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 been called “herbal Botox” and a “natural retinol” — but does it actually work?
Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-KOO-chee-all”) is a “naturally occurring antioxidant found in the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia, a plant found in Eastern Asia,” explains Jesse Werner, founder of Whish, one of the first brands to incorporate the ingredient into its product offerings.
I’ve heard bakuchiol described as a “natural version of retinol” or an “herbal Botox,” so editors asked Werner if there was any truth to those claims. His answer made my highly-sensitive skin positively tingle with anticipation: “Clinical studies have confirmed that bakuchiol is a true retinol-like functional compound without the negative effects of retinol.” In other words, bakuchiol is a potential game-changer for those who struggle with sensitive or reactive skin and aren’t confident in the risk-to-reward ratio of retinol.
First, a quick refresher on retinol: A member of the retinoid family, which includes all vitamin A derivatives, it’s considered a Holy Grail ingredient for all things anti-aging and anti-acne; but even though it’s derived from natural vitamin A, the majority of retinoids are synthesized in some way. Retinol is commonly found in over-the-counter anti-aging products, and can be prescribed in higher concentrations by a dermatologist.
When applied to the skin, retinol “interacts with special retinoic acid receptors” and “initiates a biochemical cascade that leads to activation of certain genes that control collagen production, and reduction of the release of inflammatory mediators,” says Dr. Neil Sadick of Sadick Dermatology in New York City. The result? Smoother, clearer, younger-looking skin.
Oh, and potentially a whole lot of irritation.
Nearly all retinol users go through something called retinization: a period of about four weeks when redness, inflammation, dryness and even peeling occur while the skin adjusts to the medication. Dermatologists largely recognize this phase as temporary and safe, which is why retinol is so popular. But for some skin types, the “it-gets-worse-before-it-gets-better” functionality of retinol often ends at “it-gets-worse”. In addition to retinization, a small percentage of retinol users contract a red, scaly, itchy rash known as retinoid dermatitis.
While naturally derived ingredients aren’t always less-irritating than synthetics, the notion that bakuchiol may be a less-harsh anti-aging option is certainly an appealing one. “We were looking for the most effective ingredients to prevent and repair wrinkles, sagging skin and overall skin health. We kept coming back to retinol,” remembers Werner. “However, retinol is not natural, it’s very harsh on the skin, and it is very unstable. We searched the globe for an effective and natural retinol-like ingredient and we finally found bakuchiol.”
Bakuchiol doesn’t function in quite the same way that retinol does, but here’s the amazing thing: It offers similar results. “In one third party, 12-week clinical study, the conclusion was that retinol and bakuchiol do not have close structural similarities, yet they exhibit a similar gene expression profile especially on key anti-aging genes and proteins, which is remarkable,” explains Werner. In layman’s terms, bakuchiol visibly reduces fine lines, wrinkles and acne, and is considered a functional analog of retinol.
What’s more, the ingredient actually has some advantages over retinol, aside from simply being a natural alternative. Dr. Sadick confirms that it can be used “without any harsh side effects like irritation, flakiness and redness.” It also has photostability on its side; ulike retinol, which can break down and become less effective, it remains active even in direct sunlight.
It should be noted that bakuchi seed powder, sometimes called babchi seed powder, isn’t the same thing as bakuchiol – bakuchiol is the “compound extracted from the seeds using a solvent,” says cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski, who adds that “there’s not likely to be a downside to adding bakuchi powder to a facial mask.” He notes that “no topical treatment would compare to Botox,” but can’t deny that bakuchiol has all the makings of a natural alternative to retinol.
Bakhuchiol is actually becoming much more common at beauty retailers of late. The ingredient first started popping up in skin-care formulations back in 2014, and its popularity has only grown since then, though it’s remained somewhat under the radar and is still far from ubiquitous. If you’re curious to try out the natural alternative to retinol for yourself — and honestly, you should be — scroll through the gallery below to see some of fan-favorite formulas.
Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum
An all-in-one skin-perfecting day serum made with a natural retinol alternative that targets fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and dark spots, while instantly brightening.
Biossance Squalane & Phyto-Retinol Serum
A serum with backuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative, that targets the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage and works on sensitive skin.
REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream
REN Clean Skincare’s Bio Retinoid™ Anti-Ageing Cream minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for firmer skin. Its bio extracts moisturize your skin and help repair damaged cells. Rich in antioxidants that protect from free radicals, the formula leaves your skin looking younger and smoother.
Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer
Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer contains PlantGenius, a proprietary complex of wildcrafted and hand-cultivated botanicals grown at elevation in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This all natural, super-hydrator melts into skin leaving a fresh, velvety finish. Ceramides and squalane help fortify the moisture barrier; vitamin C helps brighten and support skin against environmental stressors; a non-irritating bio-available retinol diminishes the appearance of fine lines. Wild actives nourish with essential vitamins and fatty acids.
Strivectin S.T.A.R. Light Retinol Night Oil
First of its kind, ultra-lightweight oil corrects the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone & texture. This advanced formula combines three separate but synergistic Retinol technologies, including naturally-derived Biomimetic Retinol – which mimics skin’s natural processes to better receive the benefits of Retinol ¿ with nourishing Squalane Oil and patented NIA-114 technology to limit sensitivity. Plant-derived Squalane & Chia Seed oils moisturize and replenished skin with essential fatty acids. Astaxanthin & Pro-anthocyanidins, two of the most powerful antioxidants, soothe and protect dry skin.
Great skin care doesn’t have to be expensive. And if you’ve read any reviews of The Inkey List, you know this to be true. The British brand has been providing reliable skin-care essentials under $15 since 2018, but thanks in part to TikTok, the buzz for the best Inkey List products is just getting started.
The line is often compared to The Ordinary for its affordable cost and formulas focused on single ingredients. And while both brands have truly impressive quality, where they differ is the packaging. The Ordinary takes a clinical approach with names that refer to specific ingredients, while The Inkey List breaks down the phonetic spelling of ingredients, along with a clear description of the result it gives.
This is no coincidence, as the brand’s founders Colette Laxton and Mark Curry set out to simplify the world of skin care. To do so, the brand offers a quick quiz on its website, called the Recipe Builder, which will craft you a customized routine, or you can use the brand’s Ask Inkey feature to have any imaginable question answered at all times.
Still, the line, which features 36 skin-care products in nearly identical packaging, can be a bit confusing. While you could theoretically test your way through the entire line for the cost of one luxury serum, that’s what dermatologists and editors are here for. Glamour editors—from skin-care obsessives to true minimalists—put the whole line to the test. Read on for their honest The Inkey List reviews and our breakdown of the products truly worth adding to your routine.
The Inkey List Lactic Acid Serum
“Lactic acid is one of my favorite skin-care ingredients, but it’s usually harder to find in more affordable products. Lactic is great for acid beginners in general since it hydrates as it exfoliates, and this is a particularly gentle one. Over time I definitely saw more of an evenness and glow, and my skin was super soft. If you want to be wowed, I would say go for something with more punch, but if you just want to dip a toe into acids, this is your girl.”
The Inkey List Retinol Antiaging Serum
“This gave my beloved retinol a run for its money! I much prefer this formulation, which is a light cream, over other serums. It was much easier to distribute than an oil-based formula, so I wasted less of the product and was less at risk of overusing it and irritating my skin. It was a really easy addition to my skin-care routine—it layered on smoothly and didn’t dry me out. The only downside is that The Inkey List only makes this retinol with 1% retinol and 0.5% granactive retinoid, whereas other brands offer higher percentages. I think this is the ideal product if you want to start incorporating retinol, or if your skin is sensitive.”
The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum
“I’ve really upped my skin-care routine during quarantine, and it’s been working wonders. I use this in the morning with my Paula’s Choice Niacinamide Treatment, and then some evenings I use my Shani Darden Retinol Reform. Altogether I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my hyperpigmentation and skin texture, but this product is to thank for fading those really tough dark spots.”
The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer
“My skin has recently made me painfully aware of the fact that even though I’m locked inside 24/7, time stops for nobody. Since the start of the pandemic, I feel as if my youthful-looking complexion has starting looking…not quite as youthful. Dry patches, undereye shadows, and new tiny lines (fun!) are suddenly visible, and this moisturizer contains a peptide duo that helps support natural collagen and hydrate skin. I love a cream that doesn’t just moisturize but works to fix other problems, and with continued use I think this one—which is super lightweight, almost like a gel—could be it.”
