I Use Over 15 Skincare Products a Day—These 6 Are the Most Important

Anna Harty

About a month ago, I wrote about every single product I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis—depending on whether I am breaking out, going out, or suffering from beard burn. To be frank, it added up to quite the haul (which, I understand, can be both expensive and time-consuming). The overwhelming response when it was published was with regard to paring it back: If you had to choose, readers and friends asked, which products would you consider most important?

For me, a person who admits to being fairly high maintenance and meticulous in the skincare department, answering such a question was a tall order. So, I turned the decision over to the pros. I reached out to a few of my favorite and most trusted dermatologists to whittle my collection of skincare favorites down to the bare minimum. They turned up with just six important formulas to keep, which, in turn, gave me an anxiety attack. But given the chance to breathe, reboot, and attempt a more minimalistic lifestyle, I'm willing to oblige. Or, I'll keep my skincare routine as opulent as it always has been and remember these six products for my next round of friend-to-friend recommendations. Either one.

Serums & Creams

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic $166.00 Shop

"This is my absolute go-to, can't-live-without product," reveals Marnie Nussbaum, a NY-based dermatologist. "It combats the anti-aging process by fighting free radical damage, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, and it brightens your complexion effortlessly." Adds Joshua Zeichner, MD, "Antioxidants are like fire extinguishers that put out inflammation. They can promote healthy collagen production and brighten unwanted pigmentation. Make sure to layer it on every morning under your sunscreen."

I couldn't agree more. While SkinCeuticals' C E Ferulic doesn't exactly smell pleasant, the results make it so I would use it as perfume every day for the rest of my life if I had to. In my experience, it instantly brightens, evens, and erases any lingering breakout marks or scarring. I apply a few drops in the morning and notice a difference both instantly and over time. The price is steep, but there's no other formula I would recommend as vehemently (with the exception of Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970, which is coming up next).

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970 $32.00 Shop

"I love Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 as a toner," says Nussbaum, "because not only does it gently exfoliate with lactic acid, citric acid, and salicylic acid, but it nourishes the skin with various vitamins and botanicals."

Same, I think, as I read her words over email.

"The mix of alpha-hydroxy acids exfoliates dead skin cells and promotes collagen production," explains Zeichner. "This helps to brighten and strengthen your skin's foundation, to even skin tone and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Many people use AHAs as a substitute for retinol," he says. Myself included. "It also has ingredients that decrease oil production," adds Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "It's a good addition to your skincare regimen, even if used once weekly for sensitive skin types."

I couldn't be happier this was one of the top picks by all three dermatologists, as I believe this product has completely changed my skin. Before I tried it, I suffered from uneven, sallow-looking skin that often allowed for hormonal, cystic breakouts to pop up during my period. Now, I swipe a P50-soaked cotton pad across my face each morning and night, and those problems no longer exist for me. That, and I get complimented on my skin by co-workers and estheticians alike. Sure, I'm bragging, but this formula works wonders in the most literal sense of the word.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich $230.00 Shop

"For moisturizer, I'd suggest either the La Mer option or Barbara Sturm's," says Zeichner. "Especially in the evening, skin hydration levels go down, so a good moisturizer before bed is important."

I love a thick, rich moisturizer for nighttime especially, but I use this one during the day too. It keeps my face hydrated for hours and gives off a healthy shine that bounces light in a really nice, flattering way (especially under the fluorescent lights of our office). I do agree it's a pricey option, but in my opinion, moisturizer has to do a lot of heavy lifting. This one incorporates purslane to reduce redness and inflammation.

Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power-Treatment

Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power-Treatment $68.00 Shop

"Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power-Treatment Fill & Firm ($68) is an eye miracle," emphasizes Nussbaum. "It blends soy peptides, retinol, and hyaluronic acid to combat fine lines around the eyes." Nazarian explains, "The combination of gentle retinoid and soy help decrease dark spots and fine lines while the hyaluronic acid keeps skin hydrated and enhances the skin barrier. This is worth the price."

I've found this eye cream to be quite literally one of the only formulas that actually makes a difference in my crow's feet. It has a balmy, thick texture that fills in lines and erases fatigue. This is meant to happen pretty instantaneously due to the formula make-up, but it also promises to extend those results over time, courtesy of the retinoid.

