“Hydrating serums are useful because they bring hydration into the skin,” stresses New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Because healing dry skin calls for both humectants and emollients (that draw in moisture and lock in moisture respectively), a good humectant like hyaluronic acid, which holds 1,000 times its weight in water, will draw hydration to the skin to bouncier, glowier effect.
“When the atmosphere is more arid, such as in wintertime, the dry air draws moisture out of our skin… so these barrier products prevent loss of moisture,” explains Nazarian. “Over time, as we age, our skin is less capable of drawing in and locking in moisture—so these skin habits are useful in the short-term seasonally and long-term because as we age, our skin weakens.” Below, some of the best serums for dry skin to help you lock in moisture all season long.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration serum is an ultra-nourishing cocktail comprised of vitamin B5 and fruit ceramides to brighten and heal moisture-depleted skin.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Ampoules
To instantly jolt a weary complexion back to life, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s highly-concentrated, single dose ampoules team long- and short-chain hyaluronic molecules with her signature anti-inflammatory ingredient purslane.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
SkinCeuticals’s sinks-right-in gel serum is a favorite for all skin types with its juicy concentration of hyaluronic acid and a heavy dose of hydrating b5 gel, which plumps the skin for a smoother, dewier complexion.
Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum
To target signs of aging, Kate Somerville’s Quench Hydrating serum is laced with regenerating retinol, firming wheat germ, and skin barrier function-bolstering lipids for a plumper, more luminous skin.
Tatcha The Dewy Serum Resurfacing and Plumping Treatment
The Japanese beauty-inspired brand’s buzzed-about elixir is a milky serum that lifts impurities with lactic acid and quenches skin’s thirst with hyaluronic acid and sugarcane-derived squalane.
TruSkin Hyaluronic Acid
This hyaluronic acid formula has raked in thousands of Amazon review raves not only for its wallet-friendly price tag, but the radiant results it produces with help from antioxidant-rich vitamin c, protective vitamin e, and soothing aloe vera.
Moon Juice Plump Jelly
Moon Juice’s lightweight jelly hydrator teams hyaluronic acid with unique natural ingredients such as free radical-fighting reishi and healing tremella mushroom.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Intense Smoothing Eye Gel
Given that dark circles become that much more notorious during the winter months—a 2011 study found that 82 percent of women believe they have dark circles in the winter versus 38 percent in summer—you can brighten and de-puff the under-eye area with a serum like Chanel’s smoothing Hydra Beauty Intense eye gel, which sinks right in thanks to its patented micro-droplet technology.
La Mer The Hydrating Infused Emulsion
An instant, fast-absorbing dose of hydration, La Mer’s lightweight serum-lotion is spiked with its famed sea kelp-based Miracle Broth to heal and replenish, while fatty acid-packed soy and antioxidant-rich lime tea concentrate work their magic.
innisfree Green Tea Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Innisfree’s best-selling hydrating serum got a fresh update. The newly minted formulation includes different types of hyaluronic acid and a special green tea probiotic complex that hydrates and helps support the skin microbiome.
In the skincare world, there are few sunscreens that reach “legendary” status. Neutrogena and La Roche-Posay are ubiquitous for a reason, but if you’re searching for something that’s earned myriad celebrity stamps of approval, EltaMD’s line of celebrity-favored SPFs can’t be beat.
The brand’s most recent celebrity endorsements come via Brooke Shields, Kendall Jenner, and Hailey Bieber (EltaMD has the range). Shields revealed to Elle in late May that she was diagnosed with actinic keratinosis, which skincancer.org classifies as the most common precancerous diagnosis caused by long-term exposure to UV rays. Scary, and what Shields describes as the result of slacking on sunscreen throughout her youth — something that no longer slides.
“I do use sunscreen now, every day – even in the winter,” she said. “I’m a long-time user of the EltaMD sunscreen line. I always apply in the morning and one time during the day. I even use a thin layer before putting it on my foundation.” That passion is echoed by Jenner, who told Vogue in November that she wears EltaMD’s UV Clear sunscreen everyday, mixed with SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic serum.
Along with accolades from Shields and Jenner, Bieber says she doesn’t leave the house without coating her face in the tinted version of the brand’s SPF.
“It’s an absolute must for me. I know for a fact it’s the biggest anti-aging step I can take at my age right now, so it’s super important,” Bieber explained to Elle in March. “A lot of sunscreens make my skin breakout, and this one has been my holy grail.”
