The Cult-Favorite Products You Need To Achieve Your 2021 Skin-Care Goals

Andrea Cheng
·5 min read

The drawback to making New Year’s resolutions lies in the fact that they must be conceived and implemented on January 1 and on that day only — otherwise you will have already failed and, well, better luck next year. We’d argue: Resolutions, goals, do-overs, proverbially wiping the slate clean, can happen any time you want so long as you have the willpower and intention to make that commitment.

So here we are, a little more than a month into the new year, and what better day to start reevaluating your approach to beauty than *checks calendar* February 11? In partnership with Sunday Riley, we compiled a list of long-overdue beauty to-dos we want to achieve in 2021, like actually treating maskne rather than tolerating it or finally being a grown-up and incorporating a retinoid or getting more sleep (or at least look as though you did). Then we found a product that meets the demands of each goal — click through to find out what they are.

<strong>Goal:</strong> Treat maskne once and for all<br><br><strong>Use:</strong> Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>When there’s a buildup of sweat and bacteria, and your pores are blocked by a layer of fabric, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/10/10136549/maskne-treatment" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:maskne inevitably occurs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">maskne inevitably occurs</a>. To unclog pores and slough off dead skin cells, a chemical exfoliant is key, especially a gentle one that won’t exacerbate the area even further. That’s why lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid so gentle it can be used daily, is your answer to treating maskne. This serum by Sunday Riley is essentially lactic acid in a bottle, and its sole purpose is to clarify, smooth, and brighten skin. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fgood-genes-all-in-one-lactic-acid-treatment-P309308%3Ficid2%3Dproducts%2520grid%3Ap309308%26skuId%3D1418581" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Treat maskne once and for all

Use: Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

Why? When there’s a buildup of sweat and bacteria, and your pores are blocked by a layer of fabric, maskne inevitably occurs. To unclog pores and slough off dead skin cells, a chemical exfoliant is key, especially a gentle one that won’t exacerbate the area even further. That’s why lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid so gentle it can be used daily, is your answer to treating maskne. This serum by Sunday Riley is essentially lactic acid in a bottle, and its sole purpose is to clarify, smooth, and brighten skin.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal:</strong> Be proactive in wrinkle-prevention <br><br><strong>Use:</strong> Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum<br><br><strong>Why?</strong> Dermatologists swear by retinoids, a powerful derivative of vitamin A that speeds up cellular turnover and boosts collagen production, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. And once wrinkles form and deepen, it’s virtually impossible to make them go away, which is why derms never fail to tout the benefits of prevention. Try Sunday Riley’s potent retinoid serum, which features an effective 6.5% solution of stabilized retinoid blends and botanical retinol-alternative extracts, to help in smoothing out the appearance of wrinkles. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fa-high-dose-retinoid-serum-P440075" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Be proactive in wrinkle-prevention

Use: Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

Why? Dermatologists swear by retinoids, a powerful derivative of vitamin A that speeds up cellular turnover and boosts collagen production, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. And once wrinkles form and deepen, it’s virtually impossible to make them go away, which is why derms never fail to tout the benefits of prevention. Try Sunday Riley’s potent retinoid serum, which features an effective 6.5% solution of stabilized retinoid blends and botanical retinol-alternative extracts, to help in smoothing out the appearance of wrinkles.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal: </strong>Radiate a glowing complexion without the help of makeup<br><br><strong>Use: </strong>C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>Dullness (the result of uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, discoloration) is the only thing that would stand in the way between you and enviable glowy skin. Integrating vitamin C, like this skin-brightening formula that features 15% of L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), is the surefire way to eliminate dullness. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fc-e-o-rapid-flash-brightening-serum-P418346%3Ficid2%3Dprod-ucts%2520grid%3Ap418346" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Radiate a glowing complexion without the help of makeup

Use: C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Why? Dullness (the result of uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, discoloration) is the only thing that would stand in the way between you and enviable glowy skin. Integrating vitamin C, like this skin-brightening formula that features 15% of L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), is the surefire way to eliminate dullness.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal:</strong> Get more sleep — or at least <em>look</em> like you’ve gotten more sleep <br><br><strong>Use: </strong>Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream<br><br><strong>Why?</strong> In an ideal world, we’d get eight-plus hours of sleep every night. But when you’re confronted with work-related stress or anxiety-inducing world events, reaching those eight hours can seem like the stuff of dreams. Thankfully, you can at least <em>fake </em>the look of a full night’s sleep with a brightening eye cream, like this one, which boasts ingredients like caffeine, acmella oleracea, and Brazilian ginseng root to reduce the appearance of dark circles, smooths lines, and de-puffs the eye area. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> Auto Correct Brightening & Depuffing Eye Contour Cream, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fauto-correct-brightening-depuffing-eye-contour-cream-P424948%3FskuId%3D2020634%26icid2%3Dproducts%2520grid%3Ap424948%3Aproduct" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Get more sleep — or at least look like you’ve gotten more sleep

