The TikTok-Hyped Skin Care Products That Actually Work

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Photograph by Tim Walker; Styled by Sara Moonves.

If you’ve spent any amount of time scrolling through Tiktok, you’ve probably ended up seeing at least a few #skincare posts. The app has become one of the biggest new beauty spaces on the internet and an incubator for a new kind of influencer, with accounts like Skincare by Hyram, What’s on Vi’s Face, J.C. Dombrowski and more sharing their knowledge in informative, witty ways while making a previously opaque industry slightly more accessible for everyone. Dermatologists such as Dr. Dustin Portela and Dr. Joyce Park are also bringing their clinical knowledge to the platform, answering questions like “Should I wear sunscreen indoors?” and debunking popular skincare myths. Drugstore brands and direct-to-consumer newcomers alike have seen a surge in popularity because of a handful of posts or a particularly glowing testimonial. That being said, it’s important to examine each buzzy new product and trend critically (see: this winter’s drama surrounding Purito sunscreen, a former social media darling that faced a backlash over incorrect SPF labeling). From viral cleansers and exfoliants that cost under $15 to luxury dupes recommended by the app’s “skinfluencers,” here are the best popular skincare picks to that actually get results.


Though CeraVe has been around for over 15 years, the drugstore staple has experienced a renaissance thanks to countless TikTok recommendations. The brand’s simple, effective products for all skin types have made it a go-to for millennials and gen z alike, but their cleansers—this hydrating one in particular—really stand out.


This pick can be polarizing—at 30% alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic and lactic acids) and 2% beta hydroxy/salicylic acid, it can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin. If you’ve never used an exfoliant with a high acid concentration, be sure to patch test this one before you try it on your entire face. It may make you look like you’re in the middle of a vampire facial while using, but with a little work up to it or for seasoned exfoliating enthusiasts, it can be a lifesaver for acne-prone skin. (New to acids? Read more about the different ones used in skincare here.)


If you’re seeking the perfect drugstore sunscreen, look no further. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios is TikTok dermatologist-approved.


Here’s another sunscreen option that TikTokers swear by: K-beauty brand Missha’s Essence Sun Milk, which doesn’t have the gloopy, thick consistency of usual sunblock brands. Instead, it’s watery—but still provides protection.


Paula’s Choice BHA is one of the most beloved affordable chemical exfoliants on the market, with over 2000 five-star reviews. A favorite of Vi Lai—whose followers include Hailey Bieber and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—this product sloughs off dead skin and helps decongest pores for a smoother complexion.


Color correctors are often hit or miss, but this cream from Dr. Jart has been steadily trending for its ability to banish redness and minimize rosacea while providing a flawless complexion, sans foundation. While the Dr. Jart CC Treatment has been getting a lot of hype, Nicole Vokov pointed out that the Erborian CC Red Correct is a good alternative (and better reviewed).


Simply put, CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream is a SkinTok staple. This lotion works on all skin types, gently hydrating the skin with ceramides and hyaluronic acid.


Water creams, or water-based moisturizers, are gaining popularity because they provide ample hydration without feeling heavy or sticky. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost, Tatcha’s The Water Cream, and Biossance Squalane and Probiotic Gel Moisturizer are all solid options, but Oat So Simple by Krave Beauty remains the favorite of many TikTokers, including Ben Neiley.


If you haven’t heard the term “slugging” yet, don’t be put off—it has little to do with slimy mollusks. A K-beauty trend popularized on social media and Reddit, slugging refers to using a small amount of a petroleum-based product as an occlusive top layer to lock in moisture. Charlotte Palermino is a huge proponent, and while it may not be for everyone, it’s worth giving the technique a shot if you struggle with extra-dry winter skin.


No doubt you’ve seen people putting hydrocolloid bandages all over their face to banish acne (with sometimes alarming results), but these cute little 100% hydrocolloid pimple-fighting patches from Starface are equally effective and significantly chicer.


Tiktokker Glowopedia showed that these masks can be as soothing on the senses as they are on the lips with her viral skincare ASMR videos. Packed with squalene and Japanese peach extract, this jelly-like treatment provides a heavy dose of moisture to dry lips.


Kaivalya “Kiki” Gorla went viral for a video of herself using this tiny tube to get instantly get rid of oily skin. The name—and $12 price tag—might sound too good to be true, but this mattifying face roller from Revlon is a must for anyone trying to banish shine without disturbing their makeup.


If your skin skews on the more sensitive side, Eucerin’s Original Healing Cream is another great body lotion option. This formulation creates a product so gentle, you can use it all over—including on the face.


This is less of a viral video hit and more of a hidden gem that TikTok made me try, but if you’re looking for an excellent, antioxidant-packed face cream, look no further than Byroe’s Salmon Cream. The moisturizer is packed with protein-rich salmon egg extract, niacinamide, and peptides—and according to skincare TikToker and marine biology major J.C. Dombrowski, a solid La Mer dupe.


Glow Recipe’s Dew Drops highlighting serum has pervaded the TikToks of some top beauty influencers for good reason. This product hydrates and reduces hyperpigmentation, providing a dewy, reflective glow with a formation that isn’t sticky.


I found this hidden gem from the K-beauty brand CosRX in the comments section. TikTokers were raving about its anti-aging properties, and how it helped minimize their pores significantly. After giving it a shot, I can confirm the Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is worth the purchase.


Once I started a Retin-A after my mask-ne got out of control, my dermatologist suggested I switch to a gentle, oil-free moisturizer. I liked this one so much after finding it through TikTok that I purchased its nighttime counterpart. It’s gentle, non-greasy, doesn’t leave a white cast, and doubles as a sunscreen.


This lotion is a saving grace for those with super dry skin. Prebiotic thermal water, glycerin, and shea butter, helps calm dry, rough, or inflamed skin, and preserves its barrier.

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