Skip To Content

    26 Products That I, An Acne-Prone And Skincare-Obsessed Gal, Deem Worthy Of Holy Grail Status

    If you need some skincare inspiration, you've come to the right place!

    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.

    Hi, I'm Valeza, and I'm obsessed with skincare. I had pretty bad acne during my "not a girl, not yet a woman" years and while it's calmed down a lot by now, it left me with some textural issues, scarring, and sensitivity that I strive to improve.

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    This is my skincare cabinet – as you can see, it's... a lot, and there are plenty of other beauty bits around the house. Not everything's included in this list, so trust me when I say, I'm very selective with what I consider worthy of ~holy grail~ status.

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I've tried and tested these products myself over the last ten years or so, and while I know more than anybody that each person's skin concerns are unique, these products helped me so they might be worth a try if you're looking for something new!

    1. Dots for Spots

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    While my acne is mostly under control these days (thank you maturity), I still have hormone and stress-related breakouts – and boy, was 2020 a stressful year! These lil' acne patches have been my saving grace. They work by creating a protective seal over the spot to prevent bacteria (and picky fingers) from getting in, whilst using hydrocolloid technology to create the ideal environment for the spot to heal underneath. The translucent finish also doubles up as a bit of extra coverage, so I don't feel the need to add any makeup if I’m popping out.

    Price: £5.99 for 24 patches.

    2. Simple Moisturising Facial Wash

    Amazon / Via, Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    This is probably the longest-standing product in my skincare regime! I started using the affordable and effective cleanser at the beginning of uni and never looked back. Now, it does give that slightly 'tight' feeling after using it (which I counteract by applying moisturising serums and oils as soon as my skin is dry) so I wouldn't recommend this if your skin is super dry! But it’s the only product that doesn't break me out and is fully effective at removing all of my makeup (even waterproof mascara) while remaining gentle enough to use around my eyes.

    Price: £4.40

    3. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

    Cult Beauty

    I use this at night before any serums, treatments, or oils. I started using it at the beginning of lockdown since I wasn't taking off makeup at the end of the day but still wanted a gentle cleanse before applying my nighttime skincare. It has a really gentle formula with a natural, sort of 'cucumber-y' scent that’s ideal for my sensitive skin.

    Price: £11.50 for 50ml.

    4. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser


    This is the last of the cleansers, I promise! I use this one in the morning to wash off any lingering skincare products from the night before. The pump mechanism is quick and easy to use in the shower and the gentle formula helps my skin to feel more ~awake~.

    Price: £15.00 for 177ml.

    5. PIXI Glow Tonic


    I use this before moisturising if I feel like my skin needs a lil' extra glowy boost in the morning. With glycolic acid as its hero ingredient, this toner really packs a punch – so I had to build up my tolerance to the chemical exfoliant slowly, starting with once a week and progressing to three times a week or so. It works by removing oils, dirt, and the topmost layer of dead skin to reveal smooth glowing skin underneath! Using this regularly has really helped to improve my skin's overall texture and it also creates a fab base for makeup.

    Price: £10.00 for 100ml.

    6. Sweet almond oil

    Amazon / Via

    IMO, all high-quality natural cold-pressed sweet almond oils are equally amazing for sensitive skin. I'd recommend any, but this Naissance one that I've been using for years is the best value for money. I've decanted mine into a Neal's Yard Remedies pump bottle for ease of use. My sensitive, acne-prone skin loves the texture of this oil, and the simplicity of it as a one-ingredient moisturiser works well with all the serums and masks I like to use before bed. Oh, it also reduces the appearance of dark under eye circles, like, a lot.

    Price: £5.99 for 250ml.

    7. Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    Unlike almond oils, not all tinted moisturisers with SPF were created equal! This lightweight cream has what I can only describe as a skin-like finish – neither mattifying nor greasy – that looks and feels really natural. Just an FYI, it does have a slight tint to it which creates a flattering blurred effect on me, but (since it unfortunately only comes in one shade) may be too light for medium to deep skin tones.

    Price: £20.00 for 40ml.

    8. L'Oréal Pure Riche shampoo

    Amazon / Via, Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    Now I know what you’re thinking – “this product technically falls under haircare!” I hear you proclaim. But when I developed extremely dry and itchy skin at the back of my neck, switching to a sulphate-free shampoo made a world of difference. I’ve been using this shampoo for a few years now and alongside my scalp, it keeps my hair feeling nourished and healthy, whether it's styled straight or naturally wavy.

