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31 Best Skincare Products for Every Skin Type & Concern

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Get ready for the most comprehensive list of the best skincare products out on the market right now! I think that at this point, we’ve covered every major type of skin product for different needs. Well, today, we’re putting all of that knowledge together to tell you about all of the best skincare products you need to know, whether you’re a beginner or a total skincare addict.

This list of skincare products is long and comprehensive, but you might find it a little confusing! That’s why we added a section to help you figure out your skin type. We also included some must-know advice on how to actually put together the best skincare routine for you!

In this article:

Best Skincare Products Overview

Our Picks for the Best Skincare Products of All Time

The skincare market is thriving right now, so narrowing this list down to only 31 of the best skincare products was difficult! However, we think we managed. Feel free to check out more products from the brands we’ve linked to!

Best Moisturizer
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Whenever we’re in doubt, we know this moisturizer is a safe choice. It’s exceptionally hydrating, and yet it’s light as air, making it a fantastic choice for all skin types, from the driest to the oiliest. It’s made with a moisturizing blend of probiotic ingredients and soothing extracts, as well as plenty of moisture-binding humectants. It’s non-comedogenic and genuinely hypoallergenic, so there’s no need to fear sudden breakouts or irritation. Buy it at Sephora or Amazon

Best Cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CerVe, how we love thee, let us count the ways: your products are always affordable, your formulas are gentle and fragrance-free, and you infuse every formula with fortifying and barrier-repairing ceramides and humectants. We truly cannot resist! This entire list could have easily been CeraVe products, but we wanted to have some brand variety. This cleanser is one of the best skincare products, with a balanced cleansing effect that works for all skin types without stripping or drying. Get it at Ulta or Amazon!

Best Chemical Exfoliant
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Paula’s Choice

Paula Begoun is a skincare deity – she’s one of the original bloggers-turned-mavens, and her line adheres to her principals of scientifically-backed, effective formulas. This 2% BHA exfoliating liquid is the star, of course, since it’s properly formulated to gently remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It’s normally recommended for acne-prone skin, but it’ll help all skin types with added soothing and hydrating ingredients. You really can’t go wrong with this one. It’s available at Nordstrom and Amazon.

Best Sunscreen
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Sunscreen is one of the most important products in every skincare routine! It’s integral for maintaining the health and wellbeing of the skin for years, and it can keep signs of premature aging from showing up. However, many sunscreens are not particularly pleasant: this one, however, is the exception.

It’s an incredibly light and smooth gel, so it disappears into the skin quickly. It doesn’t leave any white cast, either! It’s perfect for oily skin, but it’s a safe choice for just about anyone. Purchase it from Sephora!

Best Toner
Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner

We don’t think toners are mandatory, but they can be a really nice and refreshing step, especially if you don’t cleanse your skin in the morning (which you don’t have to!). This simple little product is affordable for everyone, and it’s made with a simple blend of astringent witch hazel, refreshing rosewater, and hydrating aloe vera.

While many witch hazel toners are made with alcohol, this one is free of that! One of the best skincare products, it smells beautiful, but the fragrance does mean it might not work for sensitive skin. Order it on Amazon!

Best Physical Exfoliant
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Physical scrubs can be quite hard on the skin, so they’re never the first thing we recommend. However, this microfoliant bucks the trend with its incredible gentleness. It’s a wonderful product for renewing the skin and removing dead skin cells, especially for those who can’t handle chemical exfoliants.

One of the best skincare products, it’s a gentle powder that you simply mix with a bit of water before gently rubbing into the skin. The formula includes skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal and a touch of salicylic acid. It also features a fragrance, so be careful if you have sensitivities. Find it on Sephora!

Best Brightening and Anti-Aging Serum
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

This serum might be pricey, but it’s also iconic. It has a uniquely stable yet potent vitamin C formulation that’s so exclusive it’s been trademarked. Vitamin C, if you’re not familiar, is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging and skin-brightening effects. It renews collagen and regulates melanin production.

Some users also find that it helps with other skin issues like acne and skin texture! However, it degrades very quickly, but when combined with ferulic acid and vitamin E, it becomes stabilized and more effective. That’s why this serum is so special and easily one of the best skincare products of all time! Shop for it at Dermstore!

Best Essence
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

If you like the idea of K-beauty, this is the signature product to start with. It’s an essence, which means that it sits somewhere between toner and serum, with skin-soothing, hydrating, and anti-aging effects that are all courtesy of filtered snail slime. That’s right!

