As well as being renowned for their incredible hydrating properties, sheet masks treat different skin concerns, from soothing sensitive skin to brightening dull complexions. Some are great for a pre-night-out boost, while others work better if you wear them before you go to bed, so the serum can soak in and you can wake up with glowing skin. Many experts are now using sheet masks as part of their daily skincare routine.
With the incredible number of sheet masks on the market, working out which one is right for you can be a minefield. As well as researching thousands of reviews from beauty experts and buyers, we’ve tried and tested all sorts of sheet masks to come up with our top picks.
Farmacy’s Coconut Gel Sheet Mask is loaded with nourishing ingredients like coconut water, hyaluronic acid, and cucumber extract. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, so it delivers some serious hydration. Paired with calming cucumber extract and moisturizing, refreshing coconut water, this mask works for any skin type. Just slap the Coconut Gel Sheet Mask on for 15 minutes — that’s all you need for the mask to work its magic. Take it off to reveal more supple, smooth, calm skin.
Patchology’s mask is your secret weapon for defeating dry skin because it features ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration, and vitamin B5 and betaine to improve elasticity and smooth skin. Traditionally, sheet masks take up to 20 minutes to work, but the Patchology Hydrate Flashmasque accelerates delivery of the ingredients to the skin with its unique material, so you see results in just five minutes.
This speedy skin saver is perfect for a last-minute touch-up before you put on your makeup or before you go to bed. It is the ideal quick fix for winter when your skin needs some extra hydration or on a long flight (as long as you don’t mind scaring the flight attendants).
The White Marble Bright Hydrogel Mask from renowned skincare brand Erno Laszlo is designed to instantly brighten skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots and aging. The serum is made up of allotonin to plump up the skin, essential oils including peony and chamomile to moisturize, and sunflower seed oil to protect against wrinkles.
We’re obsessed with Erno Laszlo’s range of sheet masks, and this one is awesome. Each sheet mask comes in two pieces of gel-like material. It felt a bit slippery and strange, but it was easy to apply. I liked that it didn’t slip off my face so I could walk around while the mask did its work.
White Marble Bright Hydrogel Mask (small)
Dr. Jart+ Dermamask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution Mask
Our favorite water-based face mask for sensitive skin comes from the legendary Korean Brand Dr Jart+. The mask is packed with hydrating ingredients like algae extract, aquaxyl, xylitol, and oligo-hyaluronic acid to moisturize sensitive skin without irritation. The mask is designed to calm redness and cool irritated skin, making it a godsend for people with sensitive skin. It works just as well for those with oily, dry, or combination skin.
The SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask is an all-in-one sheet mask that does everything you need for a glowing, gorgeous complexion. The sheet is soaked with SK-II’s signature serum Pitera. Discovered in a sake brewery back in the ’70s, this liquid is packed with naturally-derived vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. It is designed to refine texture and address uneven skin tone, dryness, large pores, and oiliness. SK-II suggests you use a mask once or twice a week or before a special event.
The SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask lived up to the hype in our testing. It made my skin look more radiant instantly, and my skin felt tighter and softer. The mask fit well and stayed put, although it felt a bit slimy. Granted, most face masks feel a bit slimy because it’s the slime that fixes your skin.
Tatcha’s gel-like face mask is packed with powerful anti-aging products including red algae and hyaluronic acid, as well as green tea and rice to target dryness, dullness, and loss of firmness. It is derived from coconut and is more effective than paper masks.
Tatcha claims it can increase the skin’s total moisture by 200% in 15 minutes. While we can’t verify that claim, we can say that it left our skin feeling great. It’s a bit fiddly, as you have to remove one of the layers to put it on, but it fit well.
Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask (small)
Leaders AC Clear Treatment Mask
The AC Clear Treatment Mask from Korean company Leaders Insolution balances skin and provides relief for irritated, stressed, and sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts and inflammation. This hypoallergenic 100% cotton sheet mask is packed with maple water, hyaluronic acid, and snail secretions to calm skin and reduce redness. It’s gentle enough to be used daily and the more often you use it, the better the results.
