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    32 Skincare Products That Actually Do What They Say They Will

    From breakouts to dryness, these prods are the definition of tried-and-true.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash screeches "get out" to pesky pimples thanks to a hefty helping of benzoyl peroxide — this bottle contains a whopping 10%, to be exact. Consider acne good as gone when placing this maximum strength formula in your medicine cabinet.


    Promising review: "This product is amazing with amazing results. I have adult hormonal acne problems and this wash clears it up. It does dry out the skin so monitoring the dryness is necessary. I use this with a light moisturizer to help balance my skin. I definitely recommend this wash for people struggling to clear up stubborn acne." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $9.48.

    2. Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence takes dull, tired skin and leads it greener pastures (*insert idyllic farm image here*). Hyaluronic acid and panthenol provide ultimate hydration, and drumroll por favor — it absorbs quickly! No grease. No stick. Apply this before moisturizer to make sure all that goodness gets locked in.

    two clear bottles of the essence with black cap

    Promising review: "Yes yes YES. Lightweight and effective. I heard about this product through a YouTuber and wasn’t sure if the product would live up to the hype. Now, it’s a staple in my morning facial routine." —JSB

    Get it from Amazon for $14.20.

    3. Hero Cosmetics Hydrocolloid Mighty Patches prevent picking and ~drain~ those zits at maximum speed. In addition to the fact that they just truly work, these transparent stickers also won't leave behind any residue on your pillow (unlike traditional goopy spot treatments).,

    Promising review: "This sucks up the pus from those deep painful whiteheads and brings it to the surface. I’m totally fascinated. Where have you been my whole life? I suffer from hormonal adult acne and this really helped to reduce the inflammation and my pimples heals so much faster. The patch holds up well and it’s a reminder to stop touching that pimple. I’m very tempted to pop it, but popping it leaves to scarring. It’s also quite invisible, so you can get away with wearing it outside. Good stuff!" —Karin Chang

    Get a pack of 36 patches from Amazon for $12.50.

    4. And! Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Surface Patches treat cluster breakouts (cc: that special time of the month in which your jawline is shown no mercy) with the same medical-grade hydrocolloid formula. All you'll have to do is peel and stick.

    reviewer photo of the patch

    Promising review: "As embarrassing as this is to admit, I have had issues with body and butt acne like no other. I had tried everything to clear them up, but nothing helped. I'm horrible at picking at blemishes as well, so I decided to give these a try. I LOVE these patches!! Even better that they come in large patches, which was a lifesaver for cluster bumps! WHOA! I would leave these on for eight to 10 hours and it would draw so much of the pus out. After just one use of a patch, I noticed a dramatic difference and sometimes it completely cleared them up." —Ashley

    Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $17.99.

    5. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum lets you try a holy grail ingredient for cheap. Hyaluronic acid = a unicorn tears blend that plumps, hydrates, and soothes. This cruelty-free product is suitable for all complexion types (normal, oily, dry, combo) and requires just a pea-sized amount pre-coffee and pre-Zzzs.

    the black and white bottle

    Promising review: "This product has made a world of difference in my skin! Most winters, my face gets so dry that my skin just flakes off — and moisturizer rarely improves it. I’ve been using this serum for two months now and my skin has never been this hydrated or soft. I do think the serum is also helping my skin tolerate the addition of differin to my nightly routine. Will purchase again, and highly recommend." —CorabellePeach

    Get it from Sephora for $7.99.

    6. Korean Exfoliating Bath Washcloths described by one reviewer as a solution for back-of-the-arms bumps. It's about time we retire that mesh loofah and move on to greener pastures — the pastures in this context being a green washcloth capable of revealing a smoother, softer surface with a simple few swipes. You are about to shed so much dead skin.,

    Promising review: "While the pockets are small (as others said, they shrink when wet, too!) they fit fine around my four fingers to form a mitt to use for scrubbing. I bought these because I read somewhere they help with keratosis pilaris. I have that on my upper arms and have never found anything that works until now! I was skeptical because literally nothing else has made an improvement before and now this has eliminated it. Will definitely buy again and hope it keeps working!" —Emily S.

    Get a pack of four from Amazon for $4.

    7. Lift Off Pore Strips act as a vacuum for the stubborn gunk that has so rudely decided to take residence on your nose. And while built-up dirt and oil will be removed with one satisfying pull, aloe vera extract will be left behind to soothe your complexion.

    model using the pore strip

    Promising review: "Pore strips that actually work for me! I’ve tried tons and they never seem to pull up the gunk from my nose. Was thrilled with the results. There’s also a decent amount of strips per box for the price. Would buy again." —Erin C.

