Although some people are using these stay-at-home days to give their skin a break from foundation, others are using this time at home as an excuse to test new base makeup. If you’re wondering what people are loving in the matte foundation category, lucky for you, there’s quite a range of picks to share. These oil-free base products are often assumed to be drying or face-flattening, but that’s not always the case — especially if you pick the right matte foundation formula.
According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, it’s the silica powder in the oil-free formulas in matte foundations that makes them dry down with zero shine or dew. “Silica powder helps to absorb oil and is often used in foundation ingredient lists to give a matte appearance,” she says. “Some brands also use clay as a way to keep skin looking matte.”
Knowing that, matte foundations may be the way to go because many of them are also transfer-proof, meaning the product won’t smudge onto your mask. Plenty of non-dewy base products deliver a flawless finish, stave off shine all day, and disguise blemishes.
New York City-based makeup artist Tommy loves to use a matte base on anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. “I always pull for a matte foundation when working on a client that wants to cover any blemishes,” he says. “I’ll apply small amounts at a time to the face to ensure nothing dries down before I blend it out with a large kabuki brush. If I need more — I add as I go.”
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
This liquid foundation is an anti-shine person’s dream. The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation comes in 56 shades and creates an even skin tone if you’re trying to cover up blemishes. Keep in mind, it’s full coverage, so if that’s not your jam, you can use it as a spot cover-up because it’s also great for that.
$42 (Shop Now)
NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation
The NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation is a great pick if you want a matte finish but sheerer coverage. “This hydrating formula has a way of just appearing like real skin, just better,” says Tommy. I believe that the hydrating hyaluronic acid in its formula explains why. Just one drop is enough to cover your entire face with whatever application tool your heart desires.
$40 (Shop Now)
UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation
Yes, UOMA Beauty’s Say What?! Foundation is matte, but it’s spiked with hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated throughout the day. Its creamy texture is a medium-coverage finish in 51 shades — no wonder it has received a Best of Beauty Award.
$39 (Shop Now)
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation
The NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation is oil-free, so have no fear of it clogging your pores. Its hydrating, water-based formula is packed inside a squeezy tube, making it a mess-free dream and allowing you to get every last drop of it.
$8 (Shop Now)
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation
The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is a great pick because it’s affordable, and the coverage is incredible. Apply a pea-sized amount to your forehead, cheeks, and chin, and buff it out with your favorite sponge, brush, or even your fingers. You’ll have a smooth, even base in no time.
$13 (Shop Now)
Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen
“The Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation is a great splurge because it gives you an even base with its luxurious texture,” says makeup artist Nam Vo. The luxe liquid is infused with SPF 20 and illuminates skin while keeping it shine-free in all the right places.
$130 (Shop Now)
Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation
If you have oily skin, this one’s for you. The Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation provides a soft, velvety finish for an ultra-smooth base. It also has oil-absorbing powders in it to keep you completely matte for a full day of Zoom meetings.
$38 (Shop Now)
CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation
The CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation is the perfect base to wear under your mask. It’s comfortable, soft on the skin, and it’s so full coverage you may want to even skip concealer. Plus, it won’t leave foundation marks on your mask.
$12 (Shop Now)
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
When Rihanna dropped the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation it paved a way for beauty brands to become more shade inclusive. It also has an insanely good formula that’s never cakey and doesn’t let any shine come through. Tommy suggests applying this formula in dots around the face a blending it out with your favorite foundation brush.
$35 (Shop Now)
HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation
The HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation is commerce writer Angela Trakoshis’s favorite foundation ever. “With just one pump, this thick foundation does exactly what its name reads: creates a filter for your face,” she says. It’s matte, it’s lightweight, and those dark spots you want to conceal? They disappear with just one layer of this stuff.
$40 (Shop Now)
Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Foundation
The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation is an oil-free formula that keeps your skin looking crease-free all day long. It’s also buildable, so layer it up with your favorite beauty sponge for a more full-coverage effect.
