prime day 2023

Our Beauty Writer’s 43 Favorite Prime Day Beauty Deals

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Lewis Osborne, Retailer

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Another Prime Day is upon us, which means there are lots of deals to be had, especially in the beauty category. This year it runs from July 11 to 12, and as always I’ve carefully sifted through hundreds (thousands!) of SKUs and carefully checked prices to surface the best deals. (I’m only including actually good deals, too. No 5 percent off items here).

As the Strategist’s resident beauty expert, I know which products are worthwhile after years of testing and trial and error. And as the steward of the Prime Day beauty post, I’ve included perennial favorites as well as products we’ve written about before on the site. Like the oft-recomended Olaplex No. 3, a hair treatment that helps to strengthen hair’s bonds and repair damage. “I would recommend it to anyone who feels like their hair is compromised in any way, even by pollution,” says Ash Fritzler, a master stylist at the Bird House salon.

Other deeply discounted things I’ve found in the sale: Cetaphil’s extremely moisturizing body cream that’s also good for exfoliating (35 percent off!), acne-clearing retinol dupe Differin (24 percent off!), my (and everyone else’s) holy-grail hydrocolloid pimple patches (20 percent off!), and the beloved-by-many snail-mucin essence from CosRX (33 percent off!) — a TikTok sensation that our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton has been raving about since her skin-care Google doc went viral in 2017.

That’s a wrap on Prime Day! We’re finished with updates to this post, but the deals will be valid through the night (while stock holds). If you’re in the market for other stuff, too, like a cast-iron skillet or an apartment-friendly lamp, check out our Prime Day hub.


Is it even Prime Day if we haven’t recommended the Mario Badescu facial spray? The perennial Strategist favorite is beloved by both teens and former-teen-icons-turned actresses. The latter, Tavi Gevinson, uses it as a “reset button,” during a high-stress day, and while that’s certainly one reason to use it, there are skin care benefits too. Rosewater and aloe are known to be soothing ingredients, and thyme has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help to clarify and brighten skin.

We recommend this cream for just starting out with retinol because it also contains lots of moisturizing ingredients that don’t dry out the skin. In addition to vitamin A, it has peptides and vitamin E, which together help to fight environmental damage and smooth fine lines.

If you struggle with short, stubby lashes, or had a freak accident with a lash curler like Rio, the Grande Cosmetics lash serum can help. Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka, who says she was born “so hairless,” likes this serum, noting that “it actually made my lashes longer and thicker over the course of six weeks.”

For getting everything off your skin at the end of the day, French pharmacy staple Bioderma is a longtime favorite. “Hands down, this is one of the best makeup removers I have ever tried,” says the Cut’s former beauty director Kathleen Hou. “It works the way you wish water would — it washes away even the thickest layers of makeup, making your skin feel refreshed and free of grime.”

If you’re in need of a total skin-care-routine revamp, this set from CeraVe makes for a convenient and affordable option. For $35, you’ll get the facial moisturizing lotion with SPF, which we like because it’s blendable and lightweight; the PM lotion, our favorite overall drugstore moisturizer; and the hydrating facial cleanser, which we’ve previously recommended for teens with dry skin.

If I were to name ten things I couldn’t live without, these Hero Cosmetics pimple patches would make the list. I first encountered the brand at the Indie Beauty Expo a million years ago (a.k.a. 2017), and I’ve gone through countless sheets since. The hydrocolloid patches cut down on the life cycle of a zit by sucking out the oil and help to heal it better, too. The little sticker ensures that my hands won’t add any additional bacteria, and I like to think these have cured my skin-picking habit altogether. My fellow writer Rachael Griffiths agrees: She dubbed them the best overall pimple patches on the market, adding that they look subtle on a variety of skin tones and won’t dry out sensitive skin or break the bank.

These colorful star patches are a favorite of Rio, who uses them on her biggest whiteheads. “Not only are they adorable, but they also help suck out any oils and pus from the spot, so the zit inevitably looks smaller and flatter by the time you remove it,” she says.

This powder exfoliant from Dermalogica is the sensitive-skin alternative to our favorite face scrub, the Microfoliant. It’s even more gentle than the already-gentle Microfoliant, using AHAs and BHAs along with coconut milk and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.

We’ve also recommended Tatcha’s Rice Polish, which veteran beauty writer Linda Dyett pairs with the Camellia Cleansing Oil to deeply cleanse skin. “These add up to a feathery-soft exfoliation that leaves my complexion cleansed but not depleted,” she says. It exfoliates using tiny rice-bran specks and papaya extract, which offers the benefits of both physical and chemical exfoliation.

Elemis’s deeply hydrating, collagen-filled cleansing balm is a favorite The Bear’s Abby Elliot, who first encountered it while on set. “I was wearing false lashes a lot while filming, and this completely took off the glue and the rest of my makeup while being very moisturizing,” she told us. “If I’m feeling super-tired, I’ll skip my 20-step skin-care routine. I just use this, don’t put anything else on my face, go right to bed, and I feel like I’ve done enough.”

