What It Is: A gel moisturizer with circulation-boosting caffeine
What It Does: Hydrates while offering antioxidant protection
Who It’s For: All skin types, though those with oily skin may most appreciate the gel texture
Origins GinZing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer combines my passion for skin care with my penchant for coffee. The formula is packed with caffeine, which turns out to also have benefits for your skin: it increases circulation, which in turn helps decrease puffiness and generally makes your skin look less dull. Caffeine is also an antioxidant, meaning it can play a role in protecting your skin from environmental damage (though it doesn’t take the place of sunscreen, of course).
Here, caffeine is delivered in the form of a gel moisturizer, which — unlike some thick creams — doesn’t feel heavy or greasy on my oily t-zone. The formula also has a bright, energizing citrus scent, which really hammers home that this stuff is like a wake up call for your face. Time to rise and shine!
Summer may have come and gone, but as every dermatologist preaches, sunscreen is an all year-round game. But if you hate that thick, goopy, lotion-y texture, you’re in luck with the ushering in of the next generation of powder sunscreens that can seemingly do it all. These dry formulas protect against UVA and UVB rays and camouflage uneven skin tone with a faint tint, all while having a pleasant texture in a decidedly un-messy brush applicator.
But here’s the catch: according to Seattle-based dermatologist Dr. Laurel Geraghty, “It may be hard to wear enough powder sunscreen to get to the level of SPF shown on the bottle — you really have to dust and layer it on it!“
That means to really soak up all the benefits of a powder sunscreen, you’ve “got to apply it liberally,” she says, and reapplication is the name of the game here.
Even so, you should first start with a traditional cream lotion first to set a solid sunscreen foundation, says Dr. Corey L. Hartman, who calls powder sunscreens “a good adjunct” to liquid or cream formulations. “They’re really designed to absorb into the skin and act as a shield, if they’re mineral,” he explains. “While powder sunscreens are designed to sit on top of the skin and are great for replenishing throughout the day and adding to the foundation that’s already been set with the cream or lotion.”
When it comes to sun protection, I’ll take all the help I can get, so here are three leading dermatologists on their favorite formulations and exactly what to look for in a powder sunscreen so you can get every bit of protection your skin deserves.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
“ColoreScience is my favorite powder sunscreen,” says Dr. Geraghty. “I love the little to-go wand that I can pop into my handbag for quick, no mess touch-ups while I’m running around. I love to dust it along my part line — almost like a dry shampoo — when I don’t have a hat with me.”
What’s more, this dust-on powder “has the best array of colors to help women or men to match their color, so it can go on as seamlessly as possible,” says Dr. Hartman. No white residue here!
Not only does this titanium dioxide and zinc-packed tinted powder protect against UVA and UVB rays, but its soft, smooth texture doesn’t make it feel like sunscreen at all. Equally important, it comes in three buildable hues: light, medium, and dark, so you can easily color match to your specific skin tone, and according to Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Sameer Bashey, the powder “blends really well into most skin tones” to “give your skin coverage as well as a glow.”
Supergoop! is known for creating sunscreen that doesn’t feel or smell like the scent we all know (and hate), and this cult favorite powder is no different. Formulated with 100% mineral zinc oxide — one of two FDA-approved mineral sunscreen ingredients — the ingredients are blended with hydrating ceramides and olive glycerides to lock in the skin’s natural moisture.
But don’t worry about getting any shine here, the coated silica diffuses light and camouflages the look of pores.”The nature of the powder itself is going to help with oiliness because that’s going to soak up additional oil,” says Dr. Hartman.
“Mineral sunscreens can be best for acne-prone skin, as it sits on top of the skin, vs. chemical sunscreens, which are absorbed and can sometimes cause irritation,” explains Dr. Bashey.
Luckily, tarte found a workaround, and it’s best to look for formulations that “just keep it as pure as possible, I would say,” recommends Dr. Hartman, adding that clean formulas that have “no other preservatives” are your best bet to keep your skin clear.
And when it comes to powder sunscreens, it doesn’t get much cleaner than tarte’s vegan non-chemical sunscreen. Plus, it also pulls double duty to set makeup for up to 12 hours, thanks to it’s translucent hue, which works with all skin tones.
“Powder sunscreen is also great for those chronically exposed areas where we may want a bit of bonus protection — noses, ears, hands — for quick touch-ups in the car,” explains Dr. Geraghty. “So much UV light comes in through the side windows, especially.” And this do-it-all power sunscreen provides protection against free radical damage from pollution, blue light and infrared radiation as well, making it perfect to use anytime and anywhere on the body.
Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 45
“I’m glad that the stigma [of men not using sunscreen] is being erased,” says Dr. Hartman. “And I do think that it helps with powder sunscreens that don’t have a tint — it can get on your clothing.”