The sunscreen upholds the brand’s good name, according to shoppers, as do the latter — we’d expect nothing less from the dermatologist-developed formulas. The Recovery Serum in particular wins praise for toning down redness and hydrating mature skin with its hyaluronic acid, since shoppers write that their skin “slurps it in.” Soft, smooth skin is left in its wake, a feat that the coordinating Light Moisturizer locks in with moisturizing squalane, panthenol, and vitamin E.
Shoppers say the Skin Recovery Toner, meanwhile, is unparalleled for Swiffering away dead skin without leaving your face dry and tight. Red, “angry-looking” blotches quickly dissipate, the toner calming down sensitive skin with its fragrance and sensitizer-free recipe. It feels like water, one person says, but the hydration lasts to leave your skin feeling fresh, but not coated. In a phrase, made for hot, sticky summer days.
Parisian make-up artist Violette’s top secret for how to apply foundation? Execute it without a trace. “I want people to say, ‘Oh my god, your skin looks amazing!’ not, ‘Your foundation is so great,’” she explains. And while finding the perfect formula is half the battle, once you have it, making like Houdini and ensuring it vanishes into your complexion is just as crucial. Here, three in-demand make-up artists share their fine-tuned tips for how to apply foundation and achieve that ever-elusive, second-skin finish.
Create a glowing canvas
Clean and moisturised skin is a no-brainer, but to really supercharge your glow, begin with a hydrating mask and follow it up with a lymphatic facial massage. When make-up artist Nina Park works with clients such as Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, she begins with a sheet mask specifically targeted to their skin type, with ingredients such as rose to combat oiliness, aloe to treat dryness, and green tea to soothe inflammation. After masking, gently massage your moisturiser into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says make-up artist Kira Nasrat, who helps give Jessica Alba that perpetually luminous complexion.
Prime as needed
To prime or not to prime? It’s an eternal question for amateurs and pros alike. While Violette typically skips the extra base step in the interest of using as little product as possible, when applied correctly, it can prolong foundation for all-day wear. “I use an anti-shine primer for hotspots like the forehead, hairline, sides of nose, and around the mouth, and then a sheer, illuminating one for the tops of the cheekbones,” explains Park, adding that she applies each with her fingertips.
Apply from the centre and move outward
Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favourites. “Start in the centre of the face, on the apples of the cheeks, and slowly blend out,” she instructs, adding that another key part of the face is the area around the mouth, which is prone to yellow undertones and shadows. To ensure the foundation looks as natural as possible, Violette often skips the bridge of the nose — letting freckles show through for those who have them — and the corners of the nostrils, so the pigment doesn’t cling to dry patches.
Don’t paint, buff
No matter what tool you’re using — a foundation brush, a BeautyBlender, or your fingers — buff (or bounce, if you’re using a sponge) the foundation into your skin as opposed to “painting” it on to build coverage smoothly and avoid streakiness, says Park.
Strobe wherever the sun hits
For dimension, blend highlighter onto the high planes of the face that catch light naturally, such as the cheekbones, temples, and Cupid’s bow. “I’m not a fan of powder highlighters because it looks a bit fake to me,” says Violette. “Creamy balm textures will give you a dewiness as if you’re not wearing any products.”
Blot, then set
First, soak up excess oil with blotting papers. Then, look to a featherweight translucent powder to seal in foundation and prevent unwanted sheen. “Use a brush to apply it very lightly and only to the areas that get the most shiny,” says Nasrat, adding that the leftover lustre is what will really drive home that second-skin guise. Silky smooth and even-toned, with just the right amount of lit-from-within dewiness, that’s how you execute believably perfect skin.
“I have always been super into skincare,” Zoë Kravitz says on a recent summer afternoon. Today, the High Fidelity actress is finally revealing the secrets behind her signature lit-from-within complexion, from what she puts on her skin to what she puts into her body. Beginning with a pumpkin lactic cleanser – “it smells like Christmas!” she quips – Kravitz’s routine includes just a handful of carefully selected skincare saviours, including a light serum from Retrouvé, the French pharmacy favourite Caudalie mist, and Isun’s SPF 27 Sun Butter – many of which she has shared with her mother, Lisa Bonet. “My mom and I are constantly sending each other things that we like,” says the 32-year-old, who notes that she also embarks on a 30-day Dr Schulze detoxifying cleanse with Bonet every year. “I really think wellness starts with diet, exercise, [and] hydration,” she says. “I think it’s all about balance, right? I think it’s about joy and happiness and laughter. I really think that affects how you look and feel. Then, you don’t have to use make-up to cover yourself up; you can use it to highlight.”
