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Even if you’re the type to wash your face with bar soap (please don’t do that), you at least understand the importance of scrubbing the dirt of the day off before you get into bed, so you’re half of the way there. But really, you’re an adult now. It’s time to take care of yourself—and your skin—properly. Here, we’ve rounded up 27 incredible skincare products and sorted them by skin type and budget.
Not sure where to start? Every good skincare routine should start with two basics: a cleanser and a moisturizer. If you can get that down, you’re good (and I’m proud of you. We all are.)
The cleansers and face washes in this round up are perfect for wiping the slate clean. And they’re gentle enough to use every day. Up next is moisturizer: Everybody needs moisturizer. Even dudes. Even people with oily skin. Even dudes with oily skin. The fact is, our skin has a moisture barrier that we need to maintain. That barrier is what keeps out bacteria and environmental toxins while keeping in water that you need if you don’t want to look like the Crypt Keeper at age 35.
One more good step in any solid skincare routine is a toner. Toners help balance your skin’s pH levels after you’ve cleansed it of all the junk. Unlike toners of the past though, the ones on this list aren’t overly astringent; they won’t burn your skin or leave you feeling tight and dry.
So there you have it: Cleanser, toner, moisturizer. That’s what you’re getting here—and what you should be buying today. For now, you can hold off on the extras: Serums, treatments, and masks are wonderful (as a self-described skincare junkie, trust me, I love them), but without the three basics, you’re not going to get anywhere.
Now, let’s talk money, honey. Skincare shouldn’t be a luxury. It certainly can be, but if you’re more the type to pinch your pennies, there are still great products for you out there. In addition to breaking down the products by skin needs, we also took different budgets into account:
$$$: You’re bougie and we like it. Everything here will be $45 or over, but we’ve also included a few serious splurges (that just so happen to be worth it).
$$: This is the skincare sweet spot. With products around $20-$40, this is the price range where most skincare junkies go to get their fix.
$: Get a glow on the low. These products are $15 max; lest you think “you get what you pay for” is always true, the skincare industry has actually come quite far in making solid products at budget prices.
Ready, set, glow.
The Best Skincare Products for “Normal” Skin
What even is normal skin? The age-old question. When it comes to skin types, “normal” skin means your skin just doesn’t have that many obvious issues (like acne, dryness, redness, or sensitivity). Lucky. These products will work to maintain what you’ve already got working with the added benefit of a little radiance.
The Best Cleansers for “Normal” Skin
$$$: Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water
If you don’t need a lot, don’t do a lot. Make a spa in your bathroom with Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Spa Water.
This blend of thermal mineral water and plant extracts (like rosemary, sage, lavender, and white birch sap) will take off your makeup and the gunk of the day without leaving an icky residue. Plus it’s formulated without synthetic fragrances and hasn’t been tested on animals.
$$: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
This gentle gel Soy Face Cleanser from Fresh is perfect for everyday use. Fresh is known for their botanical ingredients so not only will you get clean, you’ll smell real nice too.
The soy proteins in this cleanser are rich in amino acids and help maintain your skin’s elasticity (key to aging gracefully), while rosewater and cucumber extract soothe and calm the skin after a long day. It’s gentle enough to use every night and contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.
$: Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash
A personal favorite of mine, Pacifica’s Sea Foam Complete Face Wash is a budget buy that really works.
Pacifica’s products are 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t use parabens or drying sulfates. This face wash includes coconut water that balances the skin, papaya extract that gently exfoliates, and sea algae extract that acts as an antioxidant.
The Best Toners for “Normal” Skin
$$$: SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
The cult fave. The classic of classics. The brand to end all skincare brands. SK-II is one of the most trusted beauty brands in the world, and for good reason.
Their facial essence is one of the most popular products on the market today, but their Clear Lotion is a solid runner up. This toner is made with alpha hydroxy acids and pitera, a bio-ingredient full of organic and amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.
$$: Lancôme Tonique Douceur Softening Hydrating Toner
Told ya these toners aren’t the astringent kind.
There’s no alcohol in the Lancôme Tonique Douceur Toner, so it won’t strip your skin of its natural oils—no tight and dry feeling here! Instead, this gentle toner uses rose water to tone and cool the face, giving you a blank slate ripe for moisturizing.
