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Best Drugstore Face Cleanser
With a powder-fresh scent and mild suds, Cetaphil topped the Beauty Lab’s face wash test for cleansing thoroughly yet leaving skin soft. Several testers remarked that it was gentle and great for sensitive skin. “It didn’t overdry, strip or irritate,” one raved.
Testers ranked it highest of all cleansers, with 86% saying they’d continue using it. Plus, it scored well for rinsing off easily and making skin feel hydrated.
Best Anti-Aging Serum
Scoring points for softening, firming, brightening, evening tone and minimizing pores and brown spots, this formulation was the clear winner in the GH Beauty Lab’s anti-aging serums test.
In Lab assessment, the serum was best at boosting firmness at 24%, and reduced the look of pores and brown spots by 7%. Plus, 100% of testers agreed it had a nice texture.
Best Drugstore Night Cream
L’Oreal Paris walmart.com
This lightweight gel cream from L’Oréal, containing plumping hyaluronic acid, is a heavy hitter. Ranked among the highest in the Beauty Lab’s night creams test for firming and hydrating, it offers the best bang for your buck.
“I could see a real difference in my skin after just a few uses,” one tester said. “My husband even commented on how good my skin looks!” a second revealed. In our Lab tests, it boosted skin’s firmness 36% and hydration levels 40%.
Best Value Anti-Aging Face Cream
A Beauty Lab favorite and Good Housekeeping Seal holder, this luxe- feeling Roc cream is based on the research-verified ingredient retinol, which speeds up skin cell turnover to reduce dark spots and wrinkles starting in as little as seven days.
In clinical tests, volunteers’ skin looked 32% smoother and more radiant after one week of daily use. The formula improved the look of wrinkles and dark spots by 46% over eight weeks and kept skin moisturized for a full 24 hours, data revealed.
Best Line-Smoothing Serum
SkinCeuticals’ super serum, which contains high levels of vitamin B3 to stimulate cell turnover, earned raves for visible wrinkle softening, brightening and firming. “I could see plumpness in my skin the next day — I was shocked,” a tester said.
“Almost immediate results on my fine lines,” another remarked. The light liquid was the best of the serums tested by the GH Beauty Lab at reducing wrinkles, by 5% after four weeks of use.
Best Face Peel
The winner of the GH Beauty Lab’s at-home facial peels test from a brand know for its professional spa-level products, this lactic acid formulation rated best with testers for evening skin tone and reducing lines, with 100% confirming that they’d use it again.
Best Hydrating Night Cream
With grape seed oil and the antioxidant resveratrol (derived from grape vines), this silky cream proved to be a powerful hydrator and smoother. “It didn’t leave my face greasy,” a tester said. “My skin felt soft when I woke up,” another reported.
It scored among the highest in the GH Beauty Lab’s night cream test, increasing moisturization 43% over six hours. The Lab’s Visia complexion analyzer’s digital imaging also showed a 12% improvement in skin texture.
Best Face Mask
Mary Kay marykay.com
Treat your skin to an at-home “facial” with this sheet face mask, which is backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal. 87% of testers said their skin looked and felt firm after they used it twice weekly for two weeks.
Best Hydrating Face Oil
La Prairie nordstrom.com
La Prairie’s almond and sunflower oil formula hydrated better than 15 other top performers in the GH Beauty Lab’s face oil test. “Very luxurious,” it left skin “soft without being greasy,” a tester said.
“It made my face glow” and “my friends immediately noticed!” others raved. It increased moisturization by 13% over six hours, according to calculations with the Lab’s Corneometer device, which measures skin hydration levels.
Best Face Oil
Infused with a bouquet of botanical oils (rose, evening primrose, geranium), Lancôme’s translucent blend was a winner of the Lab’s facial oil test thanks to its subtle floral scent and hydrating effects.
The “luxurious” liquid was “soothing and calming,” and it made skin look “more radiant and feel “fresh and alive,” testers said. In GH Beauty Lab testing, it increased skin’s moisture content by 11% over six hours.
Best Eye Cream
Blanket your delicate eye area in luxe nourishment with this rich formula, the most hydrating of all eye creams the GH Beauty Lab tested. “Flat-out amazing,” a tester marveled. “My skin feels baby-smooth, and it softened the lines and wrinkles around my eyes.” The gentle cream increased eye-area skin hydration by an impressive 34% over six hours in Lab assessment.
