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    22 Products For Anyone Just Starting Out On Their Skincare Journey

    No futuristic tools or overpriced goops here — just effective basics.

    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. InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum partners with hyaluronic acid and plant stem cells to help reduce sun spots, discoloration, redness, hyper-pigmentation, and dark spots without drying you out. Paired with a good moisturizer, InstaNatural serum is a perfect products to get you on an easy ~serum journey~.

    Promising review: "I've tried multiple vitamin C serums, but this one is by far my favorite. The smell is lovely and it goes on very light. My skin has been looking brighter and clearer since using this. I also love that the bottle is protected from light. I purchased another serum product where you could tell the product went bad as the smell changed. I researched later and learned that proper storage for vitamin C serum must be in bottles that block out the light, as that retains all the qualities of the minerals and vitamins in the product. I am purchasing this again for the second time now. Highly recommend!" —Serena

    Get it form Amazon for $17.97.

    2. Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner invigorates and cleanses while also reducing redness, dullness, and breakouts. It will also make you smell like a fresh bouquet of roses, but at less than $10 is much cheaper than the real thing (and more helpful, too!).

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "I have been using this twice a day for about a month now. After I cleanse my face, I use a cotton round and apply it all over my face and neck. I noticed reduction in redness and spots within two weeks! Just last night my boyfriend asked 'Did you already take your makeup off?' I had just cleansed my face and applied my Thayer's. When I told him so, he said 'You look like you’re still wearing your makeup!' As someone who has always had some issues with acne and uneven skin tone, the reduction in redness is a godsend! Definitely worth the cost to try it if you’re even slightly intrigued by this product’s abilities." —Ashley

    Get it from Amazon for $8.00+ (available in three scents).

    Check out "This Highly Rated Witch Hazel Toner Is The Best Skin Care Product Under $10" for more info on why we can't get enough of this stuff.

    3. Lush's Breath of Fresh Air Toner lives up to its name and keeps your skin feeling rejuvenated and just...fresh! I've been using this product for years and find its rose, aloe, and rosemary formula extremely calming, gentle, and effective.

    Rachel Dunkel / Via BuzzFeed

    This product in vegan and cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I have always had combination skin with a very uneven complexion, until I started using this toner. It has completely changed my skin! I no longer have red blotchy cheeks and a shiny T-zone. Now my skin has a nice even color with no dry/oily areas. I don't even know if a qualify as 'combination skin' anymore — is there such thing as 'perfect skin?' I feel like a whole new person!" —Alex in Wonderland

    Get it from Lush for $10.95+ (available in two sizes).

    4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is lauded by reviewers with sensitive skin, thanks to its gentle, fragrance-free formula. It also comes in an enormous 19-ounce tub, meaning your fave new moisture source will last basically until the end of time.

    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!" —Tanner steveson

    Get it from Amazon for $18.99.

    5. Sephora's Brightening Eye Cream utilizes hyaluronic acid to revive under eyes and make those peepers look wide awake. Eye creams usually cost an exorbitant amount of money, so this is a great one to try before you go full Mr. Moneybags.


    This cream is phthalate-free, paraben-free, and vegan!

    Promising review: "I’ve been using it for a month or so now and gotta say it’s worked exactly for what I need. It keeps my eyes hydrated and helps brighten my under eyes. Overall, if you’re looking to start getting into eye creams, try it —it’s good price and perfect to start out with. I’ll be buying it again!" —Lenababexoxo

    Get it from Sephora for $16.

    6. The Avarelle pimple patch *sticks* it to your breakouts using tea tree oil, calendula oil and cica. It's simple pimple math: go to bed +1 sticker and wake up with -1 whitehead. You can definitely handle that!,

    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 3 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. The packaging is also ideal because it allows you to conveniently and easily peel the stickers off without stretching them out or folding them back on themselves. Do yourself and your complexion, huge favor and have these on hand for a stubborn zit when you really need help. Make sure you apply them to completely clean and dry skin." —Caitlyn

    Get a 40-pack from Amazon for $8.50.

    7. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water gently cleanses *and* removes makeup, making your nighttime routine so much faster. A good skincare routine HAS to start with a makeup-free face, and this will absolutely get you there.

