The 15 Best Drugstore Moisturizers Under $20

Aside from sunscreen, moisturizer is arguably the most crucial part of any skincare routine. Whether you’re looking to banish rough patches, soothe sensitive skin, or simply to keep your hydration levels in check, the quest for the perfect formula can be frustrating, to say the least — and it can end up taking a toll on your patience and your wallet.

Although there are a lot of different moisturizers with their fair share of bells and whistles, a few characteristics should be standard. “A good moisturizer should absorb right into the skin and relieve any tightness or dryness,” New York City-based dermatologist Lokita Singh has previously told Allure. “It should be lightweight so you can’t feel it as a distinct layer on the skin.”

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Certified by the National Eczema Association, the ceramides in CeraVe Moisturizing Cream tackle dehydration, while the hyaluronic acid draws in moisture. This gentle cream, which won a 2018 Best of Beauty Award for being the best sensitive-skin moisturizer, also guarantees a huge bang for your buck because a 16-ounce jar retails for under $20.

$19 (Shop Now)

Differin Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Think of this oil-free moisturizer as a sidekick for the Allure Best of Beauty Award-winning Differin Gel (one of the most revolutionary acne breakthroughs in years). Not only is this moisturizer noncomedogenic, but it actually absorbs excess oil. Plus, this formula contains an SPF, so it thwarts breakouts and UV rays.

$14 (Shop Now)

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion

Cetaphil is well-loved in the skin-care community for its super-gentle formulas that are safe enough for even the most sensitive skin — and the brand’s lightweight hydrator is no exception. It’s spiked with moisture-locking hyaluronic acid and glycerin, so itchy, irritated skin doesn’t stand a chance.

$16 (Shop Now)

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV

I’ve already raved about the magic behind this Best of Beauty Award-winning hydrator and how it effectively moisturizes deep into the microbiome, which is the top layer of the skin’s physical barrier. But I also have to give it props for its UV protection, which is a broad-spectrum SPF 30.

$20 (Shop Now)

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream

New York City dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali recommends Neutrogena’s Bright Boost Gel Cream because of its exfoliating poly-hydroxy acids and mandelic acid, an ingredient that brings down redness and corrects pigmentation issues.

$20 (Shop Now)

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer has earned an impressive five Best of Beauty Awards — and with good reason. It mixes together free-radical-fighting antioxidants, SPF, and soy (which dermatologists say can brighten areas of hyperpigmentation) in a lightweight lotion.

$14 (Shop Now)

Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator

Housed in Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator’s bright pink jar is a jelly of the same hue that feels like water as you massage it into your cheeks. The end result: skin that feels bouncy and hydrated.

$20 (Shop Now)

E.L.F. Cannabis Sativa Happy Hydration Cream

The star ingredients in E.L.F.’s rich cream are hemp oil, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and vitamins that work to diminish the appearance of fine lines. The brand also added moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, brightening and smoothing niacinamide, and nourishing vitamin B5 for a powerhouse blend that improves your skin’s overall appearance.

$12 (Shop Now)

Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream

Relieve parched skin with this lightweight cooling gel. Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream contains three types of hyaluronic acid, skin-coddling oils, and soothing blue lotus flower.

$15 (Shop Now)

Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream

Dove’s DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream, which contains nourishing shea butter and glycerin, will pamper and soothe your dry skin as you sleep.

$15 (Shop Now)

Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost

Quell dryness and and soothe distressed skin with this thick cream. Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost blends together hyaluronic acid and kale, a “superfood,” which touts major moisturizing properties.

$19 (Shop Now)

Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Moisturizer SPF 30

Aside from moisturizing, this lightweight, oil-free lotion contains vitamin C to brighten skin and an SPF of 30 to prevent sun damage. Wear it alone or comfortably under makeup to enhance your glow.

$17 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care

If you’re not a fan of heavy, creamy textures, you’ll love L’Oréal Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care. This liquid moisturizer, which contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming aloe water, soothes dry patches and leaves skin feeling soft and silky without a sticky finish.

$18 (Shop Now)

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

Honest Beauty’s thick, non-greasy cream sweeps on to feel cool and massages into skin to leave it bouncy and noticeably moisturized. Skin is petal-soft with zero stickiness.

