The 100 Greatest Skin Care Products of All Time (2024 Edition)

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CeraVe makes selling 20 bottles of Hydrating Facial Cleanser every minute look easy.

But when it comes to skin care, producing lightning-in-a-bottle successes with staying power is anything but.

One of beauty’s most dynamic categories, skin care is also one of the most crowded and competitive. It’s hard to break through: Circana reports that despite the proliferation of new brands and products, the majority of sales come from existing players.

That makes the 100 winners on these pages — which were voted the greatest skin care products by beauty industry insiders — even more remarkable. Some of the products have withstood the test of time, others are more recent entrants on the scene, but all have combined efficacy, user experience and savvy marketing strategies to achieve hero status.

“Creating an iconic skin care product takes vision, vision as to how someone wants their skin to look and feel” said Jane Hertzmark Hudis, executive group president, the Estée Lauder Cos.

But that’s not all. “You need an irresistible texture and sensorial experience, discernable powerful instant and long-term results,” Hudis continued, “and a compelling story when you use the product each time that keeps a consumer coming back over and over again.”

“It takes patience, passion and never rushing just to make a launch,” said Carol Hamilton, L’Oréal USA’s group president of acquisitions and business development. “The combination of art and science that goes into creating not only the right performance, but the sensorial aspects of a skin care product, is too important to hurry.”

Of course, efficacy is essential. “The product has to answer a consumer skin care need and it’s got to deliver on results,” said Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and chief executive officer of BeautyStat. “Then, you need to communicate why there’s no replacement for it.”

Even so, science alone is no guarantee for success.

“You start with performance and don’t compromise on that. Then you layer in the extra goodies,” said Hamilton, who likens the final result to a great cocktail. “Performance alone won’t create consumer addiction. There’s the importance of highly concentrated formulas with a beautiful experience to use.”

Then you’ve got to make sure people know of its existence. “For us it’s about finding our niche,” said Charlotte Palermino, cofounder of Dieux whose Instant Angel became an instant sensation on social media and beyond in 2022. “But with the internet, your niche can be millions of people who will actually respond well to a product.”

Even as the world has evolved, enabling brands like Dieux to break through, those tenets hold true. “Skin care has become a movement and all generations are part of it,” said Hudis. “The momentum of the category spans all ages and the potential upside is extraordinary.”

Inside The Greatest

To compile the list of the 100 greatest skin care products, WWD Beauty Inc polled over 600 beauty industry insiders, executives, financiers, creators, professionals and founders in an open-ballot format and asked them to submit responses.

Voters were asked to consider the following criteria: product efficacy, formula innovation, sales performance, packaging design and market impact. WWD Beauty Inc tabulated votes and, accounting for multiple duplicate votes from the same organizations, culled the top 100 products that garnered the most votes.

Promised confidentiality on the content of their ballots, the vast majority also opted for anonymity. Here, the full list of voters willing to be identified.

Ada Polla; Agnes Landau; Alicia Sontag; Anike Rabiu; Annie Young-Scrivner; April Uchitel; Ashleigh Ciucci; Barbara Zinn Moore; Bee Shapiro; Bettina O’Neill; Carrie Gross; Casey Georgeson; Celine Kaplan; Charles Rosier; Charlotte Palermino; Clémence von Mueffling; Cristina Nuñez; Daniela Ciocan; David Greenberg; Deanna Kangas; Deanna Melluso; Diana Madison; Dr. Amy Wechsler; Dr. Dan Belkin; Emily Dougherty; Erin McCaffrey Nenadich; Esi Eggleston Bracey; Eva Chen; Francesco Clark; Haille Fritz; Hilary Crnkovich; Ian Michael Crumm; Irene Forte; Jacquie Tractenberg; Jaime Maser; Jane Lauder; Jean Godfrey-June; Jill Granoff; Jodi Balkan; Julee Wilson; Juliette Levy; Kalondia Casey; Kristina Lee; Lindsey Zubritsky; Luc-Henry Rousselle; Malcolm Carfrae; Margot Humbert; Marianna Hewitt; Matt Rubel; Matthew Dentremont; Megan Teasdale; Merritt Loughran; Millie Kendall; Natacha Bonjout; Naya Louis; Neda Daneshzadeh; Pamela Baxter; Rachel Sprayregen; Raquel Medina-Cleghorn; Rich Gersten; Riku Campo; Rose Pilato; Rupert Schmid; Sarah Brown; Sonia Ramos; Susan Akkad; Susan Biegacz; Tarang Amin; Vasiliki Petrou.