37 Skincare Products For Low-Maintenance People Who Want High-Maintenance Results
Because sometimes skin care routines seem better in theory.
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. A brightening serum with a healthy dose of vitamin C — because it does more than just boost your immune system! It'll help even out your skin tone and provide some extra antioxidant protection at the same time.
Promising review: "I have sensitive, dry, pale skin. My skin breaks out all the time and the red marks never seem to fade. I wanted to try a vitamin C serum to see if it would help with redness. Holy moly this stuff works! There's no strong fragrance and the serum absorbs into skin quickly leaving no residue. I apply a light moisturizer over before applying makeup in the morning. I have not even finished the entire tube and I can already tell my skin is softer and I have not had any breakouts. Old red spots are also fading. I know this isn't all in my head either ... My boyfriend actually noticed and commented that my skin was looking better totally unprompted. This dude doesn't even notice when I get a haircut so I consider this a big deal." —cmoney
Get it from Amazon for $19.86.
2. A tube of retinol night cream that puts in serious work while you sleep. It's powerful enough to plump and firm your skin, but gentle enough to use it every night. And seriously — retinol is basically a time machine in a bottle.
3. A blackhead remover liquid with 4% BHA, which is essentially a powerful chemical exfoliator. You can slather it all over your "problem areas" after cleansing to reduce the size of enlarged pores and finally diminish those pesky blackheads that never seem to go away.
4. A tube of Mederma Scar Cream that will not only reduce the appearance of scarring in just a few uses, but also helps protect you from sun damage thanks to the inclusion of SPF 30.
5. A tube of the celebrity-beloved Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré that has so many uses. You can slather it on as a moisturizer, use it as a smoothing makeup primer, or apply it as a nourishing face mask when your skin needs a good pick-me-up.
6. A clay mask designed to soak up excess oil and wash off the bacteria that causes breakouts, so it's basically a must if you've been dealing with maskne for the past two years.
7. A peel-off mask that's basically the textbook definition of gross but soooooo satisfying. Just apply a layer to your problem areas (or your whole face!) then peel it off after 20-30 minutes.
8. A three-step pore strip kit that is waaaayyyy more powerful than the ones you usually buy from the drugstore. The first step will help open up your pores, the second step sucks everything out, and the third step helps soothe your newly squeaky-clean nose.
9. A super-gentle yet hydrating Cerave eye cream to perk up your puffy eyes and fool people into thinking you got a full eight hours of sleep last night. It contains hyaluronic acid for extra moisture and three essential ceramides to protect the delicate skin around your eye.
Promising review: "I've been embarrassed for years about the bags under my eyes, but with two preschoolers at home, stress, and mild insomnia, I didn't see a way out. This is like a little miracle tube. I use it before bed and then in the morning too. I use it even if I didn't wash my face. I've gone from looking like there are bruises under my eyes to looking normal again. I no longer feel the need to use concealer under my eyes on a regular basis. I highly recommend!" —Amber J.
Get it from Amazon for $10.74.
11. A set of patches you can slap right over your pimple and go about your day while the hydrocolloid pulls out impurities and reduces the size of your blemish. And let's face it, they're so adorable you might be tempted to put one on even when you don't have a breakout.
12. A moisturizing and lightly exfoliating cream you can apply to particularly stubborn areas you just know are about to break out, or simply smooth it all over your face as an extra preventative measure.
13. A facelift in a bag, which unlike a real cosmetic procedure, will only run you about $22. You'll get two full facial treatments to target the forehead, under-eye area and smile lines.
14. A highly-rated micellar water so you can quickly wipe off everything from full-coverage foundation to waterproof mascara with just a few simple swipes.
15. A luxuriously creamy facial cleanser for anyone with excessively dry skin. It feels just like a lotion when you apply it, but it magically breaks down dirt and oil as you work it into the skin. If your skin is constantly flaky and sensitive, this one's for you!
16. A two-in-one facial serum and oil hybrid to hydrate and give you that glowing (but not greasy!) "glass skin" look we've all been trying to achieve. It just might become your new staple for no-makeup days.
17. A pack of highly rated facial-cleaning wipes for the days when you need to fool everyone into thinking you did your full skincare routine. They're powerful enough to remove stubborn waterproof mascara yet gentle enough for sensitive skin.
18. CeraVe's face and body moisturizer that uses hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and MVE technology to transform your skin from flaky to smooth for 24 hours after you apply it.
19. A tub of Aquaphor Healing Ointment, which can basically do everything ever in the history of the world. Try some on your cracked elbows, chapped lips, roughed-up feet, over-washed hands — this magical potion has you covered. You can even dab it on your cheekbones as a highlighter! ✨
20. An easily-portable salicylic acid stick you can rub directly on your pimples to stop breakouts before they have a chance to ruin your whole weekend.
21. A ridiculously popular serum from L'Oréal featuring the magic of hyaluronic acid — which is a must for anyone with dry skin. It's designed to attract moisture and even has vitamin C to help brighten your skin the more you use it.
22. A powerful blackhead vacuum you can use to suck all of the gunk out of your pores. You'll be horrified yet intrigued by all the nastiness that was living in your face.
23. The outrageously popular Differin gel that has compelled over 29,000 Amazon reviewers to leave a review as glowing as their skin. It's a prescription-strength retinoid that gets deep down in your pores to promote skin turnover, so you'll basically have a brand-new face after a few uses.
24. An herbal potion you can quickly roll directly under your eyes to instantly de-puff and brighten thanks to the coffee infusion and organic olive oil. It's basically an espresso shot for your skin.
25. The extremely beloved Mario Badescu Drying Lotion that looks like a tiny science experiment, but acts like a magical acne potion. Simply dip a cotton swab down into the pink solution, then dab it over any pimples to watch them shrink in just a few hours.
26. A post-blemish rescue balm, because even though you know you really shouldn't pop that pimple, sometimes you just can't help yourself. Just drop a little dab on that popped blemish to add moisture, reduce irritation, and prevent scarring.
27. A pack of cooling, hydrating eye gels with hyaluronic acid and collagen you can put on 15 minutes before that early morning weekly meeting, then toss off right before you click on the Google Meet link.
28. A medicated gel cleanser that uses the power of salicylic acid to banish breakouts and reduce excess surface oil by 47% — so you'll be looking matte and breakout free in no time. It also contains lipohydroxy acid to lightly exfoliate any dead skin, so this is basically like a brand new face in a bottle.
Promising review: "I have been using La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash for cystic/hormonal acne, and it has seriously been the best product I have tried so far. I have very sensitive and dry skin, so I also follow up with an eye cream and moisturizer (because this product can be drying if you don't). This cleansing gel has completely changed my skin in just 10 days; it is more clear, smooth, and even toned. I think this product is great for all skin types that struggle with acne, as long as you follow up with the proper moisturizer/skin regimen according to your skin type." —Chelsea
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.