$: Mario Badescu Witch Hazel & Rosewater Toner
Mario Badescu is a go-to skincare brand for all skin types.
They have plenty of toners and astringents, but we particularly like this witch hazel and rosewater formulation that removes dirt and impurities without depleting any natural oils. Plus, the black rose, rosewater, and rose oil all work as antioxidants to give tired skin a boost.
The Best Moisturizers for “Normal” Skin
$$$: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
Hyaluronic acid is a beauty revolution and this hyaluronic-infused cream proves it.
Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is a 30 percent hyaluronic acid cream that delivers solid hydration for up to 72 hours. The hyaluronic acid attracts water from the atmosphere and sends it straight to your skin, where the ceramides in this cream lock it all in.
$$: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream delivers some serious hydration in one little jar.
It can actually be used on your entire body but somehow manages to not be too heavy on the face. Colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin work together to calm, soothe, moisturizer, and protect: a true multi-duty product.
$: Differin Balancing Moisturizer
This Balancing Moisturizer from Differin is gentle and moisturizing but it’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. Yay!
This is great for normal skin because it’s not too heavy but it still brings the moisture that everyone’s skin needs post-cleansing and toning.
The Best Skincare Products for Dry Skin
Feeling like the Sahara even after you put lotion on? There’s a product for that. If your face feels tight after you wash it or you’ve got flakes of skin, you’ve probably got dry skin. While you probably don’t have to worry about acne too much, you do have a problem with moisture. Here’s how to fix it.
The Best Cleansers for Dry Skin
$$$: SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil
Once you oil cleanse, you’ll never look back.
SK-II’s Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil combines their signature bio-ingredient, pitera, with oils and botanical extracts to create a cleanser that will remove every trace of makeup from your skin. When it’s mixed with water, the oil emulsifies turning into a gentle cleanser your dry skin is sure to love.
$$: Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser
As you may know, honey is pretty incredible. It never expires, it tastes good on everything, and it hydrates the skin. A true triple threat!
This cleanser from clean beauty brand Farmacy gently removes makeup and oil from your skin and the hyaluronic acid it contains will attract moisture that the honey will hold in. It’s basically setting your skin up for success on step 1.
$: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel
Yep, Neutrogena is still around and they’re doing some seriously great things in the skincare game.
Their Hydro Boost line is especially great for people with dry skin and this Hydrating Cleansing Gel is one of the stars of the line. This cleanser also has hyaluronic acid (noticing a pattern?).
The Best Toners for Dry Skin
$$$: Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist
You’ll definitely be feeling like royalty with this Queen of Hungary toner.
Omorovicza, a beauty brand out of Budapest, formulated this clean toning facial mist to help with the dryness and dullness characteristic of dry skin. It smells like neroli and rose and is named after Queen of Hungary Water, a perfume that was formulated in the 14th century for Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. You so faaaancy.
$$: Son & Park Beauty Water
If you aren’t on the Korean beauty bandwagon yet, now’s the time to hop on.
Son & Park’s Beauty Water is the best entry product into that game and that’s because it works for everything: as a makeup remover, an afternoon pick-me-up, and—most important to us here—as a delightful toner. It contains lavender water, rose water, orange fruit extract, willow bark extract, papaya extract, and green tea—talk about power ingredients.
$: L’oreal HydraFresh Toner
A toner under $6 can be hard to come by but L’oreal made it happen with their HydraFresh toner.
It’s 99 percent alcohol free (which is about as much as you can ask from a $5 toner). But it’s formulated with beta hydroxy acid to refresh your skin and we’re always on board for BHAs.
The Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin
$$$: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Thick like your favorite Instagram model, this moisturizer’s whipped texture makes it feels light when really, it’s anything but.
Use a pump or two and let it soak into your skin post-toner. You’ll be shocked at how soft your skin feels the next morning. (Pro tip: Combine it with their marula oil for extra moisture!)
$$: Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
Belif is another solid Korean beauty brand and their Moisturizing Bomb is, well, the bomb.
