October 6, 2022

The beauty market is flooded with skin care products that boast popular active ingredients aimed at improving skin health and appearance. Even the most seasoned beauty aficionados can find it overwhelming to parse through the myriad choices, especially when price points and efficacy claims tend to be all over the place.

There are, however, brands that prioritize providing high-quality active ingredients in their products while also keeping prices comparatively low. In North America, The Ordinary has cornered the market on that front for many years now. However, a new brand out of the U.K. has emerged to give them a run for their money: Facetheory.

I’ve tried a few of their products and was surprised to find that despite high levels of well-sourced active ingredients that are comparable to brands like Drunk Elephant, they’re priced significantly lower.

Facetheory is committed to developing straightforward products that are as effective as they are affordable. (We’re also quite drawn to the chic, minimalist packaging.) All their products are made in the U.K., but they deliver worldwide at price points that keep their products accessible for anyone who may want to upgrade their beauty routine but doesn’t want to spend too much money in the process.

Like The Ordinary, Facetheory’s formulas are vegan and cruelty-free, and the brand also prioritizes sustainability. Most of their products are available in amber glass jars with aluminum caps or 100% aluminum tubes that are easy to recycle. It’s a great option for people seeking great environmentally-friendly skin care products. They’re priced a touch higher than The Ordinary’s bestsellers, but I found that it’s justified by the complex formulations and, importantly for my acne-prone skin, comfortable textures that don’t cause breakouts. Even then, they’re still remarkably affordable, with prices starting around $11.99 and topping off around $35.

We’re particularly excited by their ingredients transparency. All of Facetheory’s products are free of parabens, silicones, PEGs, SLS, SLES and mineral oils, and each product page gives thorough descriptions of each ingredient used.

Keep reading to get a sense of Facetheory’s product lineup and pick up a few for yourself to revitalize your skin care routine. Their formulations include an intriguing mix of popular actives like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, as well more unexpected ingredients like encapsulated melatonin and bacterial ferment extract.

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A triple acid cream cleanser

Facetheory’s bestselling cream cleanser helps to clarify oily, congested and acne-prone skin thanks to a powerful trio of glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids. It gently exfoliates the skin while penetrating the pores for a deep clean.

A gentle eye cream

Keep your peepers poppin’ with Facetheory’s new eye cream. It’s a powerful yet gentle blend of active ingredients, including ferulic acid, vitamin C, liquorice and chamomile. It strengthens and protects the delicate eye area while also helping brighten dark circles — ideal for those of us who always look tired.

A nourishing night cream

You can choose between scented and unscented options of this soothing and nourishing repairing cream. Those with sensitive skin or who use prescription retinol should avoid the scented version, but those who can tolerate it would likely enjoy the soothing lavender scent in the “gently scented” option. Both are made with encapsulated melatonin, vitamin E and peptides. These ingredients work together to minimize the visible signs of aging and defend against oxidative stress.

A powerful skin-balancing serum

Powered by 10% solubilized azelaic acid, this serum is a game-changer for those with red, irritated skin. Clinical studies have shown that azelaic acid can reduce the look of redness common in those with rosacea and can fight acne-causing bacteria and hyperpigmentation. Colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera and green tea add extra antioxidant boosts that leave skin happy and radiant.

A gel-based moisturizer

If you love gel-type moisturizers that are light and oil-free, the Supergel moisturizer is right up your alley. It has some essential go-to ingredients that are great for congested and acne-prone skin. Niacinamide and salicylic acid minimize congestion, improve texture and smooth skin without causing irritation. Chamomile, aloe vera and green tea extracts soothe the skin while stabilized vitamin C brightens and fights bacteria.

A multitasking face and body scrub

Keep skin soft and smooth with this exfoliating face and body scrub. Glycolic and salicylic acids keep skin smooth, clearing congestion and reducing the look of enlarged pores. This combo of AHAs and BHAs make it great for people with acne, dry skin or bacne. It doesn’t strip the skin, instead leaving it soft and clearer.

A brightening serum

This light serum with gentle moisturizers also has 10% niacinamide and azelaic acid that even out skin tone, reducing pigmentation, redness and other signs of aging without feeling sticky or heavy. It’s a great starter serum for those with acne-prone skin or looking to add a bit more hydration to their routine.