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Ever wonder what dermatologists actually put on their own faces when they're home alone and no one is watching? We did, too. That's why we asked top experts in the medical and skin-care fields to reveal what products they apply daily — and what ingredients really move the needle when it comes to the health and glow of their own complexions.
Some of their answers were predictable (as if a dermatologist would ever leave the house without sunscreen) and others were more surprising. (Did we hear that someone washes their face with a modest bar of soap? Yep.) And while there are certain powerhouse ingredients few pros would forgo (like the brightening antioxidant vitamin C), their approaches vary from quick and easy to layered and savvy.
For example: New York City board-certified dermatologist Ellen Marmur's nightly ritual includes a high-tech device. She turns to her own MMSphere before bed to help her unwind. The LED tool emits different colors of light to help lessen inflammation, decrease bacteria, and even bring on relaxing vibes. How's that for commitment?
But no matter your maintenance level, there's one thing we can all take away from these complexion confessions: Your skin-care routine should vary from morning to night. When you wake up, focus on protecting your skin from the pollution, sun, and various light waves that will inevitably be coming your way.
In the evening, switch gears and apply regenerating ingredients, or what board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara calls the "worker bees." "At night is when your skin naturally regenerates itself," she says. "That's when you put [on] the actives, not the protectors." So consider incorporating a retinoid formula that prompts cellular turnover and aids in smoothing the surface of your skin. And if you have time to throw on a sheet mask while catching up on the latest season of RuPaul's Drag Race, well, that's just a bonus.
Ahead, find the morning and evening skin-care routines of 22 top board-certified dermatologists — plus, the treatments they do every now and then to keep their complexions in prime shape.
Morgan Rabach, New York City
"My morning routine is very simple. Between getting my three kids ready and myself, my most important steps are cleanser and sunscreen," says board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach. She prefers dual-action products because they save her time, are super-efficient, and eliminate the worry of having to layer them correctly.
Rabach starts her routine with a cleanser based on her skin's needs at the moment. For an everyday cleanser she uses Alastin Skincare's Gentle Cleanser. "It's packed with antioxidants, so it makes me feel like I'm giving my skin a smoothie in the morning," says Rabach. If she's recovering from a peel or feeling dry, she'll switch to La Roche-Posay's Lipikar Wash AP+ Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash, which is a gentle foaming wash that includes calming niacinamide and moisturizing shea butter. "If my skin is greasy and clogged, I start with SkinMedica's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser," she notes. "It has gentle beads that help exfoliate in addition to the acids."
Next is sunscreen. "I always use a tinted option to help cover my freckles and sunspots. I alternate between the Isdin Photo Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+, which also has antioxidants and is super light," she adds. "Or, the SkinMedica Total Defense Repair SPF 34, which is a heavier-weight sunscreen."
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
SkinMedica Total Defense Repair SPF 34
For the evening she uses a few different products, again, depending on the state of her skin. "If I've been outside or had a lot of sun, I always go with a product with antioxidant-rich vitamin C like the Skinbetter Sciences Alto Defense Serum, which helps reduce inflammation and redness," Rabach says.
She alternates the retinol that she uses depending on how dry her skin feels. "It Cosmetics makes a really good daily retinol serum-in-cream with light retinol," says Rabach. When she needs a more moisturizing retinol formula, she looks to her own brand, LM Medical, for its Retinol Moisturizer 0.5%. The skin-smoother, which is only available in-office, contains tretinoin, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
For an added layer of protection, Rabach puts Aquaphor Healing Ointment on her lips and around her eyes. Being in and out of plastic gloves all day can do a number on her hands, so Rabach looks to Neutrogena's Norwegian Formula Hand Cream to relieve dryness. "[It's] incredible, especially during COVID," she says. "The product goes on like Vaseline and then dries. You wake up with super moisturized hands." Rabach shared another drugstore favorite that she indulges in at bathtime. "Dove's Body Mousse with Argan Oil is one of the most incredible products I've ever tried," she says. "It comes out like shaving cream and then lathers into a body soap."
"I try to be in tune with what my skin needs at the moment, [taking note] if it's more oily and clogged, dry, or recovering from a treatment that I've done — like microneedling or a peel," Rabach concludes.
Ope Ofodile, Atlanta
"Trying to get to the clinic on time while getting my four kids up can be hectic. It is important that I keep my routine efficient and simple," says board-certified dermatologist Ope Ofodile. To meet the needs of her combination acne- and pigment-prone skin, she's customized a specific regimen.
"I start with an exfoliating cleanser to wash my face while in the shower. I normally use SkinMedica's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser to wash my face," says Ofodile. "I follow up with Skinbetter Science's Alto Defense Serum as my daily antioxidant. This helps prevent sun-induced damage throughout the day and also helps brighten my pigment-prone face."
Lastly, she mixes Fenty Beauty's Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation with ZO Skin Health's Daily Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 and applies the combo with a makeup brush. "My skin stays well hydrated and glows throughout the day," she says.
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
Revision Skincare Revox Line Relaxer
After washing her face with Revision Skincare's Papaya Enzyme Cleanser, she uses the ZO Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads, which are helpful for her acne, pigment-prone skin. To follow that up, she hydrates her skin with Isdin Isdinceutics' Hyaluronic Concentrate. "Lastly, I top it off with ZO Skin Health Retinol Skin Brightener 1% to minimize acne breakouts while exfoliating and improving fine lines," Ofodile says. "I also like Revision Skincare's Revox Line Relaxer for undereye fine lines that are slowly creeping in."
"Unfortunately, for most, products are just not enough," says Ofodile. "We occasionally need something that is capable of penetrating deeper to address deeper pigment, as well as the collagen change and loss of fat and volume that occurs as we mature."
To assist she gets a chemical peel done at least quarterly, and Botox every four months. "No fillers yet, but plan to start a collagen stimulation program such as Sculptra soon — simply to stay ahead of the collagen breakdown that starts in our late 30s early 40s," she says.