$31 (Shop Now)
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide24 Hydrating Moisturizer
For plump skin, try Olay’s Collagen Peptide24 Moisturizer. Its lightweight formula has vitamin B3 to brighten your complexion and collagen-boosting peptides to firm skin and diminish fine lines. When the two work together, you’re looking at a hydrated, smooth complexion.
Yes to Avocado Hand Cream
If there’s anything 2020 taught us, it’s that we need to wash our hands all the time. With hand-washing comes dry skin and the Yes to Avocado Hand Cream will fix those dehydrated, cracked hands right up. The avocado-based formula replenishes skin, and hyaluronic acid will maintain hydration.
Mario Badescu Caffeine Eye Cream
If you didn’t get enough sleep, that’s OK because Mario Badescu’s Caffeine Eye Cream will make you look like you got a full night’s rest. The moisturizer in this tub is filled with caffeine for brightness, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and jojoba oil to help treat dryness.
Dermalogica Neck Fit Contour Serum
Dermalogica’s Neck Fit Contour Serum is filled with firming ingredients to give you a tight, line-free neck. The list includes rye seed extract, which smooths skin, and resurrection plant to strengthen the area. It’s applied with the built-in roller bar that also gives a cooling effect.
Clinique Smart Night Clinical MD Multi-Dimensional Repair Treatment Retinol
The Clinique Smart Night Clinical MD Multi-Dimensional Repair Treatment Retinol flattens out fine lines with the power of retinol. Plus, it also has hyaluronic acid and squalane to give you a boost of hydration while you sleep.
Simple Instant Glow Cleansing Wipes
The new Simple Instant Glow Cleansing Wipes do way more than flawlessly take off stubborn makeup. Each cloth is made with niacinamide to brighten skin and glycerin to moisturize. So once your skin is clean, it’s also glowing.
$5 for 25 wipes (Shop)
The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment
Meet the Inkey List’s first spot treatment: Succinic Acid Acne. This magical little tube is loaded with succinic acid, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps to reduce oil levels in your skin, as well as salicylic acid to exfoliate, sulfur powder to unclog pores, and hyaluronic acid to ensure skin stays hydrated.
L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t bronze up your complexion. The L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops give fairer skin tones a subtle glow when you mix five drops of this serum made with dihydroxyacetone (a sugar that when mixed with proteins on your skin makes it tan) and hydrating hyaluronic acid with your favorite moisturizer.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray
Your skin’s about to be drunk in love with Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray. It’s a cocktail of coconut water, vitamin F, and sake extract to calm redness and hydrate the skin. Use it as a step in your skincare routine after cleansing or as a refresher during the day.
Holifrog Halo AHA + BHA Evening Serum
The blend of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids in the HoliFrog Halo AHA + BHA Evening Serum is going to give you clearer skin once you start using it for a few weeks. Not to mention, this formula is packed with moisturizing oils like that of rosehip and prickly pear, so no need to worry about all of those acids drying your skin out.
Nothing has impressed me until I tried the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Sheet Mask. It has the same hydrogel material I loved about prestige brands I’ve tried prior, which is thicker than traditional paper sheet masks, adheres better to my skin, and resists drying out so that you get more serum out of it (a hyaluronic acid-based serum, in this case).
Shop now: $3; walmart.com
I find that this gel-like mask really helps to seal in moisture better than others I’ve used, providing a barrier between my skin and the environment and allowing the serum to deeply penetrate. After using it, my skin is soft, smooth, and glowing — even in the dead of winter, when it’s at its most dry.
Maybe my favorite part, though, is the sheet mask’s design. It comes in two separate pieces, one for the top half of the face and one for the bottom. Speaking as someone with a small face, the two-part design helps adjust the mask to fit my face better than traditional single-piece masks. With a mask that fits, it can deliver hydration where I actually need it — not in my hairline or over my eyelids.
In addition to the sheet mask, you’re also getting a little extra serum left over in the packaging. There’s usually enough left to squeeze into a bottle, which I use on days I’m not masking. It works just as well as other hydrating serums I’ve tried, and it’s essentially an entirely new product that comes free with the purchase of the mask.