    Price: £6.00

    9. Revitale Salicylic Acid Scrub Soap

    Amazon / Via

    This soap was so highly rated that I thought I’d give it a try myself, and I’m so glad I did! Soaps tend to dry out the skin on my face too much so I only use this on my back. I have occasional breakouts of bacne which honestly used to leave me feeling helpless, as it’s hard to see and reach my back to apply a targeted spot treatment! I use this in place of my regular soap whenever I break out, and the spots are usually gone within a few days.

    Price: £5.85

    10. PurOrganica Hyaluronic Acid Serum

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I use this subtle-yet-effective serum in the morning. Although it looks and feels like water, it makes me look about 300% more awake as soon as I’ve applied it. I bought this at the start of lockdown and trust me when I say – the skin-plumping effect was needed. I’m still not even halfway through the bottle so I think it’s safe to say you get a LOT of product for your money.

    Price: £12.95 for 60ml.

    11. Simple Micellar Cleansing Wipes

    Amazon / Via

    These are hands down my favourite face wipes ever. They’re saturated with micellar water, making them gentle and effective at removing makeup and freshening up throughout the day. They also don’t leave a greasy or *squeaky* finish like some other wipes do! I also find it's more cost-effective to buy them in bulk.

    Price: £7.92 for three packs.

    12. Jade roller and Gua Sha massage tool

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I try to use this jade roller set to massage my face and neck as often as I can. I use it at the end of my evening skincare routine to work all the products properly into my skin. The tools are made from 100% natural jade stone, which stays cool to the touch and has a deeply soothing effect. Working in strokes towards the ears helps to promote healthy blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, which in turn improves the skin’s texture, healing, and overall radiance. If you’re wondering, the under eye masks I’m using are these ones that are infused with collagen and *real* 24k gold. I love them a lot, and using them makes for the bougiest of pamper experiences!

    Price: £10.99 for the jade roller and Gua Sha set, and £5.27 for 30 gold eye masks.

    13. Éclat vitamin C serum

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I’ve tried numerous vitamin C serums over the years and this one definitely stands out. I use it most nights after cleansing and before moisturising – it gives my skin an extra boost of hydration and has helped to significantly reduce my acne scarring over time! It’s also very gentle on the skin, so I make sure to use it after facials and treatments.

    Price: £6.87 for 30ml.

    14. NIP+FAB Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum

    Amazon / Via

    Another old-but-gold product, I’ve been using this NIP+FAB serum for years! I alternate between this and the vitamin C one – I love them both equally, but the Dragon’s Blood probably offers a *smidge* more hydration for when I feel my skin is looking a bit dull.

    Price: £10.95 for 50ml.

    15. Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

    Cult Beauty

    Once I hit my mid twenties I realised it was time to start using a ~proper~ eye cream. I like the thick consistency of this one as it doesn’t slip and slide all over my face, but feels like more of a *targeted* treatment. I rub a small amount between my ring fingers and then tap it in. Aside from making me feel like a beauty influencer, this technique also means I don’t drag the delicate skin around too much, which can be damaging over time.

    Price: £25.90 for a full-sized eye cream, a mini cleanser, and mini moisturiser (this actually works out as cheaper than buying the eye cream alone!)

    16. Sun Prive Australian Pink Clay Mask

    Amazon / Via

    This is my favourite calming clay mask – I love using it after an extraction facial as it helps to close the pores without irritating my skin. The Australian pink clay helps to calm breakouts, and the consistency is actually far less drying than other clay masks I’ve used in the past.

    Price: £12.99

    17. Blackhead extraction tools

    Amazon / Via

    Speaking of extraction facials, I do one at home every week. It has become a part of my self-care Sunday routine, and consists of steaming my face for around ten minutes (I use the highly-sophisticated ‘bowl of hot water and towel over the head’ method) and then removing any blackheads with these tools. Apologies for the graphic description here, but they really do scoop out any gunk in the most intensely satisfying way. My skin feels instantly smoother and the appearance of my pores is minimised with regular use.

    Price: £6.79 for the six-piece set.