This Peter Thomas Roth gem of a powder sunscreen was formulated to be completely transparent, easy to apply and offer serious SPF protection, aka the perfect option for men who spend their days outside. “Powder sunscreens have traditionally been thought of as a product that only women would like to use and benefit from,” explains Dr. Hartman. “So leaving the tint out and making it convenient are really the driving force for men, so if you can accomplish those things, then we can get men to start using it more, which would just encourage more reapplication, which is going to prevent skin cancer.“
Many of us with dry skin tend to steer way clear of powder anything, but not with this nourishing — and clean! — formulation from Ilia. Bonus: It’s infused with conditioning ingredients, like aloe, rosemary, and oil-balancing bamboo, it hydrates skin while keeping a shiny T-zone at bay.
But the first step to glowy skin is always a hydrated base, Dr. Hartman reminds us: “If your skin’s dry, please put a good hydrating moisturizer on first with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, qualine or glycerin, and then let the powder be the finishing and protective touch on top.”
This mineral formulation is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for summer athletes and water lovers to easily reapply throughout the day, especially as most dermatologists consider reapplication necessary. “Sunscreens of all kinds need to be reapplied at least every two hours if you’re staying outside or exposed to UV light, or more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating,” says Dr Geraghty. And this power powder couldn’t make it easier.
Sure, it may be pumpkin spice season to some, but others are still trying to cling to the last bit of summer. And the new Glow Recipe serum delivers that sunny, tropical goodness plus brightening and hydrating benefits to help bring your summer shine into fall and beyond.
The brand’s latest fruity offering, the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum, aims to lighten dark spots and dullness with a combination of antioxidants and tranexamic acid, a relatively new ingredient in over-the-counter products. But the guava serum doesn’t just contain one form of vitamin C (a notoriously unstable ingredient), it has five, including both water- and oil-soluble formulas. While vitamin C is a go-to ingredient for brightening skin, different forms work best for different types of skin and some are easier to keep stabilized than others, so this product is covering all its bases here.
Glow Recipe paired all that vitamin C (including some derived from guava-seed oil and guava-fruit extract) with antioxidants vitamin E and ferulic acid. That’s an all-star combination of ingredients often seen in much pricier products. Glow Recipe’s previous vitamin C serum, the Pineapple-C Bright Serum, contains exfoliating ingredients as well as the star antioxidant. In turn, the guava serum doubles down on gentle brightening ingredients.
The serum also contains 1.1% tranexamic acid, which has been studied extensively over the past several years in oral formulations in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, including melasma. There’s generally more evidence showing that tranexamic acid can help reduce melasma when taken orally than when used topically. But a growing body of evidence suggests that topical formulations could have some benefits too. With the addition of glycerin and hyaluronic acid, the formula will also help keep skin feeling hydrated and plump.
Glow Recipe’s new guava serum, with a light gel texture and bright pink color, absorbs into the skin easily. As of today, it’s available on the brand’s site and at Sephora.
Getting chapped or dry lips is truly one of the greatest humbling experiences — and one that nearly everyone can relate to. After all, I’m yet to meet anyone, regardless of gender and age, who doesn’t own and use a lip balm (even if it’s just seasonally) when the going gets tough, or when temperatures start to drop.
“Lips are highly specialized mucosal skin that take a beating from overuse during speaking, to being the frequent target of trauma — biting,” says dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. “They are prone to dryness and easily irritated by both the environment and products that are used on the face for anti-aging, like retinols and hydroxy acids.”
And those of us prone to dry or chapped lips understand the delicate dance of autumn and wintertime hydration, but not all lip balms are created equal. Here, we asked three dermatologists for their take on what makes a lip conditioner effective, as well as their favorite ones currently on the market. Read on for your softest lips ever.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Have chapped or chronically dry lips that just won’t go away? Try an overnight mask, says New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Morgan Rabach. “We lose moisture overnight as we sleep, especially with AC or heat,” she explains, pointing out that we aren’t hydrating (as in drinking water) as we sleep, either — another key issue for the driest lips. “A sleeping mask really helps trap moisture and prevent lips from getting overdried.” She recommends the antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask to her patients to help soften and hydrate lips. Bonus: it has an eight-hour time-release, so you’ll get layer upon layer of the juicy goodness while sleeping your way to softer lips.
When it comes to supporting the skin’s moisture levels, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that’s as good as it gets to “drive hydration and provide a source of continued moisture,” says Dr. Hartman. Brimming with a mighty blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts, mixed with hyaluronic acid, topical melatonin, and Persian silk tree extract, this heavenly-scented formulation of chamomile and lavender plumps, protects, and provides anti-aging benefits while you kick back, relax, and go to sleep.
Data doesn’t lie: In a clinical four-week trial, people using this lip balm daily described improved hydration, smoothness and lip plumpness, which is not at all surprising when you consider that the formula is filled with hyaluronic acid, konjac root, and water-attracting vitamin E. But if your lips still don’t seem to improve, it may be time to see a dermatologist, says Dr. Rabach. “It could be a precancerous spot called actinic keratosis, or other skin cancer.”
