Combination skin is particularly tricky to deal with, so using effective products specifically formulated with this skin type in mind is essential. Here is our guide to the best products for combination skin.

Our Recommendations

1. The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum

Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum

Maelove Product for Brightening and Anti-Aging

Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum

This lightweight and oil-free vitamin C serum from Maelove combines vitamin C with other powerful ingredients to fight signs of aging, brighten, and hydrate the skin.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply an even layer of the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This affordable vitamin C serum contains a 15% concentration of l-ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), which works to minimize signs of aging, promote a more even skin tone, and brighten the complexion. It also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, two antioxidant-rich ingredients that have been proven to increase the efficacy of vitamin C. The Glow Maker also features hyaluronic acid, which helps hydrate the skin.

Pros

  • Anti-aging and brightening
  • Lightweight
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain that the serum oxidizes easily (keep in the fridge to maintain integrity of the formula)

This lightweight serum contains a botanical blend that helps soothe and nourish the skin. It includes aloe, magnolia, and vitis vinifera.

Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ferulic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Metabisulfite, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology. "Vitamin C in dermatology"

    Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

2. Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, and

Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum

Dr. Brenner Product for Brightening and Anti-Aging

Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, and Hyaluronic Acid

This affordable vitamin C serum combines l-ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C) with other potent ingredients to brighten, even skin tone, increase firmness, and fight against signs of aging.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply an even layer of the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This is an excellent product for those looking for a budget-friendly, fragrance-free vitamin C serum. It contains a 20% concentration of vitamin C, which works to fight signs of aging and even skin tone while defending against damaging oxidative stress. The formula also contains antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which have been proven to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.

Pros

  • Anti-aging and brightening
  • Affordable
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist developed

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain that it feels sticky on the skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this vegan and cruelty-free vitamin C serum contains hyaluronic acid, which helps attract moisture to the skin and lock it in for a plump and hydrated complexion.

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) 20%, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) 1%, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid ) 1%, Ferulic Acid .5%, Panthenol, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology. "Vitamin C in dermatology"

    Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.

3. Hydro Boost Overnight Hydration Gel Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Overnight Hydration Gel Cream

Neutrogena Product for Daily Moisturization

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Overnight Hydration Gel Cream

Neutrogena’s affordable body lotion is packed with ingredients that help deeply hydrate the skin overnight.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Massage the lotion all over the body, or where needed.
See on Walmart

One of the key ingredients in this drugstore body lotion is hyaluronic acid. This skincare ingredient pulls moisture to the skin and locks it in to keep the skin hydrated. While this gel body lotion intensely hydrates, it absorbs quickly into the skin, and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky finish.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Oil-free

Cons


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In addition to the hyaluronic acid, this drugstore body lotion also contains other ingredients known to hydrate and nourish the skin, including glycerin and vitamin E.

Water Glycerin Isopropyl Palmitate Petrolatum Dimethicone Cetyl Alcohol Cetearyl Olivate Sorbitan Olivate Caprylyl Glycol Ethylhexylglycerin Tocopheryl Acetate Sodium Hyaluronate Magnesium Aspartate Zinc Gluconate Copper Gluconate Sodium Polyacrylate Carbomer Phenoxyethanol Sodium Hydroxide

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

4. Vitamin C Serum

Mad Hippie Product for Anti-aging and brightening

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

This natural vitamin C serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate (a stable form of vitamin C) and other effective skincare ingredients to help brighten, hydrate, and provide anti-aging benefits.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Anti-aging and brightening
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply four to five drops of the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This effective yet affordable vitamin C serum contains antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which have been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C. It is also packed with additional ingredients that help hydrate, soften, and smooth the skin, including konjac root and hyaluronic acid.

Pros

  • Natural
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers noted it felt sticky on the skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this vegan and cruelty-free vitamin C serum contains chamomile, grapefruit, and clary sage, which provide antioxidant protection and calm the skin.

Water Deionized, Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), Alkyl Benzoate, Vegetable Glycerin, Water, Glycerin, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea), Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis), Hyaluronic acid, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Vitamin E (Tocotrienol), Ferulic acid, Chamomile Flower Extract (Recutita Matricaria), Sodium Phytate, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose

  1. National Center for Biotechnology. "Vitamin C in dermatology"

    Accessed Nov. 11, 2021.

5. Power 10 Formula LI Effector with Licorice

It’s Skin Power 10 Formula

It’s Skin Product for Brightening and Evening Skin Tone

It’s Skin Power 10 Formula LI Effector with Licorice

This affordable serum contains a high concentration of licorice extract, which works to brighten and promote a more even skin tone.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Evening Skin Tone
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing, apply two to three drops of the serum all over the face and neck. Follow up with a moisturizer.
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This Korean serum is perfect for those looking to even out their skin tone. Licorice (glycyrrhiza uralensi) extract is known to help fade hyperpigmentation and melasma, improve skin texture, soothe the skin, and reduce redness.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free

Cons

  • None

This daily serum can also be combined with other It’s Skin Power 10 serums to target specific skin concerns you’re looking to address.

Water, Glycyrrhiza, Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin,Polyglutamic, Acid, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

6. Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

Paula's Choice Product for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

This hydrating cleansing balm contains a variety of ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin to keep it hydrated and soft and it is being cleansed.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Massage the cleansing balm into wet or dry skin, and rinse with lukewarm water. This can be used as the first cleanser in a double cleansing routine.
See on Amazon

This fragrance-free cleansing balm is packed with effective ingredients that help ensure the skin stays hydrated and soft while cleansing. This includes omega-rich jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hydrating
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This Paula’s Choice cleansing balm contains additional ingredients that hydrate and nourish the skin, including vitamin E and rapeseed oil.

Ethylhexyl Palmitate (emollient solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate (emollient cleansing agent), Diisooctyl Succinate (emollient), Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters (emollient cleansing agent/emulsifier), Trihydroxystearin (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Hydrogenated Rapeseed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant/skin-softening omega fatty acid), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

7. Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream

Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream

Neutrogena Product for Moisturization and Anti-Aging

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream

This cream moisturizer combines the power of retinol and hyaluronic acid to fight the signs of aging while also plumping and moisturizing the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Combination
Best for: Moisturization and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing, apply the cream to your face, neck, and chest.
See on Amazon

This anti-aging moisturizer is a great way to add retinol to your routine, as the addition of moisturizing ingredients may help mitigate some of the irritation often associated with retinol. The cream contains retinol SA, which works to smooth lines and even skin tone. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which pulls moisture to the skin for healthy hydration levels.

Pros

  • Anti-aging
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Hydrating

Cons

  • May cause irritation

In addition to the hydrating benefits, hyaluronic acid has been shown to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which makes this drugstore moisturizer even more effective for anti-aging. Even though the hydrating ingredients may mitigate the irritating effects of retinol, if you’re new to this skincare ingredient or have sensitive skin, you may want to start by using this cream every other day or every two days to see how your skin reacts.

Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, PPG 15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Ceteareth 20, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyethylene, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, PTFE, C13-14 Isoparaf n, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 20, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Retinol, BHT, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-7, Ascorbic Acid

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

8. Calm and Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Calm and Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Aveeno Product for Daily Moisturization

Aveeno Calm and Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

This lightweight, gentle moisturizer is formulated with a variety of ingredients that hydrate and soothe irritated skin. It is formulated specifically with sensitive skin in mind.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Cleanse the skin and apply serums or treatments. Then, apply this moisturizer to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with sunscreen during the day.
See on Amazon

One of the key ingredients in this drugstore moisturizer is the prebiotic triple oat complex, which helps soothe and hydrate the skin and relieve itchiness and dryness. Another star ingredient is feverfew, which calms the skin and helps minimize redness.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Some reviewers note it felt greasy on the skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gel moisturizer contains centella asiatica, which has been shown to soothe inflammation in the skin.

Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Olivate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Sorbitan Olivate, Polyacrylamide, Synthetic Beeswax, Phenoxyethanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Chlorphenesin, Dimethiconol, Carbomer, Laureth-7, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Flower/Leaf/Stem Juice, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Centella asiatica in cosmetology"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

9. Daily Facial Moisturizer

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

Vanicream Product for Daily Moisturization

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

This fragrance-free moisturizer is lightweight but deeply hydrating. It is gentle on the skin, and specifically formulated with sensitive skin in mind.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Cleanse the skin and apply serums or treatments. Then, apply this moisturizer to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with sunscreen during the day.
See on Amazon

This daily moisturizer is packed with 5 key ceramides, which help restore the skin’s barrier. It also contains hyaluronic acid, squalane, and glycerin, which all help keep the skin hydrated.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin

The formula of this affordable moisturizer is perfect for sensitive skin, because it is fragrance-free, dye-free, essential oil-free, and free of virtually anything else known to irritate the skin. It is also dermatologist tested.

Purified Water, Squalane, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramide Eop, Ceramide Ng, Ceramide Np, Ceramide As, Ceramide Ap, Carnosine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Phytosterols, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-11, 1,2-Hexanediol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic Acid"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products"

    Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.

10. C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

SkinCeuticals Product for Anti-aging and brightening

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

This brightening and anti-aging vitamin C serum is often considered one of the best of the best. It helps improve signs of aging while fighting environmental aggressors.

Skin types: Normal, Dry, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Anti-aging and brightening
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing, apply four to five drops of the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This fragrance-free vitamin C serum contains a potent 15% concentration of l-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that helps neutralize free radicals, defend against oxidative stress, and brighten and fight signs of aging. It is formulated with antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which both further protect against environmental stressors. These ingredients have also been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.

Pros

  • Anti-aging
  • Brightening
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some reviewers complain about the smell

This anti-aging serum remains effective for at least 72 hours after being absorbed into the skin. It also contains additional ingredients that help hydrate the skin, including glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate

  1. National Center for Biotechnology. "Vitamin C in dermatology"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.

11. Hydrium Centella Aqua Soothing Ampoule

Hydrium Centella Aqua Soothing Ampoule

COSRX Product for Soothing and hydrating

COSRX Hydrium Centella Aqua Soothing Ampoule

This soothing and hydrating serum is packed with effective yet gentle ingredients that help soothe the skin. It is even suitable for calming current breakouts.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Soothing and hydrating
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply a few drops of the serum to the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

One of the key ingredients in this gentle serum is centella asiatica extract. This plant extract has been shown to effectively treat wounds and soothe inflammation in the skin. It also contains vitamin B5 (AKA panthenol), an anti-inflammatory ingredient that improves hydration and elasticity while soothing the skin.

Pros

  • Lightweight and non-sticky
  • Gentle
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • The lighter hydration may not be hydrating enough for very dry skin

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this Korean serum contains madecassoside, which has antioxidant benefits, and allantoin, which soothes.

Water, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Octanediol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Madecassoside, Panthenol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Centella asiatica in cosmetology"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.

12. Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe Product for Daily Moisturization

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

This cream moisturizer contains peptides and a blend of other ingredients that soften, hydrate, and restore the skin’s barrier overnight.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Combination
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Cleanse the skin and apply serums or treatments. Then, apply this cream to the face, neck, and chest.
See on Amazon

It is important to pick an effective, hydrating night cream, especially if your skincare routine includes potent serums or treatments that may irritate or dry the skin (such as retinol). This affordable moisturizer contains a variety of skincare ingredients that help renew the skin and also protect its natural barrier.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May be too thick for some

This drugstore moisturizer features peptides, which help rejuvenate fatigued skin. It also contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which protect the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture. Additionally, it has niacinamide, which calms the skin and fights signs of aging.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Saccharide Isomerate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3, Tripeptide-1, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Phytosphingosine, Dextran, Xanthan Gum

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products"

    Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.

13. Resurfacing Retinol Serum

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

CeraVe Product for Fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and minimizing large pores

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

This drugstore retinol serum is specifically formulated to tackle post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and large pores, and helps promote an overall even and clear complexion.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and minimizing large pores
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing, apply a pump of the serum evenly all over the face, neck, and chest. Use once a day (or less frequently to prevent irritation).
See on Amazon

This is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable retinol. This fragrance-free retinol serum not only helps with acne scars and large pores, but it can also help fight signs of aging and brighten the skin.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Developed with dermatologists

Cons

  • May cause irritation or dryness

This non-comedogenic retinol serum also contains ceramides and niacinamide, which work to calm and restore the skin while maintaining its barrier. Additionally, this formula contains licorice root extract, which gives a brightening boost. That extra benefit may further help lighten discolored scars.

Aqua/Water, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Niacinamide, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Potassium Phosphate, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Dimethiconol, Lecithin, Sodium Citrate, Retinol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

14. Face Cleanser

First aid beauty Face Cleansers

First Aid Beauty Product for Daily Cleansing

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

This fragrance-free face wash is an excellent hydrating, gentle cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, and packed with antioxidants.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This gentle cleanser effectively cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils. It contains additional ingredients that help calm and hydrate the skin, including aloe, glycerin, and allantoin.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

In addition to the ingredients noted above, this vegan and cruelty-free face wash contains the First Aid Beauty antioxidant booster (a blend of licorice root, feverfew, and white tea extracts) to help fight environmental aggressors.

water/aqua/eau, sodium cocoyl isethionate, glycerin, stearic acid, stearyl alcohol, allantoin, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, caprylyl glycol, sodium pca, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, disodium edta, citric acid, maltodextrin, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, tetrasodium edta

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

15. Discoloration Correcting Serum

Good Molecules Discoloration_Correcting Serum

Good Molecules Product for Lightening Dark Spots and Brightening

Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum

This affordable serum is perfect for those looking to lighten discolored spots (like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne or melasma) for a more even complexion.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination
Best for: Lightening Dark Spots and Brightening
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply a few drops of the serum to affected areas. This serum can be used up to two times per day.
See on Amazon

This fragrance-free serum contains two star ingredients that help fade dark marks: tranexamic acid (AKA cetyl tranexamate mesylate) and niacinamide. Tranexamic acid is known to brighten and lighten dark spots, while niacinamide addresses uneven tone and texture.

