7 Best Skincare Brands
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Shopping for the Best Skincare Brands
It’s official. The world is obsessed with skincare — and why not? With breakthrough formulas that really work, totally natural, clinically-proven lines, and gentle solutions for common concerns, the best skincare brands aren’t anything like the conventional companies of the past — they’re science-backed, clean, and actually effective.
Whether it’s results-driven serums you’re after or a creamy face wash that won’t strip your skin’s natural microbiome, this list of best skincare brands is about to take a close look at the top names of the moment. Don’t worry, we’ll spare you the lab goggle lines and divulge all the crucial details here.
The 7 Best Skincare Brands
#1 Peter Thomas Roth
Clinical skincare — why does it matter? Because why take a gamble on a formula when you don’t have to? Founded in 1993 by Peter Thomas Roth, he created his namesake brand to help him deal with his own skin issues.
His recipe is simple: powerful ingredients in effective concentrations equals real results. And judging from how popular this brand is, we think he did the math right.
With roots in traditional remedies (and more specifically Hungarian healing mud) though you’ll find traces of these throughout the brand’s collection of serums, cleansers, masks, and creams, its focus is on innovative, science-backed ingredients. Think: glycolic acid, retinol, and hyaluronic acid.
Expect no shortage of modern formulas from this brand, including the Rose Stem Cell Mask and FirmX Temporary Eye Tightener, and the occasional 24K gold mask. Prices start as low as $15 for a travel set of Hydration Heroes and go up to $220 for the Retinol Nightcream Duo.
- Men’s & Women’s lines
- Hydration, acne & aging
- Clinically-proven ingredients
- Powerful ingredients
- Effective concentrations
#2 The Ordinary
Funny thing about The Ordinary, it’s unlike any other skincare brand out there. Why? Because even though its formulas are clinical, they’re affordable. Like, scary affordable. Launched just a few short years ago in 2017, the brand offered up simple bottles of effective ingredients without fancy labels, colors, and names.
Be sure you read up on ingredients though. There’s no “Super Plumping Serum” here. Instead, expect names that denote the ingredients inside, like “Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5,” of which plumping and hydrating skin happen to be two of its effects.
Expect smart products from this brand, like retinol sold in different levels mixed with different ingredients to help your skin get used to it before loading on a too-high dose. Prices rarely go above $30, which is crazy-affordable for effective, clinical skincare. A 1 oz bottle of Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is just $7.50.
- Simple formulas
- Clinical formulas
Now here’s a company with heart. We’re in love with Biossance not because it got its start saving sharks (though it did), but because from formula to packaging, this brand is all about sustainability.
Founded in 2003, though its range of skincare is clean, it’s backed by science. In fact, the entire brand came to be after its scientists made a breakthrough cure for malaria. Since that day, Biossance has been dedicated to making a difference. And it has.
You’ll find effective, kind formulas within its line of cruelty-free skincare. Olive-based moisturizers, gentle plant-based extracts, and natural scents are rich within this line. Though it’s got a rep for having an odd-smelling cream, we think Biossance is one of the most admirable skincare brands out there. And that’s worth it to us.
The best-selling 1.6 oz Squalane & Omega Repair Cream is $58 while a 1 oz Squalane & Vitamin C Rose Oil is $72.
- Packaging made from ocean plastic
- Microbead-free formulas
- Over 2,000 banned ingredients
- Carbon-neutral shipping
In search of truly clean beauty? Odacité swoops in with its line of natural, vegan, and cruelty-free skincare, blurring the lines between a science-backed approach and fresh, natural Californian culture.
Using only the highest-quality ingredients from around the world, its formulas are free from toxins and made to boost your skin’s health. This line is loved by customers for how effective it is despite being so clean. Founded by Valerie Grandury, Odacité is the product of failing to find a line that met her needs.
After recovering from breast cancer, Grandury totally made over her life. Cutting out everything synthetic, skincare proved to be the most difficult to find natural alternatives. So she launched this line.
You’ll discover 4 core lines within Odacite’s collection: Soothe, Glow, Clarify, and Renew. For the most discerning beauty buff, snatch up serums for $36-$165 and creams for $68-$118.
- Made in California
- Natural & clean
- Vegan & cruelty-free
- 4 core lines
- Varied range of innovative skincare (cleansing powder, combo serums, balm, etc.)