AC Clear Treatment Mask (small)
Tonymoly I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask
Established in Seoul more than 10 years ago, Tonymoly pioneered the Korean sheet mask beauty trend that has spread across the world. The innovative brand is now a household name in the US. There are 14 different masks in the Tonymoly I’m Real Sheet Mask collection to address every possible skin concern and we’ve tried them all. Our favorite is the I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask.
Ideal for dull, dry, and stressed-out skin, this highly moisturizing sheet mask is soaked with nutrient-rich avocado essence. The paper sheet has a pleasant smell but feels quite delicate. After leaving it on for 20 minutes in our testing, our skin definitely felt softer and looked fresher.
I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask (small)
St. Ives Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask
Just like the oatmeal baths of your childhood, St. Ives’ Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask soothes whatever is ailing your face. Sunburn? Pop this on. Windburn? You got it. That’s all thanks to the oatmeal extract. It works to calm any type of skin issue while leaving your face feeling refreshed and clean.
And since it’s in an easy-to-use sheet, you can get all of the benefits without the mess. This is actually a great mask to pop on after you’ve applied a more detoxifying mask. It will calm things down while sealing in the good-for-you ingredients of the first.
Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask (small)
Leaders Cosmetics 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask
If you live in a city, it’s not just the sun you have to worry about every time you step outside. Free radicals brought on by pollution can wreak havoc on your skin, leading to a dull complexion. But a skincare regimen rich in antioxidants is perfect for combating these issues. And Leaders Cosmetics 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask should be a regular part of any antioxidant-rich regimen.
This little mask is chock-full of good-for-you ingredients that help fight free radicals. Vitamins C, B, and E are the powerhouses of this mask, while acai berries come in for the assist. All these ingredients work to wick away the negative effects of pollution.
7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask (small)
Check out our other great skincare guides
With a new season ahead, there’s no better time to refresh your skincare routine or pick up some new makeup to try out. Dermstore is one of our favorite spots to pick up high-end beauty products across skincare, makeup, haircare, and more. Right now, the site is offering up to 20% off on a wide range of products as part of their Beauty Refresh Sale with promo code GLOWUP.
Tight, red, itchy, rough – these are all descriptors of dry skin. And while dry skin on its own is tough, peeling or flaking can also appear, especially during the transition from the summer season to fall and winter, no matter your skin type.
If you notice your skin experiencing dryness, you likely also notice that not all facial moisturizers can get the job done in curing it. The most important things to keep in mind when buying a moisturizer are the ingredients and consistencies of the lotion itself. We spoke with Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology, and Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, to break down these details, and help guide us toward the best moisturizer for dry skin.
Click to jump to the best face moisturizers for dry skin that you can buy:
The best face moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Moisturizing Cream (small)
This cream has a thick consistency, so you’ll never have that tight, still-dry feeling. But it’s non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t clog pores or leave you feeling greasy, either. It’s free of fragrance and other common irritants, which is why it’s a great choice for sensitive skin types. — Kyle Kerchaert, senior video producer, beauty and style
Once I reached my mid-30s, it felt like all the moisture had been sucked from my skin. The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream was the only thing that calmed and hydrated my face. And though I was originally worried that it would be too thick, it absorbs quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft, not greasy. — Jamie Feller, account executive
I grew up with severe eczema on my face, and this moisturizer was the only thing that was gentle enough to be used on my sensitive skin. While it may seem too thick at first, it absorbs very quickly, leaving your face soft and dewy. — Grace Wade, associate health reference editor
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Ultra Repair Cream (small)
I have recommended First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream time and time again because it’s just that good. It’s unscented and has a creamy consistency. I apply it every night to my face and neck, and it has never led to breakouts on my sensitive skin. — Victoria Giardina, buying guides fellow
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Moisturizing Lotion (small)
The Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion is ideal for dry, sensitive skin. It contains no fragrance, dye, formaldehyde, or lanolin. It contains both humectants and emollients to provide a mix of hydration and moisturization. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
I have dry, sensitive skin as well as rosacea, and this has been my year-round lifesaver. It’s a gel-cream so I initially had my doubts, but whenever I even think of trying another moisturizer, I come back to this. This product is paraben-free, fragrance-free, and oil-free, and also has hyaluronic acid and aloe water. — Magenta Ranero, senior chart editor, Insider Intelligence