Pros

  • Brightening
  • Affordable
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

In addition to the key ingredients mentioned above, this daily serum contains glycerin, which helps keep the skin hydrated.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceratonia Siliqua (Carob) Gum, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Tranexamic Acid for Melasma: Evaluating the Various Formulations"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "New topical tranexamic acid derivative for the improvement of hyperpigmentation and inflammation in the sun-damaged skin"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

16. Tolérance Extrême Emulsion

Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion

Avène Product for Daily Moisturization

Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion

This gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer contains six simple but effective ingredients that soothe and moisturize the skin without leaving behind a greasy feeling.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and applying any serums or treatments, apply the moisturizer to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with sunscreen during the day.
See on Amazon

This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is perfect for combination, oily, and sensitive skin types. Two key ingredients are the Avène thermal spring water, which soothes and softens the skin, and squalane, which hydrates and acts as an antioxidant.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Dye-free

Cons

  • May not be moisturizing enough for drier skin types

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle moisturizer contains glycerin and capric triglyceride, which both further help hydrate the skin.

Avène Thermal Spring Water, Squalane, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Sodium Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Water

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

17. RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream

Avene_RetrinAL_0.1_Intensive_Cream

Avène Product for Fighting the Signs of Aging

Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream

This over-the-counter anti-aging retinol contains retinaldehyde, a potent retinoid, as well as other ingredients that help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, plump the skin, and protect against free radicals for a youthful complexion.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination
Best for: Fighting the Signs of Aging
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: At night, after cleansing and drying the skin, apply to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

The star ingredient of this over-the-counter, fragrance-free retinol treatment is retinaldehyde. This kind of retinoid is one of the strongest that you can get without a prescription, and it has been proven to stimulate collagen production, smooth the appearance of wrinkles, and brighten skin tone. It also contains peptides that help plump the skin.

Pros

  • Anti-aging
  • Fragrance-free
  • Formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions

Cons

  • Contains color additives
  • May cause irritation (especially for those new to using retinoids)

In addition to the peptides and retinaldehyde, this anti-aging treatment cream contains vitamin E, an antioxidant, as well as Avène thermal spring water, which is meant to soothe and soften the skin.

Water (Avène Thermal Spring Water), Triethylhexanoin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ceteareth-20, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Ceteareth-33, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ammonium Acryloyl Dimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Benzoic Acid, Bht, Caramel, Disodium Edta, Mica, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Oleoyl Dipeptide-15, Oleoyl Tetrapeptide-31, Phenoxyethanol, Red 33, Retinal, Silica, Sodium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Glucoside

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Vitamin E in dermatology"

    Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.

18. Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

Paula’s Choice Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

Paula's Choice Product for Exfoliation, Large Pores, and Acne

Paula’s Choice Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

This exfoliant contains a powerful concentration of salicylic acid, which works to unclog pores to minimize their appearance while also fighting breakouts.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Exfoliation, Large Pores, and Acne
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, massage the exfoliant into the skin. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

The 4% concentration of salicylic acid (which is higher than the cult-favorite Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant) helps to unclog pores and promote a more even skin texture and tone. This makes this an excellent exfoliant for those dealing with large pores and breakouts and wanting to improve the overall appearance of the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin

This exfoliant contains additional antioxidant-rich ingredients that protect the skin and fight signs of aging, as well as soothing and hydrating ingredients. This includes glycerin, allantoin, grape seed extract, green tea leaf extract, and matricaria flower extract.

Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Salicylic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Adenosine, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 27, 2021.

19. Bentonite Healing Clay

Aztec Secret Bentonite Healing Clay

Aztec Secret Product for Acne, Blackheads and Large Pores

Aztec Secret Bentonite Healing Clay

This natural clay mask uses calcium bentonite clay to help absorb excess oil and dissolve impurities in the skin for a clearer complexion.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Acne, Blackheads and Large Pores
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After mixing with your liquid of choice, apply a thin layer of the mixture all over your clean, dry face (or just to affected areas). Leave it on for 5-15 minutes. Wash away with lukewarm water. This mask can be used 1-2 times per week.
See on Amazon

This simple mask contains 100% calcium bentonite clay, with no other added ingredients. It can help draw out impurities from the skin to refine the appearance of pores, minimize oiliness, and clear breakouts.

Pros

  • Natural
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May dry out the skin

This mask is free of fragrances, dyes, and other additives that may irritate the skin.

100% Natural Calcium Bentonite Clay

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review"

    Accessed Sep. 2, 2021.

20. Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Product for Exfoliating, Lightly Hydrating, and Reducing the Signs of Aging

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant

This 8% AHA product exfoliates the skin while also lightly hydrating to keep the skin smooth, calm, and moisturized.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Exfoliating, Lightly Hydrating, and Reducing the Signs of Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply a dime-sized amount of the lotion over the entire face. Those with drier skin may choose to use an additional moisturizer on top. During the day, follow up with an SPF.
See on Paula's Choice

The star ingredient in this exfoliating lotion is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid – an alpha hydroxy acid – is an exfoliant that reduces the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps smooth the skin for a more even tone and texture.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin

In addition to the glycolic acid, this lotion contains a variety of ingredients that help soothe and moisturize the skin, including glycerin, vitamin E, matricaria flower extract, and sunflower seed oil.

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid (exfoliant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing emollient), Glycerin (skin-replenishing/hydration), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Beheneth-5 (emulsifier), Behenyl Alcohol (fatty alcohol/emollient thickener), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate (emollient thickener), Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate (emollient emulsifier), Undecane (emollient), Phospholipids (skin-replenishing fatty acids), Allantoin (skin soothing), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant),Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (soothing plant extract), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (non-fragrant skin-replenishing emollient), Bisabolol (soothing plant component), Arctium Lappa Root Extract (burdock root; antioxidant and soothing plant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (licorice-derived soothing agent), Panthenol (hydrating B vitamin), Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (film-forming agent), Tridecane (emollient), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene (emollient), Sclerotium Gum (emulsion stabilizer), Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate (emulsifier), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

21. Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique Product for Daily Moisturization

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

This oil-free moisturizer is perfect for normal to oily skin, because it moisturizes and strengthens the skin without making it feel or appear oily.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and applying serums and treatments, apply to the face, neck, and chest. During the day, follow up with an SPF.
See on Amazon

This gel moisturizer is excellent for skin that gets a bit oily, because it gives the skin the essential hydration that it needs without contributing to shine. The oil-free formula contains sunflower seed cake, barley extract, and cucumber extract, which work to strengthen the skin’s barrier while retaining its moisture levels.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist-developed

Cons

  • Contains color additives

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts and locks in moisture for balanced skin.

