The Best Lip Balms and Treatments to Nourish Dry Lips

T’is the season of flaky, chapped lips… which is why we keep our pockets, purses, and nightstands stocked with an arsenal of positively conditioning lip treatments. And you can trust I’ve tried every product under the sun: medicated balms, do-it-all salves, SPF spiked tubes, tasty, all-natural scrubs — I’ve even slapped on sheet masks made just for the mouth.

Here are some of mine, and ALLURE editors’ picks for this season:

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm

Don’t let the millennial-friendly packaging fool you: Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm is widely loved for a reason. Not only does it work wonders on dry, cracked lips — as well as chapped areas anywhere on the body — but it’s also lightweight, non-sticky, and leaves behind a silky sheen that doesn’t disappear after an hour. You can’t go wrong with this one.

$14 (Shop Now)

Nuxe Paris Reve De Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Nuxe Paris’s Reve De Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm is a classic French pharmacy favorite that’s beloved by bloggers, YouTubers, and beauty editors alike. While it has a thick, balm-like consistency thanks to its beeswax base, the formula never feels greasy or chunky on your lips. Instead, it dries down to a subtle matte texture and restores moisture within minutes.

$16 (Shop Now)

Kosasport LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm

Kosasport’s LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm glides on smoothly with zero stickiness, yet moisturizes like an overnight mask, thanks to heavy-duty hydrators, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and konjac root. For anyone unfamiliar with the latter ingredient, it works by creating a gel-like barrier between the lips and outside aggressors that affect dryness. Choose between two shades (cool pink and dusty rose) and one clear option. 

$18 (Shop Now)

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

A 2019 Allure of Beauty winner, Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask works overtime to ensure lips are moisturized, supple, and smooth-as-silk by morning. Infused with berry-derived antioxidants and vitamin C, as well as its proprietary “moisture wrap” technology, you’ll notice a visible difference in dryness after just one use. The intoxicating fruity scent doesn’t hurt either, though if that’s not your jam, it also comes in vanilla and apple lime.

A word from Allure beauty editor Paige Stables: “Even though it’s designed to use as an overnight mask, I also love it during the day,” she says. “A thin layer of the antioxidant-rich balm adds the prettiest subtle sheen to lips, and it layers nicely with lipstick, too.”

$20 (Shop Now)

Dr. Pawpaw Multi-Purpose Balm

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins — including A, C, and E — Dr. Pawpaw’s Multipurpose Soothing Balm delivers an intense dose of nourishment to the lips, as well as anywhere else on the body that could use some T.L.C. Additionally, its main ingredient, plant-derived fermented pawpaw, is lauded for soothing dry, irritated lips on contact. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also fragrance-free and vegan-friendly, making it suitable for so many different people.

$9 (Shop Now)

Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 35

Shiseido’s Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 35 is everything you’d expect from a brand that takes sun protection so seriously. This sleek little tube contains a whopping SPF 35, thanks to a mixture of both chemical and physical protection. Amazingly, it doesn’t taste the least bit like sunscreen, though it can leave a subtle white cast (but it’s nothing a little bit of lipstick layering can’t fix).

$24 (Shop Now)

Glossier Balm Dotcom

Editors are obsessed with Glossier’s Balm Dotcom for its chic packaging and its ability to soothe dry, chapped anything — lips, cuticles, elbows, heels, you name it.

$12 (Shop Now)

Fresh Sugar Tulip Tinted Lip Treatment

Fresh’s Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments are a beauty editor staple, and it isn’t hard to understand why. They feel rich and moisturizing on lips, and depending on swipe strength, the color can range from a sheer tint to a juicier, more saturated sheen.

$24 (Shop Now)

Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Lip Balm

Sun Bum’s SPF 30 Mineral Lip Balm is zinc-based and made of minerals that soften and smooth lips. Additionally: skin-smoothing cocoa butter and SPF 30 protection — with a dash of vitamin E provide sun protection. Not to mention, this packaging is undeniably adorable.

$4 (Shop Now)

By Terry Baume de Rose Balm

By Terry’s Baume de Rose Balm is formulated with ceramides and shea butter that help repair lips’ natural moisture barrier, addressing the problem for the long term instead of just temporarily. It also layers well with lipstick, keeping lips moisturized without causing it to slip and slide around.

$60 (Shop Now)

Yes to Coconut Lip Oil

Yes to Coconut’s Lip Oil is a Best of Beauty award winner — and for good reason. The silky oil won’t disappear from lips the way other balms do. Instead, it leaves them pampered and glossy with a healthy, stick-free shine.