    I've tried some fancier combo makeup removers/cleansers, and this one is just better! It works for all skin types and is paraben-, fragrance-, sulfate-, and silicone-free.

    Promising review: "Holy grail of makeup remover! This stuff is ahh-mazing! Your dry skin will be no more. I have dry skin that it exacerbated by the dry, hot Texas summers and the cold, windy winters. Constant use of makeup wipes make my face dry and I don't like the feel of my skin after using them. Lately, I have been in love with liquid lipsticks. The use of the micellar water cuts my makeup removal time in half. My skin feels soft and my lips are kissable! You won't regret this purchase!" —Gr84lmom

    Get it from Amazon for $6.74.

    Check out a BuzzFeeder's full review and see why it won best makeup remover in the lowest price category on BuzzFeed Reviews!

    8. bareMinerals Poreless Clay Cleanser gets your skin feeling fully cleansed while still keeping it hydrated. If you're only down for a one step routine, this should be your go-to. I have it and love it for when I want to feel fresh without much fuss.

    Rachel Dunkel / Via BuzzFeed

    Most cleansers are too something for me: too exfoliating, too drying, too sticky. This one strikes the perfect balance. It fully cleanses without stripping your skin and lathers into a creamy foam that just feels great. TL;DR, I love it! It's paraben-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan.

    Promising review: "I've tried many cleansers over the years and can honestly say that this is one of the best. I am 48 with normal skin. This cleanser feels nice and leaves my skin bright and soft and CLEAN — not dry, not filmy. It leaves my skin looking good enough to go out without any makeup. And, yes, my pores are significantly smaller. I love this cleanser!" —KathyK71

    Get it from bareMinerals for $22.

    9. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser fights acne with vigor but is gentle enough to use twice a day. The medicated formula targets problem areas and dramatically reduces excess surface oil, meaning it's both treating your current acne and actively preventing future acne. A good place to start if you want to see what issues can be resolved just with specialized cleansing.

    This cleanser is oil-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergy tested, and dermatologist tested.

    Promising review: "When I was about 21, I switched to a birth control implant, and that thing wreaked havoc on my entire life. I suddenly had horrible cystic acne. Not only did it make me self-conscious and uncomfortable, but it was actually so painful — laying on my pillow hurt my face! I tried every skincare line on the market for about three years with no, or very little, results. I tried essential oils, raw honey, all-natural soaps and salves, but nothing helped. Finally, I found La Roche-Posay's skincare products. Within four days, the inflammation decreased, the redness was fading, and my skin felt less dry. By two weeks, my skin was practically clear! I have been using this product for about five years now and I haven't had a single outbreak, EXCEPT for the time I wanted to try a different product to save money. Huge mistake — one I will not make again. I get compliments on my skin regularly, and I feel confident not wearing makeup. Give this system a chance!" —LadyHawke

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    10. Nivea Crème delivers some serious, lasting moisture to the face and body, relieving uncomfortable cracking and dryness. If you're searching for an all-in-one solution for dryness emergencies, look no further than this tin.,

    Promising review: "I was under the impression that cremes like Nivea are extremely oily and sticky. But dude, I love this. I was in Philadelphia and it was really cold there, so my skin ended up getting extremely dry. I stayed with a friend who had this, and I tried it out because I couldn't find any other moisturizer​ in her bathroom. And boy oh boy, my skin was rejuvenated after just one use. Like, I am not kidding — my skin immediately felt super hydrated and moisturized, almost like the moisture had reached to the deepest of layers my face! The immediate effect is slightly sticky, but just give it some time to absorb. Please give it a try, you won't regret it." —A. K. Singh

    Get it form Amazon for $7.99.

    11. Clinique's three-step skincare regimen is a classic and comes with a mild facial soap, clarifying lotion, and moisturizing gel. This is a great option for people new to skincare, as it has everything you need to get started and achieve a healthy glow!


    I remember using my mom's Clinique kit as a teenager. I loved it so much. It made me feel like a grown up, and I really could tell it made a positive difference in my skin.

