Hundreds of products come across our desks every month, but not all of them deliver on their claims or live up to the hype. (Not everything that goes viral on TikTok is a miracle worker.) This is our exclusive curation of the best-in-class skin-care products receiving rave reviews from our team and hitting shelves right now.
Ritual HyaCera Skin-Care Supplement ($54 for a 30-day supply)
I’ve been a fan of the brand for years: the Synbiotic+ gut health supplement won our 2023 Beauty Award, and I’ve recommended the Multivitamin and Prenatal Multivitamin to dozens of family members and friends. When speaking to brand CEO and founder Katerina Schneider a few months ago in relation to this launch (it was top-secret at the time), I was practically speechless after learning about the years of research and science that is packed into each of these tiny capsules—it’s mind-blowing.
Two clinically studied standouts are Ceratiq, a plant extract that helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and Hyabest, which is a low molecular weight hyaluronic acid that gives skin more moisture and a noticeable glow over time. “We designed HyaCera using moisture control bottle technology to protect the hygroscopic hyaluronic acid from absorbing water,” Schneider told me. “We also added a vanilla essence to the capsules to make the experience of taking it each day more enjoyable.” Consistency is key with any supplement, and Schneider says users of HyaCera will see results after 90 days of daily use.
YSE Beauty The Morning Cocktail Vitamin C Serum ($85)
Frustrated by dark spots? Three forms of stabilized vitamin C combined with azelaic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and squalane make this a serum a multitasking powerhouse. It brightens, smooths and evens skin tone, and the brand says it’s also suitable for sensitive skin.
“A vitamin C that doesn’t smell, doesn’t pill, sits so well under makeup without a sticky residue, and works? Literally my dream come true,” says founder and supermodel Molly Sims. “I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but let’s just say this is one drink that won’t ever give you a hangover.”
Elemis Pro-Collagen Glow Boost Exfoliator ($78)
If you love the spa-like scent of the brand’s beloved Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (our editors are big fans), you’ll love this physical exfoliator as the perfect complement. Elemis says it also contains “the same blend of nourishing oils and waxes,” but rather than remove makeup, it gets rid of dead skin cell buildup for a smoother feel and noticeable glow.
Instead of plastic microbeads (they were banned in rinse-off products in the U.S. in 2015), the formula uses spherical exfoliating cellulose beads sourced from spruce trees—they’re also gentle on the skin. In independent user trials on 54 people, 100 percent agreed that their skin texture appeared improved and makeup applied more effectively after four weeks of use; 98 percent agreed that their skin looked clearer.
FACTORFIVE Night Retinol Cream ($189)
“There are so many night creams on the market; however, at FACTORFIVE, we wanted to create one that isn’t available anywhere else and that delivers unparalleled results,” says John Aylworth, founder and CEO. “We’ve combined a high level of human stem cell growth factors with retinol to make the ultimate night cream that soothes, moisturizes and repairs skin while you sleep.”
The growth factors work at the cellular level in the skin to reduce signs of “inflamm-aging” (including collagen and elastin breakdown) while 0.25-percent retinol targets fine lines and wrinkles. But, it doesn’t dry out the skin, which is a big bonus. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, ahiflower oil moisturizes and meadowfoam oil keeps the skin’s natural oils in balance.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Bags ($40)
“As we age, our eyelid skin becomes thinner and facial compartments shift, creating bags and exacerbating dark circles,” says Westport, CT plastic surgeon Flora Levin, MD, an IT Cosmetics advisory board member. “To accommodate my patients who are not ready for surgery, I co-developed Bye Bye Under Eye Bags. It’s a rapid, noninvasive eye bag reducer that is clinically tested to depuff, tighten and smooth the look of skin around the eyes—it’s like a temporary under eye lift in a tube!”
I prefer to apply it in the morning on bare skin, but the brand says you can use it on top of makeup, too. If you’re applying it on top of eye cream, wait five minutes or so for that to fully absorb before applying this. Also, more is not better with this product—a pea-size amount under each eye is plenty—and tap it in versus rubbing.