This odd ingredient is fantastically reparative, and this skincare product is appropriate for all skin types and conditions. Those with very oily skin can even use it instead of a traditional moisturizer, while for everyone else, it offers a nice skincare boost. Grab it at Ulta or Amazon!

Best Soothing Balm
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
La Roche-Posay

This lotion-balm hybrid is famous for its intensely healing and soothing effects on dry or chapped skin. It’s rich yet non-comedogenic, with a moisture-locking silicone touch that also adds a silkiness to the texture. It features some powerful humectants, as well, like panthenol and glycerin.

Lastly, it includes centella-derived madecassoside, which soothes irritation. You can use it as a final, occlusive layer at the end of your skincare routine or spot-treat dry areas. It’s sold through Dermstore.

Best Hydrating Serum
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
Estée Lauder

This milky serum has been around for a long time, and it’s also been through a few reformulations. Its current iteration is a little pricey, but it has a fantastic hydrating and anti-aging formula that is never harsh or intense on the skin. It almost looks like a Korean product, with a robust blend of probiotic ferments that give an intensely hydrating and barrier-boosting effect. A blend of peptides helps keep the skin looking firm and youthful. It’s sold at Nordstrom.

Best AHA Exfoliant
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
First Aid Beauty

While BHA might be best for beginners or acne, alpha-hydroxy acids are absolutely fantastic for a more thorough yet hydrating chemical exfoliation. These pads make it super easy! They’re saturated with a blend of lactic acid (a gentle AHA) and glycolic acid (a slightly more intense AHA). After regular use, the result is thoroughly exfoliated and brightened skin, free of dead skin build-up! The blend also includes skin-brightening licorice root extract and hydrating probiotics. You can buy them from Sephora

Best Luxury Product
La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
La Mer

This moisturizer is not just famous, but it’s a little infamous. We think it deserves its place on this list of the best skincare products of all time because it’s so well-known and controversial, although in practice, we don’t think it merits the price tag. If you can drop this kind of money on a face cream with no second thoughts, by all means: this cream is worth trying at least once in your life, especially if you have dry skin.

Is it mostly made of mineral oil? Yes. Does it include any magical anti-aging ingredients? No. Is it a rich, creamy moisturizer that makes you feel like a billionaire celebrity? Definitely. Get it at Nordstrom!

Best Budget Skincare
The Ordinary ”Buffet” Serum
The Ordinary

Picking just one product from The Ordinary is difficult. If you’re on a tight budget, most of their portfolio is excellent! In this article, we decided to feature their Buffet serum – an anti-aging formula loaded with different anti-aging peptides. Normally, just a drop of those ingredients will add a hefty price tag to a product, but The Ordinary manages to keep their prices low. It’s one of the best skincare products for all skin types to want to add a gentle, anti-aging boost to their routine. It’s available at Sephora, Ulta, and Amazon.

Best Cream Cleanser
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
First Aid Beauty

If you’re not much of a makeup wearer but have sensitive or dry skin, oil and balm cleansers might be over-the-top. Double cleansing might be too much of a hassle! That’s when cream cleansers can be useful. They’re as gentle and moisturizing to the skin as an oil, but they’re a one-step that leaves your skin feeling as though it’s been cleansed with a more traditional formula. We love this one because it’s fragrance-free, with soothing allantoin, green tea, and licorice extracts. Find it at Sephora, Nordstrom, or Amazon!

Best Face Oil
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
Indie Lee

Squalane oil gives an incredible little boost to every skincare routine. It’s technically not an oil but a lipid that is incredibly gentle and inert, so it’s almost never irritating or comedogenic. It’s also very similar to the squalene naturally produced by the skin, but it’s just much more stable, so it moisturizes flawlessly without oxidizing or clogging the pores.

You can mix it with your favorite moisturizer or use it alone after hydrating with a serum. It’s a fine choice for all skin types, but especially for dry skin. Order it from Dermstore!

Best Micellar Water
Bioderma Sensibio H2O

When you’re especially tired and need to get your makeup off in the easiest way possible, micellar water is a lifesaver. Some micellar water formulas can be a little harsh on the skin, but this one is one of the best skincare products, as it manages to remove all debris from the skin in a gentle manner! It has a low pH that keeps the skin balanced, and it includes fatty acid esters and humectants to moisturize. We still recommend rinsing the face after using it, though it’s not mandatory. Buy it from Dermstore or Amazon!