With her face adequately moisturised, Kravitz goes on to reach for only nine make-up products, all of which leave an almost entirely imperceptible finish. “It’s fun that no one can tell you’re wearing something on your eyes or on your face,” she muses, after perfecting her complexion not with foundation but rather with light strokes of Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat concealer. “It’s like a little trick!” Here are her own above-the-neck sleights of hand: First, she dots a thin-tipped black pencil on just the outer corner of her lids, blending the mark outward and upward with her pinky finger for an opening effect. She then pats a bronze Nudestix pigment onto her cheeks and lids for a touch of believable colour. Finally, with a pink-toned Marc Jacobs crayon in hand, she softly lines her lips, paying extra attention to the centre of her mouth for peak poutiness. “There are different kinds of make-up, and everyone finds their own style, but I do like to try to encourage people to enhance the things that you love and not try to change your face completely,” she explains of her go-to approach. After all, as she puts it, “Everyone is so pretty in their own way.”
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, right now my soul is looking tired, lined, puffy, and a little distressed. Along with genetics, it seems like everything can affect that sensitive under-eye area in some way. Too little sleep, stress, wine (oops), or excess time spent in front of a screen can all contribute to your under-eyes looking a bit worse for wear. Selfie-worthy eye treatments can help when you’re feeling like a lost cause, but what about eye creams? To answer our burning questions–like, “Do they even work?”–ELLE turned to dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal, for insight.
WHY IS EYE CREAM SO POPULAR?
“Eye creams have become popular in the past two years because our eyes are the only things people see due to masking,” says Dr. Lal. “I have had a five-fold increase in people asking for eyelid rejuvenation treatments and eye creams.“
DO EYE CREAMS WORK?
“I believe eye cream is necessary in a skincare routine because the eye sockets and eye skin change dramatically as we age,” says Dr. Lal. “The issue with eye creams is people think they work quickly when in reality the creams should be used for at least 12 weeks before making any judgment about their effectiveness. I make patients take selfies at baseline and after 12 weeks of daily use to compare.” If after 12 weeks you’re still not seeing a huge improvement, you might prefer to opt for an in-office treatment. “Eye rejuvenation includes procedures such as platelet-rich plasma to improve crepey skin, tear trough filler for hollow under-eyes, vascular laser treatment for darkness from blood vessels, or ablative resurfacing for overall skin laxity.”
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE GOOD TO LOOK FOR IN AN EYE CREAM?
“Most people want to get rid of dark circles and crepey skin,” says Dr. Lal. “I love eye products that have arnica in them, which helps with darkness and pigmentation from fragile under-eye blood vessels. I also love products that have peptides that stimulate collagen production. One of my favorite peptides in argireline, because it tightens the skin similar to how Botox works.”
WHAT INGREDIENTS SHOULD YOU AVOID IN AN EYE CREAM?
“I avoid eye creams that have a lot of fragrance because eyelid skin is very thin—one of the thinnest parts of our body—and this can lead to irritation, which can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Lal.
Sleepless nights might be the cause of your under-eye crinkling. If so, this product taps retinol to combat those lines. Over time, your eye area will start looking brighter, with more even skin tone, and fewer crow’s feet.
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
Our eyes go through a lot, which is why they need a little bit of extra protection and nourishment. with a combination of moisture building and sealing hyaluronic acid and ceramides, this eye cream forms a barrier that will help minimize the effect of stress and reduce and prevent puffiness.
Naturium Multi-Peptide Eye Cream
With the help of argireline and squalane, Naturium’s treatment visibly tightens the skin around your eyes, while also delivering plenty of hydration and nourishment. You’ll look so refreshed and awake that people will think you actually sleep eight hours every night.
Clarins Total Eye Lift Eye Cream
No need to book that appointment with your friendly plastic surgeon. This eye cream works double-time to eliminate signs of aging like crow’s feet and other fine lines. Plus, it works fast. In just one application, you’ll notice a definitive difference in your eye’s contour.
Strivectin Advanced Retinol Eye Cream
Odds are you’re already aware of using retinol on your face, but this product uses the ingredient to specifically target many of the same skin concerns around your eyes more gently. In addition to reducing fine lines, the cream also plumps and hydrates for a firmer appearance.
Shani Darden Intensive Eye Renewal Cream
Using peptides, ceramides, squalane, and niacinamide, this product works to reduce dark circles. Plus, it also fights against puffiness and imparts crucial hydration to the under-eyes.
Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
The trick to looking younger, for longer? Intense hydration. This eye cream uses squalane and soothing marine algae to make the under-eyes look smooth and radiant by diminishing dark circles and puffiness. Over time, the treatment can also help fade fine lines.