The best face moisturizers for dry, acne-prone skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin
Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin (small)
My skin feels soft, hydrated, and supple when I use this gel cream, especially during the cold winter months. I appreciate that it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog my pores, as I have acne-prone skin. It’s also fragrance-free. This moisturizer contains humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, along with emollients like olive extract — all of which help to pack quite the punch in the best and most hydrating way possible. — Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow
Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream
Skin Plumping Gel Cream (small)
I discovered this moisturizer on a desperate Reddit search for an oil-free formula that wouldn’t irritate the seborrheic dermatitis that sometimes pops up on my face. This gel formula is gentle and non-irritating, and it feels like a glass of water for your skin. It also cleared up the minimal flaking I was experiencing from my AHA serums. It does leave a bit of a dewy finish, so I prefer it at night or with some extra setting powder under makeup. — Kyle Kerchaert, senior video producer, beauty and style
C’est Moi Gentle Moisture Lotion
Gentle Moisture Lotion (small)
C’est Moi is better known for their colorful makeup, but I picked up this moisturizer on its website on a whim and have loved it. My skin gets very dry in the winter, and so I’m always on the lookout for products that deliver a lot of moisture for a budget price. This one isn’t greasy or oily at all, and I was shocked at how moisturizing even a small amount of product felt. — Allison Jiang, story production fellow
Lotus Moon Vitamin B Hydrating Gel
Vitamin B Hydrating Gel (small)
I have dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin and this plant-based moisturizer is a champion at hydration. It has a gel formula, so it’s lightweight, absorbent, and doesn’t make me sweat on hot days. It also smells lovely and helps keep my breakouts at bay. — Stephanie Hallett, senior personal finance editor
The best face moisturizers for dry, mature skin
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
A.G.E. Interrupter (small)
The A.G.E. Interrupter is an advanced wrinkle treatment that combats the visible signs of aging caused by glycation, which is a major factor of the natural aging process. — Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (small)
The Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 contains free fatty acids to replace cellular lipids and nourish dry skin. This is a crowd favorite for those with extremely dry skin that is worth the splurge. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream
Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream (small)
This is actually a night cream I use as a regular moisturizer in the winter when my skin is its driest for a big hydration boost. It works great under makeup, helping to impart a dewy look that I generally have trouble achieving due to my skin’s aforementioned dryness. It’s essentially an amped-up version of my other favorite Fresh moisturizer. — Ellen Hoffman, executive editor
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer (small)
This moisturizer is probably my most-recommended skincare product ever. I generally have really dry skin, but you’d never know it when I’m using this gel-like formula from Peter Thomas Roth. It makes my skin soft and plump, but never leaves behind a sticky residue. The best part about it, though, is that its effects last all day (and I’m not just regurgitating brand copy here — this is literally one of the only moisturizers I truly feel this way about). — Sally Kaplan, deputy editor
The best moisturizers for extremely dry skin
SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream
Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream (small)
The Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream is a deeply hydrating face cream with active lipids, peptides, small particle hyaluronic acid and rich shea butter for brightening, firming, and plumping. — Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, board-certified dermatologist of Mariwalla Dermatology
Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion
Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion (small)
The Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion contains argan oil to replenish moisture and rosewater to improve tone, hydration, and elasticity. Shea butter acts as a seal to lock in the moisture and repair the barrier. — Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Healing Ointment (small)
My eczema reacts so badly around my eyes that even the best eye creams and the best moisturizers cannot bail me out. In times of distress, I smear just a small amount of Aquaphor onto my under eyes to restore moisture. I apply it as needed, but most typically before bedtime to lock in moisture and before I apply makeup so my eyelids can soak it up and prevent my concealer from looking cakey. — Jacqueline Saguin, style & beauty reviews fellow
Which ingredients should you look out for when buying moisturizer for dry skin?
To start, it’s helpful to know the three categories of moisturizing ingredients: occlusive, emollient, and humectant. An occlusive forms a barrier to retain moisture, an emollient traps water, and a humectant brings water to the top layer of the skin. Dr. Mariwalla and Dr. Hartman recommend ingredients that fall under these groups, including ones like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, squalene, petrolatum, shea butter, and lactic acid.