Best Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

This Japanese cleansing oil is a classic. If you have dry skin or just love rocking a lot of makeup, you want it on your radar. It’s made with ultra-nourishing olive oil, which is rich in oleic acid. It melts makeup down and then rinses away cleanly, leaving behind no residue – just soft, nourished skin. You can follow it up with any second cleanser, but to be quite honest, we don’t think that’s mandatory. Shop for it on Dermstore or Amazon!

Best Anti-Aging Retinol Treatment
Lancer Skincare Advanced Retinol Treatment
Lancer Skincare

Retinol is a dramatic anti-aging ingredient. Once applied to the skin, it converts into retinoic acid, which is able to stimulate the skin, improve collagen production, and repair all kinds of issues from texture to fine lines. It can be too intense for some, but if your skin handles it, it’s a must. In this formula, it’s used at 1.25% concentration, which is high but not too high and combined with antioxidant bakuchiol in a light but moisturizing formula. Grab it at Sephora or Nordstrom!

Best Overnight Mask
belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask

Overnight sleeping masks are a Korean concept that we really enjoy. These overnight masks infuse the skin with moisture overnight, thanks to a whole range of hydrating agents. Unlike night creams, they actually have a gel-like texture with some ingredients that create a sealing film over the skin. This mask from belif was one of the originals, with lots of humectants and skin-rejuvenating plant extracts. It also contains some essential oils, so it might not work for those with sensitive skin. One of the best skincare products, it’s sold at Sephora.

Best Lip Product
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Is it a little extra to have a special mask just for your lips? Maybe. Does it make you feel like royalty while rendering your lips super soft? Absolutely! This is one of the best lip products out there, with a ridiculously luxurious design, pleasant scent and taste, and lots of lip-nourishing ingredients. It can be used overnight or in the day as a regular lip balm with a sheen.

What’s especially unique about it is that, unlike a lip balm, it includes both humectants that hydrate the lips and occlusives that lock that moisture in place. It comes in a few flavors, but the original berry is our favorite. Find it at Sephora or Amazon!

Best Eye Cream
The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream
The Inkey List

The Inkey List is another one of the best budget skincare brands on the market right now, offering the best skincare products ever. They have a slightly similar ethos to The Ordinary, but their products are often a little more elegant. This eye cream, in particular, is fantastic. It is light but super-moisturizing, and it even includes anti-aging peptides and depuffing caffeine. It helps to tighten up the eye area while hydrating it thoroughly! Pick it up at Sephora or Amazon!

Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

This is another fantastic sunscreen, especially for those with oily skin. It’s incredibly light, and it’s made with a gentle mixture of mineral and chemical sunscreen that is more likely to work for sensitive skin. It’s light and quick to disappear into the skin, with a natural finish that will work for all skin types. One of the best skincare products of all time, it also includes a touch of soothing antioxidant niacinamide, which has a huge range of beneficial effects. Pick it up from Dermstore or Amazon!

Best Cleansing Balm
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Cleansing balms are similar to oil cleansers, but they’re a little richer. They’re also less messy since they start out solid and then melt into a luxurious, makeup-dissolving oil as they’re massaged into the skin. This cleansing balm from Clinique was one of the first, and it’s still a winner. One of the best skincare products of all time, it has a gentle, fragrance-free formula based on light safflower oil, and it rinses away with water completely. Get it at Sephora, Nordstrom or Amazon!

Best Acne Treatment
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment
La Roche-Posay

Whether you’re trying to prevent breakouts or to bring down active blemishes, this is the best skincare product to pick up. You can use it as a spot treatment or all-over the areas you normally break out. It’s an acne treatment with 5.5% benzoyl peroxide, a topical medication that targets both dead skin build-up and the acne bacteria. It also features lip-hydroxy acid, which exfoliates to help clear clogged pores. It’s a must-have for acne-prone skin. It’s available at Ulta, and Amazon.

Best Cleanser for Oily Skin
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

We don’t usually love gel cleansers here at Glowsly since they can be a little drying to the skin. However, if we have to choose one, this is easily our favorite. It’s an affordable gel cleanser that cleanses the skin thoroughly and removes excess oils. While it might be a little drying for those with already dry skin, it’s perfect for combination and oily skin types.