    Get a set of eight from Starface for $5.99.

    8. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream provides your peepers with peptides and hyaluronic acid — meaning you dark circles and fine lines will begin to be gone. Luxe eye creams usually cost around a trillion dollars, so finding a holy grail item like this for ~$10 is basically like striking gold.

    the eye cream
    e.l.f. Cosmetics

    Promising review: "I had been looking for a new daytime eye cream to wear with or without makeup, and I'm so glad I bought this! It moisturizes my under eye area so my skin looks tighter and brighter without makeup, and when I do wear makeup, it looks nice! Not dry or greasy. I can't wait to see results as time goes on!" —ohmygodshelly

    Get it from e.l.f. Cosmetics for $10.

    9. Differin Adapalene Gel Acne Treatment consists of a strong retinoid formula that promotes cell turnover and is *the* strongest thing you can purchase without a prescription. In English: This affordable tube helps reveal a new layer of skin and swoops deep into your pores to penetrate that painful zit at its root. Get ready to remove the word "cystic" from your vocabulary.

    reviewer showing week 1, week 4, and week 12 using product with acne becoming visibly less apparent in each picture

    An FYI that this product is super strong, so it may take your complexion a while to adjust! Reviewers recommend moisturizing immediately after use because it tends to dry out your skin and make it a bit sensitive.

    Promising review: "This is by far the best acne product I’ve ever used. Hands down. This is coming from someone who had tried over 20 different products to get rid of my acne (I use to spend over $100 for other acne lines). I have been using this product for about three weeks and have gotten a TOTAL of three tiny zits since I started. I started this product when I got five cystic zits in one day. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing! It’s even helping me remove my acne scars. I cannot rave enough about this product, it changed everything for me. Only side effect is it makes your skin super dry and flaky so moisturize well. Invest in a good moisturizer and you are golden." —Kassi

    Get it from Amazon for $12.31+ (available in two sizes).

    10. Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment takes about .5 seconds of your time (massage for 30 seconds and leave on for two minutes) while a blend of enzymes, extracts, silica, and vitamins reveal a smoother, brighter surface. It's also packed with lactic and salicylic acid that truly turn your complexion into a blank canvas for allll the other steps in your nighttime routine. Translation: Your skin is about to fully absorb that pricy hydrating serum.

    bottles of treatment
    Kate Somerville

    Promising review: "I’m not sure where the blackheads on my nose have gone but for the first time in 20+ years they aren’t there. Using this product twice a week has been a game changer!" —Hayley B.

    Get it from Kate Somerville for $25+ (available in three sizes).

    11. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm is a multi-purpose balm suitable for face, body, lips, and hands. A nonsticky combination of shea butter and glycerin soothes irritated skin in a jiffy — and despite how moisturizing it is, reviewers swear that it doesn't cause breakouts. Not all heroes wear capes.

    before and after photo of reviewer on left with visibly red skin labeled "8:41pm" and on right, visibly less red skin labeled "10:47pm"

    Promising review: "I had a terrible allergic reaction to tea tree oil about two weeks ago. Tiny bumps all over my face along with bunches of breakouts and my normally oily skin was so dry the strongest moisturizers I had wouldn’t keep it moisturized for long. I tried this stuff and OVERNIGHT basically all the bumps and my breakouts are gone. I have incredibly sensitive skin (clearly) and this stuff feels so soothing on my face and leaves it looking bright. I can’t speak more highly of this product. I will probably continue using it as a regular daily moisturizer even after my skin goes back to normal because it feels so smooth and I bet it would make a great base for makeup. HIGHLY recommend to anyone with sensitive, combination skin. And I’m acne-prone and this stuff doesn’t break me out. Holy grail people!" —SH

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    12. Milky Oil seamlessly removes waterproof makeup, but the magic of this squeezable bottle lies within what it does not do: irritate your skin. A conditioning formula of comfrey root extract, micellar water, and pro-vitamin B5 won't leave behind puffy red under-eyes in the name of mascara removal.

    the makeup remover

    Promising review: "Literally the best remover. Does not irritate my eyes or leave them red and watery. Requires a minimal amount of remover to dissolve even the most stubborn eye make up. No need for rubbing or tugging at the eye area either." —jjms1125

    Get it from Glossier for $12.

    13. I Dew Care Plush Party Lip Balm addresses chapped lips once and for all. This functions as a sleeping mask — apply this shea butter, cocoa butter, hibiscus flower extract, and vitamin C mask formula before bed and wake up to a nourished pout. No flakes. Ever again.

    the pink lip balm with reviewer text that says "this has saved my lips"

    It comes with a lil' spatula so you don't have to use your fingers.