Water\Aqua\Eau, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D'Orge, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Caffeine, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysilicone-11, Silica, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Oleth-10, Lactobacillus Ferment, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Carbomer, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Red 4 (Ci 14700), Yellow 6 (Ci 15985)

22. Blackhead Power Liquid

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

COSRX Product for Acne and Blackheads

COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid

This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliator is one of the best COSRX products for those prone to acne and blackheads. It penetrates deep into the skin to unclog pores, which helps maintain clear, smooth skin.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Acne and Blackheads
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, dispense the product onto a cotton pad, and then gently wipe all over the face.
See on Amazon

BHAs are some of the most effective chemical exfoliators when it comes to unclogging pores. This product contains gentle BHAs – willow bark water and betaine salicylate – which exfoliate with a minimized risk of irritation.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

This product contains sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid) and panthenol, which help counteract some of the potentially irritating side effects of the exfoliating ingredients.

Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Niacinamide, Betaine Salicylate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 27, 2021.

23. Acne Medication Pads

Stridex Daily Care Acne Medication Pads Maximum Strength

Stridex Product for Acne and Blackheads

Stridex Daily Care Acne Medication Pads Maximum Strength

These cleansing pads use the power of salicylic acid to help treat and prevent breakouts.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Acne and Blackheads
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Cleanse and dry the skin, and then sweep a pad across the entire face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

These pads are soaked with a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (or BHA). Salicylic acid is an incredibly effective chemical exfoliator that unclogs pores to help treat current breakouts and prevent new acne from forming.

Pros

  • Lightweight solution
  • Exfoliating

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

These alcohol-free pads are textured, which increases the product’s ability to sweep away debris and exfoliate the skin.

Salicylic Acid, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Menthol, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Purified Water, Simethicone, Sodium Borate, Tetrasodium EDTA.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 27, 2021.

24. 25% AHA + 2% BHA Mask

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial 25% AHA + 2% BHA Mask

Drunk Elephant Product for Smoothing Texture, Anti-Aging, and Evening Skin Tone

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial 25% AHA + 2% BHA Mask

This powerful mask contains a potent blend of AHAs and BHA to resurface, unclog pores, and reveal a smooth and even skin tone and texture.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination
Best for: Smoothing Texture, Anti-Aging, and Evening Skin Tone
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Apply an even layer to clean, dry skin, and leave on for up to 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Use no more than once weekly.
See on Amazon

This super powerful mask has a 25% concentration of an AHA blend (glycolic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, and citric acid), as well as a 2% concentration of BHA (salicylic acid). These chemical exfoliators fight signs of aging, smooth the skin, brighten, and unclog pores. It also contains chickpea flour, which brightens the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin

Since this mask has such powerful active ingredients, it is best to avoid applying serums or treatments with other strong actives (like AHAs, BHAs, and retinol) after use.

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Silybum Marianum Seed Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Cicer Arietinum Seed Powder, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium PCA, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Dextrin, Polydextrose, Sorbitan Isostearate, Amylopectin, Niacinamide, Phytosphingosine, Lactic Acid, Propanediol, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin"

    Accessed Aug. 27, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 27, 2021.

25. Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Product for Exfoliating and Smoothing Tone and Texture

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

This product offers gentle exfoliation to smooth skin tone and texture, and includes hydrating and soothing ingredients to fight irritation.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Exfoliating and Smoothing Tone and Texture
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, massage the product into the skin. Follow up with a moisturizer. Use up to one time per day.
See on The Ordinary

This exfoliating product contains a 10% concentration of mandelic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that has a larger molecular size than other commonly used AHAs (like glycolic acid). This means it is gentler on the skin, but still helps to exfoliate and smooth tone and texture while minimizing signs of aging.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be strong enough for those experienced with stronger acids

In addition to the mandelic acid, this product contains glycerin, sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid), and tasmannia lanceolata fruit extract, which hydrate and soothe the skin.

Propanediol, Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid, Glycerin, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Effects of Topical Mandelic Acid Treatment on Facial Skin Viscoelasticity"

    Accessed Aug. 26, 2021.

26. Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The Ordinary Product for Fighting Acne and Evening Skin Tone

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

This product from The Ordinary hosts an impressive variety of benefits. Azelaic acid is a brightening skincare ingredient known for minimizing acne, lightening hyperpigmentation, and reducing redness.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Fighting Acne and Evening Skin Tone
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the product to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This product contains a 10% concentration of azelaic acid, a gentle exfoliator that has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The lightweight gel-cream helps to improve and brighten skin tone, as well as unclog pores and reduce blemishes for clear, smooth skin.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers note that this product can be drying

In addition to its ability to fight acne, azelaic acid is often used to treat rosacea to promote a more even skin tone.

Aqua (Water), Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Isohexadecane, Tocopherol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Triethanolamine, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Azelaic acid"

    Accessed Aug. 11, 2021.

27. Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary Product for Fighting the Signs of Aging

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

This product is the highest-strength retinoid serum from The Ordinary, and the brand’s answer to more traditional retinol products. It’s excellent for preventing and minimizing the signs of aging.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Fighting the Signs of Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: At night, after cleansing, apply the product to the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

Retinol is the gold-standard for minimizing wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Those who are experienced with retinoid products may prefer the Retinol 1% in Squalane over the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, as it is more potent. However, with the higher strength comes a higher risk of irritation, so it is best suited for those who’ve used retinoid products in their routine.

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • High likelihood of irritation, especially as skin adapts to the product

This serum contains squalane and jojoba oil, two ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin. They may help minimize the irritation caused by the retinol.

Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, BHT.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"

    Accessed Aug. 11, 2021.

28. Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The Ordinary Product for Exfoliating

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

This chemical exfoliator is one of the most-loved The Ordinary products, with an effective 7% concentration of glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA).

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Exfoliating
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, dispense the product onto a cotton round, and gently sweep across the face, neck, and chest.
See on Amazon

Regular exfoliation is necessary in order to maintain clear, smooth skin. This product contains an effective 7% concentration of glycolic acid, which has been shown to reduce the signs of aging (including wrinkles and sun spots) and minimize texture.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight and non-greasy
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin

This chemical exfoliator also contains Tasmanian pepperberry, which helps reduce irritation, as well as aloe vera and ginseng, which soothe the skin.

Aqua (Water), Glycolic Acid, Rosa damascena flower water, Centaurea cyanus flower water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Aspartic Acid, Alanine, Glycine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glutamic Acid, Arginine, PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Hexyl Nicotinate, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Gellan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

29. AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary Product for Improving Skin Texture and Tone

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

This peeling solution is one of the best The Ordinary products, particularly for those looking for a high-strength but budget-friendly at-home peel.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Improving Skin Texture and Tone
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Cleanse the skin, and wait for it to fully dry. Once dry, apply the peel evenly over the face and neck. Leave on for up to 10 minutes, and rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This peel offers a range of benefits, thanks to a high concentration of alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid), as well as an effective concentration of beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid). The AHAs help to exfoliate the top layer of the skin to reduce the signs of aging, improve texture, and minimize hyperpigmentation, while BHA unclogs pores for a clear complexion.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • High probability of irritation (best used by those experienced with acids)

This peel contains ingredients to help counteract irritation, including Tasmanian pepperberry and vitamin B5. However, this peel is still very strong for an over-the-counter product, and is best suited for those who already have experience using chemical exfoliators in their routine.

Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 12, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin"

    Accessed Aug. 12, 2021.

30. Lactic Acid 5% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

The Ordinary Product for Gentle Exfoliation

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

This chemical exfoliator gently exfoliates while soothing and hydrating the skin to reduce irritation.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Gentle Exfoliation
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, gently massage a few drops of the serum into the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

All skin types need regular exfoliation in order to maintain smooth and clear skin. However, some may need a gentler exfoliation to minimize irritation. This option contains lactic acid, a mild alpha-hydroxy acid that gently exfoliates the skin to minimize hyperpigmentation, improve texture, and promote a clear complexion.

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin (although milder than many other AHAs)

In addition to lactic acid, this product contains sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid), which increases moisture levels in the skin. It also contains Tasmanian pepperberry, which soothes the skin.

Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.

31. SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Etude House Product for Daily Cleansing

Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

This soothing and gentle foam cleanser is excellent for daily use, and is particularly beneficial for sensitive and drier skin types. It contains a variety of ingredients that moisturize and nourish to keep the skin adequately hydrated and balanced.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This simple but effective cleanser contains panthenol, glycerin, madecassoside (derived from the centella asiatica plant), and camellia sinensis leaf extract. These ingredients hydrate, soothe, protect, fight signs of aging, and repair the skin, while cleansing ingredients effectively wash away dirt and debris.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

98.9% of the ingredients in this gentle cleanser are naturally derived, and it is also free of common irritants (like fragrance and artificial color).

Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Propanediol, Lauryl Glucoside, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Panthenol, Madecassoside, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

32. Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

Aveeno Product for Daily Cleansing

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser

This gentle foaming cleanser was formulated with sensitive skin in mind. It helps effectively cleanse while reducing irritation and minimizing redness.

Skin types: Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This gentle cleanser contains feverfew (chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract), a natural ingredient that is related to chamomile, which calms the skin. Additional ingredients cleanse the skin while minimizing irritation so that the skin feels soothed and balanced.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This hypoallergenic cleanser is free of ingredients that commonly irritate sensitive skin, including fragrances and soap.

Water, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside, citric acid, ppg-2 hydroxyethyl cocamide, peg-16 soy sterol, polysorbate 20, disodium lauroamphodiacetate, phenoxyethanol, butylene glycol, sodium coco pg-dimonium, chloride phosphate, sodium citrate, tetrasodium EDTA, methylparaben, xanthan gum, propylparaben, ethylparaben, propylene glycol, chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) extract, sodium cocoyl amino acids, sarcosine, potassium aspartate, magnesium aspartate, sodium hydroxide

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

33. Daily Face Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

Cetaphil Product for Daily Cleansing

Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

For those with normal to oily skin, this is one of the best cleansers from Cetaphil. The gel to foam formula is clinically proven to deeply cleanse the skin, but is still gentle enough to not strip it of its natural oils.

Skin types: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This is an excellent cleanser for daily use, particularly for those with normal to oily skin. It cleanses without irritating or drying out the skin and contains vitamins B3 and B5, as well as glycerin, which hydrate and nourish the skin.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

The mild and low lather formula is dermatologist tested, and shown to be gentle on sensitive skin. Since it is also non-comedogenic, it won’t clog pores, making it a suitable choice for those with acne-prone skin.

Water, Glycerin, Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Masking Fragrance, Panthenol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium Edta, Methylparaben

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

34. Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

Hada Labo Product for Daily Cleansing

Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

This hydrating cleansing foam effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining moisture levels for balanced, supple skin.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

The star ingredient in this Hada Labo cleanser is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid pulls moisture to the skin, helping to increase hydration levels.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

This cleanser contains additional ingredients that increase hydration (including glycerin), and is free of fragrance and color additives.

Water, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, TEA-Cocoyl Alaninate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Succinic Acid

35. Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Product for Acne and Daily Cleansing

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

This gentle foaming cleanser removes excess oils and helps unclog pores without drying out the skin.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Acne and Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage it into wet skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

If you’re acne-prone, you need a daily cleanser that will remove excess oils and impurities without further irritating breakouts or drying out the skin. This cleanser contains a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps gently unclog pores to minimize breakouts.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to the salicylic acid, this cleanser contains willow bark water, tea tree oil, evening primrose extract, and other soothing skincare ingredients.

Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycol Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Salicylic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Melaleuca Alternigolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

36. Gel Cleanser

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

COSRX Product for Daily Cleansing

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

This gentle gel cleanser is great for all skin types. It effectively cleans and restores the skin to its optimal pH level without irritating or drying it out.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage it into wet skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This is an excellent daily cleanser, because it is gentle and moisturizing, but still effectively works to remove oil, dirt, and debris from the skin. It has a slightly acidic pH level, which helps restore the skin to an optimal pH level so that it is healthy and soothed.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Moisturizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Some of the key ingredients in this cleanser include evening primrose extract, which soothes and hydrates, as well as tea tree oil, which calms inflamed skin. It also contains betaine salicylate, which is a gentle chemical exfoliant.

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Polysorbate 20, Styrax Japonicus Branch/Fruit/Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Allantoin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Betaine Salicylate, Citric Acid, Ethyl Hexanediol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA

37. Clear Face Cleansing Foam

Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam

Sebamed Product for Daily Cleansing

Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam

This Sebamed cleansing foam is excellent for those with acne-prone skin that tends to be a bit oilier, as it deeply cleans pores while also hydrating for balanced skin.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This cleanser contains Montaline C40, an antibacterial ingredient that helps clean away impurities that clog pores. The mild soap also helps cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fights acne
  • Soothing

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to the Montaline C40, this cleanser contains vitamin B5 (panthenol), which soothes the skin.

Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Betainamide MEA Chloride, Hydroxypropyl Oxidized Starch PG-Trimonium Chloride, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

38. Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Product for Daily Cleansing

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is gentle on the skin, but still cleanses away dirt, debris, and oil. It both cleans and hydrates, and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture or disrupt the protective barrier.

Skin types: Normal and Dry
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet the skin with lukewarm water, then gently massage the cleanser into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

It’s incredibly important that people with dry skin use a cleanser that strikes a balance between effectively cleansing and not stripping the skin. This is one of the best CeraVe products for dry skin, because it’s hydrating and gentle, but still actually cleanses. Since it is important to cleanse your face on a daily basis, this product makes it easy to do so without disrupting the skin’s barrier.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Accepted by the National Eczema Association

Cons

  • May not be be effective enough for acne-prone skin

This hydrating cleanser features glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which hydrate and lock in moisture. It also contains three essential ceramides, which restore the skin’s barrier.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

39. Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Product for Daily Cleansing

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

This cream cleanser is an excellent daily face wash for those with drier skin. It is gentle on the skin and effectively cleanses without further drying it out.

