For our 26th annual Best Beauty Buys, the InStyle team worked with leading dermatologists, makeup artists, hairstylists, wellness experts, fragrance connoisseurs, and manicurists to find out which products they can't get enough of. Now, the votes are in — and you'll want to get ahold of these 229 beauty game-changers.
Peek through any celebrities’ medicine cabinet, and a few brands tend to surface time and again. There are famous aesthetician favorites like Skinceuticals, liquid luxuries like Augustinus Bader, clean beauty face oils like True Botanicals and Vintner’s Daughter, and the big kahuna in a little blue bottle: iS Clinical Active Serum.
It might look unassuming, but the results iS Clinical delivers has made fans out of Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chrissy Teigen, January Jones and countless beauty editors who’ve worked their way through all the skincare one face can handle. No matter what, the anti-aging, acne- and dullness-fighting serum clears up stubborn problems and converts hyperpigmentation, redness, and wrinkles into glowing, red carpet-ready skin.
“They clearly used magic to make this,” one shopper writes, and another seconds that the stuff is no joke. “I mean, wow. I bought this on a whim thinking it would just be another one of those overpriced products that does nothing, but my skin has improved drastically in the past two weeks since I started using it,” the latter person continues. “I struggled with cystic acne, scarring, texture, dullness, etc. My acne is pretty much gone, my scarring has decreased significantly, and my tone just looks more even all over.”
Shop now: $138; dermstore.com
The Active Serum formula is so intensely loved that it’s won 58 pages of glowing reviews on Dermstore, and board-certified dermatologist Diane Madfes confirms that it’s worth its weight in gold. “This is an all-around fabulous product, great for treating acne and preventing wrinkles,” Madfes tells InStyle. “The ingredients are key, as iS CLINICAL’s Active Serum is water-based with glycerin to moisturize. The polyporus umbellatus mushroom is a lightener and an antioxidant, while salicylic acid is an exfoliant.”
Madfes explains that the formula’s efficiency sets it apart, since the serum works quickly to fade post-acne marks and improve your skin texture, and shoppers also see tighter pores and super smooth, dewy skin. “This serum is the best exfoliating serum I've used so far, and I've used a lot as I am a licensed aesthetician,” another expert says. “Really great for clogged pores and acne!” Others dub it the best serum on the market and a “miracle worker,” its firming abilities and scar-erasing transformations enough to earn it a lifetime spot in their skin routines.
Even healthcare workers spending days on end in their masks say it’s life-changing, and former spa employees say that after seeing it recommended to every client that came in, they tried it and watched their dark spots disappear within a week. With continued use, multiple people say they finally feel un-self conscious enough to go without makeup over their hyperpigmentation and melasma.
“Acne is the worst, and I have been fighting it ever since I hit puberty,” another reviewer recounts. “I have tried thousands of products, saying, ‘Oh, maybe this one will work.’” Close to giving up, they ordered the iS Clinical Active Serum. “I saw results within days. My acne actually started to go away and what’s more, it actually prevents breakouts. I’m in love with this product and I will be using it for the rest of my life, or until my acne decides to go away.”
Its effect on wrinkles is no less impressive: After a few weeks of use, it toned down fine lines so completely that a shopper was shocked when they reappeared after running out of the serum. Repeated themes? The Active Serum is unbeatable, and worth every penny. Try it for yourself, and watch your skin shape up before your eyes.