I Tried Every Product From First Aid Beauty — & This Is My Honest Review

One of the first lessons they teach you in journalism school: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." The memorable adage is a reminder to never take anything at face value without first verifying it yourself. Honestly, it's not something I've ever had an issue with before: I'm plenty skeptical, thank you very much. So when tasked to test every product in the extensive First Aid Beauty line, I knew there would be some winners, some losers, and many downright forgettables — it's the natural order of things, right?

I was very wrong. Because with just about every cleanser, moisturizer, mask, eye cream, and serum I tried, I came to just about the same impossible conclusion: It's really good. (Also, why doesn't this cost more?) For the most part, the formulas are gentle, but feel like they're doing something. Retinols and alpha-hydroxy acid resurfacers didn't make my skin feel prickly or look red — and nearly everything in the line rings in at under $50.


Overall, my month and a half of testing nearly 35 products proved overwhelmingly positive. Ahead, see which products saved my skin post-Vegas, which were added to my gym bag, and the few that didn't make the cut. Then, click ahead to the last slide where we feature more unfiltered reviews from readers like you.

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.

When it comes to a dream moisturizer, I want the impossible: something that hydrates and moisturizes like crazy but has the featherlight texture of a water cream, and ideally smells like nothing at all. Like I said, impossible. But along came this fragrance-free whipped miracle that's as silky as a luxe creme but without the weight. With super-soothing, skin-strengthening ingredients like ceramides, colloidal oatmeal, and oxygen, it works and feels like a million bucks — but costs just $30.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair BarriAIR Cream$30.00 Buy
My beef with many creamy cleansers geared for sensitive skin is that they don't emulsify or rinse away enough to make my skin feel really clean. I was pleasantly surprised by this light, pearlescent formula, which left my skin feeling deeply cleansed and ultra-smooth, but not dehydrated or tight.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser$20.00 $10.00 Buy
Every single product I tried in the First Aid Beauty range was incredibly gentle — except this one. The pale-blue paste made my skin felt like it was straight-up burning after I left it on for two minutes (of the recommended one to five). After smoothing on a cool hydrating serum, I still felt a prickly heat. But the fiery sensation didn't create a completely beet-red face: My skin only looked pink around my nose and mouth, an effect that mellowed after about 20 minutes.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Intensive Peel$40.00 Buy
I've been told over and over that face oils are the answer to a whole grip of skin woes, but I've never been able to get totally behind them. For one, I don't like feeling lubed up; I want skin care to absorb quickly so I can get on with applying makeup or going to bed without the product getting all up in my thread count.

