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18 Simple But Amazing Products You Should Add To Your Skincare Routine

A lil' shopping guide for what the heck serums, toners, and micellar cleansing waters are, and why you should find ones that work for your skin.

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1. A micellar cleansing water that'll remove makeup AND cleanse your skin. Unlike soap, you don't have to rinse after use so it's ideal for those on-the-go mornings or late nights.

Micellar water contains these lil' micelles (cleansing molecules) that are drawn to dirt and oil, so they're good at pulling out gunk from your face. This might not take off every last bit of waterproof mascara and full-coverage foundation, so if you tend to wear those products regularly, you should look for a stronger makeup remover (but don't look too far because I've listed some below!). Promising review: "Nothing short of miraculous. I have noticed that not only does it clean my face of all makeup residue, it also helps prevent breakouts and helps clear breakouts when they do occur. I only recently started using it after my daughter suggested I try it. I noticed improvement after just one use, and my 40-something, adult acne-prone skin is doing so much better now. I only wish I could send some back in time to my preteen self!" —Amazon CustomerGet it from Amazon or Target for $6.79, or Walmart or Jet for $6.96.
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Micellar water contains these lil' micelles (cleansing molecules) that are drawn to dirt and oil, so they're good at pulling out gunk from your face. This might not take off every last bit of waterproof mascara and full-coverage foundation, so if you tend to wear those products regularly, you should look for a stronger makeup remover (but don't look too far because I've listed some below!).

Promising review: "Nothing short of miraculous. I have noticed that not only does it clean my face of all makeup residue, it also helps prevent breakouts and helps clear breakouts when they do occur. I only recently started using it after my daughter suggested I try it. I noticed improvement after just one use, and my 40-something, adult acne-prone skin is doing so much better now. I only wish I could send some back in time to my preteen self!" —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon or Target for $6.79, or Walmart or Jet for $6.96.

2. A wildly popular, daily face wash made with some of the same ingredients found in contact solution, so it'll efficiently remove dirt and grime while still being super gentle on your skin and eyes.

It works well for dry, oily, and combination skin. Promising review: "I'm a bit awful at skincare, and as a result my skin tends to be very spotty and very dry all at the same time. I've used samples of various different cleansers before, but they all irritated my skin and I could never be bothered with keeping up a skincare routine with products that actually improved my skin. I find it so indulgent and creamy. It's great to cleanse while in the bath or shower, and take of make up without using a harsh remover. It's definitely left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized, and my skin's feeling so much better!" —JazzeeStardustGet it from Glossier for $18.
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It works well for dry, oily, and combination skin.

Promising review: "I'm a bit awful at skincare, and as a result my skin tends to be very spotty and very dry all at the same time. I've used samples of various different cleansers before, but they all irritated my skin and I could never be bothered with keeping up a skincare routine with products that actually improved my skin. I find it so indulgent and creamy. It's great to cleanse while in the bath or shower, and take of make up without using a harsh remover. It's definitely left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized, and my skin's feeling so much better!" —JazzeeStardust

Get it from Glossier for $18.

3. A lightweight moisturizer for normal to extra-dry skin. There are two to choose from, but the gel-cream specifically helps with excessive dryness. I dab a little of this on before I apply my foundation to avoid flaky skin, and it works like a charm!

Read the full review of this hydro boost cream.Promising review: "This stuff is amazing. My dermatologist told me to get it because she said my skin was dry. I always thought it was oily. Weird. Anyway, this said it was for very dry skin so I thought it was definitely going to be thick and heavy and gross. Man. This stuff is great. It goes on and sinks in and feels almost like a primer. I put my makeup on right over it! It doesn’t make me greasy during the day ether! I highly recommend this product!!" —Alissa F. SwonkeGet the gel-cream (good for extra-dry skin) from Amazon or Walmart or Jet for $16.17.Get the water-gel (for normal to dry skin) from Amazon for $14.99 or Walmart for $13.67 or Jet for $14.98.
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Read the full review of this hydro boost cream.

Promising review: "This stuff is amazing. My dermatologist told me to get it because she said my skin was dry. I always thought it was oily. Weird. Anyway, this said it was for very dry skin so I thought it was definitely going to be thick and heavy and gross. Man. This stuff is great. It goes on and sinks in and feels almost like a primer. I put my makeup on right over it! It doesn’t make me greasy during the day ether! I highly recommend this product!!" —Alissa F. Swonke

Get the gel-cream (good for extra-dry skin) from Amazon or Walmart or Jet for $16.17.