2022 was the year of the Laneige lip mask. Celebrities recommended it in droves, it exploded on TikTok, and it even got its own celebrity ambassador in Euphoria–star Sydney Sweeney. Hype aside, it’s a very good lip mask. Its main ingredient is deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid, along with butters and oils that keep your mouth moisturized for hours.

And for a lightweight, daytime alternative, the glowy lip balm, which contains murumuru and seed butter, comes in various tinted shades.

“I tell any girl who has sun damage and dark spots to give it a try,” says Ru Paul’s Drag Race alum Farrah Moan, who recommended it to us back in 2021. It contains a concentrated form of vitamin C and turmeric, which work together to calm inflammation and protect skin from environmental stressors while also brightening skin overall. If previous Prime Days are any indication, products will sell out quick, so don’t dillydally.

Another Farrah Moan recommendation, Belif true cream. “I’ve tried so many moisturizers, and this is the only one that I keep coming back to,” she says. It’s packed with super-hydrating glycerin, soothing oat extract, comfrey leaf, and panthenol, a humectant that draws moisture to the skin. It’s so good that she’s gotten all her closest friends hooked on it too.

Cystic-acne sufferers will attest that finding products that won’t trigger a flare is key. This gentle cleanser was recommended by two dermatologists for people with cystic acne because it both cleanses the skin and fights deep, under-the-surface acne, thanks to a blend of low-concentration actives like benzoyl peroxide and zinc. It also contains licorice root, an ingredient known to soothe skin.

Another quick-developing option: self-tanning mousse from one of our favorite sunless tanner brands, St. Tropez. We’ve previously written about the whipped mousse, which takes eight hours to develop, but this one takes just an hour to start seeing results and stops getting darker once you wash it off.

This oily-skin-friendly moisturizer has micropearl technology that absorbs excess oil and has an SPF of 30, so you can moisturize and protect your skin in a single step.

$10 for 3

Another moisturize-and-protect combo: Sun Bum lip balm. Your lips have some of the thinnest skin on your body and can get sunburned just like anywhere else. This lip balm contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E.

A few CosRx products are on sale, including this snail-mucin cream, which we’ve written about before. It’s mostly snail mucin (which gives it a slightly sticky feel) and then hyaluronic acid, which makes for a soothing, hydrating moisturizer that’ll work well for just about any skin type.

For on-the-go exfoliation, these pads from Dr. Dennis Gross are meant to be swiped all over the skin and then tossed. The single-use pouch format keeps the actives fresh and thus very effective. Celebrity aesthetician Shani Darden also recommends using them on the back of your hands to help with dark marks there.

Skin-care tools

“I have not had a breakout since integrating this into my routine,” says actress Ally Maki of the Solawave, a nifty red-light-emitting wand that’s designed to stave off breakouts and calm inflammation. According to Maki, it also improved her fine lines and depuffed her face. “I’ve become so addicted to it,” she says. “I’ll just turn on Netflix at night and sit down with it and feel like a baked potato.”

Cheaper than an in-office facial, this at-home microdermabrasion tool physically exfoliates and removes the top layer of dull, dead skin to help your skin absorb products better.

FOREO Luna 3

If you want to make sure your skin is getting squeaky clean, the Foreo Luna can help. Dermatologist Corey L. Hartman told us it’s especially good if you deal with acne. “It’s not a direct treatment, but it’s a way to get your skin more thoroughly cleansed and let your active ingredients penetrate better.” A note about this deal: Due to overwhelming demand in years past, you’ll have to request an invite to get in on the discount.

From $229

NuFace is on sale again this year, and as we’ve said in years past, it’s worth the hype. The face-sculpting device uses low-level electrical currents to lift and firm the skin, and if you’re consistent about it, the effects compound over time. This year, it also comes with a few extras — a firming and brightening cream and a brush to smooth on the hydrating gel.


The cult-classic Stila liner “lets me achieve whatever wing I’m going for because it’s precise,” says Amanda Seales. “It doesn’t budge either.” The OG intense-black shade is half off, so if you’re a longtime fan, it’d be a good time to grab two.

If you need your eyeshadow to stay on through just about anything, we like this “sex proof” primer from Urban Decay, which makeup artist Angie Peek says helps the pigment to stay put. “Think of it as a glue for your eyeshadow. It keeps everything looking freshly applied.”

Even though thousands of brow pencils have been launched since Brow Wiz’s debut in 2000, it’s still one of the best. It’s one of my reliable go-tos because it’s easy to use, pigmented but still very natural, and lasts a long time even with daily use.

And to make sure those hairs stay in place, the brow gel is also excellent. It’s a favorite of Devon Lee Carlson, who likes that it freezes her brow hairs in place. “It hardens them in a good way, and they stay put.”