$20 (Shop Now)

Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer

It may be baby-pink and smell sweet like Jolly Ranchers, but Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer is as hardworking as it is delightful. It contains sodium hyaluronate to leave skin hydrated and feeling refreshed as you apply it. The best part: It costs only $6.

$6 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The Best Vitamin C Serums for a Brighter Complexion

Whether you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, skin dullness, dark marks, or sagging skin, seeking out the best vitamin C serum is likely important to you. “I look at vitamin C as that little black dress in your closet. It’s definitely one of those things you must have. It works to boost circulation, amplify the skin’s complexion and stimulate collagen production,” founder of Dermasaa and in-house esthetician at Brooklyn Face & Eye Samantha Mims tells Vogue.

For those reasons, Mims has a few go-tos that she recommends to her clients: Epi.logic’s Daily Dose SerumSkin Regimen’s 15.0 Vitamin C Booster, and the Solavedi Organics Rx Remedy. “Each treatment serum is developed to address concerns associated with aging,” she notes. Mims adds that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way when it comes to applying the serum– what’s more important is what you do afterwards. “Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental factors such as pollution and UV light. So whether you’re deciding to use your serum in the morning, evening or both, it’s important you’re following up with a layer of broad spectrum sunscreen daily.” Celebrity esthetician Vanessa Marc, of Vanessa Marc Spa—who counts Jasmine Tookes, Alton Mason, and Justine Skye as clients—recommends Teami Blends Vitamin C Serum because “it has hibiscus and vitamin C in it. This product is all natural which makes it vegan, plant-based, and cruelty free.”

As for Paula Bourelly, MD, a dermatologist at Olney Dermatology Associates, she recommends products with ingredients like arbutin and ubiquinone, as they both have “brightening properties which help to lighten brown spots, and as antioxidants the ascorbic acid and tocopherol add another layer of defense to traditional sunscreens.” Citrix C Pro-Collagen, Brightening Serum by Topix is her favorite product to recommend to her patients who struggle with hyperpigmentation issues like melasma and freckling. She suggests using it in the morning before applying SPF 30 or higher.

Here, 21 options to help you find the best vitamin C serum to give your skin the radiance boost it deserves.

Avya Skincare Anti-Aging Power Serum

Avya skincare was created by co-founders Deepika Vyas and Tanuj Makra, MD with the skin needs of people of color in mind. Their Anti-Aging Power Serum is a one-stop-shop for improving the skin’s surface. It’s filled with Avya’s signature ingredients: hyaluronic acid for hydration; Vitamin C for brightening, collagen boosting, and free radical prevention, and Niacinamide to reduce pore size.

Buy at Macy’s $110

Beauty Stat Universal C Skin Refiner

This serum contains vitamin C in its purest form, with a unique patented formula of Stable 20% Pure Vitamin C and Stable Epigallocatechin Gallate, which is a skin-aiding ingredient found in green tea. The two ingredients work well together to prevent signs of aging, alongside squalane for moisture and tartaric acid which helps the skin absorb product more easily.

Buy at SkinStore $80

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Serum

This cruelty-free and vegan serum has a non-irritating form of Vitamin C paired with tri-peptides which work together to protect collagen from damage.

Buy at ULTA $27

Citrix Vitamin C Pro-Collagen Brightening Serum

This serum makes skin tone and texture appear smoother while fading dark spots with its L-ascorbic acid, vitamins A and E, and bearberry, among other hardworking ingredients.

Buy at LovelySkin $116

Cocokind Vitamin C Serum with Sea Grape Caviar

This serum provides lightweight moisture while also brightening dark marks and making skin appear more even.

Buy at CocoKind $18

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

This serum, which targets fine lines and elasticity, is packed with fruit enzymes which help to firm and brighten the skin.

Buy at Sephora $80

Epi.logic Skincare Daily Dose Vitamin C + Multivitamin Defense Serum

Created by oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton of Brooklyn Face & Eye, this serum protects skin from free radical damage, smooths wrinkles and brightens skin with its Vitamin C and antioxidant-rich formula.

Buy on their website $110

Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum

Hyper Skin is a brand “hyper-focused on treating the needs of people of color,” says founder Desiree Verdejo. The line’s debut product, Hyper Clear, helps to heal hyperpigmentation while simultaneously enhancing glow with its blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, turmeric and bearberry.