$4 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment

As far as we’re concerned, the only thing better than a lip balm is a tinted lip balm. Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment comes in five hues (plus one clear option). Add a side of protection — SPF 25 and antioxidants from lemon peel — and consider all your bases covered.

$20 (Shop Now)

Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is a simple, nice lip salve. We like it because it’s zero percent shiny and doesn’t taste like candy.

$4 (Shop Now)

Coola Liplux SPF 30 Organic Lip Sunscreen

Dry lips, listen up. Coola’s Liplux SPF 30 Organic Lip Sunscreen contains pretty much every skin-softening ingredient imaginable: aloe, beeswax, coconut oil, raspberry seed oil, and jojoba seed oil. Not to mention, the aqua tube reminds us of days spent by the pool.

$12 (Shop Now)

Clarins Instant Light Lip Oil

Clarins’ Instant Light Lip Oil is one of those products that we could keep smearing on our lips all day because it feels slick, smells like vanilla, and makes lips super shiny while hydrating them at the same time.

$26 (Shop Now)

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm

“Malin + Goetz’s Mojito Lip Balm is as shiny as a gloss, so it’s great as a last step in your makeup routine. Not only is it really nourishing, but it’s also incredibly slippery, which feels awesome on dry, parched lips.” — Sophia Panych, former digital deputy beauty director

$14 (Shop Now)

Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil

Hourglass’s No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil is so good that you can slather it on before bed and still feel it on your lips the next morning. It’s a little sticky, so we find nighttime is the safest time of day to apply it without added mess. Plus, the gold applicator tip looks incredibly fancy.

$44 (Shop Now)

Supergoop Açai Fusion Lip Balm SPF 30

Shea butter fans, listen up: Supergooop’s Açai Fusion Lip Balm contains the hydrating ingredient, plus a dose of SPF 30. Initially, the formula is a pale pink, but it sheers out to a nice, neutral glisten.

$10 (Shop Now)

Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex Lip Balm is an oldie but a goodie. The iconic formula (which contains petrolatum, menthol, and camphor) has been soothing cracked lips for almost 80 years. One application, and it’s no surprise why we keep going back to it every winter.

$2 (Shop Now)

Chapstick Total Hydration 3 in 1 Lip Care

There’s no denying the brand’s expertise in lip care, and Chapstick’s Total Hydration 3 in 1 Lip Care feels silkier and lasts even longer than the original.

$3 (Shop Now)

Marc Jacobs Lip Lock SPF Lip Balm

There’s a chance that Marc Jacobs’ Lip Lock SPF Lip Balm is the chicest lip balm we’ve ever laid eyes on — but it’s more than just a pretty face. It’s spiked with shea butter, avocado oil, and a sweet, minty flavor. Add the fact that it contains SPF 18 (not the recommended SPF 30, but still SPF, nonetheless), and you have yourself a balm that’s both sexy and smart.

$24 (Shop Now)

Korres Lip Butter

Korres’s Lip Butter is as rich and creamy as the name suggests, which is precisely what makes this a coveted editor favorite. That, and the fact the gorgeous tints provide the perfect dose of color without skimping on moisture.

$12 (Shop Now)

Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cocoa Butter

This cocoa butter–infused version of its Lip Therapy has slightly more heft than just straight-up Vaseline, and it doesn’t melt down and feel oily the way the original version does.

$2 (Shop Now)

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

We’re big fans of Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask — it’s heavy-duty enough that you can put some on before bed and lips will still be nice and moisturized come morning.

$26 (Shop Now)

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

“Makeup artists love this balm for their male clients because it’s exceptionally hydrating but doesn’t leave any shine behind. After hearing that, I had to give it a try, and of course now I’m hooked. I use it when I’m wearing a bold lipstick. I put it on before I start my makeup and let it settle as I apply base, blush, and eye makeup. Once I’m ready for lipstick, my mouth is perfectly prepped.” — Sophia Panych

$8 (Shop Now)

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

In addition to being insanely hydrating, Smith’s Rosebud Salve has the slightest hint of pink, making it one of the easiest way to boost your natural lip color if you’re going for a no-makeup makeup look. Makeup artist Diane Kendal keeps tins of the stuff in her kit at all times.

$6 (Shop Now)

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Almost every Allure editor has Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment floating around their houses. It’s great for every dry patch — elbows and knees in the winter, itchy skin in the summer — and takes off the most stubborn eye makeup. But we particularly love it best as a lip balm. It’s not the sexiest, but it really soaks into chapped skin.

