The 11 Best Target Skincare Buys Under $45

Updated 10/25/19
A woman looking at a face cream reflected in a mirror.
Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

If you didn't think Target's many strengths go beyond its stellar home décor and on-point fashion options—and its uncanny knack for making you spend way more than you planned—then think again. As if these assets weren't enough, now the big-box giant's ultra-affordable beauty buys rival those found in high-end department stores (and seen on dermatologists' shelves) thanks to its huge selection of just-as-potent offerings that often include natural and organic ingredients.

Dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, MD, concurs: "Many skincare products found at Target are fantastic—and you don't need to have a vanity full of pricey potions to keep skin healthy and vibrant." We couldn't agree more. But just because Target's skincare products are bottom-dollar doesn't mean you should go and buy them out. Instead, says Herrmann, find just a handful of items you know will work for your particular skin type, stick to them, and apply them consistently.

Herrmann recommends adding any of these 11 popular Target skincare products to your daily routine—just make sure their ingredients are suited to your skin's needs—whether you're looking to fight acne, combat aging, or to create the perfect skincare regimen for your sensitive complexion.

For Acne-Prone Skin

Battling stubborn spots? "Look for oil-free products with ingredients like retinoids, retinol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sunscreen," Herrmann advises. Wash twice daily with benzoyl peroxide (it kills acne-causing bacteria) or salicylic acid (it lightly exfoliates and unplugs pores) cleanser, she continues.

Skin-Softening Cleanser

A pump bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser at Target.
Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser $6
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"The light foaming action cleanses without stripping essential oils, and zinc helps cut shine," says Herrmann.

Pro-Strength Retinoid Gel

A box of Differin Acne Treatment Gel for acne at Target.
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% $13
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While retinoids used to be prescription-only, "this is the first FDA-approved, over-the-counter, prescription-strength retinoid," Herrmann says. "Retinoids help peel away dead skin cells and encourage cellular turnover, which helps open clogged pores. And continued use helps prevent new blackheads and breakouts, too."

Oil-Free Moisturizer

A box of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer at Target.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel $23
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Using an oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid adds hydration without increasing oil, says Herrmann. For very oily skin, choose a product that contains ingredients that break up sebum (a light yellow, oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands), such as diisopropyl sebacate and silicates. "This is a non-comedogenic, hyaluronic acid-packed moisturizer that binds in and traps water, leaving skin feeling hydrated but not oily," she adds.

SPF 55 Sunscreen

A tube of Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen for acne at Target.
Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen $9
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"This lightweight, water-based liquid sunscreen gives a matte finish so the skin can breathe," Herrmann explains. "It's specifically formulated to be non-comedogenic, so it won't worsen acne."

For Sensitive Skin

Those with sensitive and allergy-prone skin should choose fragrance-free products that contain very few preservatives and additives, instructs Herrmann. Twice daily, Herrmann recommends using a gentle cleanser that's fragrance- and bead-free so skin isn't irritated. "Products with hyaluronic acid are refreshing and hydrating, and those with niacinamide combat irritation and redness," she adds. "Retinol and retinoids will likely also be too irritating for sensitive skin, so ingredients containing growth factors are the best options," she adds.

Hypoallergenic Cleanser

A pump container of Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser for sensitive skin at Target.
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser $8
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"This is a hypoallergenic cleanser that's free of known skin allergens and irritating essential oils that cleanses without stripping oils," says Herrmann.

SPF 15 Moisturizer

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen Best Skincare at Target
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen $12
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"A physical sunscreen, as opposed to one with chemical absorbers, is less irritating to sensitive skin," explains Herrmann. "This one is non-greasy, non-irritating, and fragrance-free—and the micronized titanium dioxide won't leave a filmy, white residue, either." 

Ceramide-Infused Serum

A box and tube of CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C serum for sensitive skin at Target
CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum $20
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"A product containing ceramides helps repair a damaged or sensitive skin barrier," says Herrmann.

For Aging Skin

After the age of 30 is when most of us start to see some nonoptimal changes to our skin's appearance and texture—and that's where antiaging products come in. To help battle the inevitable, Herrmann recommends using intense hydrating creams and products with antioxidants and retinol.

"Wash twice a day with gentle, hydrating cleansers or those with light alpha-hydroxy acids to slough dead skin cells and make the skin look brighter," she says. "Follow up with a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides to help keep skin smooth and luminous." At night, heavier creams, preferably with added oils, work to hydrate and plump while "overnight serums with retinoids help stimulate collagen synthesis and soften fine lines," she adds.

Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser

A pump bottle of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel for anti-aging at Target.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel $8
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"Its hyaluronic acid keeps skin looking plump and dewy—not flat and wrinkled," Herrmann says.

Antioxidant-Infused Serum

A pump tube of La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant anti-aging serum at Target.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum $43
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Herrmann notes, "this product's antioxidants help squelch the damaging free radicals that contribute to aging while its SPF 50 sunscreen protects against harmful UV rays."

Moisturizer With Niacinamide

A red pot of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting anti-aging cream moisturizer at Target.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream $24
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"Its amino-peptide complex helps target fine lines, its niacinamide aids in repair, and its hyaluronic acid keeps skin plump and dewy," explains Herrmann.

Retinol-Based Night Cream

A box of RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Cream at Target.
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream $15
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"Although this is high-strength, retinol, its key ingredient, isn't as irritating as retinoids," says Herrmann. "Retinol helps encourage skin turnover to eliminate dullness, decrease inflammation, and boost collagen production."

Non-Target Splurges

Bonus! Since you're saving so much money on all of Target's bonafide skincare steals, says Herrmann, why not save for big-ticket items worth the splurge—like ones containing vitamin C and growth factors? Here, two of her faves.

Vitamin C Serum

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic skin serum.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic $166
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"Vitamin C alone is inherently unstable and easily oxidizes in air, rendering it mostly ineffective in skincare applications," Herrmann says. "But certain companies like SkinCeuticals are spending a tremendous amount of money on the research and development of their products to make vitamin C stable enough to penetrate the skin's epidermal barrier. This one's my favorite," she adds.

Growth Factor Serum

A white pump bottle of DNA Regeneration Serum.
RM DNA Renewal DNA Regeneration Serum $145
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"Growth factors that boost collagen, help tighten skin, and reduce fine lines are worth the bigger price tag," says Herrmann. "This serum is specifically formulated to penetrate the skin's outermost layers."

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