    Promising review: "My lips have never been softer or more moisturized during the day!! This is my holy grail product. It's worth it." —Ash

    Get it from Amazon for $16.

    14. Paula's Choice CLEAR Acne Spray wards off body breakouts with a spray applicator that can cover those hard-to-reach spots. This innovative formula enlists 2% salicylic acid to tackle the pimples that have so rudely taken residence on your back, chest, and butt.

    the blue spray bottle

    Promising review: "MAGIC. Pure magic!!! This is a dream product — it’s clear, it dries, it doesn’t stain clothing, doesn’t really have a scent!!! Where have you been all my adult backne ridden life?!? Read about this on a blog and it is so worth it. Price point is high for the amount you get, but I’ll still accept it because there’s nothing else as good out there!! Plus, the dispenser?! It works so well, never irritates my sensitive skin, and works wonders on treating pre-existing acne as well as prevention of future zits!" —sophia

    Get it from Amazon for $25.

    15. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 protects your complexion against the suns rays *and* blue light, doesn't leave behind a white cast, and won't break you out. It's no wonder so many reviewers consider this a holy grail.

    hand holding white bottle of sunscreen with product on hand with text "that's the sunscreen on hand"
    Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "This is the BEST sunscreen I have ever used! It leaves ZERO white cast. It has no sunscreen scent. In fact, it doesn't really smell like anything, which is great because I hate fragrances in my skincare. It protects from blue light from electronic devices which is great because it doesn't feel like a waste of sunscreen since I only have a 10-minute drive to work, but I'm in front of a computer all day." —Renee Rounds

    Get it from Amazon for $34.

    16. Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme contains a major superstar ingredient: licorice root. Slather this on pre-ZZZs to soothe your complexion and wake up to healthy, glowing skin that doesn't resemble the shade of a tomato. "Who invited you?" —this cream to your natural blush.

    Promising review: "I have very sensitive skin that gets red and inflamed easily, especially in the cold or after taking hot showers. Most moisturizers only make it worse but this one is a miracle worker! I put it on every night before bed and always wake up without any redness. I also use it before putting on any makeup which helps reduce/eliminate any irritation from the makeup. It's very moisturizing as well and doesn't have a scent, which is perfect for me as a lot of scents make my eyes sting." —julierae9

    Get it from Amazon for $10.91.

    17. Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum enlists the help of bakuchiol and chlorophyll, making it gentle enough for sensitive skin (retinol = some pretty powerful stuff). This tackles dullness and fine lines with a vengeance but is *super* unique because it doesn't leave behind redness or irritation.

    model holding pink bottle

    Promising review: "I've used other retinols and retinoids over the years, but was always turned off by the chemical smell and feeling that they were harsh on my skin. Not this one! It actually smells nice and feels like it soaks into my skin instead of sitting on top of it. Very smooth, not tacky or sticky at all." —Moxmoxmox

    Get it from Versed for $21.99.

    18. Neogen Real Fresh Cleansing Stick is a breeze when it comes to application: simply remove the cap, swipe on some goodness, and rinse. No product wasted on your hands. No crud covering your sink faucet. Ease and portability aside, this uses green tea leaves for deep cleansing and gentle exfoliation — I never thought I'd swoon over skincare, but here we are.

    the green tea cleansing sticks / Via @neogen_global

    Promising review: "I know the acne claim is a hard claim, but, for me, the cleaning stick has kept my skin free of acne since I started using it. Don't get me wrong, I am an adult and realize acne differs for all ages and skin types. That said, I am an active adult and tend to break out if I do not wash with a good quality cleanser after running or biking. Since using this product, I have had a few pimples, but no breakouts. I have tried a lot of products, but most are full of junk, smell too strong, and leave a residue. This product isn't as thick as it looks, barely has a scent, and doesn't leave any residue. You will need to moisturize after use and I recommend only using once a day or so since it is a deep cleanser. It lasts for ever, travels well; it isn't a liquid you need to worry about for security reasons, and isn't in a squeeze bottle that can open in your bag and leave a mess." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $22.

    19. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter turns removing makeup into a luxurious bedtime ritual thanks to a rich, creamy chamomile formula. This scoffs in the face of stubborn mascara, removing every last drop of product from your face with ease... now put down the makeup wipes. We're better than that.