$7 (Shop Now)

Blistex Lip Medex

Blistex’s Lip Medex is no-frills, but so legit. One light swipe is the perfect lipstick primer, but you can pile it on thick for protection from harsh winter winds and freezing temperatures.

$3 (Shop Now)

RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm

RMS’s Beauty Lip & Skin Balm was created by makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, whose celebrity clientele includes a lineup of former Victoria’s Secret bombshells (Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, Karolina Kurkova). It can’t exactly promise Angel status, but the organic coconut oil balm will keep parched lips soft and supple all day long.

$25 (Shop Now)

La Mer The Lip Balm

La Mer’s The Lip Balm is a bit extravagant for an everyday lip product ($60, to be exact), but the marine extracts do a heck of a job healing severely parched lips in record time. Reserve the little pot as a nighttime treatment and lips will be soft and lush by morning — and remain that way all day long.

$60 (Shop Now)

Drunk Elephant Lippe Lip Balm

Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Lip Balm is short and squat, so the shape is more like a glue stick than a typical lip balm. The natural formula contains peptides, along with a bunch of moisturizing oils, so in theory, it should also ward off signs of aging in addition to keeping lips hydrated. It’s also lightweight and fairly matte, so your lips don’t end up looking overly glossy.

$18 (Shop Now)

Jane Iredale Lipdrink Lip Balm

The formula may be as hardworking as a medicated balm, but the dusty rose tint of Jane Iredale’s Lipdrink Lip Balm is as pretty and pigmented as some of our favorite sheer lipsticks.

$15 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

7 Trustworthy Lip Balms With SPF That Will Protect Your Pout

During the dog days of summer and moving into fall, it’s easy to fall short on safe sun practices—even when you know better. But the reality is that no body part is safe from the sun’s wrath, and one of the most important and overlooked areas for protection from harmful UV rays is the lips. Yes, even under a mask. That’s why a lip balm with SPF is a must-have for any makeup bag, says New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.

“Lips have no ability to produce a protective suntan, unlike other skin areas, so they’re prone to burning,” he explains, adding that oily balms and glosses attract more sun to the skin and increase radiation to boot. Over time, exposure can lead to a loss in volume, discoloration, the formation of fine lines—and worse. “Skin cancers on the lower lip are particularly dangerous because they can spread internally into the chest via the lymphatics vessels,” says Dr. Gross.

To safeguard your mouth during the sun-drenched months and beyond, there are a crop of shielding lip treatments that are impressively lightweight, free of chalky white residue, and don’t taste, well, icky. Tried-and-true favorites include Context’s soothing Lip Repair SPF, which nourishes thanks to ingredients such as aloe vera and rosemary extract, and Shiseido’s Sun Protection Lip Treatment, which contains 5% titanium dioxide sunscreen, yet smooths on easily and injects the lips with hydration. And whether you’re looking for a popsicle-stain-like wash, or something a little bolder, you don’t have to sacrifice color. Tinted formulas like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick or Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment deposit rich pigment along with a slew of moisturizing butters and antioxidant-packed oils. From the beach to your daily sanity walk, refresh your UV defense with a lip balm with SPF below.

Supergoop! Lip Shield Trio SPF 30

Housed in a trio of mini tubes perfect for stashing wherever it’s most convenient, this water-proof SPF 30 lip formula is laced with antioxidant-rich coconut, avocado, and grape seed oil.

Buy on Amazon

Clé de Peau UV Protective Lip Treatment SPF 30

As it provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, this luxe treatment moisturizers and restores the mouth with smoothing mango extract, energizing Asian ginseng extract, and soothing scutellaria baicalensis root.

Buy at Saks Fifth Avenue

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15

For a juicy dose of color, Elizabeth Arden’s sheer bullet comes in a slew of warm shades and features UV filters as well as emollient lanolin, healing beeswax, and free radical-fighting vitamin E.

Buy at SkinStore

Solid & Striped Shell Lip Balm SPF 45

With its silky gel wax texture, Solid & Stripe’s natural SPF 45 lip balm glides on smooth with plumping peptides, hydrating cactus flower, and anti-aging ginseng.

Buy on Revolve

Context Lip Repair SPF 30

Context’s water-friendly SPF 30 lip elixir moisturizes and riches with a laundry list of nourishing oils and antioxidant-packed vitamins A, B, and D.

Buy on Revolve

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

Fresh’s cult SPF 15 lip balm boasts moisture-retaining sugar, meadow foam seed oil, and grapeseed oil, and is offered in a wide range of berry hues.