Buy on their website $36

Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate

This sensitive skin-friendly serum contains 12.5% Vitamin C along with Hyaluronic Acid. Both work together to blur the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while enhancing radiance.

Buy at Sephora $110

Klur Brilliant Light

This serum absorbs deeply into the skin with Vitamins C, E, and rosehip seed delivering brighter, damage-protected skin.

Buy on their website $80

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

A mix of antioxidants help this serum brighten and tighten the skin. Other notable ingredients include Konjac root (an Asian flower that helps soften and smooth the skin), plant-derived Ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins C and E.

Buy at ULTA $34

OleHenriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

Packed with 15% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, this serum delivers an instant brightening, firming, and plumping boost, while reducing dark spots, pores, and wrinkles.

Buy at Sephora $65

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster

This serum contains 15% pure vitamin C, offering distinctly brighter skin on uneven tones while also dispelling signs of of aging.

Buy on their website $49

PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum

Lilac Leaf Stem Cell Extract, Resveratrol, Glutathione, L-Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E, and Ergothioneine all work together to prevent inflammation, cellular oxidation, and increase hydration.

Buy at SkinStore $110

Protocol Vitamin C Superserum

Packaged in an oxygen-free environment so that ingredients are preserved to their full potency, this serum includes dermatologist recommended 10% natural Vitamin C, L-Ascorbic, which works to increase skin’s glow, even skin tone, and improve collagen production.

Buy at Protocol $130

Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

This vitamin C serum delivers environmental protection, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves firmness, and brightens.

Buy on their website $166

Skin Regimen 15.0 Vit C Booster

This Vitamin C booster, free of silicones and synthetic fragrance, works to produce youthful-looking skin while removing dark spots, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, and wrinkles.

Buy on their website $115

Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

This serum prevents aging in all of its forms: sensitivity, dehydration, dullness, uneven skin tone and wrinkles, and replaces it with a radiant, glowing complexion thanks to Vitamin C, Phytosterols Complex to soothe sensitive skin, and Saccharide Isomerate Extrace that regulates pore size.

Buy at SkinStore $85

The Inkey List Vitamin C Brightening Cream

This creamy, rich formula is best to use in the morning. It contains 30% L-ascorbic acid and promotes youthful-looking skin while protecting against free radicals and pollution, leaving skin brighter.

Buy at Sephora $10

Youth To The People Superfood Firm and Brighten Vitamin C Serum

This lightweight product is great for all skin types and is vegan, and free of parabens, sulfates, and dimethicone. Its vitamin C helps to fade hyperpigmentation, while hyaluronic acid aids in hydration.

Buy at Sephora $62

Teami Blends Hibiscus Infused Vitamin C Serum

This light pink, grapefruit-scented serum works to lift, brighten and smooth the skin with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. The hibiscus flower leaves within it were brewed into an antioxidant-filled red tea.

Buy at ULTA $45

VOGUE article

11 Of The Best Glow-Giving Beauty Products For Luminous Skin

Digitally savvy make-up, a product trend loved by beauty professionals for its camera-ready luminosity, became more relevant than ever when we found ourselves socialising and working from our homes. Thanks to technical formulations and sheer textures, this wave of on-screen glow-givers enhance rather than erase, championing picture-perfect skin that, crucially, still looks natural in reality.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow in Colour of Passion

A magical NEW! addition to Charlotte’s ICONIC Pillow Talk collection! Colour of Passion is a deep blushing berry-pink cream blush & lip tint.

Buy on their website $30

L’Oréal Paris’s Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Cream

Ultra-lightweight and comfortable, the moisturiser offers a barely-there feel on the skin, perfect for even bare-skin enthusiasts. Offering up to 24 hours of hydration, the moisturiser evens out the skin tone and provides a radiant finish. Antioxidants help to reinforce the skin’s natural defences against the damaging effects of daily environmental aggressors such as pollution. Enhance the natural beauty of your skin with this glowing formula.

Buy at LookFantastic $11

Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint

Infused with a host of skincare benefits, the weightless foundation utilises Butterfly Bush Flower Extract to help protect the skin against potential damage caused by environmental aggressors. Hyaluronic Acid releases a nourishing burst of hydration, helping the skin to better maintain a supple and silky appearance.