Cleanser & Sunscreen

After all was said and done, I was pretty happy with the formulas each dermatologist agreed upon—truth be told, they were four of my favorite products to begin with. That being said, a bit of confusion came up when I realized none of them had chosen a cleanser. Was I wrong to believe cleansing was one of the most important steps? Turns out, I wasn't.

"I would recommend a cleanser—but not an expensive one," Nazarian said when I asked why she didn't originally offer a suggestion. "The goal of the cleanser is twofold: Don't ruin the skin be gentle without disrupting the natural hydration barrier and pH—no perfumes, fragrance, or harsh surfactants), and cleanse bacteria and dirt off the skin so it's a clean palette and can absorb all the wonderful serums and lotions being applied after washing. I usually recommend Dove Beauty Bar (not the perfumed options)."

Zeichner agrees, noting, "I do feel a cleanser is really important. However, you can get fantastic cleansers at your local drugstore at a much lower price point. I tell people to save money for the anti-aging products. The only other thing missing from your regimen is a daily sunscreen, either in a moisturizer with SPF or a straight sunscreen."

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar $28.00 Shop

"It's my go-to treatment to effectively remove dirt and oil but maintain the skin hydration. It contains moisturizing ingredients like argan oil," says Zeichner.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 $17.00 Shop

Lastly, never forget a sunscreen. "This broad-spectrum sunscreen also contains an antioxidant complex. It is light and easy to layer under makeup," notes Zeichner.

In What Order Do I Apply My Skin Care Products? • Modern Dermatology Seattle Washington

Does it really matter when and in what order you apply your skin care products? We asked because we never felt the need to worry about the order in which we eat our food. (After all, don’t we absorb the same amount of sugar in sweets even if we eat them last?) So we asked the skin experts the same question we ask ourselves every time we buy a new skin care product or add another step to our routine: In what order should I apply my skin care products and does it matter?

Sequence Matters, Here’s Why

According to board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Heather Rogers, applying your skin care products in the proper order ensures that your skin receives the full benefits of each product.

“The order of application is incredibly important,” says Dr. Rogers. “The skin’s job is to keep things out, but many of the skin care products we use have ingredients we want to get in. Only a very small amount of these key ingredients can penetrate the skin, even when perfectly formulated and perfectly applied. If you don’t apply products in the correct order, you will not see the best results from your skin care regimen.”

How to Layer Your Skin Care Products: A Step-by-Step Guide

So which product goes on top of what, you ask? An easy rule of thumb to follow is to apply your products with the thinnest consistency to thickest, or from liquid to oil. “In general, think thin-to-thick, but you also want to first use the products with the ingredients that are most important to penetrate into the skin (like antioxidants in serums) and finish with the products that need to sit on top of the skin (like emollients and humectants in moisturizers),” says Dr. Rogers.

Your Daytime Regimen

The morning routine is all about protection from the sun, pollution and the elements, according to Dr. Rogers, so leave your peel pads and treatment products, like retinol, for night.


In the morning, start by splashing your face with warm water or, if you must, wash with a gentle face cleanser designed for your skin type.


Most people choose to skip toners, partly because there’s a lingering assumption that most toners are harsh and irritate the skin. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. While they don’t physically “shrink” pores, the new breed of toners can serve multiple purposes, like act as a delivery system for antioxidants, vitamin B derivatives and even toning acids. Additionally, each type of toner is intended for a different skin issue, so it’s important to use the right kind for your skin concern.

However, if you have lived all your life without using a toner and your skin looks healthy, Dr. Rogers says there is no need to start using one. “Toners were created to help return the skin’s pH after it became too basic from harsh soaps,” explains Dr. Rogers. “Face cleansers are now so much better balanced than toners are not a required step for me, particularly in the morning when your face is clean from being washed the night before. Alcohol-based toners contribute to over-drying of the skin by stripping the protective oils, and water-based toners are a poor vehicle for getting active ingredients into the skin.”


Serums are super-concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that address specific concerns, so it’s better to keep them as close to the skin as possible. There are various serums available on the market today, but for daytime, Dr. Rogers recommends antioxidant serums, which provide a variety of benefits—from blunting your skin’s inflammatory response to neutralizing damage from UV rays and environmental pollutants.


According to board-certified dermatologist Annie Chiu, it’s vital to apply an eye cream at least every night, if not twice a day, starting in your 20s. “It’s about maintaining the health and thickness of the eyelid skin. Improving the skin quality in this area early on ensures that the eyelid skin does not easily lose laxity and its smooth appearance later on.”