Get the water-gel (for normal to dry skin) from Amazon for $14.99 or Walmart for $13.67 or Jet for $14.98.

4. A super effective makeup remover that'll take off the most waterproof of products, not burn the crap out of your eyeballs, and actually leave your lashes in tact. I've been using this for years, and I can't bring myself to use anything else!

I used to think this was too expensive, but when I saw how it gently removed my makeup without ripping out half of my lashes, I realize it was worth every penny. Promising review: "This is hands down the best eye makeup remover out there. I can't be without it! I have sensitive eyes and wear contact lenses and this remover is gentle with no stinging or irritation. Plus, it really works!" —kitty5555Get it from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom for $15+ (available in three sizes).
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I used to think this was too expensive, but when I saw how it gently removed my makeup without ripping out half of my lashes, I realize it was worth every penny.

Promising review: "This is hands down the best eye makeup remover out there. I can't be without it! I have sensitive eyes and wear contact lenses and this remover is gentle with no stinging or irritation. Plus, it really works!" —kitty5555

Get it from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom for $15+ (available in three sizes).

5. A cleansing mask with calcium bentonite clay for deep-cleaning skin and removing excess sebum (ya know, all of that oily gross stuff that clogs up pores). It'll leave a matte finish and reduce blemishes without totally drying your face.

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For best results, the directions say to mix the clay with equal parts apple cider vinegar. Leave the mask on for 5-20 minutes (depending on the sensitivity of your skin), and then remove with warm water.

Promising review: "After a bad hormonal breakout I decided to go ahead and try it. I used apple cider vinegar because I read that's how you get the best results, and my results have been fantastic!! I have been using this as a spot treatment on my cystic acne and overnight they come to a head! Instead of having big red, swollen pimples on my face for months I can get rid of them within days. Very satisfied and will have to agree that this has been magic for me!!!!" —kali hall

Get it from Amazon for $8.90.

6. A gentle exfoliating scrub that'll leave you with baby-soft skin. Use it a few times a week when your face is feeling weighed down by dirt and/or makeup.

Promising review: "Some exfoliating washes have large grit which rip up my skin, and others have small bits with a lot of emulsion so they're not effective. This is the perfect combination of cleanser with exfoliating bits. One step process leaving my skin soft, and ready for the next product. I've been searching for a long time and this is the absolute best of its kind. The price is so low compared to most products and it lasts a long time. Next purchase will be the larger bottle." —albanyartsGet it from Sephora or Ulta for $8+ (available in four sizes)
Instagram: @lovephilosophy

Promising review: "Some exfoliating washes have large grit which rip up my skin, and others have small bits with a lot of emulsion so they're not effective. This is the perfect combination of cleanser with exfoliating bits. One step process leaving my skin soft, and ready for the next product. I've been searching for a long time and this is the absolute best of its kind. The price is so low compared to most products and it lasts a long time. Next purchase will be the larger bottle." —albanyarts

Get it from Sephora or Ulta for $8+ (available in four sizes)

7. A vitamin C face serum designed to give you brighter, fresher looking skin and target fine lines and dark spots. It's super easy to use — just apply in the morning and before you put on a moisturizer at night.

amazon.com, Amazon Customer / amazon.com

Vitamin C is packed with antioxidants, so it helps restore your skin from sun damage and gives you extra protection during the day. Just make sure you wait a few hours to use if you've applied any washes or treatments with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinol.

Promising review: "I bought this product about a month ago and I use it at least once a day, sometimes twice. I started noticing a difference in my skin within a week! For the record, I have terrible skin. It's red, blotchy, uneven, and on top of that I would get terrible breakouts. I chose to post some before-and-after pictures because even though my skin is still not perfect this product has helped A LOT! It helped reduce the redness of my breakouts within a few days of using it, and I'm convinced that it has also helped prevent more breakouts. This past month I've only had about two bad pimples (which is great for me since I used to get a new pimple every couple of days) but other than that my face has been doing great! The top two photos were taken the day I got the product, and the bottom two photos are the results after about a month of using the product!" —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in two sizes).

