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When it comes to skincare, we've all been guilty of falling for the lure of beautiful packaging and extravagant formulas. 

But, slathering on an expensive cream or indulging in a treatment that promises to renew your skin like nothing that's come before is all very well until you discover the product doesn't work or worse, aggravates your skin. That's where unsexy skincare products triumph. 

It seems like a new must-have product is launched everyday but some are experiencing the side effects of incorporating too many steps into their routine. Inflammatory conditions like perioral dermatitis, which Hailey Bieber recently opened up about, are on the rise but most of us think we're helping the skin by adding in even more products like acid toners, face masks and essences.

Skincare addicts are catching on to the pros guidance of stripping back your routine though, as views of 'unsexy skincare' on TikTok have shot up recently by 103.57%.

READ: What is Botox in a bottle? 7 best serums to shop now

MORE: How to look less tired: facialist-approved hacks for brighter, energised skin

Why is unsexy skincare popular?

Consultant dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite explains why so many are making the switch: "Too many ingredients can cause the skin barrier to become compromised, leading to skin irritation and potentially skin allergies."

But, where to start? "For a simplified skincare regime, I would start by paring down to general products rather than ingredients per se. A basic skincare routine should include a cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen," says Dr Alexis. "These are the essential building blocks."

How we chose:

  • Performance and personal testimony: The buys chosen below are products that I (Hello! Fashion's Deputy Beauty Editor Emma North) personally highly rate. 
  • Ingredients: After scrupulously testing a range of unsexy skincare, I have picked out the formulas that deliver hydration, are hypoallergenic and non-irritating formulas that feel lovely on the skin. 

Hello! Fashion shares the best unsexy skincare products to shop now: 

  • Best unsexy skincare products

    cerave moisturising cream pot

    Moisturising Cream


    Key Ingredients

    Ceramides, of course. 

    What we love:

    • Contains CeraVe's three essential ceramides
    • Contains hyaluronic acid 
    • Unscented
    • Non-greasy

    What we don't like:

    • Nothing, we love this!

    If you're after a no-frills, does exactly what is says on the tub body cream, look no further. It's non-greasy, non-sticky and keeps skin moisturised for days. It's a total gamechanger for flaky, dry skin. 

  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

    Gentle Skin Cleanser


    Key Ingredients

    Niacinamide, glycerin and panthenol. 

    What we love:

    • Suitable for even the most reactive skin
    • Gentle, non-foaming formula
    • Unscented

    What we don't like:

    • Nothing, we love this!

    When cleansers are irritating your skin or leaving it feeling dry and stripped, swap to this. The holy grail of simple, unsexy cleansers and Hello! Fashion Deputy Beauty Editor Emma North's favourite. 

  • Vaseline Original Protecting Jelly

    Original Protecting Jelly


    Key Ingredients

    Triple purified petroleum jelly.

    What we love:

    • Hypoallergenic
    • Great for protecting the skin barrier 
    • Unscented

    What we don't like:

    • It does feel greasy

    It's definitely not sexy but dermatologists swear by Vaseline for protecting the skin barrier. It's a heavy duty occlusive and stops water-loss from the skin, locking hydration in. 

  • Garnier Vitamin C Daily UV Brightening Fluid Invisible SPF 50+

    Vitamin C Daily UV Brightening Fluid Invisible SPF 50+


    Key Ingredients

    Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and peptides.

    What we love:

    • Sheer and no white cast
    • Lightweight 
    • Hydrating
    • Great as a makeup base
    • High protection

    What we don't like:

    • A small tube

    Sun protection is never the most sexy product but it's a must for everyday use. Light and hydrating, this is great for all skin types and makes a lovely base for makeup. 

  • Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment

    Nappy Care Ointment


    Key Ingredients

    Provitamin B5

    What we love:

    • Forms a protective barrier on skin
    • Unscented
    • Water in oil formula

    What we don't like:

    • It might look strange applying it to your lips in public

    Not just a nappy cream, Bepanthen can be used on cracked lips, dry elbows, knees and cuticles. It's a staple product when other moisturisers don't cut it. 

  • Sanex Expert Skin Health Moisturising Shower Gel

    Moisturising Shower Gel


    Key Ingredients

    Prebiotic complex and glycerin. 

    What we love:

    • 0% sulphates
    • Gentle on skin
    • Lathers nicely
    • Smells fresh and clean but not overpowering

    What we don't like:

    • Nothing, we love this!

    If the skin on your body is always dry and flaky, consider your shower gel the culprit. This one from Sanex is phenomenally hydrating and gentle and doesn't strip the skin of its natural oils. 

  • Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

    Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm


    Key Ingredients

    Glycerin and panthenol.

    What we love:

    • Fragrance and preservative free
    • Suitable for use all over body and face
    • Soothing

    What we don't like:

    • A little greasy

    Famously used as a cheekbone highlighter on Meghan Markle's wedding day, Aquaphor is a multi-purpose product that hydrates skin and leaves it feeling calm and comforted. 

Why you should trust me:

Emma is Hello! Fashion’s Deputy Beauty Editor. Focusing on all things hair, makeup and skin related, there's not a foundation she hasn't tried nor a cleanser that hasn't graced her bathroom. When not writing about beauty, you’ll often find her trawling the Beauty Halls of Harrods, seeking new launches and discovering the latest formula developments.

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.