There are those products that just seem to get the job done, those we’re not too fond of, and those that warrant grabbing a megaphone and proclaiming our love for them from the rooftops. And oftentimes, these life-changing products in the latter category fall under skincare. A lipstick or a shampoo temporarily makes a difference, but a moisturizer or serum can do some serious long-term reversals in the best way.
I challenged my fellow Byrdie editors (and myself) to pick the one product that’s given our skin a complete overhaul. For some, it was an obvious and immediate choice, but for others, it was a bit of a product showdown. Ultimately, we rounded up the winning tools, masks, etc. that turned back the clock, cleared our skin, and ameliorated several other common skin issues that we feel our readers should, no, need to know about. Keep scrolling to learn which products top our lists!
I think I probably have to go with the derma-roller (surprise, surprise)—it’s made the most visible difference to my skin by brightening it, contouring it, diminishing my dark circles, and, most significantly, making all the amazing products I swear by work that much better, since it increases product absorption up to 90%. It really has transformed my face. But I also have to give the nod to Eve Lom’s Cleanser ($135), which was kind of the beginning of my skincare routine, and Odacité’s Oleosomes Delivery Cream ($68), which is a wonderful moisturizer that keeps my skin glowing all day long.
Historically, my primary skincare woe has been the rough, untouchable keratosis pilaris that dots the surface of my arms, thighs, and calves. So far, no treatment has given those hardened bumps a run for their money like this dual-action scrub. Not only is it a heavy-duty physical exfoliator, but it also contains AHAs to chemically slough off dead skin cells at the same time. After using this stuff, my skin feels so baby soft that I don’t even recognize it. I follow up with Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil ($95), and for a day or two, it’s almost as if I don’t even have KP.
I have so many masks I could list here—Arcona’s Tea Tree Mask ($36), Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($70), Biologique Recherche’s Biomagic Mask ($139)—but this mask I discovered from Consonant is the one I come back to again and again. It’s pretty much the opposite of what you think of traditional clay masks. It gently exfoliates with alpha hydroxy fruit acids; hydrates with nourishing oils like cassia angustifolia, grapeseed, and olive; and clarifies with willow bark (a natural form of salicylic acid) and tea tree (an antibacterial). I use it anytime my skin is feeling a little lackluster and when I have clogged pores coming on. This stops breakouts in their tracks and calms my skin. When I’m done, my skin is brighter, not tighter or red.
Most people associate ’s line with luxe, high-quality makeup, but she also happens to make some kickass skincare products. This mask is a personal favorite because it’s the only thing that makes my skin noticeably brighter and more awake after just one use. It’s made with soft Spanish clay, nourishing peptides, and sweet almond oil, so it never hardens or gives you that too-tight feeling like other clay masks. Instead, it stays soft the entire time, and when you rinse off, your skin will glow like you’ve just gotten a pricey facial. It’s my go-to whenever I need a pick-me-up, and it never fails—I’ve even gotten my boyfriend hooked.
The entire InstaNatural line has been a godsend for me. Every day and night, I use its cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers. Collectively, they’ve all worked magic on my skin—it’s never looked brighter, smoother, or clearer. However, the one standout product IMHO is the serum. It has everything you could ever want in a skincare product for acne-prone 20-something skin: vitamin C, niacinamide (to reduce sensitivity and redness), tea-tree oil (to naturally clear blemishes), retinol, and salicylic acid. The best part, though, is that this product (and all other InstaNatural products) are 100% free from parabens, sulfates, artificial colors, artificial dyes, mineral oil, and formaldehyde.
In the past, I wasn’t into serums and mostly left that step out of my skincare routine. I just never noticed an actual difference after using one. That is, until I tried this booster from La Prairie. Yes, I know it’s shelling out a cool $300 for one skincare product, but just hear me out. It’s the brand’s most accelerated wrinkle interceptor yet, so it works—and fast. The gel serum is light, smells incredible, feels good as you apply it to the skin (my top criteria for keeping a product longer than a few days), and boasts visible change in two weeks. Guess what? I noticed a difference in my skin by the next morning. I apply it morning and night after cleansing and before moisturizing (with Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, $128, which is also a hero product in my routine) all over my face, neck, and chest. I’ve genuinely noticed a softer, less wrinkled forehead—which is usually ridden with expression lines. What can I say? I have an expressive face. In the wake of women turning to plastic surgery and injections at a much younger age, this stuff is like gold.
What’s your holy grail skincare product? Tell us below!