Now more than ever, beauty products are touting real health benefitsincluding treating under-eye inflammation and fighting wrinkles with natural ingredients. But which are really the healthiest?
In our 11th annual beauty awards, we partnered with top dermatologists to uncover the new products that deliver on their claims. From a toner that prevents breakouts to a sunscreen thats rich enough to sub as your face cream, here are the standouts that earned our Americas Healthiest seal.
Toner: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner ($7) In the war against acne, every step in your skin-care regimen counts, which is why judge Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, was thrilled with this toner. “Were all prone to acne and this 2% salicylic acid formulation is the right dosage for the treatment and prevention of normal breakouts,” she says. An added bonus: The solution is nonirritating, thanks to green tea and cucumber extracts.
Eye product: Olay Professional Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex ($42) Who needs sleep when you have an eye cream this good? “Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B, suppresses pigmentation, so dark circles and blotchiness are reduced,” says judge Grace H. Pak, MD. “Plus it has caffeine to decrease puffiness.”
Antiaging facial moisturizer: Skinceuticals A.G.E. Interrupter ($150) The fountain of youth might not be available in a jar (yet), but this superhydrating moisturizer comes pretty darn close. True, its not cheap, but it actually prevents collagen and elastin breakdown (the two big skin agers) deep in the skin with blueberry extract, while stimulating the production of new collagen, says judge Rosemarie Ingleton, MD. Translation: fewer wrinkles and less sagging.
Blemish treatment: DERMAdoctor Aint Misbehavin Intensive Skin-Correcting Sulfur Acne Mask ($45) “Sulfur is one of the most effective ingredients in treating breakouts,” Dr. Ingleton says. “This contains 10% sulfur, which is the highest Ive seen without a prescription.”
Lip treatment: Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm ($22) Most lip treatments stop working as soon as theyre rubbed off, which means you constantly have to reapply. But Dr. Donofrio was impressed by this balms ability to boost lips own healing capabilities. “The hydrating ceramides in the formula help repair the skins barrier, so lips retain moisture better,” she explains.
Face sunscreen: Chanel UV Essential Care SPF 30+ ($48) “This sunscreen is so hydrating that it could double as your day cream,” says Dr. Pak, who was impressed that Chanel was able to combine usually unstable, broad-spectrum sun protection (19 percent zinc oxide, the highest Dr. Pak has seen) with an incredibly moisturizing silicone base. She also raved about its texture: very lightweight and sheer, with no chalky residue.
Facial cleanser: RoC Multi-Correxion Exfoliating Cleanser ($10) Removing the top layer of dead skin cells from your face is essential to helping your products penetrate and perform their best. This wash sloughs them off but is gentle enough to use daily. “It also contains vitamins C and E, which have been shown to work together to boost the skins own antioxidant capabilities,” Dr. Donofrio says. “Plus, glycerin helps skin stay hydrated after washing.”
Best natural-product line: Aveda
Sure, drugstore shelves are now filled with green products. But before it was cool to be paraben-, petrochemical-, and sulfate-free, this 31-year-old company was giving us plant-based hair-, body-, and skin-care options. Today, Avedas still the gold standard: More than 90% of the essential oils and herbs in their offerings are certified organic, and their bottles and jars contain postconsumer recycled content.
Avedas latest innovations: the Enbrightenment skin-care range, which uses a botanical complex to target dark spots, and the Sun Care collection, which prevents and repairs hair damage caused by warm-weather environmental culprits (e.g., the sun, chlorine, saltwater). But Aveda doesnt just stop there. From programs that support farming collectives in developing nations to factories that run 100% on wind power (a first for a cosmetic company), Aveda is as authentic as it gets.
Bronzer: Guerlain Terracotta Mineral Flawless Bronzing Powder ($65) Guerlains bronzer is a bit pricey, but “its worth it,” Dr. Ingleton says. “Many bronzers contain ingredients that clog pores, but this ones mineral base means its noncomedogenic and wont cause breakouts. Also, its finely milled, so it has a sheer, velvety finish that looks incredibly natural.”
Concealer: Revlon Age Defying Spa Concealer ($10.49) This concealer camouflages what its supposed to amazingly well. Blends easily? Check! Natural-looking coverage? Check! But thats not the only reason it snagged top honors. Its combination of antioxidants, such as grapefruit extract and açai, gives skin an extra layer of protection, says Dr. Pak, who also loves the hygienic penlike delivery system.
Makeup primer: skin effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover CELL2CELL Treatment Primer ($15) This makeup primers glycerin, hyaluronic acid (which naturally helps skin retain water), and shea butter keep your face moisturized, while collagen-stimulating polypeptides and plumping ceramides minimize wrinkles and repair sun damage. Dr. Donofrio liked how it instantly smoothed her skin.
Lip color: Almay Pure Blends Lip Gloss ($8) The wrong lip gloss can make you feel like youre wearing sticky tween makeup. No worries with this lightweight gloss. Its eight natural-looking shades are packed with emollients like lanolin, plus antioxidant protection from orchid, açai, and lotus extracts. “You get the benefits of a full lip treatment without the gooey feel,” Dr. Ingleton says.