On the flip side, there are of course ingredients that could further irritate your dry skin, such as fragrance, retinoids, glycolic acid, alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and salicylic acid, according to both dermatologists.
What are the differences between creams, lotions, and gels?
The key differences are their ratios between water and oil. According to Dr. Hartman, creams are composed of half water and half oil, lotions contain mostly water and less oil, and gels are water-based and lack any trace of oil. This matters because, according to Dr. Mariwalla, thicker creams typically deliver more moisture than thinner lotions and watery gels. For example, extra dry skin might require a heavy cream, while dry, acne-prone skin might benefit from a lightweight, oil-free gel.
Is there anything else I can do for my skin before applying my moisturizer?
Face moisturizers alone likely won’t relieve your dry skin. Dr. Hartman recommends washing your face with a cream or oil-based cleanser and staying away from foamy ones. For good measure, Dr. Hartman adds, “Avoid hot water, use less soap or cleanser, and wash for shorter periods of time. Moisturizer works to strengthen the skin barrier and to trap in water, so apply the moisturizer immediately after washing.” After applying moisturizer in the morning, Dr. Mariwalla advises layering on sunscreen to block harmful UV rays, which is a step all skin types should take.
Rest assured, if you consistently experience dry skin, seeing your dermatologist is a good idea. Your dermatologist can help uncover the reason for your dry skin and if you perhaps need stronger prescription treatments.
The elements of a good present – being thoughtful, useful, or novel – aren’t restricted to a big budget. But the best gifts under $25 are usually hidden in a minefield of totally expendable knickknacks.
As a team of product journalists and reviewers, we’ve put together a list of the best affordable gifts we know of, based on gifts we’ve received, gifts we’ve given, and others we’ve found along the way. All of them are things we have or would gladly buy and use in our daily lives.
Check out all 60+ gifts under $25:
This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Under Armour. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*
This card game is unlike any you’ve played before. Its three carefully crafted levels of questions spark connections and stimulate reflective conversations. You’ll leave the game making friends out of strangers or diving deeper into your friendships.
These custom music plaques have become a popular gift for music lovers. Commemorate their favorite song with this clear piece of home decor that pulls up music with a quick scan. It’s great for anniversaries, letting you add a personal photo along with you and your significant other’s song.
This Saturn-shaped moon lamp gives off a soothing ambient glow to brighten up their room. Whether they use it as a subtle night light or as a room accessory, they’ll have fun matching the lamp to their mood with its 16 color options.
Food52’s reusable straw sets come in a pretty color palette, and each pack includes carrying cases and cleaning squeegees. They can toss one set in their bag, leave one at work, and keep one in the car.
A cult-favorite clay mask that basically vacuums out pores
The Aztec Clay Mask has been called “the world’s most powerful facial” and it’s also under $10. It can be mixed with water, but it works best with a little bit of apple cider vinegar. You can read a full review here.
There’s no such thing as too many beanies, and Under Armour’s truly stands out thanks to its sweat-wicking, quick-drying material. Its acrylic knit design will keep them warm on long walks, but it’ll also keep them from overheating during winter workouts. If they’re into fitness but not into hats, Under Armour’s gift guide is a great place to check out clever gift ideas.
Bombas is one gift we find ourselves giving friends and family every year. They’re the best socks we’ve ever tried, and they’re a little more expensive than someone is likely to spend on socks for themselves, making them a great gift.
This cold brew maker is as inexpensive as it is convenient, and it can save hundreds of dollars per year on iced coffee. It easily fits into most refrigerator doors, is simple to use, and makes a good amount of cold brew at once. If they need more than one quart, there’s also a two-quart option.
The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that’s composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction that hair experiences while in its weakest state. Plus, it speeds up drying time by as much as 50%.
Flamingo is the women’s brand of Harry’s, and it’s got the same M.O.: to make better hair removal products for a reasonable amount of money, and to present them in a way that makes them feel special. Its Shave Set comes in a recyclable pouch with a razor and two blade cartridges, luxe foaming shave gel, and a shower hook.
