We all have those days where unwinding and showing our skin some much-needed TLC are the only tasks on the docket. But some treatments we reach for often miss the mark when it comes to delivering standout results and improving our skin. Why not upgrade your regimen with acid-powered picks that are sure to deliver every time you use them, whether you’re lounging on the couch or at work? Here, some of our favorites that don’t disappoint.
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SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense ($98)
Powerful enough to target and delete dark spots and discoloration but gentle enough for daily wear, this multiphase serum keeps 3-percent tranexamic acid (a first-ever for a L’Oréal product), 1-percent kojic acid and 5-percent niacinamide in its arsenal to pack a punch in the war against hyperpigmentation (and even melasma).
Twenty percent THD ascorbate—it’s 50 times more powerful than your traditional vitamin C—makes this lightly-scented lotion-serum powerful enough to treat everything from dullness, uneven tone, fine lines, wrinkles and slack skin with results apparent in as little as seven days.
Omorovicza Acid Fix ($115)
Glycolic acid for illuminating and smoothing, salicylic acid for warding off breakouts, lactic acid for nonirritating exfoliation and glowing skin—this serum has all the acids you need to blur wrinkles, bust breakouts and boost brightness.
For a serious dose of radiance, swipe on these powerful vitamin C–, salicylic, lactic and glycolic acid–infused pads that tighten pores, exfoliate and reduces the appearance of age spots. The result: a natural glow you’ll want to show off.
The latest addition to the skin-refining Alpha Beta line—if you haven’t tried the Universal Daily Peel, aka the gold standard of at-home peels, now’s the time—this waterlight, oil-free hydrator packs in seven alpha-beta acids—glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, mandelic, tartatic and salicylic—for the same brightening, smoothing result with a plumping, nourishing bonus.
Think of this cooling gel mask as you would an under-eye patch for your entire face. Perfect before an event or a night out, fragmented hyaluronic acid powers the fresh mask that reboots skin’s luminosity and hydration in just 10 minutes for an instant plumping effect wherever you apply it.
Exfoliating ingredients including glycolic and citric acids perfectly balance out nourishing essential oils. Shake the bottle, then add a few drops to your palms before pressing onto your skin (or use a cotton pad).
The Ordinary Buffet ($15)
Like the name suggests, this all-in-one serum includes a variety of different skin-bettering ingredients—multiple hyaluronic acid complexes, 11 amino acids, bio-derivatives and a bevy of peptides—to treat multiple signs of skin aging, like fine lines, lack of firmness and uneven tone, in one lightweight step.
Unlike many clay masks, this one detoxifies the skin as it douses it with hydration via plumping hyaluronic acid, Okinawa sea silt and T3 oil as seaweed firms and tightens pores for a Japanese take on an at-home facial you’ll keep coming back to.
Ideal for skin types that don’t react well to rich formulas, this light-as-air liquid serum harnesses the anti-aging power of plant collagen, as well as vegan amino acids—each bottle contains around 13,000 microalgae oil beads, omegas 3, 6 and 9, and an all-natural source of vitamin E—for a younger, brighter-looking glow without any stickiness.
Quick to absorb into the skin for moisture when you need it, this two-in-one cream works on the eyes and lips to lessen the appearance of stubborn lines in both areas. You’ll notice less under-eye bags, a smoother feel and an all-around more plumped appearance.
Packing in no-joke ingredients that truly better skin, this luxe glass bottle is so much more than meets the eye. Caudalie’s signature grapewater soothes and moisturizes, white peony extract evens out irregular skin tone and glycolic acid exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion—all in a lightweight essence that penetrates skin almost instantly to prep it for what comes next (which is hopefully the brand’s cult-favorite Radiance Serum, which is proven to be twice as effective when paired with the essence).
M-61 PowerGlow Eye Cream ($78)
Tapping into the power of the brand’s best-selling PowerGlow Peel, glycolic acid, vitamin K bilberry and papaya work to gently reduce the look of fine lines and under-eye circles in this do-it-all cream, while curbing dry patches and uneven tone that draw attention to the area.
Five minutes is all it takes for this botanical-based acid peel to work its magic on even the dullest, problematic skin types. Saturate a cotton pad with the waterlight liquid, swipe it across your face and wait for your smoothest skin to be revealed. You’ll wish this stuff came in a gallon size, trust me.
Patented ECM9, a North-African-sourced botanical ingredient that has been shown to block MMP9 enzymes (these are largely responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin), is at the root of this serum (along with the rest of the three-piece collection), which delivers a high dose of active ingredients, including ECM9, into skin with every use to dramatically reverse aging and prevent further damage at the source before it occurs. It sounds complicated, but the results are simple.
Taking a 360-degree approach to eye aging, this serum takes even your lids and lashes into account when turning back the hands of time. Panthenol moisturizes skin and nourishes lashes for longer, younger-looking eyes as three types of hyaluronic acid and oat-derived sugars smooth and “lift” the area for a smoother, younger appearance almost instantly.
Vitamin C has long been a skin care must, but many formulas spiked with the vitamin lose their potency once they’re opened as the acid degrades with too much light and/or air exposure. These single-use capsules keep the vitamin as potent as possible, blocking exposure to both of these elements until you’re ready to use it. The result: maximum benefits with each use and zero wasted money. Who doesn’t want that?
HydroPeptide Nimni Cream ($220)
Developed by geneticists, this sweet-smelling, quick-to-absorb hydrator is brimming with amino acids, time-release retinol and collagen-supporting antioxidants to step in where the environment and inevitable aging have negatively affected skin-cell performance and health to keep them looking plump and acting young.
Dark circles don’t stand a chance against this powerful eye gel that’s chock-full of hyaluronic acid (the brand’s secret weapon, HA³, combining three different sizes of hyaluronic acid), yeast and plankton extracts, white lupine and alfalfa to delete darkness, plump fine lines and combat under-eye puffiness fast.
What if I told you tackling dark spots, discoloration and uneven skin tone could all happen before you even touch your serum stash? This organic essence (press it into skin with your palms) bottles peptides and antioxidant-rich organic fruit acid complexes to better skin, and is designed to be used after cleansing and before any cream-based topical treatments. Magic.
If you’re going to pick one product to apply in the middle of a rushed morning (trust me, we’ve been there), make it this one. Containing brightening vitamin C, protective zinc and titanium dioxide and SPF 30, plus hyaluronic acid to hydrate and help reduce the appearance of aging, one pump of this multitasking maven truly does all the work for you.