I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with the mask’s skin-quenching powers. Brand ambassador Jennifer Garner loves it so much, she has everyone in her house giving it a try. And Walmart shoppers who’ve reviewed it say that it’s among the best sheet masks they’ve tried, soothing everything from dry skin to eczema to sunburns. One reviewer said that after using the mask once, they immediately ordered 10 more. With Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Sheet Mask, available for just $3 at Walmart, you’ll never feel guilty about a weekly skincare treat again.
If you add one thing to your skincare routine this season, make it a high-quality oil.
It wasn’t so long ago that “oil” was a dirty word in skincare. The only time you’d see it on a label was when paired with the phrases “-free” or “-reducing.” Thankfully, conventional wisdom has reversed course to be inclusive of the millennia-old practice of treating skin ailments with nourishing oils.
With the season change upon us, there’s no better time than the present to supercharge your routine with a hydrating, oil-balancing, or anti-aging oil. Dermatologists tested countless oils and rounded up the best options for every concern and skin type, from brands like Sunday Riley, Tata Harper, Vintner’s Daughter, and more.
These are the best oils to buy for every need:
- Best for Glowing Skin: Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil
- Best for Wrinkles: Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil
- Best for Acne: Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
- Best for Extremely Dry Skin: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
- Best for Dehydrated Skin: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
- Best for Oily Skin: Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Balancing Oil
- Best for Combination Skin: Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil
- Best With Makeup: Costa Brazil Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil
- Best Drugstore: Milani Prep+Sooth Camellia Face Oil
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil
- Best for Scars: Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
- Best for Firming: Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil
- Best for Rosacea: Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil
- Best Multi-Use: NOTO Botanics Rooted Body + Hair Oil
- Best for Travel: F. Miller Necessity Kit
- Best for Cleansing: Glossier Milky Oil
Keep scrolling to find out why each of these oils made best in class.
Best for Glowing Skin: Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil
The secret to glowing skin is actually quite simple: It’s vitamin C. The powerful antioxidant fades pigmentation and lends an overall brightness to your complexion. This lightweight oil by Sunday Riley is chock-full of the stuff, in the form of THD ascorbate, a shelf-stable variety. Turmeric extract also imparts a warm radiance to the skin.
Shop now: $40; sephora.com
Best for Wrinkles: Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil
This luxurious, all-natural facial oil by Tata Harper is formulated with rosehip oil-derived retinol, one of the best-researched, most-proven anti-aging ingredients. This oil’s keystone ingredient, plus a cocktail of other antioxidants, will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and plump out fine lines while fighting free radicals and slowing signs of premature aging.
Shop now: $132; nordstrom.com
Best for Acne: Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
This non-greasy oil is a great choice for those with congested skin or clogged pores. A rich blend of carrier plant oils contains benzyl salicylate, a form of salicylic acid, an oil-soluble exfoliant that breaks down acne-causing bacteria. Those sensitive to smells should be forewarned: Effective though this product may be, it’s on the pungent side.
Shop now: $57; nordstrom.com
Best for Extremely Dry Skin: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Whether you naturally suffer from dry skin or you’re gearing up for a long season of moisture-sapping winter air, this rich cult-loved oil from Vintner’s Daughter is the bottle you need on your vanity. A plush blend of 22 active ingredients found in natural oils like grapeseed, hazelnut, and bergamot peel work together to relieve tight, cracked, and thirsty skin.
Shop now: $185; net-a-porter.com
Best for Dehydrated Skin: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
Dehydrated skin is first and foremost in need of hydration, then moisture. Prep your skin barrier with a watery toner like Indie Lee’s restorative CoQ-10 Toner, and then follow up with a non-irritating squalane oil from the same brand.
Shop now: $34; sephora.com
Best for Oily Skin: Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Balancing Oil
Though using an oil to manage oil production may seem counterintuitive, sometimes it’s exactly what sebaceous skin types need the most. This elegant blend by Biossance puts squalane — a lightweight, fast-drying olive-derived oil — at the core of its formula, which will help manage shine. The oil also includes tea tree oil, an astringent and anti-inflammatory agent.