This dermatologist favorite — all three dermatologists InStyle spoke to recommended this product — proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your lips healthy. In fact, Houston-based dermatologist Dr. DiAnne Davis calls it her “go-to moisturizer” for lips, thanks to its glycerin-filled formulation that draws in moisture, as well as other derm-approved ingredients, like shea butter and beeswax. “It provides a protective barrier for overall lip health,” the MD adds.
Is it pricey? Yes. Is it also worth every penny? Also, yes. Velvety soft with a minty aroma, this balm delivers hydration and healing instantly with an infusion of glycerin. “It’s a great humectant because it works to pull water into the skin and lips like a sponge,” raves Dr. Davis. The formula is brewed with aloe leaf, seaweed, eucalyptus, and algae extracts, along with castor, sesame and sunflower seed oils, which is basically like a tall glass of water for parched lips. To boot, it also strengthens the natural moisture barrier to protect against future environmental damage.
“Maintenance of a good skin barrier and constant hydration of the lips are paramount to keeping the lips luscious and plump,” explains Dr. Hartman, who prefers balms over other textures. When in need, he reaches for one from Laniege (the brand’s second appearance on this list — they know lip conditioners!) on the daily to keep the hydration pumping. “Go for a lip balm with shea butter and ceramides,” he suggests. And if you don’t know when to start, the appropriate time is right now. “It’s better to get ahead of lip dryness because once it starts and gets bad, it can be difficult to control,” he cautions.
Just because the seasons are changing doesn’t mean we can stop forgetting about sun protection. This lip protectant boasts 30 SPF, along with petroleum, making it a solid option for summer, winter, and every day in between. “Apply it nightly to seal in moisture and smooth the lip surface overnight,” suggests Dr. Hartman.
With an unbeatable price and more than 80 years spent helping the world repair dry and chapped lips, Carmex’s classic balm glides onto lips with the greatest of soothing ease. Lanolin, beeswax, petrolatum, cacao seed butter, and camphor — an anti-inflammatory oil distilled from the bark and wood of a camphor tree — are the heavy hitting ingredients that work to calm angry lips and fight against further moisture loss.
This ultra-smooth, vegan lip butter is just what the doctor ordered to relieve chapped lips. Literally. “Use a thick moisturizing balm with shea butter or petrolatum,” recommends Dr. Rabach. And lucky for us, this creamy emollient is mixed with heavy doses of both to instantly moisturize and protect.
A brand adored by nearly everyone, dermatologists included, Vaseline’s petroleum jelly is a fall and winter classic for a reason. “If your lips get chapped, Vaseline is a favorite amount dermatologists,” says Dr. Davis, noting that the formulation contains 100% petroleum jelly, making it one of the purest and simplest — but completely effective — lip conditioners. “[The jelly] soothes the irritating symptoms someone may have, while also adding hydration,” she says.
You will have heard it a million times before: wearing a face SPF every day is key to healthy – and healthy-looking — skin. A good sunscreen blocks the harmful effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, which wreak havoc on the health of our skin and its cells, leading to decreased collagen and elasticity, fine lines, pigmentation, and an increased risk of skin cancer if an SPF is not used.
Historically, SPFs have been sticky and greasy, quick to clog pores, and prone to imparting a grey hue over darker skin tones. The good news is that now, thanks to much-improved formulas and innovative technology, there are plenty of facial sunscreens that protect your skin while also being a pleasure to use. Look for formulas that have both UVA and UVB protection (find out more about sun protection here), a minimum of SPF 30, and a formula that suits your skin’s specific needs.
Another factor to consider in your sunscreen selection is its effect on the environment. While the science around exactly how damaging sunscreen is to our oceans is inconclusive, what ingredients should we be looking out for to make the best choice possible? Here, the marine biologist Professor Cinzia Corinaldesi from the Università Politecnica delle Marche and Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55, provides a five-step guide.
Avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate
The main chemicals to watch out for are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are commonly used in sunscreen to absorb UV light. “We [have] demonstrated that oxybenzone, octinoxate and enzacamene caused complete coral bleaching even at very low concentrations,” says Professor Corinaldesi. Octocrylene is another chemical that’s potentially harmful to marine life, with the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory compiling a handy list of the ingredients we should try to avoid.
“Certain organic filters have been identified in water sources worldwide and there seems to be a suggestion that they are not easily removed by common wastewater techniques,” adds Dr Mahto. “Many of the filters have also been found in various species of fish worldwide — the impact of this is uncertain on the food chain.”
Opt for a mineral sunscreen instead
Mineral sunscreens, which typically contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are thought to be less harmful to coral reefs in comparison to their chemical counterparts. “Mineral sunscreens rely on inorganic filters, which form a physical barrier on the skin surface,” explains Dr Mahto.
It’s worth remembering, though, that some research suggests zinc oxide can also pose a danger to marine life. “Our studies indicate that zinc oxide nanoparticles are very harmful to marine organisms,” says Professor Corinaldesi, but adds that titanium dioxide with surface coatings — as found in Green People’s scent-free SPF 30 — “has a much lower impact on coral reefs”.
