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From cleansers and moisturizers, to serums and exfoliants, there’s no shortage of skin care products on the market. But with the sheer number of products out there — not to mention the various ingredients — it can be overwhelming to know what the best option is for your skin type.

Whether you have acne-prone skin, combination skin, or mature-looking skin, it’s important to stick with products that are most suitable for your needs. When you use a product that’s geared toward your unique skin concerns, it’s more likely to be effective.

Read on to find out what the best skin care products for your skin type are.

We chose these skin care products based on:

  • the skin type they’re for
  • customer reviews
  • effectiveness

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$50
  • $$$ = over $50

Oily or acne-prone skin

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

  • Price: $$
  • Type: exfoliant
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Pros: designed as a powerful spot treatment
  • Cons: may be too harsh if your skin is on the drier side
  • Best for: treating blemishes

Paula’s Choice has become a cult favorite among beauty and skin care enthusiasts, and customers say the brand’s BHA liquid exfoliant lives up to the hype.

The salicylic acid works to help unclog pores and exfoliate dead skin, which reviewers say leaves skin feeling smoother and looking brighter.

Reviewers praise this product for being a powerful all-over exfoliant and effective spot treatment.

However, many reviewers suggest that this should only be used a few times per week — not once or twice per day according to the instructions — as it can cause over-exfoliation and lead to irritated skin if used too often.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

  • Price: $
  • Type: cleanser
  • Size: 12 oz.
  • Pros: fragrance-free
  • Cons: can be drying
  • Best for: oily skin

Formulated to be gentle yet effective, CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is purported to be one of the best skin care products for people with oily or combination skin.

The affordable facial cleanser is fragrance-free, which means it likely won’t irritate your skin. It even has a moisturizing element meant to help balance your skin’s hydration.

Many reviewers say the cleanser felt like it provided a deep clean, yet didn’t strip their skin or leave it feeling excessively dry. Some people even say it’s an effective cleanser for other parts of the body with acne.

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch

  • Price: $
  • Type: spot treatment
  • Size: 72-count
  • Pros: easy to use
  • Cons: can take longer than one night to see results
  • Best for: cystic acne

With more than 40,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, the Mighty Patch may be one of the best skin care products out there, especially for those with acne-prone skin or cystic acne.

The pure hydrocolloid patch works overnight to absorb and extract impurities from pimples in order to reduce their appearance. It also aims to protect blemishes from additional build-up or picking.

People say these patches are big enough to cover most blemishes, and the adhesive is strong enough to stay on your face overnight. Plus, they’re supposed to be comfortable and discreet.

Most reviewers also say these patches are most effective on blemishes that already have come to a head. Using them when the blemish is still in its early phase might not be as effective.

Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer With Bamboo Charcoal

  • Price: $$
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Pros: formulated with salicylic acid
  • Cons: some say it has a strong scent
  • Best for: preventing breakouts and blackheads

People who are prone to acne and have bigger pores say this moisturizer significantly reduced the appearance of their pores and cleared their skin.

The moisturizer uses 1% salicylic acid — which is considered one of the most effective over-the-counter ingredients at clearing acne — to gently exfoliate the skin and help unclog pores.

Meanwhile, the addition of bamboo charcoal may help draw out impurities.

While some reviewers say this moisturizer can leave their skin feeling a little dry, most people praise it for giving their face a refreshed, clean feeling and smaller-looking pores.

Other reviewers say they like the rich texture of the moisturizer which makes their skin feel nourished.

Dry skin

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

  • Price: $
  • Type: cleanser
  • Size: 16 oz.
  • Pros: affordable
  • Cons: lotion-like texture can take some getting used to
  • Best for: dry and sensitive skin

With nearly 50,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser is highly praised by people with dry and sensitive skin.

Like the rest of CeraVe’s skin care products — which are developed with dermatologists — this cleanser is formulated with three essential ceramides to help restore the skin’s protective barrier. It also includes hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture.

This cleanser aims to do a good job at providing a deep clean without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. However, the lotion-like texture may be different for those who are used to a foaming cleanser.

