The 28 Best Skincare Products of 2020, According to Health Editors

Our team rounded up the best skincare products of the year.
By Lisa DeSantis
September 11, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
  • Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Jelly Cleanser
    Great for all skin types, this gel transforms into an oil on the skin, melting away dirt and makeup. The star ingredient, squalane (ethically sourced from sugarcane), calms, protects, and locks in moisture.
  • Moon Juice Milk Cleanse Gentle Foaming Wash
    The brand is known for its adaptogenic and plant blends that promote whole-body wellness (supplements inside and topicals outside). This vitamin E and reishi-mushroom cleanser wards off free radicals and reduces inflammation, leaving thirsty skin soft and supple.
  • Renée Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Cleanser
    Calling oily, congested complexions: This potent antibacterial combo of kaolin clay and tea tree oil helps absorb excess sebum and clear blemishes without zapping skin dry. During breakouts, leave on for five minutes for a clarifying boost.
  • Laneige Cream Skin Mist
    This milky liquid packs all of the benefits of a rich cream in a convenient spray. Mist onto bare skin post-cleansing to seal in moisture, or on top of makeup throughout the day as a refresh.
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
    Watermelon and hyaluronic acid hydrate, while PHA and BHA (polyhydroxy and beta hydroxy acids) smooth skin and unclog pores. The best part: You don’t need a cotton pad. Pour into hands, press onto skin, and you’re good to glow.
  • Saint Jane The C-Drops
    This potent serum contains 20 percent vitamin C, which brightens dark spots and prevents new ones from forming, while full-spectrum CBD calms sensitivity. Derms recommend pairing an antioxidant with SPF for max protection benefits, so layer this free-radical fighter under sunscreen every a.m.
  • Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Max Night Serum
    You’ll wake up to softened lines and brighter skin with this serum, says Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and Health Advisory Board member: It marries anti-aging retinol with vitamin B3.
  • Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum
    While you can’t turn back the clock, this splurge-worthy serum comes close, smoothing lines, brightening spots, and firming skin (one of our testers swears she can wear less makeup because of it). Its star ingredient, HX-1—developed by stem-cell researchers—fights chronic inflammation and helps skin cells function optimally.
  • Simple Purifying Pink Clay Face Mask
    Pores may be tiny, but they can stretch like a pair of leggings on Thanksgiving when dirt, oil, and pollution are trapped inside—leading to breakouts. This pink purifier uses kaolin and bentonite clay to suck out gunk and calamine to soothe.
  • Aveeno Oat Mask with Cucumber Extract
    Prebiotic oat tackles redness and irritation, but you can thank cooling cucumber and seaweed extracts for the surge of instant hydration, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and Health Advisory Board member. Apply to clean skin and rinse off after just five minutes.
  • Indeed Labs Snoxin II
    Whether you want to buy time in between Botox appointments or you’re not into injectables, you’ll love this temporary, line-smoothing serum, which has a peptide (XEP-018) to minimize muscle contractions. Rub onto clean skin, and you’ll notice softer lines in about two hours, with results lasting for eight.
  • St. Ives Gentle Smoothing Rose Water & Aloe Vera Scrub
    The brand’s gentlest scrub yet! You get mechanical exfoliation from finely ground walnut shells and crushed rose petals that slough away dead skin, resulting in a smoother, glowing complexion.
  • Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel
    Even oily-skin types need moisturizer, since dehydrated skin can produce more oil to compensate (it’s a bad cycle!). This lightweight, noncomedogenic gel quenches skin’s thirst while calming irritation. Salicylic acid helps fight acne, adds Michelle Henry, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
  • Tatcha The Water Cream
    The Japanese botanical-rich cream is great for all skin types, says Dr. Jaliman. We love its unique feel upon application: When you start rubbing it in, you’ll experience a water-bursting sensation— that’s the sign that the ingredients (green tea, rice, and algae) are penetrating the skin.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Light
    The British makeup artist’s OG Magic Cream was beloved for its intense plumping and glow-boosting effects but was too rich for some. Meet its new baby sister— a lighter, more mattifying formula with the same skin-loving qualities plus SPF 20, perfect for oilier skin and warmer-weather use.
  • ZitSticka Hyperfade
    Pimples stink, but it’s the lingering dark marks that can really get you down. This patch contains 24 self-dissolving microdarts that push brightening ingredients like niacinamide right where you need them. Place one on clean, dry skin for two hours. “The patch protects from further irritation,” points out Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and Health Advisory Board member, “providing a sealed environment for skin to heal itself.”
  • Neutrogena Stubborn Acne AM Treatment
    Apply in the morning and this clear, 2.5 percent micronizedbenzoyl- peroxide formula will treat breakouts throughout the day as it penetrates pores and kills acne-causing bacteria. After a few hours, you’ll notice a reduction in redness and inflammation.
  • Obagi Clinical Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel
    These tiny vials punch way above their weight class, thanks to potent salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids that offer a clinical-grade exfoliation safe for at-home use. For brighter, more even-toned skin, use one vial every two weeks. Swipe the liquid onto dry skin, wait 10 minutes, then rinse. “It instantly clarifies my skin when it’s in desperate need of a reset,” says Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist in New York City.
  • Kinship Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads
    A sweet (and sour) solution to dullness: Swipe one of these lemon-and-manukahoney- infused biodegradable rounds over skin to remove leftover makeup as well as clear, brighten, and soothe.
  • Versed Guards Up Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35
    Non-nano zinc oxide offers mineral broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection to shield skin from the sun, pollution, and blue-light exposure, explains Dr. Zeichner. Its peach hue counteracts chalkiness.
  • Tula Skincare Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30
    In addition to sun protection, this sunscreen/skin-care hybrid brightens and strengthens, thanks to probiotics, pineapple, and papaya. Have oily skin? This noncomedogenic formula and light gel texture is for you.
  • It Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream
    Overnight is when your skin is able to regenerate and repair. This lavender cream helps kickstart the process by speeding skin-cell turnover and tackling lines, wrinkles, dryness, and loss of firmness.
  • Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream
    One surefire way to get skin to produce more collagen is by using a retinoid. Though some prescription versions can be costly and irritating, this drugstore gem provides comparable wrinkle-reducing results without the peeling.
  • Augustinus Bader The Face Oil
    Developed by one of the world’s leading stem-cell and biomedical scientists, this formula taps science and nature with its TFC8 amino-acid complex and botanicals such as babassu, argan, and hazelnut oils. The oil offers a variation from the line’s already wildly popular creams.
  • Pause Fascia Stimulating Tool
    Facial tools are all the rage, but they’re not all created equal. This weighty, medical-grade stainless steel device is FDA-cleared to help boost collagen with daily use. Apply your fave cream, then glide it over contours to sculpt and lift skin.
  • Jenny Patinkin Rose on Rose Derma Roller
    Gently roll over cheeks, chin, and forehead—tiny hypoallergenic stainless steel needles puncture the skin so your serum can penetrate deeper and work even better. Flip, and use the rose-quartz acupressure bulb to reduce tension.
  • Live Tinted Huestick in Grounded
    Remember the viral video of an influencer using red lipstick to counteract dark under-eye circles? That was Deepica Mutyala, and it inspired her line of multiuse sticks that cater to everyone. “It gives an option for color correction in skin tones that have been underrepresented,” says Dr. Henry. “And I love the versatility. You can use it everywhere—lips, eyes, cheeks.” Choose from seven diverse shades.
  • Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer
    Available in 36 hues, this full-coverage, radiant matte liquid concealer covers imperfections so skin still looks like yours, only better. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides prevent it from caking and settling in creases.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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