8. AND, a hyaluronic acid serum you'll love if you regularly deal with extra dry skin. It's vegan, oil- and alcohol- free, and super hydrating.

Use after any serums and before you apply your creams in the morning and evening. Promising review: "Best product for hydration I’ve ever used. I apply the product just as the instructions say — after face serums and before face creams. I find the key to making sure it doesn’t ‘ball up or pill’ is to make sure your serum is completely soaked in, and once the hyaluronic acid is applied make sure it is also absorbed before applying face creams. I notice a difference almost immediately in how plump and hydrated my skin looks. Definitely recommend! —amandamccormickGet it from Sephora for $6.80.
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Use after any serums and before you apply your creams in the morning and evening.

Promising review: "Best product for hydration I’ve ever used. I apply the product just as the instructions say — after face serums and before face creams. I find the key to making sure it doesn’t ‘ball up or pill’ is to make sure your serum is completely soaked in, and once the hyaluronic acid is applied make sure it is also absorbed before applying face creams. I notice a difference almost immediately in how plump and hydrated my skin looks. Definitely recommend! —amandamccormick

Get it from Sephora for $6.80.

9. A cult favorite sleeping mask for the nights when your skin needs a serious hydration boost. You literally just lather some on before you hit the sheets, and let this moisturizing, *watermelon-scented*, oil-free formula do all the work.

Promising review: "I recommend this product to everyone that I meet that is remotely interested in skincare. It's one of the easiest products to use if you're a beginner, but such a great item for skincare pros as well. I had an irritated red mark on my nose — I think a scar from an infected pore — and I had tried EVERYTHING to fix it: serums, masks, even MICRONEEDLING. This mask, after just a few uses, began to reduce its appearance fading it almost completely after a few weeks. I don't know what's in this jar of amazingness, but it works. It's refreshing and doesn't get all over your pillow if you move your head a lot. It dries down but you can still feel it in the morning when you go to wash it off because water activates the mask again. Easy to use and it smells amazing. They really nailed it with this mask. I use this EVERY NIGHT and it has lasted me for months. It's a good value because you only use two little spatulas-full that it comes with. Great value for an amazing product!" —oksethGet it from Sephora for $22 (available in two sizes)
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Promising review: "I recommend this product to everyone that I meet that is remotely interested in skincare. It's one of the easiest products to use if you're a beginner, but such a great item for skincare pros as well. I had an irritated red mark on my nose — I think a scar from an infected pore — and I had tried EVERYTHING to fix it: serums, masks, even MICRONEEDLING. This mask, after just a few uses, began to reduce its appearance fading it almost completely after a few weeks. I don't know what's in this jar of amazingness, but it works. It's refreshing and doesn't get all over your pillow if you move your head a lot. It dries down but you can still feel it in the morning when you go to wash it off because water activates the mask again. Easy to use and it smells amazing. They really nailed it with this mask. I use this EVERY NIGHT and it has lasted me for months. It's a good value because you only use two little spatulas-full that it comes with. Great value for an amazing product!" —okseth

Get it from Sephora for $22 (available in two sizes)

10. A hydrating primer because your makeup doesn't have to dry out your skin or make it super oily. It'll add moisture without leaving a cake-y feeling from building on it with foundation and contouring.

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Promising review: "I use this every day in my morning and evening skincare routine. I have super oily skin and I absolutely love this cream! It's great because a little really goes a long way, and I can layer it on a little thicker where I use acne fighting serums that dry my skin out. When I use this in the morning my skin looks dewy and perfectly primed for make up, not at all like the oil slick I usually look like when using other moisturizers!" —malaikam

Get it from Glossier for $22.

11. An alcohol-free toner for sensitive skin that'll help with redness, dryness, and uneven texture.

There are lots of toners that address different skin issues, but the main ones are for dealing with oily/dry skin, balancing your skin's pH, reducing redness, and shrinking the appearance of pores. You'll want to apply it after washing your face in the morning and before your moisturizer in the evening.Promising review: "I have dry skin so I've always been scared to use toners. This one is alcohol free and works great on my skin. I never thought I needed a toner but bought this after watching a YouTube recommendation. My skin has literally never looked so good and clear! Use it every night!" —jb2805Get it from Kiehl's (available in two sizes) or Sephora for $16+.
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There are lots of toners that address different skin issues, but the main ones are for dealing with oily/dry skin, balancing your skin's pH, reducing redness, and shrinking the appearance of pores. You'll want to apply it after washing your face in the morning and before your moisturizer in the evening.

