I'll be the first to admit that my skin is nowhere near perfect, but recently I found myself looking at photos from a year ago and was pretty shocked to find how much had changed since then. It's hardly a coincidence—in the last year, I've doubled down on my skincare routine in order to target a few concerns like acne and hyperpigmentation. The photos don't lie and neither do the slew of compliments I receive from friends, family, and co-workers. Comments about my skin texture and how smooth it looks (on a good day) have become the norm. I wish I could say that I just woke up like this, but truly, none of this would be a reality without a few transformative products I've added to my arsenal. I'd like to thank my fans, my family, and the following 12 creams, oils, and treatments. *Steps off podium.*
I initially set out to target my hyperpigmentation, and an improved skin texture happened to be the amazing side effect I never saw coming. It turns out that in order to lift stubborn dark spots, I needed an arsenal of exfoliators (physical and chemical), a cocktail of glycolic and lactic acids, and about as much vitamin C as I could get. Exfoliators target and remove dead skin, acids keep new blemishes from forming (and thus leading to even more acne scars), and vitamin C brightens overall.
Well, my skin is still nowhere near perfect, but all of the above definitely worked its magic. (I'll spare you the before-and-after photos—just trust me on this one.) My darkest spots are now far lighter, and since the below products did their job of removing dead skin so well, my skin's texture is also smoother than it's ever been. A win-win, if you ask me.
Without further adieu, I'm sharing the best products for skin texture, based on what has worked the best for me and my skin. From cleansers and toners to serums and face masks to moisturizers and face oils, the below products have worked their magic on my skin, so I can only hope they do the same for yours.
For an affordable pick, I've been pretty impressed with how effective this peel is and pleased to know that it's made from only clean ingredients. I use it twice a week as my main exfoliator. The formula includes niacinamide to improve uneven skin tone and papain, which is what gives it a grainy feel, to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells.
Anyone who's dealt with hyperpigmentation is probably familiar with Dr. Jart's Cicapair line. The color-correcting cream is one of my medicine-cabinet all-stars, but more recently, I've tried this cleanser from the same line and have been impressed. It's gentle and, most importantly, hydrating, which helps to offset all of the acid-based products in my routine that you're about to see below.
I initially bought Glossier's buzzy Solution when it first launched with the hope of clearing my annoying breakouts. It did marginally help keep them at bay, but I quickly realized that it was much more effective at lifting my acne scars and improving my overall skin texture thanks to the AHAs and BHAs, which are, quite literally, chemical exfoliators.
Do you know how I knew that Versed's brightening serum was legit? I rolled out of bed one morning to find that my skin was dull and dried out from drinking one too many glasses of wine the night before and decided this was the moment I'd put the serum to the test. It brought my skin back to life in a matter of moments (I'm all for products that give me immediate results), and I even earned a few compliments from co-workers on how my skin looked that day. If that's not a success story, I don't know what is. Glowy and plump are how I'd describe my skin after applying this bad boy.
Nothing has given me an immediate glow and improved my skin's texture over time quite like this powerful serum. I like to use it in conjunction with a vitamin C serum in the morning and as my last layer before moisturizer at night.
I know, I know—it's hard to compare a $155 serum with the $20 one I just told you was super effective. But hear me out. I'd still splurge on this beautiful bottle because unlike the other guy, using this serum daily contributed to brighter-looking skin for me over time as well as immediately after applying it. So in that sense, it's more of a treatment and a serum rolled into one.
In just 10 minutes, Caudalie's glycolic peel works its magic and transforms my skin texture into that of a baby's bottom. (I wish that were an exaggeration.) It's a strong formula, so I use it just once or twice a week.
I notice that my darkest spots become more subdued than they were the night before, and my skin has a super-soft texture and overall glow to it the next day. It's now my nightly ritual if I know I have to take photos or am heading to an even the next day.
This is one of Versed's most popular products, and I can personally attest that it lives up to the hype. Formulated with glycolic and lactic acids, it's one you can leave it on overnight and see how it's worked its magic the next morning—the magic being reduced redness and evened-out tone and texture.
I slather this one on at night when my skin is feeling a little dehydrated, and by the time I wake up in the morning, it's smooth and silky as can be. Plus, it just smells really good.
Using this daily has left my skin firmer, plumper, and more alive-looking than any other moisturizer I've tried. Yes, the price tag is high, but personally, I think it's worth every penny.
This one's on the thicker side, so I tend to reserve it for the evening. I love how it subtly works to exfoliate my skin and leave it glowy and smooth. As if my other exfoliators weren't enough…
Confession: I keep buying the $5 sample of this face oil because, well, the tiny bottle actually lasts and is the perfect travel size. (Okay fine, it's because I'm cheap sometimes.) That said, it's chock-full of potent ingredients like squalene for hydration, vitamin C for brightening, and rose oil for even texture, so a drop or two is all you need.
Apart from being utterly beautiful to keep in my medicine cabinet, this oil leaves me looking glowy AF all day, and I love that about it.
This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated.
Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.