Shop now: $49; sephora.com
Best for Combination Skin: Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil
A newcomer to the scene, this emergent face oil by a former creative director is destined to be one of the most beautiful items on your shelf. But more than just a pretty face, Cosmic Glow Oil achieves the unachievable with a formula that is at once moisturizing and oil-balancing. The luxurious, pleasantly fragrant blend penetrates quickly, making it a great option for combination skin and daytime use.
Shop now: $108; credobeauty.com
Best With Makeup: Costa Brazil Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil
Skincare freshman Costa Brazil isn’t playing around when it comes to moisture. With ingredients sustainably sourced from the Amazon Rainforest like Tucuma, Brazil Nut and Pataua extracts, the brand’s signature product, Kaya, takes on the aging process as naturally as it does powerfully. Better yet, this satin oil pairs excellently with makeup, and can even be mixed directly in with your foundation.
Shop now: $125; net-a-porter.com
Best Drugstore: Milani Prep+Soothe Camellia Face Oil
If you’re in between bottles, need a substitute while traveling, or just prefer to buy cosmetics while stocking up on other vanity essentials, this oil by Milani is a great, affordable drugstore choice. A blend of grapeseed, camellia seed, moringa seed, and six other oils, plus anti-aging ingredients like tocopherol, add up to make this weightless blend with a satin finish. The quick-drying formula makes this product appropriate to wear comfortably beneath makeup.
Shop now: $9 (Originally $14); amazon.com
Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil
A general rule of thumb for sensitive skin is to use products with as few ingredients as possible — that way, you’re eliminating the number of triggers that may disagree with your skin. This best-selling oil from Drunk Elephant uses just one ingredient: high-quality virgin marula oil. This single-origin oil delivers omegas 6 and 9, and is absorbed quickly.
Shop now: $40; sephora.com
Best for Scars: Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
If you’ve heard of Bio-Oil before, it was likely in a Kardashian kontext — Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney have all at one point or another extolled the virtues of this vaguely medicinal-looking bottle of skin oil. Anecdotally, reviewers tend to agree with the assessment of this product as a valid mechanism for fading scars.
Shop now: $15 (Originally $19); amazon.com
Best for Firming: Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil
This elegant blend from Herbivore calls upon floral oils to fight signs of aging. Orchid extract hydrates skin, while camellia flower oil and jasmine sambac oil increase elasticity. The blend’s bouquet of botanical garden-worthy ingredients makes for an oil that’s as naturally fragrant as it is skin-strengthening.
Shop now: $64; nordstrom.com
Best for Rosacea: Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is a solid choice for those with rosacea, and is even recommended by the Rosacea Foundation. The carrier oil contains anti-inflammatory agent myristic acid, which can reduce redness. This 100 percent pure jojoba has over 3,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and is Amazon’s choice for “jojoba oil.”
Shop now: $10; amazon.com
Best Multi-Use: NOTO Botanics Rooted Body + Hair Oil
For the multi-tasking minimalist, we can’t recommend this versatile, all-natural oil from breakout brand NOTO enough. With palo santo wood oil as its hero ingredient, this face, body, and hair oil will re-energize your cells and soothe your mood at the same time.
Shop now: $55; needsupply.com
Best for Travel: F. Miller Necessity Kit
When you’re on the go, it’s most comfortable to pair down your routine to just the essentials, and finding a good oil will help you on your way. This three-piece kit from F.Miller includes a face oil, body oil, and moisturizing lip balm, each with just a handful of ingredients (that you can actually pronounce). Take this set in its included canvas satchel with you on the plane and reapply generously. By the time you land, your face will be glowing, and your lips and hands will feel totally nourished.
Shop now: $50 (Originally $72); needsupply.com
Best for Cleansing: Glossier Milky Oil
More of a micellar water than a conventional oil, this syrupy product harnesses the power of ingredients like castor oil as a cleanser. The suspension uses droplets of oil within a watery solution to attract grime away from the skin. Pair that with nourishing vitamins deposited on the skin, and you’ve got a gentle yet hardworking formula that’s nothing like conventional cleansers. Follow up with Glossier’s Milky Jelly for best results.
Shop now: $12; glossier.com
It’s infused with rosehip and jojoba oils for maximum hydration.
If dry skin has ever kept you from wearing makeup, skincare CEO Charlotte Parler promises you’ll meet your match with the Kosas Color & Light Cream Palette.
