Skip To Content

    25 Skincare Products That Seem Too Good To Be True But Actually Work

    Seeing is believing, so we've got the before and after pics to prove it.

    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. The Tree of Life face serum set packs a powerful three-combo punch with a bottle of retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid serum. It's basically a full regimen that helps tackle dark spots and fine lines like its nobody's business, leaving your skin super even and smooth!

    Promising Review: "Every single spring, I get allergies and my skin breaks out. It doesn’t help that I have oily skin either. After using these for a month, my face is almost completely clear. I can still see some dark spots, but they have faded at least 90%. My pores look smaller, and my skin feels so smooth. I use all the products consistently with the exception of the retinol. It does burn my face a bit, so I only use it twice a week. I still have more than half the bottle of retinol left. I’m so happy with these products, I purchased them again." —Ilovebacon1127

    Get three bottles from Amazon for $19.95.

    2. This LilyAna Natural retinol cream moisturizer blends hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, green tea, shea butter, and jojoba oil. So that means it can leave your skin soft and ~glowy~ without the flaking or peeling skin some retinol creams cause!

    A reviewer's cheek and jaw have a lot of acne and dark spots but is much clearer, with the dark spots mostly faded, three months later

    Promising Review: "Amazing results! I have been using this for three weeks and have been asked multiple times if I've had a chemical peel because my skin looks so good. My skin tone has improved drastically, wrinkles have disappeared, texture is supple, skin almost glows, generally amazing results. I work construction and had sun spots and a permanent sunburned look, but all that has disappeared. One neighbor asked if I'd tell her who did my face lift 🤣. I use it once a day at night after a shower. There's no greasy feel, and it absorbs great. I love this product and will continue to use as a daily face and throat product." —Al

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    3. A gentle 2% BHA liquid exfoliator with salicylic acid encourages your skin to shed those dead skin cells, which can help unclog your pores, reduce fine lines, and even out your skin tone without being too harsh.

    A reviewer's forehead originally has small bumps and acne, but looks smooth and healthy after using the exfoliator

    Promising Review: "I have acne-prone skin that is combo-to-oily with large pores, and this stuff has truly been a life saver! Like this is literally witchcraft in a bottle and my new holy grail! Ditch your harsh scrubs and give this a go... your skin will thank you." —Philena

    Get a one-ounce bottle from Amazon for $10 (available in two sizes).

    4. This Ancient Greek Remedy organic oil is basically a catch-all product. Because sometimes, you just gotta keep it simple. It blends olive, almond, lavender, and grapeseed oil to hydrate your skin. Plus, it says it can calm irritation, heal acne, and reduce fine lines, stretch marks, and dark spots. (You can even use it on your hair!)

    I have this, and I'm obsessed. I use it on my face, body, and hair. It doesn't irritate my skin and actually soothes my legs (ya know, after shaving). It's also gotten rid of patches of dry skin. It's so hydrating — I don't use moisturizer on my face when I put this on. Even my hair looks way healthier when I put this on the ends. Also, it lasts! A little goes a long way.

    Promising Review: "I have combination skin on my face, my scalp gets dry, and I get mild eczema on my ankles, calves, arms and hands, AND my hair is oily at the root and dry on the ends. However, after using this product for three months, ALL of those problems are gone!!! I have clear and healthy skin on my face. No embarrassing flakes on my shoulders. No combination oily / dry skin anywhere. It smells GREAT. It's gentle and free of harmful chemicals and parabens. My hair is NOT oily, and the ends are nourished and healthy. It's safe to use on my children and my bf's daughter who has severe eczema. I could go on and on about this product. I really could. I wish there were more stars to give them. Everyone that uses this (at my house) raves about it as well. Try it out and I swear you will NOT be disappointed." —Crystle D

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    5. The vegan and cruelty-free Mighty Patch Original (as in, the hydrocolloid acne patches) flattens and shrinks your whiteheads — you don't even have to pop 'em! The patch blends into your skin and pulls the pus out in six hours. And it helps keep you from picking at your skin (you know you do).

    On the left side, a reviewer wears a Mighty Patch over a zit. On the right, the same reviewer's Mighty Patch has clearly absorbed the pus from the zit

    Promising Review: "I do not claim to understand the science behind this tiny miracles, but they have changed my life. I spent my workday looking forward to going home and putting one of these bad boys on my newly erupted Mt. Zit and the overnight results were shocking. Not only is it grossly satisfying, but it saved me several days of walking around with a bloody crater in my face because my previous method of dealing with unsightly blemishes was to pick, pick, pick." —Amazon Customer

    Get a pack of 36 patches from Amazon for $12.50 (available in two pack sizes).