The Inkey List Vitamin C Brightening Cream
“Vitamin C is one of the cornerstones of a solid skin-care routine, but it’s also a difficult ingredient to get into when you’re first building out your regimen. For one, the best vitamin C serums tend to be expensive, and two, they’re not always exactly pleasant to put on, thanks to their signature tangy scent. That’s what makes this cream such an excellent gateway into the category. The formula isn’t greasy or smelly, and since it has a cream base, it’s easy to mix with moisturizer. It won’t give you the full brightening power of a $160+ serum, but it definitely makes a noticeable difference in the overall radiance of your skin.”
The Inkey List Ceramide Hydrating Night Treatment
“I’m a sucker for a fancy night cream, but this gave my more expensive options a run for it’s money. It goes on as a sort of creamy, cushy gel that dries down to almost nothing. Normally I like to feel really greased up before bed, but this one provided just as much moisturizing power as something thicker. It plumps up my skin beautifully, calms the between-seasons redness I’m currently dealing with, and doesn’t clog my pores. If you’re only going to grab one thing from the line, I would make it this one.”
The Inkey List Squalane Oil
“If you’re trying to take a more hands-on approach to learning about skin-care ingredients, I highly recommend you start with squalene. After spotting the lightweight hydrator in several of my favorite facial oils, I decided to try its full power, uninterrupted, for 14 days. I feel it does a great job of restoring balance to my skin after using retinols, enzymes, and other active ingredients. It’s versatile enough to boost either your a.m. or p.m. routine (or both!) by adding a few drops to your favorite moisturizer.”
The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream
“To be honest, I’m still undecided whether I think eye creams do anything long-term, so this $10 option doesn’t feel like too much to risk. It depuffs thanks to the metal tip and provides a great base for my concealer, which are my two major concerns. It also brightens thanks to mica, and has blurring spheres to make me look just a touch more well-rested.”
The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment
“I can’t say that I was familiar with tranexamic acid before this—apparently it’s clutch for reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots—but I can say with certainty now that this is a lovely product. It is super smooth and light, glides on easily, and feels nice with just a moisturizer on top. You definitely have to be sure to wash it off in the morning, but it tells you that on the bottle. I do think it’s making a mild difference to my skin—things are looking brighter and more even—and I look forward to using it for a long time to come.”
The Inkey List Snow Mushroom Moisturizer
“I was excited to try this because The Inkey List said it reduces redness—and snow mushroom honestly sounded very mystical. It was very gentle and mild, and left me with a nice glow, but not super greasy. It didn’t help with my mask-induced redness, but turns out only my dermatologist could. For the price, it’s definitely a great no-frills moisturizer to have on hand.”
The Inkey List Q10 Antioxidant Serum
“In theory I know the benefits of antioxidants and how they’re essential for long-term protection against free radicals and signs of aging, but in practice I rarely want to spend my money on products I won’t see an immediate return on investment from. That’s what makes this lightweight serum, which is also formulated with hydrating squalane, so appealing. While there’s no overnight difference, for $7 I know I’m doing something to protect my skin down the road. Plus, it’s a great option if you have sensitive skin that reacts poorly to vitamin C.”
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum
“I have sensitive, acne-prone skin, so I was reluctant to believe the hype about hyaluronic acid, assuming an acid was the last thing my skin needed. But this serum left me converted. Unlike exfoliating acids, H.A. is both gentle and deeply hydrating. After using it both morning and night for a few weeks, my skin feels totally balanced with zero clogged pores.”
The Inkey List Rosehip Nourishing Night Oil
“Rosehip oil has recently become my secret weapon for waking up with a radiant glow. (Don’t be confused—rosehip oil, which is filled with fatty acids and omega-6 that plump up your skin, isn’t the same as rose absolute, the rose-scented essential oil you’re probably thinking of.) If you want your skin to look luxuriously dewy without appearing shiny, add this stuff to your nighttime regimen ASAP. As we roll into the winter, I’ll be relying on this to improve my skin’s overall texture and moisture retention.”
There are a lot of reasons you might want to try a cleansing balm in place of your regular liquid, wipe, or bar cleansers. For starters, there’s the change of season. As temperatures fluctuate, it gets harder to keep your skin hydrated. “A balm is an effective option to remove dirt and oil without overly drying the skin,” says New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. (Having flaky, parched skin no matter the season is another key motivator to switch things up.)
There’s also a more practical consideration: If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like washing your face, several of the following require no water. Massage, wipe away, and allow the leftover goodness to soak in, leaving your skin even more supple. Face wash plus night cream in one swoop? That’s our kind of win-win.
Whether you are looking for an affordable pick (how’s $10 sound?) or you are looking splurge on your skin, here, 11 of the best no-fuss formulas to try.