Smart outlet plugs that let you turn devices on or off from anywhere
A small but convenient gift, smart wifi plugs let the owner turn their electronics on or off from anywhere with their smartphone thanks to the Kasa app. If they have a smart home gadget, they can use the voice assistant to turn things on and off as well. In the Kasa app, they can also set schedules and “scenes” for controlling many devices with one button.
This tiny waffle maker is perfect for single-serving breakfasts, or for meal prep (just freeze your waffles ahead of time). It’s compact for confined spaces, heats up in a few minutes, and has a non-stick surface that’s easy to clean.
Perfect for the outdoorsy types, an REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here.
Silk is often used in products like headbands and pillowcases to reduce friction and breakage of hair, and these hair ties serve the same purpose. Designed to keep hair from catching, crimping, and pulling, these hair scrunchies are gentle on strands and around the wrist.
The popular Wyze Indoor Camera is an inexpensive, Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled smart home camera that lets you see inside your home from anywhere when using your mobile device. It also has night vision.
*This product was selected at a price point below $25, but prices can often fluctuate slightly above or below $25.
This Jason Markk spray repels water and oil to keep your shoes free of stains and water spots. It’s water-based, so it’s okay to use on a variety of materials — from suede to nubuck leather to canvas and others. It sprays a fine mist that covers large areas both quickly and evenly.
Soft, cozy underwear that comes in holiday patterns
Hydro Flask’s cult-favorite water bottle keeps chilled drinks cold for up to 24 hours. This particular version is marketed with kids in mind, but the smaller size and bright colors also work well for adults on the go.
Perfect for eating on the go or at a campsite, this utensil kit comes with two stainless steel straws, one silicone straw tip, one straw cleaner, one stainless steel spork, and one pair of stainless steel chopsticks.
United by Blue is an eco-friendly outdoors retailer, and the carrier is made from 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a water-resistant finish.
Incase probably already makes your laptop case, and their phone cases are great for many of the same reasons. They’re lightweight, add another layer of protection, and allow for some fun personalization.
Speks are one of our all-time favorite fidget accessories. They’re tiny magnetic balls that you can break apart, reconfigure, and otherwise mold, mash, and build with. They help us divert just enough energy to remain productive throughout the day.
Switch it up for the cook in your life with this tasty herb mix. The classic blend of thyme, basil, savory, fennel and lavender hails from the South of France, and Williams Sonoma recommends using it to accent poultry, meat, sauces, and soups.
Spiral hair ties that don’t leave kinks in their hair
Smith & Cult’s rich, chip-resistant nail polish comes in 47 colors and the kind of beautiful bottle you leave out on the vanity because it’s just that nice to look at. The formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t have potentially harmful ingredients like formaldehyde or camphor, among others.
When you scratch off a card from LottoLove, you won’t win any money. Instead, you “win” a charitable prize that’s donated to someone in need. There are four possible prizes, which help provide clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. To date, LottoLove and its charitable partners have impacted lives in over 60 countries.
Did anyone — anyone at all — say cocktails? Monin’s coffee collection has everything needed for café-inspired drinks, be they cocktails, lattes, coffees, or teas. It includes five syrups ranging in flavors from amaretto to Irish cream. Plus, Monin has a recycling initiative that works to improve the health of bee populations.
A smart chip that helps you find items you’ve lost
How nice would it be if every time you lost something, you could find it within a few minutes? Use your smartphone to make the Tile Mate ring aloud, and you’ll be able to locate your keys or wallet using the sound.
A travel-size duo of two cult-favorite NARS products
NARS’ velvet matte lipstick pencils are travel-sized so your giftee can bring them on trips or easily throw them into purses and pockets for on-the-go use. The formula is non-drying and long-lasting, and they can be used to line, define, and fill in lips with colors that range from subtle to rich.
A popular lip mask that creates a protective seal to lock in moisture overnight
Laneige’s hyper-successful Lip Sleeping Mask uses a combination of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, minerals, antioxidants, and fruit extracts to form a protective layer over the lips to lock in moisture overnight. It has over 7,000 ratings on Sephora, and an average rating of 4.5-stars out of five.
