No matter what your beauty or makeup routine, a good skin-care routine is the foundation you want to be working with. Whether you’re looking for smooth heels, a poreless T-zone, or remedies for your under-eye circles, we’ve compiled the best skin-care products the Strategist has ever highlighted in one convenient spot.
The Best Skin-Care Products for Glowing Skin
Rio Viera-Newton is not a professional skin expert, but she is admittedly crazy about what she puts on her face. What began as a culty Google doc is now one of the Strategist’s most popular stories containing the 16 products she uses to get glowy skin.
The Best French-Drugstore Beauty Products
It’s well-known by now that some of the best skin-care and beauty products come from French pharmacies, and now you don’t even have to book a flight (or plead with a traveling friend) to get your hands on some. We rounded up the best drugstore products from France right here.
The Best Korean Beauty Products
If you’re looking to get started on Korean beauty, this is the place — Cut beauty director Kathleen Hou compiled the most popular K-beauty products endorsed by models, makeup artists, and Reddit and put them all in one shoppable place.
The Best Japanese Beauty Products
Japanese skin care is another booming industry, and Hou spoke with makeup artists to get the lowdown on the top beauty and skin-care products from Japan to buy for flawless skin.
The Best Thai-Drugstore Beauty Products
Writer Ashlea Halpern moved to Bangkok months ago and discovered an entire new world of Thai-drugstore products that have transformed her skin, from blacker-than-black mascara to cooling powder for muggy days.
The Best Skin-Care Products According to Redditors
Writer Sara Spruch-Feiner dove into the archives of Reddit’s Skincare Addiction Sub and came back with five of these skin-care obsessives’ most-discussed favorite products.
The Best Eye Products for Puffiness and Dark Circles
Viera-Newton and her family members all seem to suffer from the same affliction: dark circles and puffy under-eyes. Tasked with a mission to find the best remedies, she went and found the 14 best eye products for under-eye bags and dark circles.
The Best Face Masks
Viera-Newton is also a fan of face masks, which help nourish the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. These are the 13 she keeps in her medicine cabinet at all times.
The Best Facial Moisturizers That Won’t Cause Breakouts
Viera-Newton has also spent years trying “just about every moisturizer I’ve ever laid my eyes on in an attempt to find a reliable cream that hydrates, smooths, and doesn’t make me break out.” Here, she rounds up six of her favorite moisturizers for sensitive skin.
The Best Face Moisturizer
Sweetbitter author Stephanie Danler is a huge fan of Weleda’s Skin Food, which she learned about from a makeup artist. Now, she owns it in threes — one for her car, one for her bedside table, and one in her purse.
The Best Face Scrub and Exfoliator
Writer Jinnie Lee found this No. 1–selling Japanese exfoliator through Amazon sleuthing. “I stumbled onto something seemingly too good to be true — a Japanese face peel called Cure Natural Aqua Gel, which is the No. 1 exfoliator in Japan (apparently one sells every 12 seconds). On your dry, post-cleansed face, slather two or three pumps of this jelly over your forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, down the neck, or wherever, and let it sit for five seconds. In an instant, the gel will react with your skin as it begins to dry a bit, at which point, you’ll use your fingers to gently massage the product in a circular motion around your face. This is the wild part. The gel will start to shed almost immediately, much like the way pencil erasers leave those squiggly rubbings behind.”
The Best Travel Skin-Care Products
Viera-Newton knows that even when you’re on the go, your skin doesn’t take a break from needing love and attention. She went and found 14 of the best travel beauty and skin-care products for when you have to look your best but still abide by TSA rules.
The Best Facial Polish
Writer Chloe Caldwell swears by her oat facial polish: “I am someone who’s had serious skin problems in the past. I’m an acne survivor. My skin is hypersensitive and I’m afraid of new products. But when I tried the oat wash for the first time, something amazing happened: My skin wasn’t ruddy when I left the shower. It was cool and calm.”