This stuff is face oil lite — not greasy and slippery, and it sinks right into the skin without leaving an oily sheen. My biggest complaint is the scent: The musty eucalyptus and rosemary fragrance smells a little... dank, which doesn't exactly get me going, but it's not a total deal breaker either.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cannabis & Oat Dry Oil$30.00 Buy
When applied to freshly-cleansed skin, pretty much any gel cream will sink on in. So for me, the real test of a water cream's disappearing act is when applied over a serum or oil. This one absorbed completely when I patted it over the brand's Ultra Repair Cannabis & Oat Dry Oil. Even though the dry oil did the real heavy lifting of hydrating my skin, rendering this cream somewhat useless, the ultra-light formula didn't leave my skin feeling tacky when layered on top.
First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream$34.00 Buy
If I had dry skin, I imagine this priming moisturizer would be my all day, every day. It's super lightweight and packs a touch of shimmer for the kind of dewy, illuminated finish that would make Jennifer Lopez proud. But alas, my combination skin couldn't take this level of shine: After breaking a sweat while dashing from appointment to appointment in the L.A. sun, my skin looked like a greasy mess.
First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer$28.00 Buy
You only need a teeny amount of this sticky syrup of a cleanser, which foams like crazy with water to come out the other side with squeaky=clean skin. The formula, made with red clay and rosemary oil astringent, left my skin feeling brand new but extremely thirsty for moisturizer.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay$24.00 Buy
Even if it's psychosomatic, I love a mask that feels like it's working. This one produced a warming sensation without veering into tingly, and therefore irritating, territory. Fair warning to the fragrance-sensitive: The scent is so strong, it could be a Bath & Body Works candle.
First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Ginger & Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask$32.00 Buy
Sure, this do-it-all, heavy-duty hydrator is meant to moisturize hands, feet, and elbows. But can it soothe raw, red, peeling post-lasered skin? I put it to the test by applying nothing else to my skin on days three and four post-treatment. Not only did it quench dryness, but it miraculously didn't irritate or further redden my complexion at its most sensitive. The only way I could love it more is if it was dispensed from a hygienic pump, as dipping my fingers in and out of the jar felt pretty gross.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration$32.00 Buy
So many skin pros advocate for masking before going out — but the time! Because this mask only takes 10 minutes, I was able to give it a fair shot at waking up my complexion before a fancy dinner party. I was immediately taken with the unique jelly texture, somewhere between a gel mask and a modeling mask, and the cooling sensation, as if a butler was gently fanning my face. Ten minutes later, my skin felt softer and looked like it had been given a big gulp of water.
First Aid Beauty 5 IN 1 Bouncy Mask$38.00 Buy
This creamy mask is the first product, outside a mild cleanser and moisturizer, that I introduced to my facial skin to following a laser treatment. It was a particularly perilous time: I had new baby skin and sudden paranoia about textured products. Would the slightly coarse mask — compliments of oat bran — be too abrasive? The verdict: It proved both soothing and calming and, thankfully, didn't take my skin off with it as I rinsed.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask$24.00 Buy
There are a lot of hyaluronic acid serums out there. For one to earn top shelf status in my bathroom, it's got to boast an elegant formulation that doesn't leave skin feeling tacky, and this one doesn't doesn't quite rise above. Don't get me wrong: It's fine — with hyaluronic acid and peptides and a competitive price, I'm not mad at it. It just didn't knock my socks off, or fully absorb without a grippy finish, for that matter.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum$36.00 Buy
At $55 per ounce, this is one of the more expensive products in the First Aid Beauty universe — and I can see why. It manages the rare feat of delivering four alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and malic) without making my skin tingle, turn red, or feel sticky. The neutralizer is a proprietary blend of hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal, aloe, ceramides, vitamin E, and allantoin. Basically, it's liquid gold as far as non-irritating exfoliators go, and the brand makes it easy to treat it as such: One touch of the button at the top of the bottle measures exactly the amount needed for a single application.
First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA$55.00 Buy
A midweight daytime moisturizer made to protect skin from UV rays and create a dewy finish that doesn't feel greasy? I'll take it.
First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30$40.00 Buy
I can't quite figure out why this serum isn't marketed as a lotion: The white, opaque emollient is as thick and smooth as one. Thanks to ingredients like glycerin and aloe, it seems to hydrate my face as well as one, too. But it also left my skin looking shiny in a way that actually seemed to make my zits look bigger. After four days of using it, my skin did appear more hydrated, though I didn't notice a reduction in redness.
First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum$36.00 Buy
Salicylic acid may reign supreme when it comes to addressing acne, but the super ingredient isn't as gentle as other acids out there. Somehow, the brand has managed to make a 2% salicylic acid pad that doesn't tingle when you swipe it across the face — not even when running over monster zits. The beta-hydroxy acid isn't the only ingredient included to address acne: Oil-absorbing kaolin clay, antiseptic tea-tree oil, and exfoliating willow-bark extract round out a solid list of blemish healers that didn't hurt my fragile skin.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Pads With White Clay$30.00 Buy
Most charcoal and clay-based cleansers have a dry, paste-like consistency, which requires more elbow grease to work in. This one, made with charcoal, 2% salicylic acid, and bentonite and kaolin clays, has a bouncy, pudding-like texture that feels much more hydrating than other acne-geared cleansers out there. Though it doesn't produce a bunch of foam with water, it did leave my skin feeling clean, but not tight.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Charcoal Cleanser$24.00 Buy
Gentle exfoliation is tough to pull off, but with this exfoliating cleanser, First Aid Beauty hits it out of the park. The creamy formula is scattered with ground-up shea nut shells, which provide a little texture without creating microtears in the skin. Lactic acid, aloe powder, ceramides, shea butter, and colloidal oatmeal help balance hydration and mild exfoliation. But that's not its only trick: The elegant formula feels like a much more luxe product than the packaging or price point would have you believe.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish$25.00 Buy