Ole Henricksen Banana Bright Eye Crème
The skin under our eyes can start looking dull when they’re not properly cared for, emphasizing dark circles and puffiness. This brightening cream uses collagen and vitamin C to help your eyes look younger, brighter, and more contoured.
Clinique All About Eyes Rich
Nothing says “I haven’t slept” more than puffy under-eyes. This cream helps reverse that look to well-rested—even if you spent the night drinking wine instead of sleeping. Plus, it’s also a great primer for under-eye concealer to prevent creasing while covering dark circles.
Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Brightening Eye Cream
As the name suggests, peptides and vitamin C in this eye cream promise to brighten and firm the under-eyes, alleviating dark circles and hyperpigmentation. For people with sensitive skin, the formula is also fragrance-free.
ELF Holy Hydration! Illuminating Eye Cream
If your under-eyes desperately need some soothing hydration, this eye cream brings all that and more. Using hyaluronic acid, peptides, shea butter, and green tea extract, eyes will feel completely rejuvenated like a day at the spa.
Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Cream
You need coffee to look like a functioning adult in the morning, but why leave your eyes out of the fun? This eye cream uses caffeine, shea butter, and natural extracts to brighten and de-puff your sleepy under-eyes.
For all the follows and likes Pat McGrath generates around her make-up artistry every season (Julia Fox’s internet-breaking black eyeliner didn’t just happen), it’s the skin quality she has pioneered over the course of her storied career that is perhaps her biggest calling card. Hydrated, but not oily; smooth, but realistic, with a make-up-priming moisture quality that is “lightweight yet nourishing,” McGrath explains. Much like she developed a seven-step lipstick technique to achieve the ultimate in petal-soft pigment, McGrath has been cocktailing her own skincare formula for her entire career, layering simple creams spiked with rose water to create a quick-penetrating emulsion. And just as that signature make-up technique became Pat McGrath Labs’ best-selling MatteTrance Lipstick, her patented skin prep has finally been bottled.
Called Divine Skin Rose 001 and formulated by a Korean lab, the milky liquid that will launch on patmcgrath.com on 29 April closely resembles a blendable essence, formulated with 92 percent naturally derived ingredients; shake it up, and a ceramide-boosted oil phase combines with an antioxidant-spiked rose water phase to create McGrath’s replenished, rebalanced glow.
“The truth is I’ve been working on skin care as long as I have been working in make-up,” admits McGrath, who has tweaked her formula not in focus groups but on supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, who stars in the campaign for the rose-tinted glass bottle. “I wouldn’t use anything else,” says Campbell — which is high praise considering Campbell is serious about her skincare, specifically her hydration. “You never want your skin to look dried out. It’s not attractive. It’s unbecoming,” she says. Here, Campbell reveals how she’s been using the uniquely textured essence, and why after all these years in the business, good sleep might be the real secret to good skin.
As someone who has been on countless sets with Pat and at countless shows with Pat, what is her point of difference when it comes to skin finish?
When you work with Pat, before you she puts make-up on you, she really massages your skin — she loves glowy, dewy skin. So your make-up goes on smoother, everything just rolls. That’s her secret: that the skin still looks like skin and you see you and that’s important, I feel. That’s what I love about her; she never makes me matte. When you’re too matte you lose the whole person. Your make-up becomes like a mask. Pat’s make-up never looks like that.
As a McGrath Muse and, perhaps even more importantly, a Pat McGrath confidant, were you at all a part of tweaking early incarnations of her first skin-care product?
She’s been trying this out on me for a while now so I’ve had a bit of a head start in using it in my skin regime. We were actually using it last year when we were doing the Divine Rose make-up launch, but I couldn’t talk about it then, so I’m so excited that I can say all of this now. The cat’s outta the bag! In the beginning, she would ask me things like, “How does it feel? How long did it stay on?” But it’s really always been so easy — and it goes on the skin, but it also goes in the skin.
It just makes everything glowy and plump, which is important for me because I’m on set all the time, and I’m in front of lights, and I’m on planes, and my skin dries out and it gets really dehydrated no matter how much water I drink. Drink water, drink water. I never drink enough. My test is really traveling, though — how often do I need to reapply something on the plane so my skin feels hydrated. I usually sleep straight through flights and with this, I’d wake up and still have the shine.
It is not an exaggeration to say that your skin is, in fact, divine. Drop the routine!