    6. This fragrance- and gluten-free Vanicream moisturizer can calm that painful, dry, and irritated skin on your face and body (like eczema!!). Plus, it's dermatologist-tested and won't clog your pores.

    On the top, a reviewer's eyes have dry skin flaking above and below their eyes. on the bottom, the same reviewer has no sign of dry or flaking skin around their eyes

    It's formula does not include any dyes, fragrance, lanolin, parabens, fragrance-maskers, or formaldehyde.

    Promising Review: "I have struggled with very persistent eczema for years and this product has been a godsend. I have never had any irritation from this lotion and it has gone miles towards healing my rashes and open wounds. I have used this religiously for about two years now and I am never going back!" —Lauren B.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.17+ (available in two sizes).

    7. An oil- and soap-free La Roche Posay purifying foaming gel cleanser is designed for oily skin (looking at you, T-zone) and eliminates excess oil without drying you out. If you're sick of blotting, you'll love this!

    Promising Review: "This stuff WORKS. I have very oily, acne-prone skin and have tried all sorts of things with minimal success. I have been washing my face twice a day with this stuff for about two weeks now, and the difference is incredible! I haven't gotten any new large pimples, and everything I had has cleared up. When I first started washing my face with this, I would use it at night, and, in the morning, the sores on my face were way less red and inflamed than when I went to bed. Super impressive." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

    8. This three-step Vita C set (that's a cleanser, moisturizer, and serum) packs a punch with ingredients like vitamins A, C, and E, orange peels, green tea, and white lotus flowers! That means in three easy steps, you're helping 1) rejuvenate your dehydrated skin cells, 2) lessen hyperpigmentation, 3) brighten your skin, 4) minimize any fine lines, and 5) protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays. It doesn't get much easier than this!

    A Black reviewer shows their skin before using the set, which is duller and has some dark spots, compared to their skin after using the set, which is glowing and clearer
    Good Beauté

    Plus, Vita C is made by Good Beauté, the beauty company founded by Kimberly Hairston-Hicks — so, yes, they're Black- and woman-owned. They're also partnered with nonprofit Ivy Visions, Inc. and give $1 for every product sold to promote education for and empower Black girls!

    Promising Review: "From the almost immediate response to my customer service question with a phone call from THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY to the very fast shipping (she has got to have a hook-up at her local post office!), this has been an amazingly gratifying purchase and experience! AND I could see improvement in my skin’s texture and tone within five days! This is such a simple regimen but, it has been incredibly effective — luxuriously uncomplicated. I’ve been using other brands of vitamin C for the last three years, and I’ve not seen this level of efficacy in any other product I’ve used." —Victoria G

    Get the set from Good Beauté for $150 (you can also get each product separately: the cleanser for $30, the moisturizer for $65, and the serum for $55).

    9. These Neutralyze exfoliating pads use salicylic and manelic acids to fight angry acne and redness — helping to clear your skin and (maybe even more importantly) keep it that way! Time to kick the cystic acne, whiteheads, and blackheads to the curb.

    On the left, a reviewer has very bumpy, indented skin with acne. On the right, the reviewer has much more even skin, with fewer indentations and almost no bumps, with only slight acne

    Promising Review: "Neutralyze Exfoliating Pads have completely changed my skin. I had severe acne scars, as well as discoloration, in addition to chronic cystic acne. I started using the pads in March, and, within just three months, my skin is sooooo much better. I am so thankful to have found this product and can't recommend them enough. My sister has also been using them with amazing results. Here is a picture (above) of my skin before and after treatment. I am literally in tears thinking about how my skin used to look. If you have any sort of acne you need to try this." —P Brown

    Get it from Amazon for $18.95.

    10. This super affordable dermaroller (seriously, scroll to the price) with a storage case that will microneedle your skin, which can leave it ultra smooth and glowing! And, multiple reviewers say it's especially great for acne scars and indentations.,

    And make sure you sterilize between uses!!

    Promising Review: "I've been trying to heal from a really devastating outbreak of cystic acne, deep, dark, and lingering scars. The older I get, the longer my skin takes to heal, it's brutal. I bought this on a whim, and, goodness, it's awesome. I have wildly sensitive skin, and this hasn't aggravated it. I'm happy with my impulse buy, as it has noticeably sped up my healing process. Indentations are filling in, raised patches are flattening out, and dark spots are lightening up. Get after your self-care!" —Brittany Lynn Wolff

    Get it from Amazon for $19.96 (also available in a two pack).

