Estimated reading time: 19 minutes
Introducing the 2023 edition of my handpicked beauty products! As I reflect on the past year, I’m thrilled to share a list of the absolute best skincare products that have truly stood the test of time. This selection includes a delightful mix of trusted favorites and breakthrough innovations that have captured my attention.
When it comes to skincare and beauty, the past 12 months have been quite kind to me. With few concerns other than the occasional eczema flare-ups around my eyes and sporadic breakouts, my skin has behaved splendidly (props to my consistent retinol routine!).
While I stayed loyal to some tried and tested items, I was also excited to stumble upon several remarkable serums, sunscreens, and body care products. Brace yourself, because 2024 might bring some fresh contenders into the mix!
Ready to dive into the top beauty products of 2023? Keep reading to discover the products I couldn’t help but reach for frequently and the reasons behind their unrivaled status.
The Best Beauty Products of 2023 – Skincare
Cleansing your face is the foundation of your skincare routine. And I preach about how double-cleansing has been a game-changer for me. You all know how much I love a good cleansing experience. This year, my top cleansers were not new to my skincare routine, but they are staples.
MY TOP 3 OIL CLEANSERS:
- Deviant Skincare Cleansing Concentrate ($56) – You’ve already seen this gel-oil textured balm in my fall and winter skincare blog posts and on social media. This unique formula glides on my skin like butter, provides a beautifully luxurious sensorial experience, and leaves no residue. It’s also excellent at removing stubborn and challenging eye makeup, and it’s fragrance and essential oil-free.
- Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm ($29) – I fell in love with this fragrance-free balm over a year ago. I even dedicated an entire blog post to reviewing this balm cleanser. It comes in a squeezable tube, which is a genius way to package an oil balm because I don’t have to worry about scooping anything out or contaminating it. This oil cleanser comes out like a salve, spreads wonderfully, and removes all of my makeup. Chefs kiss!
- Absolute JOI Skincare Sunflower & Moringa Fresh Cleansing Oil ($38) – This fragrance-free oil cleanser has a wonderfully silky texture, removes all my eye makeup without needing to tug on my eyes, and doesn’t leave a residue when you remove it. Those are key qualities of a good oil cleanser for me.
MY TOP 3 WATER & CREAM BASED CLEANSERS:
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser ($75) – This cleanser is a gentle powder exfoliator that uses enzymes such as lipase and subtilisin to dissolve dead skin cells at the surface of your skin. The powder turns into a soft foam once it’s mixed with water. And the immediate results were impressive. My skin was instantly smoother and brighter! So, if you prefer a gentle physical exfoliant, I recommend using an enzyme-based powder like this. It exfoliates without scraping my skin, leaving my skin polished, soft, and super clean.
- Rose Ingleton SuperFruit Brightening Cleanser ($38) – This fragrance and sulfate-free gel cleanser was created by a black NY board-certified dermatologist, Rose Ingelton, MD. Fruit extracts support a natural glow, while hyaluronic acid and pro-vitamin B5 help keep your skin hydrated. The cleanser removes impurities, excess oil, and light makeup without over-cleansing or drying the skin. They also carry a mini-size, which is perfect for traveling (and only $14), especially if you want to avoid checking a bag. Get 15% off on rosemdskin.com using my code BEAUTYINCOLOR15.
- Naturium Niacinamide Cleansing Gelee 3% ($18) – This non-foaming gel cleanser turns into a frothy lather when mixed with water and has a great slip on the skin. It leaves my skin feeling soft, clean, and hydrated. Here’s to another gel cleanser that’s not even remotely dry.
TONERS & MISTS
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love to use acid toners to exfoliate my skin and facial mists to layer in additional hydration throughout my skincare routine. The three I reached for the most this year were:
MY TOP 3 TONERS & MISTS:
- Biologique Recherche P50V 1970 – This cult-favorite product has been on my best beauty products list for years. It’s effective and potent but not too harsh. I would not recommend using this daily. I use it the most when I have skin congestion. For more details on the P50V 1970, check out my blog post discussing my initial thoughts here.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – This toner is packed with salicylic acid to gently resurface, increase collagen production, decongest pores, and make stubborn blackheads disappear. I’m left with radiant, even-toned skin without irritation or inflammation when I use this. You can check out my Paula’s Choice personal page and brand review here.