Buy at LookFantastic $36

Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser

Infused with light-reflecting micro-minerals that impart a fresh, dewy glow, the lightweight cream embraces your skin with essential moisture to plump and cushion. An energising blend of Kombucha, prebiotics and fermented Ginger is what powers this nourishing formula, bringing collective anti-ageing properties. Also enriched with fermented Green Tea Seed oil, the formula supports a healthy barrier function and respects the skin’s delicate microbiome.

Buy at LookFantastic $39

Nars Bronzing Powder in Casino

The best in bronze, NARS presents the award-winning Bronzing Powder. Available in four shimmering shades, this fabulous bronzer graces the skin with a sun kissed glow. Creating natural looking luminosity, the velvety texture melts into the skin for effortless blendability. Crafted from diffused powders, the formula delivers warmth and definition wherever you choose, bronzing the skin with a tanned tone. Finely milled, the powder is silky smooth and super blendable, applying evenly for a seamless finish. Thanks to its long lasting formula, this bronzer solemnly swears to stay in place all night long, keeping your makeup perfect so that you feel fresh and fierce. Choose the best, and don’t settle for less, with this infamous bronzer.

Buy at LookFantastic $31

Hourglass Veil Setting Spray Soft Focus Effect

This lightweight Veil Soft Focus Setting Spray not only sets make up while blurring imperfections, it also hydrates and grants a dewy finish. Undetectable on the skin and applied via the finest mist you’ll ever come across, this hydrating mist creates a smooth, even and naturally radiant appearance for a healthy-looking complexion. The spray’s water-resistant properties also enhance foundation for maximum staying power, setting it in place for up to 24 hours. It’s our new obsession and it’s about to become your too.

Buy at CULTBeauty $47

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

A lightweight gel-cream moisturizer that balances oil without drying skin or leaving a flat, powdery finish. Pores appear minimized, shine is gone, and skin is hydrated and happy.

Buy on their website $30

Chanel Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Highlighting Fluid

A highlighting fluid that instantly illuminates the complexion, giving a lit-from-within glow and a subtle, sun-kissed effect. 

The lightweight emulsion melts into the skin, keeping it comfortable all day long and radiant for up to 8 hours. With a sheer and transparent finish, the complexion is instantly more luminous.

Buy at FeelUnique $38

La Mer The Bronzer

Flecked with micro-shimmers, La Mer’s velvety bronzing powder creates a luminous sunkissed glow. It’s formulated with the vitamin-rich Miracle Broth™ to support a nourished, hydrated complexion with every swipe. Blend on the high points of your face to mirror a fresh-from-the-beach tan or use it to softly contour.

Buy at Net-A-Porter $75

James Read Click & Glow Tan Drops

Designed to be effortless to use, the drops can be quickly mixed with your daily moisturiser or SPF, meaning you don’t need to add an extra step to your routine to achieve a sun-kissed look.

Buy at LookFantastic $25

Marc Jacobs Glow Away Dewy Coconut Face Luminizer

Perfect for everyday wear, Marc Jacobs Beauty’s light-reflecting Glow Away Dewy Coconut Face Luminzer with a doe-foot applicator makes it effortless to spot highlight your features for a dewy, lit-from-within look. With soothing and skin-conditioning ingredients, the lightweight, serum-like formula feels cushiony and blends like a dream.

Buy at Harvey Nichols $28

VOGUE article

5 Simple Ways To Heat-Proof Your Make-Up

Heat, humidity and sweat; three of make-up’s biggest enemies. Or so you might think. It doesn’t have to be that way, since nifty products and clever application techniques can help your make-up stay put through thick and thin – and that’s with a mask on, too. Here find five make-up artist-approved tips to harness when it’s hot.

Prep the skin

How you tend to your skin before you apply make-up is key to enhancing the longevity of base formulas. “Cleanse and then apply a good serum and moisturiser,” says make-up artist Cher Webb. “Then use a primer. It makes a huge difference and will keep your base on for longer.” Look to lightweight, antioxidant-rich moisturisers like QMS Medicosmetics Epigen Pollution Defence Day Cream, a good summer option, then ensure you apply an SPF, like Beauty Pie’s Featherlight SPF 50. As for primer, look no further than Elemis’s new Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser, which imparts a radiant sheen over skin while also keeping subsequent base products in place.

