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Ask any Allure editor’s loved ones about their favorite perks and they’ll probably skip right over our undying love to say it’s the all the skin-care products we delve out, particularly during our months-long Best of Beauty Award: Skin Care testing period, when our friends, partners, and roommates are positively inundated with cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers from our overflowing stashes. After testing hundreds of products with price tags ranging from “what a bargain!” to “are you freaking kidding me,” we know exactly which ones are fit to cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and protect the faces of our nearest and dearest.
We still save ourselves some of the absolute favorites, though, like Rose Ingleton MD SuperFruit Brightening Cleanser or Tatcha The Texture Tonic or MD Solar Sciences Solar Stick. Those have a permanent spot in our medicine cabinets after determining the 2022 winners in the Skin Care category. We may be picky, but we’re certainly not stupid, after all.
Keep reading to see the best skin-care products of 2022, hand-selected by us, the head over to see the full list of the 2022 Best of Beauty Award winners.
Best of Beauty Awards 2022: Skin Care
Jump to your favorite category or keep reading to see every cleanser, serum, and mask.
Best Facial Sunscreen (Chemical) Melé No Shade Sunscreen Oil
Why it won: Melé No Shade Sunscreen Oil SPF 30 is exactly what it sounds like: a fast-absorbing oil that protects skin and helps prevent sun-induced damage like hyperpigmentation.
Best Facial Moisturizer (Light)
Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel Moisturizer
Why it won: We recently learned a new word: turgor, a fancy term for what happens when a skin cell loses its ability to bounce back. Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel Moisturizer was created to combat just that. Its peptides signal processes that help cells become more resilient (oh, and it layers seamlessly under makeup too).
Best Facial Cleanser (Oil)
Peach & Lily Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser
Why it won: Some oils are like mediocre magicians: They can only do half a disappearing act. But Peach & Lily Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser gets rid of every trace of makeup without leaving a telltale film.
Best Facial Cleanser (Gel)
Rose Ingleton MD SuperFruit Brightening Cleanser
Why it won: Moisturizing hyaluronic acid mingles with a blend of gently exfoliating fruit extracts in Rose Ingleton MD SuperFruit Brightening Cleanser. Turns out, they get along great — and together deliver more balanced, healthier skin.
Best Facial Cleanser (Bar)
Carbon Theory Salicylic Acid & Shea Butter Exfoliating Cleansing Bar
Why it won: For a smoother complexion, lather up with Carbon Theory Salicylic Acid & Shea Butter Exfoliating Cleansing Bar. It’s potent enough to help keep acne at bay, but gentle enough that you can use it twice daily.
Best Facial Cleanser (Cream)
Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser
Why it won: Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser is less like a face wash and more like a sensorial journey. Upon contact with water, the bouncy jelly — enriched with barrier-strengthening ceramides — transforms into a deliciously silky cream.
Best Facial Cleanser (Powder)
Humanrace Rice Powder Cleanser
Why it won: This mix of rice powder and kaolin clay works for all skin types — and all type A personalities: Humanrace Rice Powder Cleanser lets you control exactly how much lather you get by mixing it with more or less water.
Best Facial Cleanser (Balm)
Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm
Why it won: We were tempted to skip moisturizer after washing with Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm. That’s how soft and well-hydrated our skin felt after using this balm-to-oil formula loaded with nourishing amino acids.
Best Facial Scrub
Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Face
Why it won: For skin so radiant that onlookers will feel moved to put on their sunglasses, look no further than Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age-Defying Exfoliator. It combines physical sloughing with the smoothing benefits of lactic acid. “It’s very creamy and gentle for a scrub,” says our global head of talent Alison Ward Frank.
Best Toner/Essence (Moisturizing)
AHC Aqualuronic Toner
Why it won: Too often, toner gets labeled as a “nice-to-have” instead of a “must.” But once you start patting on the hyaluronic acid and ceramide-rich AHC Aqualuronic Toner post-cleansing, you’ll notice a difference in dewiness that makes the extra step a non-negotiable.
Best Toner/Essence (Exfoliating)
Tatcha The Texture Tonic
Why it won: Like a liquid blotting paper, Tatcha The Texture Tonic helps refine pores and minimize oil with a blend of niacinamide and alpha hydroxy acids.
Best Facial Mist
Beekman 1802 Milk Shake
Why it won: When the clock strikes noon at Allure HQ, we all simultaneously spritz ourselves with face mist. Actually, we’re often scarfing down peanut butter-stuffed pretzels and wondering how we’re going to make it through four more hours of meetings — but doesn’t this sound nicer? Anyway, the refresher on many of our desks is Beekman 1802 Milk Shake. The dual-phase formula (just shake it to activate) features hydrating squalane and redness-reducing mugwort.