Skin types: Normal, Dry and Sensitive
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This cleanser is one of the best Neutrogena cleansers for those with drier skin. It contains glycerin (a humectant), which keeps the skin moisturized while cleansing ingredients gently remove dirt and debris. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist developed

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the pump

This cream cleanser was developed by dermatologists, and is suitable for sensitive skin, including those with rosacea and eczema.

Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

  1. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 25, 2021.

40. Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Product for Daily Cleansing

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

This foaming cleanser is gentle and non-irritating on the skin, but still effectively removes dirt, debris, and excess oil without stripping it.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet the skin with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

This cleanser is one of the best CeraVe products for oilier skin types, because it cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture. Maintaining the skin’s moisture is vital, as products that dry out the skin can actually trigger the skin to produce more oil. This cleanser allows you to protect your skin while still cleansing away excess oil, dirt, and debris.

Pros

  • Gentle
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • None

This daily foaming gel cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three essential ceramides. These ingredients help ensure the cleanser doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture. They also help calm and soothe the skin.

Aqua / Water / Eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Niacinamide, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl, Taurate, Propylene Glycol, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Disodium Edta, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. "How to control oily skin"

    Accessed Aug. 24, 2021.

41. Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

La Roche-Posay Product for Hydration

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This serum combines pure hyaluronic acid with other hydrating ingredients that replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Hydration
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Dispense three to four drops of the serum into your hands, and gently massage into the skin. This serum can be used morning and night.
See on Amazon

Hyaluronic acid pulls moisture to the skin to help it maintain healthy hydration levels. This serum also contains vitamin B5 (panthenol), which acts as both a humectant (meaning it binds to and holds water in the skin) and an emollient (soothing and sealing water in the skin). Additionally, madecassoside works to further repair the skin.

Pros

  • Hydrating
  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist tested

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to the hydrating benefits, hyaluronic acid has been shown to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making this serum a great choice for those also looking for anti-aging benefits.

Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Glyceryl Isostearate, Madecassoside, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Disodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanathan Gum, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance

42. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Product for Minimizing Blemishes and Controlling Sebum Production

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

This multi-tasking product helps minimize blemishes and congestion while reducing redness and regulating the production of sebum.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Minimizing Blemishes and Controlling Sebum Production
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the serum to the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

Niacinamide is an excellent skincare ingredient that has been shown to control sebum production, reduce redness and inflammation, minimize fine lines, and even reduce hyperpigmentation. This product also contains zinc, which further balances sebum production and reduces inflammation.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May cause flushing in those sensitive to niacinamide (patch test prior to using)

This product is an excellent choice for acne-prone skin. However, those currently fighting acne will also want to introduce other acne-fighting ingredients into their routine, as niacinamide on its own is not an effective treatment for minimizing breakouts.

Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review"

    Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.

43. 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Product for Exfoliating and Reducing the Signs of Aging

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

This gel exfoliant contains glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA), a chemical exfoliator that sheds dead skin cells to reveal smooth, younger looking skin.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Exfoliating and Reducing the Signs of Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply a dime-sized amount of the gel all over the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

AHAs like glycolic acid are commonly used to reduce the signs of aging, including wrinkles. This gel exfoliant contains an effective 8% concentration of glycolic acid, along with other soothing ingredients.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin

In addition to the glycolic acid, this exfoliator contains soothing and hydrating ingredients, including chamomile, aloe, and green tea.

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract (chamomile/skin-soothing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (hydration), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin replenishing), Panthenol (hydration), Sodium PCA (skin replenishing), Propylene Glycol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Polyquaternium-10 (texture-enhancing), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative)

44. 1% Retinol Treatment

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

Paula's Choice Product for Hyperpigmentation and Wrinkles

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

This treatment combines retinol, a powerful anti-aging ingredient, with hydrating and brightening ingredients for an even, smooth skin tone.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Hyperpigmentation and Wrinkles
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, massage a pea-sized amount of the treatment into the skin. Initially, limit usage to three times a week to allow the skin to adjust.
See on Amazon

Retinol is the gold-standard for fighting signs of aging, so this is an excellent choice for those with wrinkles, fine lines, and sun spots. The addition of soothing and hydrating ingredients helps counteract some of the potential irritating side effects of retinol.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin types

This serum contains vitamin C, which brightens the skin, as well as licorice extract and oat extract, which soothe and calm redness.

Water (Aqua), Dimethicone (skin-softening), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Butylene Glycol (hydrating), Isononyl Isononanoate (emollient), Castor Isostearate Succinate (skin-softening ), Glyceryl Stearate (texture enhancer), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture enhancer), PEG-33 (stabilizer), Polysorbate 20 (texture enhancer), Behenyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), PEG-100 Stearate (texture enhancer), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate (stabilizer), Polymethylsilsesquioxane (texture enhancer), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Retinol (skin-restoring), Ceramide NG (skin-replenishing) , Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (skin-restoring), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (skin-restoring), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing ), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (antioxidant plant extracts/skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (oat extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Arctium Lappa Root Extract (burdock extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Salix Alba Bark Extract (willow bark extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Glycine Soja Sterols (antioxidant/skin-softening ), Lecithin (skin-restoring), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (antioxidant/skin-softening), Sorbitan Laurate (texture enhancer), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (skin-soothing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture enhancer), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (skin-restoring), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tribehenin (emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-softening), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-softening), Pentylene Glycol (hydrating), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (emollient), PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer (stabilizer), PEG-10 Phytosterol (fatty acid-based emollient), PEG-8 Dimethicone (skin-softening), PEG-14 (texture enhancer), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (texture enhancer), Arachidyl Glucoside (texture enhancer), Arachidyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Sclerotium Gum (texture enhancer), Carbomer (gel-based texture enhancer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Benzoic Acid (preservative)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

45. Redness Relief Repairing Serum

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum

Paula's Choice Product for Redness

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum

This calming, lightweight serum helps to reduce redness while also hydrating and fighting the signs of aging.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Redness
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the booster to the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This is one of the best Paula’s Choice serums for soothing sensitive skin and reducing redness. It contains a potent blend of antioxidants and other skincare ingredients that hydrate and calm the skin. This serum is gentle on the skin, and even appropriate for skin prone to rosacea.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin

Some of the hydrating and soothing skincare ingredients in this serum include hyaluronic acid, sea whip extract, ceramides, licorice extract, and willow herb.