Buy at Sephora

Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 35

Shielding the sun’s UV rays without any trace of white residue, Shiseido’s supercharged SPF 35 balm, which has the EWG seal of approval, enhances softness and luminosity with a boost of antioxidants.

Buy at Nordstrom

VOGUE article

How to Transition Your Skincare Routine From Summer to Fall

As summer’s scorching temps and steamy humidity slowly turn to earlier sunsets and cooler, drier air, the seasonal change in weather has a larger impact on our skin than you might think.

“Our skin is our first and most important barrier between our bodies and the outside world,” says Stanford-educated dermatologist Dr. Laurel Geraghty. “As temperatures and humidity levels drop, skin is one of the first organs to feel the effects, as it becomes dryer, more fragile, flakier, and itchier.”

Fall and winter are also when recurring skin conditions, like eczema, dandruff, and psoriasis rashes, tend to flare up, she cautions. 

To keep skin radiant and healthy — and dry skin freak outs far, far away — follow these dermatologist-approved skincare swaps and tweaks to make the seasonal shift seamless. 

Why Does My Skin Get So Dry in the Fall?

“In the fall and especially in the winter, the dip in humidity, cooler weather, hot showers, and indoor heaters all dry out the skin and damage the skin barrier,” explains Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified NYC dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology. “When the skin barrier is compromised, skin becomes sensitized, leading to cracks in the outer layer of the skin, loss of hydration, and eventually, inflammation.” 

To soothe these negative seasonal effects on skin, a hydration-boosting skincare routine is critical and should also work to keep the skin barrier healthy. To help combat these changes, Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin recommends using products rich in cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides.

When Should I Change My Skincare Routine? 

It’s a subtle, delicate dance between summer and fall — one day it’s toasty enough for a tank top and the next you’re reaching for a hoodie — but there are a few seasonal red flags to nudge you to begin the transition.

A good rule of thumb is how often you’re reaching for a light jacket before going outside, says Houston-based dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. DiAnne Davis. If you’re grabbing another layer of clothing more days than not, that’s a sign to re-evaluate your routine. 

A slightly more playful seasonal sign, according to Dr. Geraghty, is when it’s cold enough to see your breath. 

But most importantly, you have to listen to your own body. “Some patients with sensitive skin or extremely dry skin may have to make adjustments sooner than patients with oilier skin,” Dr. Davis explains.  

Skincare Swap 1: Cleansers

Foaming cleansers or gels that help to control oil and do a nightly deep clean are a godsend when summer temps hit the 90s. But in the winter, when there’s less moisture in the air to begin with and the skin produces less oil, it’s a double dry skin whammy. Cleansers that strip skin of its natural oils will accelerate and intensify dry skin. 

Tread lightly with acne-focused skincare made with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, cautions Davis, as these harsh ingredients can exacerbate dry skin. Bottom line: shelve the clarifying, acne-focused and super foamy cleansers until next summer. 

Instead, opt for a gentle, creamy formulation, like dermatologist favorite CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or the High Performance Cleanser from Macrene Actives. For an extra shot of moisture to the skin, try a cream-to-oil cleanser like Laneige’s Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser, to ensure a hydrated and healthy skin barrier.

Skincare Swap 2: Moisturizers

During the dog days of summer, a light lotion or tinted cream may be enough to keep skin moisturized and supple, but as soon as the temperature drops, all bets are off. There’s no way around it: Keeping skin hydrated in the cooler months is the cardinal rule of wintertime skincare.

To build a defense against dry skin, choose a rich, creamy moisturizer with humectants and occlusive ingredients. “Not only to draw water into the skin but also to seal the hydration into the skin,” says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin, who recommends the moisture-packed StriVectin Re-Quench Water Cream to her patients. “Overall, ingredients like glycerin, ceramides and Niacin ensure well hydrated skin as well as a robust and intact skin barrier.”

For the driest skin types, and those with eczema and psoriasis rashes, heavier creams and ointments containing petrolatum, like shelfie staple Aquaphor, quench and heal skin better than anything else, says Dr. Geraghty, even if it leaves a slightly messy, gooey feeling on the skin. And really, what’s a little stickiness compared to a lot of relief? 

To really amp up the skin’s absorption, follow the technique that dermatologists often call the ‘soak and smear’: apply your serum or moisturizer after cleansing your face and patting dry, but while the skin is still damp for maximum hydration.

