These are the Holy Grail Skincare Products I Swear By (And You Should, Too!)

I’ve tested out thousands of beauty products throughout the years. Yes, thousands. And I’ve definitely found a few that I consider to be my “holy grail” skincare products. 

So what’s a holy grail skincare product? It’s basically your ride or die, your can’t-live-without, your, “this totally changed the game for me” products. 

And today, I’m sharing those favorites with you. And yes, there’s something for every budget, too! 

woman standing in bathrobe in bathroom

For those of you who don’t know, prior to this blog I spent my career as a magazine editor.

That meant testing out the latest spa treatments (not complaining!) and plenty of products, too. If there’s one thing I’ve tested and tried lots of, it’s beauty, hair and skincare goodies. 

If you’re looking for the Fountain of Youth or just to get your best skin ever in 2023, read on for this list of holy grail beauty products you shouldn’t be without. 

Holy Grail Cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil holy grail skincare

If you’re new to cleansing oils know this: they are excellent at removing dirt and makeup without stripping your skin! 

I first started using DHC Deep Cleansing Oil a few years ago and have never looked back. It is affordable and does the job without me having to buy a separate eye makeup remover or spend a ton of time rubbing my eyes with cotton balls, which is terrible on your skin!  

They also have a travel size I always take with me on vacation but if you’re just wanting to try it out, then you can go for the mini. 

This cleansing oil leaves my skin soft and clean without any irritation or drying it out. I generally use this as a double cleanse along with basically any cleanser. 

If you’re looking for a cleansing balm instead of an oil, then check out the Elemis Cleansing Balm, which is another crazy-popular pick.

The Best Exfoliating Cleanser: Naturopathica Oat Cleansing Facial Polish

Naturopathica Oat Cleansing Facial Polish

I first fell in love with Naturopathica several years ago when I received a spa goodie bag from a media visit here in Scottsdale. The cleanser is SO good I have since repurchased it, despite it being on the pricey side, it is SO worth it! And, a little goes a long way.

The Naturopathica Oat Cleansing Polish is a gentle exfoliating cleanser so it won’t dry your skin.

The oatmeal softens your skin and leaves it feeling hydrated, too. It’s also a great cleanser if you have sensitive skin! 

I currently use this cleanser in the mornings about every other day. And it is honestly the best exfoliating cleanser I have ever used. 

The Holy Grail Vitamin C Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid

skinceuticals post injectable system

Is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid worth the hype? It sure is! 

Yes, it’s very expensive. But it is hands-down one of the best serums I have ever used. Period. 

Vitamin C is a must for anyone’s skincare routine as it helps protect against free radicals and can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as brighten skin. 

Unfortunately, many other Vitamin C serums oxidize quite quickly (they go bad), but SkinCeuticals has a patent on their formula which includes 15% L-ascorbic acid, 1% alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and .5% ferulic acid. 

Before & After. Visibly brighter, glowy skin after a few weeks of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic + SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier

Real results: After using it for a few weeks, my skin is glowing. It is noticeably brighter and more hydrated.

I’m not even wearing makeup most days anymore and my skin looks much more even and healthier.

Budget Alternative

If you truly can’t stomach the triple-digit price tag (and I don’t blame you) the best Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Acid Dupe is the Timeless 20% Vitamin C and E Ferulic Acid Serum.

The Best for Anti-Aging: Tretinoin

Tretinoin is the absolute gold standard when it comes to anti-aging.

Sure, you can get OTC retinol products, but they aren’t as effective as this dermatologist-prescribed product.

If you don’t see a dermatologist, you can get tretinoin online!

Agency is a great place to try; you’ll get a customized prescription sent straight to your door, without having to leave the house!

You get matched with a licensed dermatologist to address your skincare concerns and right now, you can try a 30-day trial for free! Just pay for shipping.

The Hyaluronic Acid Powerhouse: SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier 

SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier 30ml - SkinScience

If you aren’t yet using a hyaluronic acid serum, I highly recommend you add one to your skincare routine ASAP! 

Hyaluronic acid is excellent for helping the skin retain its moisture and stay hydrated. It can also help create a “plumping” effect. The one I’m currently loving is the SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier, 

For the best results, use in conjunction with the SkinCeuticals C E Feurlic Acid serum. My skin is GLOWING and has completely transformed after a few weeks of using this combination. 

