Affordable and effective skincare merits its own category. Ever since The Ordinary boldly entered the beauty industry, consumers have become more aware and mindful of marketing budgets, influencer campaigns, and any number of hype factors that contribute to confusing price points. More often than not, a product’s ingredient doesn’t justify its steep price tag. The Inkey List followed suit and is currently a Sephora favorite with their practical and straightforward formulas (the Multi-Biotic is amazing).
A few months ago, Versed entered Target and quickly generated remarkable buzz on social media. The packaging is cute without being cutesy. Even their font and marketing claims impart an approachable vibe of educational without being preachy. They’re not here to create a cult (like, I don’t know… Glossier?) but rather to offer solutions that address a wide range of skincare concerns at appealing price points — each product in the collection ranges from $10 to $20.
The concept that best sums up Versed is what I’d call ‘clean lite.’ The brand firmly stands on the issue of not using parabens, silicones, sulfates, formaldehyde, petroleum, or mineral oil in their products. They are proud to be vegan as well as cruelty, fragrance, and dye-free. They make no claims as to being green or natural, which is almost refreshing.
After trying a handful of Versed products (7 out of 19), I’m listing out my personal highs and lows.
This cleansing balm is pretty great, actually. It’s not a dense balm that will give you a textural experience à la Emma Hardie or Elemis. Neither is it a sherbert-like K-beauty formula many learned to love from Banila Co or Heimish (or Farmacy?). It’s whipped and melts rather quickly. A small amount massaged into dry skin at the end of the day will remove any traces of makeup and sunscreen. Personally, I need to follow up with a foaming cleanser — unless I remove it with a wet cloth. There are subtle eucalyptus and clove notes, the latter being slightly more prominent. If you flip the jar upside down, you’ll notice the optical illusion design but I’m not mad about it. It’s bound to last a while since each use requires very little product. $17.99
Wash It Out
There is nothing I don’t like about this gel cleanser. Wash It Out is a clear, low foaming formula that makes for a perfect morning cleanse or the follow up step to Day Dissolve. Since this wash features peppermint oil, you will feel a cooling tingle, which you’ll love or hate. Luckily, it’s the best thing for me and my combination skin on hot, humid days. Other noteworthy ingredients include resurfacing Lactic Acid and soothing Rose Flower Water, both of which provide that perfectly smooth and hydrated feeling. I’ve been using this one every day and it has yet to leave my skin feeling tight or dry. $12.99
Hydration Station Booster
If you’re only first exploring Hyaluronic Acid, this booster makes for a great starter option. Versed markets this for dry skin but if you’re oily or combination (yet still dehydrated, which is common in the summer when air conditioners suck every drop of water from your skin), this will work great for you, too. It’s a very thin liquid which disappears into the skin instantly. Apply it directly to skin after cleansing or mix with your other serum. Since I prefer the thicker, juicier serums with HA, I lean toward other brands. I will reach for this booster before I use a clay mask, however, to prevent over-drying. $19.99
One of my Versed favorites. Dubbed Overnight Facial Peel, the sleeping mask is recommended for use 2-3 times a week. It’s potent but without being aggressive and works great on my skin, even without the extra cushion of a face oil over it. What makes this resurfacing treatment perform so well is the blend of Lactic and Glycolic Acids along with Retinyl Palmitate. Combined with Glycerin and a touch of Shea Butter, the powerhouse blend works overnight to deliver a smoother, more even toned complexion while keeping the skin plump and nourished. $19.99
A perfect example of a basic done right. This gel-cream moisturizer is infused with Green Tea Extract, Aloe Leaf Juice, Squalene, Jojoba, and Elderfower to deliver a burst of moisture without feeling heavy. A summer staple, it soothes inflammation and provides a much needed dose of antioxidants after a day in the sun or when I’m traveling. I keep my tube in the fridge and use it in the morning as a quick hydrating mask to reduce puffiness. The jelly-like gel absorbs flawlessly and doesn’t feel sticky. $14.99
I was most excited about the Clarifying Serum, which lived up to all my expectations. You may or may not know that Niacinamide is my favorite ingredient and here, it’s listed third after Water and Glycerin. It also contains Willow Bark and Horse Chestnut Extracts, Salicylic Acid, Zinc and Sodium Hyaluronate. Why do I love it? It definitely helps reduce constantly congested pores. My skin looks more clear. The texture is significantly more viscous than the booster and it layers great under an AM or PM moisturizer. $19.99
I am gutted and sad to say this one did not work for me. As much as I love eye masks, I absolutely abhor products with instructions to ‘tissue off excess’. In this case, suggested use is to ‘warm a pea-size amount between the fingertips’ before experiencing the nourishing, cooling, de-puffing benefits. How will it cool when I have just warmed it up? If kept in the fridge, it will deliver a cooling sensation. After wiping off the excess, the skin under my eyes felt tacky and I had to wash my face. The ingredients are great (Cucumber Juice, Caffeine Extract, Rosehip Oil, Peptides) so I’ll finish my tube but I’ll be sure to do that before hopping into the shower. $17.99