Use: Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream

Why? In an ideal world, we’d get eight-plus hours of sleep every night. But when you’re confronted with work-related stress or anxiety-inducing world events, reaching those eight hours can seem like the stuff of dreams. Thankfully, you can at least fake the look of a full night’s sleep with a brightening eye cream, like this one, which boasts ingredients like caffeine, acmella oleracea, and Brazilian ginseng root to reduce the appearance of dark circles, smooths lines, and de-puffs the eye area.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening & Depuffing Eye Contour Cream, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal: </strong>Make your beauty products even more effective <br><br><strong>Use: </strong>Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence <br><br><strong>Why? </strong>An essence may have the feel of a toner (in that it’s watery to the touch) and it follows the cleansing step, like a toner, but that’s where the similarities end. While toners are often used to lift whatever residue the cleanser failed to wash away, essences are intended to inject nutrients back into the skin, while also acting as conduit for subsequent products to penetrate the skin barrier. This one has the added benefit of firming the skin and supporting the skin’s natural microbiome with peptides, fermented honey, and botanical extracts. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsunday-riley-pink-drink-firming-resurfacing-essence-P463964%3Fi-cid2%3Dproducts%2520grid%3Ap463964" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Make your beauty products even more effective

Use: Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence

Why? An essence may have the feel of a toner (in that it’s watery to the touch) and it follows the cleansing step, like a toner, but that’s where the similarities end. While toners are often used to lift whatever residue the cleanser failed to wash away, essences are intended to inject nutrients back into the skin, while also acting as conduit for subsequent products to penetrate the skin barrier. This one has the added benefit of firming the skin and supporting the skin’s natural microbiome with peptides, fermented honey, and botanical extracts.

Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal:</strong> Become a morning person <br><br><strong>Use: </strong>Sunday Riley Wake Up With Me Morning Routine Kit <br><br><strong>Why? </strong>For nocturnal people, waking up is hard — and it’s even harder when there’s nothing to look forward to. But with a six-product a.m. lineup that 1) requires little to no effort to execute, and 2) promises brighter, smoother-looking skin, then what would have ordinarily been a run-of-the-mill routine suddenly becomes a rewarding ritual. And yes, we know: It takes a lot more than beauty products to change sleeping habits, but at least there’s an incentive here.<br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> Wake Up With Me Morning Routine Kit, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsunday-riley-wake-up-with-me-morning-routine-kit-P463965%3Ficid2%3Dprod-ucts%2520grid%3Ap463965" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Become a morning person

Use: Sunday Riley Wake Up With Me Morning Routine Kit

Why? For nocturnal people, waking up is hard — and it’s even harder when there’s nothing to look forward to. But with a six-product a.m. lineup that 1) requires little to no effort to execute, and 2) promises brighter, smoother-looking skin, then what would have ordinarily been a run-of-the-mill routine suddenly becomes a rewarding ritual. And yes, we know: It takes a lot more than beauty products to change sleeping habits, but at least there’s an incentive here.

Sunday Riley Wake Up With Me Morning Routine Kit, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal:</strong> Finally commit to a nighttime regimen (that goes beyond a cleanser and moisturizer)<br><br><strong>Use:</strong> Sunday Riley Go To Bed With Me Evening Routine Kit <br><br><strong>Why?</strong> Upgrade your two-step routine with a six-product kit that not only takes away the guesswork, but also packs in a bunch of skin-benefiting formulas, like lactic acid, retinol, and papaya enzymes that exfoliate, brighten, and minimize fine lines. From a self-care standpoint, a full p.m. routine is thoroughly therapeutic. <br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> Go To Bed With Me Complete Anti-Aging Night Routine, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsunday-riley-go-to-bed-with-me-evening-routine-kit-P463966%3Fi-cid2%3Dproducts%2520grid%3Ap463966" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Finally commit to a nighttime regimen (that goes beyond a cleanser and moisturizer)

Use: Sunday Riley Go To Bed With Me Evening Routine Kit

Why? Upgrade your two-step routine with a six-product kit that not only takes away the guesswork, but also packs in a bunch of skin-benefiting formulas, like lactic acid, retinol, and papaya enzymes that exfoliate, brighten, and minimize fine lines. From a self-care standpoint, a full p.m. routine is thoroughly therapeutic.

Sunday Riley Go To Bed With Me Complete Anti-Aging Night Routine, $, available at Sephora
<strong>Goal:</strong> Stop agonizing (and picking) over every breakout<br><br><strong>Use: </strong>Sunday Riley All About Acne Breakout + Blackhead Set<br><br><strong>Why?</strong> Despite affecting<a href="https://www.aad.org/media/stats-numbers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more than 50 million Americans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> more than 50 million Americans </a>annually, acne — and not just maskne, but the ones that stem from hormones or stress — can be debilitating for some, stirring up feelings of <a href="https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/acne-emotional-effects" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression</a>. But resolving to accept it, embracing <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/04/148398/izumi-tutti-acne-constallations-instagram" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:skin positivity" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">skin positivity</a>, and treating it with an acne-targeted routine (like this five-product blemish- and blackhead-fighting lineup featuring salicylic acid, sulfur, retinoids, and lactic acid) will most definitely help.<br><br><strong>Sunday Riley</strong> All About Acne Breakout + Blackhead Set, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsunday-riley-about-acne-advanced-clarifying-regimen-P461535%3Ficid2%3Dproducts%2520grid%3Ap461535" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Goal: Stop agonizing (and picking) over every breakout

Use: Sunday Riley All About Acne Breakout + Blackhead Set

Why? Despite affecting more than 50 million Americans annually, acne — and not just maskne, but the ones that stem from hormones or stress — can be debilitating for some, stirring up feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. But resolving to accept it, embracing skin positivity, and treating it with an acne-targeted routine (like this five-product blemish- and blackhead-fighting lineup featuring salicylic acid, sulfur, retinoids, and lactic acid) will most definitely help.

Sunday Riley All About Acne Breakout + Blackhead Set, $, available at Sephora

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