Skincare Swap 3: Serums

To go the extra mile to combat skin dehydration, layer on a nourishing serum, like the popular cult classic Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, that will help replenish lost moisture, giving you long-term hydration and smoother, plumper skin.

Pat the serum onto damp skin after cleansing but before a moisturizer. 

Skincare Swap 4: Sunscreen

“Unless you’re out skiing, exercising, or golfing on a bright winter day, or unless you live in a southern state, there’s not much need for a high SPF sunscreen, that being SPF 50 or higher, since UVB rays are at a minimum,” says Dr. Geraghty. 

On the flip side, UVA rays — the long wavelengths of sunlight that penetrate into the skin’s dermis, breaking down collagen and elastin, which contributes to sun spots, sagging,  and wrinkling — dominate the winter months. And even worse: because of the cooler temps, it’s harder to feel the ray’s effects on your skin, which can lead to serious sun damage without even noticing.

“During the cool months, it’s important to choose a sunscreen labelled ‘broad spectrum,’ since the SPF rating refers only to protection against UVB and not UVA light,” explains Dr. Geraghty, who favors Elta MD UV Daily and Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40. “The ingredients available in the US that most effectively protect against UVA light are zinc oxide and avobenzone.”

Skincare Swap 5: Actives and Exfoliants

For sensitive skin types, tread lightly with potentially irritating ingredients, like alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, retinoids, and toners, says Dr. Geraghty, who scales back her own topical retinoid cream during the winter to three to four times per week versus her nearly daily summertime use. 

Because it’s easier for the skin to become inflamed during the drier months, Davis also recommends cutting back on exfoliating. Chemical or physical exfoliation once or twice a week should be plenty, unless you have visible flakiness, as it can perpetuate the dehydration cycle by stripping the skin’s oils. And when you do exfoliate, go for a lighter, less intense exfoliant, like Skinceuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight.

When in doubt with wintertime actives, follow Dr. Geraghty’s words of wisdom: If anything makes the complexion stingy, burning, or pink, that could be a sign it’s too irritating for the season.   

Skincare Swap #6: Lip Balm

If you think a thin swipe of flavored tinted lip balm will save your lips from getting chapped or cracked, think again. Load up on tiny tubes of Aquaphor — Dr. Geraghty keeps hers in several highly trafficked areas — or Vaseline to layer on throughout the day to proactively protect the skin.

InStyle article

The 7 Glowiest Sunscreens for Radiant Defense Against Sun Damage

Who would’ve thought sunscreen could give you the dewiness of your dreams?

With the majority of us staying inside, the golden rule of skin care — wear sunscreen — applies now more than ever. “There is a bit of a trade-off working from home as you may now be getting more blue light exposure,” says Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “UV light, especially UVA, can travel through windows, so unless you have zero windows in your home, you are still susceptible to UV damage.” Luckily, there’s a new wave of facial sunscreens that do more than protect.

Meet the next generation of multitasking sun protection. These multitasking formulas block harmful rays, contain ingredients for added skin-care benefits, and leave skin with a healthy glow. Just make sure you’re applying the right amount and covering commonly-missed areas like the ears and lips. 

“The simple act of applying is not enough. The marketed SPF is only true if the product is applied generously,” Elyse Love, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, tells Allure. “A good sunscreen is designed so that half a teaspoon of product can be applied to the face and neck without cakiness or greasiness.”

If staying inside has your skin looking dull, read on for some of our favorite formulas that’ll make you the most radiant person in your next Zoom meeting, all while protecting your skin.

Tula Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Tula Protect + Glow SPF 30 gives skin a just-finished-yoga radiance. Its lightweight formula contains ginger root to protect against blue-light stress and probiotics to hydrate and improve skin-barrier function.
$36 (Shop Now)

Supergoop! Glow Screen

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 40 is makeup primer that also provides sun protection. Its champagne-colored tint contains niacinamide to brighten skin while making it the perfect base for a radiant no-makeup makeup look.
$36 (Shop Now)

StriVectin Full Screen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

StriVectin Full Screen SPF 30 goes from white to a beautiful bronzy finish when you work it into skin. Its vitamin-rich formula is contains omega fatty acids, as well as argan and grapeseed oils, for added hydration. Your cheeks will glow like you spent the day at the beach.
$39 (Shop Now)

Solara Suncare Glow Getter Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen

Solara Suncare Glow Getter Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen highlights skin with responsibly sourced mica while protecting against environmental stressors. Its vegan-based mineral SPF 30 formula makes it ideal for daily use. 
$32 (Shop Now)