#5 Tata Harper
If the best skincare brands are a balance of effective formulas, clean ingredients, and good-for-the-planet practices, then Tata Harper is a brand we just had to include. Founding her namesake brand out of the need for clean, effective skincare, it uses over 300 raw innovative ingredients like fermented giant bamboo and grape polyphenols.
The result? High-performance products in which every particle matters. Designed to give you skin you won’t want to hide with makeup, Tata Harper’s formulas are made with hand-selected ingredients from 68 different countries. You won’t find a single filler or synthetic ingredient in the line.
With a pile of award-winning products within its 8 different collections, you’ll shop through common skin concerns like aging, blemishes, redness, dryness, and enlarged pores until you find your perfect routine. With a wide selection of skincare across cleansers, masks, serums, essences, and more, there’s a ton to choose from here.
Looking for something simple? Snap up Tata’s beauty routine: 125 ml Regenerating Cleanser $86, Repairative Moisturizer $120, 50ml Rejuvenating Serum 2.0 $180.
- Clean, natural ingredients only
- Hand-selected plants & botanicals
- Wide range of products
- Great for all skin types & concerns
#6 Josie Maran
If it’s glowing skin you’re after, look no further than Josie Maran’s moisture-rich collection. With miracle-working argan oil at the base of all of its products, the line is focused on delivering truly moisturized, healthy skin and natural radiance.
Founded by Josie Maran, a former model, the brand takes inspiration from natural beauty, but more specifically, Maran’s mom who never wore a swipe of makeup. You’ll discover a wide selection of face and body-specific products within the collection like retinol-infused eye cream, whipped retinol body butter, and 100% pure argan oil.
Of course, a line dedicated to argan oil doesn’t use just any kind. It’s sourced from a UNESCO-protected spot in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, and to prevent deforestation, only the argan nuts that fall on the ground are the ones this brand uses.
Of course, all other ingredients Josie Maran uses are as thoughtfully sourced, and you’ll find power-hitters like pro-retinol (from pink algae) and full-spectrum hemp — two ingredients with highly sustainable backgrounds. Need we say more? Grab a 0.85 oz of Bright Skin Power C Serum for $66 or a 13.5 oz tub of Whipped Argan Oil for $56.
- Free from synthetic ingredients
- Sourced from protected argan farms
- Natural ingredients
- Hydration & anti-aging focused
- Great selection of skincare (cleansers, serums, creams, etc.)
Approaching skincare from a mindful level, Tatcha is all about the experience. Creating rituals, you’ll find prescribed routines within this brand’s collection of natural Japanese skincare that’s formulated with the “mind-skin” connection at its roots.
The brand explains that what we experience — sounds, scents, touch, etc. — all impact how we feel and how we look. Giving the example of goosebumps when we sense cold, Tatcha says that our skin is the direct result of our life experiences, and if that means you’re stressed all the time, your skin will be too.
In the spirit of indulging your senses, you’ll find luxury ingredients like real gold, pearls, and silk within this line, along with other natural beauty experts like red algae, Camilla oil, and green tea. Allowing you to shop by benefit, you’ll browse through lines for aging, clarifying, calming, brightening, and moisturizing.
Expect all of the regular skincare suspects like eye creams and serums, along with some enlightening extras like essences, cleansing oils, and innovative items like serum sticks and texture tonic. Prices range from $36-$65 for cleansers and $88-$118 for serums.
- Natural ingredients
- Mindful, Japanese skincare
- Nice range of cleansers, serums, and creams
- Made with luxury ingredients
- For all skin types & concerns
How To Shop For The Best Skincare Brands
The goal of the list of best skincare brands is to find you one that meets your needs and fits your skin. That means you can’t just point and click on just any brand — we’re sorry to say that the process takes a little more consideration. But not to worry, we’ll try to make it as painless as possible by walking you through a few key pointers.
As soon as you look at a brand, you get an idea of what it’s all about. Whether that’s because of the font, the certifications, or the face smiling at you from the screen, right away, you’ll know if you vibe with it or not.
This holds true for skincare, but to make sure you love the companies you shop with, it may be worth looking into the fine print. Are its formulas cruelty-free? Is it formulated by a doctor? How about clinical testing and sustainable sourcing? If these things matter to you, be sure to single out the brands that meet your needs.
Skincare is a pretty personal thing. What works for your sister may not work for you, so it’s important to pay attention to the little details. In the case of the best skincare brands, that means the ingredients.