“It’s probably my favorite cosmetic product right now,” said Parler, the founder of Dieux Skin, in a recent viral TikTok. “If you have dry skin, this highlighter and cream blush duo is going to make you look dewy.”
Kosas clearly had dry skin in mind when creating this palette, which is formulated with apricot kernel, rosehip, and jojoba seed oils to soothe and brighten skin. The blend of oils also makes for an incredibly blendable product, and the infused pigments are buildable and offer major staying power. To seal the deal, the blush and highlighter are cruelty-free and boast a shelf life of a whopping 18 months.
The Color & Light palette is available in four complementary color combinations, all of which are also sold in a high-intensity variation containing double the pigment. And these shades have range — shoppers can choose from the peach and cream Velvet Melon, the cool pinks of 8th Muse, the burnt orange and mauve in Helios, and the vibrant bronze hues of the Tropic Equinox duo.
More than 300 shoppers have supported Parler’s claims about this palette in the form of a five-star review on Kosas’ website. “During the winter when my skin is naturally drier, this allows me to keep my skin hydrated while having a dewy looking glow,” one customer wrote. “It’s exactly what I was looking for!”
“I love the glow this gives on my dry skin,” said another. “I find myself grabbing it almost daily.”
The Kosas Color & Light Cream Palette can be yours for $34, which isn’t so bad when you consider that it contains two high-quality formulations in a single pan. Plus, if you sign up for the brand’s mailing list, you’ll receive 10% off your first order. No matter your skin tone or texture, it’s a foolproof path to a hydrated flush during the driest season of the year.
Almost 1.6 million jars of the moisturizer sell each year.
If you came up with a Venn diagram of popular beauty brands and those doing good things for society, the overlap wouldn’t be huge. The number’s growing, but it’s tough to find a brand that commits to donating more than, say, one percent of profits to a cause — and when they do, it’s often from a single specialized product or sale, not their overall bottom line. This year, skincare brand First Aid Beauty effectively said screw that, and made good on its burgeoning popularity by saving 24 people from crushing student loan debt.
If you’re not familiar with the brand, you’ve been missing out on one of Amazon, Sephora, and Ulta’s perennial best-sellers. According to First Aid Beauty, more than 1,575,000 jars of the brand’s Ultra Repair Cream are sold each year, which equals one every 20 seconds — and if you take a look at the moisturizer’s reviews and its ranking as one of Amazon’s best-selling body creams, it’s easy to see why.
One Amazon shopper wrote that the cream saved their skin after a move to Colorado, where the lack of humidity left them “breaking out like a teenager.” After incorporating the Ultra Repair Cream into their routine, they say their skin is the healthiest and clearest it’s ever been. Others agree that the cream is “by far one of the best moisturizers” they’ve ever used, and more call it a “miracle cream” that soothes spots expensive creams, serums, exfoliants, and steroid creams can’t touch. It’s incredibly effective for eczema in particular, 158 reviewers say, and for allergic reactions like those from face masks.
Shop now: $14; amazon.com
Seeing First Aid Beauty reinvest money in its customers is the best kind of payback. This past February the brand announced its commitment to paying off $1 million of student loan debts through its FAB AID initiative, with 10 percent of proceeds from a special edition FAB AID Ultra Repair Cream added on top of that million dollar contribution. Last week, the brand announced its 24 winners, and that it’d be wiping out almost $1.3 million in student loans.
The reactions alone are enough to make your skin glow. One recipient with $91,765 paid off said, “You have no idea how much this means to me. I feel like I just lost this weight that I’ve been carrying for so long,” while another person with $17,680 paid off said the freedom is going to launch her further on her “calling” to become a nurse and advocate for the Hispanic community.
The combination of an excellent product with a fantastic cause is unbeatable — it feels like the skincare equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate. First Aid Beauty is continuing the program into 2021, and expanding eligibility to include residents of the US and Canada who have or will graduate from an undergraduate program from January 2011 to August 2021. There’s no purchase necessary to enter, but if you’re looking for a winter “miracle balm” that leaves aggravated skin silky and baby soft, on top of funding a good cause — look no further.