Look for non-nanoparticles
Particle size matters, too. While nanoparticles can be absorbed by coral reefs, research suggests that larger non-nanoparticles (a label you’ll see on lotions) are better for the environment. Ren’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 uses non-nano zinc oxide, while Stream2Sea’s sunscreens contain non-nano titanium oxide. “Consumers should look out for sunscreens that use non-nanoparticles because nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are expected to be more harmful to marine organisms than non-nanoparticles,” explains Professor Corinaldesi.
Read beyond the ‘reef-safe’ or ‘ocean-safe’ labels
The increase in demand for eco-friendly sunscreens means that a lot of brands are now marketing their products as ‘reef-safe’ or ‘ocean-safe’. This usually means they don’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate — the two chemicals banned in sunscreen by countries such as Hawaii — but they could still contain other chemicals on the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory list that are potentially harmful to the environment. “Consumers should check the ingredients on the label of the products,” Professor Corinaldesi comments.
Don’t forget the packaging
Beyond the ingredients in sunscreen, it’s important to consider the packaging as well, with discarded sunscreen bottles contributing, in part, to the 8m tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans every year. Brands such as Green People are using recyclable plant-based packaging made from sugar cane; a much more eco-friendly option compared to traditional plastic containers.
From barely-there textures to subtly-tinted creams for when you don’t feel like wearing makeup, shop British Vogue’s edit of the 20 best SPFs for your face below.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel SPF50+
If you suffer from blemishes, you may find that sun protection leaves your skin feeling greasy and prone to breakouts. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel is specifically designed for people with those concerns, offering a non-comedogenic, feather-light formula with a velvet finish alongside SPF 50 protection.
Doubling up as both a moisturiser and an SPF 50 sunscreen, Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense is an industry favourite, perfect for those with sensitive skin thanks to its oil-free, fragrance-free formula. It doesn’t leave a chalky residue either, making it a good choice for darker skin tones.
With tranexamic acid and niacinamide, this is a supercharged SPF that’s as good at protecting skin from the sun as it is preventing and reducing discolouration. Put simply, it’s an excellent choice if you want an SPF that works really, really hard.
Utilising Shiseido’s WetForce technology, which makes the formula work harder when it comes into contact with water or sweat, this Clear Suncare Stick is particularly brilliant for holidays, humid environments, or when playing outdoor sports. The handy stick packaging means it slots easily into your bag and can be rolled onto areas of the face and body as and when needed.
Making great SPFs its speciality, Supergoop’s latest launch is the Glowscreen SPF 30, a formula that offers the dewiest, most luminous glow, as well as an SPF of 30. With hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, niacinamide, and protective cocoa peptides, it doubles up as a skincare staple too – and you’ll actively look forward to applying it each day.
Especially good for those with sensitive or reactive skin types, Avène’s Intense Protect is as light as silk and ultra-gentle. Not only does it contain the brand’s soothing thermal spring water and pre-tocopheryl, a powerful antioxidant, but it also houses TriAsorB, the first organic sun filter that absorbs and reflects UVA, UVB, and blue light. A must-try.
Drying perfectly matte, making it a great base for make-up, Heliocare’s 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50 is a cult classic loved by those in the know. Ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skins, it protects against UVB, UVA, infrared‐A and visible light.
Non-toxic to marine life, this formula protects skin from UVA and UVB while offsetting free radical damage from the environment, thanks to potent antioxidants grape juice, sunflower shoot extract, and astaxanthin.
Facialist to the stars, Kate Somerville also has this easy-to-use spray-on SPF in her product repertoire. Not only will it protect skin from the sun, but thanks to a light-diffusing silicone powder and hyaluronic acid in the formula, it helps to set make-up, mattify and hydrate skin. What’s not to love?
Offering a customisable approach to sun protection, Dr Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops can be worn undiluted as a serum or a few drops can be added to your regular skincare for lightweight SPF 50 protection. It’s a high price point, but it goes a long way, and works well on all skin tones.
From blue and UV light to pollen and indoor pollution, this intelligent formula is packed full of antioxidants to protect the skin from all manner of external aggressors. Using organic mango leaf extract, it is delightfully lightweight in texture and promises eight hours of hydration while doing its protective thing.
A formula just as luxurious as its packaging, this Sisley number comes in a stick applicator to make applying your sun care a breeze (and will prevent SPF spillages while travelling). With a slight tint to it, expect a little complexion perk up, while ingredients like shea, camellia oil and mango butter hydrate and smooth skin.
A multitasking formula, Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen offers factor 50 protection, and contains an array of skincare ingredients – from peptides to vitamin C-rich kakadu plum – to combat free radicals. It is clear (so won’t leave a white cast) and helps to protect from blue light, while also leaving skin primed and ready for make-up. Put simply: it’s excellent.
For those who still want to look like they’ve spent an optimal time in the sun (even if that’s not the case), this serum delivers an immediate sun-kissed bronze glow while deeply hydrating skin (thanks to hyaluronic acid and squalane) and protects skin from the sun.