The Best Moisturizing Face Oil
Writer Allison Schmidt discovered this olive oil–derived treatment that totally transformed her skin: “Unlike other oils that just sat on top of my skin, the clear and odorless Timeless Skin Care Squalane sinks in quickly (it’s like my skin is lapping it up) without that gross, slimy feel. It’s been a revelation of a moisturizer. I now have much less irritation — the dry patches are gone, and the pigment and hydration of my skin are more even throughout.”
The Best Jade Roller
A traditional Chinese beauty product, jade rollers are known to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Writer Maria Tallarico swears by the thing: “My dark under-eye circles, which have laughed in the face of every fancy cream and facial thrust upon them, are relieved by the smooth, cool jade and repetitive motions. I swear, it’s even evened my skin tone and dampened wrinkles (which, after all, improved circulation should do).”
The Best Foot Cream
Beauty writer and editor Hannah Morrill knows from working with dermatologists that sometimes the unsexiest products are the most effective. She discovered CeraVe foot cream while looking for something to smooth her calloused feet: “The best contender I’ve found for this job? CeraVe Renewing SA Cream, which itself was developed with dermatologists and contains both exfoliant salicylic acid (that’s what the SA stands for) and ammonium lactate in the first ten ingredients, meaning the concentrations are significant, not an afterthought.”
The Best Foot Gel
If you’re looking for a gel to use on your feet, our New York colleague Camilla Cho found one that even her discriminating mother approved: “The thick, icy blue gel goes on clear, and dries after a few minutes without any residue — sometimes I’ll use it on my rough elbows and cuticles, too. It’s become my go-to all year round: summer, when I’m practically living in sandals, and winter, when my feet are cracked from cold weather and dry air. After using the Heel Genius herself for a few days (per instructions, with socks), my persnickety mom was sold. She’s since adopted the goop as one of her own favorite things, gifting it to several of her friends — all of whom are now ready for sandal season.”
The Best Exfoliating Glove
Anyone who’s visited a Turkish hammam can tell you how satisfying the experience is, especially when the massage happens. Rachel Raczka decided to re-create the experience at home with a hammam glove that worked wonders: “I didn’t notice clumps of dead skin washing away, but I did find that it created a sleeker-than-usual surface for shaving and soaking up moisturizer. It wasn’t until a few days of regular use that I noticed the bumps on my arms and legs had faded, and the rest of my bod appeared healthier and glowier from consistent use. It’s like those elimination diets that promote better skin from within, but instead of laying off dairy or wheat, you eliminate a layer of your epidermis.”
The Best Body Lotion
Writer Molly Young loves this coconut-scented body lotion so much, she buys it in bulk and keeps the stockpile in her refrigerator: “I found it as a youth living in a hippie town in Northern California, where the local co-op stocked eight-ounce bottles of Skin Trip alongside tofu sandwiches, yogurts made from unconventional milks, natural deodorants, and Nag Champa incense. The substance inside is thinner than most lotions — it doesn’t ooze like toothpaste when you give the bottle a squeeze but instead pools liquidly into your palm. What this means is, when you spread Skin Trip onto your desired skin region, it sinks in quickly and leaves no evidence behind. Your skin is left nourished and faintly coconut-scented.”
The Best Back-Acne Spray
Hannah Morrill found a body-acne clearing spray that eliminated her bacne almost instantly: “My bacne cleared up nearly overnight. After about four days, crimson welts had subsided entirely, faded to a barely there blush, or had started healing. Within a week, I felt comfortable wearing a low-backed tank. I’ve since evangelically recommended the product to my trainer, my boyfriend’s brother, and a 22-year-old I work with.”
The Best Acne Spot Treatment
Writer Or Gotham found a pimple spot-reducing serum that worked miracles: “In the serum I tried, glycolic acid and hydroquinone supposedly work together to loosen dead skin cells and lighten discoloration. (Note that hydroquinone is currently being studied by the FDA for its potentially harmful side-effects.) The formula is concentrated. One pump of the potent jelly is typically adequate for each hemisphere of my face.”
