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We’re living in an AG (After Goop) world, which means more people are not only prioritizing their wellness, but are also willing to invest in products that help them look and feel better. Whether you want to banish blemishes, hydrate your lips, or achieve a glowy complexion, there’s something out there to help you reach that goal.
Luckily, many of these products are available at lower-than-Goop prices, though there are always some items that feel worth the splurge. To help you out if you’re looking to treat yourself or buy the perfect gift for your skincare-obsessed best friend, we asked the BuzzFeed News team to tell us what they’re loving in this space.
Read on for all the skincare and beauty holiday gifting inspo you need this year.
RoC Skincare Revive and Glow Daily Serum
My skin gets alarmingly dull and pale in the winter, and extremely tan and sweaty in the summer — the perks of living in NYC — so I’ve been in desperate need of a good serum to help balance and revitalize my skin year-round. This RoC Vitamin C serum is a perfect fit, because it keeps my skin bright and healthy without making it feel oily. I wear it during the day, so that the sun can activate the vitamin C, and at night to keep my skin feeling balanced. It’s a bit heavier than some of the other vitamin C serums I’ve tried, but it easily absorbs and doesn’t leave any residue on the skin. Highly recommended for an affordable vitamin C serum option! —Lizzie Grams, Senior Publicist
You can buy RoC Skincare Revive and Glow Daily Serum from Amazon for around $25.
Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
The thing about beauty is that I’m incredibly lazy about it. So when I’m going out to a concert or to a party, I’ve become very reliant on the Stila glitter eyeshadow to fix all my makeup problems. It’s less messy than pot glitter and easy to travel with. It doesn’t scatter down your face. It’s buildable. It’s hidden smudges, and fixed mid-makeup looks that I’m not happy with. It comes off easily. I’ve been able to put it on in the train, two soju shots in, in bad lighting, and it still looks great. I am usually not attached to any makeup products, but this is one that I just need now. It’s sparkly! So sparkly! —Steffi Cao, Internet Culture Reporter
You can buy Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow from Amazon for around $24.
Mzoo Sleep Eye Mask
This Mzoo sleep eye mask, which former BuzzFeed News reporter Addy Baird actually recommended last year, is helping me get the best sleep I’ve ever had. I have more than six eye masks — a silk one, a velvet one, a weighted one, a cooling one, etc. — but after I tried this relatively cheap one by Mzoo that you can buy on Amazon, all the others became my B-list eye masks. I now have four of them because I can’t sleep without one. It offers complete blackout — not a speck of light comes in. I love the gentle pressure of the memory foam around my eyes while putting no pressure on my lids themselves, allowing me to use this mask even with lash extensions. With the adjustable elastic, you can get a snug fit, creating more gentle pressure if that’s your thing (it definitely is mine). The only downside is it’s not super breathable, so if you run hot, as I did in my last month of pregnancy, it can make you sweatier. My sisters have also since converted to this eye mask and say they can’t go back to their previous ones. —Yemile Bucay, Risk and Security Manager
You can buy the Mzoo Sleep Eye Mask from Amazon for around $20.
Missha Time Revolution: The First Essence
The explosion of Korean beauty products in recent years exposed me to the concept of an essence, and to me, it was the most confusing element of a multistep routine. I grabbed my first bottle of Missha Time Revolution without totally understanding what it was supposed to do, but I quickly became a believer.
Think of it as a primer for your other products, a watery layer that quickly absorbs before the thicker serums do their work, then the moisturizer seals it all in. Missha credits a formula of 97% desert cica yeast ferment for firming and brightening the skin. What I do know is that I’ve seen noticeably smaller pores and smoother texture when I use this, and yes, I would say my skin is firmer and brighter. —Claudia Koerner, Deputy Director, Breaking News
You can buy Missha Time Revolution: The First Essence from Amazon for around $32.
Active Skin Repair Hydrogel
I’m from Australia, so I thought I was extremely experienced in dealing with insects. However, the mosquitoes of New York taught me otherwise. This summer, I got absolutely besieged by them and I realized I must be allergic to at least some of the insects; many of the bites swelled up and persisted for days, itching insufferably until I wished I had some kind of magical potion to get rid of the sensation. A friend recommended I find a product containing hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is a weak acid that our bodies produce naturally to fight off infection. I’m no scientist, but I found that this product immediately soothed the frustrating, constant itch of bites. What a relief! I also use it on minor cuts, sunburn, and pimples to help in the healing process. This stuff isn’t cheap, but I can’t understate the comfort of knowing I can pack it in a beach bag or for a camping trip. —Estelle Tang, Culture Editor
You can buy Active Skin Repair Hydrogel from Amazon for around $31.
Promise Keeper Nightly Blemish Treatment
Allies of Skin’s “Promise Keeper Nightly Blemish Treatment” is the only product I’ve used that actually minimizes the appearance of a breakout. Depending on what’s going on with my face, I use it either as a spot treatment or a full-on sleep mask a few times a week. The texture is so light and silky you forget that you have it on. In the morning I rinse it off, and any blemish I have is significantly minimized. Listen, it’s expensive but this product is true to its word as a “promise keeper.” —Mary Ann Georgantopoulos, News Director
You can buy Promise Keeper Nightly Blemish Treatment from Amazon for around $134.