- Avène Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water was my go-to thermal water in the summertime. This ultra-fine mist has a high mineral concentration and soothing, anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and burns. I use this face mist to dampen my face between skincare steps because it’s great for product absorption, leaving my skin plumper and dewier in the long run.
I love serums! Out of all our skincare products, serums are the ones that work the hardest and will usually be the ones that transform our skin. This year, I’ve tried many new serums. I have quite a few that are newer to my routine, so there will be a lot of reviews in the first quarter of 2024, but here are my favorites for 2023:
My Top 3 Vitamin C Serums:
Do you want a brighter, more even complexion? One ingredient I always turn to is Vitamin C. It’s excellent at helping fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It’s also an excellent antioxidant, so it helps protect your skin against free radicals and skin damage. I’m picky with Vitamin C serums, and my preferred Vitamin C serums have a liquid consistency.
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166) – This cult-classic Vitamin C serum has a thin, watery consistency and absorbs quickly into my skin without me having to wait before layering on other products. This Vitamin C serum has so much research behind it and leaves my skin with a great glow. Use my code BEAUTYINCOLOR for a discount.
- Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster – Everyone knows this is my favorite vitamin C serum, outside of the cult-classic Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. That one is so damn expensive, though. The C15 Super Booster also has a thin, watery consistency and absorbs quickly into my skin. Feel free to check out my Paula’s Choice review for more thoughts on this serum and my other Paula’s Choice favorites. You can also get 15% off this product here.
- Common Heir 10% Vitamin C Serum – This was a new Vitamin C serum this year, and I’m thrilled I’ve been able to try it. Common Heir is a black-owned company that uses Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD) vitamin C in their formula instead of L-ascorbic acid, the form of vitamin C most commonly used in beauty products (L-ascorbic acid is used in the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster). THD is a more stable and less irritating vitamin C. This 10% vitamin C formula also comes in biodegradable capsules, which are stored in a recyclable paper tube, and are great for travel.
My Top 3 Hyaluronic Acid Serums:
You’ll always see a hyaluronic acid serum in my routine. It has excellent skin-boosting benefits by attracting and retaining water. And drawing in moisture reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration and aging, so your skin looks fuller, smoother, and more supple.
- NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex ($69) – This is one of the most advanced hyaluronic serums I’ve tried, immediately leaving my skin plump, healthy, and hydrated. It contains 15 hyaluronic compounds, and you can tell the difference between using this product and other hyaluronic acid treatments. It immediately leaves my skin plump, healthy-looking, and hydrated.
- Laroche Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($19) – This liquid formula has a more viscous texture and contains two pure hyaluronic acids, vitamin B5 and madecassoside, to plump and help repair the skin by replenishing the skin’s moisture barrier and activating skin renewal.
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum ($300) – This hyaluronic acid serum is packed with low and high weighted hyaluronic acid, so you get hydration on the surface of your skin to plump and moisturize and hydration that penetrates the skin to provide deep hydration. The formula also contains the plant extract purslane, which contains antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, for their anti-aging properties and ability to reduce inflammation. The texture feels amazing and absorbs into the skin quickly. The catch? It’s super expensive for a 1-ounce bottle.
My Top 3 Anti-Aging Serums:
Anti-aging serums target firmness, dullness, wrinkles, and discoloration…and I want help with ALL THAT!
- NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum aka CAIS 3:1 ($99) – This is one of the most effective peptide, age-defying formulas I’ve experienced. With a highly focused effort to maintain healthy-looking skin, this pro-repair, pro-collagen serum offers a novel approach to indirectly targeting all signs of skin aging. You can see and feel a significant difference in your skin when you use this, especially when using it for the first time. It targets skin aging signs, including visible texture issues, visibly enlarged pores, and dullness.
- Bioeffect EGF Serum ($169) – I have raved about this serum in the past. This EGF serum helps reduce wrinkles, improve hydration, and eliminate acne marks and other forms of hyperpigmentation. It also enhances the skin barrier, allowing your skin to retain moisture better, making it smoother and softer. It’s a luxury staple! I reviewed the serum and a few other products from the line here.
- Naturium Retinaldehyde Cream Serum 0.05% – I was on a retinol journey in 2023, and I loved this serum the most out of all the retinoid products I tried this year. This serum is formulated with a unique, sustained-release retinaldehyde. Retinaldehyde directly converts to retinoic acid without the worry of irritation. It also has bio-fermented oligopeptide that actively refines skin texture and enhances radiance for optimal results. The Result: A do-it-all serum for sensitive skin that leaves your complexion smoother, brighter, and plumper.