The Best Emergency Zit-Zapping Routine
Four days before her sister’s wedding, Viera-Newton found a zit on her chin, but by the day of the wedding, that pimple was gone. Here’s the full emergency anti-acne routine she employed.
The Best Sunscreens
If you’re looking for the best sunscreens, we went and found the best no matter what your needs, including spray versions, face-friendly ones, and chemical-free sunblocks.
The Best Body Scrub
The best body scrub smells just like peppermint, and it makes for the most refreshing post-beach wash.
The Best Salt Scrubs
We went through Amazon and found the best-reviewed salt scrubs to exfoliate your body, including a scrub that’s gentle enough for people with eczema and one with antifungal properties.
The Best Body Oil
The best oil to slather yourself in? Why not try Kim Kardashian’s? Writer Carson Griffith stole it from her mother and fell in love: “While my bathroom cabinet now features a rotation of upmarket beauty products, the one constant is Bio-Oil. It relieves dryness and makes my skin instantly smooth without clogging pores. When I’m sunburned or ravaged by the cold, I can apply several applications a day, letting my damaged and parched skin drink up the liquid. I’ve taken the bottle into the sauna with me at the gym so the vitamins A and E and plant extracts can commingle with the steam to do whatever they’re supposed to do to make my skin ageless. It’s so cheap I have no problem slathering my entire body in it.
The Best Acne Mask
Writer and performer Gaby Dunn discovered the mint julep masque by Queen Helene as a teenager and never looked back: “By now, I’ve used this product on and off for about 15 years. Sure, it clears up a zit, but no expensive face mask has ever worked as well at refreshing my skin either. There’s a tightening sensation you feel as the clay mask dries that I swear tightens my face even after I’ve rinsed it off. I hesitate to even tell you about it, because Queen Helene could triple its price and I’d still buy it.”
The Best Natural Face Wash for Acne
Sick of drugstore acne remedies, writer Leah Bhabha found Vermont-based skin-care line Ursa Major at a natural-beauty store and uses their all-natural Fantastic Face Wash to keep her zits in check. “Free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens, it leaves my face feeling very clean but not tight, making the cleanser gentle enough to use in the morning and at night. While the aloe and rice seed soothe my skin, it’s the sugarcane that’s the real clincher. Sugarcane naturally contains alpha hydroxy acids, which not only fight blemishes but lighten dark spots and lessen scarring.”
The Best Cleansing Oil for Dry Skin
Writer Jen Doll loves this oil cleanser she learned about from her facialist: “You apply a couple of pumps of the light oil to your face, add a bit of water, and massage; there’s no intense foam or scrubbing involved, but suddenly, even if you’ve got a layer of makeup or city-day grime on your skin, it all washes away. All you’re left with is fresh, moisturized skin. I wasn’t sure I’d like washing with an oil (maybe you’re with me on this) — this one contains sunflower-seed, pumpkin-seed, and papaya-seed oils — but unlike cleansers that strip your face bare, this one leaves it clean, plumped, and vaguely moisturized (not oily).”
The Best Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
For writer Celeste Ballard, Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter is the only shaving product that prevents her legs from turning “into a minefield of razor bumps.” She explains, “Compared to the drying, floral-scented shave-cream cans of my past, the experience is practically luxurious. The real difference is that the cream doesn’t lather, so it doesn’t feel like it’s ever stripping my legs of protective oils. I can even glide over the same spot a few times without repercussion.”
The Best Men’s Skin-Care Products
Four men with glowing skin — including fashion designer Richard Chai and K-beauty retailer Soko Glam founder Dave Cho — shared their multi-product skin-care routines, which include toners, essences, cleansers, eye creams, and so much more.
The Best Warm-Weather Skin-Care Products
Cut beauty director Kathleen Hou talked to a celebrity makeup artist about the best things you can do for your skin during warm summer months.
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