Powerful Dupes for the Most Iconic Skin Care Products, According to Dermatologists

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woman applying skin cream to face
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There's a kind of frenzy that surrounds a skin care launch: When the product first circulates into the beauty sphere, there's a fever-pitch reaction—everyone wants to try it!—but this popularity is often short-lived. The main reason? It didn't deliver what it promised, so it fades into the background. This happens more often than you'd think, which is why most people gravitate towards tried-and-true products with longevity; they have stood the test of time simply because they work.

These cult-favorite formulas are the ones we buy over and again, replacing each bottle as soon as we've run out of product. Their formulas don't change—they're that good—but they always seem to have a waitlist; plus, they're the ones that celebrity, beauty editors, and skin care gurus frequently tout. And while there are times when you get lucky and find one of these iconic skin care workhorses on sale, most of these products, that have become household names and staples in our routines, aren't cheap.

This makes sense. Many of these beloved products—from toners and serums to cleansers and moisturizers—were the first of their kind and originality comes at a price. It didn't take long, however, for other brands to catch on and begin making their own versions at much lower price points. While the original versions will always be special, there are some lesser-known and less expensive skin care items that compare to the originals. Here, combined with the help of in-the-know dermatologists, we've rounded up some of our favorite iconic skin care products and matched them with less-expensive alternatives so you can have glowing skin, whatever the cost.

01 of 16

The Icon: SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask

sk-ii pitera facial treatment masks
Courtesy of Sephora

The product that first popularized sheet masks in the United States, this SK-II mask has a secret ingredient that other brands have yet to beat: pitera. The single-use treatment is rich in vitamins, minerals, and organic exfoliating acids that promote a clear complexion and hydration.

Shop Now: SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask, $95 for six, sephora.com.

02 of 16

The Dupe: Neova Serious GlyPeel Mask

neova serious glypeel mask
Courtesy of Dermstore

This isn't a sheet mask, but it's no less radiance-boosting. Dr. Sapna Palep, founder of Spring Street Dermatology, says this absolutely compares to SK-II. "It immediately unclogs blackheads and provides an instant glow," she notes.

Shop Now: Neova Serious GlyPeel Mask, $58, dermstore.com.

03 of 16

The Icon: La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizer

la mer creme de la mer moisturizer
Courtesy of Nordstrom

As the brand claims, this really is the product "that started it all." And it did: It's kept skin hydrated, soft, and supple since its launch in 1965.

Shop Now: La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizer, $335, nordstrom.com.

04 of 16

The Dupe: Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer

alastin ultra nourishing moisturizer
Courtesy of Alastin

This moisturizing workhorse, from a newer yet still noteworthy brand, is a great alternative. "It's especially great for eczema prone patients to repair the skin barrier," adds Palep, who further notes that it's an ideal product to have on hand when you're skiing or performing any other outdoor winter activities. It contains soothing botanicals and peptides that can help firm skin and increase collagen and elastin production.

Shop Now: Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer, $70, alastin.com.

05 of 16

The Icon: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

skinceuticals ce ferulic
Courtesy of Dermstore

Dermatologists have recommended this skin-refining staple for years thanks to its age-preventative and skin-protecting combination of antioxidants C and E; together, they help even your skin tone while protecting your face from free-radical damage.

Shop Now: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $166, dermstore.com.

06 of 16

The Dupe: Revision Skincare Vitamin C Lotion 15%

revision skincare vitamin c lotion 15 percent
Courtesy of Amazon

Palep actually suggests turning to Revision's formula, instead, since the vitamin C it contains is photo-stabilized (meaning it will not break down in sunlight). Historically, vitamin C is a very unstable ingredient that loses its benefits when exposed to the sun—and this one won't do that. The fact that it's a lotion, as opposed to an oil, also makes it great for those who are acne prone, she adds.

Shop Now: Revision Skincare Vitamin C Lotion 15%, $86, amazon.com.

07 of 16

The Icon: AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact

amorepacific color control cushion compact
Courtesy of Nordstrom

This looks like a makeup compact, but it's actually skin care disguised as makeup. Its real benefit lies in the antioxidant- and moisture-rich formula that also contains SPF 50.

Shop Now: AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact, $60, nordstrom.com.

08 of 16

The Dupe: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, Tinted

elta md uv clear broad-spectrum spf 46 tinted
Courtesy of Dermstore

Instead of trying to buy a less-expensive cushion compact that also boasts SPF, the secret here is to go for an antioxidant-packed tinted sunscreen. Elta MD's option might look less fancy, but it works so well. "It's great for those who are rosacea- and acne-prone, too, and replaces foundation," says Dr. Rita Linkner of Spring Street Dermatology.

Shop Now: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted, $37, dermstore.com.

09 of 16

The Icon: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pads

dr. dennis gross alpha beta pads
Courtesy of Sephora

These glow-boosting peel pads were first popularized by Olivia Palermo years ago and have been a go-to means of at-home exfoliation ever since.

Shop Now: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pads, $88, sephora.com.

10 of 16

The Dupe: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

first aid beauty facial radiance pads
Courtesy of Ulta

Linkner loves the formula of these pads—the fact that they're less than half the price of Dr. Dennis Gross' option is an added bonus. "Lactic and glycolic acids make these treatment pads an effective and convenient way to tone and brighten the skin," she says.

Shop Now: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $32, ulta.com.

11 of 16

The Icon: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Oil

tatcha pure one step camellia oil
Courtesy of Sephora

This two-in-one cleanser is all you need for a clean, makeup-free complexion. It leaves your skin free of SPF, dirt, debris, oil, and makeup at the end of the day without also leaving it dry or irritated.

Shop Now: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Oil, $48, sephora.com.

12 of 16

The Dupe: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

garnier skinactive micellar cleansing water
Courtesy of Amazon

Garnier's micellar water works across all skin types, including sensitive—and you don't even need water to use it. The hydrating liquid helps cleanse the skin and acts as a makeup remover, all in one fell swoop. Just put a bit on a cotton ball, swipe it around your face, and you're good to go.

Shop Now: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, $6.78, amazon.com.

13 of 16

The Icon: Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

vintners daughter active botanical serum
Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

This incredible elixir has been a cult-favorite for years—it's packed with so many cold-pressed, nutrient-dense ingredients that quickly absorb into your skin to make it radiant, even, youthful, and blemish free.

Shop Now: Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum, $185, nordstrom.com.

14 of 16

The Dupe: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow

sunday riley c.e.o. glow
Courtesy of Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley's oil is also packed with anti-inflammatory, skin-loving ingredients, and leaves the skin brighter and calmer in no time.

Shop Now: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow, $40, ulta.com.

15 of 16

The Icon: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50

biologique recherche lotion p50
Courtesy of Rescue Spa

This toner has been a beauty editor favorite for years. It refines pores, evens skin tone, and controls oil production. It's frequently touted as a facial in a bottle.

Shop Now: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $103, shoprescuespa.com.

16 of 16

The Dupe: La Roche Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner

la roche posay effaclar clarifying solution acne toner
Courtesy of Dermstore

Dr. Shereene Idriss of Union Square Laser Dermatology loves this alternative for its effective mix of salicylic and glycolic acids, which gently smooth and exfoliate skin.

Shop Now: La Roche Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner, $14.99, dermstore.com.

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