A formula that is packed with skin-saving ingredients, Dr Lancer’s SPF will improve skin texture, boost glow, and prime skin ready for make-up – all while doing its main job of fending off UVA and UVB. A brilliant option and great for all skin tones.
Great for all skin types, especially those prone to breakouts, this SPF feels like a moisturiser but acts as an all-bases-covered skin-protecting formula. From blue light to pollution, it’s got your skin covered for every eventuality, plus it contains multi-weight hyaluronic acid and skin-softening emollients to leave skin in excellent nick in its wake.
When you live in a city, the effects of pollution on your skin are as much a threat as sun damage. Luckily Chanel has the solution in the form of the brand’s UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily Defender, which gives broad-spectrum SPF 30 or 50 protection as well as creating a barrier against pollution and free radicals.
The brightening skincare ingredient can tackle hyperpigmentation.
As far as brightening skincare ingredients go, vitamin C is an A-list star. However, there are other effective ingredients that can treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, sun damage, or melasma that deserve some time in the spotlight, too.
Tranexamic acid is one such ingredient having a moment, with more and more skincare influencers and beauty brands shining light on its benefits and including it in product formulas. While tranexamic acid can be effective on its own, it works even better as an ensemble with other dark spot-fighting ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, and more.
What Is Tranexamic Acid?
“Tranexamic acid is a synthetic form of lysine, which is an amino acid needed to make proteins,” says Dr. Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “It works by decreasing the production of melanin and we know that the oral form is much more effective at treating melasma than topical form. That being said, serums and other products that contain this ingredient have a lot of potential to help improve hyperpigmentation.”
The ingredient originally was used as a hemostatic agent to help blood clots, but recently has been utilized as a brightening ingredient to help minimize hyperpigmentation as well as melasma.
What Are the Benefits of Using Tranexamic Acid?
One of the major benefits of tranexamic acid is that it plays nice with other brightening ingredients, so you can really zero in on hyperpigmentation.
“There are many treatments for dark spots and these often work well together including licorice, niacinamide, kojic acid, tranexemic acid, retinoids, chemical exfoliants [such as glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid], and more,” Dr. Marchbein says. The dermatologist often recommends serums with tranexamic acid and other brightening agents be used in the same routine for the ingredients to work synergistically to improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma.
Tranexamic acid is also a safer, effective alternative to hydroquinone, a potentially irritating bleaching ingredient. “There aren’t many options when it comes to safe, effective skin lightening bioactives,” says Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. “Hydroquinone is banned in the EU and restricted in many countries due to its safety concerns. Tranexamic acid has shown promising evidence as a plasmin inhibitor and therefore an effective treatment for UV induced discoloration, dark spots, and redness.”
What Are the Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid?
All skin types can use tranexamic acid, but like adding any other new ingredient to your skincare routine, it’s best to do a patch test to ensure you won’t experience irritation.
It’s also important to wear SPF when using tranexamic acid, along with other brightening ingredients, because the sun can make hyperpigmentation darker.
“Remember that before you spend your money on antioxidant serums, brightening ingredients, and retinoids to improve the tone of your skin and hyperpigmentation, the most important and first step is diligent daily sun protection,” Dr. Marchbein says. “It is key to reduce the appearance of brown spots (otherwise you are literally throwing your money away).” The dermatologist recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be applied to the face, neck, and ears every day — even in the winter.
How Do You Add Tranexamic Acid to Your Skincare Routine?
Dr. Marchbein says to use tranexamic acid once or twice a day. “I also layer tranexamic acid containing serums over Vitamin C serums and under SPF in the morning and under retinoids at nighttime, so this can safely and effectively be combined with multiple other actives.”
The active can be found in serums, moisturizers, and toners, so it’s entirely up to you what step of your routine in which you want to incorporate it.
That being said, Koestline says serums are a popular way to go. “Most people do like using actives in their serum layer since you’re applying it before other products.”
Shop Tranexamic Acid Skincare Products:
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
Dr. Marchbein is a fan of this serum by SkinCeuticals, which she often recommends to patients treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. It’s infused with tranexamic acid, along with kojic acid and niacinamide, another two tried-and-true brightening ingredients.
Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment
In addition to niacinamide, the all-star cast of Peter Thomas Roth’s discoloration treatment includes tranexmic and kojic acids, alpha arbutin, and pentapeptide. The lightweight cream can be applied twice a day on clean skin and is best followed by a moisturizer.
Puffiness? Dark circles? Dryness? Crow’s feet? This eye mask by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas checks all the boxes. It’s powered by brightening tranexamic acid, collagen-boosting matrixyl, soothing allantoin, and hydrating licorice root extract.
If post-breakout dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or dullness are your main skincare concerns, try swapping your usual moisturizer for this overnight treatment. Powered by tranexamic acid, vitamin C, and acai berry extract, it targets areas of discoloration and boosts overall radiance.
Dr. Marchbein says SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 serum is another great option for treating discoloration. It combines tranexamic acid with niacinamide, phytic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol, and a marine extract blend to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation without drying out skin.