With the weather constantly fluctuating from mild to freezing and the air getting increasingly drier, my skin has been in major crisis mode. My hands, in particular, have been next-level dry.
A miracle moisturizer known as Eau Thermale Avène’s Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream came into my life, and it made a massive difference in my skin in just a few days.
To be totally honest, I’m not sure how this is the first time I’m trying the French pharmacy brand’s heavy-duty moisturizer — especially considering Allure named it one of the best products for relieving dryness and itchiness from eczema this year.
In regards to how, well, it’s likely the combination of the brand’s famous thermal spring water (known for its hydrating and soothing properties) and what’s called “C+ Restoretm,” which is a postbiotic ingredient that works to repair and preserve the skin barrier. As if that wasn’t enough, it also contains moisturizing beeswax, hydrating glycerin, and a copper-zinc sulfate complex that helps support a healthy skin environment.
After slathering on the thick white cream several times a day for the first few days, I started to notice a major improvement in my hands. The redness faded, the itchiness subsided, and the painful cracks began to close and heal. By the third day, my hands looked (and felt) almost as good as new. Since then, I’ve been using the rich formula anywhere that my skin needs some extra TLC – such as on my feet, and on my neck and undereyes where the skin is thinner.
I really can’t recommend this moisturizer enough to anyone suffering from aggressively dry skin this season — or any time of year, for that matter. You can shop it now for $28 on dermstore.com.
Toners are an important part of the skin-care equation, especially if your end goal is dewy, luminous skin. However, a lot of people still don’t know what exactly toners are or what they do. Board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby explains that a toner is designed to help remove the debris your cleanser might have missed and to prep your skin for the next step in your routine. “I think of them more as an adjunct or add-on to your skin-care routine,” Libby tells Allure.
Toners of the past were known for their astringent properties, which often dried skin out. Today, however, toner formulations have been improved to target an array of skin concerns, such as the loss of collagen or excess oiliness that can lead to breakouts — all made with varying ingredients, depending on your skin-care goals.
Board-certified dermatologist Sapna Palep tells Allure toners that hydrate and smooth out fine lines often contain antioxidants, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid. While toners that treat acne often include salicylic or glycolic acid.
Just as there are different ingredients for you to choose from, there is more than one way to put product on. Application is very easy and Libby says it’s really up to an individual’s preference: you can use your hands or cotton pads (Palep’s preference). And beyond the traditional bottled liquid, toners can also come in other delivery systems, such as gel sticks and face mists. (Libby particularly loves the spray formulations.)
But with so many toners out there in the market, it can be difficult to know what to pick for your specific skin needs. Scroll down to find the right toner to add to your skin-care routine.
Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate
If adding a toner to your mix feels like an unnecessary middle step, the Best of Beauty-winning Liquid Exfolikate by Kate Somerville may change your mind. Think of this toner, packed with alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, as a multi-purpose treatment that helps get rid of dead skin buildup so that your products absorb better. Spritz it on a night right before your moisturizer and sunscreen.
$58 (Shop Now)
Clean & Clear Lemon Juice Toner
Some facial toners use alcohol to clear away dirt and oil, but it can seriously dry skin out. Clean & Clear’s Lemon Juice Toner does the exact same thing, sans the stripping alcohol. There’s also vitamin C in this Allure Best of Beauty 2020 winner to help brighten and even dullness and dark spots.
$6 (Shop Now)
Mamonde Rose Water Toner
Mamonde Rose Water Toner is made with 90 percent rose water to give skin an intense boost of hydration. Not only will your skin will feel soft after using it, you’ll also get that dewy look that so many of us are constantly chasing.
$23 (Shop Now)
Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic
If you’ve been using and loving the Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic for as long as I have, you know it’s basically magic in a bottle. It’s made with hero ingredients — such as glycolic acid, aloe vera, and witch hazel — recommended for clearer, softer skin.
$29 (Shop Now)
Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner
Those who are blemish-prone will want to pay special attention to the Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner. It contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (like glycolic and salicylic acid) to gently remove dead skin cells and clear pores of dirt and grime — both of which will prevent breakouts in the long run.
