Tried-and-true to something new? It’s the number one question we as ask ourselves when standing in the skincare aisle or shopping online at Ulta Beauty—should we re-up on our empties or test out a shiny, new option? The deciding factor on whether or not we purchase or pass: reviews. We rely heavily on honest recommendations from beauty experts, skinfluencers and friends to tell us what products are worth adding to cart. Luckily, the team at PureWow has done the work for you on a few particularly polarizing categories. Take a look below at our top beloved products for summer and the best buzz-worthy finds.
Our Top Beauty Products for Summer from Ulta Beauty
Beloved vs. Buzzy: Acne Treatments
Beloved: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment
With over 1,000 positive reviews on ulta.com, The Effaclar Duo wins a spot as our beloved acne treatment. Formulated with 5.5 percent micronized benzoyl peroxide and micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid, it helps reduce the number and severity of acne blemishes, pimples, blackheads and whiteheads…and fast. One PureWow staffer shared that she’s been using La Roche Posay products for the past two months and they’ve worked to significantly clear her skin. Not only is she a big fan of spot treatment, but she also uses the Effaclar Micellar Water for Oily Skin, Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin and Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer with UV SPF 30.
Buzzy: SUNDAY RILEY All About Acne Kit
If you’ve ever suffered from acne, chances are you’re well-versed in researching skincare routines. Well, this all-in-one option from Sunday Riley is checks out. With a cleanser, serum, two treatments and a face oil it’s packed with each step you need to treat and calm skin. One reviewer boasts, “It’s quite a daily regimen but if I stick to it, my cystic acne is taken down to a few tiny pimples. It’s worked better than anything I’ve ever tried.” If that doesn’t sell you, we’re not sure what will.
Beloved vs. Buzzy: Self-Tanners
Beloved: St. Tropez Self-Tan Express Bronzing Mousse
The cult-favorite. Whenever you mention the words “self-tanner” it seems like everyone and their mom brings up St. Tropez. But for good reason—this stuff just works. It’s natural-looking, comes with all the right tools (hello, mousse mitten) and it really lasts. Beware: It is true the product has a green undertone, but you do not see it once it is blended onto the skin. The green undertone creates that natural "olive skin" look—unlike some other products with an orange undertone. Pro tip from one PureWow staffer: Always start at the bottom of your legs and work your way up for the most even coverage.
Buzzy: Tanologist Face + Body Drops
Organic and vegan, these drops are making a splash as a nice alternative to other facial tanners. Simply mix a few drops with your moisturizer to achieve a natural, sunny tan. Available in light, medium and dark another big selling factor is that it’s completely odorless. Remember, the more drops you add, the deeper your tan will be. Pro tip from a PureWow staffer: Make sure to wash your hands immediately after application and avoid your eyebrows.
Beloved vs. Buzzy: Face Serums
Beloved: The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
One of our beauty editors shared that on a recent lunch date, a girlfriend she’s known since childhood asked her: “Did you get Botox?” The answer: No, but she did start using products from The Ordinary. Not only does this line work wonders (hello, Botox compliments), but it’s also so affordable, you’d be crazy not to try it. This particular formula is a favorite because it’s so lightweight. One reviewer on ulta.com boasts, “I live in a humid climate and finding moisturizers that don’t feel heavy or greasy but also keep my skin hydrated and moisturized isn’t the easiest thing. This oil is weightless and feels like nothing on the skin. I can comfortably wear it under a gel-cream moisturizer and not feel like I have oil or anything sitting on top of my skin.”
Buzzy: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
Although Mad Hippie has been around for a few years, it’s still new to many. “I was sent a bottle of this serum to test and I can say it’s one of the few products that I’ve actually bought a second (and third and maybe fourth) time. It’s totally evened out and brightened my skin tone and it doesn't cost a ton of money,” says PureWow’s Managing Editor, Rachel Gulmi. The editors at Marie Claire agree and say, “What we in the industry call MAGIC.” We’d say that it speaks for itself.
Beloved vs. Buzzy: Summer Must-Haves
Beloved: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Ah, CeraVe. You can credit TikTok (Hyram specifically) for this brand’s cultural revival, but it’s been a dermatologist staple for decades. Reviewers attribute this product with transforming constant dry, flaky skin into a soft, smooth complexion in just a few days. But the key here is that it’s also lightweight (making it perfect for the summer months). “It’s rich with hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture, plus gentle and non-greasy. The goal of this cream is to restore the skin’s protective barrier, which it does by steadily releasing three ceramides (aka lipids that protect the skin and keep it moist) throughout the day,” explains dermatologist Dr. Susan Nedorost, MD.
Buzzy: Truly Buns of Glowry Tighten & Glow Smoothing Butt Butter
OK, the packaging alone is enough to send us flocking to get one (or two). But beauty aside, the skincare product actually has some helpful benefits to give your behind some love (and no, we’re not kidding). The watermelon extract, vitamin E and wheat protein blend work to firm, hydrate and plump your booty so you probably won’t need those popular TikTok leggings after all. Speaking of TikTok, user @.juhcobo even recommends the Acai Your Boobies to give your chest some love, too.
Beloved vs. Buzzy: Probiotic Skincare
Beloved: Tula 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream
Tula’s journey is different from every other brand on this list. Founded by Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist who realized the effects gut health had on her patients’ skin, it’s formulated to helps balance the skin microbiome and restore its natural balance (while also restoring her patients’ confidence). The 2,400+ positive reviews on ulta.com speak for themselves, but one particular reviewer said, “I have seen the redness on my skin improve, to the point where I don’t wear foundation anymore for my everyday natural look!” Sold.
Buzzy: Beekman 1802 Bloom Cream Daily Probiotic Moisturizer
The biggest different between these two products: Goat milk. Yes, the secret ingredient in Beekman 1802 is goat milk. It has the same pH as human skin (around 5.5), so when it's used as the “delivery vehicle” for Beekman 1802’s active botanicals, the skin’s first response is to drink it in rather than to repel it. Dr. Ridge, physician and co-founder of Beekman 1802, explains, “A lot of the base formulas used in skincare products are perceived by the body to be a foreign substance and can therefore lead to ‘micro-inflammation’ on the skin.” But with goat milk, the body doesn’t mistake it as something “bad” and the active ingredients can be thoroughly distributed. We suggest adding Bloom Cream Probiotic Moisturizer into your current routine, as it was specifically designed to keep your skin nourished no matter what.