Not to sound dramatic, but we think about skincare pretty much 24/7. Purvey any of our desks here at Byrdie HQ and you’ll find piles of moisturizers, serums and face masks, just waiting to be slathered on and reviewed—and don’t get us started on our medicine cabinets, which can best be described as “overflowing” (and that’s putting it lightly). We test, research, and investigate thousands of skincare products every year and because of it, consider ourselves experts when it comes to which products actually do what they promise and are worth the cost. Over the years, we’ve professed our undying love for some truly outstanding skincare products that have lightened our dark spots, gotten rid of our breakouts, and earned us compliments upon compliments—honestly, thinking about some of our holy-grail skincare products makes us weepy.
That’s why we’re thrilled to announce Byrdie’s first-ever skincare awards—a love letter to the best skincare products we’ve tried, tested and approved of. The winners of our skincare awards were judged on three criteria: vigorous product testing, nominations from team Byrdie and our panel of guest judges, and a Byrdie-unique algorithm created by our data team that ranks products based on their positive reviews on our website and across some of your favorite retailers. We slathered, swiped and massaged in hundreds of skincare products, consulted some of the top names in the beauty business, and even did a little math to bring you these winners—so you can trust that we stand by these products 110%. We're so excited to present the winners of Byrdie’s 2019 skincare awards, and hope you find a new favorite (or two, or three) in the below.
Meet Our Guest Judges:
Dr. Michelle Henry is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. She specializes in cosmetic surgery, skin of color, laser surgery, and high risk skin cancer treatments.
Dr. Shereene Idriss is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in facial aesthetics and rejuvenation. She combines a strong doctor-patient connection with her medical expertise and artistic skills to achieve the best possible aesthetic results and patient care.
Dr. Dara Liotta is a facial plastic surgeon practicing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She's board certified by both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and by the American Board of Otolaryngology.
"With my hormonal acne, I have to be particular about what oil cleanser I use. The Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil is targeted towards preventing breakouts with its tea tree leaf and PHA formulation. I love the way it emulsifies and breaks down everything on my skin (including stubborn makeup) without leaving a film or stripping my skin." - Charlotte Cho
"I have high standards for my cleansers: they need to get rid of makeup without stripping my skin, be sulfate-free, and generally smell nice/make my cleansing routine a pleasurable experience. This blueberry cleanser from Glow Recipe checks all the boxes, removing all traces of makeup and always leaving my skin feeling soft and clean." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This cleansing balm is gentle, rich, and soothing. It melts and dissolves oils and impurities, revealing gleaming, bright, glowy skin. With a texture that's like a sorbet, your skin will soak it up." - David Yi
"This micellar water is formulated with no oils, alcohol or fragrance, making it gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types, but strong enough to get the work done! It’s the first step of my skincare routine to rid my skin of all the makeup and impurities that build up throughout the day." - Dr. Michelle Henry
"I have been certifiably obsessed with this product for years now—the formula has caused real, visible changes in my skin both immediately and over time. It's an exfoliating toner (a mix of lactic, salicylic, and citric acids) blended with botanical extracts and vitamins to balance your complexion, as well as nix discoloration and congestion." - Hallie Gould, senior editor
"Lactic acid is not only an effective exfoliant—at low levels, it also acts as a humectant, pulling water into top-most layers of the skin. I love this fan-favorite L.A. treatment to help give my skin a noticeable glow and smoother surface, especially after a weekend of staying out late and binging on carbs and wine." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"Exfoliation is my skin's love language, and I love how bright and smooth my skin looks after using this scrub. It feels icy-cold when you first apply, then warms up as you work the scrub into your skin. It makes your shower feel like a spa, and more important, makes your skin look like you just went to one too. It's one of my tried-and-true favorites that I count on to give me smoother, softer skin ASAP." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This super lightweight liquid treatment helps even out skin tone and decrease the appearance of pores. It helps you achieve glowing, soft skin that looks better without makeup. I also love that it works with all skin types." - Dr. Dara Liotta
"When it comes to hyaluronic acids, this one is no joke. With a highly-concentrated balance of long and short-chain hyaluronic molecules, these go deep into your pores and completely drown them with moisture." - David Yi
"This serum brightens, evens, and erases any lingering breakout marks or scarring. I apply a few drops in the morning and have noticed quite the difference. It's pretty much the gold standard when it comes to vitamin C serums—practically every dermatologist I've seen recommends it. The price is steep, but there are few other products I'd stand behind as vehemently." - Hallie Gould, senior editor
"This dual-chamber serum features two active formulas that work synergistically to maintain your skin's youthful look and feel. Not only does this serum protect your skin moving forward with anti-aging benefits, but it also helps reverse and repair underlying damage, giving your skin the ultimate makeover over time." - Dr. Shereene Idriss