$28 (Shop Now)
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner
Can a toner really be moisturizing? The 2019 Best of Beauty winner Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid answers that question and more. Thanks to a formula full of ceramides, an ingredient that helps restore any lost moisture, skin is left feeling soft and supple after every use.
$39 (Shop Now)
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner is made with a powerful blend of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to control excess oil production without stripping away too much moisture. Plus, the 2019 Best of Beauty winner has a refreshing eucalyptus and peppermint scent that makes it a joy to use.
$29 (Shop Now)
Too Cool For School Rules of Mastic Facial Tonic
As the only mist on this list, Too Cool For School Rules of Mastic Facial Tonic doubles as a toner and hydrating spray you can use in the morning and then throughout the day. It contains ceramides and mastic oil, which strengthens the skin’s resiliency and helps heal damaged skin.
$14 (Shop Now)
E.L.F. Cosmetics Supertone
The E.L.F. Supertone toner livens up dull and tired skin, thanks to exfoliating glycolic acid, while soothing aloe reduces redness and inflammation.
$8 (Shop Now)
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner
I came to the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner because I have an unhealthy obsession with all things rose, but I stayed because it’s just that damn good. The 2017 Best of Beauty winner contains rose fruit extract, rosewater, and angelica leaf extract — all known for their nourishing and soothing properties. Plus, it’s alcohol-free, so it won’t dry your skin out.
$45 (Shop Now)
Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer is a two-in-one formula that both strengthens skin’s natural defense barrier and moisturizes. Double the hydration, double the fun?
$33 (Shop Now)
Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion
Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion contains only the best ingredients to get you glowy skin. Yes, it has vitamin C, but it also has wild arctic cloudberry, which helps fight off oxidative damage and strengthen your skin’s natural defense barrier.
$15 (Shop Now)
Milk Makeup Matcha Toner
Milk’s Matcha Toner is truly unique for many reasons, but the obvious? It’s a solid, gel-stick toner, made with anti-inflammatory matcha green tea and oil-wicking kombucha, to soothe skin and prep it for its next skin-care product.
$28 (Shop Now)
If I told you there was a skincare equivalent of bundling yourself up in a cashmere tracksuit, would you believe me? Buckle up naysayers – you skincare non-believers of the world – for there actually is a product that cossets and comforts the skin just like the softest ensemble. Its name? Weleda Skin Food.
A beauty editor and makeup artist favourite (most have it in their kit), Weleda Skin Food is an under-the-radar cult moisturising cream that promises “rich, intensive skincare” for the face and body. Its certified natural formula contains wild pansy, sunflower seed oil, chamomile, calendula and rosemary extract, to deeply nourish, hydrate and soften rough or compromised skin. Put simply, it’s a winter saviour.
“I love it as it penetrates deeply, offering instant hydration and nourishment,” agrees make-up artist Celia Burton, who knows her way around a juicy skin situation. “It was one of the first products I discovered as a make-up artist and it’s stood the test of time, sitting in the same place in my kit 12 years later. It enriches and brightens the skin, smells divine, and its ingredients list is small and uncomplicated. It’s an all rounder.”
She also attests to its multifaceted nature: she uses it as a base under make-up, as a rich, nourishing mask on flights, a salve on dry patches and as a night cream in the winter months. “I use it religiously all year round under make-up, and apply it to my cheeks and around my temples and eyes to impart glow before I apply my foundation.” Trust me when I tell you this little trick (learned from make-up artist Katie Jane Hughes, another big Skin Food fan) adds a whole lot of oomph to a bog-standard foundation. The compliments will come thick and fast.
As a thick, rather unctuous cream (housed in a distinctive and very easy-to-use green tube), oily skin types might prefer the Light formula, which contains many of the same skin-loving ingredients but feels that little bit more comfortable if heavy creams aren’t your thing. Given it’s winter and our skin barriers are always in jeopardy – thanks to the combination of cold weather and central heating – it’s a fantastic cream to add to basket, and given that it’s a mere £7.95 for a 30ml tube (£12.95 for 75ml), it’s an affordable one, too.