Best Brightening Night Cream
A cocktail of collagen boosters like antioxidant vitamins C and E and peptides, Algenist’s rich cream deeply moisturizes and diminishes spots— while you sleep. “This really is removing my dark spots,” a tester said.
“I’m in my 40s, and I could go to work without makeup— my skin just looks better,” another revealed. GH Beauty Lab tests found that it raised skin’s moisture content 33% in six hours and reduced UV spots 11% in four weeks.
Best Gentle Face Cleanser
Naturally scented with cucumber and blended with nourishing botanicals like sunflower oil, Fresh’s nearly foamless wash was mildest on skin and best at boosting radiance.
“I have extremely sensitive skin and had no reactions to this,” one tester marveled. It also left skin “brighter” and with “a glow,” others said. A rare 100% of testers, including those with sensitivity, said it didn’t irritate skin.
Best Eye Refresher
Estée Lauder dermstore.com
Estée Lauder’s innovative bouncy, jelly-like eye treatment is more than just fun to play with: It’s packed with caffeine and fruit extracts (blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry) to refresh sleepy, puffy eyes on contact.
The formula produced an immediate cooling effect that “made exhausted eyes feel more awake,” tightened the undereye area, and softened the look of bags, testers said.
Kate Somerville nordstrom.com
Swipe on a believable faux glow for face and body with these gradual-tan towelettes, the least messy and fastest-absorbing self-tanner in the Beauty Lab’s test. “So natural! I had a beautiful ‘tan’ in three days,” a tester raved.
Best Face Sunscreen
Face SPF that feels like nothing? Yes, please! This liquid was the best of the GH Beauty Lab’s test for all skin types. “No white film,” one tester said. “So lightweight, you forget you’re wearing it,” another marveled. It also didn’t run into eyes, irritate, feel tacky or dry out skin in Lab evaluations.
Best Breakthrough Serum
The winner of a GH Beauty Breakthrough Award, Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D., was impressed by this groundbreaking epidermal growth factor serum; independent studies show it reduced both wrinkle size and depth.
Best Overnight Face Mask
Amorepacific’s overnight mask won the Beauty Lab’s test, upping skin’s moisture level by a whopping 49%. The no-rinse mask is like a super-strength night cream: Swap it for your go-to product before bed whenever you need an extra hydration boost.
Best Neck Cream
Reduce the rings around your neck with this shea butter and amino acid cream, which earned the highest marks for softening wrinkles in the Beauty Lab’s test of anti-aging neck treatments. The “rich” formula “improved my neck — I love it!” a tester said.
“Both my neck and my décolletage looked smoother,” another reported. It was better than all others evaluated at minimizing the look of testers’ neck lines and wrinkles, based on standardized digital imaging.
Best Anti-Aging Retinol Treatment
KATE SOMERVILLE nordstrom.com
The gold-standard anti-aging ingredient retinol, which stimulates cell turnover to boost collagen, is the powerhouse in this GH Beauty Breakthrough Award-winning serum, dispensed as a special foam for faster absorption.
“This faded the dark spots on my cheeks and plumped both my fine and my deep lines,” a tester said. “I got compliments on how even-toned and bright my skin was,” another glowed.
four weeks of use, 76% of testers saw diminished lines and wrinkles, and a nearly 10% reduction in UV spots was measure in the Lab test, with little to no irritation.
Best Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin
La Prairie nordstrom.com
Despite a potent blend of lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids, La Prairie’s formula was a winner of the Beauty Lab’s facial peels test for being super-gentle on skin. “My skin looked smoother and brighter as soon as I washed it off— my family even noticed!” one tester revealed, “yet there was zero stinging.”
It scored highest in Lab digital-imaging evaluations for improving radiance and tied for first in reducing acne-promoting bacteria.
Best Face Scrub
Zo Skin Health
Zo Skin Health zoskinhealth.com
From a brand developed by a dermatologist, this baking soda–based ZO Skin Health polish left skin silkiest in the Beauty Lab’s test of face scrubs. “My skin still felt smooth a day later,” a tester remarked, and several liked that a little product went a long way.
It was most popular with users, ranking above the rest at making skin satiny, having the right exfoliation level and being the least messy of all the scrubs evaluated.
Best Lip Treatment
A winner of the Beauty Lab’s anti-aging lip treatments test, this cream made lips look fuller after four weeks of use: “It made my lips feel soft and smooth and appear fuller. I will definitely continue to use it,” one tester said. Volunteers also rated it high for its non-sticky texture and fast absorption.
Beauty Director April Franzino is the Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, part of the Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Beauty Group.
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