    18. Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Lotion

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    As part of my facial, I use this cleansing solution on a cotton pad to wipe the ~gunk~ off the lil' blackhead tools between uses. I then apply some to a cotton pad to wipe my face for a final deep clean. It does contain alcohol, so be sure to bear this in mind if you have extremely dry skin. I personally use it sparingly – mostly to keep any breakout areas clean and on skincare tools before and during use.

    Price: £2.00 for 200ml.

    19. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I first tried this when my skin had a wild breakout that nothing else would tame. The powder is mixed with apple cider vinegar (this raw unfiltered one is great) to create a paste which you then paint on like a regular face mask. Using metal tools to mix it reduces the ionic effect, so I bought this handy plastic mask mixing set to go with it. The extra effort it takes to make is worth it for me – it calms my breakouts like no other, and my skin always feels more *alive* and super soft afterwards.

    Price: £13.85 for the clay mask, £12.76 for the apple cider vinegar, and £8.49 for the eight-piece mixing set.

    20. Garnier Moisture Bomb Night-Time Sheet Mask Collection

    Amazon / Via

    No evening pamper sesh is complete for me without these deeply hydrating sheet masks. They feel so soothing on my skin, and are saturated with a nourishing serum that helps the skin to heal overnight. The set also includes cooling eye masks that really help to soothe screen-induced headaches that have become all-too common since working from home.

    Price: £8.99 for two face masks and three eye masks.

    21. GLAMGLOW Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I love to use this mask while travelling, so admittedly it hasn’t been in use for a while *sob*. I like to apply a thick layer over my face on long-haul flights (or any time my skin needs a proper moisture boost!). I leave it on for between 15 minutes to one hour before wiping off any excess with a cotton pad. It creates a nourishing barrier on the skin which blocks out the drying effects of the airplane air and locks in all the much-needed moisture. It smells delicious, and although GLAMGLOW it’s a bit on the pricier side, the travel size is reasonably affordable and has actually lasted me ages.

    Price: £16.00 for 15g.

    22. Piz Buin SPF30 Moisturising Sun Lipstick

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I don’t like many lip balms as they tend to feel super moisturising for about half an hour, then dry my lips out even worse than before! This balm has a nourishing finish that actually LASTS. It also has the added bonus of an SPF30, which prevents painful sunburn in the summer months.

    Price: £4.38

    23. Angled dry body brush

    Valeza Bakolli / Via BuzzFeed

    I’d heard of dry brushing as being a good way to promote blood circulation and lymphatic drainage in the body, so I decided to try it out and haven't looked back. As the name suggests, you’re supposed to use the brush on dry skin – I use it before showering while I wait for the water to heat up, working in quick, short strokes towards my heart. The long handle and angled head of this brush make it really convenient for reaching areas like my back and behind my legs. It really helps to ‘wake’ my body up, and my skin always feels super soft after I’ve used it.

    Price: £14.97

    24. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

    Amazon / Via

    I’m extremely picky with hand creams and I’ve stayed loyal to this one for years. It’s *just* the right balance of being deeply moisturising without feeling at all greasy on the palms, and the gentle scent is really soothing. I should also mention this stuff is extremely concentrated – you only need to use a small amount of product each time so the huge 150ml tube should last you for absolute ages!

    Price: £20.56 for 150ml.

    25. Sanctuary Spa Creamy Body Oil

    Amazon / Via

    First off, this smells divine! I also love the texture – it really does go on like a cream and sink in like an oil, offering that glowy sheen finish as a cherry on the top! Because of its rich consistency, I usually avoid my acne-prone back when applying this to my body, but it’s great everywhere else!

    Price: £8.00 for 250ml.

    26. ~Motivational~ water bottle

    Amazon / Via

    This is another sneaky non-skincare product so I popped it in last! This bottle has a large 900ml capacity, a convenient straw-like mouthpiece, and helpful markings to remind me to drink slower, and more regularly (which helps to avoid the whole 'peeing every five minutes' thing). I can’t stress enough the effect that drinking water regularly has had on my skin over the years. Before I started on my skincare ~journey~ about eight years ago, I would drink water only when I felt my body needed it (i.e. when my throat felt as dry as the Sahara). I’m convinced that motivating myself to drink at least two litres of water a day ever since has helped these products work with my skin more effectively, and it looks and feels far more hydrated and glowy as a result!

    Price: £10.95

    You, after trying these products out for yourself:

    Marie Claire