These new-in-2018 products are the best of the best.
The year 2018 was a big one for skincare. We dabbled in new trends (hello, adaptogens, squalane, and bakuchiol!) as well as tried-and-true staples (see: tea tree oil, vitamin E, cocoa butter). We put probiotics and CBD oil on our faces; and of course, we spent a lot of money in Amazon's beauty department.
A few new products rose to the top, though: We polled dermatologists and beauty editors to find out which recent launches have earned a permanent spot in their medicine cabinets. Below, the new-in-2018 skincare buys experts think will stand the test of time.
Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum
"These are one of my absolute favorite new releases in 2018," says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, explaining that the capsules contain retinol, which helps build collagen, fight fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin tone and texture. "They're formulated with ceramides, so that helps mitigate some of the usual irritation that a vitamin A-containing product can cause." Also good? "Because they are encapsulated, they maintain more potency than non-encapsulated versions."
Conture Kinetic IllumiMask Illuminating Mask
This innovative mask also gets Dr. Engelman's vote: "It uses vitamin A, goji, and orange stem cell to stimulate collagen and reveal healthy skin cells," she tells us. "It restores skin radiance while diminishing hyperpigmentation." And thanks to the rolling applicator, it's a breeze to use, she adds. "It's easy to apply to the skin without causing a mess!"
DERMALOGICA Age Smart BioLumin-C Serum
"This is a great serum that came out in 2018," says New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, noting that it contains a trio of powerful ingredients: vitamin C, lactic acid, and sodium hyaluronate. "The lactic acid helps to stimulate collagen synthesis, and the vitamin C is a very stable kind, which means it's well-formulated to penetrate skin."
As for the sodium hyaluronate, "it's a form of hyaluronic acid used for moisturizing," explains Dr. Jaliman. "It’s super hydrating and has anti-aging properties." Also good? The formula is non-greasy and penetrates skin easily, she says.
Kiehl's Herbal-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water
Health beauty editor Lisa DeSantis is a big fan of this newly released micellar water. "Not all micellars are created equal—I’ve tested dozens, and this one scores high on my list," she says. "Not only does it remove all of my makeup (even waterproof) in just a few swipes, it also doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight like some cleansers, or sticky like some wipes."
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops
Drunk Elephant's D-Bronzi serum bridged the line between makeup and skincare this year: The formula is packed with good-for-skin antioxidants, but also imparts subtle, natural-looking color. "This was a game-changer for me because I naturally have a fair complexion, but am not too keen on looking completely ghostly," says DeSantis. "This gives me just enough of a color boost to feel and look alive without overdoing it (read: looking orange or streak-y)." She mixes a few drops in with sunscreen as the final step in her skincare routine.
Tatcha The Indigo Cream
"While I don’t have sensitive skin, I am a loyal Retin-A user, which is known to come with effects such as dryness and sensitivity," says DeSantis. "To combat those, I’ve come to love applying this rich cream over top nightly. Specifically formulated for skin types that are dry, even those that are eczema- and rosacea-prone, this indigo-laced moisturizer deeply hydrates while soothing."
L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel
This drugstore steal has become DeSantis' go-to for nixing puffy eyes. "When I wake up in the a.m., I’m often greeted by dark under eye bags no matter how many hours of shuteye I clocked—not pretty," she says. "I’ve tried a ton of products, but as of late have fallen in love with this gel. It’s lightweight, plays well with makeup, and has a wand applicator with a row of three metallic rollerballs to dispense the cooling manuka honey formula that aids in my depuffing efforts."
Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum
"You might regard the toner step as an unnecessary one and truth be told, I did, too," says DeSantis. That is, until she found this one from French brand Caudalie. "I have combination skin that was prone to cystic breakouts in certain areas, and while I managed to get that under control with a prescription regimen, I found that using this after cleansing kicked my routine into high gear and truly made my pores appear smaller."
The formula contains wintergreen, a natural form of salicylic acid that helps draw out excess oil and bacteria without overly drying skin.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water
"I love a good faux glow and after testing different formulas over the past decade, I’ve finally found the one," says Health beauty director Heather Muir Maffei. "The delivery—a face mist—is genius and super easy to use. I wash and dry my face, mist the bottle onto my skin while moving my arm back and forth and down my neck, then apply moisturizer, which ensures I’m all blended." The formula gets bonus points from Muir Maffei for its scent ("there's no funky smell") and good-for-skin ingredients like coconut, avocado, and chia seed oils. Pick your color (pink, green, or purple) based on how deep you want your glow.
This product became an instant hit after millennial-loved skincare brand Glossier launched it in January (it was even sold out for part of the year). "This pink bottle houses a 10% blend of AHA, BHA, and PHA acids that help clear zits, unclog blackheads, and makes pores look a little more refined (yes, you need it)," Muir Maffei says. "I pour some onto a cotton round, then swipe it over my skin post-cleansing (it’s great at removing any leftover makeup) and follow it with a moisturizer. I love how soft it makes my skin feel and how glowy it makes it look."
Dr. Brandt Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask
Health assistant beauty editor Anneke Knot is obsessed with this nighttime recovery mask. "Using a powerful mixture of hydrating ceramides and fatty acids, a blend of antioxidants, this mask restores natural pH levels and strengthens your skin barrier," she says. "After trying it one time, my skin was visibly softer and glowier when I woke up the next morning."
Farmacy Honeymoon Glow
"If you are in search of a glow, look no further," says Knot. "I apply this AHA/BHA-rich serum a few times a week to gently exfoliate and resurface my skin. Its high concentration of resurfacing and hydrating acids encourages cell turnover and leaves behind a brighter complexion."
SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
This is Knot's go-to sunscreen. "Sunscreen is a must every day, but who wants to load their face up with thick globs of white goo that doesn’t rub in?" she says. "This weightless sunscreen easily absorbs into the face without leaving behind any unwanted streaks or heaviness, and it increases the wear of your makeup. Win win."
Aveeno Repairing Cica Hand and Foot Masks
"These masks come in convenient, one-time-use packages to help repair dry, cracked skin," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Enriched with skin-protecting colloidal oatmeal, these masks hydrate hands and feet and help repair the skin barrier."
Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Facial Gel Mist
"The effect of pollution on the skin is becoming an increasing problem," says Dr. Zeichner. "Particulate matter in the air has been shown to cause free radical damage, leading to premature aging and dark spots." He likes this drugstore mist, which has hyaluronic acid and the antioxidant moringa seed oil to protect skin from pollution. "It is a great product for a mid-day touch-up or extra protection before getting on the subway."