Papri Sarkar, Brookline, Massachusetts
"My morning routine has always been super simple. I have dry, sensitive skin so using too many products tends to irritate it," says board-certified dermatologist Papri Sarkar. "I tend not to sweat at night and generally go to bed with a clean face, so I just rinse my face in the morning in the shower and don't use a cleanser." When she does feel the need for a morning cleanse she'll use Krave Beauty's Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser or the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (in liquid or bar form.)
"I use a Vitamin C serum every other day for its antioxidants and brightening effects. My usual pick is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum," Sarkar explains. "It smells like hot dogs, but it works."
Once she's at work she tends to stay put indoors for the day, so she slathers on a double layer of sun protection so that she doesn't have to reapply later in the day. "I like a hearty layer for my morning commute and it doubles as my makeup," she says.
To start, she goes with Elta MD's Clear SPF 46. "It's great for summer when skin tends to be oilier, and truly goes on pretty clear," says Sarkar. After that, she uses a tinted SPF for coverage and blue-light protection. "Right now I'm loving Alastin Skincare's HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36. It matches most skin tones and provides a lot of coverage."
"If it's an especially hot day, I set everything with the Colorescience Total Protection Brush-On Shield Sunforgettable SPF 50," Sarkar adds. Instead of using the built-in brush on the product, she pours the powder into a clean container and use a puff to apply the SPF. "I tend to get better setting and protection that way."
To finish off her makeup look, she applies bit of blush or bronzer. "I could skip the blush since I'll be in a mask all day at work, but it makes me feel more confident, so I tend not to skip that step," she explains.
Caudalie Make Up Removing Cleansing Oil
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
CeraVe Healing Ointment
At night, Sarkar varies her products based on how her skin feels after a day at work. "When I get home after being in a mask all day, I really want to get all of the sunscreen, sweat, and saliva from talking in a mask off of my skin," she says. So she uses an oil or balm cleanser to break down all of the grime. "Right now, I'm using the Caudalie Make Up Removing Cleansing Oil. I take three pumps between my palms and massage the cleanser onto my face when my hands and face are still dry. Since it has a lot of slip, it feels great and I take my time giving myself a face massage."
To be sure that she removes all remnants of her tinted sunscreen, Sarkar uses a white microfiber cloth to wipe the cleanser off. This way, she can see if any product was left behind. "If it hasn't, I wash one more time with another cleanser," says Sarkar.
Once clean, she reaches for a fine line-smoother. "I love a great retinoid, but it's been hard for me to find one that doesn't irritate my reactive skin," she says. To help reduce any sensitivity, she mixes the retinol with a moisturizer before applying. "Once a week, if my skin is looking blotchy or dull, I use a chemical exfoliant like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel or First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads," Sarkar notes.
She swipes them on her face, neck, and chest and then uses the last bit of moisture on her underarms. "It's not like my underarms need the exfoliation, but doing that essentially keeps me from needing deodorant," she says. "The pads decrease bacteria so you still sweat, but it doesn't smell."
At the end of the night, before she officially goes to bed, Sarkar puts CeraVe's Healing Ointment all over her face — focusing on her undereye area and the parts of her face that her mask covers. "Those areas tend to be drier and can be raw from rubbing on the mask, so it helps to replenish my skin barrier," she adds.
When her skin feels irritated or raw, she skips all actives like retinoids or glycolic acid. "Pigmentation is a problem for me, and in skin of color like mine, rubbing or irritation can cause dark spots," she explains. So adding retinoids or acids that are also irritating is a no-go in my book."
"For a period of about eight years I gave up botox due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I'm back!" Sarkar says that she usually does Botox injections every four to five months. "I also do platelet-rich plasma (PRP) once a year platelet-rich plasma."
Geeta Yadav, Toronto, Ontario
"I have three children under the age of seven, so finding the time for a morning skin-care routine is hard." To kick off her day, board-certified dermatologist Geeta Yadav starts by washing her face in the shower. "I use water that isn't too hot and take that minute of cleansing to close my eyes and be mindful about my day," she says. "I use a cleanser, like Bioderma's Sensibio Mild Cleansing Foaming Gel. It's very gentle and refreshing, yet effectively removes dirt, oil, and debris."
"I am always trying different serums because I come across so many in my line of work. I really dig the effect of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic," she adds. What she particularly loves about the product are the antioxidant and keratolytic benefits of vitamin C and ferulic acid.
The last step in her morning skin-care routine is sunscreen. "I like products that allow me to combine my daily sunscreen with a moisturizer," says Yadav. As of late, she's been using Elta MD's UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. "I like the weight of the product, using a pump to dispense it, and knowing that I have a high level of UV protection to start my day."
Bioderma Sensibio Mild Cleansing Foaming Gel
Alastin Renewal Retinol
Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Face Cream
"After the kids are in bed, nighttime is a more relaxed process," she says. To remove what she's applied during the day, Yadav starts with Belif's Aqua Bomb Jelly Cleanser. "I like jelly cleansers that leave my skin feeling clean but not dry or tight." She also uses retinol nightly. Her current favorite is Alastin's Renewal Retinol. "It has a great feel and isn’t too irritating," says Yadav. "Retinols help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and smooth skin texture and tone."
When her skin needs a boost of moisture, like in winter, she looks to a richer moisturizer like Bobbi Brown's Hydrating Face Cream, which she notes is packed with emollients but still feels lightweight. "It's not fragrance-free, but the fragrance is very light and pleasant and it doesn't cause any irritation to my skin," she says. "It's my indulgence at the end of the day."
As for the bonus treatments, Yadav says, "I think I've done it all!" She loves getting the occasional peel, dermaplaning, or microneedling done when her skin looks dull and needs some brightening. And she's no stranger to plumpers. "I get my filler done by a friend I got to know during my dermatology residency, and we use the visit as an excuse to catch up and get dinner," she concludes.
Robert Finney, New York City
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney's skin-care routine. "I use Dove Bar Soap in the shower each morning because it's gentle but still removes dirt and oil."