Some reviewers say the creamy texture took some getting used to, while others say they would’ve preferred a cleanser that lathers.

If you have dry skin, it’s important to know that cleansers that lather use surfactants that can ultimately dry your skin, so it’s probably best for you to stick with a cleanser that’s milky or lotion-like.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Type: serum
  • Size: 1.69 oz.
  • Pros: silicone and fragrance-free
  • Cons: thin consistency
  • Best for: dry skin

Packed with ingredients known to help hydrate, like provitamin B5 and sodium hyaluronate, this lightweight serum may offer a boost for dry skin or dry patches.

It’s also formulated with pineapple ceramides, which may help improve the appearance of uneven texture and tone, and brighten dull, dry skin.

Reviewers love how easy it is to layer this serum with the rest of the products in their skin care routine. Many reviewers also say the serum instantly absorbs and leaves their skin feeling hydrated and not sticky.

Some reviewers say the price is a bit steep considering how small the product is.

Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Toner

  • Price: $
  • Type: toner
  • Size: 12 oz.
  • Pros: vegan and made with fair trade coconut water
  • Cons: neem has a naturally strong scent
  • Best for: clean skin care enthusiasts

This toner is cruelty-free, vegan, and made with ethically traded coconut water. It’s also alcohol-free, which is something that those with dry skin should look for in their skin care products.

The ingredients in this hydrating toner include coconut water, which aims to balance and hydrate, as well as papaya and neem, which work to help protect, firm, and tone skin.

While reviewers agree that this toner is effective, it’s also worth noting that many aren’t a fan of the strong smell produced by neem.

People with dry skin say this toner absorbed into their skin quickly and left them feeling refreshed.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

  • Price: $$
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 6 oz.
  • Pros: can be used on face and body
  • Cons: some aren’t a fan of this moisturizer’s scent
  • Best for: dryness and irritation due to conditions, like eczema or rosacea

This rich moisturizer is designed to offer intense hydration for all types of dryness, whether you have eczema, occasional dry patches, or roughness due to retinol use.

Colloidal oatmeal is a standout ingredient, as it should help relieve itching and irritation. The shea butter aims to provide and maintain moisture, and allantoin may provide a calming effect.

Reviewers swear by this moisturizer for its lasting hydration and ability to calm irritated skin. Many reviews also mention the moisturizer can feel heavy, so it may be best as a night cream.

Combination skin

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: skin peel
  • Size: 30-pack
  • Pros: easy to use
  • Cons: can feel a little sticky at first
  • Best for: combination skin

If you want to address multiple skin concerns at once, these wipes just might get the job done in one swipe. The daily skin peel wipes from Dr. Dennis Gross are designed to exfoliate your skin by removing dead skin cells, oil, and impurities to improve uneven texture and support graceful aging.

According to the company, the result is clearer and smoother skin. Plus, the daily wipe should be gentle enough for first-time users of skin peels or those with sensitive skin.

While these pads are on the pricier side, reviewers praise the pads for both their immediate and long-term effects. Reviewers also love how easy and convenient they are, which explains why these wipes have hundreds of 5-star reviews.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

  • Price: $
  • Type: mask
  • Size: 1 pound
  • Pros: 100% clay
  • Cons: needs to be mixed before applying
  • Best for: deep cleansing pores

Whether you’re trying to clear up a breakout or want to deep clean your pores, this affordable clay mask may do the job. It’s received over 40,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, with users praising its effectiveness.

The facial mask is made with 100% natural calcium bentonite clay and can be mixed with either water or apple cider vinegar to create a mask consistency.

Some reviewers say that mixing can be a challenge, and it may take some trial and error to achieve the consistency you want. Reviewers also warn that clay has a tendency to clog pipes, so be sure to wipe down the bowl you use to mix rather than pouring it down the drain.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: essence
  • Size: 5.4 oz.
  • Pros: lightweight
  • Cons: pricey
  • Best for: all skin types

This essence may be lightweight, but it’s formulated with a powerful combination of over 50 micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that aim to deliver potent results.