"Texture Reform is a gentler retinol serum, so it doesn't cause the usual peeling, dryness, and irritation that more traditional retinol may cause. It's ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or if it's your first retinol, which was the case with me. It tones, tightens, plumps, and even calms your skin (courtesy of sodium PCA to hold on to moisture, lactic acid to gently exfoliate, and aloe to soothe)." - Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I've tried a lot of face oils, and this one is a standout. The algae-infused moringa oil sinks in instantly and doesn’t feel heavy, even on my combination skin. It’s chock full of skin-plumping ingredients like watermelon and baobab, and, more important, makes my skin glow the next morning every time I use it." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This moisturizer looks like a thick, gloppy cream, but actually melts into a watery consistency when you massage it into your skin, so it feels more like a hyaluronic acid serum. It's a really remarkable texture—what's even more remarkable is its ability to make my skin feel just the right amount of balanced and hydrated, morning and night." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This buzzy moisturizer from Drunk Elephant works for all skin types, but is especially life-saving for dry skin because of its mix of peptides, growth factors, and amino acids. I notice instant results every time I use it, and usually get compliments soon after. My skin not only feels more more hydrated, but looks it, too. It's the one moisturizer I recommend to everyone." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"This celeb-loved face moisturizer is on the verge of reaching cult-status, and for good reason. The technology behind this moisturizer is pretty mind-blowing. Created by German physician, scientist, professor, and researcher Augustus Bader, this cream helps boost your skin's natural regeneration properties. Yes, the price tag is steep, but the brand actually promises that this cream is better used alone and should replace your other serums, toners and moisturizers. I swear by it because it made my skin look smoother, brighter and just all-around better when I used it and nothing else for two weeks. But don't take my word for it—Victoria Beckham is a fan, as is former Byrie editor Erin's 71-year-old mother." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This sheet mask from Tatcha has the perfect concentration of essence, a nice balance in texture, and a lineup of stellar fermented ingredients (like the the Saccharomyces rice ferment filtrate) my skin loves to drink up. I love the fit and the silky consistency of the sheet mask itself. Best of all, it keeps me glowing and luminous as promised. It's worth the splurge!" - Charlotte Cho
"Unlike brightening serums, I expect any brightening mask to deliver instant, noticeable results after just one use. This one from Alchimie Forever leaves my face looking at least a few shades brighter after using it just for a few minutes. Plus, I love that the creamy consistency doesn't dry my skin out, but instead leaves it soft and glowing. It's my go-to anytime my skin needs a gentle pick-me-up." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"This eye-catching mask is filled with amazing natural ingredients including ginkgo blob, horse chestnut, red vine leaf, chamomile extract and amber extract, which work to increase microcirculation, even skin tone and hydrate the skin in a major way. Plus, what’s not to love about smearing gold all over your face and snapping a selfie? Pro tip: also use it on your décolletage too!" - Dr. Dara Liotta
"Clear sunscreen sounds like an oxymoron, but this variation (which is marketed as a makeup primer) is a unicorn of sorts. Its gel-like consistency goes on smooth with a slightly powder finish, serving as the perfect chalk-free base, unlike many other SPF formulas. It's also got other skin-loving ingredients like meadowfoam seed for hydration and red algae to enhance the skin's barrier function. I'm more than a little obsessed." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"There's a reason this SPF gets a perfect score from Consumer Reports year after year. It is an elegant, easy-to-rub-in sunscreen formula. It doesn't leave behind a chalky residue so it's great for all skin types. I recommend it for all of my patients." - Dr. Michelle Henry
"Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for face is a fan favorite among dermatologists and consumers alike (including this editor) for its lightweight, super-hydrating finish, so the fact that the brand packaged a formula for body in a giant pump bottle is a total no-brainer. I personally hate applying body lotion because it always feels greasy and messy, but this variation absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling soft, soothed, and nurtured all day long without that dreaded creamy residue I get from many formulas. I also adore the pump function so I can just quickly slather it on after I hop out of the shower without battling a slippery bottle or tube." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"This is a gorgeous, easy-to-rinse-off foam that feels thick and luxurious in the shower. It also contains Dove's proprietary NutriumMoisture to keep skin well moisturized and clean. I would recommend this to anyone." - Dr. Michelle Henry
"I've tried so many body scrubs and this one reigns supreme by far when it comes to scent, texture and how soft it leaves your skin. It's made with sugar crystals and açai seeds that melt in such a satisfying way as you buff the scrub into your skin; then, the olive oil and Shea butter stay behind and leave your skin feeling soft as a baby's. Unlike other scrubs, it doesn't tear at your skin or leave an oily film behind. This is the one product I go through more quickly than anything else." - Faith Xue, editorial director
"Previously, I pretty much subscribed to the idea that no product would ever make a visible different in my under-eye circles, darkness, and bags. And while the tendency for my under eyes to look hollow and collect extra fluid is part of my biology, this eye cream is the only one I've ever tried that's made a noticeable difference. The formula is inspired by banana powder, a product used to color-correct dark under eyes, and it contains yellow pigments to brighten and a blend of vitamin C, collagen, and Shea butter." - Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I admit, I was skeptical after seeing this brand pop up on various beauty website. Then I tried and instntly fell in love with how soft and velvety the texture was and how long the hydration it lasts. I'm still only half-way through one tube and it's been almost a year!" - David Yi
"This face mist from Emma Hardie saves my life on my flights back and forth to my Dubai office. It’s the perfect refresh from the stale, recirculated plane air. It contains hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and feels so refreshing! What jet-lag?" - Dr. Dara Liotta
"This cult-loved pink sulfur treatment works. It's made with the highest level of sulfur allowed, along with BHAs to shrink your pores and zinc oxide to soak up excess oil. It's a proven acne-fighter that significantly helps diminish my breakouts overnight without irritating my skin in the process." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"This is my ride-or-die, the Clyde to my Bonnie, and any other iconic duo that fits in this analogy. Each week, I spent 10 blissful minutes with this professional-strength, at-home exfoliant facial peel that gently buffs away dullness. It's the product I always turn to when I want my skin to look especially bright and glowy. It contains a blend of antioxidant-rich berries, fruit AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes to clear out any clogged pores, fade post-breakout marks, lift discoloration, and stimulate cellular renewal. It's a unanimous Team Byrdie favorite all-around." - Hallie Gould, senior editor
Click here to see the skincare winners of our Eco Beauty Awards.