    Promising review: "A couple of months ago I was in a crisis, my skin was breaking out and I had no idea what to do. It seemed to be all over my face and nothing was really working. So I decided to haul it over to my nearest Sephora to find a solution. The lady there recommended this kit because it set a routine for my skin and would really help with the oiliness I usually have. She was right! I loved it so much I ended up buying the full set and use it twice a day every day and can tell a difference! I love it and would recommend it to anyone who has oily/breakout prone skin." —MaryBBenson

    Get the oily combination mini set from Sephora for $28.

    The mini set is also available in formulas for oily skin and dry combination skin.

    12. Mario Badescu facial sprays are perfect for anyone who wants to waltz into their new life of skincare through a cloud of refreshing mist. The aloe, cucumber, and green tea mist invigorates skin, and the aloe, herbs, and rosewater mist hydrates. Ahhhh, my skin feels better just writing that.

    Promising review: "I've been buying Mario Badescu products for over a decade. They are top of the line and if they claim their product does it, you can guarantee it does what it says! I use the cucumber spray on my yoga clients as a refreshing mist while practicing outdoors. My clients always ask where I got this spray. It’d be a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer." —Chrystal

    Get them from Amazon for $14.

    13. Radha Rosehip Oil multitasks by moisturizing dry skin, reducing the appearance of acne scars, and even assisting in the healthy growth of hair and nails. What CAN'T this glorious oil achieve?

    Promising review: "This is LIFE-CHANGING! I'm 33 and have had dry skin my entire life. I decided to try this because the price was reasonable and the reviews were great. I was NOT disappointed. I cleaned my face the first night, applied a thick layer of rosehip oil, and went to bed. Eight hours later, I woke up to a new face. I have used this oil every night for about five weeks and it has completely changed my skin. My mom saw me one morning and remarked that my skin looked like it did when I was eight! I also love that you get a large quantity of oil for a super affordable price, and a little bit goes a long way. For the amount you get, it's SUCH a bargain." —TuffLuckCowgirl

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    14. Bye Bye Blemish Acne Treatment Drying Lotion reports for duty ready to take care of any surprise breakouts with just a drop. Just dab a little bit on with a cotton swab, and it'll take care of the rest!

    Promising review: "Literally my favorite product. I know so many people who pay triple the price for 'higher-quality' brands that have this exact same drying lotion. It does dry out skin so I wouldn't recommend using every single night, but it is great to use during flare ups and also before acne breaks the surface. I see significant results every morning when I wake up." —Olivia

    Get it from Amazon for $9.36.

    15. Aztec Secret Face Mask has vacuumed out almost every pore across the universe. Whether you use it for spot treatments or as a whole mask, it will help smooth skin, reduce the appearance of pores, and even take a shot at cystic acne! If you're looking for THE mask to try, this is it.,

    For best results, mix the clay with apple cider vinegar according to the directions.

    Promising review: "The best clay mask out there. Every member of my family fell in love after trying it once. It will get really stiff and will pull blood to the surface, which is good because it promotes increased blood circulation to the surface of your face which in turn renews your skin cells faster. Due to this reason, you should expect to have slightly red face after use. Best used at night, or during a day where you will stay home for a couple hours." —Latifa Sharker

    Get it from Amazon for $12.95.

    16. St. Ives Renewing Collagen and Elastin moisturizer conditions skin and uses safflower seed oil to get you looking bright and fresh-faced. It's also dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic, meaning it *won't* clog your precious pores. Just what you've been searching for!


    ^Look at that absolute GLOW!

    Promising review: "I got this on a whim when I saw other great reviews. I just want a good moisturizer, because it’s winter in western Michigan and I’m hella dry. Before this I used a general moisturizer with salicylic acid to ward off my T-zone acne, but I always had some kind of blemish anyway. Since I started this I have not had a single blemish and my skin has been SO soft and clear. I was afraid to try this because it’s a huge tub and I didn’t want to waste it. Honestly, I will never use ANY OTHER moisturizer again. A little goes a long way and it has a clean, subtle scent." —Kitty G

    Get it from Amazon for $4.33.