When I discovered powder sunscreen, it was a total game-changer. They’re basically UV blockers (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) in a powder form that can be easily brushed on skin throughout the day when you need to reapply your SPF, all without messing up your makeup. In fact, depending on which one you try, they’re actually pretty excellent for mattifying oily skin or even adding a little bronzed glow to your face. Genius, right?
BEST MULTITASKING POWDER SUNSCREEN :
Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30
Not only does this SPF 30 powder protect you from UVA and UVB rays with zinc oxide, it uses antioxidants (specifically vitamin C and vitamin E) tohelp minimize free radical damage and ceramides (they’re essential for a healthy, functioning skin barrier) to prevent moisture loss throughout the day.
I love this powder sunscreen for two main reasons (beyond the fact that it shields skin with SPF 30). The first being that the brush head is removable (you can easily pop it off to clean and disinfect the brush hairs as needed) and the second is that it’s refillable! Once you finish up the powder, just recycle your empty powder pod and replace it with a new one.
This powder sunscreen feels practically weightless and has a translucent matte finish, so it works on just about every skin tone. Another bonus: It layers perfectly (no clumps or caking) over liquid, cream, and powder makeup products too.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
Any time I talk to a dermatologist about powder sunscreens, this top-rated one from Colorescience always comes up in the convo. The tried-and-true mineral formula protects skin from UV rays with SPF 50 and comes in four different shades (fair, medium, tan, and deep) that never look chalky or ashy on skin.
This powder sunscreen with SPF 30 is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for days when you’re hanging by the pool or sweating like crazy. I like to apply my regular cream-based facial sunscreen in the morning and then layer this one on top throughout the day as a touch-up.
Oily skin types, get excited. This powder sunscreen doesn’t just shield your face from UV rays, it keeps it nice and matte too. As soon as you dust the translucent mineral formula over your skin, it’ll soak up excess oil to keep your face grease-free for hours.
The last step in your makeup routine should 100 percent be a layer of this powder sunscreen. It provides you with your daily dose of SPF 30 AND sets your makeup for up to 12 hoursof transfer-proof wear.
If you’ve got sensitive skin, this soothing powder sunscreen is for you. The gentle, non-irritating formula is made with anti-inflammatory zinc oxide to protect skin from sunburns and photo-damage, plus redness-reducing chamomile and green tea.
This translucent SPF powder is made with all-natural and organic ingredients (like aloe vera, passion fruit, and rosemary oil), making it a legit option for anyone who is into the green beauty scene. Buff it in to protect your skin from UV rays, take down shine and excess oil, and minimize redness.
Supergoop Poof 100% Mineral Part and Scalp Powder SPF 45
Think of this brush-on powder with SPF 45 as a dry shampoo/sunscreen hybrid. Apply it to your part to soak up excess oil (just like a dry shampoo) and protect your scalp from getting burned. And don’t worry, it won’t leave behind any weird, white-ish residue.
The long, dark days of winter are officially behind us, but the effects may linger in the form of dull, lackluster skin. Fortunately, the seasonal shift brings a sense of renewal, the welcome shedding of layers—and there’s no reason that should stop with your wardrobe.
“Spring is an ideal time of the year to start incorporating retinol into your routine,” says Onyeka Obioha, M.D., a dermatologist in Los Angeles. She joins a perpetual chorus of experts championing the ingredient as a means to brighter, smoother skin. Plus, she adds, “in warmer months, people are able to better tolerate it.”
For the uninitiated, retinol and other derivatives of vitamin A (together, they fall under the umbrella category of “retinoids”) count among the hardest-working ingredients in the skin-care realm. Vitamin A offers a multitude of benefits for skin: Thanks to its ability to speed cell turnover and spur collagen production, it can help smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, brighten dark spots and discoloration, and even quell breakouts. (The prescription-strength form called tretinoin—known by its brand name, Retin-A—originally launched as an acne medication before people realized its broader utility.) “When it comes to visibly improving the texture and appearance of your skin while preventing signs of aging, retinol is unmatched,” says Austin-based esthetician Renée Rouleau.
There is a common downside. Because the ingredient is so powerful, explains Rouleau, “it can also come with unwanted side effects, like dryness, flaking, irritation, and sensitivity, for a lot of people, especially during the first four to six weeks.” (Retinoids are not advised for those who are pregnant or nursing.) Although over-the-counter forms of retinol tend to be milder than the derm-prescribed counterpart, it’s still wise to wade in slowly. Obioha recommends starting with a pea-size amount three nights a week, then gradually increasing from there. Following up with daytime sun protection is of utmost importance, since retinol can increase skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
Even if you’ve had a touch-and-go experience with retinol in the past, recent formulations designed with tolerance in mind offer an incentive to dip back in. There’s no better time for a fresh start.
Shani Darden Retinol Reform Serum
Created by Los Angeles aesthetician Shani Darden, this cream combines retinol with lactic acid and anti-inflammatory niacinamide. It’s a strategic pairing, with the lactic acid delivering immediate smoothing and hydrating benefits while retinol gets to work from within.
