2016 Skincare Winners

Moisturizer So Good, It Should Be Illegal

Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-In-One Ampoule

This was one of the weirdest products we asked our judges to test. It’s a bouncy, semi-liquid gel that’s meant to be used in place of your toner, serum, AND moisturizer. It’s full of things that bees like: propolis, royal jelly, and manuka honey. All of which contribute to the dewy, golden glow it gives your skin. It also didn’t hurt that it comes in a massive jar — a little goes a long way. Pretty much everyone was confounded by it, but once our judges figured out the proper way to use it, they wouldn’t stop praising it.

“It's like jelly on your hands, but when you put it on it's not sticky — it’s nice and nourishing,” said Chloe. “This not only hydrates with a neutral scent, but it also makes for a great makeup primer,” said Martin. He also told us that he loved it so much, he had his assistant dole it out into smaller bottles so he could take it with him on jobs with his celeb clients.

Shara Shara
Honey Bomb All-In-One Ampoule, $40, available at Memebox.
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Vampire-Approved Sunscreen

Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer Sunscreen SPF 50

When we saw the claims that this luxe liquid is so light and silky we would forget it’s there, we were skeptical. Well, after playing around with it for a few weeks, our judges can confidently say it lives up to the hype. Said Ess, “As the palest judge, this is a big one. I love this stuff. I put it to the test in Palm Springs in July. Enough said.”

What makes this one so unique is that it is engineered to be worn under makeup. It’s made up of a mix of three UV filters that absorb the sun’s rays, and allow it to protect your skin without leaving behind a white cast or film. The result is, as Czuleger said, “Your skin feels like silk.”

Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer Sunscreen SPF 50, $64, available at Nordstrom.
“Take It Off, Take It All Off” Cleanser

Simple Micellar Water Makeup Remover Wipes

Whether you love micellar water or think it might be some type of new health-beverage flavor, you can’t go wrong with these wipes from Simple. They do what every good makeup wipe should do — remove makeup, but they don’t make your skin feel sticky. And, because they are micellar, they don’t just wipe things away, but trap and lift makeup, dirt, and oil off your skin.

Said Ess, “I'm a HUGE micellar-water fan. In fact, I haven't really ‘washed’ my face in three years, and it's the best thing I ever did. These are legit.”

Simple Micellar Water Makeup Remover Wipes, $5.39, available at Walmart.
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Acne? What Acne?

Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots With Salicylic Acid

Remember the good ol’ days when a pimple would pop up and you’d dab on some of that weird pink liquid and go to bed, praying that sucker would shrink down before school? Doesn’t sound so great now, does it? Which is probably why our judges were so enamored with these pimple-fighting stickers. Infused with salicylic acid, tea-tree oil, willow herb, and volcanic ash — all top-notch acne-eradicating ingredients — these clear dots adhere to the skin and get to work killing off that P.acnes bacteria, sopping up oil, and reducing inflammation as you sleep.

Whitefield-Madrano summed it up best: “My 13-year-old self is seriously pissed she didn't have these dots, because they literally got rid of a blemish overnight, without irritation.”

Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots With Salicylic Acid, $20, available at Birchbox.
The Face Mask That Would Impress A Skin Wizard

GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment

When something includes an ingredient called “LunarLift” and makes you look like the Tin Man when you put it on, you can’t really be surprised we’d be all over it. The product in question is this lifting and contouring mask from GlamGlow. It’s a metallic-silver peel-off mask that uses a whole host of algae, clay, and kelp to tighten up a droopy visage.

“This foolproof firming mask peels off in one piece,” said Czuleger. “[My] skin felt like baby skin — firm, plump, and refreshed.” Whitefield-Madrano put hers through the ultimate test: peer review. “Without prompting, my boyfriend was all, ‘Your skin looks firm’ after I used it. And the sexy-robot feel made it fun to put on.”

GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment, $69, available at GlamGlow.
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Awake-Faking Eye Cream

Restorsea Pro Line Blur Eye Cream

This is the big guns for crow’s feet. It’s professional-distribution only, so you’ll have to talk to your doc, but according to our judges, it is SO worth it. The key word here is “blur” — while it has some fabulous long-term benefits, it also immediately makes your wrinkles look less pronounced thanks to ingredients like palm oil. It also exfoliates (gently!), which helps with that whole line-eradicating thing.

Another bonus? It doesn’t mess with your makeup. “This really blurred out fine lines around the eyes AND mouth. Layered with makeup on top doesn’t interrupt it,” said Martin. “It has an instant cooling and blurring effect for puffy eyes — makeup applies nicely on top,“ agreed Marshall.

Restorsea Pro Line Blur Eye Cream, $65, available at Restorsea.
Best Under-$25 Skin Buy

Pixi Glow Peel Pads

Just when we thought Pixi couldn’t make its cult-classic Glow Tonic better, the brand put it in a handy pad formula. The glycolic-acid and rosewater formula was a big hit with McIntyre, who is a self-described peel-a-phobe. “Most peels make my face red and irritated,” she said. “This one got rid of all the dirt, gunk, and oil without making my face sting. My post-acne red marks looked so much less noticeable after only a week.”

Pixi Glow Peel Pads, $22, available at Target.
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