    17. Eucerin Sensitive Skin Redness Relief Soothing Night Creme calms angry redness using licorice root, even when it's caused by rosacea. Hmmm I was ready to banish licorice from the planet for tasting awful, but now that I know it can help your skin? It can stay.

    Promising review: "I had what I would self-diagnose as rosacea. It started after I had my third child nine months ago. I had red huge bumps on my cheeks, and I always looked like some one had slapped me. I've been using this cream for about three weeks now and my skin is completely back to normal for the most part. I'm super happy because I would be embarrassed to go anywhere without makeup on. I would always get asked if something was wrong or if I was sick. I have a small amount of redness left, but it's fading. I use this every single night before bed. My hope is that it it will continue to last even when I'm done using this jar." —Erica Holizna

    Get it from Amazon for $9.92.

    18. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum delivers high-quality skin care at a shockingly affordable price. Dab a little on before your moisturizer and glow baby glow!

    Megan Paolone / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "My sensitive, rosacea-breakout-prone skin has been drinking this stuff right up. I put it on at night post-toner and pre-moisturizer, and in the morning before my moisturizer and under BB cream. I don’t think my skin has ever felt smoother in the morning after I wake up than when I use it." —Megan Paolone

    Get it from The Ordinary for $6.80.

    Read a BuzzFeeder's full review for a full report (spoiler alert, it's ~glowing~).

    19. Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb blows most other moisturizers out of the ~water~ with it's refreshing gel formula, long-term effect, and all around amazing feel. It's a little expensive for a "beginner" product, but it's the skin equivalent of drinking a ton of H2O before bed to avoid a hangover after a night out — I personally could not recommend it more highly!

    Kayla Suazo / BuzzFeed, Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

    The moisturizer works for all skin types and is oil-, phthalate-, paraben-, and sulfate-free.

    Aqua Bomb moisturizer is easily my desert island skincare product. Although I have dry-leaning combination skin, I hate most moisturizers because creamy formulas feel heavy and just yucky to me, especially under makeup. Aqua Bomb's gel-like consistency absorbs like a dream. It's soothing to stressed out skin in the winter and cooling through the heat of summer. I recommend it to friends of all skin types because it gives your skin that bouncy hydration it craves without feeling oily in the slightest. I've put it on every night and most mornings for years and have no plans of stopping anytime soon!

    Get it from Sephora for $22+ (available in three sizes).

    20. Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream employs chamomile, aloe, and soap bark to gently calm your skin like a good friend. You're a real pal, Burt.

    This cleanser is paraben-, phthalate-, and petrolatum-free. Heads up that this product is only available for Amazon Prime members.

    Promising review: "I have been suffering from a mild case of perioral dermatitis for some time now and have tried all kinds of face washes, moisturizers, etc. I am pregnant with my second child now and every morning I have been waking up with horrible red patches that burn if I put anything on them, even tinted moisturizer. I finally came across this amazing face wash which is free of parabens and silicones, and after a week of using it my face is like completely clear! All the red patches are gone and my face looks so vibrant and fresh! I love how this face wash smells and tingles after I used it. I'm soooo, sooo happy I finally found something that works!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $6.69.

    21. Healing Solutions Tea Tree Essential Oil combats rosacea, redness, discoloration, and breakouts one powerful application at a time. Use it as a spot treatment wherever you need to show any kind of irritation who's boss.

    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." —Cliente de Amazon

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99 (originally $19.99).

    22. Mikacare's rose quartz roller and gua sha set will make you feel like a real pro with just a few massaging rolls said to help reduce puffiness and dark circles, improve circulation, and even skin tone. Try putting these products in the fridge before use for maximum skin-soothing pleasure.

    Promising review: "I LOVE this product. I keep it in the fridge for cooling and then use it to soothe my skin after applying serum to my face. The serum seems to soak in better. It reduced puffiness under eyes, helps with sinus issues, and made my skin glow! This will be part of my daily routine." —h48371d

    Get them from Amazon for $22.96+.

    If you're feeling skeptical about rollers, head to "Turns Out, Jade Rollers Are Pretty Legit" for a jade roller review from a BuzzFeed writer and former-skeptic herself.

    Best of luck on your skincare journey, everyone!


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

    Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

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    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

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