How on earth am I just now discovering this tinted moisturizer? It gives my skin the most legit illusion of health. Though it doesn't do much to stamp out redness or cover zits, it does impart a beautiful surfer-girl, dewy glow — even in the dead of winter.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30$30.00 Buy
Trust me, I'd love nothing more than an eye cream that minimizes the little baby wrinkles that are starting to appear on the outside corner of my eyes, but the reality is there's only so much an eye cream can really do. This baby gives the skin around my eyes a nice shot of hydration and it absorbs quickly, so I can get on with doing my makeup. It also doesn't make my concealer pill or settle into said lines, which I consider a victory. But does it make them do a full-on disappearing act? Don't get your hopes up.
First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream$36.00 Buy
Sometimes I fantasize about a life of leisure, filled with three-hour lunches and two-hour pilates classes. This eye de-puffer would fit into that person's schedule just fine. The cold roller ball feels lovely when you swipe it on, but the liquid left behind (and it dispenses a healthy dose) takes a bit to absorb. That person can read the New York Times while the eye treatment seeps in; I'm always on the verge of being late for something. So while the cool metal roller, peptides, and caffeine may help to take down eye bags, I don't have time to wait and find out.
First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller$26.00 Buy
My eyes tend to be watery, which makes finding an under-eye concealer tricky: If the stuff is too dry or thick, I end up walking around with shifty pools of concealer under my eyes (and frankly, I'd rather have the discoloration I'm trying to cover up). This creamy, light-coverage formula stayed in place after a long day out in the world, and stamped out darkness without looking concealer-y. The only bummer (and it's a really big one): The seven-shade range is sorely lacking.
First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Bendy Avocado Concealer$22.00 Buy
These best-selling pads are soaked with lots of solid moisturizing ingredients (aloe leaf juice, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, cucumber extract) and a couple of gentle chemical exfoliators (glycolic and lactic), and do a fine job of prepping skin for more serious skin care without irritation. Online reviewers love them — I just wish I didn't have to send a cotton disk to a landfill with every use.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads$32.00 Buy
This hydrating eye cream has a concealer built in: The peach tone counters dark shadows while glycerin and dimethicone moisturize and create the illusion of smoothness. It made me look awake for a 6 a.m. flight, which I definitely was not.
First Aid Beauty  Eye Duty Triple Remedy: Brighten, Depuff and Smooth$36.00 Buy
Blame it on the arid weather (and, okay, fine, the alcohol), but a recent trip to Vegas didn't just empty my pockets; it dried out my skin, too. I used this super-rich cream to bring it back to life as I slept off my hangover upon my return and woke up with a softer, flake-free face.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream$38.00 Buy
The skin around my eyes is the part of my face most in need of retinol's regenerative powers, but so many retinol-spiked eye creams migrate and irritate my sensitive eyes. This one sunk right into the skin without the redness or prickly sensation — and just like that, it became my new p.m. eye cream.
First Aid Beauty Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid$42.00 Buy
For those with sensitive skin, retinoids are the spiked heels of skin care: They require buffer creams and a pep talk from a dermatologist who tells us to suffer through the redness, dryness, and irritation to emerge with our best skin ever. But this formula gives us .25% percent of the gold-standard ingredient that helps fade acne scars, stimulates cell turnover, minimize fine lines, and more — if you're willing to wait a few more months to see results.
First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate$58.00 Buy
This BB cream-like skin tint doesn't cover my zits, acne scars, or hyperpigmentation (and, for what it's worth, it's not made to), but it blends in nicely with fingers and provides a luminous natural finish that's perfect for my two-minute post-workout routine.
First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Triple Protection Skin Tint SPF 30$34.00 Buy
Looking for the holy-grail lip balm always leaves me feeling like Goldilocks. Is it too sticky? Then I don’t want it. Is it gone in 30 seconds? Don't waste my time. This baby falls into the “just right" category with a formula that’s not too dense, but hangs around long enough to actually do something. I tested its ability to heal chapped lips while fighting the flu. After putting it on twice a day (once in the a.m. and again before I went to bed) for three days, it eradicated dry, flaky skin and got my lips ready for post-flu life, which requires lipstick that doesn’t cluster in dry spots.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy$12.00 Buy
By nature, zinc and titanium dioxide are thick and leave a white cast on skin, something that makes mineral SPFs hard to love without some Jedi formulation to disguise its clunky properties. Unfortunately, this SPF moisturizer feels exactly like a mineral sunscreen: It's thick and harder to work in than I'd like, and made my skin look a lighter shade of pale.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40$30.00 Buy
How did First Aid Beauty make an oil-free moisturizer that still delivers a dewy finish? I don't quite understand the mechanics here, but I'm a fan.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream$22.00 Buy
This face mask is so so incredibly close in color, texture, feel, and active ingredients to the brand's Deep Cleanser with Red Clay that I'm kind of left scratching my head as to why the brand didn't just formulate a cleanser that could double as a mask. I did notice the mattifying effect the mask had on my blemish-ridden skin, which I'm grateful for, but I also wonder if leaving my cleanser on a little longer would render similar results (and save me $30).
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask With Red Clay$30.00 Buy
This moisturizer is no-frills and that’s exactly what I love about it. It doesn’t require I dip my fingers in a jar, it's not so thick that it doesn't play well under makeup, and it doesn't smell fancy (or much like anything at all). It simply makes dry skin look plump and healthy — all for a reasonable $24.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer$24.00 Buy

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