Choose the right foundation

Finding the right foundation is essential if you want to wear it all day – and it’s not as difficult as you might think. Those who prefer a barely-there finish should opt for BB or CC creams – Kevyn Aucoin’s Stripped Nude Skin Tint is second to none for a glowy summer finish. For those who like medium coverage and upwards, look for products labelled “long wear”. “These will have been tested by a panel of people to ensure they can perform in such a manner,” says Debbie Finnegan, MAC’s global senior artist. MAC’s Studio Fix Foundation is one such formula and promises to last for up to 24 hours on skin. Meanwhile, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation and Urban Decay’s Stay Naked 24-Hour Foundation are both excellent options when temperatures rise.

Set your base

Whether you use a spray or a powder, setting your make-up is key. “The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray has been one of my make-up kit essentials for so many years now, as it sets and holds make-up in place for up to 16 hours,” says Webb. “It prevents make-up melting with its built-in temperature control formula, and I also spray it on top my brushes before make-up application for added longevity.” Mists are a great option during summer (we also love Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray), since they also hydrate and refresh the face – needed when temperatures are sky high – but powders are particularly good for those with oily skin. Look for finely-milled, translucent formulas, like Morphe’s Bake And Set Powder.

Consistency is key

To heat-proof your make-up look, switch creamy consistencies for powder textures instead. “In the heat, I would recommend making the most of your eye make-up, and add a matte bronzer and powder blush as these will last the duration,” advises Webb. “Cream and gel textures may move slightly over time, so go for matte products.” You’ll love getting Gucci Beauté’s Éclat Soleil Bronzing Powder out of your bag, such is its beautiful packaging and flattering matte bronze, while Chanel’s Joues Contraste Powder Blush comes in an array of flattering hues, ideal for sun-flushed skin.

Waterproof your eyes

If the heat all gets a bit much and your mascara simply won’t stay put, swap your normal mascara for a waterproof number. Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Volume on Demand Waterproof Mascara delivers a full and fluttery finish that stays put, no matter what you throw at it. 

VOGUE article

Do Beauty Supplements Really Work?

There are 134 search results for “beauty supplements” on Sephora.com alone, I can’t even imagine what the growing number is these days besides just Sephora. Many of these companies take advantage of the fact that many peoples’ insecurities are based on thoughts that they don’t have clear skin, strong hair and nails, enough collagen, etc.

The descriptions are usually pretty similar across the board, the promise is:

“Formulated by doctors, these supplements help nourish, firm, brighten the skin, while combatting visible signs of aging like fine lines and pigmentation…” you get the drift.

In reality though, mostly all of them are NOT made by doctors (in fact doctors recommend against them), and the high price tag (leading you to believe that you’re getting wonderful ingredients that’ll work right away) is simply a rip-off! For example, Algenist is advertising their Chlorella and Spirulina lines at $65 for a small amount, when you can get these ingredients in a grocery store. And sure, they might mention that their is “ethically sourced” or some big claim that there is no way for you to verify.

Sure, some people claim to notice a difference, but more often than not, the difference is very minimal, like softer skin, brighter complexion, and thicker eyebrows, which can be achieved through a proper diet and a skincare routine anyway!

A huge factor to note is the Placebo Effect – when you believe you’re in fact getting those benefits, you’ll convince yourself that the supplement is working, and in turn keep repurchasing it. It only adds to the problem when the shape of the vitamins is a cute gummy bear, or an extremely-sugary pill.

Collagen supplements are one of the most popular ones: collagen is in everything nowadays, even topically applied collagen has made its way into the market. However, there’s still no research the supports the fact that ingesting or applying collagen to your face or body does anything. The only studied support for external collagen applies to any treatments you might be getting (laser, etc) and engaging collagen with it while the skin is repairing, but that’s it.

Not to mention that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements the way it does drugs. So you never really know what you’re getting when you buy one of these products.

Granted, actual pharmacy vitamins, such as Calcium, Vitamin D, B, etc. can be helpful for individuals who lack the proper amounts of these in their systems and have been recommended by a doctor.

Beauty supplements are only a fraction of the supergiant supplement industry that also includes detox teas and dietary supplements, join pain relief, inflammation, redness, etc. Be on the lookout and be smarter than the constant promotional messages telling you “it’s the best thing for (your problem)”. Sometimes you don’t even think that you have that problem, until you’re being advertsised to and convinced of it!

References:
Video referenced
Everyday Health article
Huffington Post article
FDA website