Post-cleanse, he applies a light layer of SkinBetter Science's Instant Effect Eye Gel, followed by the brand's Solo Hydrating Defense. "I like to keep my eye cream in the refrigerator because it has a nice cooling effect when I apply it," he says. "This product is great for helping with undereye puffiness as it has ingredients targeting the blood vessels, as well as other antioxidants."
In regard to his moisturizer, Finney says, "It's an excellent source of vitamin C and E, but also has other ingredients to hydrate and soothe the skin, as well as ones to protect against dark marks, like phytic and salicylic acid, ceramides, and turmeric." Finney's last step in the a.m. involves slathering on EltaMD's UV Clear Sunscreen. "It's zinc-based, so it offers great protection but is still very lightweight," he says. "It's awesome for patients who suffer from breakouts or just can't stand thick, heavy sunscreens."
Finney keeps his evening routine fairly streamlined, too, beginning with either the same bar soap or a couple of pumps of Alastin’s Gentle Cleanser. He then applies SkinBetter Science's Interfuse Eye Cream immediately after. "This differs from my morning eye cream in that it has ingredients to stimulate collagen and elastin to improve skin texture, along with a peptide that mimics Botox to help relax wrinkles," he says.
After eye cream, Finney smooths a dollop of SkinBetter Science's AlphaRet all over his face. "This treatment is unique in that it has a powerful form of retinoic acid but tends to be much better-tolerated than other, weaker retinols," he says. "This is likely because it's combined with ingredients such as lactic and glycolic acids, which help it penetrate quicker."
Once he's done with retinol, Finney uses Alastin's Restorative Skin Complex, which is packed with antioxidants and peptides proven to stimulate collagen and elastin production. "This doubles as a moisturizer," says Finney. And then it's off to bed for the dermatologist.
In the harsh winter months, Finney likes to incorporate La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 for an extra layer of hydration to prevent moisture loss. "The added layer also allows me to tolerate my retinol more regularly," he says.
Dove Bar Soap
EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen
SkinBetter Science AlphaRet
Caroline Robinson, Chicago
"I have combination skin, which for me means that I am prone to dryness with changes in the seasons, but at the same time, I have a persistent yet lovely mid-face shine that I've learned to embrace," says board-certified dermatologist Caroline Robinson. "I also have acneic skin that’s prone to hyperpigmentation, so I'm intentional about my sunscreen use and about incorporating brightening, hydrating, and restorative ingredients into my routine."
In the morning, Robinson begins by washing her face with Vanicream's Gentle Facial Cleanser. "I love a cleanser with suds, but I also prefer something gentle enough to use daily, and because of its soap-free formulation, it never leaves my skin feeling stripped," she says. After washing, while her face is still damp, Robinson applies Revision's Hydrating Serum, which is a lightweight, oil-free gel that contains two forms of hyaluronic acid, fruit extracts, antioxidants, and a peptide — which when combined, hydrates skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines over time.
Robinson then uses an antioxidant formula — in this case, Revision's C+ Correcting Complex — to help repair and even out her skin tone. "This lotion serum has been a part of my routine for years," she says. "I love that it’s formulated with 30 percent pure vitamin C and also contains patent-pending MelaPATH technology, making it one of the most advanced vitamin C products on the market."
The last step in Robinson's routine is to generously apply sunscreen, of course. Currently, she's using Isdin's Eryfotona Ageless. "I love that this sunscreen is lightweight, 100 percent mineral, and combines zinc oxide with peptides, antioxidants, and [plankton-derived enzymes called] DNA Repairsomes, which repair and protect the skin."
Robinson commences her nighttime skin ritual with a thorough double cleanse using Avene Eau Thermal’s Xeracalm AD Lipid-replenishing Oil Cleanser and Neutrogena's Skin Balancing Gel Cleanser. "The oil cleanser is a unique formula that lathers into a foam and helps me to break up makeup, sunscreen, and oil that accumulates throughout the day," says Robinson. "And the gel cleanser, which incorporates two percent polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), is great for my skin because the properties of PHAs allow for gentle exfoliation while still hydrating and leaving my skin soft."
After gently patting her face dry, Robinson applies a thick layer of Revision's DEJ Eye Cream. "I’m very particular about eye creams but this one has been in rotation in my routine for quite some time," she says. "It's clinically proven and is one of the most comprehensive eye creams available today." The formula addresses hyperpigmentation, fine lines, redness, hooding, and bags with multiple actives, including peptides and brightening vitamin C.
Robinson then goes in with her preferred form of vitamin A — a prescription retinoid. "I use a small amount of Aklief (trifarotene) cream 0.005 percent on my face and upper back to control breakouts," she says. "It's a pearlescent, lightweight cream formulated with the retinoid trifarotene, which is actually the first retinoid molecule FDA-approved for the treatment of acne in over 20 years." She also points out that this particular retinoid is effective in the treatment of acne not just on the face but also on the chest, shoulders, and back.
To lock everything in, Robinson applies a healthy layer of First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Firming Collagen Cream. "I always moisturize with something rich after I apply my retinoid," she says. "Lately, I've been loving this cream, which contains a blend of niacinamide, peptides, and collagen to support natural collagen production." The ingredients also protect existing collagen from deteriorating and increase skin hydration.
As far as extra measures are concerned, Robinson gets Botox every three to four months, and does medical-grade chemical peels a few times a year as well to address discoloration due to sun damage. Additionally, she microneedles with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) once a year, and adds a minute amount of filler in her cheeks for a subtle lift.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
Revision C+ Correcting Complex
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Firming Collagen Cream
Marisa Garshick, New York City
"I generally take a less-is-more, simple approach to my skin-care routine," says board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick. "Part of this is because it allows me to be consistent and stick with it. That being said, I also vary my routine slightly depending on the day and how my skin is feeling."