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
The combo of sunflower and ginger root oils in this balm-to-oil formula work to cleanse skin from dirt, oil, and pollution buildup, while papaya extract gently sloughs off dead skin cells. Together, they make one rock solid cleanser.
$34 (Shop Now)
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser
The Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is an Allure 2019 Best of Beauty winner for many reasons. Yes, it will remove makeup in a flash, but its formula is what makes it really stand out. Infused with fruit extracts (blueberry, kiwi, and strawberry) to slough off makeup, dirt, and grime, and a blend of nourishing oils (marula and baobab), your skin will feel baby smooth once you’re done double-cleansing.
$34 (Shop Now)
The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm
The Inkey List has been doing skin care right since day one, and its Oat Cleansing Balm is yet another great launch. Formulated with oat kernel oil to keep skin hydrated and one percent colloidal oatmeal to reduce redness, this luxurious formula will never strip your sensitive skin of moisture.
$10 (Shop Now)
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
Waterproof mascara can be nearly impossible to remove, but the Then I Met You’s Living Cleansing Balm makes it possible. The non-greasy formula efficiently melts away waterproof formulas, leaving skin hydrated and velvety soft. (No wonder it’s an Allure 2019 Best of Beauty winner.)
$38 (Shop Now)
Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original
The Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original is a K-beauty fan favorite. It’s a three-in-one hybrid that exfoliates, hydrates, and cleanses by removing makeup, dirt, and oil in one fell swoop.
$18 (Shop Now)
Pond’s Cold Cream Cleansing Balm
The cleansing balm version of the iconic Pond’s Cold Cream has quickly become a staple in its own right: it’s a highly effective makeup remover that nourishes skin as it wipes away dirt and grime. This drugstore option is great for all skin types (it’s even gentle enough to use on sensitive skin) — and that’s why it won a 2018 Best of Beauty Award for best cleanser under $10.
$10 (Shop Now)
Yes To Coconuts Coconut Oil Cleansing Balm
Perhaps the most innovative of the balms out there, Yes To’s coconut oil-infused cleanser comes with its very own (reusable) sponge, making the dreaded mascara-removal process kind of…fun.
$10 (Shop Now)
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Made with an impressive cocktail of botanicals like smoothing lavender and chamomile, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm takes you straight to the spa. Warm a scoop between your palms, massage into your skin, then gently wipe away with a damp cloth. Because some of the balm will be left behind, the collagen-boosting and antioxidant-rich blend will have more time to get to work.
$64 (Shop Now)
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
Test the cleansing balm waters by starting out with a lightweight formula like the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm that gently lifts dirt and makeup sans one bit of elbow grease. Plus, the creamy formula is less occlusive than some waxier balms, so it will feel more comfortable on slicker skin.
$30 (Shop Now)
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Balm
Dark burgundy lipsticks and stay-put metallic shadows don’t stand a chance against this creamy soufflé of botanical oils and hydrators in the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Balm. Once all that mess is taken care of, a layer of high-performing ingredients, like retinyl palmitate, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides stay behind to work as a line-reducing serum.
$38 (Shop Now)
Goop by Juice Beauty Luminous Melting Cleanser
At first touch, this Best of Beauty-winning product feels just like its name — goopy. But after swirling a scoop of the Goop by Juice Beauty Luminous Melting Cleanser into your face, it instantly softens and disappears, which makes sense considering coconut oil is the second ingredient. (It also contains olive oil and a veritable English garden of dreamy botanical essential oils.) You may balk at the price, but in this case, you do get what you pay for: The product is formulated with 75 percent organic content and includes a white linen cloth to stylishly wipe all the balm away.
$90 (Shop Now)
Shopping for a new moisturizer sounds great…until you’re actually shopping for a new moisturizer. Walking the aisles of Sephora or Target can feel a little like navigating the wild wild west of skincare, especially when you have dry skin. Dry types often need more attention: you want something hydrating enough to prevent flaking and painfully tight, parched skin. On the flip side, you don’t want something that’s going to clog your pores or leave you feeling greasy.
Considering not all face creams are created equal, where do you begin? Rather than spend your hard-earned money on products that may or may not work, ELLE editors brought in some major celebrity facialists for their suggestions on the best moisturizers for dry skin. Ahead, shop the products they use on their A-list clients.
FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN: iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion
Top LA celebrity facialist Gina Mari says, “I always treat my acne-prone clients with hydration.” She recommends using Is Clinical’s Reparative Moisture Emulsion because it’s “great for keeping the skin hydrated without causing future breakouts.”
FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN: Angela Caglia Detox Serum
Celebrity esthetician Angela Caglia, the skin whisperer behind the glowy complexions of Helena Christensen and Minnie Driver, knows a thing or two about multitasking your skincare routine. For dry skin types that are also prone to breakouts, Caglia recommends her own line’s Detox Serum. “It’s made of hyaluronic acid to hydrate, chlorophyll to oxygenate the cells, and tea tree oil to help with breakouts.” She adds, “It’s perfect to replace your moisturizer in the summer for acne-prone skin.”
FOR UNDER MAKEUP: Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream
Yolanda Mata, better known by her Instagram handle, Yoli Glo, is sought after by YouTube stars like Patrick Starrr and Desi Perkins. She recommends prepping skin for makeup with Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream, saying, “it’s a deeply hydrating formula that glides onto the skin providing nourishment and hydration, while the Japanese purple rice leaves the skin glowing, protected, and prepared for smooth makeup application.” She also adds, “it’s something no one should live without, worth every penny.” Consider us sold.
FOR UNDER MAKEUP: Sanitas Balancing Moisturizer
If you’re looking for pre-makeup hydration, Gina Mari suggests Sanitas Balancing Moisturizer. She explains, “it contains niacinamide (B3), a powerful vitamin that promotes healthy cell function. It also leaves the skin with a matte finish for consumers who don’t want to look shiny or greasy.”
FOR EXTRA HYDRATION: Koh Gen Do Macro Vintage T3 Premium Oil
If your skin is feeling extra dry (even more than usual), Tokyo-based Koh Gen Do brand director and celebrity esthetician Megumi Setoguchi, recommends upgrading your go-to moisturizer. She suggests adding one to two drops of the Koh Gen Do T3 Premium Oil to your daily face cream. “Its light, water-like consistency easily penetrates dry, hardened surface skin and supports the hydration from within to bring suppleness,” she says. “During the dry winter months, I apply it over my makeup, even on hair and the body—it gives skin a beautiful glow.”
FOR EXTRA HYDRATION: Nurse Jamie EGF Stem Cell Complex
Nurse Jamie, the celebrity skin expert behind big names like Lea Michelle, Jessica Alba, and Lisa Rinna, among many others, recommends a fan favorite for super dry complexions. She says her namesake Nurse Jamie EGF Botanical Complex “provides intense hydration with hyaluronic acid and epidermal growth factor to increase cell renewal.” Finally, added shea butter also helps lock in hydration. Nurse Jamie says, “I love the stuff; I’d bathe in it if I could!”
FOR A NATURAL FORMULA: Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream
If you prefer to pick up your moisturizer on your next Target run, Caglia suggests you load up on Burt’s Bees’ Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream. Packed with rice and cotton extract, and soothing aloe, this formula provides tons of hydration without the addition of harsh irritants. Caglia adds, “this moisturizer is great for all skin types.”
FOR A NATURAL FORMULA: Angela Caglia Soufflé Moisturizer
If natural ingredients are an essential detail in your skincare selection, Caglia recommends giving her own Soufflé Moisturizer a try. “The texture is light, and it’s filled with the most soothing and brightening ingredients, like goat’s milk and essential fatty acids,” she says. But even if natural products aren’t your priority, she boasts the formula “will convert a long time La Mer user after one application.”
FOR A SPLURGE: Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Reserve Gel Crème
Mari says, “for the ultimate splurge, I love Amore Pacific’s Time Response Skin Reserve Gel Creme. At a whopping $450 for a 50ml jar, it’s a splurge, indeed. She describes it as “a gel texture that’s really lightweight and the 24-hour release formula leaves the skin hydrated for hours.” As it turns out, you really can put a price on amazing skin.
FOR A SPLURGE: La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream
La Mer’s The Moisturizing Soft Cream is, without a doubt, a cult-favorite in the beauty world. Nurse Jamie suggests it’s worth every penny saying, “incredibly light,” and not just light, “basically weightless, but really great for dry skin types since it is super replenishing.” And it’s a good thing it gets her stamp of approval because, at $335 for a 60ml jar, it’s definitely a commitment.
Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
This two-in-one night cream diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and evens out skin texture and tone. Plus, this formula packs its retinol in a lipid shell, meaning it minimizes irritation and dryness that can sometimes occur as a result of retinol.
