Skin Secrets

No Cap, It's Good Skin Days Forever With These Best Skin Care Products Of 2021

Your face is about to feel real nice.

McKinsey Jordan / Stocksy

For a long time, I had a lazy approach to my skin care routine, spending too many nights sleeping in my mascara and failing to apply enough sunscreen. (Even when I did remember to apply it, it still wasn’t enough.) This started to change when I began working in beauty, but my true skintervention occurred over the past year and a half. Now, with so much time spent inside, my skin care routine has become my only concern. Will this mineral sunscreen actually blend into my skin? Is this expensive serum really that different from the 86 cheaper ones on the shelf next to it? These concerns became (some of) the questions Elite Daily’s 2021 Glow Beauty Awards product testers considered as they decided on the best new skin care products of 2021. Out of more than 1,000 submissions, these 10 best skin care products below stood out as the most innovative and efficacious new releases.

While skin care was already on track to become the largest sector of the beauty market (and has since earned that spot in 2021), that trend accelerated significantly in the past year. That’s understandable given the unprecedented amount of time we all had to look at ourselves in the mirror, pick apart every perceived “flaw,” and adopt 12 new skin care routine steps just to pass the time. Skin care products to buy and try multiplied by the second to meet the rising demands, each batch boasting newer formulas and better results. Separating the really good from the bullsh*t quickly became next to impossible, but luckily, Elite Daily’s Glow Beauty Awards skin care testers, ranging from the certifiably obsessed skin care nerds to more casual skin care lovers, were up for the challenge.

Here’s a little teaser of what we found: The search for the best new cleanser turned up an unlikely favorite; pimples were no match for our best new acne treatment; the best new toner will convince you to actually try a toner in the first place. As for the rest? Well, bank on spending more time looking in the mirror — in the best way possible.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Elite Daily's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

01

Best New Cleanser:

OTZI Crystal Nova Gentle Makeup Removing Cleanser
Crystal Nova Gentle Makeup Removing Cleanser
Sephora

Initially skeptical of the pear scent, I didn’t expect to like this cleanser at all, much less for it to become one of my top three favorite beauty products. But OTZI’s Crystal Nova Cleanser ($25, Sephora) surprised — nay, shocked — me and our testers. It removes every trace of makeup without any harsh tugging on my part, and the gel formula positively melts into my face, to the point where every cleansing session feels like a luxurious face massage. No cap, my skin feels its absolute softest immediately post-cleanse.

$25
02

Best New Moisturizer:

IT Cosmetics Hello Results Daily Retinol Wrinkle Reducing Serum in a Cream
03

Best New Toner:

good light Moon Glow Milky Toning Lotion
Moon Glow Milky Toning Lotion
Good Light

Originally utilized to rebalance the skin’s pH because of the harsher cleansers of decades past, toners have gotten an unfair rap in recent years. The truth is, not all toners are formulated with sometimes-irritating astringents or denatured alcohol. Case in point: good light’s Moon Glow Milky Toning Lotion ($22, good light). The gentle, creamy formula does it all: balances your skin’s pH, gently exfoliates, fortifies your skin’s moisture barrier with ceramides, and promotes even texture with universally loved niacinamide. According to one tester, the resulting lit-from-within glow is so good, you won’t even want to cover it up: “I hardly ever used makeup with this toner, as it would leave my skin looking bright and dewy all day.”

$22
04

Best New Face Mask:

Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask
Harmony Mask
Keys Soulcare

Turns out, Alicia Keys can craft a face mask as well as she can harmonize. Calming as the experience of using the product may be, the Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask ($28, Keys Soulcare) goes hard to refresh your skin. While activated charcoal unclogs pores, manuka honey deeply moisturizes and protects, and small amounts of gold foil leave behind a noticeable radiance. Our testers also noted just how refreshing the mask feels while it’s on. The subtle sandalwood scent makes this 10-minute masking sesh a full, transformative ritual.

$28
05

Best New Serum:

SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF
Silymarin CF
SkinCeuticals

Rest assured, I don’t take expensive product recommendations lightly, particularly when I know something at a lower price point delivers equal, if not better, results. But the SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF’s ($166, SkinCeuticals) quick, surprising efficacy in treating stubborn breakouts and scarring was unmatched. Every single tester (and also my girlfriend) noted that regular use of this serum cleared both small spots and larger, painful breakouts, while lightening acne scars in the process. To sweeten the deal, a little goes a long way, so IMHO, Silymarin CF is worth the investment.

$166
06

Best New Facial Oil:

Bad Habit Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil
Bad Habit Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil
Ulta Beauty

In no way did the fact that I could watch Emma Chamberlain do anything for hours influence this decision. Rather, one tester’s feedback after regularly using Bad Habit’s Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil ($29, Ulta Beauty) speaks for itself. “It made my skin look so even-toned and glowy that I didn't wear makeup on any days that I used this oil, and I really loved the scent and the packaging,” they said of using the product on their acne-prone skin. “It absorbs quickly, isn't greasy, and I was happy to find something that I loved as much as [other facial oils] at a much lower price point.”

$29
$20.30
07

Best New Eye Cream:

No7 Beauty Radiance+ Roll & Glow Eye Cream
No7 Radiance+ Roll & Glow Eye Cream
Target

Not only did No7 Beauty’s Radiance+ Roll & Glow Eye Cream ($11.99, Target) deliver noticeable results during the testing process, but the component itself made the entire experience that much better. The metal, glide-on applicator distributed product evenly across the under-eye area, boasted a cooling, depuffing effect, and lightly massaged the area to stimulate blood flow.

$11.99
08

Best New Acne Treatment:

Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Liquid Peel
Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Liquid Peel
Target

The glowing reviews of Bliss’ entire Clear Genius line are no joke when it comes to treating acne, but the Clarifying Liquid Peel ($19.99, Target), in particular, is most deserving of the hype. At just $20, this blend of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs effectively but gently breaks up the clusters of skin cells that make up blemishes, leaving behind a brighter, smoother complexion with significantly less scarring. After just a few uses, several testers said they experienced a noticeable improvement in their skin’s texture.

$19.99
09

Best New Exfoliator:

OLEHENRIKSEN DEWTOPIA™ 20% ACID NIGHT TREATMENT
OLEHENRIKSEN DEWTOPIA™ 20% ACID NIGHT TREATMENT
Sephora

I don’t believe in utopia. But dewtopia? That’s something I can get behind. OLEHENRIKSEN’s Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment ($55, Sephora), the brand’s strongest exfoliator to date, easily soared past the competition for best exfoliator given just how well it works to slough off dead skin to reveal radiance underneath. “My skin felt refreshed and glowy after using it, and I'm excited to add it to my nighttime regime,” one tester with sensitive, oily skin said of their experience. “The serum also has aloe, so even though it's an exfoliant, it’s super gentle on your skin and doesn't cause irritation.”

$55
10

Best New Sunscreen:

Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30