And if you’d like to fake a feathery brow, Brow Freeze is the way to do it. “I have the straightest hair in the world, and Brow Freeze is literally the product that I have to use to get those hairs to stay up,” says ABH president Claudia Soare. “And my brows stay up all day long. It’s incredible.” Musician Jenny Lewis shared a similar sentiment. “I’m addicted to it.”

After seeing some compelling pictures of Hailey Bieber looking youthful and flushed back in 2019, Rio added this multiuse pigment into her routine. “It really does create the most gorgeous, natural tint when applied to the skin,” says Rio. Her preferred shade, Beloved, is out of stock, but this pinky hue is equally delightful.


Rio’s mom swears by this root cover-up from Color Wow, which she says delivers “major” results on grays. “My mom put it on in the morning, and it lasted all day long. So as a test, I asked her to sleep in it,” Rio told us. “That morning, the product still hadn’t budged. At all. There were no marks on her pillow, either.”

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

We like this lightweight leave-in from Mizani for high-porosity and fine hair types because it won’t weigh down your strands but still manages to moisturize and protect hair from heat damage.

As a former fan of Trader Joe’s tea-tree line, I love a shampoo that makes my scalp tingle. This one from Malin + Goetz contains peppermint to scratch that itch and amino acids to clean hair without stripping it.

Another shampoo we love: Verb Ghost Shampoo. It’s color safe and moisturizing and has UV protection to help maintain hair color and enhance shine. We previously dubbed it our best overall sulfate-free pick, with Stephanie Louis, owner of Brooklyn’s Stylebox Salon, saying it’s the best shampoo they’ve ever worked with.

Rio swears by this dry shampoo for her very oily hair, which she says turns her hair from stringy and greasy to clean and voluminous in just a few seconds. “There’s zero stickiness or tackiness, and my hair feels just as it would if I had showered that morning,” she says, adding that it also doesn’t build up on her hair, no matter how often she uses it.

For a more environmentally friendly option, there’s the Klorane dry shampoo powder, which we’ve named our overall pick. Instead of spraying it into the hair, you apply this directly to the scalp, and it soaks up excess oil. It comes recommended by four hairstylists, including Anthony Campbell, the owner of Campbell & Campbell salon. “It’s lightweight and great for all hair types,” he says.


The Revlon blow-dryer brush is on sale again this year, so if you’ve been debating on buying it, now would be a good time. It’s over half off this Prime Day, the cheapest we’ve seen this year. We previously recommended it for someone with curly, textured hair, especially if you’re used to using two hot tools instead of one. The 2.0 differs slightly from the original round brush design — it has a sleeker, slimmer handle; a smaller brush size that gets closer to the root; and a ceramic and titanium base, which brings together the best of both materials: quick, even heating and smooth, shiny hair.

When we asked hairstylists about how to get an actually silky-silk press at home, hairstylist Hos Hounkpatin recommended this flat iron from GHD, which also happens to be our best overall pick. It maxes out at 365 degrees, which is hot enough to get your hair straight, but not so hot it’ll fry your hair on the first pass. “You don’t have to go over the hair as much with it; you can already see with one touch how smooth your hair gets with a beautiful soft shine,” he says.

Dyson’s uber-expensive straightener is a little cheaper today. It has the high-tech features we’ve come to expect from Dyson, like intelligent heat control (it automatically adjusts based on hair length, thickness, and texture) and flexible copper plates that shape and gather hair. This allows for styling with less pressure, which makes it beginner friendly and cuts down on the likelihood of heat damage.

It’s rare for Olaplex No. 3 to go on sale, which is one of reasons we look forward to Prime Day every year. We’ve recommended it many times over because it helps to repair any kind of hair damage, whether you’re double-processed platinum-blonde or have high-porosity hair. It works by helping to repair any broken bonds and leaves hair feeling healthy and soft.

And if you’d like to round out your routine, Olaplex No. 4 is also on sale. It’s especially good for chemically processed hair, which is why we recommend it whether you’ve colored, bleached, or relaxed your hair. Over time (and with continued use) it’ll help to add shine and reduce frizz. And if you need more convincing: The Summer I Turned Pretty author Jenny Han uses it regularly and says her hair has never looked better.

Lots of R+Co is on sale, including this conditioner, which we’ve previously recommended for dry hair. It contains juniper berry (good for keeping scalp oils balanced) along with moisturizing glycerin and babassu-seed oil. It’s also UV protectant, which minimizes the moisture loss and damage UV rays can have on the hair strand.


During a recent stay at the Graduate Hotel in Richmond, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the shower and found a slew of Malin + Goetz products waiting for me. Everything they make smells incredible (we’ve previously recommended the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash), so I was more than happy to spend the next few days lathering up with the heady, woody, dark-rum body wash. The perfume version of that scent is currently 30 percent off and would make for a nice everyday fragrance.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Prime Day Beauty Deals