Courtesy
Dr. Jart+ sephora.com
$19.00

The struggle is real when you have perpetually red, reactive skin, so Dr.Jart+ created a color-correcting treatment that makes your green concealer obsolete. Its main ingredient is tiger grass, an inflammation-soother that restores moisture levels in dry, irritated skin.

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This Skin-Smoothing Treatment
Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment [1 oz (30 ml)]
Courtesy
Sunday Riley dermstore.com
$85.00

Yes, this is expensive, and yes, you're going to have some doubts about shelling out the money, but after approximately one week, your crazy-smooth, soft, and clear skin will have made up for the price a billion times over. This cult-favorite night treatment is 5 percent lactic acid, an AHA that gently exfoliates skin on a cellular level to clear clogged pores, plump fine lines, and fade dark spots and acne scars.

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This Line-Smoothing Essence
Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II sephora.com
$99.00

This pricey toner may seem like it's just nice-smelling water, but the magic is in its main ingredient, Pitera—a yeast derivative rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acid. Researchers at SK-II discovered Pitera after noticing that the hands of sake makers at a brewery in Japan looked startlingly youthful and smooth. Imagine what this essence can do to your face with daily use.

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This Micellar Water
Sensibio H2O Soothing Micellar Cleansing Water
Courtesy
Bioderma amazon.com
$14.99

The gentle-as-water makeup remover that was once only found in European pharmacies is now available at drugstores everywhere. And that's a good thing, because its mild formula manages to calm even the most irritated of skin, without drying it out.

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This Wrinkle-Reducing Moisturizer
Cell Renew Hydro-Plus Overnight Moisturizer
Courtesy
stemologyproducts.com
$75.00

A whole lot of science went into creating this moisturizer, but all you really need to know is that in less than a week, your skin will look and feel plumper, smoother, and shockingly more hydrated, thanks to time-released hyaluronic acids, shea butters, and natural retinols.

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This Softening Bath Oil
Olio Lusso
Courtesy
Rodin nordstrom.com
$136.00

For a beauty splurge that's actually worthwhile, try Linda Rodin's celebrity-loved oil. Add a few drops of the jasmine and neroli formula to your bath to give dry skin a boost of moisture that'll last long after the tub drains.

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This Healing Mask
Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
Courtesy
Fresh nordstrom.com
$92.00

Not only does this creamy, kombucha-infused mask smell like warm tea, but it's also fortified with sake and lychee-seed extract to brighten and soften skin with continual use. 

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