Lipsmart Hydrating Lip Balm
I found my favorite lip balm through my mom, who had gotten it as a free sample in a makeup bag. We both swear by it. It is the only lip balm that has ever been able to fully unchap my lips. For context I use the Laneige Lip Mask, the Nuxe Reve de Miel, and the Revision Youthful Lip Replenisher, but none of them have worked as well for me as the Lipsmart balm. —Y.B.
You can buy Lipsmart Hydrating Lip Balm from Amazon for around $32.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
I ask a lot from my moisturizers: My skin is dry, and I also at times deal with redness. I tried First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream after seeing recommendation after recommendation — and it honestly lives up to the hype.
It’s thick and rich but absorbs quickly. It’s gentle, even when my skin is irritated. People with sensitive skin will be happy to see it’s free of artificial fragrances and many of the other questionable ingredients that drug store moisturizers can carry. The brand touts the inclusion of colloidal oatmeal; it certainly feels soothing.
If heavier creams don’t fit with your daily routine, this would still make a great night cream. Meanwhile, I’ll keep slathering it on every morning, delighting in how supple and healthy my skin feels. —C.K.
You can buy First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream from Amazon for around $34.
CosRX Acne Pimple Patch
I’m very specific about my skincare, and this is the only pimple-targeted product that I actually like. My friend put me onto the CosRX patches when I would get my annoying monthly flare-up. I see a drastic difference in redness and protrusion overnight, and the acne scarring (which I’m highly prone to) is little to none. It won’t fix chronic outbreaks of acne, but if you’re working with a couple of cystic spots, then I highly recommend these. —S.C.
You can buy CosRX Acne Pimple Patches from Amazon for around $16.
First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Scrub
I don’t know what went wrong genetically in my family, but I am prone to those horrible, scaly, dinosaur-looking bumps on the back of my arms that haunt teen girls’ dreams. They’ve been the bane of my existence for the last decade, until I finally invested in the magical KP bump eraser. It’s a miracle scrub that I discovered on TikTok, and I use it in the shower about twice a week. It gently removes the bumps and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft, even after one use! It works great on arms and legs and keeps me from having nightmares about being mistaken for an alligator (this is so common, I know). —L.G.
You can buy First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Scrub from Amazon for around $27.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum
In a world of expensive products that claim to ~like magic~ do just about everything, the Ordinary has carved out a niche for being simple and scientific. Most products contain just one active ingredient, and the other ingredients are clearly labeled so you can pinpoint what exactly is giving you results — or not.
After some experimenting of my own, I know that this serum boosts my skin’s moisture and leaves everything looking just a little plumper. But probably the best part is that I’m getting this kind of payoff from a product that’s so affordable, another thing that makes the Ordinary stand out in a crowded field. —C.K.
You can buy the Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum from Ulta for around $8.
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
This body oil kept my pregnancy bump glowing until birth and beyond. This product gets lots of rave reviews, and it deserves them. If you use it religiously, it really does diminish stretch marks. My mom is a dermatologist and she found it a bit hilarious that given my access to all her top-of-the-line skincare products, I loved this relatively inexpensive product so much, but it works. —Y.B.
You can buy Bio-Oil Skincare Oil from Amazon for around $24.
Supergoop CC Screen, SPF 50
After years of putting on a full face every time I left the house, the pandemic killed my makeup habit. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday, but for now, wearing foundation and powder simply feels excessive.
One thing that has remained constant amid the upheaval of the last few years? My vanity. I want picture-ready, even skin even though I can’t be bothered to put in the effort I used to.
Obviously (obviously!) I’m still wearing sunscreen, and Supergoop’s CC cream has become my go-to. It’s got mineral SPF 50 protection, so it’s gentle while still offering a heavy-duty defense against UV rays. (It’s unrelated to Gwyneth Paltrow’s powerhouse wellness brand, Goop.) It’s much thicker than the other tinted sunscreens I’ve tried. Without any extra hassle, I’m getting almost the level of coverage I’d get with liquid foundation. —C.K.
You can buy Supergoop CC Screen, SPF 50 from Amazon for around $42.
Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum
Yes, this is a TikTok favorite, but unlike quite a few other things I’ve ordered after hearing rave reviews on the app, this one is worth it. It’s part of Alicia Keys’s skincare line, and it’s lightweight and can be easily layered over other serums and under primers and makeup. It has an “I’m so healthy my skin is glowing” sheen, which looks particularly nice in selfies or photos in general. I was unfamiliar with Keys Soulcare at the start of 2022, but I’ve ordered this and several other products this year for myself or as gifts.
I’ve been super happy with this brand, including the Tinted Lip Balm, the Sheer Flush Cheek Tint, and the Comforting Balm, which is a vanilla-scented multipurpose balm you can use anywhere on your body. I’ve also tried other glow serums this year, like Mac’s Strobe Cream in pinklite. That’s good too, but costs a bit more and the hard packaging makes it challenging to squeeze out every drop. —Theresa Tamkins, Health Editor
You can buy Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum from Ulta for around $26.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
One of the many great things about the Ordinary skincare brand is that’s is so affordable you can take some risks and try just about anything that looks interesting. Here’s one I tried this year that I love. Now, I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty weird product that may not be for everyone. It has a thick consistency (think Elmer’s glue) that’s almost impossible to spread on your face without thinning it down with some moisturizer. It also goes on with a bit of a burning sensation (at least for me), which is tolerable, but noticeable. For those reasons, this is strictly a nighttime product for me. But it also works — my skin definitely looks better the next day, so it made the final cut this year in terms of beauty products I will buy again and again. —T.T.
You can buy the Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone from Sephora for around $7.50.