A slip-resistant armband to keep their phone in place on a run
If you’re going to buy an armband for a runner, you’re probably going to wind up buying this version from Tribe. It has over 18,000 reviews on Amazon (with a 4.2-star rating overall) and, while it’s not the most perfect out there, it’s frequently recommended for its water-resistant and no-slip design.
Knee-high socks from one of the best loungewear companies online
Tommy John is another company responsible for some of the very best loungewear and underwear on the internet. Their knee-length socks have light compression to support blood flow, and the “comfort cuff” design means you should be able to peel them off without finding marks left over.
Whether they use it as a desk accessory or to prop up their YouTube search for “how to chop onions” while they cook at home, a lightweight, adjustable phone stand comes in handy more often than you’d expect.
Herbivore Botanical’s bath salts include nutrient-rich Pacific sea salts combined with ylang-ylang and vanilla essential oil. They’ll moisturize the skin and provide a deeply relaxing, calming effect on the brain to decrease anxiety and restlessness.
Perfect for color-treated, heat-styled, and otherwise damaged hair, It’s a 10’s hair mask deep-conditions strands with a blend of moisturizing ingredients like oat kernel extract, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, and linseed extract. We ranked it the best hair mask you can buy.
Once it’s safe to attend live events again, is there a good concert, play, or game you think they’d love? It doesn’t have to be expensive to be impactful. Grab tickets and make a night of it — or, if you live far away, make sure they get to go with a friend or two.
With new products constantly releasing and new trends making headlines every week, it can be hard to keep up with what’s what in skincare. You probably don’t have the time or energy (or desire) to scroll through pages of eye creams until you find one you like. And, you definitely don’t want to spend a ton of money testing them all out.
Luckily, the Insider Reviews team has tested a lot of skincare products over the course of the past year. Now we’re here to share our favorite finds with you. Whether you’re looking for a serum to target a specific skincare concern or just for some inspiration to upgrade your beauty routine, we’ve got you covered.
Below, you’ll find the best skincare products we’ve tried in 2020.
I have very dry skin — and I live at altitude in Colorado, which means it’s near impossible to keep my face from flaking. But I also have incredibly sensitive skin. I love Weleda’s face cream because it’s thick and incredibly hydrating, but not greasy (although it does need a minute or two to soak in fully). I use it morning and night, but it’s also really nourishing if I have a random dry patch mid-day. The smell is lovely and it doesn’t make my skin freak out. FWIW, Weleda also makes an “original ultra-rich” version of this cream which I love as a hydrating barrier before I head out to ski, or before bed sometimes in the winter, but for everyday use that one is quite thick and the “light” is better. —Rachael Schultz, health + fitness reviews updates editor
I’ve been a beauty editor for nearly a decade, and while I’ve been lucky to try hundreds of skincare products in that time, I’ve realized that my oily, breakout-prone skin responds well to two things: prescription medication to keep my zits under control, and a very basic skincare routine. Lately, that routine has involved SeSpring’s Cleanse It Out Gel Cleanser. The new Korean brand is focused on simple, affordable products, and its cleanser is just that. Packed with ingredients like camellia, lotus, and lavender, this gentle gel cleanser keeps my skin squeaky clean while controlling oil — that’s really it. It’s simple and to-the-point, which is what I love about it. — Maria Del Russo, style & beauty guides editor
I’ve also been using SeSpring’s lightweight So Rich Hydrating Gel as my daytime moisturizer, and my skin has never felt so moisturized and bouncy. Unlike other gels, this one doesn’t have a sticky, tacky texture to it. It feels like a gel, but applies like a cream, and keeps my skin well-hydrated all day. A little goes a long way, too, and the moisturizer adds a dewy brightness to my face, which I love. Simple isn’t always a bad thing, and SeSpring capitalizes on that fact. Since they just launched this year, I can’t wait to see what else the brand puts out. — Maria Del Russo, style & beauty guides editor
During quarantine, my “makeup routine” has consisted of one single product: Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40. I typically use a tinted sunscreen as the final step in my skincare routine, but there’s something special about Glowscreen that has made me start hoarding bottles. It has a slight pearlescent sheen, which might sound awful if you’re someone like me who usually hates anything shiny in my skincare or makeup. But Glowscreen melts into your skin, giving you a glow instead of a sparkle. It also serves as a perfect base if you plan to wear other types of makeup. Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin B5 provide major hydration. And while you’ll definitely need to reapply if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside, Glowscreen still offers the A+ sun protection that Supergoop! is known for. It’s sunscreen that doesn’t feel like sunscreen, and that’s a gift if you ask me. — Maria Del Russo, style & beauty guides editor
