Here They Are: The Worst (and Best) Skincare Products We Tried in 2022
On the cusp of another year, it's only natural to take time to pause and reflect—to think about where we've been and where we're going. As beauty editors, most of our reflection centers on, well, beauty. We look back (like the hair trends that defined 2022), and we look forward (like the nail colors that will matter the most this winter).
We also extend our reflection to the ever-evolving world of skincare. After a jam-packed year spent sorting through new trends, products, and devices, we try our best to sum it up as succinctly as we can. This year, we're making it easy. First, we're sharing the worst skincare products we tried in 2022. These are the ones that didn't make the cut whatsoever—the ones we're happy to leave behind. We're also sharing the very best skincare products we tried in 2022. These are the ones that we're most excited about and, in our opinion, have real staying power. Keep scrolling to see the full list.
Erin Jahns, Beauty Director
The Worst: Any type of pore-extracting contraption
"I never boarded the pore vacuum or extracting device train, and I absolutely never will. When I have used them, they provide such a quick, short-lived fix that spending any amount of money on them seems entirely pointless. (I swear my pores re-clog in a matter of minutes.) Save your money and invest in a handful of high-quality facials each year if you really want to detox your skin in a 100% safe and effective way."
The Best: At-home exfoliating potions
"When I'm dealing with clogged pores, blackheads, congestion, and bumpy skin texture, I've experienced great long-term results when I rely on carefully crafted exfoliating serums and congestion-clearing, pore-targeting masks and peels. When you are consistent with your application (a few times a week or so) and prioritize quality formulations that are potent yet gentle, your skin can do a 180 without any fancy treatments or an entire routine overhaul."
Katie Berohn, Beauty Editor
The Worst: Skincare devices
"Try as I might, I simply cannot get behind skincare devices. I don't think they're bad at all—the exact opposite, really. At the end of the day, skincare devices are made for someone who is much more put-together than I am (and has more time on their hands). Every time I have a new device to test, I'm lucky if I use it more than once before it begins gathering dust because I just cannot find the motivation to use it. If that makes me a bad beauty editor, so be it—but I'll leave the gadgets to the professionals!"
The Best: Do-it-all sunscreens
"I feel like every year, sunscreen manages to get better and better, and 2022 was no exception. I am a religious sunscreen wearer—one pre-cancerous spot on my nose at age 19 and I've been wearing SPF 40 and above every day since—but for a long time, I also absolutely hated sunscreen. This year, however, I found a whole bunch of sunscreens that I actually liked and felt excited to use. I hope that will continue into 2023."
Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
The Worst: Under-eye masks
"I know some people swear by these, but I think they're a waste of money. Most eye creams do exactly the same things promised by said under-eye masks, and they don't leave quite as much residue. Maybe it's because I'm trying to keep my skincare routine a bit more minimal these days, but I think this is one category I'll continue to skip."
The Worst: Sheet masks
"This is another type of product that I know a lot of people love and swear by, but I've just never really liked them that much. The idea of having to put a sheet on my face automatically gives me pause. I also dislike the filmy residue they leave on your skin after using them. My skin is also extremely sensitive and tends to react to a lot of products like this. I'll never say never on this one, though. Maybe I just haven't found the right masks for my skin type yet!"
The Best: Cleansing milks
"I've gotten really into cleansing milks this year. My skin barrier is pretty damaged due to overusing tretinoin (wouldn't recommend), but I've found several different milky cleansing washes that work really well for sensitive, dehydrated, and even acne-prone skin. It isn't always easy to find a face wash that actually cleanses your skin without leaving it feeling tight or dry, but these types of cleansers offer the perfect solution when you know which ones to buy."
(Editor's note: To view pricing for Biologique Recherche's products, you'll need to visit the Shop Rescue Spa website, create an account, and log in.)
Kaitlyn McLintock, Associate Beauty Editor
The Worst: Super-dewy skincare
"This might be an unpopular opinion, but skincare products designed to give your skin a super-dewy look just aren't for me. My T-zone gets shiny throughout the day, and I'd rather control that shine rather than accentuate it. Plus, I swear some of the products I've tried just highlighted my skin texture and enlarged pores. That's not to say all of the products in this category are bad. In fact, I like a select few and use them sparingly, but as a whole, this just isn't a product category I'm excited about."
The Best: International sunscreens
"For the longest time, I just assumed I hated sunscreen. I couldn't find one that wouldn't leave a white cast or pill or look overly greasy. So every morning, I'd begrudgingly apply it before heading out the door. I told myself it was a sacrifice I had to make in the name of proper skincare. Turns out I just wasn't using the right formulas. Ever since I started using international sunscreens, which use UV filters that aren't approved in the U.S. (at least not yet), I've been happily applying SPF. They're sheer and lightweight, and they never pill."
Maya Thomas, Assistant Beauty Editor
The Worst: Tinted sunscreen
"I've said it once, and I'll say it again: 'Tinted' SPF is not my best friend as a melanin-blessed girl. I've tried more than I can count, and they always end up leaving a white cast and residue. I have more than enough pictures of me in which I look like Casper the Friendly Ghost to last a lifetime, and I'm ready to incorporate skincare products that work for all skin types."
The Best: Invisible sunscreen
"This year, I've dedicated time to improving my skincare routine. Wearing sunscreen was something of a challenge to me growing up, as I couldn't find any that did what I wanted it to do. I'm so happy I found a few that completely disappear on my deep skin tone and keep me glowy and moisturized all day. I'm really looking forward to discovering more in 2023 that can work with my skin as the seasons change."