    11. Some Solaroil nail and cuticle oil so you can finally grow out your nails without them cracking at the edges and peeling off, or worry about picking your cuticles til' they bleed.

    On the left, a reviewer's nails are peeled back into the nail bed and their cuticles are flaking. On the right, the reviewer's nails are healthy and grown with flat cuticles

    Promising Review: "HOLY GRAIL PRODUCT. All my life, I've had super weak and brittle nails that would instantly break the second they grew out a tiny bit. This oil has changed EVERYTHING!! I’m shocked. I noticed after about a week of nightly use that my nails are growing (fast) and not breaking." —K. Black

    Get it from Amazon for $8.50.

    12. This life-changing, cruelty-free Tend Skin solution that's made to tackle those seriously frustrating ingrown hairs and razor bumps (as if shaving's not a pain enough). Alls you gots to do is apply this after shaving (or before waxing or after electrolysis or laser hair removal) to help with skin irritation. And ofc, it's bikini area safe, too!

    On the left, a reviewer's arm pit has large and angry ingrown hairs. On the right, the reviewer's arm pit is smooth and clear, with zero ingrown hairs

    Promising Review: "This stuff is AMAZING. You would never believe it, but it works wonders. One of the worst parts of summer for me is razor burn and chafing/irritation, particularly at the beach when the hair follicles on my legs dry up from the saltwater. This stuff prevents ALL of that. No bumps, no pain, nothing. The best part? It doesn't matter when you put it on. Before you shave, after you shave, even when you're not shaving, going to the beach, getting back from the beach, etc. It just always works." —Claire

    Get a four-ounce bottle from Amazon for $14.79+ (available in three sizes).

    13. A fragrance-free and noncomedogenic CeraVe salicylic acid body cream for the rough and bumpy skin you just can't seem to get rid of! Because why should only your face get the good stuff? Your body has skin (and totally normal acne and bumps!), too.

    On the left, a reviewer's chest is red and splotchy from a psoriasis outbreak. On the right, the reviewer's chest is visibly calmer and less red

    Ok, but seriously, this cream is made of salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin D so that it exfoliates dead skin cells. Then, it moisturizes the fresh layer of skin so that you're getting some real hydration going! That makes it pretty dang good at calming psoriasis outbreaks, too (as seen above).

    Promising Review: "I get back acne, but it's also extremely dry, itchy, and my skin is very sensitive. This cream is amazing! It has reduced my back acne significantly while also being incredibly moisturizing. It also makes my skin so soft! Five stars!" —RosaRoe

    Get a 12-ounce bottle from Amazon for $19.83+ (also available in a 19-ounce bottle).

    14. This O'Keeffe's hand cream that's concentrated and made for dry or cracked hands — which we def all need w how much we've been washing our hands lately. It boosts the moisture in your hands, then creates a protective layer on your skin to keep the moisture locked in! Your hands will rejoice.

    Promising review: "Does this product need another 5-star review? Nope. But I had to. This is truly a miracle product!! I have the driest skin in the winter, to the point where I will look down at my hands and notice that they're bleeding from all the various cracks. This product made a major difference after just one use! Here I am weeks later and my hands have no cracks, look younger, and are no longer red." —P. Neuber

    Get it from Amazon for $7.29.

    15. This TruSkin Vitamin C serum (with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E) seriously helps brighten and firm your skin. It also has a plant-based formula, so you're getting aloe vera, witch hazel, and organic jojoba oil — without any synthetic color additives, fragrances, or stabilizers. Another cool bonus? Reviewers say that it helps clear up and prevent acne!

    On the left, a reviewer's cheek shows dark spots and acne that runs down to their jaw and chin. On the right, the reviewer's chin, jaw, and cheek are smoother and brighter, with the dark spots mostly faded

    Promising Review: "I’ve been struggling with acne for YEARS. I have very acne-prone skin. I get a new pimple almost every day, and it seemed like there was never a time I didn’t have a pimple on my face. Acne also leaves super dark blemishes/scars on my face. I’ve tried all different types of moisturizers and cleansers. Nothing worked. However, I bought this serum on a whim. Omgggg. Guys. Literally my face stopped flaring within three days. I was PIMPLE FREE FOR MORE THAN 48 hours (a new record). In the photo (above), the left side was day one of applying serum. As you can see, I had extremely dark blemishes and active pimples. The photo to the right shows my skin exactly two months later. Blemishes have faded DRASTICALLY, and I have no active breakouts. This hasn’t happened in years. I truly and honestly think it is due to this product. If you are hesitant, don’t be. BUY IT!" —Brandon

    Get a one-ounce bottle from Amazon for $19.99+ (also available in a two-ounce bottle).