One of the best skincare products, it also works really nicely as a second cleanser, following an oil or balm cleanser! It’s gentle on the skin thanks to its balanced pH level, and it also features a touch of tea tree oil, which is great for acne-prone skin. You can buy it at Ulta, or Amazon.

Best Sheet Mask
Madeca Derma 10 Pack Revitalizing Mask

With sheet masks, we start getting into the concept of skincare as entertainment. They are soothing and hydrating, sure, but they’re also really fun and relaxing. Skincare is about more than just treating problems – it should also be a self-care practice.

This mask is a great one to try because it’s soothing and gentle, with ingredients appropriate for nearly all skin types. Only those with sensitive skin should watch out a little since it contains fragrance ingredients. Niacinamide, centella, and caffeine make for a soothing, protective, and antioxidant product. Find it on Amazon!

Best Face Mist
Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Peptides
Youth To The People

If you watch a lot of YouTube, you might be familiar with this brand thanks to Hyram (who we love here at Glowsly, even if we don’t agree with him 100% of the time). Their cleanser usually gets all of the attention, but this face mist gets us excited!

It’s a natural product but made without fragrances or potential irritants. Instead, it features soothing, hydrating, and anti-aging ingredients like antioxidant ashwagandha, skin-firming peptides, moisturizing shea butter, and loads of humectants. One of the best skincare products to try, it’s a lovely remedy for dehydration that can work in any skincare routine for any skin type. Shop for it at Sephora!

Best CBD Skincare
Lord Jones Acid Mantle Repair Moisturizer with 250mg CBD and Ceramides
Lord Jones

We’ve been dreaming about this moisturizer ever since we’ve first discovered it! It’s made with 250 mg of CBD, which is one of the most exciting anti-inflammatory ingredients used in skincare right now. It’s a wonderful, soothing formula free of fragrances (sadly unusual in CBD skincare).

One of the best skincare products ever, it features a ton of barrier-repairing ingredients that are perfect for irritating or over-exfoliated skin. These ingredients include squalane, a whole range of ceramides, and sunflower oil. This formula is unlikely to be comedogenic, but it might be a little rich for oily skin, especially in the daytime. Anyone else will benefit from it. Grab it from Sephora!

Best Peptide Moisturizer
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
Drunk Elephant

This moisturizer has a big following of loyal fans. They’re willing to pay the price for this light moisturizer that’s loaded with peptides. While it’s certainly a little pricey, if you have issues finding skincare products that work for you, it’s worth a try.

It works well for oily and acne-prone skin, but it’s also great for normal and combination skin. It offers thorough moisturization without greasiness, and over time, the peptides can help maintain the firmness of the skin. It’s free of fragrances and silicones, which we also appreciate. It’s sold at Sephora, and Amazon.

Best Drying Lotion
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment
Kate Somerville

This is another great little option for dealing with active acne. It’s a treatment that includes both sulfur and salicylic acid to dry out active, inflamed pimples. The sulfur purifies and resurfaces the skin, while salicylic acid penetrates through oils to give soothing relief. It’s an old-school formulation, but it’s still trusted by thousands. Get it at Sephora, Nordstrom or Amazon!

Best Makeup & Skincare in One
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30
Dr. Jart+

If your skin is prone to redness, this is the best skincare product for the daytime. It does a bunch of things at once! It protects from the sun, offers a tint to even out the skin tone, and helps soothe inflammation with a ton of centella asiatica extract. It’s moisturizing, but not overly so, and it also includes niacinamide, which will help with both blemishes and preventing premature aging. Anyone can benefit from it! You can find it at Sephora, and Amazon.

How to Choose the Best Skincare Products for Your Skin Type?

While many of the products on our list are great for all skin types, knowing your skin type can still make it easier to select the best skincare products for you.

Skin type simply refers to where your skin sits on a spectrum of sebum production, with sebum being the oil-like substance that the human skin produces for protection and lubrication. It’s a distinction that belongs strictly to the world of cosmetics, rather than a medical or physiological distinction, but it’s helpful nevertheless. 

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a skin type that produces very little sebum. The best way to figure out if you have dry skin is to pay attention to it for a few days. If your skin never gets shiny and usually looks fairly matte unless you use very oily skincare products, then you have dry skin.

You can also look at the size of your pores! Those with dry skin usually have small pores, especially when they’re young. With age, the skin loses some of its firmness, so the pores can stretch a little even if the skin remains dry.