Foundation: Prescriptives All Skins Mineral Makeup SPF 15 ($32.50) Not only does this mineral foundation give thorough coverage without a chalky finish, but its gentle formula works for even the most sensitive skin types. It contains sodium hyaluronate, a powerful moisturizer, and vitamins A and Cplus, you get sun protection from all-natural, nonchemical titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Mascara: Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara ($27) Leave it to Dior to create one glamorous mascara. The polymer formula creates a great lasting curl, while a mineral, silica, imparts serious volume by filling in thin, sparse lashes. The best part? “It doesnt clump or flake,” so its less likely to irritate eyes, Dr. Donofrio says.
Shampoo: David Babaii for WildAid Amplifying Shampoo ($9.99) This shampoos natural ingredientsvolcanic ash for volume, coconut oil for a gentle cleanse, and white ginger for shineleave your hair looking amazing. And it does it without a bunch of chemicals: Its free of sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, and animal products. Plus, 10% of its sale proceeds are donated to WildAid, an endangered species–protection group.
Hairstyling product: Biolage Shine Endure Spritz ($14) Constant heat styling will do a number on even the strongest strands, so prepping your locks beforehand is essential. Biolages spray adds tons of shine and protects your hair, thanks to its ceramides, “hydrating lipids that help restore your hairs ability to naturally retain moisture and guard against damage,” Dr. Pak says.
Hair conditioner: Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths Conditioner ($4) The sad truth about conditioners: The ones that truly soften brittle hair tend to weigh it down. But Dr. Donofrio was impressed by this products balancing act. “They figured out how to keep the conditioner on the hair shaft even after rinsing by using unique, extra-moisturizing silicones,” she explains. “Your hair stays coated, but it doesnt feel greasy or heavy.”
Deep-conditioning treatment: Phytodensium Anti-Aging Mask ($36) Fine strands, dullness, and thinning often occur as hair ages or with prolonged exposure to environmental elements. This multitasking, antiaging formula is the remedy. “Its loaded with antioxidants to counter damage to the hair follicle, plus natural moisturizers leave hair with a protective coating,” Dr. Ingleton says.
Foot product: Barielle Heel and Callus Treatment Cream ($22) Flip-flop wearers rejoice: Baring your toes is a little less scary, thanks to this foot cream that heals even the driest feet. “It has a high concentration of rich emollients such as vitamin E, along with other softening agents, like shea butter and aloe,” Dr. Pak says. “And its not at all sticky. You can actually walk around shortly after applying it.”
Hand product: Burts Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme ($9) Not only does this delectable-smelling hand cream contain sweet almond oil, an excellent hydrator, but it also has grapefruit-seed extract, a natural antioxidant that helps with dead-skin removal. More balm than cream, it goes on thick but melts right in. (You can actually see it absorb into dry skin cracks!) Plus, it doesnt leave a bit of greasy residue.
Self-tanner: Pür Minerals Get a Little ($21.50) Subtlety is key with self-tanner: With its moisturizing base (courtesy of shea butter and vitamin E) and hint of color, this self-tanner delivers. The gradual-working formula imparts a natural-looking tan after several applications so that its “streak-free and virtually mistake-proof,” Dr. Pak says. We also love that this self-tanner smellsgasp!great.
Body wash: Kiehls Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser ($16.50) This shower gel foams up without harmful ingredients (it uses coconut-derived cleansers) and is free of many common allergens found in soaps, making it great for sensitive skin. Beyond that, its biodegradable and all of its net profits go to support environmental initiatives. Hows that for healthy?
Exfoliating body product: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Body ($45) Some ideas are so good, we wonder why no one thought of them sooner. This cream combines both physical and chemical exfoliants for serious dead-skin removal. “Tiny crystals are mixed in a base that contains lactic and glycolic acid, which smooth away dead skin cells and soften skin,” Dr. Pak says. “And its safe to use in the shower a couple of times a weekjust scrub gently.”
Body sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk ($32) Dont have time to “reapply often”? Youre not alonewhich is why this longer-lasting sunscreen was such a hit with our judge. “Theyve stabilized avobenzone, a UVA sun filter that can wear away quickly, while also including UVB-ray blocker octocrylene. So the filters remain on skin longer, and you dont have to reapply as often,” Dr. Ingleton says. Its also chock-full of antioxidants for extra protection.
Nail product: Sephora By OPI Nail Treatment-Hydrator ($9) Filled with moisturizing aloe-leaf extract and rosa moschata–seed oil, this treatment can be used alone or under polish to keep nails chip-free. Dr. Donofrio liked that it doesnt contain formaldehyde, which can irritate skin. And it doesnt contain the chemicals DBP or toluene, which are found in many other nail products.
Body moisturizer: Elizabeth Arden Prevage Body Total Transforming Anti-Aging Moisturizer ($135) With its high-tech formula, just call this the iPhone of body moisturizers. Yes, its pricey, but it contains a high concentration of idebenone, one of the most advanced and effective antioxidants available. “Youre actually targeting the aging process, both sun damage and the future breakdown of skin,” Dr. Igleton says. “The idebenone delivers great resultsit makes fine lines less visible.” Hydrating shea butter and glycerin also help make this the ultimate look-younger moisturizer.