30 Skincare Essentials You'll Probably Want To Keep In Your Cabinet
Moisturizing sunscreens, lip scrubs, and more great skincare items for your daily routine.
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. Ebanel's Acne Spot Treatment Drying Lotion lifts gross gunk out of blemishes, cysts, and zits and clarifies your complexion (buh-bye irritation)! Apply this soothing formula overnight and wake up in the morning with breakout-free skin.
Promising review: "I love this product! I've been having some bad cystic acne breakouts and after five times of using this drying lotion over the last two weeks, the bumps and dark spots have improved a lot! The scent can be strong but I've gotten used to it already. It's amazing how the texture of my skin and the reduction of oil have changed to make my skin appear much cleaner." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $14.95.
2. CeraVe's Hydrating Face Wash cleanses and hydrates without stripping the protective skin barrier. If you're over other makeup removers drying or irritating your face, look no further: It gets the job done and keeps skin so smooth, thanks to three essential ceramides.
Promising review: "Coming from someone who always felt like I needed to buy high-end and expensive skin care products, I wish I would have tried this long ago. Truly in my opinion, nothing beats this stuff. My acne-prone skin loves this moisturizing cleanser. My skin has never looked healthier. I suffer from acne breaksouts with very dry surface skin, yet an oily T-zone. My skin looks better than it ever has. And my routine is cheaper than it’s ever been." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $13.56+.
3. Differin's Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment ~hits the spot~ for treating clogged pores and pesky blemishes. It helps prevent acne from making a return to your cheeks, chin, and forehead *and* halts breakouts in their tracks, thanks to its noncomedogenic formula.
Promising review: "Don’t give up on it! I started using this product two months ago because I still struggle with breakouts even after most of my acne cleared. But this baby took me to the next level. My skin tone is evening out. My scars are less visible. I will never stop using this product and I love the pump version." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $12.26.
4. Pholk Beauty's Honeysuckle Rose Face Mist hydrates thirsty skin with botanical-based ingredients, so you can kick dry spots to the curb and get your complexion glowing again. Spritz it on whenever your face needs a moisturizing pick-me-up.
Pholk Beauty is a a Black-owned and woman-owned business founded by Niambi Cacchioli.
Promising review: "I used this for the first time in 2019 and I can always feel the difference in my skin when I use it consistently. My skin is hydrated, supple, and I always get compliments. I also use it to melt any powder products into my skin when I use makeup. It's a great multi-use product." —Pholk Beauty Customer
Get it from Pholk Beauty for $20.
5. Foreo's Luna Mini 2 elevates your daily skincare routine with a deep-clean that'll leave your face glowing and very clear. No more makeup residue, acne, or oily zones after using this tiny gadget, which uses gentle pulsations and movements to get the job done.
One of our BuzzFeed editors tried this skincare gadget and loved how it made her skin clearer and smoother.
Promising review: "I love this scrubber! I had never used something similar before, but I don't think I could ever go back to just a washcloth. This makes my skin feel so soft and for the first time in my life, my skin is noticeably brighter and clearer. I tend to have splotchy skin and after a month of using this in the evenings before bed, the splotchiness is gone. I seems silly, but a little extra scrubbing goes a long way! This is gentle and has never bothered my skin." —Laura
Get it from Amazon for $82.95+ (available in five colors).
6. Glossier's Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector sweeps away dead skin cells, so your face can be free from acne and redness. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) get to work on trouble zones and leave your skin feeling clean and fresh.
Promising review: "I bought this based on reviews and I am so glad I did. My skin was uneven, acne-prone and just felt rough. After first use there was an improvement straight away and after two weeks, using daily just once, my skin is soft, smooth and clear. So happy!" —Glossier Customer
Get it from Glossier for $24.
7. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay goes deep into your pores to remove unwanted gunk and minimizes irritation caused by acne and blemishes. Amazon reviewers swear by this anti-breakout facial, which will leave you with clearer skin in minutes.
Mix this formula with apple cider vinegar to give your skin a deep clean.
Read about why four BuzzFeeders love this skincare treatment in We Tried The Aztec Healing Clay Mask And It Really Made A Difference.
Promising review: "This is the second time I’ve bought this! You can feel it pulling the oil and dirt out of your skin. When you wash it off I can see that my pores are visibly smaller. This pulls all the oil and funk out of your pores. It does not over dry the skin! It feels amazing!" —Dawn Muse
Get it from Amazon for $7.99.
8. Versed Skincare's Vacation Eyes Brightening Eye Gel combats dark circles and gives your under eye skin a *glow-up,* thanks to vitamin C, ginseng root extract, and coffee seed extract. Just dab before applying moisturizer and you'll be good to go.