If you have a preference for natural ingredients over those that aren’t, be on the lookout for brands that prioritize them. Keep in mind that natural doesn’t always mean more effective, nor does it mean they’re better for your skin.
While you entertain that thought, turn your attention to the results. What are the formulas proven to do? From there, you can make your decision of which kind of formula may be more beneficial for your skin.
Normally, skincare products are bottled into containers that will last 1-3 months. While you consider the price of each product you’re interested in, check out how big the bottle is. Expensive skincare brands often offer highly concentrated formulas that cost a pretty penny, but the beauty is that they’ll last you much longer.
Don’t want to keep running to the store to top up your stash? Many brands offer small and large sizes of their best-selling formulas. You may be paying more at the checkout now, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re not scraping the bottom of a smaller tub.
There’s a good chance you’ve come to this list of best skincare brands already knowing the kind of formula you’re looking for. Whether it’s for aging skin, acne, or hydration, you’ll have tons to pick from here, but keep in mind that some brands specialize in certain formulas more so than others.
If you’re not too sure what you’ll need, go with a brand that offers an extensive selection. That way, you’ll cover your bases.
If you’ve ever popped your head into a skincare hub like Sephora, then before you ran out of the store shaking your head, you probably saw the high prices that come attached to popular skincare brands.
We’re happy to say that not all effective formulas have to break the bank, there are plenty that are both affordable and work well. With that said, you will find price variations within this list of the best skincare brands. They are, after all, the best, and some of them use luxury ingredients to get the job done.
Though it may be tempting to shell out the rest of your paycheck on gotta-have-in skincare, since skincare is designed to be used continuously, you’ll want to make sure it’s something you can afford on a regular basis.
What are the different types of skincare routines?
Skincare routines can be personal, so they differ from person to person depending on what their needs are. With that said, there are 2 core routines that are popular right now.
- Basic Skincare Routine
This involves the basics: cleansing, toning, and moisturizer. Add an SPF during the day if you’re looking for sun protection. The goal? To cleanse and hydrate your skin. For basic skin health maintenance, you can’t really go wrong with this combination.
- Korean 10-Step Routine
If you have the time, this one comes highly recommended. It involves oil cleansing, gel cleansing, exfoliation, essence, serum, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizing cream or night cream, and SPF during the day.
What skincare routine is best for me?
If you’re new to the realm of skincare, finding a routine that fits your needs and schedule can be daunting — especially when looking at 10-step Korean skincare daily rituals. The good news is that your skincare routine is up to you. It can involve as little as two steps.
So how do you go about choosing one that’s right for you? We suggest starting with the basics. Ask yourself what you’re looking to get out of your new routine. Is it just hydration, or is it a mix of spot-reducing, moisture, and anti-aging needs? Targeting what you need is a surefire way to land on a skincare routine that works.
To create your own skincare routine, start with just a cleanser and moisturizer. Add more as you need more. Here’s an example for someone who needs hydration, wrinkle-reducing, and sun protection.
- Step 1: Cleanser
- Step 2: Toner
- Step 2: Serum
- Step 3: Moisturizer with SPF
This may be their daily regimen, but on the weekends, they also may like to use an exfoliator to slough off dead skin and brighten their skin tone. There is a basketful of different products within the world of skincare, but knowing what you need can help you zero in on the right brand and set a routine.
Do I need a serum?
That depends on your skin. Serums are concentrated forms of natural extracts, vitamins, and effective chemicals with different purposes. Serums are designed for a handful of different purposes. The main ones include:
- Hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
- Fine lines & wrinkles
- Pore-minimizing & Clarifying
Depending on the brand, you’ll find that different ingredients do similar things. For example, squalane can be used to combat dryness but so can hyaluronic acid. Retinol can be used to target wrinkles, while bakuchiol does the same thing but is gentler.
The type of serum you buy depends on your unique preferences and skin. There is no one-formula-fits-all product in skincare, it’s about finding a line that meets your values, needs, and preferences.
Hunting down the right skincare can be a trial and error process. Often, it can leave your skin in worse condition than you started with. That’s why shopping for skincare can be a time-consuming process, but once you find the right line, it can become fun.
With results-driven and clinically proven ingredients, shopping with the best skincare brands is an easy way to find what’s right for you. We hope you’re leaving with a few options in mind and the excitement that skincare shopping brings.