19 Skin-Care Products Cosmetic Chemists Would Buy At Sephora

19 Skin-Care Products Cosmetic Chemists Would Buy At Sephora featured image

Cosmetic chemists are arguably the most discerning product testers in the beauty industry because they know how the sauce is made. They know which products are worth the high price tag and which ones are in fact “dupes.” They know every single hard-to-pronounce ingredient listed on the bottle. And, they spend a lot of time testing products to see if and how they live up to their claims. Here, top cosmetic chemists share their favorite skin care at Sephora, whether they already buy it or want to. Did your favorites make the cut?

1 / 19

Tower28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28)

“This facial spray is a game changer, especially for sensitive or acne-prone skin. It uses hypochlorous acid, which is naturally found in our bodies and helps to calm and soothe the skin. It’s perfect for reducing redness, irritation and even breakouts. I love how versatile it is: You can use it as a toner, a refresher throughout the day, or even to set your makeup. It’s like a rescue squad in a bottle for your skin!” —Cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline

“It’s a handy helper when skin gets irritated when trying new products. Get the mini for skin insurance.” —Cosmetic chemist Ginger King

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray
2 / 19

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 ($10)

“We actually tried a lot of SPF lip balms, and many have a strong sunscreen filter aftertaste. We found this one to have minimal sunscreen flavor and it held up well over time.” —Cosmetic chemist Gloria Lu

jack black intense lip therapy
3 / 19

Dieux Air Angel Hydrating Gel Cream ($44)

“This is a lovely lightweight moisturizer for my oily skin that I can comfortably wear end of day and it doesn’t make me a shiny disco ball by 4 p.m.” —Cosmetic chemist Victoria Fu

Dieux Air Angel
4 / 19

Glow Recipe Dew Balm SPF 45 ($30)

“It’s a stick so it’s easy to carry, and it does not leave a white residue, so it is easy for reapplication. It is well-formulated with greater ingredients for skin benefits, such as niacinamide, HA and squalane, and the price is good at $30.” —Cosmetic chemist Ginger King

Glow Recipe Dew Balm SPF 45
5 / 19

Shani Darden Skin Care Hydration Peptide Cream ($60)

“Since moving to New Jersey, my skin has become more congested and dry. I became intrigued with this skin-care line after trying one of Shani’s other products. I was drawn to this product in particular because I’m looking for a rich moisturizer that would be compatible with using retinol. I love peptides and squalene in skin care, so I am more compelled to see if I can achieve ultimate supple skin with this product.” —Cosmetic chemist Rachel Johnson

shani darden hydration peptide cream
6 / 19

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm ($)

“This is probably one of the best cleansing balms I’ve ever used. It removes makeup effectively without being too harsh, and it doesn’t leave a weird film after washing either. Additionally, it’s yet to irritate my eyes.” —Cosmetic chemist Ava Perkins

Elemis Cleansing Balm
7 / 19

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream ($12)

“As someone who struggles with redness, this product is a gem! In this formula, the azelaic acid is suspended in silicones, and I really enjoy the texture that comes from that!” —Cosmetic chemist Ava Perkins


The Ordinary Azelaic Acid
8 / 19

Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Mineral Milk Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36)

“I will never stop raving about this sunscreen! I love how lightweight and glowy it is. This sunscreen truly feels like skin care and does not feel uncomfortable like other heavier sunscreens. I just wish it was SPF 50!” —Cosmetic chemist Ava Perkins

Summer Fridays ShadeDrops
9 / 19

The Ordinary Soothing and Barrier Support Serum ($17)

“This serum is a lifesaver, especially when your skin feels stressed or compromised. What really makes it stand out are the active derivatives from EGCG and centella asiatica, which work wonders for supporting the skin barrier. Centella is a superstar for reducing inflammation and redness, while the sterols and spingolipids help to replenish the skin’s natural moisture barrier, keeping it hydrated and resilient. It’s like giving your skin a comforting hug!” —Cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline

the ordinary barrier soothing serum
10 / 19

Youth To The People B – 10% AHA + Yerba Mate Smoothing Energy Body Scrub ($42)

“I can’t get enough of this body scrub! First off, the smell is incredibly energizing thanks to the yerba mate. It’s like a little spa moment every time you use it. Plus, the 10-percent AHA works to gently exfoliate the skin, leaving it super smooth and soft. The upcycled olive seed powder adds a physical exfoliant that’s gentle yet effective. It’s perfect for when you want to give your skin a refreshing, polished feel.” —Cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline

Youth To The People Body Scrub
11 / 19

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Face Moisturizer SPF 30 ($40)

“I recently bought a sunscreen that was not a good fit. I was so disappointed and must redeem myself. I always wanted to try a few products from this line, but have not had the opportunity. This formula looks lightweight and very yummy. I am in search for a hydrating SPF formulation that would be compatible with using retinol or AHAs that helps correct imperfections while protecting.” —Cosmetic chemist Rachel Johnson

Fenty Hydra Vizor SPF
12 / 19

Murad Essential-C Cleanser ($44)

“It’s gentle, but still cleans effectively, it has a fantastic texture, and it’s a HUGE bottle.” —Cosmetic chemist Julian Sass, PhD

Murad Essential-C Cleanser
13 / 19

Dr. Idriss Major Fade Active Seal Moisturizer ($58)

“A moisturizer-serum combo! It’s a brightening serum and a lightweight, but still hydrating moisturizer all in one. Great for day or night, and it layers well under sunscreen and makeup.” —Cosmetic chemist Julian Sass, PhD

Dr. Idriss Major Fade Moisturizer
14 / 19

Murad Targeted Eye Depuffer ($64)

“This is good for dark circles and firmness around the eye area. It has a nice applicator and it’s not too expensive based on the type of ingredients used.” —Cosmetic chemist Ginger King

15 / 19

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 40 ($38)

“I discovered this during our annual 30 for 30 Sunscreen Challenge. I always love more sheer tinted sunscreens, and I found this one to leave a dewy finish. Keyword: dewy not shiny. I have pretty oily skin and appreciate how the texture didn’t feel heavy and oily over time.” —Cosmetic chemist Victoria Fu

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 40
16 / 19

The INKEY List SuperSolutions 10% Azelaic Serum ($18)

“Traditional azelaic acid products end up being paste-like suspensions that can feel heavy on skin. The Inkey’s texture is lighter and had less of an initial sting that I typically experience with azelaic acid products.” —Cosmetic chemist Victoria Fu

17 / 19

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Face & Body Lotion SPF 60+ ($50)

“Despite having a silicone powdery finish, I appreciated the hydrated after-feel. This one also didn’t leave a very shiny finish on me that a lot of sunscreens seem to have.” —Cosmetic chemist Gloria Lu

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 60
18 / 19

SK-II Pitera Essence Sheet Mask ($100 for six)

“I like this one for the quality of the material, and my dry skin feels extra hydrated and plump post use.” —Cosmetic chemist Gloria Lu

SK-II Sheet Mask
19 / 19

Nécessaire The Body Lotion ($28)

“It claims to be firming and moisturizing with the use of five peptides. Say less! I would grab this because I am looking for a firming body lotion to boost and retexture my beach body this summer. I have always wanted to try this product, as I have heard great things. I want to see what it can do for me.” —Cosmetic chemist Rachel Johnson

Necessaire The Body Lotion

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