I’m not really one for kitschy skincare products (I’m a big fan of more clinical brands like Dr. Dennis Gross and Perricone MD), but I really fell for this pineapple serum from Glow Recipe this year. It’s not a new product, but it was new to me when I first tried it back in April. The serum’s texture is almost like an oily jelly, which sounds very weird, but feels like silk on the skin. It’s the product that’s gotten me closest to the enviable state of “glass skin,” and it’s so hydrating that sometimes I skip moisturizer altogether after using it, which is basically unheard of for anyone with skin as dry as mine. I wish it were unscented, but that’s about my only complaint. — Sally Kaplan, style and beauty senior editor
I regularly recommend Maelove as a great one-size-fits-all option for people who want efficient skincare without frills or mark-up. I’ve tried nearly every Maelove product, and the Night Renewer is the company’s best product in my experience. It uses 10% medical-grade AHA, a blend of soothing ingredients, and hyaluronic acid to gently resurface the skin for better texture and tone overnight — without being either harsh or drying. It took the company a few years to come up with something gentle but effective, and they nailed it here. I can tell a difference after just one night of use — my skin is softer, my pores appear smaller, and my tone is a bit more even (the latter results getting better with repeated usage). It’s the product I gift people as an introduction to the brand, and one of the only skincare products I pack for a short trip. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
Like Sally, I count Dr. Dennis Gross as one of my go-to skincare brands. The prices are steep, but the results are typically the best I find. I’ve been hearing about the cult-favorite Peel Pads from my teammates for years, and I finally tried them this year. The Peel Pad is a two-step process that exfoliates with AHA/BHA to improve texture and reduce dullness, dark spots, and the appearance of fine lines. While effects showed up for me after only a few days, I noticed better texture and tone and slightly less obvious frown lines after a month of consistent usage. Though I’d still recommend retinol for “buying time” where signs of aging are concerned, I consider these peel pads an excellent complementary tool — and a quick pick-me-up because of the fast effects. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
I used to feel about facial mists the way that “realists” feel about Valentine’s Day — a shameless commercial opportunity. But, I tried the Mario Badescu rosewater and aloe facial sprays at the recommendation of my coworkers, and I’m an enthusiastic convert. I have combination skin that skews dry and can be acne-prone, and facial mists have become my key to achieving dewy, Glossier-level hydration without clogging pores or looking greasy. I spritz it onto my face and neck every few hours. Constantly reapplying moisturizer throughout the day is messy, and I prefer the lit-from-within glow I get with mists over the sheen that moisturizers can impart. (To be clear, I use moisturizers at night and in the morning). I also liked the Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Spray and loved the YTP Adaptogen Mist with Peptides, but they’re considerably more expensive. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
This creamy, foaming facial cleanser is gentle and effective. I love using it daily, because it never dries out my skin and it works equally well whether I’m wearing makeup or not (the silky, creamy formula removes mascara gently, for instance). Even though the formula is mild, I can still see a tangible positive impact. After washing it off, my face feels firm, clean, and evenly hydrated. It’s the perfect neutral. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
After the Night Renewer, the Maelove NIA 10 Calming Serum is my favorite product the company makes. It’s great for reducing redness, but I’m most impressed with its ability to calm my blemishes and diminish the apparent size of my pores. After patting it into my skin, it feels like my face tightens on command. It also helps reduce inflammation in my blemishes immediately, and they seem further along in the healing process the morning after using than they would be on their own — and that’s without drying them out. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
I’m extremely picky about primers because most don’t mix well with powder foundation (my go-to). This new one from Ole Henriksen, though, is creamy and hydrating but absorbs quickly so you don’t have to worry about a cakey mess. I also love the glowy effect you get from the shimmery, vitamin C-packed formula. It’s a bit intense to wear on its own, but once you add foundation on top, your skin looks illuminated. —Ashley Phillips, style and beauty editor