It's no secret we crave smooth, supple, radiant skin. In fact, we write about the products that will get us there on most days. But since summer is just around the corner, it feels even more vital to get our routine in tip-top, skin-smoothing shape. I called on a few skincare experts, the lovely Byrdie editors, and customers on some of our most trusted e-commerce sites (Sephora, Nordstrom, and Amazon) to offer their absolute favorites for the purpose of exfoliation, hydration, retexturizing, and skin-evening. Below, find their must-haves.
"Aside from the fact this fast-acting (i.e. 60-second) mask contains pore-refining ingredients like bentonite and kaolin clays, witch hazel, licorice root, and aloe vera, it also bubbles," gushes assistant editor Erin Jahns. "You smooth it on like a gel and then as you massage it in, it begins to sizzle into this wonderful, slightly tingly foam. I'll always be devoted to the Supermud (so I had low expectations) but couldn't believe how smooth, bright, and even my skin was after my first use. And now I'm addicted."
"The Triple Berry Smoothing Peel is a great one for sensitive skin because it's only recommended to use once a week, and for sensitive skin types, you'll only need to leave it on for five minutes," celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau explains. "In fact, it's so gentle (yet amazingly effective) that I have all of my celebrity clients use it the night before a big event because it completely smoothes the skin and creates a beautiful radiance—with no risk of irritation. Ever seen Demi Lovato at the Grammys or the VMAs? Her skin is always glowing, and she uses Triple Berry Smoothing Peel faithfully before every special event."
"If I'm on a mission to transform the texture of my skin, which turns dull and uneven when I'm tired and stressed, I slather these pads all over my face," says Byrdie's assistant editor, Maya Allen. "I tend to get blackheads the most on my nose. So annoying. And these pads contain 30% glycolic acid, which lifts dirt and smoothes over those rough surfaces. Since I have sensitive skin, I use one pad every two days as a preventative measure."
Dermalogica's Skin Smoothing Cream effectively maintains your skin moisture balance while improving its texture. It contains mallow and cucumber to restore suppleness, deeply hydrate, and leave you with better-feeling, softer, healthier skin.
"I have used this face cream for at least 30 years," a commenter said on Amazon. "It is great in the morning and at night. There is no greasy feeling, and it works well under foundation. By far, it's the best face cream I have found (and not as expensive as most). Hint: when you cannot squeeze any more out of the tube, stand it on the top for an hour or so then cut off the bottom of the tube. There is a lot left inside! I put the tube in a plastic bag until it really is completely finished."
"It's made with volcanic sand—not Earth-harming microbeads—and a blend of glycolic and lactic acids. So basically, it's a physical exfoliator that also chemically exfoliates—a true win-win. The craziest part, however, is the fact that it actually warms up when you use it," says Byrdie's editorial director, Faith Xue. "Then, as you slough it in, it transforms into a cooling, minty tingle. The actual experience of using the scrub aside, the one thing that truly blew me away with this product was the fact that it left my skin feeling the softest it's ever been since I turned 13 before I started my acne phase."
SkinMedica's HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($178) instantly smoothes the skin, visibly blurs fine lines, and is so, so silky. It offers a blend of five forms of hyaluronic acid (the naturally occurring compound that best moisturizes your skin), but it's different than other serums. The formula doesn't just provide temporary surface moisture; it allows for eight hours of continuous hydration. I noticed a difference in the look and feel of my skin right away. After applying the lightweight, velvety elixir, my face felt softer than ever before, and my foundation went on so smoothly. Essentially my face felt like a cloud, and my skin looked like J.Lo's after a day at the spa, no joke.
This spa-worthy peel is just as fun to apply as it is effective. Using a salon-type brush, apply the product to your skin to exfoliate and uncover refreshed skin in just three minutes. Rather than cause irritation, it stimulates the skin's natural repair process, leaving your face silky and velvety smooth.
"I have used this product for years," says one Nordstrom reviewer. "I love that it makes my skin tingle and you can really FEEL it working. My skin is so much softer and smoother after using this product. I use it once a week and it lasts over a year!"