StriVectin Super-C Retinol Brighten & Correct Vitamin C Serum
While vitamin C certainly has a starring role in many retinol products, it doesn’t always match the power of a dedicated vitamin C serum. Not so with this dual-action serum, which offers that dream team at high concentrations to improve skin tone and texture.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Topical Retinoid Acne Treatment
If you’re experiencing acne lately, you’re not alone. “Warmer temperatures and an increase in humidity can cause buildup on the skin, which clogs pores and can result in breakouts,” says Obioha. This powerful treatment uses adapalene, which is the sole prescription-strength retinoid available without an Rx, to help maintain a clear complexion.
As protective face masks are still de rigueur, so is maskne. Retinol can help. “It can work to increase skin cell turnover and unclog pores,” says Obioha. Salicylic acid in this oil offers acne-fighting benefits on the spot, while the retinol works to prevent future breakouts.
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules
Concentration isn’t the only thing that matters in a skin-care formula—potency does, too. These sealed, biodegradable capsules keep the combination of retinol and antioxidants fresh and at peak efficacy until it’s applied to the skin.
Why settle for one type of retinol when you can have three? This potent cream consists of a fast-acting retinol, a time-release version, and a retinol booster for peak efficiency. Lest your skin starts to feel dry just reading that, not to worry: Niacinamide gives it proper credibility as a calming night treatment, too.
To amp up the power of this night oil, retinol is paired with salicylic acid, which is prized in its own right for its ability to gently lift dead skin cells. In practice, this ultimately clears the way for retinol to better penetrate—in turn yielding results in as little as one week.
IT Cosmetics Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream
Retinol is uniquely equipped to handle signs of aging. “Retinoids actually build collagen and thicken the dermis layer of the skin, which makes the skin appear plump and healthy,” says Obioha. This hybrid formula pairs both free and encapsulated retinol molecules—the better to reach multiple layers of skin—with soothing niacinamide.
Fine lines and deeper wrinkles can’t be blamed on a single culprit. Conversely, their treatment approach isn’t singular, either. That’s why this serum combines retinol with a collagen-boosting blend of peptides, vitamin C, and botanical extracts, which together work to firm and smooth skin.
Health-food-inspired beauty potions can be a little absurd. But turmeric-laced skin care isn’t that. Studies have shown that curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, can decrease UV damage (it’s a natural antioxidant) and clear up acne (it’s also antibacterial) when applied to skin. It may also reduce collagen breakdown when taken orally, says Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist in New York City. In fact, there are several dermatologists who take a turmeric supplement every morning. “It can prevent conditions, including skin redness, hair loss, and cardiovascular disease, which are caused by inflammation,” says Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in West Islip, New York. She’s a believer — she pops a 500-milligram pill daily.
First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Ginger & Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask
I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly…mask? First Aid Beauty’s Ginger & Turmeric gel-based mask is supercharged with ginger, turmeric, and vitamin C to invigorate tired, stressed-out skin.
Kora Organics Turmeric 2-in-1 Brightening & Exfoliating Mask
If it’s good enough for Miranda Kerr, it’s good enough for me. I love her Kora Organics Turmeric 2-in-1 Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, which contains exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids to address hyperpigmentation, dullness, and uneven texture.
Pores? What pores? Peach & Lily’s The Good Acids Pore Toner features soothing turmeric, alongside a slew of other nourishing ingredients like aloe, to balance skin while seriously turning up the glow factor in your complexion.
The Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask does exactly what its jar says: brightens and energizes skin. Spread this creamy mask across your cheeks and let it dry. As you wash it off, the cranberry seeds gently break down dry, dead skin on the surface of your skin, leaving it glowier and feeling incredibly refreshed.
Volition Turmeric Brightening Polish for Face and Body
Volition’s Turmeric Brightening Polish for Face and Body looks and smells earthy right out of the tube, but on contact, the gritty brown paste melts into a smooth, hydrating milk. It combines turmeric with sandalwood and olive oil (which hydrate and tone skin), leaving skin visibly brighter after one use.
The amber-colored Clarins Double Serum is bi-phase, meaning it’s made up of a water-soluble formula and a fat-soluble one that, when combined, deeply penetrates and nourishes skin. The bottle is dual-chambered, so every pump contains just the right amount of each formula — two-thirds water-based ingredients and one-third oil-based ones — including, yep, you guessed it, turmeric.
The clear Tula Pro-Glycolic 10% pH Resurfacing Gel does it all (though, you may not notice it right away). With a blend of probiotics and glycolic acid, it restores skin’s pH level, brings down inflammation, exfoliates, and moisturizes. Swipe it over your skin, and in about five minutes, skin will feel smoother and suppler.
As Nazarian mentioned, turmeric’s effects can also be seen when ingested. With a blend of antioxidant phytonutrients (including a 12.5 milligrams of turmeric), the Jane Iredale Skin Antioxidant Capsules protect and repair skin from damaging free radicals from sun and smog.