It was the No. 1 selling product in Korea—in every category. Once you try it, you’ll understand why. This herb-filled cream was clinically tested to last up to 26 hours and leaves skin feeling incredibly soft, smooth, and hydrated.
$: Burt’s Bees Daily Moisturizing Cream
If you thought Burt’s Bees only did beeswax lip balms, think again.
Their skin products are surprisingly effective and since they’re still dedicated to using natural ingredients when possible, sensitivity won’t be an issue. This Daily Moisturizing Cream contains rice extract and aloe that moisturize and soothe while cotton extract (seriously!) protects your skin from environmental irritants. It’s even been awarded the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
The Best Skincare Products for Oily Skin
If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t add moisturizer to oily skin, please ditch that advice immediately: If you don’t replenish the moisture and hydration you lose in cleansing, your skin may end up working overtime, producing even more oil. No thanks.
The Best Cleansers for Oily Skin
$$$: Tatcha The Deep Cleanse
This gel cleanser from Tatcha is perfect for oily skin as its oil-free gel foams up to remove oil and dirt from the skin, meaning you’ll get clean skin that doesn’t end up sticky.
Plus it has amino acids that will leave you feeling refreshed, instead of uncomfortably tight. Even more exciting? A Japanese fruit called the luffa fruit is also in the formula; it’s used to exfoliate your skin to glowy perfection.
$$: Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser
Mario Badescu is on the list again, this time for the Acne Facial Cleanser.
It’s a beloved product and it’s easy to understand why. This cleanser uses salicylic acid to fight acne while aloe vera and chamomile work together to soothe the inflammation that comes with acne.
$: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Cleanser
Micellar water has had tons of hype in the past few years and it is pretty great, but one downfall of using it is that you need to use a cleanser right after it (in most cases).
Garnier has mitigated this issue by throwing in a foaming cleanser with their micellar water so you get the effect of micelles attracting oil and dirt with the foaming scrubby feeling of a typical face wash. Win/win.
The Best Toners for Oily Skin
$$$: Perricone MD PRE:EMPT SERIES Exfoliating Pore Refiner
This exfoliating toner is a great step post-cleanse if you’re dealing with large, clogged pores.
Physical exfoliants like scrubs can be too harsh, especially on sensitive, inflamed skin; instead, a chemical exfoliant like this Exfoliating Pore Refiner is much more ideal. Plus it has a patented Antioxidant Support Complex to even out skin tone.
$$: Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner
This toner uses the power of antiseptic ingredients to prevent breakouts, plus it exfoliates to remove bacteria from your currently clogged pores.
As if that wasn’t enough, it’ll also lighten acne scarring so if you’ve had issues with cystic acne, this Clarifying Treatment Toner will be right up your alley.
$: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal & Witch Hazel Toner
This drugstore favorite is the ideal choice for oily girls on a budget.
At under $10, this toner (which comes in a variety of scents like lavender, cucumber, and more) uses witch hazel—a natural astringent to gently take the oil down a notch. Since it doesn’t contain alcohol (and does contain aloe), your skin will be refreshed and ready for moisturizing.
The Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin
$$$: Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer
As we discussed, oily skin does need a moisturizer. But if you’re wary of looking too shiny, you can go for something like this Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer that mattifies while hydrating.
That means that you’ll get the hydration you need without the sticky feeling that can come from heavier creams. Plus 100 percent of the ingredients are natural and 63 percent are from organic farming, meaning this product is fully vegan and free from fillers, artificial colors and fragrances, and any synthetic chemicals. As green as the bottle it comes in.
$$: Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Stay-Matte Hydrator
That name is a mouthful but this oil-free moisturizer is worth it!
Not only is it a non-comedogenic formula, meaning it won’t clog your pores, it also reduces your pores’ visibility. Who wouldn’t want a matte T-zone for under $40?
$: Pacifica Kale Luxe Oil-Free Multi Cream
Kale is still extremely trendy according to my Instagram feed, so why not put it on your face?
Get hydrated on a budget with Pacifica’s Kale Luxe Oil-Free Multi Cream. Kale and flax, apparently, help control oil while lime pearls (real things) are full of good-for-you vitamins and sweet AHAs. Kale yeah.