On an average morning, Garshick washes her face with Neutrogena's Ultra Gentle Cleanser and follows up with an antioxidant, like the tried-and-true SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. "It uses a blend of antioxidants to help fight free radical damage, so it protects my skin throughout the day," she says. As for moisturizer, she’s been enjoying La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Double Repair because it contains both ceramides and niacinamide to keep her skin hydrated all day. "If my skin is feeling particularly dry, I might add the Vichy Mineral 89 hyaluronic acid as a booster before my moisturizer," she says.
Garshick wraps up her routine with a few drops of Neocutis Lumiere Brightening Eye Cream around her eyes and a healthy dose of SPF all over her face and neck. "I'll rotate between the Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted, and Isdin's Eryfotona Ageless," she says. "These all have tinted formulations and blend easily, providing me with lightweight coverage."
"Nighttime is about getting rid of the daily buildup on the skin and supporting skin repair overnight," says Garshick of her evening routine M.O. "I use the CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser and find it effective at removing makeup and dirt from the day."
Before applying CeraVe's PM Facial Moisturizer, Garshick alternates between using SkinBetter Science's AlphaRet Overnight Cream and a prescription retinoid. "The SkinBetter cream combines alpha-hydroxy acids and retinoid, and doesn’t leave me irritated or dry," she says. "In the winter months, I’ll sometimes splurge and use the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore on top."
Garshick also keeps Vaseline or Aquaphor at her bedside to apply a layer to her lips and hands at night.
"To supplement my at-home skin-care routine, I also like to do in-office chemical peels to help improve my skin tone, texture, and to stimulate collagen," says Garshick. She also does radiofrequency microneedling to help tighten the skin and promote collagen production.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Vichy Minéral 89 Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Pooja Sodha, Washington, D.C.
"Skin care varies by day and season," says board-certified dermatologist Pooja Sodha. "Over the years, I have learned to watch for signs of dryness, irritation, and dullness to shift gears and make minor modifications." On a typical morning, Sodha starts by cleansing with Purpose's Gentle Cleanser Wash, which she says is a pH balanced, soap-free cleanser that's safe for nearly all skin types. She then spritzes her skin with organic pure rose water. "I use this as a pH-balanced toner because it's rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties, and it's gentle enough for all skin types," she says.
After rose water, Sodha applies a few drops of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic to her face and neck. "The non-greasy feel makes it easier to use under other products with excellent skin penetration," she says of the famed antioxidant serum. Then, for her daytime moisturizer, Sodha uses CeraVe's PM Lotion. "It has ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for noncomedogenic moisturizing, but is also light enough for daily wear," she says of her go-to day cream.
As for sunscreen, Sodha rotates between Neutrogena's Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 60+ and EltaMD's Tinted UV Clear SPF 46.
When evening arrives and it comes time to remove her makeup, Sodha reaches for La Roche-Posay's Micellar Water Ultra for Eyes, followed by CeraVe's Cream to Foam Cleanser. "It's a pH-balanced formulation that cleanses while hydrating with hyaluronic acid and ceramides," she says of the latter product. She then uses the same rose water from her morning routine and follows her rose spritz with a thin layer of SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense. "This is a great non-irritating formulation for pigment correction," she says of the treatment serum.
To combat fine lines and wrinkles, Sodha uses Alastin's Renewal Retinol 0.25 every other night, and then seals everything in with EltaMD's PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer.
To keep her skin well-hydrated overnight, Sodha keeps a cool-mist humidifier by her bed, a tip her mom taught her to do in childhood. She also uses CeraVe's Healing Ointment on her lips and lower eyelids, where skin is the thinnest, and gets a light resurfacing laser like Clear + Brilliant once a year for long-term maintenance.
Purpose Gentle Cleanser Wash
LaRoche- Posay Micellar Water Ultra for Eyes
Alastin Renewal Retinol 0.25
Corey L. Hartman, Birmingham, Alabama
Before heading to work, board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman cleanses using SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, which he says is his absolute favorite way to wash his face. "It contains lipo hydroxy acids (LHA) that are attracted to oily skin for deeper penetration to decongest pores, without causing excessive dryness or irritation," he says. "It also lathers well, produces a clean skin surface, and preps the skin for the rest of my regimen."
Hartman then uses a combination of two targeted treatments: Cyspera's Intensive Pigment Corrector and SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF. "Cyspera is gentle enough to be used even on the eyelids and provides a natural glow that no other pigment-correcting product can achieve," he says. "It's as powerful as hydroquinone without any of the side effects, risks, or stigma." The latter product by SkinCeuticals is Hartman's new go-to antioxidant. "This is the first antioxidant to address oiliness and acne, as well as free radical formation and photoaging," he says. Hartman explains that the ingredient silymarin prevents oil oxidation that leads to aging, while salicylic acid adds a beta-hydroxy edge to treat blemishes.
Hartman's eye cream of choice is SkinBetter's InterFuse Eye Treatment, and his favorite hydrator right now is Vichy's Mineral 89. "Not only does this serum contain hyaluronic acid, but it also has 15 minerals found in Vichy's proprietary volcanic water, which has been found to correct inflammation and dehydration caused by all of the external factors that we face every day," he says. Hartman’s routine is completed with a healthy dose of Isdin's Eryfotona Actinica SPF. "This is the best sunscreen product that I have used," he says. The lightweight emulsion absorbs well into the skin and has DNA repair enzymes that reverse signs of aging and cellular damage. "I don’t leave home without it."
Once Hartman is home and ready to settle in for the night, he washes his face with EltaMD's Foaming Facial Cleanser. "This gentle cleanser forms a nice, hydrating lather that gets rid of the dirt and debris of the day," he says. "It replenishes my skin and allows it to receive my nighttime regimen for more effective penetration."
After a thorough cleanse, Hartman goes in with Sente's Dermal Repair Cream before applying his retinol of choice: Arazlo. "Dermal Repair contains heparan sulfate analog, which mimics the naturally occurring heparan sulfate in our skin that produces hyaluronic acid, and Arazlo is in a more moisturizing lotion vehicle than its sister, Tazorac, which has been a favorite among hardcore retinoid users since 1997," he says. Changing up the delivery system helps reduce much of the irritation that is commonly seen with Tazorac cream and gel. Hartman attribute 75 percent of his skin's appearance to tazarotene, which he says he's used consistently since his dermatology residency in 2003. "If I was forced to choose only one product to use daily after SPF, it would be Arazlo all day long."