Water, Glycerin (skin replenishing), Hyaluronic Acid (hydration/skin replenishing), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Sea Whip Extract (skin-soothing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide NP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide AP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide EOP (hydration/skin replenishing), Cholesterol (skin replenishing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (willow herb/skin-soothing), Phytosphingosine (skin-renewing), Sodium Cocoyl Amino Acids (skin replenishing), Chrysanthemum Parthenium Flower Extract (feverfew extracts/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Glycine Soja Seed Extract (soybean extract/skin-soothing), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (texture-enhancing), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin replenishing/emollient), Magnesium Aspartate (emollient), Potassium Aspartate (emollient), Sarcosine (emollient), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), PEG/PPG-14/4 Dimethicone (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

46. 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice Product for Refining Pore Size and Improving Skin Tone

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

This super light niacinamide product is one of the best Paula’s Choice serums. It delivers a multitude of benefits, including minimizing the appearance of pores, controlling sebum production, smoothing fine lines, reducing redness, and brightening.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Refining Pore Size and Improving Skin Tone
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the booster to the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

Niacinamide is a powerful skincare ingredient that offers a wide variety of benefits, which makes this another great multipurpose serum. In addition to minimizing the appearance of pores, it has been shown to control sebum production, smooth fine lines, reduce redness, reduce hyperpigmentation, and brighten the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May cause flushing in those sensitive to niacinamide (patch test prior to using)

In addition to the 10% concentration of niacinamide, this booster contains allantoin and licorice extract, which calm the skin. It also contains vitamin C, which brightens. It’s important to note that users should patch test niacinamide first, because some people are sensitive to it, and it may make acne or flushing worse.

Water (Aqua), Niacinamide (vitamin B3, skin-restoring ), Acetyl Glucosamine (skin replenishing/antioxidant), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Phospholipids (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (skin-soothing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidant), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Carnosine (antioxidant), Genistein (antioxidant), Citric Acid (pH balancing), Sodium Citrate (pH balancing), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

47. 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

Paula's Choice Product for Evening Tone and Texture

Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

This booster combines azelaic acid with other brightening ingredients that work together to fade post-acne marks, minimize blemishes, brighten, and even out tone and texture.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Evening Tone and Texture
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the booster to affected areas or all over the skin. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This is a great multi-purpose serum to have on hand. If you have hyperpigmentation, this is a particularly excellent product for you, as azelaic acid has been shown to help fade dark marks. It’s also great for smoothing the skin for a more even texture.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin types

This booster contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliator that further minimizes the appearance of blemishes and evens out skin texture and tone. It also contains licorice root, which calms redness and brightens.

Water (Aqua), Azelaic Acid (skin-brightening/tone-improving), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (emollient), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate (texture enhancer), Dimethicone (hydration/texture enhancer), Salicylic Acid (exfoliant), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (skin-soothing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Cyclopentasiloxane (texture enhancer), Xanthan Gum (stabilizer), Sclerotium Gum (stabilizer), Propanediol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

48. Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Product for Daily Moisturization

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

This daily moisturizer from The Ordinary is an excellent choice for all skin types. It contains a blend of ingredients that boost and maintain hydration levels.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing and applying serums, massage the product into the face, neck, and chest. During the day, follow up with an SPF.
See on Amazon

This moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to the skin, as well as amino acids, dermal lipids, and other hydrating ingredients that moisturize and protect.

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Lightweight
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • No SPF for daytime use

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this moisturizer contains saccharides. These plant-derived sugars support dermal water density in the skin, further helping to maintain moisture levels.

Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Urea, Allantoin, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Lecithin, Triolein, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

49. Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap

COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap

COSRX Product for Daily Moisturization

COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap

This lightweight, oil-free lotion is the perfect daily moisturizer, and is one of the best COSRX products for all skin types.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing and applying any serums and treatments, gently massage the lotion into the face, neck, and chest. During the day, follow up with a sunscreen.
See on Amazon

This lotion provides deep hydration that all skin types need, but does so without leaving behind a greasy finish. Birch sap helps to restore moisture to the skin and maintain hydration levels.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrant essential oils

In addition to birch sap, this lotion contains hydrating and soothing ingredients, including glycerin, panthenol, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate.

Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethyl Hexanediol, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"

    Accessed Aug. 30, 2021.
  2. Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"

    Accessed Aug. 30, 2021.

50. PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe Product for Nightly Moisturization

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

The PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion contains a blend of powerful active ingredients that hydrate, calm, and soothe the skin. It is lightweight but is still able to effectively moisturize.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Nightly Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and applying treatments, apply one to two pumps on the face, neck, and chest.
See on Amazon

This PM lotion has been a longtime fan favorite for skincare enthusiasts, as it is lightweight, effective, budget-friendly, and ideal for daily use.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Those with very dry skin may need a thicker moisturizer

Since it is oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores), this moisturizer is a great option for those with acne-prone skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide, which hydrate and calm the skin.

Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Niacinamide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Phosphate, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Dimethicone, Ceteareth-20, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Dipotassium Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Ethylhexylglycerin

51. Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution

Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid

Paula's Choice Product for Acne, Blackheads, Hyperpigmentation and Redness

Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid

This gentle exfoliating product is ideal for skin prone to breakouts, as it unclogs pores to minimize blemishes while soothing the skin to decrease redness.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Acne, Blackheads, Hyperpigmentation and Redness
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, soak a cotton pad with the product and swipe all over the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This product contains a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that is able to work deep in the pores to unclog and treat breakouts (and prevent new blemishes from forming). It also helps minimize the appearance of pores, and will work to diminish the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from previous blemishes. This concentration is high enough to be effective on acne-prone skin, but still gentle as to reduce the risk of irritation.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin

Additional hydrating and soothing ingredients are paired with the salicylic acid to minimize irritation and reduce redness. This includes glycerin, hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and panthenol.

Salicylic Acid 2%, Water (Aqua), Dipropylene Glycol (hydration), Pentylene Glycol (hydration), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Glycerin (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Panthenol (hydration), PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Methyl Gluceth-20 (hydration), Glycereth-26 (texture-enhancing), Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane (hydration), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer), Sodium Metabisulfite (stabilizer).

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments A Review"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.

52. 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

Timeless Product for Brightening and Anti-Aging

Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

This affordable vitamin C serum contains a 20% concentration of vitamin C, which helps brighten and fight signs of aging.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This lightweight serum contains a 20% concentration of l-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that works to brighten and provide anti-aging benefits. It also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, two skincare ingredients that protect the skin from environmental stressors and have also been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about the pump

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this serum contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to the skin to keep it hydrated.

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Vitamin C in Dermatology"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.

53. Vitamin C Serum

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

TruSkin Product for Brightening and Anti-Aging

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

This gentle and affordable serum contains vitamin C, which brightens and fights signs of aging, as well as other soothing and hydrating skincare ingredients.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

This vitamin C serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C that helps brighten and provide anti-aging benefits. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to the skin, and vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage to the skin.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some acne-prone reviewers noted that it broke them out

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this serum contains jojoba oil, which moisturizes, and witch hazel, which soothes.

Organic Deionized Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), MSM, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid (Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Vitamin E (d-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Carbomer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Organic Gotu Kola, Wildcrafted Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense), Wildcrafted Dandelion, Wildcrafted Geranium, Organic Jojoba Oil (Organic Simmondsia Chinensis), Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Sodium ascorbyl phosphate in topical microemulsions"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.

54. Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Derma E Product for Brightening and Anti-Aging

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

This affordable vitamin C serum contains a stable and effective form of vitamin C, as well as additional ingredients that help hydrate and soothe the skin.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Anti-Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, apply the serum onto the face, neck, and chest. Follow up with a moisturizer, and an SPF during the day.
See on Amazon

Vitamin C – an antioxidant that fights free radicals that can damage the skin – is key for a rounded out skincare routine, and this option is affordable and effective. It contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C that doesn’t deteriorate as easily as other forms. It is able to brighten the skin and fight signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

In addition to vitamin C, this serum contains a blend of ingredients that hydrate, soothe, and nourish the skin, including hyaluronic acid, green tea leaf extract, rosehip oil, and aloe vera extract.

Purified Water, Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C, Stay-C 50), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Microcrystalline Cellulose (Plant Derived), Cellulose Gum (Plant Derived), Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide (Vegetable Derived), Polymnia Sonchifolia (Yacon) Root Juice, Maltodextrin, Lactobacillus (Probiotic), Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Extract *, Allantoin, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Plant Derived), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Natural Fragrance Oils

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Sodium ascorbyl phosphate in topical microemulsions"

    Accessed Aug. 31, 2021.

55. 2% BHA Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ExfoliantCult favorite

Paula's Choice Product for Gently Exfoliating and Preventing Breakouts

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

This cult-favorite product contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliator that gently exfoliates dead skin cells and unclogs pores for a clear complexion.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Gently Exfoliating and Preventing Breakouts
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing, soak a cotton pad with the product and swipe all over the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This is a best seller at Paula’s Choice, and for a good reason. Salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid, or BHA) is an excellent chemical exfoliator that sheds excess skin cells and decongests pores to fight acne and blackheads and promote a more even skin tone.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin types

This product also contains green tea, which soothes irritation and provides anti-aging benefits.

Water (Aqua), Methylpropanediol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea/skin calming/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

56. C15 Super Booster

Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster

Paula's Choice Product for Brightening and Fighting Signs of Aging

Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster

The 15% concentration of pure vitamin C in this serum helps brighten the skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Fighting Signs of Aging
Tested on animals: No
How to use: Massage two to three drops of the serum into clean skin. Follow up with a moisturizer.
See on Amazon

This lightweight serum is one of the best Paula’s Choice products, as it contains a powerful concentration of vitamin C, which evens out and brightens the skin tone while also minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin types

In addition to vitamin C, this serum contains ferulic acid and vitamin E. These antioxidants protect the skin, and are also known to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.

Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (solvent/texture enhancer), Ethoxydiglycol (solvent/texture enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), PPG-26-Buteth-26 (emulsifier/skin-softening), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (emulsifier/solubility enhancer), Pentylene Glycol (skin-softening slip agent), Tocopherol (vitamin E/stabilizing antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration), Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate (skin-restoring peptide), Lecithin (skin-restoring/hydration), Ferulic Acid (stabilizing antioxidant), Panthenol (vitamin B5/skin-softening, skin-soothing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract (skin-softening/chelating agent), Propyl Gallate (antioxidant), Sodium Gluconate (chelating agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative)

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Vitamin C in dermatology"

    Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.

57. Moisture Gel

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel

Paula's Choice Product for Daily Moisturization

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel

This super-light gel formula is perfect for those with normal to oily skin, as it hydrates without making the skin feel greasy.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Moisturization
Tested on animals: No
How to use: After cleansing and applying serums, gently massage the moisturizer over your face and neck.
See on Amazon

Oilier skin types still need to moisturize daily, as it helps their skin stay hydrated and balanced. This super lightweight gel moisturizer is one of the best Paula’s Choice products for normal to oily skin, as it quenches the skin without leaving a greasy finish.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No SPF for daytime use

This moisturizer contains niacinamide, which calms the skin and can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and even skin tone. It also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and antioxidants that protect the skin.

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone (hydration), Niacinamide (vitamin B3/skin-restoring), Laminaria Saccharina (Algae) Extract (hydration), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (hydration/skin-soothing), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil (non-fragrant oil/emollient/antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Phenyl Trimethicone (hydration), Dimethicone (hydration), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin c/antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Isohexadecane (texture-enhancing), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (texture-enhancing, Sodium Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 80 (texture-enhancing), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Potassium Sorbate.

58. Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

Paula's Choice Product for Daily Cleansing

Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

This cream-to-foam cleanser is gentle on the skin, but still effectively removes excess oil and debris. It contains replenishing ingredients that balance moisture levels and leave the skin feeling soft and balanced.

Skin types: Normal, Oily and Combination
Best for: Daily Cleansing
Tested on animals: No
How to use: First, wet the skin with lukewarm water. Dispense the cleanser into your palms, and then gently massage into the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.
See on Amazon

People with oily to normal skin need a cleanser that effectively cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural moisture (which can actually trigger the production of more oil). This cleanser is formulated to gently cleanse while still maintaining moisturized skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Gentle
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Some reviewers noted it irritated their skin

One of the key ingredients in this cleanser is hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture. It also contains ceramides, which work to restore the moisture barrier and strengthen the skin. Aloe also helps calm sensitive skin and reduce redness.

Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (cleansing), Stearic Acid (texture-enhancing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Glycol Distearate (texture-enhancing), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (non-fragrant antioxidant plant oil), Acrylates Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP (hydration/skin replenishing), Phytosphingosine (skin-restoring), Phospholipids, Sphingolipids (hydration/skin replenishing), Lecithin (skin-restoring), Arginine (amino acid/hydration/skin replenishing), Cholesterol (hydration/skin replenishing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (hydration/skin-soothing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Sodium Chloride (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum, Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives), Caprylyl Glycol.

FAQs

What is the best daily moisturizer for combination skin with acne?

If you have combination skin that is prone to acne, there are some great daily moisturizers on this list that won’t contribute to breakouts. Check out the Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer, the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, the Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion, or the COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap.

Is vitamin C good for combination skin?

Yes, people with combination skin can greatly benefit from adding a vitamin C serum to their routine. Vitamin C helps brighten the skin, fade dark spots, fight signs of aging, and counteract the damaging effects of free radicals. If you’re looking to add vitamin C to your skincare routine, consider any of the vitamin C serums recommended on this list. 

Is a moisturizer necessary for combination skin?

Yes, people of all skin types need to moisturize on a daily basis, including those with combination skin. Some may think that combination skin doesn’t need a moisturizer, or that they can avoid moisturizing the oilier areas of the face. However, a moisturizer is a necessity for hydrating the skin, which is something that the natural oils on your skin don’t do. Moisturizers attract and hold water to the skin in order to keep it hydrated. If your skin is dehydrated, it may actually overcompensate by producing more oil, which can just make oily areas of your face even oilier.

The Bottom Line

If you have combination skin, using products that are appropriate for your skin type can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your overall complexion. Consider using some of the products recommended above to establish an effective combination skin routine.