Promising review: "I have dry skin so I've always been scared to use toners. This one is alcohol free and works great on my skin. I never thought I needed a toner but bought this after watching a YouTube recommendation. My skin has literally never looked so good and clear! Use it every night!" —jb2805

Get it from Kiehl's (available in two sizes) or Sephora for $16+.

12. A foundation primer with broad-spectrum SPF 20 sun protection to use every day and guard your face against damaging UV rays.

Let your morning moisturizer dry, work a dab of this into your skin before applying any makeup, and your skin will be protected for the day!Promising review: "I have very dry skin and absorb foundations and sun blockers. This product simply doesn't absorb but stays on all day. I have clearer, less damaged skin due to the SPF. That my makeup is fresh after 10 hours at work is a plus. I can do without any product but this one." —lyndaGet it from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom for $42.
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Let your morning moisturizer dry, work a dab of this into your skin before applying any makeup, and your skin will be protected for the day!

Promising review: "I have very dry skin and absorb foundations and sun blockers. This product simply doesn't absorb but stays on all day. I have clearer, less damaged skin due to the SPF. That my makeup is fresh after 10 hours at work is a plus. I can do without any product but this one." —lynda

Get it from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom for $42.

13. AND! An oil-free sunscreen lotion you should use when you know you'll be out in the sun all day because guys, it's SO IMPORTANT to protect and take care of your skin!

Promising review: "Coming from a family who has had members within the family with skin cancer, choosing the right sunscreen protection is very important to me. You don't think to protect your face, but it gets the most exposure of sun. I used to take just any sunscreen that you use for the whole body to put on my face but it left behind a oily film and was somewhat sticky. Yuck! Let's face it, I was just trying to cut corners. You should really buy stuff designed for your face. I have also put this on my children who are under eight years of age, and they have gone in the water with it on and have never once had any eye discomfort.It's waterproof and doesn't run, however it's important to reapply every 80 minutes if you're in the water. The sunscreen itself rubs on like lotion and leaves a matte feel for a second before making your skin feel silky. I really am impressed with Neutrogena and their product." —KateGet it from Amazon for $9.25 or Target for $9.67 or Jet for $10.13 or Walmart for $10.97.
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Promising review: "Coming from a family who has had members within the family with skin cancer, choosing the right sunscreen protection is very important to me. You don't think to protect your face, but it gets the most exposure of sun. I used to take just any sunscreen that you use for the whole body to put on my face but it left behind a oily film and was somewhat sticky. Yuck! Let's face it, I was just trying to cut corners. You should really buy stuff designed for your face.

I have also put this on my children who are under eight years of age, and they have gone in the water with it on and have never once had any eye discomfort.

It's waterproof and doesn't run, however it's important to reapply every 80 minutes if you're in the water. The sunscreen itself rubs on like lotion and leaves a matte feel for a second before making your skin feel silky. I really am impressed with Neutrogena and their product." —Kate

Get it from Amazon for $9.25 or Target for $9.67 or Jet for $10.13 or Walmart for $10.97.

14. An acne treatment for clogged and inflamed pores. Apply once a day in the morning or evening after you've washed your face, and say BUH-BYE to pesky pimples!

frsnogirl421 / amazon.com, amazon.com

Make sure you don't use this right after you've exfoliated skin, but on a clean face that you've washed with a gentle face cleanser.

Promising review: "I was skeptical of buying this, but I gave it a try and I'm glad I did. I never really had a problem with acne as a teenager but recently I've been having breakouts (in my 30s) that weren't going away despite a decent skincare regimen. I tried this and saw results in three weeks. I use it at night after washing my face with ivory soap. In the morning I wash again with ivory soap and use Clinique moisturizing gel before I apply my makeup. Will definitely buy again since it really cleared my skin and makes it feel soft and smooth." —frsnogirl421

Get it from Amazon or Target for $11.19, or Walmart or Jet for $12.88.

15. OR! A pack of spot treatment patches that'll seal up that surprise pimple, protecting it from other bacteria, while the inside works to reduce inflammation and soak up pus. I KNOW, gross, but you'll love it when you see the results!

Melinda L. / amazon.com

Read our full post on these amazing pimple patches.