"Once I turned 40, I realized that I could no longer ignore my neck," says Hartman. "Luckily, SkinCeuticals formulated its Tripeptide-R Neck Repair that incorporates retinol in a formulation that doesn't cause irritation or unnecessary dryness."
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel
SkinBetter InterFuse Treatment Cream Eye
Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF
Michelle Henry, New York City
When it comes to her own skin-care routine, board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry relies on an intuitive approach. "I like listening to my skin's needs on a daily basis and adjusting as needed," she says. "Your skin's needs can change based on your microenvironment — however, I do have some mainstay products."
She kicks off her day off by cleansing with PCA's Pigment Bar, which contains a blend of kojic acid, vitamin C, and azelaic acid to brighten skin. "I find it gentle enough to be used in the morning and I love that it helps to fight hyperpigmentation, which is one of my major struggles," says Henry, who adds that she often uses a Buf Puf with it for additional gentle exfoliation.
Next, Henry reaches for a product lauded by beauty editors and skin experts alike: Biologique Recherché's Lotion P50. "It exfoliates and hydrates at the same time, helping to gently improve my skin texture and reduce the appearance of my pores," she says. For serum, her staple is SkinMedica's Lytetra, which is formulated with tranexamic acid — one of her favorite ingredients for fading discoloration. "It's great at fighting pesky hyperpigmentation," she says.
SkinBetter Science's Trio Rebalancing Treatment is her go-to moisturizer because it's lightweight and smooths the skin. "It moisturizes like a cream with the consistency of a lotion, and it contains urea and ceramides to moisturize and improve skin texture," says Henry, who follows this step with sunscreen. "CeraVe's Ultralight Moisturizer with SPF 30 is quite moisturizing and blends into my dark skin, and I also like Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, which is completely transparent," she says.
Henry ends her day with another thorough cleanse — this time using SkinMedica's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser for a deeper clean. "It removes the dirt, oil, environmental pollutants, and debris that accumulate over the course of the day," she says. She then tones again with P50 before applying Alastin's Renewal Retinol. "This is a great non-irritating formula that softens fine lines and wrinkles, reduces acne, and fights hyperpigmentation with minimal risk of inflammation," says Henry.
Finally, before hopping into bed, she slathers on SkinCeuticals' Triple Lipid Restore, a thick moisturizer that she says helps to repair and restore her skin while she sleeps.
To keep the skin on her body feeling soft and hydrated, Henry uses a drugstore classic: CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream, as it's packed with ceramides that retain moisture in the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid for added hydration.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
PCA Pigment Bar
Marnie Nussbaum, New York City
Before she starts inspecting her patients' skin, board-certified dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum attends to her own complexion, using a mix of both luxury and drugstore products to pack in as much hydration and antioxidant action as she can. "My skin-care routine starts in the shower with a moisturizing body wash," Nussbaum tells Allure. "I love Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash because it gently cleanses but doesn't strip my skin of its natural oils, and it contains a moisturizer in the formula containing pro glycerin that pulls moisture into the epidermis and keeps skin hydrated all day."
For her face, Nussbaum reaches for the ever-reliable La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser, which she favors because it's infused with prebiotic thermal water, ceramides, and niacinamide. "It helps to protect my epidermal barrier and decrease any redness and inflammation," she says.
After doing a thorough cleanse, Nussbaum applies her go-to antioxidant serum: SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF With Ferulic Acid. "I use it on my face every morning as it contains a power punch of antioxidants, like vitamin C, phloretin, and ferulic acid to combat sun damage and give my skin a glow by decreasing hyperpigmentation," she says. Another reason she's a fan is that it's oil-free, which makes it more suitable for her acne-prone skin.
Once she's patted her serum in, Nussbaum slathers on CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion as it keeps her complexion hydrated all day long — without clogging her pores. Next up, she's on to eye cream. "I alternate between SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex for Dark Circles, which has a balmy formula with optical diffusers that reflect light away to illuminate the eye area, and Skin Better Science Interfuse Treatment Cream, which "boosts collagen and elastin while fighting dark circles and smoothing fine lines," she says. "It has neuro-calming peptides that smooth muscle action, making it a perfect match for when I use Botox."
Before her final step — sunscreen, naturally — Nussbaum applies a dime-size dollop of Neostrata's Triple Firming Neck Cream, which she says contains pro amino acid and neocitran to target collagen production. As for her favorite SPF, that would be EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46. "It's great because it's formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep skin moisturized, provides broad-spectrum SPF coverage with transparent zinc so it doesn't leave the white residue, and it has antioxidant protection with niacinamide."
After a long day, Nussbaum comes home and starts off her skin-care routine with Drunk Elephant's editor-favorite Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, as it gently removes her makeup and all of the impurities her skin accumulated throughout the day. When she wants an extra-deep clean, she exfoliates with glycolic pads, which she says help her skin look more polished.
For moisturizer, Nussbaum swears by the Best of Beauty Award-winning Skin Better Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, which contains encapsulated retinol and AHAs to help increase skin cell turnover. “I alternate between this and a prescription retinoid every other night," she says.
After repeating the same eye and neck routine from the morning, Nussbaum applies a nourishing body treatment to keep her limbs silky soft. "Kopari Coconut Melt is a great all-over body moisturizer, and I especially like to use it on my hands and for dry, cracked cuticles in the colder months," she says.
In terms of the extras, Nussbaum gets get monthly Clear + Brilliant laser treatments to keep her melasma in check — that, and she does a round of Botox every three to four months. Additionally, when traveling a lot, she'll add a moisturizing mask to her routine for added hydration.
"I love SK-II Facial Treatment Mask as it contains pitera, a yeast extract that improves radiance and texture, and I also adore Patchology 5-minute Rejuvenating Eye Hydrogels, which I pop on right before I land."
