Skincare is something I’ve been obsessing over since high school. I had problem skin when I was younger, so I spent countless hours testing different doctor-prescribed treatments as well as finds from beauty counters and drugstores. Once I was finally able to achieve clear skin, I worked hard to keep it that way, and in my adult life, I’ve found a skin regimen that works for me, but I’m always on the hunt for new products vetted by industry experts to try out myself.
Curious to find out which products beauty editors swear by for glowing skin, I asked some to tell me about the super-hydrating ones they love. Here, they’re sharing their top-shelf favorites, from collagen-packed sheet masks and plumping serums to an antioxidant-packed serum that’s “magic in a bottle.” Ahead, see their picks and some personal favorites that are always stocked in my medicine cabinet.
Kristen Nichols, Managing Editor, Who What Wear
The name says it all. This truly is a hydration booster. Packed with hyaluronic acid—an ingredient that can penetrate beneath your skin's surface—it's a scientifically proven hydrator. I love wearing this all over my face as a serum for instantly dewy skin. And at just $20, it is one of my all-time favorite affordable beauty finds.
Cat Quinn, Beauty Director, Refinery29
"Between more frequent face washing and recirculated apartment air, my skin has been crazy dry during quarantine. I recently switched to this moisturizer, and my face has never been more balanced—which is saying a lot considering I have acneic skin and my diet is mostly just made up of wine and frozen pizza at the moment. This moisturizer keeps my skin soft and plump and glowy without breaking me out. Unlike a lot of moisturizers marketed to people with oily or acne-prone skin, this isn't a flimsy sheer gel that disappears as soon as you rub it on; it's rich and luxurious and a true joy to massage onto my face."
"When my lips have reached crusty, raw, painful territory (which is, unfortunately, more often the case these days), this is what I reach for. You slap it on in a big, gooey, satisfying layer, and it softens lips on the spot. I wear it as a nightly treatment, and my lips actually look human by morning."
"I'm normally not a lotion person, but my skin is so dry lately, it actually hurts if I don't smooth this on immediately after I shower. The cocoa butter formula is the only match for my itchy-beyond-belief skin, and I love the soothing, subtle scent. I rub it on, slide into bed, and drift into a good night's sleep."
Maureen Choi, Executive Director of Content and Curation, Violet Grey
“I use this once a week (twice if I’m feeling fancy) to stop dehydration before it even starts, as opposed to getting all flaky and irritated and having to overcompensate with a bunch of products. Prevention, as they say, is better than a cure. It’s made from a unique bio-cellulose material, which feels like a hug for your mug and is packed with collagen-boosting peptides, soothing Centella Asiatica, and a potent mix of antioxidants to repair the skin barrier. In 20 minutes, your face looks supple, plump, and lovely.”
“Moisturizers have their place in any solid routine, but for a truly dewy complexion, you need lightweight hydration in the form of an essence. That’s what will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin to make it juicy from within. This formula is my number one player because it infuses a combination of micro and mini hyaluronic acids plus beta-glucan and aloe vera to draw moisture in and maintain it for the long haul.”
Courtney Higgs, Associate Beauty Editor, Who What Wear
"All I want in life is plump, bouncy skin, and for me, this serum has been one of the keys to achieving that. I've been head over heels in love since first trying it about two years ago. It's chock-full of skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid (the gold standard in hydrating ingredients), reishi, and silver ear mushroom to deeply hydrate and protect the skin. No matter what my face is going through (random zones of dryness are my struggle du jour), this plumping serum works in tandem with the rest of my skincare to get me back on track in no time. It's literally like a glass of water for my face."
"I really try not to preoccupy myself with aging, because despite all the societal messaging that's been hurled at us all our lives, age is something to be celebrated and not feared. That said, I do like to keep an eye on the delicate skin under my eyes since it's one of the places where I notice the most persistent fine lines. I've gotten pretty diligent about wearing eye cream (morning and night!), but on days when my under-eyes look extra creasy or dehydrated, these cooling eye gels breathe new life into that thin skin."
"For me, keeping my lips hydrated is just as important as making sure my face is dewy. Waxy lip balms are my all-time favorites for locking in moisture, and Glossier's Balm Dotcom tops that list for me. It has castor oil, beeswax, and lanolin, along with plant some lovely extracts to soften and deeply condition."
Jessica Chia, Contributing Editor, Allure
"When my skin is dry as the desert (which seems to happen a lot more now that I'm living in arid Los Angeles), the first thing I do is exfoliate so I can remove that tough, dull outer layer of skin. I swear by Peace Out Dullness by Peace Out Skincare, which makes my skin instantly look soft and glowy. (It's a little exfoliating mitt drenched in acids that works wonders.)"
Erin Jahns, Beauty Editor, Who What Wear
"I'm convinced this serum from IS Clinical is magic in a bottle. I've been using it morning and night ever since two different celebrity estheticians recommended it to me (Shani Darden and Melanie Grant), and now I can't go without it. It has soothing menthol, which is great for someone struggling with irritation or sensitivity, and other key additions like Centella Asiatica (a super-healing antioxidant), vitamin B5, hylauronic acid, and kojic acid work in tandem to hydrate, brighten, and heal the skin. In addition to increasing my skin's moisture levels, it's also helped heal and prevent my breakouts. Plus, it absorbs extremely fast, which makes it easy to layer or even mix into your other favorite skincare treatments."
"When my under-eyes are feeling dry and dehydrated, I always reach for this Korean-skincare-inspired eye cream from Belif. Makeup artists I talk to always recommend this brand because of how hydrating its products are (moisturized, dewy skin is makeup's best friend), and I've found it cures my thirsty skin instantly. The formula promises 26-hour-long hydration, and I wouldn't argue! It's full of high-quality herbal ingredients like naturally moisturizing comfrey leaf, and elasticity-improving pennywort. I apply it at night before bed and also in the morning pre-makeup. I'm also convinced it keeps my concealer from creasing."
"My skin has been so happy with this butter-like skin balm, and if you combine it with Mutha's equally hydrating oil, the effect is dynamite. Once a week, I apply the oil followed by this butter post-shower, and I don't have to reapply any kind of body moisturizer for the next six to seven days. It's just that effective at keeping your skin dewy, bright, and topped up with moisture."
Michelle Li, Fashion and Beauty Editor, Teen Vogue
"This was the serum that got me hooked on using serums. I love honey products for my skin. Honey hydrates without making my skin oily. I feel like it's so nourishing my skin just soaks it all up. I use a few drops of this in the a.m., and it instantly brightens my complexion and softens my skin."
"I am obsessed with this body stone. It's a solid body lotion. I find it easier to apply than normal body lotion that you have to pump. I sit on the couch after showering and rub it in. It's very luxurious and makes you feel so good and soft. I use it in the a.m. and p.m.! It also has a lot less packaging!"