This serum is best for all skin types and should be able to address a variety of skin care concerns, such as uneven texture, the appearance of fine lines, dark spots due to dryness, and large-looking pores.

According to users of this serum, it’s so lightweight that the consistency is like water. Because of this, many reviewers suggest using your fingers to press in or dab the essence onto your face rather than rubbing it in or using a cotton pad to soak it up.

According to many online reviews, while this essence comes at a high price point, a little goes a long way. A long lasting product that addresses several skin concerns may be worth the investment.

Lancôme Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturizing Cream-Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 1.7 oz.
  • Pros: oil-free
  • Cons: rose fragrance might irritate some
  • Best for: combination, oily, and normal skin

Lancôme’s oil-free cream gel is designed to offer hydrating and smoothing benefits all in one. The gel-like cream aims to give skin a bouncy, smooth appearance while reducing redness and dullness. Plus, the addition of salicylic acid should help smooth uneven texture.

Many reviewers love the way this moisturizer makes their skin feel soft and look smoother, and they praise the oil-free formula for combination skin.

However, some reviewers say the rose extract has a strong smell, which could be irritating for those with a sensitivity to fragrance.

Sensitive skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

  • Price: $
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 3.2 oz.
  • Pros: great value
  • Cons: may start to pill
  • Best for: sensitive skin that’s also oily or dry

This versatile moisturizer from La Roche-Posay is formulated to do more than hydrate sensitive skin. The fragrance-free formula — which is essential for those with sensitive skin — also includes a combination of prebiotics intended to restore skin’s natural protective barrier.

Many reviewers who say they have sensitive skin that’s acne-prone or prone to dryness and oil praise this moisturizer for being all-around effective for all of their skin concerns. Some even call this a “holy grail” because it makes their skin feel more supple, calmer, and less prone to breakouts.

However, some reviewers also say that they experienced pilling when using this moisturizer.

Tula Super CalmGentle Milk Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Type: cleanser
  • Size: 5 oz.
  • Pros: also works as a makeup remover
  • Cons: consistency
  • Best for: irritated skin

The combination of colloidal oatmeal, probiotic extracts, cucumber, ginger, and aloe in this gentle cleanser should leave skin feeling smooth, relaxed, and not too tight or dry.

Probiotic extracts are a core ingredient for all of Tula’s products. They’re supposed to lock in moisture and reduce the appearance of inflammation.

Reviewers praise this cleanser for its gentle, soothing formula, saying that, in some cases, it even helped reduce redness. Some reviewers aren’t a fan of the milky consistency, but most find the texture to be preferable for their sensitive skin.

Hylamide Sensitive Boost Fixer

  • Price: $$
  • Type: serum
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Pros: affordable
  • Cons: some say the texture is sticky
  • Best for: sensitive areas and redness

For people with sensitive skin, this lightweight serum can be worked into your current skin care routine to help hydrate, or as a way to treat irritation or redness.

The serum uses a plant complex to help balance skin’s pH balance and potentially reduce redness and sensitivity.

Reviewers say this serum relieved their red or irritated skin with just a few drops. Others say that, with regular use, the serum helped prevent dryness and flaking due to its hydrating formula.

While some say that the formula has a sticky feeling, other reviewers note that it absorbs quickly.

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Type: cleanser
  • Size: 7 oz.
  • Pros: also works as a makeup remover
  • Cons: some say the pump dispenser isn’t always easy to use
  • Best for: oily and sensitive skin

While this gentle foaming cleanser is suitable for all skin types, it’s created to be especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin that may be prone to oiliness.

The oil-free formula is pH-balanced and creates a significant self-foaming lather that people say gives them a deep clean feeling.

Many reviewers say this is a great everyday cleanser that they also use to remove makeup.

Most complaints about the moisturizer are about the pump dispenser. Some say it doesn’t always pump out product easily, while others note that the foam tends to harden around the pump and has to be cleaned often.

Mature-looking skin

HydroPeptide Nimni Face Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 0.5 oz.
  • Pros: developed by a collagen expert
  • Cons: pricey
  • Best for: fine lines and loose skin

Developed by a leading expert in collagen, Dr. Marcel Nimni, this face cream is formulated with an amino acid complex that’s meant to support your skin’s natural collagen production and help improve firmness and elasticity.