My Top 3 Skin Barrier Serums:
These serums provide comfort to reactive skin. They’re all made with ingredients that soothe and calm inflammation, help alleviate dry patches, and strengthen the skin barrier to ensure my skin’s outer layer can protect me from outside irritants.
- NIOD Modulating Glucosides – This concentrated, milky emulsion helps with skin sensitivity, irritation, and a compromised skin barrier. This serum contains glucosides, which have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. This emulsion also includes skin barrier-supporting lipids like squalane, oat extracts, and ceramides. Anyone struggling with redness, sensitivity, rosacea, or eczema will love this serum.
- Paula’s Choice CALM Repairing Serum – This lightweight serum that’s great for soothing irritated skin and calming redness. I alternated between this and the NIOD Modulating Glucosides this year.
- Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum – This fatty serum/emulsion is fortifying and nourishing. It’s full of ceramides and antioxidants that provide skin barrier-strengthening nutrients to promote healthier skin. Check out my review of this and other Paula’s Choice products here.
Moisturizers are essential to our skincare routine, but finding one that works for you can be daunting. There are so many moisturizers to choose from, and your moisturizer preference can be subjective. A good moisturizer helps lock in all the goodness you’ve put on your face beforehand. It also helps prevent water loss. I have a great blog post on choosing a good one for your skin needs here.
My Top 3 Moisturizers:
- Paula’s Choice C5 Super Boost Moisturizer – You all know that I love the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin. I use a dedicated Vitamin C serum daily. This serum-textured moisturizer brightens and moisturizes while helping defend the skin against environmental aging. If you’re looking for a brightening face cream or have a sensitivity to Vitamin C serums, I recommend this.
- SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid Peptide Cream – This creamy moisturizer is formulated for dry and dehydrated skin. It’s a rich, luxurious cream that contains lipids to restore your skin barrier. It also contains peptides to hydrate and replenish your skin. I’ve used this frequently on retinol nights and in the fall and winter months.
- LaRoche Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 – This thick cream is designed to hydrate and protect the skin. It’s formulated with vitamin B5 to help reduce skin inflammation and strengthen and protect the skin barrier. It also contains shea butter, glycerin, and centella asiatica to help nourish the skin and reduce irritation caused by dehydration. Whenever I had an eczema flare-up, skin irritation, or just when I had to walk in the cold, windy NYC weather, this was the perfect layer for dry, inflamed, and damaged skin.
No single skincare factor is more critical to preventing aging than wearing sunscreen. And this year, I even found a mineral sunscreen I like and use frequently. I’m slightly impatient with sunscreen because I don’t want to rub it in forever or wait to let it settle to not see a white cast on my face. So, these sunscreens are great for the lazy sunscreen wearer.
My Top 3 Sunscreens:
- Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Hydrating Daily Fluid SPF 50 – I fell in love with Paula’s Choice’s Youth-Extending Fluid 50 three years ago. You all know that I use this sunscreen all year round. It blurs the pores a bit, dries down to a natural satin finish, doesn’t sting my eyes, offers broad-spectrum sun protection, and, most importantly, doesn’t leave a white cast! It also doesn’t take a lot of rubbing to apply it. This sunscreen is perfect for any skin type, from the oiliest to the driest, and it layers wonderfully over moisturizers and under makeup.
- Eucerin Age Defense SPF 50 Sunscreen ($18) – This fragrance-free sunscreen is formulated with 5 antioxidants and hyaluronic acid to protect your skin and visibly reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. And what I love most about it is that the formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and dried down to a dry touch finish. It’s also effortless to rub in. This is a great drugstore sunscreen for sensitive skin!
- Avene Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50+ – This tinted mineral sunscreen blends seamlessly into my skin. This is a big deal because mineral sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide to protect from the sun, which can leave a serious white cast! The product looks lighter when you first apply it, and then it gets darker after about 30-60 seconds. It evens out my skin tone and helps smooth the appearance of my pores. My only con is that there’s only one shade, so while it worked well for me, it will not work for all skin tones.
EYES & LIPS
My Top 3 EYE & LIP PRODUCTS:
- NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate (FECC) ($70) – I have always been skeptical of eye creams since I haven’t found many that do anything other than hydrate. And I don’t need a different product to do that. This formula has a slightly thicker serum consistency and drenches your eye area in hydration. I have some creepiness on the inner corners of my eyes, and this eye serum has also helped soften it. And while your eyes, this eye serum has helped to smooth fine lines and soften the puffiness and darkness that plagues my under eye area.
- Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Lip Booster ($32) – This liquid-gel lip balm is perfect for hydrating and plumping lips. And I love the tube applicator and the cooling feeling of the metal applicator tip.
- Cerave Healing Ointment – This is just a staple. If you’re looking for an affordable way to heal dry, irritated skin, hands, feet, or cracked lips, you need to look no further. This has been another savior during my eczema flare-ups under the eye. This balm is like Vaseline’s more lightweight, non-greasy sister. And I love that this comes in a tube. It’s even accepted by the National Eczema Association as a smart option for sensitive skin.
SKINCARE TOOLS & ACCESSORIES
My Top 3 SKINCARE TOOLS & ACCESSORIES:
- Clean Skin Club Clean Towels ($15) – I can’t discuss cleansing and not talk about my favorite face towels from Clean Skin Club. These disposable, biodegradable towels are large, soft, and durable. They’re a staple in my routine. Your face towel can actually act as a breeding ground for bacteria. Sometimes the most minor things can make the most significant difference, and towel hygiene has been one of them for me. For more details on them, check out my review here, and get 20% off using my code BEAUTYINCOLORBLOG.
- ZIIP Halo Device – This at-home microcurrent device gives me an instant pick-me-up, where my skin looks more lifted and awake. It has also helped improve muscle tone, contour my face, and reduce fine lines. The device also has a session to help mitigate pesky breakouts overnight. Get 20% off your device when you use promo code ZIIPDANA at checkout. That’s $100 off your purchase!
- Jolie Filtered Shower Head – I’m obsessed with minor upgrades that exponentially impact my quality of life. It’s what makes getting ready fun or unwinding before bed more relaxing. This Filtered Showerhead combats water contaminants like chlorine, heavy metals, and other impurities from your water, which can irritate your skin, strip your hair of its natural shine, cause brittleness, and even lead to buildup. This filtered showerhead has made my showering experience feel better. My skin feels more moisturized and less irritated, my hair looks shinier, and my hair rinse lasts longer. If installing a new showerhead is all it takes to get there, I can’t recommend it enough.
The Best Beauty Products of 2023 – Body Care
My Top 2 Body BARS:
I have to admit that I’ve despised bar soap. They’ve historically been incredibly drying on my skin and generally pretty gross: slimy, mushy, and slippery. But I’ve had a change of heart since trying out these.
- Gently Soap Treasures of The Sun ($11) – This bar soap was made for eczema-prone skin. It’s infused with anti-inflammatory ingredients like calendula, chamomile, and turmeric, perfect for keeping my eczema flare-ups at bay. This nourishing formulation provides a creamy lather and cleans my skin without my skin feeling stripped. And it’s been an excellent option for weekend travel since it can easily be packed in my carry-on bag. Get 20% off these products using my code DANA20.
- Heather Lorraine Jojoba Soap ($8.25) – Jojoba oil is an excellent ingredient for dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis because it coats your skin and inhibits moisture loss. This non-sudsy bar is another great option for travel.
My Top 3 Body WASHES:
- Avene Xeracalm AD Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil ($32) – This soap-free cleansing oil formula comes out of the pump like an oil, but when you add water, it turns into a slightly milky lather. The formula contains a healthy amount of glycerin, castor oil, and evening primrose, so your body feels clean without feeling stripped of moisture post-shower. It’s designed to use this on the face and body, but I use it mainly as a body wash, as it stings my eyes.
- Dove Irritation Care Body Wash for Sensitive Skin ($7) – This fragrance-free body wash has a creamy formula formulated with a unique blend of prebiotics that nourishes your skin’s microbiome. It also has a National Eczema Association seal of acceptance.
- Naturium The Soother Sensitive Skin Body Wash ($14) – Another fragrance-free drugstore formula, this creamy gel contains soothing ingredients like calendula and camomile to soothe your skin while getting it clean.
My Top 3 Body LOTIONS & CREAMS:
- Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Body Moisturizer ($96) –If you want your skin to feel like butter, this is IT! This body lotion is one of my longtime beauty staples with a rich formula that provides a luxurious application experience and makes your skin soft, smooth, and nourished, so I don’t need to reapply hours later. It’s pricey, so I purchase a yearly replenishment at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale.