Lastly, Nusbaum says she never leaves home without her beloved EOS lip balm.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
Joshua Zeichner, New York City
After diagnosing and treating countless patients' skin on a daily basis, board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner likes to keep his routine simple (or relatively so). "I know I need to take care of my skin but do not have the patience for a multistep routine," he says. "I aim to protect the skin during the day and repair it from any damage in the evening," he explains of his MO. For Zeichner, this means using the same multipurpose cleanser for his face and body in the shower. Right now, he's reaching for Dove Deep Moisture Shower Foam, as he says it cleanses without drying or stripping the skin of necessary oils.
Fresh out of the shower, he relies on a vitamin C serum (when he remembers), which he says he uses in the morning to prevent free-radical damage during the day. "I’ve been using the L’Oreal Revitalift Derm Intensive 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum, which is a stabilized form of vitamin C that's one of the best-kept secrets at the drugstore," he says. After serum, Zeichner skips a standalone moisturizer and instead goes straight in with a hydrating sunscreen. His sun-damage shield of choice at the moment is Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer SPF 50. "It provides protection and hydration in one, which is why I like it," he says.
If you can believe it, Zeichner keeps his p.m. routine pared down, too. The only changes he makes are swapping out serum and sunscreen for a prescription-strength retinoid (his collagen-builder of choice is tretinoin) and moisturizer. "I love the Aveeno Positively Radiant Night Cream because it contains a soy complex that brightens the skin overnight," he says. "Once it dries, I go right in with tretinoin and that's that."
As he's gotten older, Zeichner says he's noticed his skin gets much drier during the winter months, which occasionally requires him to use an ultrarich moisturizer at night to combat the adverse effects of the weather. "When I need a heavy moisturizer, which is usually every few weeks, I steal the Sisley Confort Extrême Night Skin Care from my wife," he says. "It's a super rich cream that contains natural oils, which always get my skin back in check."
Aveeno Positively Radiant Overnight Hydrating Facial Moisturizer
Revitalift Derm Intensive Vitamin C Serum
Shari Marchbein, New York City
Shari Marchbein is a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU's School of Medicine. She's also one of the countless dermatologists who struggle with both acne and eczema. "I have a combination of sensitive yet breakout-prone skin, so I tend to keep things really simple," she says. "The most important aspects for me [in the morning] are daily sunscreen with at least SPF 30 [and] an antioxidant vitamin C serum."
Before these two steps, however, she cleanses her skin with a super gentle face wash, which right now is Simple Waterboost Micellar Gel Wash. For free-radical protection, she relies on the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, a vitamin-packed serum that protects the skin from environmental stressors. She then follows up with a moisturizer that contains sunscreen, just like Zeichner. Her two favorites are Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 50 and Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF 50, the latter of which also shields the skin from pollution.
As far as her nighttime routine goes, Marchbein likes to add in a prescription retinoid as well as an ultra-hydrating moisturizer, followed by an occlusive product in certain areas that require extra TLC. "At night after a gentle cleansing, I apply Retin-A Micro, which I really love, followed by a moisturizer, such as Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream or Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Cream," she says. "Then I apply either Aquaphor or Vaseline ointment to my lips and eyelids because it helps seal in moisture in these thin skin areas that are prone to dryness and cracking."
Marchbein also never forgets to give her body some love. For this, she turns to Vaseline Clinical Care Extremely Dry Skin Repair Lotion or CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, both of which she says contain ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to seal in hydration. "I also exclusively use Dove body washes; my favorite is the classic Deep Moisture one," she says. "Within 60 seconds of getting out of the shower, I apply a thick layer of moisturizer to maintain optimal hydration throughout the night."
Two or three times a week, Marchbein likes to slough away dead skin cells using a physical exfoliant. "I gently scrub away the old skin with either the St. Ives Radiant Skin Exfoliating Face Scrub or the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser to improve dull, flaky skin," she says. "It makes an instant difference."
Simple Waterboost Micellar Gel Wash
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF 50
Shereene Idriss, New York City
Shereene Idriss is a New York City dermatologist specializing in facial aesthetics and rejuvenation. You also might remember her from our All About Eyes issue. Idriss says she bases her morning routine on what she feels her skin needs that day. "Generally, I'll shower and wash my face with water only," she says. "I’ve most likely exfoliated the night before and therefore don’t want to overstrip my skin of its natural oils," she explains of her cleanser-free step. Then she goes right in with an antioxidant serum — everyone's favorite, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. "It's my personal go-to because it contains a potent triple combination of antioxidants, including vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid — this simple step helps dramatically with the improvement of fine lines, skin firmness, and overall brightening."
For a moisturizer that contains SPF, she swears by the Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36. "It offers powerful yet lightweight protection, skin-hydrating ingredients, and antioxidants, like green tea extract and vitamin E, which protect against pollution-induced damage," she says. "This product has a subtle complexion-enhancing tint that evens out my skin tone and allows me to start my day without any makeup on."
Come evening, Idriss likes to address whatever "issues" may have surfaced on her skin during the day. Regardless, though, she always starts her routine by removing her makeup with Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water and follows with a sulfate-free gentle cleanser, as she says they tend to be less irritating. "I personally love the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser because, as the name implies, it quenches your skin with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, which are all key ingredients for locking in moisture," she says.
Post-cleanse, it's time for exfoliation. "This is where it’s important to note that what works for me may not work for you, so get to know what your skin can tolerate," she advises. "My skin remains in harmony when I exfoliate two or three times a week; I also believe that exfoliating at night is key because it strips your skin of all impurities that accumulate throughout the day and creates a clear foundation for your skin to absorb the essential nutrients it needs to repair itself overnight." Unlike Marchbein, Idriss prefers chemical exfoliants, her favorites being the Rebrightalyze Pads and the highly touted Biologique Recherche P50. "Both contain variations of glycolic acid and lactic acid, which make the skin appear brighter while exfoliating," she says.