It’s about clean for me. I cleanse in the morning and I cleanse at night. You’ve got to get the make-up off! And I need products that help make my skin look good without make-up, because I don’t wear make-up when I’m not working. I just put little bits where I want to cover blemishes so my skin can breathe. My next step is usually a serum, and sometimes I use the Essence first, before my serum, and sometimes I mix it with my serum and put it on together. You can top it off with a cream if you like, but in the summertime you don’t need to. The Essence is enough.
I watched anamazing clip on your YouTube channelabout some of your pre-runwaybody prep including an incredible lymphatic drainage massage. Are there any treatments that you regularly engage in for your face in tandem with good skin care?
I try to do my facials — you need to if you’re travelling, or you’re in the sun a lot. I don’t wear a lot of sunblock on my skin because I break out from sunblock. So I like people to extract because you have to clean out your pores sometimes! And I do microneedling every once in a while, too.
These days, so much of good skin care comes down to good self-care. How do you prioritise yourself with such a busy work schedule — and a newborn at home! — not just physically but mentally and spiritually?
The water thing is huge for me, and I’m always, like, how can I make water fun? Growing up I wasn’t really raised on soda so we always had cordials that we mixed with water, and that’s what I still drink. And I try to eat the right food and take the right vitamins — vitamin D, vitamin C, B, zinc, fish oils. Good skin is so much about what you eat, too. And sleep! I try to get as much sleep as possible even though I have a young one now. When I was younger I really didn’t need that much sleep, but now I like my sleep. It kickstarts things and helps me be enthusiastic about the day ahead.
When it comes to skincare heavy hitters, retinol is often the first and last thing out of savvy shoppers’ mouths. In a world where marketing lingo runs rampant and the majority of products are hit or miss, it’s reassuring to know that retinol, at least, has reversed signs of aging for decades. From there, the decision comes to which over-the-counter retinol cream is best, and French brand Avène’s found the sweet spot.
As a successor to the brand’s beloved RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream, Avène one-upped itself with the RetrinAL Advanced Wrinkle Corrector. The former excels as an anti-aging moisturizer that smoothes skin with added vitamin E and peptides, while the latter is a targeted treatment you dab anywhere you’d like skin to look significantly more plump and firm.
According to dozens of elated reviews, abracadabra, the Corrector grants that wish. Two weeks sees fine lines start to disappear, shoppers’ “deep nasolabial folds” receding in a “face altering” feat. “I saw results right away! I used this on certain parts of my face and put another retinol on the other parts to test its effectiveness, and by far this blew my other retinol out of the water,” a reviewer writes of the Corrector’s effects.
Others say the formula’s diminished deep wrinkles around their mouth and forehead so much they’re now looking for other places to put the cream, an accomplishment if we’ve ever heard one. Even 54-year-olds with “deep lines between [their] eyebrows” say a couple nights of the treatment has made an enormous difference — so, to get the science behind exactly how the Corrector puts other treatments to shame, InStyle asked Sheila Farhang, board-certified dermatologist and YouTube creator, for her thoughts on the ingredients.
“Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives, and are considered one of the ‘gold standard’ ingredients for anti-aging,” Farhang says. “They increase cell turnover, thereby increasing collagen stimulation to help with fine lines and discoloration. Retinoids also ‘de-plug’ clogged pores, which is why it’s commonly used for acne as well.” Speaking to the Avène formula specifically, she notes that it uses retinaldehyde, which is the most potent over-the-counter retinoid — so if you’ve tried other retinol creams and haven’t seen a big difference, it would be your best next step.
The stronger the retinoid, the higher the risk for redness, flaking, and irritation, so Farhang says you should always take it slow if it’s your first dance with the ingredient. Thankfully, Avène anticipated the potential sensitivity and added hyaluronic acid and thermal spring water, which she notes calm skin for “a win-win situation.”
Fellow dermatologist and YouTube creator Dr. Alexis Stephens agrees with Farhang, writing that the addition of algae-derived collactintm also helps skin look younger and more radiant. “The beauty of this formulation is that the powerful retinaldehyde is alongside Avene’s thermal spring water, which is clinically proven to smooth, soften and calm the skin,” Stephens says of the safe-for-sensitive-skin treatment. “I recommend this product so often, I carry it at my private practice for my patients.”
All of the above makes for a trauma-free experience, even for 49-year-old shoppers with “hyper-sensitive” skin. “Almost EVERYTHING gives me a bad reaction and/or breaks me out. Two and a half weeks in, and [I’m] seeing reduced neck wrinkles and pores shrunk to almost unnoticeable. I’m impressed.” As the French would say, voilà; in American English, whoomp!