The Best Skincare Products Tried in 2021

Best Skincare Products of 2021 featured by top CA beauty blogger, Alicia Tenise

I know we’re well into the second week of January, but I can’t stop thinking about how awesome 2021 was for me in terms of skincare. Despite the stress of moving cross-country and writing a book, bouncing between dry and humid climates, and plenty of mask-wearing, I was thrilled with my skin last year. It’s never felt softer, and I often felt like I was glowing.

I have oily/normal combination skin for reference, with my T-Zone being the oiliest part of my face. I also have moved to a dry climate (Los Angeles), but I typically switch out to a more lightweight moisturizer whenever I’m back on the East Coast or anywhere else that’s humid. Here are the best skincare products of 2021!

Full disclaimer: some of these products were PR gifts (if you see ℅ next to any product, that means it was gifted!) I was in no way obligated to write about any of these products, but I loved them and wanted to share my honest opinion (and I’ve happily purchased them with my own funds after being gifted the product!)

Best Skincare Products of 2021:

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask

When I went on my Celebrity Apex cruise this past November, I knew I had to book myself a spa appointment. Celebrity Cruises uses products from one of my all-time favorite skincare brands, Elemis, at their spa, and I knew I was in for a treat when I headed to my facial. 

My esthetician used the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask and recommended I try it at home, and boy oh boy, is it good. I love how it minimizes the appearance of pores and leaves your skin feeling ultra smooth and soft. Plus, you only need to wear it for 10 minutes, which I appreciate because some nights, I just don’t have the time or energy to wear a mask for 15+ minutes.


Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick

Retinol has been such a game-changer for me. I was hesitant to try it at first, but once I learned more about it, it became a crucial skincare step for me, and I use it daily.

I have retinol serums and creams, but I never thought to try a retinol eye cream until I saw this product on Grace’s blog. The Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick helped reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles and prevented wrinkles. If you’re using Retinol, make sure to use it at night and apply SPF during the day. I use this product in tandem with the Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40, and I think this combo works very well.


Biossance Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

When I moved to LA from the East Coast, I quickly realized that I needed a bit of a hydration boost — even though I have normal/oily skin. While I switched out my daily moisturizer, I still just wanted to give my skin a little more glow.

This Pore-Minimizing Toner by Biossance did the trick: it helped lock in hydration, all while smoothing out the texture of my skin (I am acne-prone, so this was a godsend!) Plus, the price point isn’t bad either. This was the first Biossance product I’ve tried, but it certainly won’t be the last.


Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator ℅

I also found a magical skincare routine for my body. Seriously, I’ve had friends feel my arms and wonder what on earth I was doing to make my skin feel that soft!

One magic ingredient I use every week? It’s the Nécessaire Body Exfoliator. They were kind enough to gift it to me, and I fell in love, and it’s now a staple in my skincare routine. I use this about 2-3 times a week, and it leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth and also helps with chest and back acne. If you are someone that goes spray tanning, this product will also be helpful (but I can’t go into detail about that cause I’ve never needed to get a fake tan, hah!)


Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Body Resurfacing Body Serum ℅

Another body skincare product I fell in love with last year was the Honeymoon Glow Body Serum by Farmacy. They were kind enough to gift it to me, and boy oh boy — it knocked my socks off!

My skin was already feeling smooth after using the body exfoliator mentioned above, but once I threw in this body serum to the mix? Game over. My skin was as smooth as a baby’s bottom, and it got rid of the last of my stubborn back acne. If you’re going to try any product from this article, I’d highly recommend this one. I only use this serum once a week, and just FYI: you will need to use it at night.


What are the best skincare products of 2021 that you tried?

Top photo by Tom McGovern

Leave a Comment


  1. Christine wrote:

    Will have to check these out! My skin was doing pretty well for most of last year but the fall and winter have been ROUGH for me.

    Posted 1.13.22 Reply
  2. Clair wrote:

    The winter weather is wreaking havoc on my body. Will try out your recommendations.

    Posted 1.17.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      I hope they help! Dry winter air is the absolute worst!

      Posted 1.18.22 Reply
  3. Yasmin wrote:

    I use Pixi’s retinol toner but this retinol eye stick looks super interesting for dark under eyes!

    Posted 2.17.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      yesss it’s my favorite!

      Posted 2.21.22 Reply