We Tried Sephora Collection's Under-$20 Skin-Care Line — & Here's What We Think

Stepping into Sephora stirs up a wide range of emotions: the thrill of being surrounded by so many beauty products, the sense of belonging and pride that comes with knowing the entrance security on a first-name basis (hey, Thomas). But you take the good with the bad, and in this case, the bad is how dizzying the megastore's selection can be — especially in the skin-care aisles. With multi-step routines and innovative new trends hitting the market almost every day, it can be hard to decipher what's best for your skin concerns, what's in the formulas, and even how to use the damn thing.

The good news is that Sephora gets it, and the beauty retailer wants to make the shopping experience a little less complicated. After the success of its eponymous makeup collection (including this best-selling lip stain), the brand is launching its own Sephora Collection skin-care line — and it goes far beyond cleansing wipes and single-use sheet masks.


Since launching with two moisturizers, an eye cream, and a cleanser last month, Sephora has continued to add new products to the curated collection, all with a bottom-line commitment to simplicity. From the packaging — made with recyclable plastic derived from sugarcane and complete with instructions and expiration dates broken down on the back — to each sulfate-, paraben-, and mineral oil-free Clean at Sephora formula, it's skin care made easy... with the priciest product ringing in at just $20, to boot.

Ahead, I'm rounding up all the new must-haves, from a $10 cleanser to a radiance serum that delivers a one-two punch of vitamins — and sharing my first impressions after testing every single one. Start counting your Beauty Insider points now — your Sephora obsession is about to go to the next level.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Travel and accommodations were provided to the author by Sephora.

If you're looking to transition your moisturizer from heavy to light as the temperature rises, this weightless formula might be just what you're looking for. Hyaluronic acid and vitamins C and E lock in hydration and encourage a natural glow. I slathered it on before a long, grueling hike at high altitude, and my skin was still plump and moisturized (but not greasy) when I came down the mountain. It's since earned a permanent spot in my product lineup, but I do wish there was a bit more formula in the tube — I'm already running low after a week or so of using the 1.69 oz. size.
Sephora Collection All Day Hydrator - Hydrate & Glow$16.00 Buy
If you want something a little weightier, this moisturizer is packed with avocado, marula, and rosehip seed oils to deeply hydrate parched skin. I chose to wear this moisturizer at night since the heat in my apartment usually leaves my skin dried out in the AM — and it definitely made a difference. But while I like it as an overnight treatment, I found it to be too heavy for my combination skin during the day, especially as the weather gets warmer.
Sephora Collection Nourishing Moisturizer - Hydrate & Repair$16.00 Buy
If you still haven't recuperated from the switch to DST, this eye cream packs in the caffeine to reduce puffiness where your venti cup of Starbucks can't. Hellen Phillips, Sephora Collection's national makeup artist, told me that she uses it as a primer for concealer. Of course, I had to try it out myself, especially after a long week of cross-country travel. I dabbed the thin formula onto my under-eye area and not only did I notice an immediate glow, but my concealer also went on smoother (without sliding off mid-day).
Sephora Collection Brightening Eye Cream – Hydrate & Depuff$16.00 Buy
This cleanser-toner hybrid kills two skin-care steps with one tube, and does a bang-up job of thoroughly cleansing the skin without stripping it of moisture. I rubbed the gel formula over heavy makeup and watched as it melted everything right off. What came after was an "ahh" feeling — no dryness and a completely clean face that let me skip my typical micellar water.
Sephora Collection Clean Skin Gel - Cleanse & Tone$10.00 Buy
You can trust vitamins C and E to hit skin with some much-needed radiance while also correcting uneven skin tone for when winter did you dirty. After weeks of harsh winds and freezing temps, my dull, uneven skin was looking for an intervention. I slathered this all over my face and while I didn't notice any drastic results — I'll need to test it for a few more weeks to see that — it did make my skin look immediately more glowy and supple and delivered a smoother canvas for makeup.
Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum: Glow + Strengthen Vitamin C Serum$20.00 Buy
These exfoliating pads promise to slough away dead skin cell buildup and stubborn debris for a clear, smooth canvas. As someone with rosacea, I try to stay away from any peels or heavy exfoliators — lest I end up with Hot Cheetos skin. I was nervous to try these pads out, but upon swiping one on my face, I realized it's a lot gentler than I expected (thanks to the aloe vera in the formula). I've been using them off and on, but the real fan in my house is my boyfriend, who has been using them religiously to brighten up his skin after too much sun exposure and raves about the difference they've made. For our sensitive skin, they're a great option, but if you're looking for a heavy-duty peel pad, these might not be for you.
Sephora Collection Glow Peel Pads$15.00 Buy
This new mud mask works to purify the skin and unclog your pores without being too harsh. Phillips suggested I use this mask as a spot treatment for acne, so I tapped it over the hormonal honker on my chin. The next morning, I woke up to a shriveled-up pimple that vanished over the next couple days. That being said, I wouldn't use this on my entire face as it would be too drying.
Sephora Collection Purifying Mud Mask: Clear & Mattify$15.00 Buy
I'm not lazy: Life is just busy, which is why no-rinse products are essential to my routine. This cooling water-gel mask blasts skin with hydration — just layer it on for 15 minutes, wipe away any excess (personally, my dry winter skin soaked it all up), and marvel at your newly dewy glow. While I wish this came in a pump (I don't love scooping the product out of the jar), it's worth it for the results.
Sephora Collection Water Gel Mask Hydrate + Refresh$15.00 Buy
Load more...