Promising review: "These actually work!! I get large cystic acne blemishes on my chest, and these are wonderful for helping calm them down and help them heal. Put one on overnight and the blemish was nearly gone!" —MikeC

Get 24-pack from Amazon $4.97.

16. A magical exfoliating charcoal powder to target, clean out, and reduce the appearance of annoying pores.

Suitable for dry, oily, or combination skin. Promising review: "I have spent countless hours and paychecks over the years in an effort to minimize my pores and even my skin tone and I have never found it worthwhile to write a review for a single product until now. I'm honestly in awe of this powder and its affect on my pores! I've been using this product for a few weeks now and my pores are shrinking and my skin is smooth, clear, and soft. I will be buying this again. And again." —HornbergerGet it from Sephora for $30 or Ulta for $28.
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Suitable for dry, oily, or combination skin.

Promising review: "I have spent countless hours and paychecks over the years in an effort to minimize my pores and even my skin tone and I have never found it worthwhile to write a review for a single product until now. I'm honestly in awe of this powder and its affect on my pores! I've been using this product for a few weeks now and my pores are shrinking and my skin is smooth, clear, and soft. I will be buying this again. And again." —Hornberger

Get it from Sephora for $30 or Ulta for $28.

17. A pack of natural cleaning towelettes you can use to remove dirt and makeup from your face while you sit on the couch after a long day (this is a real part of my nightly routine!). There are four sets you can choose from, all of which cover a spectrum of skin types — like sensitive, dry, and oily.

Promising review: "I love using these when I'm too lazy at night to wash my face, or if there's a bit of eye makeup that's stuck and no amount of decent face wash will remove. They don't aggravate my sensitive oily skin. Since you can see what's on the wipe, you'll know if you were able to clean off all your make-up, sweat, or whatever icky substance that may have latched onto your skin. While, I do think all ladies should use a regular skin wash, this is perfect for those days you just want to plop straight to bed or you're too sick to take care of yourself properly." Get it from Target (available in four types) or Amazon (available in six types and multi-pack options) for $4.49+, or Walmart for $4.97 or Jet for $5.21.
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Promising review: "I love using these when I'm too lazy at night to wash my face, or if there's a bit of eye makeup that's stuck and no amount of decent face wash will remove. They don't aggravate my sensitive oily skin. Since you can see what's on the wipe, you'll know if you were able to clean off all your make-up, sweat, or whatever icky substance that may have latched onto your skin. While, I do think all ladies should use a regular skin wash, this is perfect for those days you just want to plop straight to bed or you're too sick to take care of yourself properly."

Get it from Target (available in four types) or Amazon (available in six types and multi-pack options) for $4.49+, or Walmart for $4.97 or Jet for $5.21.

18. And if you're still like, uhh this all too much to take in, a best-selling skincare set from Sephora with everything you need for a fresh routine. You don't have to worry about finding a bunch of products because this comes with four basic ones ideal for a healthy regimen.

It's great for dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin. The set comes with a cleansing oil for removing makeup. A powder that when mixed with water, creates a creamy foam you massage into your skin and then rinse. A water cream you use daily for moisturizing your face. And a setting mist that will give your makeup a dewy look.Promising review: "I have older skin that can be prone to breakouts and these Tatcha products worked wonders. My skin has cleared up and looks better than it has in a long time. The water cream is like giving your skin a long drink of cool water on a hot day. It is fantastic. The rice powder is wonderful also and it cleans and moisturizes at the same time. I will definitely be purchasing the full size products." —RosiehueGet it from Sephora for $60.
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It's great for dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin. The set comes with a cleansing oil for removing makeup. A powder that when mixed with water, creates a creamy foam you massage into your skin and then rinse. A water cream you use daily for moisturizing your face. And a setting mist that will give your makeup a dewy look.

Promising review: "I have older skin that can be prone to breakouts and these Tatcha products worked wonders. My skin has cleared up and looks better than it has in a long time. The water cream is like giving your skin a long drink of cool water on a hot day. It is fantastic. The rice powder is wonderful also and it cleans and moisturizes at the same time. I will definitely be purchasing the full size products." —Rosiehue

Get it from Sephora for $60.

So, what have learned today? Hydrate, wash, and protect 👏 that 👏 skin! 👏

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Some reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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