Massage the ultra-rich Aveda Tulasara Wedding Masque all over your face before bed, and you’ll wake up with your skin feeling soft and supple in the AM. Plus, it smells amazing — a citrusy, flowery combination of jasmine, chamomile, and grapefruit oil.
Perricone MD Pre:Empt Series Daily Brightening Moisturizer
Loaded with antioxidants, just a few pumps of the Perricone MD Pre:Empt Series Daily Brightening Moisturizer gives skin the hydration it needs for the day. Think of it as a three-in-one treatment: a hydrator, a makeup primer, and skin protector (thanks to SPF 30).
The Andalou Naturals Turmeric Enlight Serum is full of a potent fruit stem cell complex, turmeric, and glow-enhancing vitamin C to address dark spots, counteract free-radical damage caused by UV rays, and boost collagen and elastin production for a truly radiant complexion.
While Drunk Elephant originally started as a skincare brand, the company has since expanded its product line into the body and makeup categories — and most recently, hair care. As always, you can rest assured that each product is designed to keep your skin (and now hair) healthy, nourished, and radiant, thanks to the innovative vitamin-, antioxidant-, and mineral-infused formulas.
There’s plenty of praise to be sung for this brand, and a long list of products to choose from. If you’re new to Drunk Elephant or already a fan and looking to try the latest launches, I’ve narrowed down several — 11, to be exact — of the top picks that I think are worthy of a spot in your routine.
B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
Applying serum before your moisturizer is one of the easiest ways to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy since many are packed with highly concentrated doses of active ingredients. The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum features a lightweight formula containing brightening pineapple ceramide and hydrating vitamin B5. It’s also infused with sodium hyaluronate, which cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos tells Allure is “very effective for plumping lines.”
The Best of Beauty Award-winning C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum is another great option. The vitamin C- and antioxidant-rich serum repairs sun damage. It also features pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract, both of which help to dissolve dead skin cells, thus reducing the appearance of pores and overall dullness.
You already know the importance of wearing sunscreen daily (even indoors), but with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to narrow it down. The ultra-lightweight Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 pretty much eliminates the guesswork. It’s designed for — you guessed it — everyday wear. The editor-favorite sunscreen has won an Allure Readers’ Choice Award three consecutive years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. The creamy, silicone-free formula is ideal for even the most sensitive skin types and contains 20 percent zinc oxide (to protect the skin from harmful UV rays), as well as antioxidant-rich algae, sunflower sprout extracts, and raspberry seed oil.
A-Passioni Retinol Cream picked up a 2020 Best of Beauty Award after one Allure editor credited the product for reducing hyperpigmentation and breakouts. Retinol is one of the most versatile, dermatologist-lauded skin-care ingredients and can do just about anything, including brightening skin, reducing wrinkles, and minimizing breakouts. That said, it’s an all-around win for a range of skin concerns.
With professional facials few and far between these days, the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial at-home peel is a more-than-suitable substitute. It’s designed for weekly use and is formulated with 25 percent alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids — and two percent beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), otherwise known as salicylic acid. These chemical exfoliants eliminate dead skin cells and smooth texture. The creamy, non-traditional formula will leave your skin feeling fresh, clean, and rejuvenated. No wonder it won a Best of Beauty Award.
Once you’ve smoothed skin over with a peel, top it off with the brand’s moisturizing Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. It’s a pure one-ingredient oil packed with skin-restoring and vitamin E-infused marula seed oil to protect against free radicals and pollution.
The Best of Beauty-winning Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is chock-full of soothing fruit extracts and oils including marula, baobab, and Kalahari melon seeds to keep skin moisturized and nourished. The oil-based cleansing balm also features bamboo and charcoal powders to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin.
Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm is especially ideal for the winter months when many of us suffer from dry, dehydrated, and chapped lips. The buttery balm is also made with moisturizing avocado oil, which is rich in fatty acids, along with mongongo oil to keep skin smooth, and hydrating peptides.
For a natural-looking, all-over glow in any season, try the antioxidant-rich D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops. The lightweight formula is infused with soothing cocoa extract, fine line-eliminating peptides, rejuvenating vitamin D, and vitamin F (fatty acids), the latter of which promotes a healthy skin barrier.
If you’ve yet to dive into the greatness of micellar water, you’re surely missing out. The beloved, ultra-gentle cleaning format gently grabs dirt, tones skin, and removes makeup all at the same time — and all without stripping or harming the skin. The hydrating, non-irritating E-Rase Milki Micellar Water offers a milky formula with nourishing omega fatty acids. “This is a great ceramide-based micellar water that’s perfect for removing makeup pre-wash,” board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson previously told Allure.
Knots won’t know what hit ’em when the Wild Marula Tangle Spray makes contact. The leave-in treatment works three-fold to detangle, condition, and act as a heat protectant, thanks to moisturizing sacha inchi and pracaxi seed oils. Strengthening amino acids, on the other hand, will help prevent breakage-induced dryness that can settle in during colder winter months.