    Promising review: "You will never use a wipe again after using this. It melts off the toughest mascara and a full beat in seconds without stripping your skin or leaving a film of dirt behind. This is seriously a holy grail makeup remover." —E. Shaklee

    Get it from Amazon for $14.86.

    20. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pad make dewy skin as easy as grab, swipe, and toss. These rounds are infused with lactic and glycolic acids to speed up cell turnover (hello, exfoliation) while ingredients like cucumber, Indian gooseberry, lemon peel, and licorice root truly deliver on their promise of glow.

    model taking white pad out from the blue and white tub

    Promising review: "I started using this product months ago when I started noticing clogged pores and tiny bumps on my cheeks. This product has been a life-saver! Not only did this help eliminate my clogged pores, but it leaves my face glowing! I have very sensitive skin and haven't had any issues with it." —Melissa House

    Get a pack of 28 from Amazon for $17+ (available in three sizes).

    21. Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil is currently negotiating a movie deal with Marvel: this little bebé is truly a superhero worthy of its own franchise. It delivers on its promise of glowing skin by morning, tackling redness, scarring, dehydration, and acne whilst you sleep.

    Reviewer's before-and-after of broken-out cheek and then clear cheek with caption that says "just wow"

    Promising review: "My new holy grail! I have super sensitive, acne-prone skin in a very dry climate. This stuff is seriously so amazing. I use it from my face to my toes. It’s completely eradicated any dry skin I had and makes me glow. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my skin since I’ve started using it, even my boyfriend noticed! I love it after chemical peels too. It gets rid of peeling and dry patches as well as soothing any redness. It’s a decent-sized bottle for what you pay!" —Brynnieb09

    Get it from Amazon for $13.95.

    To learn more, check out "This Facial Oil Will Solve All Your Skin’s Problems."

    22. Hypoallergenic Milky Jelly Cleanser because you'd love to double cleanse, but who has the time?* This gentle-but-effective cleanser will literally ~melt~ makeup, oil, and gunk off your face — just add a few pumps to wet skin, cue mini facial massage, rinse, pat dry, and go to sleep. Only about .5 seconds have passed.

    Glossier, / Via @glossier

    *I very much have the time, I just don't want to.

    Promising review: "I have really sensitive skin and this is amazing. SO smooth and gentle enough to not cause breakouts, but still strong enough to get rid of the dirt and gunk in my pores after a long day. If you're gonna buy anything from Glossier, it should be this." —Hufflebucky

    Get it from Glossier for $9+.

    23. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair has heard our prayers for nongreasy, intense hydration that doesn't end in backne outbreaks — and boy oh boy, it sure does deliver. Reviewers swear it's safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin, plus it's great for streamlining your skincare routine because it's allegedly fantastic for face and body.

    the white bottle of moisturizer with blue pump / Via @larocheposayusa

    Promising review: "Well I’m sold on this stuff. I have very dry skin and if I apply this head to toe while still damp from the shower it goes on super quickly and dries fast without being greasy (which I loathe). This method seems to use very little product, so I’m still on this same bottle six months in!! I also use it on my face (yes really) and magically it doesn’t break out my sensitive skin. Like I said. SOLD." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in two sizes).

    24. Biossance's Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil reaps the benefits of vitamin C, Damascus rose extract, and Chios crystal oil; the result being a lit-from-within-glow that dupes the world into thinking you drink a ton of water. Brightness and hydration are yours for the taking.

    Pink dropper bottle of Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil next to orange slices

    Promising review: "I have never seen as big of a difference in my skin as I have with this product. It is my go to and I plan to stick with this in my routine daily. My skin is smoother and has a much more even tone and glow. I stopped wearing any sort of foundation or concealer after consistently using Biossance products as I feel they really make a difference. Even friends have noticed a change in the past few months. Obsessed!" —Biossance Customer

    Get it from Biossance for $72.

    25. Mediheal Intensive Hydrating Mask promises luxury spa results — no getting up from your Ikea couch required. This cotton liner mask is infused with hyaluronic acid, amino acids, and water-binding sugars deliver dewy and refreshed skin ~15 minutes; glass of vino to enhance the experience strongly encouraged.

    the sheet mask

    Promising review: "I have super dry, sensitive skin and any other sheet mask I've used has always burned or stings my skin. This mask soothes my skin and I can leave it on for 20 minutes or more without any irritation. It always hydrates my skin so much and leaves it super dewy and plump. It is definitely worth the money!!" —cass

    Get a set of 10 from Amazon for $19.90.

    26. Nooni Appleberry Lip Oil provides a lovely flush of pink *and* non-sticky moisture thanks to vitamins a, c, and e. It's even packed with apple water and raspberry extract to slough away the dead skin that would inevitably result in a chapped pout.