Immediately afterward, Idriss applies SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5% serum to help advance collagen production, even out skin texture, and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size. "Retinol is a star ingredient as it is one of those rare ones that can get deep into your dermis to stimulate your collagen production right at the source," she explains. SkinMedica's serum, which has a lotion-like feel, also contains vitamin E and squalene oil to help minimize irritation. Afterward, she uses Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Cream, as she says she likes to use a rich moisturizer that soaks in gradually overnight.
To top it all off, she uses the Nia24 Eye Repair Complex for her eyes. "This one not only helps smooth out the delicate texture of the skin around your eyes, but the niacin it contains helps to brighten pigment around your eyes," she says.
When she has some downtime, Idriss likes to treat herself to a Fraxel laser to target hyperpigmentation. "This always helps to clear my skin and smooth out superficial texture," she says.
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Cream
Sejal Shah, New York City
Board-certified dermatologist and founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology Sejal Shah prides herself on being a minimalist when it comes to her skin. "In the morning, I rotate between First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser and CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, followed by a vitamin C serum and moisturizer with SPF," says Shah. For serum, she's loyal to the Revision Vitamin C Lotion 30%, and as far as moisturizer goes, she rotates between EltaMD UV Clear and the MD Solar Science Creme Mineral Beauty Balm.
Shah is another eye cream advocate and alternates between the Revisions Teamine Eye Complex, Replenix All-Trans-Retinol Eye Repair Cream, and Rejuve MD Anti-Aging Growth Factor Eye Serum.
Shah's nighttime routine starts with a double cleanse made up of a traditional cleanser and micellar water (her favorite is the original Bioderma Sensibio H20). "Then I like to use a retinol or glycolic acid, like Skinbetter's AlphaRet, a few times a week," she says, as this helps to resurface the skin without having to manually exfoliate. Speaking of which, when she does physically exfoliate, which is usually just once a week, she reaches for the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Wine Pads, a treatment that contains naturally occurring AHAs to slough away dead skin and debris.
After applying her serum, Shah completes her routine with a dollop of Revision D.E.J. Night Face Cream, which contains a time-released 0.25 percent retinol combined with bakuchiol to prevent fine lines from forming overnight.
Shah also regularly gets Botox and Clear and Brilliant laser treatments. And when her skin is feeling worse for wear, she says she avoids any irritating or drying products and steps up the hydration with sheet masks. She's a big fan of the Eau Thermale Avène Soothing Sheet Mask.
Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution
Arash Akhavan, New York City
When board-certified dermatologist Arash Akhavan wakes up, he cleanses with the Mod Skin NYC Revitalize Me Cleanser. Of course, he's biased: He founded the line. Disclaimer aside, he says the cleanser is gentle but very effective, thanks to ingredients like aloe and cucumber-fruit extract.
After cleansing, Akhavan smooths on Mod Skin NYC Revolution Serum, which is rich in hyaluronic acid. "It leaves my skin plump and dewy," he says. "I then apply a sunscreen, and I weigh this up depending on the season and how dry our local climate is," he explains. "Currently, as we are switching to drier weather in the Northeast, I am using the MD Solar Sciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, which contains highly effective skin-moisturizing ceramides."
And that, folks, is Akhavan's simple three-step morning routine.
Come evening, Akhavan cleanses with the same Mod Skin NYC face wash mentioned above, followed by the same serum. Then he likes to address any signs of nascent fine lines, wrinkles, or discoloration. "I’m a big believer in vitamin C products, which I get through the Mod Skin NYC So Much C Cream, as well as retinol, which I get through our Encapsulated Retinol Cream," he explains. After smoothing on his night cream, it's off to bed.
Akhavan believes hormones play a huge role in skin health and says it's vital to keep stress hormones in check. "Regular sleep is a must for me, as well as exercise," he says. He also tries his best to avoid high-glycemic foods, as he says there's data showing they can contribute to surges in stress hormones. "It's just something I try to keep in mind when making food choices."
MD Solar Sciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50
Melissa Levin, New York City
Like many of her peers, board-certified dermatologist Melissa Levin lives for CeraVe's classic Hydrating Cleanser; she says it's super gentle and gets the job done. Unlike some of them, however, she likes to use an eye cream in the morning to help decrease puffiness and undereye bags. Her current must-have? SkinBetter InterFuse Treatment Eye Cream, which contains peptides, vitamin C, humectants, and caffeine to aid in improving the aforementioned eye-area concerns.
Then, to keep breakouts at bay, Levin uses a prescription medication called Aczone 7.5%, a gel-based treatment that targets adult acne. "I apply it to my entire face once daily before moisturizing with Avène Eau Thermale Hydrance Emulsion," she says.
Depending on the day, Levin also sometimes likes to use Isdin Flavo-C Ampoules to provide antioxidant protection. "This formulation is sealed in a glass ampoule to ensure stability and potency and is easy to use for travel," she says. "I especially love it for the winter since, in addition to the L-ascorbic acid, it also improves skin moisturization due to hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans."
Levin finishes with a healthy dose of the Isdin Eryfotona SPF 50. "It's an elegant, lightweight-but-effective pure mineral blocker with 11 percent zinc oxide and DNA repair enzymes."
Levin's nighttime regimen is largely the same, save for a few steps. To remove makeup and debris, she uses La Roche-Posay Micellar Water on a clean cotton pad. "I love micellar water because it's minimal in the number of additives and relies mainly on water and oil, which gently remove the residue off of the skin," she says. For cleansing, she favors either Alastin Gentle Cleanser or Neostrata Resurface Foaming Glycolic Acid Wash Cleanser. "I use Neostrata as an effective exfoliating cleanser since it contains 18 percent glycolic acid and lactobionic acid to exfoliate, smooth irregularities, and brighten skin," she explains.
Then, before moisturizing, she uses a combination of antioxidant- and retinol-containing serums. "I use Isdin Melatonik for its unique combination of melatonin, bakuchiol — a naturally derived botanical with retinol properties — and vitamin C," she says. For retinol, she alternates between Differin Gel and SkinBetter Science Intensive Alpha Ret (both of which Allure has revered in the past).
