Byrdie Readers' Choice Awards: The Top Skincare Products, According to You

We relish in the fact that you, the readers, come to us in confidence for fresh beauty ideas, news, celebrity content, and our favorite launches, but trust when we say that this is a symbiotic relationship. We know that the Byrdie reader is incredibly beauty-savvy, so we love having the opportunity to learn which products you turn to repeatedly, like when we asked for your "top threes" and had you send us your most #doubletapworthy makeup looks. That's why this month, in lieu of launching our Byrdie Beauty Awards, we bypassed a third-party panel and chose to source the top products from you.

First up in this series is all things skincare. Earlier this week, we sent out a Google Form asking for your top picks in cleansers, serums, body lotions, and so much more, and boy, did you deliver. Through your responses, we learned about new products and application hacks, but we also found out which products were the clear winners in each category. Below, your top picks. 

Best Cleanser

Soy Face Cleanser 6.7 oz/ 200 mL
Fresh Soy Makeup Removing Face Wash $38.00

Fresh's cult-loved soy milky gel cleanser is extremely kind to sensitive skin yet tough on makeup and grime. One reader writes, "Who isn't in love with this gentle cleanser? It's great for my sensitive skin, doesn't cause redness (which typically occurs with face washing), is effective, and doesn't leave my skin feeling dried out. Plus, the texture is straight-up cool."

Best Serum

Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment $122.00

Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliator that polishes away dead skin cells and cleans out clogged pores, and Sunday Riley's Good Genes treatment (a suped-up milky serum of sorts) does all this and more with the addition of licorice root to visibly brighten the skin. 

Best Moisturizer

Priming Moisturizer Rich
Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich $35.00

Without knowing the mid-level price point, you'd swear this moisturizer was a prestige, luxe cream. It's whipped with ceramides and fatty acids to lock in moisture underneath the skin's surface, but if you're worried it'll be too thick for acne-prone skin types, rest assured it's noncomedogenic and actually benefits unbalanced skin. One reader writes, "I didn't realize how much I loved it until I switched to try another product. I usually have very oily skin, but when I use this moisturizer, I stay nice and oil-free all day long. It's hard to believe because it's marketed as a heavy moisturizer for drier skin, but I can't get enough of it. I've probably gone through at least four jars."

Best Body Lotion

Aveeno Sheer Hydration Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Aveeno Sheer Hydration Daily Moisturizing Lotion $11.00 $9.00

A resounding requirement for body lotion seems to be that it does not leave a greasy film after application. This makes sense—you can't get dressed or go about your day when you're a walking oil slick. That's why so many Byrdie readers love this sheer variation from Aveeno that soaks right into the skin while leaving it feeling exceptionally soft. It's also fragrance-free, perfect for sensitive skin and noses.

Best Exfoliator

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial(TM) 1.69 oz/ 50 mL
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial $80.00

When Drunk Elephant launched its 25% AHA (an almost-clinical level of alpha hydroxy acids not seen on shelves), the public erupted into a glow-seeking frenzy. The high-powered exfoliant has natural antioxidants like matcha, apple fruit, and milk thistle to soothe the skin along with chickpea flour to brighten and balance and pumpkin ferment to dissolve dead, dull skin.

One reader writes, "Once a week, this resurfaces everything. Nothing gives a better glow and gets out all the gunk. I hardly get blemishes when I use this faithfully once a week. It also helps lighten freckles from sunscreen neglect and a spot of melasma I have. I love to use it the night before an event because my makeup goes on so much better and my skin just glows."

Best Body Wash

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash $6.00

Like facial cleanser, body wash is a huge point of preference and needs to be chosen intricately. It can't be too drying or too powerfully scented—it's got to be a happy, nourishing medium. And with all of the prestige body washes on the market, you'd think the masses would favor something a bit more luxe, but according to the majority of Byrdie readers, good ol' Dove body wash is the preferred shower product. Both the cream liquid wash and the classic Dove Beauty Bar ranked highest among all other body washes.

Best Spot Treatment

Drying Lotion For Travel
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion $17.00

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kylie Jenner, and Lili Reinhart all love this calamine, sulfur, and salicylic acid treatment that shrinks pimples overnight, so it's no surprise you all cited it as your top pick as well. Don't shake the bottle, just dip a Q-tip into the gooey pink solution at the bottom of the bottle and dot on the blemish. The medicine then penetrates the blemish and eliminates redness and swelling while you sleep.

Best Retinol

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane $10.00

Retinol solutions can be quite pricey, but true to The Ordinary's ethos, this formula is super affordable at just $10. It's made with an advanced retinoid active complex called Granactive Retinoid that offers better results against multiple signs of aging without the dryness and irritation you get from regular retinol. 

Best Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Pitera Essence $99.00

While many of you expressed that you don't use an essence (we get it, it's another step), the resounding winner of the category was SK-II's ever-popular Facial Treatment Essence. True story: SK-II found the hero ingredient pitera (a strain of yeast found in sake) when the brand discovered elderly Japanese sake brewers had alarmingly youthful-looking hands even though the rest of their skin was weathered. The yeast helps turn back the clock on the skin with its anti-aging vitamins and amino acids. 

Best Toner

Thayer's Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner $11.00

One reader writes that this toner "revolutionized" her skin. Another writes, "I never used toner until I found this product. Everything I've tried in the past dried my skin out and left me irritated, but this toner has balanced my skin and is such a refreshing part of my skin care routine—I look forward to using it!" These are high praises for a $10 toner, but we're chalking it up to effective ingredients and brand consistency. The alcohol-free blend softens skin and hydrates with organic aloe and rose water, while the witch hazel component is especially good for those prone to breakouts, as it balances excess oil and refines pores.

Did you miss last year's Eco Beauty Awards? Check out the winners in the skincare category.

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