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Triple Repair Moisturizer ($20) – The fragrance-free formula is perfect in its simplicity. It’s gentle enough to be used on sensitive and eczema-prone skin, and because it’s loaded with shea butter and glycerin, it’s also effective enough to get rid of stubborn dry, flaky patches. This rich cream melts into my skin, helps calm redness, and is designed to be used on the face and body. It’s even earned the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
- Heather Lorraine Certified Organic Golden Jojoba Oil ($20) – Jojoba oil hydrates, softens and smoothes the skin while balancing natural oil production. It also delivers antioxidant protection and can help reduce acne. Since jojoba oil produces an oil similar to our natural sebum, it absorbs quickly without conflict. I love layering this after my moisturizer at night or after being out in the sun for an extended period to keep my skin soft and smooth.
The Best Beauty Products of 2023 – Makeup
As far as makeup goes, I still gravitate toward a natural, sun-kissed look and an easy, quick makeup routine. This generally correlates to a bit of bronzer, mascara, eyebrow products, and lipstick.
- Mented Cosmetics Bronzer – Color: Yacht Life ($22) – This matte bronzer has rich pigment and a slight shimmer. This is great for helping me maintain a healthy summer glow, especially in the winter months when my skin can lose its healthy radiance. I’ve worn this a lot in my latest #winedownwednesday conversations. Get 15% off your purchase using my code BEAUTYINCOLOR.
- Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer – Coco Naughty ($34) – I’ve been using this bronzer for a few years, and I love the sun-kissed glow this gives me! This is a muted, medium-dark brown with subtle, warm red undertones and a matt-ish finish.
- NARS Creamy Concealer – Color: Amande ($32) – This creamy concealer blends beautifully, brightens under the eye, and hides the appearance of blemishes without making my eyes look crepey.
- Pat McGrath FetishEyes™ Lengthening Mascara ($32) – I love this so much that I stocked up on 2 more during Pat McGrath’s holiday sale. I mean, I couldn’t beat the price! (They were $10 during the sale). This formula is made with conditioning peptides to strengthen and protect, while panthenol hydrates and helps keep them super soft and non-flaky. It’s great for a doe-eyed look.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Strong Hold Clear Brow Gel ($22) – This clear brow gel holds my eyebrow strands in place without stiffness and stickiness.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – Soft Brown ($25) – My eyebrows are pretty sparse, so I like that this eye pencil helps me create natural hair-like strokes. I like my eyebrows to look put together but realistic, and using this eye pencil does the trick.
My Top 3 Lipsticks:
I either go for a nude gloss or a red lip. If you didn’t know, I love red lipstick. They’re classic and can elevate any look! Here are my top 3 lipsticks this year.
- The Lip Bar Bawse Lady ($14) – This super pigmented liquid matte lipstick goes on as a gloss, dries down matte, and stays on all day, no matter what, and the blue base is a perfect match for darker skin tones. Use promo code BEAUTYINCOLOR at checkout for 10% off your purchase.
- Mac Cosmetics Ruby Woo Retro Matte Lipstick ($19) – This is another blue-based red matte lipstick that glides on the lips nicely, has zero shine that provides the exact texture I love, and stays on all day.
- Pat McGrath LUST Lip Gloss – Bronze Divinity ($29) This sheer warm coral gloss has a smooth, lightly creamy texture that applies easily to my drier lips without setting into finer lines. It isn’t sticky or tacky but provides a shiny finish that lasts a few hours.
Those are my best beauty products of 2023!
Thanks SO much for your support this past year. I’ve shared my love of skincare, beauty, and wellness with this community, and I’ve experienced so many great opportunities that I had no idea would manifest.
Here’s to 2024 and creating more content, memories, and connections! And having WAY more fun!
IT’S A GIVEAWAY!
Enter for a chance to win a selection of the best beauty products of 2023! Take a look at the image below to see the items you can win.
Here are the steps to enter the giveaway:
- Make sure you are subscribed to the Beauty In Color newsletter. If you haven’t subscribed yet, click HERE to subscribe.
- Leave a comment under this blog post, sharing your favorite product that you recently finished. Don’t forget to include your email address so that I can verify your newsletter subscription.
- Head over to my Instagram page, @beautyincolor_official, and follow me.
The giveaway is open to residents of the USA and Canada and will run until 11:59pm on Friday, 01/26/2024.
The winner will be announced in my Sunday, 01/28/2024 newsletter. Make sure to check your email to see if you’ve won!