There’s a very good chance (say, 50%) that you believe you have sensitive skin, and a very low chance (say, 5%) that you actually do. That’s because only a sliver of the population actually has a chronic skin condition, like eczema or rosacea — the real culprits behind intolerant skin. The rest of us who think we fall into the sensitive category are more likely to have experienced an unfortunate reaction to an active ingredient that caused redness, flaking, and burning — not to mention a profound distrust of every product we come across. That’s why the Sensitive category of our 28th annual Allure Best of Beauty Awards exists.
While it’s always important to determine the cause of adverse reactions (some experts suggest keeping track of active ingredients to weed out the offenders), the easy-does-it formulas listed below are here to help keep inflammation and anxiety at bay. Containing only the mildest ingredients, these cleansers, creams, and serums tread lightly — so you don’t have to.
Once you’re done, head to our full list of the 391 beauty products that won a 2023 Allure Best of Beauty Award. Want to see the rest of the award-winning skin-care products from this year? Check out the winners we deemed worthy of our Clean Beauty seal, or take a look at the Skin Care category for moisturizers, face masks, and (much, much) more.
Best of Beauty Awards 2023: Sensitive Skin
Jump to a specific product or keep scrolling to meet our new favorite gentle beauty products:
Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
Tower 28 SOS Daily Barrier Recovery Cream
Why it won: Packed with four different types of hyaluronic acid, Tower 28 SOS Daily Barrier Recovery Cream draws all the moisture to your skin, then locks it in with emollients. The result: a stronger protective barrier and extremely silky-skinned (and happy) testers.
Best Sensitive Skin Facial Serum
Tatcha The Silk Serum
Why it won: For those of us who flush at the mere mention of “retinol,” Tatcha The Silk Serum is a small botanical miracle. The delicate elixir smooths wrinkles with cranberry extract, a mild (and unexpected) plant-based alternative to the vitamin A derivative.
Best Treatment for Sensitive Eyes
Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid+ Collagen Eye Treatment
Why it won: Lipids, peptides, niacinamide, caffeine! Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid+ Collagen Eye Treatment manages to cram a lot into one little pot. The lightweight cream targets webby lines and dark circles while temporarily deflating undereye bloat.
Best All-Over Balm
Cocokind Ceramide Recovery Balm
Why it won: Think of ceramides as nature’s cement: They seal in moisture by filling holes in the skin’s protective barrier. Cocokind Ceramide Recovery Balm contains enough fatty molecules to hydrate your toughest areas — cracked ankles, flaky lips, rough elbows — and serves as a satisfying slugging alternative to petroleum jelly, according to one of our testers.
Best Body Scrub for Sensitive Skin
Aveeno Tone + Texture Body Scrub
Why it won: Containing the finest grains of tiny plant fibers we’ve ever encountered, Aveeno Tone + Texture Body Scrub gently (and we do mean gently) buffs away dead cells while coddling touchy skin. “My finicky skin was deeply pleased to find an exfoliator that doesn’t exacerbate my eczema,” says associate beauty director Sarah Kinonen. “Halfway through the tube and not a single flare-up!”
Best Fragrance-Free Deodorant
Saltair 5% AHA Serum Deodorant
Why it won: Raise your hand if you’ve been betrayed by natural deodorants. Saltair 5% AHA Serum Deodorant Fragrance Free will restore your faith in aluminum-free protection. The silky serum minimizes odor and irritation with almond-derived alpha hydroxy acids while brightening underarm skin with niacinamide.
Best Fragrance-Free Cleanser
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Cleanser
Why it won: Unlike most face washes that remove every stitch of makeup and every stitch of moisture, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Cleanser leaves skin feeling absurdly soft as well as impeccably clean.
Best Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser
Beekman 1802 Milk Scrub Oat & Goat Milk Exfoliating Cleanser
Why it won: Beekman 1802 Milk Scrub Oat & Goat Milk Exfoliating Cleanser is like a luxurious milk bath for your face. The exfoliator cushions and brightens skin with fatty acids and lactic acid, offering a softer, gentler sloughing approach.
Like what you see from Allure‘s Best of Beauty Awards?