How to Figure Out Your Skin Type

Dry skin can come with a few additional issues – it’s more prone to dehydration, which is loss of water (although everyone can experience it, and it’s often incorrectly identified as “dryness”), so it can feel tight or become flakey.

The best skincare products for dry skin will never strip it of oil and moisture, and will instead infuse it with both water and oil-like emollient substances. Cream or oil cleansers are great, while for moisturizing, you might like the idea of a multi-step routine with both essences or serums and creams.

Oily Skin

As the word “oily” implies, oily skin produces a lot of sebum. Your skin gets shiny throughout the day, and you might find yourself applying mattifying powders or blotting to get a hold of it. Alternatively, maybe you just rock the dewy look – that’s cool too!

Those with oily skin usually have larger pores, especially in the T-zone, which encompasses the forehead, nose, and chin. Those with oily skin are often (though not always) more prone to acne, although having breakouts isn’t a sure sign of oiliness.

The best skincare products for oily skin will have hydrating effects, but they won’t be too creamy or greasy, especially if they’re intended for the daytime. Your cleanser should clean your skin thoroughly, but without making you feel dehydrated, so gel formulas are great to start with.

While it doesn’t matter as much at night, in the morning, products should even have a mattifying effect on the skin.

How to Build a Skincare Routine

Combination Skin

Combination skin is the most common of all skin types! This is because it’s in the middle of the spectrum and has features of both dry and oily skin. For most people with combination skin, the T-zone is oily, while the eyes, cheeks, and jaw are dry, although how oily or how dry each part is can vary. Some people also experience oiliness and dryness in a different pattern, though it’s rare.

The best way to deal with combination skin is to use skincare products that are neither mattifying nor overly creamy or greasy, and that offer a balanced amount of hydration and protection. In particular, products marketed as appropriate for all skin types are a great choice!

Normal Skin

Normal skin type is almost mythological. Normal myth means that you have medium-sized pores all over the face, and your skin produces an even and comfortable amount of sebum.

Very few people have such balanced skin, and it usually also comes with few to no skin issues. If you do have normal skin, the best way to take care of is with a short and simple skincare routine.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitivity is not a real skin type since those with sensitive skin can also have any level of oil production. However, we still wanted to mention it here since sensitive skin does require special care! If you find that your skin becomes red or irritated easily, then that’s a sign of sensitivity.

How to Choose the Best Skin Care Products for Your Skin Type

With sensitive skin, you want to use skincare products described as gentle and with a texture that’s appropriate for your skin type. It’s usually better to avoid fragrances and intense active ingredients, as those are more likely to cause irritation. Additionally, look for soothing anti-inflammatories that can help calm down any irritation.

How to Put Together a Skincare Routine?

Once you’ve identified your skin type, you can start building your personal skincare routine! We have some tips to help you get started and then to go beyond the basics!

Make Sure to Patch-Test

Whenever you introduce new skincare products into your routine, it’s important to patch-test them first. This allows you to check that they won’t irritate your skin or clog your pores!

If you’re checking for sensitivity or allergy, patch-test your product on your inner arm or behind your ear. When you patch-test for comedogenicity, patch-test on an area of your face or body where your skin may break out.

To patch-test, simply apply the product to your skin (if it’s a cleanser, rinse it off after a minute or two). Do this for a few days in a row. If all goes well, and you don’t experience any negative reactions, you can start using the product on your face!

Start with the Basics

A basic skincare routine should include the following three products: a cleanser that never makes your skin feel tight, a moisturizer suitable to your skin type, and sunscreen for the morning (that should be reapplied after two hours of continuous sun exposure).

Best Skin Care Products to Try

Beyond being very careful to use sunscreen regularly, the rules about when to use what are not too strict. You should cleanse and moisturize in the evening, but in the morning, let your skin guide you as you decide if you want to cleanse and moisturize again before applying sunscreen.

For those with oily skin, sunscreen is often moisturizing enough to replace a moisturizer. For those with sensitive or dry skin, cleansing a second time in the morning can be irritating. 

Identify Your Concerns

Once you have a basic routine that works for you, you can start thinking about how to expand it with toners, serums, essences, spot treatments, or exfoliants.

Usually, it’s good to expand by first considering your main skin concerns, which are issues you would like to treat as opposed to skin types, which are largely immutable.