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF 30

Sol de Janeiro’s Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF 30 transports you to Rio with the brand’s signature Cheriosa ’62 scent. The moisturizing, non-sticky dry oil coats your body in a silky, shimmery glow. 
$38 (Shop Now)

Kinship Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen

Kinship Self Reflect SPF 32 won’t clog pores or damage any reefs. Its nourishing plant-based probiotics formula leaves a pretty, pink sheen without the white cast.
$25 (Shop Now)

Coppertone Glow Sunscreen Lotion With Shimmer

For broad-spectrum, waterproof protection and an all-over glow, Coppertone’s Glow Sunscreen Lotion With Shimmer is an editor-favorite and drugstore go-to. The shimmery formula comes in two coverage options: SPF 30 for daily use and SPF 50 for those even brighter days.  
$9 (Shop Now)

Allure article

7 Soothing Products to Get Us Through the Retinol Scaries

Preparation is a must when you’re using retinol for the first time ever. I’m not one to enter any pursuit lightly, so before selecting a product for my virgin skin, I researched. In other words, I read a lot of articles about the anti-aging, acne-clearing, and collagen-stimulating rewards of this wonder ingredient. Since I’m a total newbie, I knew I needed to start with a low-percentage formula to ease my skin into the fold. That meant finding the best retinol for sensitive skin.

I’m no stranger to acids or other potentially harsh skincare ingredients—I’ve used glycolic acid as well as other AHAs and BHAs in the past—but I didn’t want to throw my skin to the proverbial wolves. After consulting some of my co-workers for product recommendations, I bought a bottle of the First Aid Beauty Retinol Serum with a 0.25% concentration of retinol formulated for beginners like myself and those with sensitive skin.

My skin went through a fairly uneventful acclimation phase in the beginning; maybe a few more pimples than normal, but nothing I wasn’t prepared for. About two and a half weeks in, I started to experience the dreaded retinol scaries. The skin near my jaw and around my mouth began peeling and the vitamin C serum I used every morning started to feel more tingly than normal. Then I did something most dermatologists would probably caution against: I added a new product to my skincare routine.

Since retinol can make your skin more photo-sensitive, I’d been religious about applying SPF every day. One fateful day I switched to a face sunscreen that had some extra L-ascorbic acid because the brightening, vitamin C-laden ingredients sounded like a nice way to treat my skin. Unfortunately, this product sent my retinol purge into overdrive. I immediately broke out in a red rash and the parts of my face that were already peeling started stinging and burning too.

Not one to panic too much, I looked for the most gentle and soothing skincare products I could find. In another probably-not-derm-recommended turn, I again changed up my routine—this time switching to super calming products with zero fragrance or other irritants that would make my face angry. Because retinol can also be drying (and my skin was already molting like a snake thanks to the expedited cell turnover), I looked to products that would provide extra moisture and hydration. About a week after my mishap, my skin was much happier and the burning, stinging sensation is firmly behind me.

These are the products nursing my skin through a retinol purge. I love them so much, I don’t think I’ll stop recommending them anytime soon.

First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum

I’ve used First Aid Beauty products for years and love how gentle everything is on my skin. When I saw a steady stream of positive reviews for their retinol serum, I wanted to try it right away.

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser

This gentle cleanser from Aveeno lives up to its name—it truly is ultra-calming. And the fragrance-free formula is exactly what my sensitive skin needs after a few weeks of using retinol.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

This is the lone exception to my new fragrance-free skincare rule. I’ve trusted this Mario Badescu facial spray for years (it has a cult following for a reason) and use it to prep my skin so it can better absorb the serums and moisturizers that follow in my routine.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

I started using this hydrating serum from First Aid Beauty a few months ago and don’t plan on turning back anytime soon. It’s common knowledge that retinol can be drying, so this serum provides a moisturizing boost thanks to its hyaluronic acid-rich formula.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer is another fragrance-free staple in my skincare routine. At its core, this is a no-frills moisturizer that I swear by.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

One of the most parroted pieces of advice to retinol newbies is to use a daily sunscreen since retinol can make the skin more photo-sensitive (daily sunscreen is also just good to use in general). This clear gel formula from Supergoop! agrees with my skin, even though the inclusion of Frankincense doesn’t make it completely fragrance-free.

Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

My fancier, more expensive night creams are on an indefinite hiatus thanks to this moisturizing night lotion from Cerave—and more than 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon agree. The brand’s signature mix of ceramides and skin-restoring ingredients go to work at night to help my skin feel revived and fresh by morning.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments below!