You don’t have to take out a mortgage to address your skin concerns. In fact, many must-have products can be found at your local drugstore. We talked to top dermatologists to score their recommendations on the best new skincare items—from masks to a retinol-infused cream to a solid cleansing stick. The best part: they’re all under $30.
NYC cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah likes solid facial cleansing sticks because they’re easy to use, mess-free, and portable. “They're great for gym bags and travel,” she says. “You can put them in your carry on—they are TSA friendly because they’re solids.” St. Ives’ newest iteration hydrates with natural coconut oil. “Because they are formulated with coconut oil, they are great at removing makeup and other impurities, while nourishing and softening skin,” says Shah.
This French pharmacy favorite recently launched stateside. It’s also a go-to recommendation of NYC dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “A healthy skin barrier means the skin can protect itself from the environment, preventing dehydration, fighting off environmental stressors and minimizing inflammation,” he says. He also notes that the retinol in this cream helps stimulate collagen, while tiger grass calms the skin to help it function optimally.
Dr. Kristina Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in NYC recommends this assortment of products from La Roche Posay. “They are strong enough to treat mild acne, but are gentle enough to not cause too much irritation,” she explains. “They are an efficacious and gentler option if you are experiencing acne that is not severe.”
Zeichner recommends this body scrub because it exfoliates using hydrated silica to gently separate dead cells from the surface of the skin. Plus it’s made with ¼ moisturizing cream for extra smooth skin. “Pomegranate helps brighten the complexion while shea butter hydrates and helps maintains a healthy skin barrier while you exfoliate,” he says.
A manual exfoliation aids in sloughing off dead skin cells and providing a smoother surface for makeup application. Goldenberg notes that this foaming cleanser, which contains clay in the ingredients, is a great scrub for acne-prone skin.
DermWarehouse founder and dermatologist Dr. Alan J. Parks is a fan of this cleanser designed for normal to oily skin. Great for those for whom clogged pores are a concern, it removes excess oil, makeup, dirt, and impurities while maintaining skin’s natural protective barrier and pH. “It's extremely reasonably priced and is a very good everyday foaming cleanser,” Parks says.
This petroleum jelly rich formula is especially great for dry, dull skin, Zeichner says. “[Plus, it contains] cocoa and shea butter which have been traditionally used in skin care for their ultra-emollient properties, as they help smooth out rough cells on the surface of the skin,” he explains.
Shah is a fan of Olay’s latest moisturizer suite, the Olay Whips. They’re lightweight formulations of some of Olay's most popular creams, such as Regenerist, Total Effects, and Luminous. “These creams offer the same hydration and skin care benefits but in an airy texture that absorbs instantaneously into the skin,” explains Shah. “These are great for people who don't like the feel of a heavy cream.”
Hyaluronic acid is a hero ingredient in skincare right now, Zeichner says. “It acts like a sponge to pull in water to the outer skin layer to offer long lasting hydration.” When the weather is humid, the last thing you want to do is apply a heavy sunscreen, and he notes that this formula has an ultra-light consistency to help moisturize and plump the skin without a greasy feel, while providing high-quality sun protection.
“Sheet masks are great for an instant boost of hydration and this new mask from Pond's provides just that,” says Shah. There are two formulations from which to choose—firming and glowing. “Both contain a number of beneficial ingredients for the skin leaving it hydrated and radiant.”