    16. Some amazing, hypoallergenic Mizon collagen eye cream that helps improve skin elasticity so you can nourish the lovely skin around your eyes. The concentrated collagen works to keep your skin hydrated and radiant. It was also designed with sensitive eyes in mind!

    So, if your eyes are a bit on the sensitive side, this cream is free of benzophenone, ethanol, paraben, and artificial scents and colors.

    Promising Review: "Holy smokes. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at my under-eye bags/dark circles after applying this. I went around showing everyone in my family. I cannot rave enough about how wonderful this product is. It goes on smooth, feels very cool under the eye, and it isn't heavy at all. It evaporates really well on the skin and doesn't leave any greasy or sticky residue. This outdoes even some of the $50–$80 eye creams I have tried before. This is now my everyday eye cream. I'm done trying out new products." —Jolie Colin

    Get a 0.84-ounce jar from Amazon for $14.89 (also available in a 0.34-ounce jar).

    17. A Burt's Bees soap bark and chamomile cleansing cream washes away any dirt and excess oils that cling to your skin, since ya know, they're known to clog your pores and cause acne. Plus, it has menthol in it, so your face will feel oh-so-cool and fresh after ya wash it!

    On the left, a reviewer has cystic acne along their oily cheek and nose. On the right, the reviewer has clearer, less oily skin and hardly noticeable acne

    Promising Review: "This stuff is INCREDIBLE! The smell is wonderful and invigorating, and you can feel how deeply it cleans your skin without being harsh. I follow this up with a light moisturizer, and it is the perfect combo for my skin. Love love love it!" —SC.

    Get it from Amazon for $5.06.

    18. This nano-ionic facial steamer treats your face to an at-home ~spa~ day! The steam helps open your pores to remove toxins and let your products really penetrate yer skin (@acne). Plus, it comes with a five-piece stainless-steel skin kit.

    Promising Review: "I love love love this product! I went out completely on a limb when buying this product. I have heard some of the hype about face steamers, but I never thought I’d purchase one. I figured the steam from the shower was the same thing. Boy, was I wrong!! I am so glad that I purchased this product. I have had problematic skin for as long as I can remember, mostly hormonal breakouts. I rarely ever had clear skin. Since using this face steamer, I have seen a tremendous change in my skin. My face is no longer dry, it's always glowing, oh, and it’s amazing for using with serums!" —Leila Mitchell

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99.

    19. An allergy-tested, oil- and fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic La Roche Posay medicated gel cleanser uses 2% salicylic acid to deal with all that excess oil and target pesky blackheads and whiteheads.

    On the left, a reviewer has noticeable chin acne in April of 2018, with visible pores around their nose. On the right, the reviewer has no chin acne and brighter skin by June of 2019, with no noticeable pores.

    Promising Review: "Let me start by saying I have struggled with cystic acne for 10 years. I have seen countless doctors and tried everything, including spending thousands of dollars on skincare and medicine. This was recommended to my by my dermatologist and it has COMPLETELY HEALED MY SKIN. It has been about a year now and my skin is glowing and beautiful. Yes I get an occasional hormonal breakout but I never thought my skin would actually be clear and healthy! Give it a try, be patient, be diligent in using the products, and do ALL the steps. Cleanse, tone, treat, moisture, etc. I’ve never been happier and I still can’t believe the incredible success I’ve had." —Jennifer Mueller

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    20. This K-Beauty Seoul Ceuticals serum brightens your complexion by combining some mighty powerful doses of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Sun spots, scars, acne, and fine lines beware.

    On the left, a reviewer has redness and some acne scarring. On the right, the reviewer has brighter skin with much less redness and most of the dark spots have faded away

    Promising Review: "This by far is the best skincare-grade vitamin C I have used. My skin has a great natural glow. My skin tone is even, and the fine lines around my corner of the eye area are less noticeable. This product comes well-packaged and as a lovely light citrus smell. I use it morning and night with no sensitivities. I love this product and will definitely repurchase it." —Carmen

    Get it from Amazon for $14.44.

    21. A clinical strength 72% organic retinol serum rejuvenates your skin like no other! It's got 10% hyaluronic acid and some other fave ingredients (listed below). This powerhouse serum helps smooth your complexion, plump your skin, and reduce fine lines!

    On the left, a reviewer has blotchy redness and acne all over their face in August of 2018. On the right, a reviewer has mostly even skin with no redness or acne in November of 2018.