    Promising review: "I can't remember who first told me about this lip oil, but it seemed like the perfect solution to my multi-year search of trying to find a lip product that enhanced my natural lip color while keeping my lips moisturized. It's not too sticky and lasts longer than a typical 'gloss.' It's a fairly small bottle, but that also makes it great to keep in a wristlet. The appleberry is also sheer enough to pair over a lip crayon or lip liner." —Sammi Cone

    Get it from Amazon for $12.

    27. Prima Afterglow Deep Moisture Cream justifies the high price tag with hyaluronic acid, broad-spectrum hemp extract, and naturally occurring CBD. This splurge-worthy treatment manages to balance oily *and* dry spots, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and soothes redness.

    the cream

    Promising review: "I have very dry, unbalanced skin. This cream was thick but absorbed into my skin very easily. After using this product for a full 30 days, my skin is softer, fine lines reduced and my skin tone is more even throughout my face. It added a supple glowing look to my skin. I have found my new moisturizer! The redness on my cheeks has even subsided.

    Get it from Sephora for $96.

    28. Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution acknowledges that it's not *just* acne that can be frustrating — the scars it leaves behind is equally as irksome. Just a daily swipe of this four-acid complex will lead you to greener pastures (the greener pastures = lightened dark spots, no more dullness, and a more even complexion overall).

    model holding yellow bottle of brightening solution

    FYI: This vegan and cruelty-free product is packed with lactic, glycolic, azelaic, and kojic acid.

    Promising review: "I have very sensitive skin and I am always hesitant to try new products but wanted to give this a try because my previous toner had run out. To my surprise, it's very gentle on my sensitive skin and has helped to brighten dark spots! For the price, you can't beat this deal. I use this daily after cleansing my face." —Peacelovemia

    Get it from Versed for $17.99.

    29. Vanicream Gentle Body Wash is a gentle wash raved about by those with sensitive complexions — because the heavily perfumed suds you've been using are irritating and drying, ergo, the time has come to *finally* swap in this dye-, fragrance-, and sulfate-free bottle (it's super moisturizing, to boot).

    white and blue body wash bottle

    Promising review: "I was diagnosed with sensitive skin and perfume allergy and this is the only product that does not make me itch. All other fragrance-free advertised products still contain fragrance right in the ingredients. I was also impressed with the silky smoothness of this body wash and the fact that it didn’t completely dry out my skin. This has been a total game-changer for me." —Carrie

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    30. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Mini genuinely ~peels~ off dead skin cells with just one swipe. Salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids work in harmony to tackle all of the following skincare concerns: dullness, fine lines, dark spots, and uneven texture. Your face is about to feel so. darn. smooth.


    Promising review: "I’ve never written a review for ANYTHING in my life but these peel pads are incredible. I have super sensitive skin and have to be really careful about everything that touches my face. These don’t make my rosacea flare up. If anything, they help! I live in a small mountain town in Idaho and these really help with dry, dull skin. I am so happy I found these pads." —loveitallskin

    Get a pack of five treatments for Sephora for $17.

    31. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is considered a holy grail of drugstore finds thanks to how rapidly it delivers long-lasting hydration. If you're looking for a ~tall glass of water~ to quench your face thirst, look no further than this fast-absorbing and oil-free formula.

    Kayla Suazo / BuzzFeed

    This fragrance-free moisturizer is packed with hyaluronic acid!

    Psst, pro tip if you have extra dry skin: apply this formula to damp skin, let it dry, and then use your daily moisturizer to really lock in the effects.

    Promising review: "I have dry skin, and this is my holy grail p.m. moisturizer and lip mask. If my face is extra dry on a particular day, I'll use this in the a.m. too. I will continue to buy this forever!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $15.63.

    To learn more, check out our review of the Hydro Boost moisturizer!

    32. Daydreamer Face Wash accomplishes what we once thought impossible: washing your face without having to experience that uncomfortable, overly tight feeling. Soothing plant extracts even pack in some ~plumping~ effects while the calming scent of lavender means you'll blissfully drift off to sleep with ease.

    hand holding the white bottle of face wash / Via @blume

    Blume is a Woman- and POC-owned brand that specializes in effective skincare and truly fantastic packaging.

    Promising review: "I have sensitive, dry skin and this is the perfect product! It’s cleans my face without drying it out and feels amazing! My skin feels soothe, clean, and moisturized!" —Elena R.

    Get it from Blume for $16.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    illustrated gift guide graphic

    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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