Lastly, Levin uses two moisturizers: a prescription cream called Ceracade, which contains a ton of ceramides to help repair the skin barrier, topped with Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster. "The latter has oat kernel oil, which is chock-full of healthy cholesterol, linoleic acid, ceramides, and sterols," she says.
For Levin, caring for her neck and chest is just as crucial as caring for her face. "I teach my patients that the face, neck, and chest is one unit that should be treated, which is why I use Alastin Restorative Neck Complex as it's an antioxidant-based firming and tone-correcting cream that addresses crepiness, horizontal necklace lines, and discoloration."
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Isdin Melatonik Recovery Night Serum
Carlos A. Charles, New York City
As far as routines go, board-certified dermatologist Carlos A. Charles is about as bare-bones as it gets. "My routine looks like this: In the morning I wash with a gentle cleanser, such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, followed by a generous layer of EltaMD UV Clear, which doubles as both my sun protection and moisturizer," he says. Charles adds that sometimes he'll also use a vitamin C serum to ward off free-radical damage, which helps with his hyperpigmentation. Lately, he's been using — wait for it — SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Anyone surprised?
In the evening, Charles says, he sometimes swaps out CeraVe's original Hydrating Cleanser for its foaming option, as he says it works better at removing the dirt and grime from the day. "Then I moisturize with CeraVe PM Face Moisturizer, and twice a week I'll use a gentle retinoid cream on top to assist with cell turnover and collagen production," he says. "I usually go with the tretinoin 0.025 percent cream."
Charles says he always, always uses a fragrance-free soap on his body (such as Dove or Aveeno) and makes sure to apply a generous amount of moisturizer from head to toe right after bathing.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen
Mona Gohara, Hamden, Connecticut
After washing with a gentle, nonsoap cleanser, a vitamin C serum is the first thing that hits Gohara's face. "Often I'll use Obagi's Medical Fx C-Clarifying Serum with hydroquinone to deal with my melasma [and] over that, I'll layer hyaluronic acid, like SkinMedica's HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator."
"I vary between EltaMD's and First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30," she says in regards to sun protection. "Because I get oily in areas, I like Colorescience's Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50 to freshen up in between patients."
"This is when I put on the 'worker bee' actives," says Gohara. "I wash then medicate with a retinoid-like prescription-strength Tazorac and moisturize over that. I'm a big fan of SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, but sometimes I legit put Vaseline petroleum jelly on my face [because] it's thick and has a barrier repair function."
To treat her melasma, Gohara gently exfoliates once a week with First Aid Beauty's FAB Pharma White Clay Acne Treatment Pads, which contain two percent salicylic acid.
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50
Ellen Marmur, New York City
"I believe sweat is nature's best facial cleanser, so after my morning workout 90 percent of the time I just rinse [with water] in the shower," says Marmur of her morning cleansing regimen. "With my skin still damp, I put on two pumps of [my own] MMSkincare MMRevive Serum, then tinted SPF."
On workdays, Marmur will use Chanel's Vitalumière foundation, and on days off, she slathers on EltaMD's UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 Tinted. "For activities like tennis, [I use] EltaMD's UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+. "Then [I put on] my N95 mask, sunglasses, and I'm out!"
Marmur's "super skin secret" is sleep. "[Before bed,] I always use Neutrogena Gentle Oil-Free Makeup Remover or Beautycounter Instant Eye Makeup Remover, then remove the residue with a damp cloth," she says. "I love using my MMSkincare MMSphere 2.0 home LED therapy to relax and boost dopamine, aka the sleep hormone."
When it's very cold, Marmur applies what she calls a 'rescue cream' — Aquaphor Healing Ointment or an Aveeno body lotion — to her face and neck. "And if I notice milia or blackheads, I exfoliate [in the office] with a Jessner's Peel, then hydrate with MMSkincare MMRevive Face Mask," she says.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Neutrogena Gentle Oil Makeup Remover
Nada Elbuluk, New York City
Elbuluk begins her days by cleansing with Dove's Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar [she's a Dove Partner] and then applies a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher. "I'm always trying different ones," she says. "Sometimes I'll also use a vitamin C-based antioxidant product or one with vitamins C and E, [like] SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum."
In the evening, Elbuluk loves to get her retinol in, though her skin can't tolerate prescription-level retinoids, so she uses cosmeceutical-grade products that are retinol- or retinaldehyde-based. "SkinMedica and SkinCeuticals have really great ones," she says. "And there are [good drugstore] options like the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair and RoC collections, but I haven't gotten married to one yet."
"Retinols cause increased cell turnover, so I don't do additional exfoliation. I'm a less-is-more kind of person," Elbuluk tells Allure.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer
Jill Weinstein, Chicago
In the morning, Weinstein keeps it simple with eye cream, SPF, and some mineral powder. "Glytone Age-Defying Antioxidant Eye Cream has antioxidants to protect from environmental damage and caffeine to de-puff," she says. "I don't put much on right now as I worry any product could be too occlusive under my mask or cause heat rash — but I use EltaMD's UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 [and] after, I top it with a loose powder to mattify and set it."
"Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash has slightly more glycolic acid than a face wash, but for me, it's still not irritating," says Weinstein of her favorite evening cleanser. "I use it nightly to prevent congestion and for fresher-looking skin."
She then uses one of two eye creams — SkinMedica's Instant Bright Eye Cream or Eau Thermale Avène's RetrinAL Eyes, both of which help improve fine lines and crepiness. "I use Glytone Age-Defying Antioxidant Night Cream and, two times a week, Eau Thermale Avène's RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream with a form of retinol that's less drying than prescription-grade retinoids," she says.
During the summertime, Weinstein uses the SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum to help prevent redness and hyperpigmentation caused by UV exposure.
Kaleigh Fasanella and Angelique Serrano contributed reporting.
Elta MD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Glytone Age-Defying Antioxidant Eye Cream
Eau Thermale Avene RetrinAL Eyes