Droplette 2 ($199)
One of our 2021 NewBeauty Innovation Award Winners has gotten a makeover. Meet Droplette 2, which features several key updates from the original: a sleeker design with a smaller charger for easy portability; enhanced connectivity to the app and expanded memory with built-in Bluetooth 5.0 technology; and a 10-volt pump for stronger delivery so the skin care goes even deeper. Also, the price has been reduced significantly.
If you’re not familiar with the device, it hovers over the skin, sending tiny micro droplets of misty serum 20 times deeper than traditional skin-care products can reach. There are formulas for everything from acne and dark spots to fine lines, and there’s also a new lip-plumper. “Through continued development based on research, testing and customer feedback, we’ve created an improved device that will appeal to a wide segment of beauty product users,” says CEO and cofounder Madhavi Gavini. “The connected device leads to noticeable, lasting results, and by reducing the price we’re able to welcome more users who want to invest in their skin.”
Kate Somerville Mega C 30% Vitamin C Brightening Facial ($72)
A clinical-grade brightening facial in a tube, this formula was created due to popular demand from clients at Kate’s Melrose Place skin clinic. The bright-yellow, creamy, wash-off mask contains 30-percent vitamin C to help balance an uneven skin tone while also boosting skin’s firmness.
You might think 30-percent waterless, concentrated ascorbic acid would be too harsh, but its been formulated using a stable-release delivery system that optimizes its absorption into the skin while keeping irritation to a minimum (though you may definitely feel a tingle). The addition of sea buckthorn oil, ceramides, bisabolol and ginger root lend barrier-strengthening and soothing properties as well.
ZITSTICKA KILLA ACNE Extra Strength Patches ($18)
My toddler is constantly touching my face, so pimple patches are used often in my house—even my husband loves them. These new ones use a patented, self-dissolving microdart technology to deliver active ingredients, including 2-percent salicylic acid, peptides and niacinamide, directly into deep, early stage pimples.
According to the brand, this is the only acne patch on the market to begin working within two hours of application (leave it on for at least two hours). In a study, four out of five users claimed it reduced the size of their zit in one use. This includes the redness and irritation that comes with it, and it does so while also nourishing the skin barrier.
SKIN AT WORK The Protagonist ($58)
“This five-in-one serum-cream is for the immediate gratification person in all of us, but also offers long-term benefits,” says brand founder Thomas Smith. “I want your skin to literally be juicy and radiate from the inside out. I don’t really believe in niacinamide at 10 percent, so we gave you the perfect amount at 5 percent. We coupled this with yuzu, which makes this a super cocktail for glass-like pores in a three-day period. It gives you a wow in three days.”
Smith also doesn’t believe in eye creams (I know other experts who agree), so he clinically tested the formula for ocular safety too. “You can use it all around the eye, from the brow bone to the orbital bone,” he says. “I wanted to achieve a shocking softness on the face, like an ‘I can’t stop touching my face’ feeling. We also put gentle but persistent exfoliation in this formula so you don’t have to remember to exfoliate separately.”
IMAGE Skincare PREVENTION+ Clear Solar Gel SPF 30 ($50)
As we head into beautiful beach weather, sunscreen compliance is one of the number-one concerns dermatologists preach to their patients. If the SPF is too white or too greasy, it won’t be used, let alone reapplied every two hours like it’s supposed to. IMAGE Skincare, the brand beloved by celebs such as Halsey, Whitney Port and Winnie Harlow, is hoping to change that stigma with this new launch.
A 100-percent clear, waterless gel, it offers SPF 30 protection that disappears into all skin types and 80-minute water-resistance. It also has some primer-like properties, helping makeup stay on better, especially in sweaty temps. And if that weren’t enough, it’s also formulated with vitamins C and E, as well as green tea, for antioxidant protection, and plant-derived squalane for moisture.