OLAY Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum
Relying on a blend of vitamin B3 and retinol, this night serum works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and enlarged pores — and keeps skin hydrated for 24 hours (hence the name). One reviewer, who said she’s been using Olay products since she was 14, noted that the product is “like fine wine.” She added: “Olay has tapped into the Fountain of Youth with this new line.”
Verso Night Cream
If you’re down with the latest trends in retinol, then you may have heard of retinyl retinoate, an alternative to retinol that is said to boast the same benefits as its older sister (like increased collagen production and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles) minus the skin irritation. Verso’s rich night cream also contains antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, as well as hyaluronlic acid and jojoba.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Face Moisturizer
Scoop this Neutrogena pick up at your local drugstore and you’ll start to see benefits in a week. Anti-aging retinol and hyaluronic acid work together to plump and moisturize skin, reducing the look of deep wrinkles, including pesky crow’s feet.
Dr. Brandt Skincare 24/7 Retinol Eye Cream
If you’re looking for a brightening and anti-aging eye cream you can use morning or night, this one might just be your new go-to. It contains light-reflecting particles to instantly soften the look of dark circles and keeps fine lines around the eyes in check with time-released retinol.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream
If you’ve been using a product with .5 percent retinol and looking for a little more oomph, consider this night cream from SkinCeuticals, which contains 1 percent retinol — plus ultra-soothing chamomile, frankincense, and shea butter. “The difference is amazing,” one reviewer, who has used the product for over a year, wrote. “At 62, my skin looks better than three years ago. My sun damage is gone.”
Naturopathica Argan & Retinol Wrinkle Repair Night Cream
If you’re looking to target fine lines and wrinkles but are prone to irritation, try this retinol night cream from Naturopathica. It uses encapsulated retinol plus argan plant stem cells and castor oil for a natural dose of moisture.
Jordan Samuel Skin Retinol Treatment Oil
Thanks to the addition of soothing and hydrating marula oil, this retinol treatment oil works as a moisturizer, too — so you can apply as the last step in your skincare routine and call it a night.
Skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream
If you have sensitive or dry skin but want to start using a retinol cream, then this formula may be a match made in heaven for you. Not only does it address wrinkles, dullness, and dark spots, but it also serves as a skin-soothing moisturizer thanks to the addition of lactic acid, an exfoliant and humectant.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinol 2%
It’s hard to beat The Ordinary when it comes to an affordable and non-irritating retinol serum. The formula was created without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates and uses two forms of retinol known to cause less redness and irritation.
LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer
This budget-friendly cream is Amazon’s “most wished for” moisturizer, which really just means one thing — you need to get your hands on it STAT. And with no oily residue and the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, there’s really no reason not to place an order.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Cult-favorite millennial brand Drunk Elephant finally released a retinol cream and it was worth the wait. Along with gentle 1 percent vegan retinol it contains ingredients like passionfruit, apricot, marula and jojoba oils to nourish and moisturize skin while fighting fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.
RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream Treatment
A roundup of retinol products really wouldn’t be complete without this drugstore staple. The RoC formula targets fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area and helps improve the appearance of dark circles and undereye puffiness in as little as four weeks.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum
If you like the lightweight feel of a serum, then this retinol treatment might be the pick for you. The topical treatment also includes lipo-hydroxy acid which acts as an exfoliator and visibly reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet. One reviewer said she has noticed overall smoother skin and fewer breakouts after using the product for a month. She added: “I’ve had a record number of mornings in the last month where I’ve looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Yeah, I look good today.’”
Jade rollers aren’t a recent skincare innovation. They’ve been a staple in Chinese skincare routines since the 7th century, and are believed to have healing and protective properties. The handheld massagers are usually dual-ended with two jade stone heads that are ran across the face, which can de-puff skin and boost circulation.
How Does a Jade Roller Benefit Your Skin?
Jade rollers are believed to boost blood circulation, reduce swelling, and can help products penetrate deeper into the skin. Basically, they’re supposed to be a quick, easy cure for daily skincare struggles like dark under-eye circles and puffiness. The increase in circulation can also help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. A jade roller can be used at room temperature or chilled in the fridge.
“The pressure and cold of the roller helps to improve circulation and increase lymphatic drainage,” Dr. Sperling (InStyle) explains. “They also can help to temporarily improve puffiness or help to rub in topical creams.”