"Think of alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA) as the blue jeans of the skincare industry: no matter your age, concern, skin type, or tone, they'll work for you," says writer Lexy Lebsack. This mask, in particular, is packed with 27.5% AHAs and BHAs, as well as other active natural skin resurfacers for glowing, super-smooth skin. The pomegranate grains exfoliate, glycolic acid and enzymes peel away dead skin cells, and white clay removes excess sebum and refines pores.
"Truly a do-it-all product," notes managing editor Lindsey Metrus, "this peel brightens the complexion, reduces fine lines, heals breakouts, and minimizes pores. With just two steps, you can send your blackheads packing and smooth out your skin."
For an immediate skin-smoothing effect, this one's for you. According to the brand, with regular tri-weekly use, this formula will visibly minimize discolorations and small marks on your face, hands, and décolletage. Over time, though, facial lines are reduced and your skin's texture will be significantly smoother and clearer.
"I have combination skin and I use this product once a week as part of a larger skincare routine," notes one Nordstrom reviewer. "I LOVE it—just be kinder to your softer skin areas. I have large nose pores and this product really helps to break up the clogs, so that my other products can get in and clean. My skin feels so smooth after! Worth the cost as a little bit goes a long way."
This vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free facial oil contains moisture, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants to support your skin's natural lipid barrier (which helps to lock moisture in and protect against dryness and heat). Plus, it absorbs easily and softens, smoothes, and soothes upon contact.
"This is a very beautiful and luxurious product!" a Sephora commenter muses. "I have sensitive skin, fairly dry, but also prone to breakouts from time to time. I've been searching for a perfect moisturizer forever. It smells lovely, goes on silky rather than greasy, and absorbs fully. No breakouts. I live in a dry climate and I can get away with using this as a stand alone moisturizer. As far as effectiveness goes—a couple of weeks of use and my skin is very soft and feels hydrated."
"Biossance's rose face oil is made with the brand's plant-derived squalane, Chios crystal oil, vitamin C, and Damascus rose extract to seal in moisture, smooth fine lines, and improve skin texture and radiance," says Xue. "Natural beauty lovers, the ingredient list is delightfully short and sweet."
"I received a small sample of the bottle I'd admired in Sephora on numerous shopping trips (but never took the leap to purchase) as a free birthday gift. I pressed it gently into my skin with my fingertips as I'd so often read to do and hoped for the best. Within just a few days of applying the oil, I already noticed that my skin looked clearer and my fine lines were less visible," says Metrus. "Truly, by placing oil on top of my already oily and blemish-prone skin, they went away faster (and my skin was SO smooth)."
Rouleau explains, "When the skin is properly balanced and hydrated, there is less surface dry skin–cell buildup to lessen bacteria from forming in the pore leading to breakouts."
"I wanted this formula to instantly create the glowing, dewy skin our products are known for while providing nutrition and additional high-performance ingredients to keep skin hydrated and luminous," Tata Harper said of her aspirations for creating this product. "This formulation contains 22 high-performance ingredients from 14 countries that I hand-selected to deliver these effects."
"Skin cell turnover reduces by 7% every 10 years, so exfoliation is a key part of any skincare routine—not only for the glow it yields but also for maintaining healthy, smooth skin. This formula contains seven sources of AHAs and two sources of BHAs, including salicylic, lactic, glycolic, citric, malic, and tartaric acids, which come from plant sources like meadowsweet, sugar maple, and bilberry."
Use this super-fine textured crystal blend to buff away any dullness (while smoothing fine lines, roughness, and acne scars). The formula includes Dead Sea salt as well as lime and lemon peel, grape seed, and vitamin E to retexture skin while leaving it soft, smooth, and thoroughly nourished.
A Byrdie-editor favorite, this serum (which feels like a watered-down moisturizer) helps deliver an unreal glow. With lactic acid to speed up cell turnover and exfoliate away dullness and licorice root (an all-natural anti-inflammatory) to fight hyperpigmentation, smooth and radiant skin is just a few applications away.