    Alrighty, ingredient time. This serum's got retinol, 10% hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and green tea in it, so your skin will be well taken care of! Plus, this is paraben and cruelty free.

    Promising Review: "My skin is so sensitive! I am 35 and have struggled with acne since I was a teen. I have been prescribed so many medications from the dermatologist. I had been using tretinoin, but it really dried my skin out. It was hard to wear makeup, because it would flake off. I decided to give this serum line a try and have been so impressed by the results. I have been using this for two months and my skin is beautiful. I get an occasional breakout, but it goes away quickly. My skin is so soft — no dryness at all! My blackheads have cleared up, too! I have had no adverse reactions and like I said, my skin is so sensitive. Give it a try!!!" —Amanda

    Get it from Amazon for $10.95.

    22. This bar of African black soap targets acne and eczema thanks to its original recipe that includes organic palm oil, vitamin E, coconut oil, and organic cocoa and shea butter — plus, it's rich in antioxidants!

    Promising review: "I started taking medication that breaks my skin out pretty badly. I have tried medicated acne products to eradicate this unwanted side effect to my oral medicines. At first they seemed to work; but I had to stick with them for several days in order to see results. The very first time I used this brand of black soap, I could immediately see and feel how clean my skin got. I was consistent with washing my face with this soap every day for the first two weeks but slacked off for the past two weeks; however, my skin is mostly clear of pimples. The dark spots are also lightening. My overall complexion has improved noticeably and I am grateful." —BajanMarge

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    23. Some organic Radha rosehip oil gives your skin a bunch of antioxidants and essential fatty acids! It helps treat fine lines and brighten your skin, hydrating it and calming it down, so your face looks smooth and radiant.

    On the left, a reviewer has a redness and acne all over their face. On the right, the reviewer has much calmer skin, with almost no redness and a more even complexion, and little acne

    Promising Review: "This oil is amazing!! It has evened out my skin tone, balanced my oily and dry patches, and cleared up my blemishes — all in only two weeks of use. This is the best my skin has ever looked, and even my friends and coworkers are noticing." —Alyssa

    Get it from Amazon for $13.95.

    Want more deets? Check out my coworker Kayla's rosehip oil write-up!

    24. A hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic Bio-Oil skincare oil helps repair any skin damage and prevent future scarring! It's got vitamin E, chamomile oil, and lavender oil, which could calm down inflammation and heal your skin.

    On the right, a reviewer has bumpy, cystic acne all over their chin and jawline that's purply red. On the right, the reviewer has clearer skin with a more even complexion and no redness

    Promising Review: "I swear by this product. It's very effective on discolored skin from scarring: a breakout ravaged the lower part of my face, and I was pretty sure it was going to leave hideous scarring behind. I bought this and started applying it when I started scabbing and still haven't stopped using it. Just check out my before and after really works." —twitch

    Get it from Amazon for $8.89.

    25. This Aveeno eczema therapy cream that's made with colloidal oatmeal and ceramides — a natural lipid in your skin — to relieve dry, itchy, and irritated skin (including redness!). And it's specifically meant to enhance and restore your skin's protective function to prevent dry skin.

    Specifically curious about eczema?? Check out these 1,040 five-star reviews that swear that this works on their eczema! P.S. It's allergy-tested and steroid- and fragrance-free!

    Promising Review: "I'm absolutely amazed at this stuff. I had a terrible allergic reaction and broke out with eczema all over my face (I have suffered with it for years, just never on my face). My eyes were completely swollen shut and red, and my face was peeling, in pain, inflamed, and DRY, DRY, DRY. I tried everything, and I mean everything. I ordered this and nearly instantly felt and saw results. These two pictures (above) are LESS THAN 24 HOURS APART. I've been using it now for three days and my face is 100% back to normal. I really like that this product is a cream versus a lotion, I feel like it helps soak in better and KEEPS the skin hydrated. I 100% recommend." —Kelsey Coultrip

    Get it from Amazon for $10.88.

    What's your favorite product?

    Tell us about your favorite product
    Your review may be featured in a post.
    Minimum 25 characters, 1500 characters left
    Upload up to 4 photos you took of the product and/or how you use it. (We love before & after photos!)
    View our photo guidelines with tips that increase your chance of getting featured.
    Max 10 MB. Accepted file types: .jpg, .jpeg, .png.

    Need A Shopping Buddy?

    Get great products - from pros in the fine art of buying stuff online - delivered to your inbox!
    Newsletter signup form