The most common skin concerns are the following:

  • Dehydration, which is a lack of water in the skin (not to be confused with a dry skin type),
  • Pigmentation, which appears as dark marks, freckles, melasma, sunspots, or post-acne marks,
  • Existing fine lines and wrinkles,
  • Prevention of premature aging,
  • Acne and skin congestion/ clogged pores,
  • Redness or other signs of sensitivity and irritation,
  • Eye area concerns like puffiness or dark circles. 

Take note of which concerns are your highest priority, and also take into account that you sometimes have to deal with an underlying issue before dealing with the skin concern it causes. For example, if your skin is irritated because of an allergic reaction to your laundry detergent, your first priority should be to find a laundry detergent to which you won’t be allergic.

Another example is acne and dark marks. After breaking out, many people experience post-acne marks that are called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or PIH). It’s better to deal with the acne first and to try and prevent the breakouts before starting to focus on the pigmentation. 

Best Skin Care Products for Skin Types

Add New Skincare Products Slowly

It can be really tempting to immediately buy a bunch of skincare products at once. Unfortunately, the skin often can’t handle that! If you start using 3 or 4 new products all at once, you take two risks:

  • If the products you select have a lot of strong ingredients in them like exfoliating acids or retinoids, you run the risk of over-exfoliating and irritating your skin.
  • If you have an allergic reaction or a breakout, you will have no way of knowing which product was at fault.

When starting a routine, add one new product at a time. Use your new product for at least a week before introducing the next product. If your new skincare products are very “active,” it’s better to wait 2 or 3 weeks before adding anything else.

If you’re starting from nothing, it’s best to start with a sunscreen if you spend any time outdoors, or to start with a moisturizer or cleanser if you don’t get much sun exposure and can wear a hat when going outside.

Know the Correct Product Order

As you start bolstering your basic cleansing and moisturizing routine with more skincare products, figuring out how to order them can get really confusing! There are a few basic rules when it comes to ordering products. Once you understand them, putting products in the right order becomes super easy!

  1. With the majority of leave-on skincare ingredients, you want to apply the thin and more watery or liquidy products first, followed by heavier products. This allows for optimal product penetration and absorption. While you don’t need to use all of the following products, this is generally the order they go in, from the thinnest to the thickest: toner, essence, serum, gel, moisturizer, oil, balm.
  2. Some ingredients are pH-dependent. This means that they only work at a relatively low acidity level, so they need to be applied to the skin before anything that has a high pH, regardless of the texture. These ingredients include AHAs and vitamin C in its active form as ascorbic acid. If your routine includes prescription products, those should often also go on the skin immediately after cleansing, and it’s always more important to follow doctor’s orders than our recommendations here. If you’re not sure about a product, you can often email the company that produced it to ask when it can go in your routine based on its pH or other properties. Fun fact: we used to believe this was also true for salicylic acid, but in recent years, research has shown that it works just as well at a slightly higher pH.
  3. With cleansing, we actually follow the reverse of rule 1… well, sort of. If you’ve decided that you want to double cleanse, your first cleanser will usually be a thicker oil or balm cleanser, which you follow up with a more traditional cleanser with a gel or cream texture that is easier to rinse away with water. Some people use micellar water when double cleansing, in which case, there is no strict rule, and you can experiment with product order to see what gives you a better cleansing.
Best Skin Care Products for Every Skin Type

Be Gradual with Active Ingredients

With some active ingredients, you might not be able to use them every day when you first start out. In that case, give yourself time to gradually increase how often you use them.

For example, with glycolic acid, you want to start out using it only once or twice a week, and then slowly increase the frequency until you use it every day or every other day. Pay close attention to signs of over-exfoliation, and if you experience any irritation, either reduce the frequency or stop using the product altogether.

Some people can tolerate more active ingredients, and others can tolerate less. One person might be able to use a chemical exfoliant every day, while for another person, exfoliating once a week is enough.

It also depends on the types of active ingredients you use and their concentration. Adding new things slowly and gradually allows you to figure out the “sweet spot” where your skin is happy.

Final Thoughts on the Best Skincare Products

Putting together a skincare routine is a complicated process, but thankfully, we selected the best skincare products to make it a little easier for you! Most of the products on our list are good for all skin types. Hopefully, by identifying your skin type and knowing our safety tips, you can build your own personal routine that will allow your skin to thrive!

Photos via @k.els.e.y, Sephora, Nordstrom, Dermstore