Best Facial Serum (Antioxidant)
Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum
Why it won: The triple-chamber bottle of Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum pumps out a combination of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid and antioxidants vitamin C and ferulic acid. Keeping them apart until that final moment protects the strength of those powerful (but persnickety) ingredients. Once everyone gets together, this group offers just about every skin benefit known to humankind, including plumping, smoothing, and brightening.
Best Facial Serum (Hyaluronic)
Mary Kay Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator
Why it won: If there are two ingredients on everyone’s lips (and cheeks and foreheads and necks) lately, it’s hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Mary Kay Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator delivers them both in a formula that absorbs in seconds and helps strengthen your skin barrier over time.
Best Facial Serum (Retinol)
RoC Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Serum
Why it won: With continued use, RoC Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Serum can help turn deep wrinkles into shallower valleys. The fine-tip applicator makes it easy to apply the retinol-enriched formula directly over fine lines.
Best Facial Serum (AHA)
Shani Darden Lactic Acid Exfoliating Serum
Why it won: Senior copy manager Leslie Lipton says Shani Darden Lactic Acid Exfoliating Serum is, in short, “excellent.” (And with a job title like that, you know she chooses her words carefully.) The lotion-like serum uses lactic acid — as opposed to stronger AHAs like glycolic — to resurface without causing redness.
Best Facial Moisturizer (Rich)
Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream
Why it won: Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream is “super-duper moisturizing,” says staff editor Jihan Forbes. Yet remarkably, it’s not super-duper heavy or greasy. Use it regularly, and you’ll be on the path to firmer, more supple skin.
Best Facial Oil
Gisou Honey Facial Oil
Why it won: The words “honey” and “oil” don’t exactly paint a pleasant picture for those worried about stickiness and residue. But we can attest that Gisou Honey Infused Face Oil — also infused with grapeseed, rosehip, and jojoba oils — sinks into skin immediately and imparts a dewy, not greasy, finish.
Best Eye Cream (Line-Smoothing)
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Gel-Crème
Why it won: With continued use, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Gel-Creme helps reduce crow’s-feet for good. But you’ll be impressed with its hydrating effect that makes fine lines appear temporarily plumper.
Best Eye Cream (Firming)
Osea Age Defying Eye Serum
Why it won: You know the formula is stellar when the soothing rollerball applicator is merely a bonus: Osea Ocean Eyes Age-Defying Eye Serum is rich in collagen-stimulating peptides, which can firm the delicate skin around the eyes over time.
Best Eye Cream (De-puffing)
Fortify+ De-Puffing + Protecting Eye Cream
Why it won: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee: Fortify+ De-Puffing + Protecting Eye Cream is gentle enough not to irritate your undereye area (home to some of the thinnest skin on your body), but doesn’t mess around when it comes to depuffing.
Best Eye Cream (Brightening)
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Under-Eye Cream
Why it won: If your undereye circles feel like dark clouds, there are sunnier days ahead with Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Under-Eye Cream. The quick-to-absorb formula uses three types of vitamin C to treat three types of discoloration: blue, brown, and red.
Best Mask (Clarifying)
Fenty Skin Cookies N Cream Whipped Clay Detox Face Mask
Why it won: As its punny name implies, Fenty Skin Cookies N Clean Whipped Clay Detox Face Mask leaves your face feeling ultraclean but not stripped dry. And the whipped formula — which contains kaolin clay and charcoal — is a joy to apply.
Best Mask (Hydrating)
Pai Skincare Resurrection Girl
Why it won: Blue tansy oil not only gives Pai Skincare Resurrection Girl a beautiful aqua tint, it’s part of the magic behind why this gel mask works for even the most sensitive skin types. The calming ingredient is paired with hyaluronic acid and plant extracts for maximum moisturization.
Best Mask (Soothing)
Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Sleepair Intensive Mask
Why it won: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Sleepair Intensive Mask noticeably reduces inflammation and redness in a single application, thanks to calming cica. If only our self-soothing breathing techniques worked as quickly.
Best Mask (Brightening)
Hyper Skin Fade & Glow AHA Mask
Why it won: The radiant results you get from using Hyper Skin Hyper Even Fade and Glow AHA Mask are just as impactful as you’d expect from its ingredient list, which — with glycolic, mandelic, and salicylic acids, niacinamide, and turmeric — reads like a skin-care greatest-hits album.