Promising review: "I usually have pretty dark marks right on either side of my nose near the inner corner of my eye and holy cow, that discoloration has almost completely gone away. I am also a makeup wearer and can safely say that I don't have any issues with this underneath my makeup. Love the environmentally conscious packaging, it's easy to travel with, and it checks all the boxes for me." —Versed Skincare Customer
Get it from Versed Skincare for $17.99.
9. Admire My Skin's 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector Remover diminishes dark spots and acts like a lightbulb for your skin by boosting brightness. Say hello to a clearer, smoother complexion after using this 2% hydroquinone, salicylic acid, and azelaic acid formula.
Promising review: "This stuff here is a lifesaver and miracle in a bottle. My face has been loaded with acne bumps, comedones that was in my skin for years, and black marks that wouldn't go away. But this stuff here has brightened my marks, my acne has dried out, and 90% of my marks are gone. Give it a try." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $24.
10. Handmade Heroes' Vegan Coconut Lip Scrub gently exfoliates chapped lips with coconut and sugar and locks in moisture, so you can rock your favorite gloss or lipstick sans flakes.
Promising review: "Never tried a lip scrub before so I wasn't sure of what to expect. This lip scrub is excellent though. My lips dry out really quickly, but since I started using this, they feel much softer and I don't need to glob on tons of lip balm anymore. Very pleased with it, and it tastes delicious too!" —kokorocloud
Get it from Amazon for $9.99.
11. I Dew Care's Disco Kitten Illuminating Diamond Peel-Off Face Mask gives your complexion a major glow up with oat extract and exfoliating gem powder. Just paint the mask on, let it sit for 20 minutes, and gently peel it off for potentially brighter *and* clearer skin.
Promising review: "One of the best peel-off masks I have used. My skin definitely looks brighter and more radiant after use and it actually peels off very easily! There is probably enough for about 10 total applications. Will absolutely be purchasing again!" —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $23.
12. And these silicone facial applicator brushes make applying sticky skincare products so darn easy. With soft bristles and a sturdy handle, you'll be *painting* masks and serums on your face without making a big mess.
They have 3,541 positive reviews and a 4.6-rating!
Promising review: "I no longer dread putting on my face products. I was using my fingers to apply the product to my face, it was so messy and it got in my nails too. When I came across these silicone brushes, I knew I had to have them. I use my facial products more often because I'm no longer worried about the annoying mess. The silicone brush is very flexible and spreads the product on my face nicely." —Amazon Customer
Get a set of two from Amazon for $3.78.
13. Bathing Culture's Mind and Body Wash deep cleans your skin and smells heavenly while you take a shower. This biodegradable, certified-organic soap contains essential oils that'll leave your bod super soft and hydrated.
This bottle contains enough soap for at least 80 showers (yes, 80!) and once you're out, you can reuse and refill it again!
Bathing Culture is small California-based business known for their sustainable bathing and personal care products. You'll find soothing body wash and body oil that smells like the great outdoors and contains certified-organic ingredients.
Promising review: "I am on shower number three and I must say a little goes a along way, the scent notes unfold over the course of the shower. It reminds me so much of my time spent at Cathedral Lake in Yosemite, a winner! I feel clean and the formula feels hydrating and not stripping. I follow with my body oil and I’m good to go." —Bathing Culture Customer
Get it from Bathing Culture for $30.
14. Ancient Greek Remedy's Moisturizer calms cystic acne, breakouts, and uneven patches while giving your complexion a major hydration boost. Clear and smooth skin is coming your way.
It can also be used to add a lil' moisture to your cuticles and scalp!
Promising review: "So I've only been using this for six days, and my mind is absolutely blown! I've been using it on my face, body, and hair. My hair has been super soft, it's helped clear up some eczema, rashes, and razor burn, and my acne has started to clear up as well! I would 100% recommend this to everyone! It smells fantastic and absorbs in very quickly so you don't feel oily all day or night." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
15. Glossier's Futuredew gets your skin ~glowing~ with nourishing oils (evening primrose, grape seed, jojoba, and rosehip oils) and botanical-based extracts. Rub a tiny bit onto your cheeks and forehead if your tired, dull complexion needs a little boost.
With a 4.3-rating and tons of positive reviews, this serum is great for anyone who wants a dewier, more radiant look and is easy to add to any skincare regimen.
Promising review: "The other day I stopped as I was passing a mirror and realized I was...glowing. Then I realized it must have been the fault of Futuredew, as I had never looked that good before and it was my first day wearing the serum. My skin is sparkling, and soft, and the glow shows through even after I apply makeup." —Glossier Customer
Get it from Glossier for $24.