On top of the skincare benefits, jade stones are said to be calming, so using one can potentially improve your mood. (Yes, really!) “You are also getting the benefits of jade as well,” says Vargas (InStyle). “It is a traditional stone that soothes the mind and releases negative thoughts.”
How Do Jade Rollers Work?
After cleaning your skin and applying whatever skincare products you typically use, Vargas (InStyle) says, “You want to roll your face in an outward motion.” Light pressure can work to drain lymphatic fluids, while light to medium pressure can help products penetrate deeper and boost blood flow. “The movements help increase blood circulation and collagen production to maintain a youthful glow serving as a sort of mini facial on the daily,” she explains.
For a firming effect, Park (InStyle) recommends starting with the cheekbones, and moving outwards. “Then, go against the jaw line to create more contour and definition,” she says. “Afterwards, move the roller down the back of your ears toward the clavicle, allowing the excess fluids to drain down to the lymphatic system.”
What Skincare Products Work With Jade Rollers?
A serum or face oil and a jade roller are a winning combo. These products will help the facial massager glide against your face, plus the tool can help their active ingredients get deeper into your skin.
As for what ingredients to use, there’s options. “I like to use firming peptides and work around areas with fine lines and wrinkles,” says Vargas (InStyle). “Plant-based stem cells are also beneficial when using a roller. Also, a hydrating serum is key since we all need hydration. You can also use brightening oils as well.”
When Should You Use a Jade Roller?
The beauty of this ritual is that it’s a great addition to any morning or nighttime skincare routine. In the a.m., a chilled jade roller can made sleepy, puffy eyes look refreshed, while in the p.m., the facial massaging tool is great for calming inflammation in the skin.
Do Jade Rollers Have Any Side Effects?
Jade rollers are safe to use every day, and for every skin type. But Dr. Sperling (InStyle) does note that they can spread bacteria and infection if they aren’t properly cleaned. Jade rollers also won’t help with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or rosacea.
Is There a Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Jade Rollers?
It all depends on personal preference, but a cheap option won’t be made with a quality stone. “I would personally invest in a high quality jade roller, because you’re paying the price for a good quality stone,” says Park (InStyle). “Also, you’re investing in a beautiful piece that will allow you to use it daily as a ritual!”
OK, now that you know the deal with jade rollers, what do the before and afters of using one look like? Check out #jaderollers on Instagram to find out.
The Best Jade Rollers at Every Price Point
- Province Apothecary Dual Action Jade Roller $44
- Shiffa Jade Facial Roller $63
- Daily Concepts Daily Jade Facial Roller $16
- Herbivore Jade Facial Roller $30
- Revlon Jade Stone Facial Roller $10
Have you used jade rollers before? Are you inspired to do so now? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!
Following the post about K-beauty & skincare, I was inspired to write about tips for healthy and glowy skin. Following are my top 5 tips that should be added to the typical “drink more water & exercise” that we hear day in and day out.
- Double-cleanse – to effectively break down all of the makeup layers that we wear, it’s important to remove the makeup first with proper removers, micellar waters, etc. followed by two cleansers (can be the same or different products). The first cleanse gets rid of makeup removers’ residue on the skin, while the second layer penetrates the skin more effectively.
- Exfoliate – whether physical or chemical, exfoliants get rid of the dry skin layer and increase cell turnover. This should be done no more than twice a week, especially for people with sensistive or acne-prone skin. I have normal/combination/sensitive skin and I use exfoliants as needed, which is about once a week. For more information about chemical & physical exfoliants, check out my blog post:
- Focus on your nighttime skincare routine – this is the longest period of time when the skin is able to replenish and recover, therefore make sure you’re using the most effective and beneficial products to wake up with better skin every day. Make sure to wash the nightime skincare off in the morning with a light cleanser and then apply daytime moisturizer.
- Self-tan – this point can be controversial, but most of us enjoy the look of our skin when we have a tan on. It makes the skintone more even and gives a better feeling overall. This is especially beneficial for people who have quite thin, translucent skin, which shows veins a lot more. I recommend using products such as Jergens Tanning Lotion or Mousse, St. Tropez, or Loving Tan with a mitt, over tanning salons or prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Highlight using facial oils – place a drop or two of a facial oil on the back of your hand, swirl it around and dab it with a finger onto the cheekbones and around the brows to give a healthy, glow-from-within appearance. Make sure to use an oil that will not disrupt the foundation underneath, such as the Moroccan Oil Pure Argan Oil.