Best Mask (Overnight)
Fresh Floral Recovery Mask
Why it won: If a good night’s rest can improve your mood, catching eight hours with Fresh Floral Recovery Calming Mask is downright transformative. The overnight treatment is made with squalane, which smooths and softens skin as you sleep.
Best Facial Sunscreen (Chemical)
Coola Dew Good Illuminating Serum Probiotic Sunscreen SPF 30
Why it won: Coola Dew Good Illuminating Serum Sunscreen SPF 30 is basically a highlighter in disguise. The silky formula leaves behind a radiant, dewy finish.
Best Facial Sunscreen (Chemical)
Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+
Why it won: If you’re a foundation-wearer, you’ll love the featherlight Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+, which also works as a primer.
Best Facial Sunscreen (Mineral)
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 42
Why it won: Whereas chemical blockers absorb and disperse light, mineral formulas act as a physical shield. But that doesn’t mean they’re made out of steel. Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 42 melts into skin and, thanks to hyaluronic acid, can even moonlight as a hydrating primer.
MDSolarSciences Solar Stick
Why it won: The first rule of sunscreen is to talk about sunscreen — and we can’t stop singing the praises of MDSolarSciences Solar Stick SPF 40 for swiping while on the go.
Supergoop Re-Setting 100% Mineral Powder (Great for touchups)
Why it won: If you’re wearing makeup and not having a serious sun-exposure day, touch up throughout the afternoon using the brush-on Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35.
iS Clinical Active Peel System
Why it won: Testing our peels category is high-risk, high-reward. For associate social media director Kassidy Silva, it paid off: she discovered the two-step iS Clinical Active Peel System. “I felt like I had new skin after using this,” she says. “My skin felt hydrated and calm after, not stripped.”
Best Acne Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Clear Complexion Clearing BPO Acne
Why it won: Proving that skincare really is an exact science, Cetaphil Gentle Clear Complexion-Clearing BPO Acne Cleanser contains precisely 2.6 percent benzoyl peroxide — the ideal amount of the antiseptic ingredient to reduce acne without leaving skin irritated or dry.
Best Allover Acne Treatment
Differin Gel Acne Treatment
Why it won: Since pimples aren’t usually courteous enough to check your calendar for important events, using an all-over treatment proactively makes all the difference. Differin Gel Acne Treatment uses a retinoid called adapalene (that was previously only available by prescription) to regulate cell turnover and reduce inflammation.
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Mark Fading Gel
Why it won: Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Mark Fading Gel helps prevent new breakouts with salicylic acid and treats the remnants of previous ones with dark spot-reducing niacinamide.
Best Acne Spot Treatment
SkinFix Acne+ 2% BHA Spot Treatment
Why it won: Dabbing SkinFix Acne+ 2% BHA Spot Treatment on a breakout is the closest you can get to zapping it with a shrink ray. The blend of niacinamide, kaolin clay, and salicylic and azelaic acids reduces oil and redness instantly and helps prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from forming down the line.
Best Humidifier/Air Purifier
Molekule Air Mini+
Why it won: Next time you feel lonely, just remember there are a gazillion microscopic particles floating all around you. Unfortunately, those particles — including acne-enticing bacteria and inflammatory allergens — aren’t always friendly toward your skin. Molekule Air Mini+ indoor purifier uses an air filtration system to break down those pesky pollutants in rooms up to 250 square feet.
Best Hair Removal Tool
Schick Hydro Silk Hydro Silk Dermaplaning Wand
Why it won: You haven’t known softness until you’ve exfoliated with Schick Hydro Silk Dermaplaning Wand. Glide the smooth-edge, single-blade razor over your cheeks and forehead and you’ll be equal parts disturbed and satisfied by the dead cells and peach fuzz it picks up. The ergonomic wand comes with six replacement blades; for sanitary reasons, we recommend you use a fresh one each session.
Best Skin Device (High-Tech)
NuFace Trinity+ Advanced Facial Toning Device
Why it won: Good things come to those who wait, but really good things (sculpted cheekbones, lifted brows) appear instantly when you use NuFace Trinity+ Smart Advanced Facial Toning System. The newest version of the microcurrent tool is equipped with a boost button that emits 25 percent more power and syncs to an app with easy-to-follow tutorials.
Best Skin Device (Low-Tech)
Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool
Why it won: To carve out cheekbones the old fashion way, try Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool. The boomerang-shaped stone is easy to grip and the ideal size for catching — and snatching — your jawline.
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