If you're dividing your time between Sephora, Ulta, and drugstores for your skincare shopping, we'd like to direct your attention to another source that isn't shown nearly enough love: Nordstrom. Sure, shopping at beauty counters might be a bit intimidating, but the retailer sells so many top-notch brands that it'll be well worth your trip. And even if you don't have a Nordstrom nearby, take a click on over to its website—we could get lost gawking at all the amazing serums, tubes, bottles, and jars carefully selected by the store's buyers and feel confident you'll be able to find your skin's new best friend. Below we've rounded up some of the absolute best buys we use until the last drop.
These a reason this serum has been around since the '80s—it's a celebrity-loved gel-like serum that effectively diminishes the look of fine lines while hydrating. It's even safe enough (and intended) to be worn every night—it's oil- and fragrance-free so your skin can reap the age-defying benefits without taking a hit.
Team Byrdie is a huge fan of this rich balm cleanser that lathers into a luscious cream to gently remove makeup and impurities without drying in the slightest. The entire product is basically like a spa experience: After applying a bit of the balm on dry skin and/or makeup, soak the included muslin cloth in warm water and place it over your face to open the pores. Then rub the cloth in circular motions, adding water when necessary to fully remove all dirt and debris. The intoxicating mixture of eucalyptus, chamomile, and clove is just the cherry on top.
When Editorial Director Faith Xue first introduced me to this rose-and-coconut spray, crediting it as one of her beach-bag essentials, I had to give it a try. It comes in a luxe glass bottle that's filled with pure plant extracts and earth-derived goodness—no drying alcohols or irritating ingredients, which are pretty counterintuitive to the prospect of a hydrating mist.
When searching for a holy-grail cleanser, I need something that's gentle but still has the capability to remove my eight layers of mascara. This cult-loved face wash does just that and even makes my skin feel better afterward with calming cucumber and amino acids to balance my skin's moisture.
Byrdie HQ has sung this lip balm's praises more times than we could possibly count. It may have a steep price tag, but its hydrating capabilities outweigh most other products in the category, especially when your lips are next-level chapped. An added bonus: It smells exactly like a York Peppermint Pattie.
Admittedly, I'm a bit face oil–averse. They often feel too thick or too greasy—I'd much rather get hydration from a good serum-and-moisturizer combo. But my face oil stance completely changed when I tried this floral-smelling blend from L'Occitane. It's so luxe and lightweight, and it doesn't feel greasy in the least bit. I love mixing a drop or two in with my foundation on days when my skin is feeling lackluster for a quick and radiant glow.
Sulfur-based two-part tonics have been replicated by tons of brands several times over, but it's this OG pink formula that started the movement. Calamine (which gives it its blush hue), salicylic acid, and sulfur help dry up whiteheads virtually overnight. Just remember not to shake the bottle, though—you're meant to dip a Q-tip into the pink solution before dabbing it on your breakout.
Ranavat Botanics takes cues from royal Indian healing practices (hence the ornate gilded label) and makes you feel like a queen while you reap its earthy goodness. We love this superfood powder blend of moringa, Manuka honey powder, French green clay, and arrowroot powder—just add water, apply like a paste on the skin, and then rinse off in 10 to 15 minutes. Voilà—regal skin in no time.
My dad has intense rosacea, so one day I had him apply this anti-redness calming serum (one that I myself have found solace in for my melasma), and we were both amazed at how much less inflamed his skin became. He's been asking me for a bottle ever since (sorry, Dad, I'm on it!).
True story: SK-II found the magic 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. Another parental anecdote: My mom used this continuously on her neck, and the next time I saw her, the skin in that area was much firmer—almost like she'd gotten a mini neck lift.
I did an experiment where I used a moisture meter to test my skin's hydration levels, and of the products I tried, this serum was the clear winner. Its patented Japanese seaweed capsules filled with hyaluronic acid allow for effective delivery of deeply hydrating and nourishing ingredients.
The benefits of applying milk to your skin date back to ancient Egypt when Cleopatra took milk baths to soften and brighten her skin. Since milk baths are a little… tricky, you can get the same benefits with lactic acid, an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid derived from sour milk. Team Byrdie loves this skin-transforming, radiance-inducing serum for notable skin resurfacing overnight.
This oil-essence hybrid combines Sahara cactus oil, quinoa, and açai berry to deeply hydrate the skin and protect it from outside aggressors. Rather than leave behind a greasy film, it absorbs quickly into the skin—perfect to use before applying makeup.
Packed with power-player antioxidant CoQ-10 and calming elements like chamomile, sage, and cucumber, this toner is perfect for a post-workout refresher (or really any time your skin needs a little extra love and hydration).
Up next, check out these tips for getting better skin without trying too hard or spending too much.