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The 18 Best Skincare Products of 2021, According to Health Editors

We test more than a hundred new beauty products each month—and these take the cake. Here are our top picks for all your skincare needs.
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.

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  • Glow-Boosting Cleanser
    Garnier Green Labs Pinea-C Brightening Gel Wash

    Using a gritty scrub daily isn't always the right way to glow. Instead, wake up dull skin with a brightening boost of vitamin C and pineapple extract in this exfoliating cleanser that smooths texture and evens tone so you can rise and shine.

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  • Sensitive-Skin Cleanser
    Naturopathica Marshmallow & Probiotic Sensitivity Soothing Cream Cleanser

    Are you one of the more than 60 percent of women with sensitive skin? Baby it with this cleansing cream that whisks away dirt—a real maskne MVP. Rub onto damp skin, massage, rinse, and rejoice.

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  • Toner
    Kiehl's Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner

    If your skin is in need of a reset sans irritation, this is for you. Swipe this almond-milk-laced liquid over your face after cleansing to break down dead skin and de-gunk pores. It's like a mini peel that's gentle enough to use every day.

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  • Peel
    PCA Skin Micro Peel At-Home Kit

    This DIY version of the popular in-office peel doesn't disappoint. The six-step kit features the brand's professional-grade enzymatic treatment. "Peels are one of the most effective ways to smooth and even out skin tone," says Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist in NYC and Health Advisory Board member.

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  • Sensitive-Skin Moisturizer
    Embryolisse Lait-Crème Sensitive

    Open any makeup artist's kit, and you'll most likely spot this blue-and-white tube. It's beloved because it acts like a primer, providing weightless hydration and a soothing, nongreasy glow. The newest iteration is hypoallergenic, heaven for sensitive-skin types.

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  • Antioxidant Serum
    SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF

    "A lot of my patients would skip antioxidants over breakout concerns, but this new launch is perfect for those with oily and blemish-prone skin," says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist in NYC and Health Advisory Board member.

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  • Hydrating Serum
    Tatcha The Dewy Serum

    If, like us, you strive to emulate that healthy sheen you get after a good hot yoga class, consider this your Bikram in a bottle. The formula harnesses green tea and algae to exfoliate, plant-derivedhyaluronic acid to grab moisture, and squalane to lock it in.

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  • Purifying Mask
    Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask

    No time for an elaborate self-care routine? This mask (developed by Alicia Keys in partnership with a derm) combines mindfulness and skin care. Charcoal balances while manuka honey moisturizes—breathe in its sandalwood scent to melt your stress away.

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  • Sheet Mask
    Sephora Collection Clean Minute Face Masks

    Apply to clean, dry skin, and in 60 seconds, plant-powered hydrators like watermelon or almond milk give you that just-left-a-facial feeling. Pro tip: Store in the fridge to up the depuffing power. We reach for one before early-a.m. Zooms.

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  • Acne Spot Treatment
    No7 Laboratories Acne Treatment 2% Salicylic Acid

    Consider this pimple paste the answer to your adult-acne woes. "It delivers max-strength sal acid in a formula that mattifies and soothes with kaolin clay," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in NYC and Health Advisory Board member. Apply to a zit or problem zone a few nights a week.

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  • Dark-Spot Treatment
    First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Serum

    Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone—these are some of the concerns heard on repeat in derms' offices. To combat discoloration, Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist in NYC and Health Advisory Board member, recommends this brightening niacinamide-and glycerin-rich serum.

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  • Facial Scrub
    OleHenriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub

    This smoothie-like scrub offers a two-pronged approach to sloughing off dull skin: sugar, to physically exfoliate, and lemon peel powder and AHAs, to chemically get the job done. Our tester loved how it made her pores look less noticeable.

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  • Face Oil
    BeautyStat Universal Moisture Essence

    Plant-derived squalane is a lipid that mirrors skin's natural sebum, which means your skin soaks it in. This 100 percent pure version hydrates without making skin look or feel greasy. Dr. Engelman says it's great for everyone.

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  • Sunscreen
    Melé No Shade Sunscreen Oil SPF 30

    Finding an SPF that wears well under makeup and won't leave a white residue on melanin-rich skin is a tall order, but this silky oil—cocreated with derms of color—fits the bill. It's cosmetically elegant, says Dr. Zeichner, meaning the formula is a dream to use.

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  • Mineral Sunscreen
    Éminence Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40

    This lightweight physical blocker protects you from the sun's rays, while passion fruit seed oil and cocoa seed extract antioxidants fend off daily aggressors like blue light and pollution. It feels so lovely, you'll actually want to reapply.

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  • Anti-Ager
    Mary Kay Clinical Solutions Retinol 0.5 Set

    Dermatologists preach the anti-aging power of retinol, but the peeling that often follows can be a real turnoff. That's where this duo comes in: The 0.5 retinol is paired with a calming facial milk you use together to help temper side effects.

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  • Night Treatment
    L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Midnight Serum

    "Take advantage of the nighttime hours when our bodies are in repair mode by applying a great serum," says Wilson. This one boasts an antioxidant recovery complex, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to rev up the skin's renewal process.

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  • Neck Cream
    Dermalogica Neck Fit Contour Serum

    Tech neck is real, thanks to our laptops and phones. To reduce any sag, reach for this serum that features the brand's lifting technology and acts like a pair of Spanx to lift and tighten. Apply in an upward motion using the cool rollerball head.

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This article originally appeared in the  May 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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