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.
Foams tend to get a bad rep for being too drying or stripping the skin, but that’s not the case with this first-to-market foaming toner. The fragrance-free formula contains both alphahydroxy and polyhydroxy acids to gently (even sensitive skin types can use it) but effectively exfoliate the skin for smaller-looking pores and a smoother feel.
In clinical testing on 115 participants, 93 percent said it visibly tightened their pores instantly. There’s no cotton round required to use it either—just rub it in with your fingers.
It seems like everyone is talking about cryo right now, and this is the latest tool to hit my desk that has become a fast favorite. Powered by terahertz, a crystal created by Japanese scientists that can maintain cold temperatures, this cryo tool is unlike any other I’ve used. Rather than storing it in the freezer and then having it lose its cool in mere minutes, this one becomes instantly ice-cold when dipped into a glass of ice water for 10 seconds.
It’s great for de-puffing in the morning (or any time of day), and also relieving inflammation, like that which comes with a big pimple. I can’t wait to use this in the summer when the heat is unbearable. I also think it’d be a great tool to use on a long flight (just have the flight attendant bring you an extra ice water).
Physical scrubs have been deemed no-nos by many skin-care experts, but they must not have tried this new exfoliator, which has been scientifically formulated and carefully tested to gently resurface the skin without irritating it. Its polishing power works in two ways: physical exfoliation via volcanic minerals and chemical exfoliation via glycolic acid, an AHA.
By combining the two in a hydrating base with glycerin and squalane, it doesn’t rough up the skin and disturb its barrier like many other physical scrubs do. In a clinical study, 100 percent of participants showed improvement in skin dullness after one week of use, and 94 percent agreed they did not experience dryness, redness or irritation after two weeks of use.
BYOMA Brightening Toner ($15)
From one of the fastest-growing skin-care brands at Target (it’s been flying off shelves since its launch in 2022) comes BYOMA’s first toner and first foray into alphahydroxy acids. If uneven skin texture and/or tone are a concern, add this into your routine (apply it after cleansing and before serums) and your skin will thank you.
It’s free of alcohol and fragrance, gentle enough to use every day (some can use twice a day too), and won’t strip the skin barrier. If you have sensitive skin, you might feel a little tingle, but it should quickly dissipate and not irritate the skin at all. That’s the mandelic and lactic acids going to work, but they’re balanced by birch extract, urea and a soothing Barrier Lipid Complex. It also has a bonus benefit of controlling excess oil too.
KraveBeauty Beet The Sun ($20)
Despite its OG Beet the Shield becoming a cult-favorite overnight, the brand decided to press pause on the beetroot-infused sunscreen and temporarily remove it from the market in 2021 due to a quality-control issue. According to founder and CEO Liah Yoo, “there was a widespread issue with Korea-based manufacturers and independent testing labs producing faulty results that did not match product SPF claims for several skin-care companies.”
During the intentional hiatus, the brand conducted its own testing to confirm the products SPF results and FDA regulations. Now, it is fully verified with an FDA-approved SPF rating of 40. The packaging got an upgrade too: It’s now housed in a more sustainable PCR tube. However, the rubs-right-in, skin-friendly formula made with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and antioxidant-rich beetroot still hits the mark.
If crow’s-feet, 11s and other lines around your eyes are one of your biggest aesthetic pain points, try this new FDA-cleared infrared light mask. (Word on the street is that Emily in Paris‘s Lucas Bravo, aka Gabriel, is a fan.) “It’s made of medical-grade silicone and the lights are concentrated around the crow’s-feet and the 11s, which are the areas we want to target,” says New York dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose, MD. “Infrared light has anti-inflammatory properties and can improve healing, boost collagen and bring an immediate glow to the skin.”
If you’re a fan of the brand’s face mask, the eye mask possesses the same strength and benefit as the face version, but the lights are just positioned differently. “It’s recommended to use it 10 minutes a day—just press the button three times because each cycle is only three minutes. Also, if you use retinol around your eyes, wait to apply it after the treatment. I also like that there’s no blue lights in this mask, because blue light can affect your sleep if you use it right before bed.”
You’ve probably heard of super antioxidant ferulic acid and powerhouse multitasker niacinamide, but why use them in two separate serums when you can use one? This lightweight formula is a must-have for addressing uneven skin tone and frustrating discoloration, which is largely caused by sun damage.
Formulated by a team of cosmetic chemists and dermatologists, it also features an ingredient called navy bean extract, which Mary Kay discovered to have big brightening benefits. Based on in vitro testing, it reduced the visible contrast of dark spots and improved the overall appearance of uneven skin tone. (The brand actually patented a proprietary ingredient technology based on this discovery.)
Infused with four types of hyaluronic acid and five types of ceramides, this buttery sleeping mask is the antidote for dehydrated skin and/or a compromised skin barrier. It may look rich and heavy in the jar, but as you massage it into your skin, it takes on a water-based finish that sinks right in. It also works to minimize water loss while you sleep, which is critical for waking up with a glow.
If you have little ones, brand founder Phoebe Song says you can also use this mask on kids over 12 months of age for dry and irritated faces, elbows and knees. “Some kids do not like the smell, stinging sensation or ‘heavy,’ greasy feeling from typical medical creams, and this can be a wonderful alternative for them before bedtime due to its soothing, pleasant scent and texture.”
Omorovicza Queen Oil ($160)
Luxurious is an understatement when describing this new face oil from Hungarian brand Omorovicza. It’s rich and moisturizing with three sources of omega fatty acids—alfalfa extract, evening primrose oil and chia seed oil—and five other oils to quench dryness.
The brand recommends using it at night because its barrier-repair properties are best utilized when skin is in repair mode as you sleep. If you also want to use it during the day, apply a few drops in place of moisturizer, or a pat a couple drops on top of your last skin-care step to seal everything in, and add a beautiful sheen.
Thayers Hydrating Milky Cleanser ($15, launching 2/6)
I’ve been impressed by the hydrating properties of snow mushroom in other products I’ve tried in the past, so I had a feeling this cleanser would be great, and I was right. The combination of snow mushroom (it’s also anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant benefits), hyaluronic acid and elderflower water leaves skin smooth and never stripped.
The milky, oil-free formula is gentle and pillowy on dry skin (dampen your skin a little before massaging it, especially this time of year, but it’s still powerful enough to remove makeup effectively. I love that it’s fragrance-free, too!