The moisturizer features a time-release retinol that aims to help improve your skin’s texture by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. There’s also vitamin C and other antioxidants for a boost of brightness.

Most reviewers are impressed with this cream. Many say it’s gentle and lightweight, and it leaves their face feeling soft and smooth in the morning.

While this cream is fragrance-free, some reviewers note that it has a slight scent that they weren’t a fan of. However, most say it’s not overpowering.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: serum
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Pros: a little goes a long way
  • Cons: pricey
  • Best for: all skin types

For your morning skin care routine, this serum is packed with vitamin C and designed to be powerful and effective. It also has ferulic acid, which aims to support vitamin C’s strength.

The serum works to improve your skin’s brightness and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it’s designed to help offer protection against damaging environmental factors that can lead to mature-looking skin and photodamage.

Reviewers love how effective and fast-acting this serum is. Many say they noticed a visible improvement to their skin’s overall texture and tone.

With a high price point, however, this product isn’t the most accessible.

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème

  • Price: $$
  • Type: eye cream
  • Size: 0.5 oz.
  • Pros: a little goes a long way
  • Cons: small package for the price
  • Best for: treating dark under eye circles

The eyes are a top concern for many when it comes to the appearance of aging skin, so a good eye cream is essential for any skin care routine.

This eye cream contains pigments meant to brighten and tint the undereye area to reduce the appearance of dark circles. It’s also formulated with collagen to give under eyes a boost of firmness.

Reviewers appreciate how easy it is to layer this eye cream with the rest of their skin care and makeup products. Many also praise the luminous effect it creates around their eyes.

Some reviewers, however, say it may take a few months to start noticing a difference, but the wait is worth it.

fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Face Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: moisturizer
  • Size: 1.6 oz.
  • Pros: paraben-free
  • Cons: fragrant
  • Best for: treating appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles

This nightly recovery cream features super lotus, which is rich in antioxidants to help support a strong skin barrier.

It’s also formulated with peach leaf extract, which works to de-stress your skin overnight.

While most reviewers love how soft this moisturizer makes their skin feel, some say it can feel heavy. Other reviewers also say the scent is too strong. This formula might not be best for those with oily or sensitive skin.

How do I start a skin care routine?

To start a skin care routine, get a hold of the basics: cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Every night, begin by cleansing your skin before bed, followed by toner and moisturizer. Repeat this every morning, with the addition of sunscreen.

Once you have nailed this routine down, consider adding other products such as eye cream, a serum, an exfoliant mask, and other spot treatments. Adjust your routine based on the kind of skin you have, and how it reacts to what you’re using.

What serums do I need?

The best serum is one that targets your specific skin type or concern, or both.

For example, if you have dry skin, a serum with ingredients that will boost moisture and address fine lines, like one with hyaluronic acid, would be a great choice. If you have sun damage, a serum packed with vitamin C or azelaic acid would be a good choice. If you have texture you want to address, you may want to consider a serum with lactic or glycolic acid to help gently exfoliate your skin.

Are affordable skin care products as effective as luxury ones?

It depends. Just because a product is expensive, or has proprietary ingredients, doesn’t mean it’s better or more effective.

Proprietary ingredients can be pricier because they are rarer, but that doesn’t mean they are more effective. Rather, pay attention to the concentration of ingredients in skin care products, as it’s possible a pricier product has a higher concentration of the “good” ingredients, rather than the drugstore version.

Additionally, keep in mind that marketing and packaging plays a big role in how products are priced.

No matter which skin type you have, there are several highly-rated and effective products available for you to choose from.

The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for skin care products is that everyone’s skin is unique, and it might take some experimenting to figure out the combination of products that’s best for your skin.


Sam Lauron is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Austin, TX. When she’s not writing about wellness, creativity, or personal development, she spends her time reading, listening to true crime podcasts, and soaking up the sunny Austin weather with her partner and their dog. Connect with her on Instagram or Twitter, or by visiting her website.