16. Avarelle hydrocolloid pimple patches suck up all the nasty puss inside pesky zits. Thanks to a layer of tea tree leaf oil and calendula oil, your pimples will be covered and less accessible during the process.
Promising review: "I’ve tried so many brands of pimple spots, and these are hands-down the best on the market. I’m a performer at Walt Disney World, and a clear complexion is required. Last night, I put these on a few acne problems (a small cyst, a whitehead, and a pimple I shouldn’t have picked and has been a bump for about three weeks now). I just woke up and am writing this review in disbelief. They're flat! Gone! All of them! I could cry I’m so happy." —Caitlyn
Get a 40-pack from Amazon for $8.49.
17. Peter Thomas Roth's PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment fights skin discoloration, unevenness, and acne with niacinamide, tranexamic acid, and kojic acid. These ingredients will get to work on your face and leave you with buttery soft skin.
Promising review: "It works amazingly! I’ve been using it for two months now and dark spots have faded so quickly. It doesn’t irritate my skin or make it peel. It just brightens and evens my skin tone. That’s all I need! Definitely will be repurchasing!" —Sephora Customer
Get it from Sephora for $88.
18. Atahana's Jade Roller and Gua Sha set helps stimulate blood flow around your cheeks, chin, and forehead. Roll this baby around your face during your next self-care day and say goodbye to puffiness.
Promising review: "I’ve been wanting to try a jade roller for a long time. After the first use, my skin had already felt smoother and plump. It literally feels like you’re giving yourself a face massage. No mess at all if you like to dip your roller in moisturizer or serum. I will continue to use this." —Talya D
Get it from Amazon for $9.95.
19. Acure's Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil calms your skin while you sleep (gasp). This light formula gets to work on redness, irritation, and breakouts without clogging your pores and smells heavenly (thank you, blue tansy and rose)!
Promising review: "I can't stand oils which sit on top of my skin, I get a claustrophobic feeling as if it is suffocating my skin. But not this one, it is light but strong on effect. I have rosacea and it calms my skin wonderfully. Plus the packaging is beautiful and practical at the same time." —zsuzsa
Get it from Amazon for $12.96.
20. Bio-Oil helps alleviate acne scars, stretch marks, and smooths uneven areas. Its non-greasy formula contains vitamins A and E to help moisturize your face. Because it can help with a myriad of skincare annoyances, it's like a fairy godmother for your daily skincare routine. ✨
It has 8,760 positive reviews and a 4.6-star rating!
Promising review: "I love this oil. It's not greasy at all and after using it for two weeks I noticed my acne scars going away. Not only does it help with acne scars but acne in general. I could tell some pimples were forming on my face but after using the BioOil they went away in a couple days. Cheap and affordable! I love it!" —Camille
Get it from Amazon for $8.92+ (available in three sizes).
21. Black Girl Sunscreen with SPF 30 protects your face and bod from the sun and dries completely clear, so you won't have to worry about an annoying white cast. You can also layer it underneath makeup in case you need a lil' UV shield before heading outside.
Black Girl Sunscreen is a small, woman-owned sunscreen brand founded by Shontay Lundy. Each skincare product helps protect melanated skin from sun damage and contains vegan, reef-safe ingredients.
Promising review: " I searched online for a great sunscreen that was not harmful to the environment, and didn't leave my face greasy, sticky, or with a purple/white cast. This was the answer. It is lightweight, doesn't leave me feeling greasy (I am acne prone), and *zero* white residue. Such a great product!" —Target Customer
22. This foot file sloughs away cracked, dead skin from your heels. You'll be ~walking on sunshine~ once you have super soft feet again (and you don't have to spend $$$ on a pedicure).
Dubbed a "cheese grater" and "miracle worker," by lots of reviewers, this skincare tool receives a 4.7 out of 5 rating!
Promising review: "Y'all got $8? Buy one of these. For a decade I thought smooth feet belonged only to wealthy weekly nail salon clientele but this little cheese grater has taken me from paltry peasant wench to a silky smooth 'show my feet in public' rich woman. Yes oh yes! My pile of feet scrapings on the floor took me two trips with the dustpan, and if I hadn't of stopped after I lacerated my hand, hell it probably would have taken three! So if any of you rough footed people out there are suffering from those 'summer shoes blues,' then buy it." —Jerni
Get it from Amazon for $9.95.
23. Yes To's Watermelon Light Hydration Super Fresh Jelly Mask boosts moisture and tones your complexion at the same time. This ~juicy~ skincare treatment will reduce dry spots, dullness, and irritation, thanks to its watermelon-based formula.