It is noticeably younger-looking, hydrated, plumped and fine lines seem diminished, too. 

skinceuticals post injectable system

If you’re looking to save on SkinCeuticals or looking for a SkinCeuticals promo code, just grab this gift set which is a $220 value and includes the sunscreen, too! 

There are also several SkinCeuticals bundles right now that are discounted up to 15% off! 

Another holy grail hyaluronic acid I truly love is the Skinmedica HA5 Intensifier. This one is also on the pricey side but I have bought and repurchased it several times in the past. 

RELATED: 5 Luxury Beauty Items That are Worth the Splurge

The Best Sunscreen: Elta MD Sunscreen

elta md sunscreen best sunscreen

Another affordable holy grail skincare product I can’t live without is the Elta MD Sunscreen.

This was first recommended to me by my dermatologist and I have since repurchased it several times.

The difficulty with finding a good sunscreen is soooooo many of them are greasy, sticky, smelly or just generally difficult to apply makeup over.

That is 100% not the case with the Elta MD Sunscreen which has SPF 40 and is a true zinc oxide sunscreen that comes lightly tinted so you don’t have to worry about it leaving a white cast. 

It goes on so smooth and the finish is almost like a primer so applying makeup on top is a total breeze! (If you’re looking for a primer, I use and love this one from ILIA!

Holy Grail Moisturizer….

Amazon.com : CeraVe Moisturizing Cream | Body and Face Moisturizer for Dry  Skin | Body Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides | Normal | Fragrance  Free | 19 Oz : Beauty & Personal Care

You may be surprised to hear that my holy grail moisturizer is…Cerave! Yes, just the basic Cerave moisturizing cream that comes in a giant tub. 

I was turned on to this moisturizer after watching a few (many) of Dr. Dray’s YouTube videos.

She is always raving about how great this stuff is, even though it appears to be pretty basic, and the comments from viewers are always the same. 

They are NOT wrong. This tub does the job and honestly just works. 

It’s light enough to use during the summer and day yet it’s also thick enough to use as a night cream. No joke. I can’t explain it exactly, it just sinks into the skin. And anyway, it’s super affordable so you have nothing to lose! 

I slather it on with a silicone spatula like this. At night if I want an extra boost, I’ll add a few of a hyaluronic acid serum. This cream also makes an excellent lotion! 

Another alternative to try I had to mention is First Aid Beauty cream. 

The Best Face Oil

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil

I have tried A LOT of face oils. From rosehip oils to squalane and virgin marula oil, I’ve really tried many. But one of my all-time favorites and holy grail face oil is Indie Lee Squalane Oil.

This is a clean beauty brand and a light yet moisturizing oil. It’s also very affordable, comes with plenty in the bottle and does just the job. I’ve purchased this one several times and it also comes in a travel size if you’re just looking to try it out.

You can layer this over your moisturizer in the evening if you’re in need of additional hydration; wear it on its own in place of moisturizer or just dab it on spots where you may be dry. 

If you’re in the market for a multitasking moisturizer, I just finished the entire bottle of Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C Oil. Like the name implies, it leaves behind a beautiful glow, is hydrating and brightens the skin. I used this during the daytime and oftentimes didn’t even need another moisturizer. 

I hope this list of the best holy grail skincare products has helped you find a few new favorites! What are some of your favorite, can’t-live-without beauty products?

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  1. I just read your article about your holy grail skin products….and thank you! One thing that seems to be missing are eye products. I am 59 (soon to be) and I have some fine lines and dark circles. It seems like I have been looking for the “it” product for these issues for a long time. I would appreciate an article or any advice with regards to eye products. Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Marjorie, thanks for the comment! I’ve toyed with a lot of eye products and haven’t found a “holy grail” yet. I will say something that most won’t admit….you can just use your face cream around the eye area (not retinol). If you’re wanting to target dark circles then yes, you’ll want an ingredient for that but if you just need moisturizer then you can use the same one you use on the rest of your face!
      I’m currently using and loving the Sulwahsoo concentrated ginseng eye cream and really love it. It comes with a metal applicator that I put in my skincare fridge and it feels so soothing in the morning. It’s just really pricey, so I wish I didn’t love it but I do!

  2. I would love to know your favorite bodycare products! I read your review of necessaire products. I personally have very dry skin prone to hyperpigmentation on body.

    1. Thanks for reading, Wendy! That’s a great idea for a future post. Right now, I’m loving the Native body wash and Necessaire body serum. Before bed, I’ve been using the Versed retinol lotion on my hands

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