Promising review: "This is wonderful for humid climates and/or hot summers. I personally love the smell, and I love that its clear and doesn't dry sticky or stiff; sometimes I put this on and forget it's there and go run errands. My face looks normal and my skin is bright, calm, and moisturized but not greasy or oily. —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $5.75.
24. Healing Solutions Tea Tree Oil helps halt breakouts in their tracks, so you don't have to spend your free time treating stubborn acne. BTW, it's recommended that you dilute this formula with Healing Solution's Jojoba Oil or Sweet Almond Oil *before* applying it to your skin.
It has 3,276 positive reviews and a 4.5-rating!
Promising review: "This is a great product! I've been being using this the past two weeks to reduce acne and it really works! You can see the change from one day to another: it reduces the color and the bumpiness of your acne. At night I apply it directly to each one of the breakouts. It not only helps with the acne you have, but also helps preventing any more breakouts." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in three sizes).
25. Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser gently cleanses dirt, impurities, and makeup from your face. Its pH-balanced formula is made with the same cleaning agent found in contact lens solution, so it won't cause irritation during your skincare routine. Stubborn blush, concealer, and foundation don't stand a chance.
This top-rated cleanser has an average 4.4-rating across 3,478 total reviews!
Promising review: "I’ve been on the hunt for a new cleanser for a while, and when I found out about this product through an influencer, I immediately bought it! It has a gorgeous texture, thick and milky, and a scent that I wasn’t sure about at first but grew to adore, kind of rosy. After using it for months and nearly at the end of my first bottle, I can confidently say that my skin looks the most even I can remember it looking!" —Glossier Customer
Get it from Glossier for $9+ (available in two sizes).
26. Melaku Aromatherapy's Spiced Chai Bath Soak pampers your skin with pink Himalayan salt, cinnamon bark, and mineral-based ingredients. Your bathroom will smell heavenly *and* you'll feel super smooth after soaking for 20 minutes.
27. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream hydrates the most sensitive skin with its gentle, fragrance-free formula. Reviewers love it too (it has 4,932 positive reviews and a 4.8-rating!), because it absorbs quickly and contains ceramides that help strengthen the skin barrier and diminish dry areas.
Promising review: "This cream changed my life! I had been suffering with severe hormonal acne after weaning my baby, and it just wouldn’t go away! After a week of this miracle cream, my face cleared up significantly! It’s mild and absorbs quickly. It never irritated my skin and leaves your skin nice and soft. It's perfect to wear under makeup. I wear it in place of a moisturizer and won’t switch to anything else!" —Steveson
Get it from Amazon for $14.83.
28. Holy Snails' Shark Sauce doubles up as a skin hydrator *and* brightener. This formula, which is shark-free and suitable for multiple skin types, was designed to combat dullness and hyperpigmentation. If you're experiencing dark spots or want to achieve a glowing complexion, this serum will help you cut your routine in half.
Holy Snails is a woman-owned company that sells handmade skincare goods inspired by K-Beauty. You'll find everything from serums to face oil to lip balms for your daily skincare routine.
Promising review: "I don't think I've ever used a product that gave me such immediate results! In two weeks I looked in the mirror and my acne scars looked lighter and less prominent and I felt like I only had to spot conceal when normally I'd use a medium/full coverage foundation. I'll continue repurchasing forever!" —Holy Snails Customer
Get it from Holy Snails for $9+ (available in three sizes).
29. Honest Beauty's konjac sponge gently buffs your face, so you can achieve a more radiant complexion over time. This gentle tool, which is made with konjac root and pink koalin clay, can be used alone or with a cleanser if your skin needs a break from dryness and dullness.
Promising review: "I originally got this for myself, but my husband used it once, and now loves it. It was apparently a life-changing experience for him. He says it feels really nice on his beard and face, and makes his skin feel baby smooth. I guess I know what to put in his stocking this year." —Target Customer
Get it from Target for $6.99.
30. And Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant takes care of pesky blackheads and simultaneously helps smooth your face. Packed with 2% BHA (Beta hydroxy acid), it sloughs away dead skin cells and unclogs pores. Apply it after you cleanse and tone your face for a clearer complexion.
Promising review: "I’ve struggled with hyperpigmentation, acne scars that stay for years, and worst of all were the blackheads and large pores. I thought scrubbing with exfoliants was the key, but it actually made things worse and caused micro tears on my face. I have only been using this product two weeks and the changes I’ve seen in my skin have been amazing. I would recommend this product to anyone who is struggling with scarring, blackheads, and large pores. This does the trick!" —ACooper2
Get it from Amazon for $10+ (available in two sizes).
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.