For best results, consistency is key. “Regular use of eye cream over time will keep the eyelid skin elastic and can improve or prevent against some fine lines or collagen loss. Remember: Nothing is magic. Results don’t occur overnight,” Dr. Chiu adds. “You can further protect the delicate skin around your eyes by choosing an eye cream with SPF or applying sunscreen every day.” Dr. Chiu also advises people to remember to wear sunglasses when outside to protect against UV-light damage and lines that can creep up around the corners of your eyes from squinting.


According to Dr. Diane De Fiori, dermatologist at Rosacea Treatment Clinic, prescription medications and acne spot treatments, like serums, need to be applied as close to the skin as possible to maximize their benefits.

As acne spot treatments differ in active ingredients, check your product packaging or consult your dermatologist for the best way to apply it. Prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, a common acne spot treatment ingredient, has a one- to three-hour working time, according to esthetician and acne specialist Ashley Wiley. “Any cream that comes in contact with it before it has completed its work will likely inhibit the active ingredient from working properly.”

Remember that acne spot treatments can dry out your skin, so always apply only on spots where you need it.


Yes, everyone needs a moisturizer, even if you have oily skin. “Even though your body has its own natural lubricating system consisting of glands that secrete oil (or sebum) to maintain a protective coating against harsh outside conditions and infections, most of us do need extra hydration after the havoc that sun, weather and harsh chemicals wreak on our skin,” explains board-certified dermatologist Sandra Kopp.

Most experts recommend that the best time to apply a moisturizer is while the skin is still damp, so the sooner you go through applying your serum and treatment, the sooner you’re able to lock in much-needed hydration with your moisturizer.

If you’re using an acne spot treatment, you may want to skip those areas when applying your moisturizer to make sure the ingredients in it won’t interfere with the active ingredients in your spot treatment.


Sunscreen should be the last step in your daytime skin care routine if you’re using a physical or mineral sunscreen, which works by physically blocking the UV rays. This step becomes tricky when you’re using a chemical sunscreen.

Dr. Rogers explains: “Chemical sunscreens have to be absorbed into the skin to be effective, so applying after your moisturizer will delay and hinder that. However, if you apply your chemical sunscreen before your moisturizer, your moisturizer will not work as well either because the skin is coated with chemical sunscreen.”

So to get around this, and for many other reasons, Dr. Rogers always recommend using a physical sunscreen with zinc and to apply it after your moisturizer. “Zinc is safe, effective and provides the broadest protection against UVA and UVB rays.”

As for those who like using chemical sunscreens, try to look for formulas that offer moisturizing benefits, so you can get your daily hydration needs while protecting your skin.

Your Nighttime Regimen

As your skin naturally repairs itself at night, your nighttime routine should be all about treatment and giving your skin what it needs, says Dr. Rogers. “If your skin is looking dull, exfoliate. If it is irritated, hydrate and protect.” Here’s the best order of skin care products to make sure you get the most out of them:


To get rid of the day’s grime, dirt, oil and makeup, some experts recommend removing your makeup first with a dedicated makeup remover before washing your face with a gentle cleanser. Better yet, try double cleansing, which involves using a cleansing oil first to dissolve your makeup and then washing your face again with your regular cleanser.

“The first step is to take off your makeup. This is the step where you would typically use a cleansing oil,” explains cosmetic acupuncturist and herbalist Kathleen Funk. “The second step is to use a face wash to remove all the excess sebum, dirt and makeup you loosened up on the first step. This leaves your skin fresh and perfectly prepped to absorb your skin regimen.”

TIP: If you’re using a physical exfoliant, like a facial scrub, use it in place of your cleanser after removing your makeup.


If you use a toner, apply it as you would in the morning.

At night, some people also like to layer various types of skin care boosters, which you’ll see as either mists, essences, beauty waters or hydrating (hyaluronic acid) serums. These are infused with different active ingredients, but for the most part, the purpose is mainly to hydrate and nourish skin.

Since these are lightweight, almost water-like formulas, apply them after washing your face as you would a toner. “If using both, apply toner then essence,” says Dr. Rogers. “Toner is more to clean and essence is more about delivering a treatment.” If using multiple boosters, same rules apply: apply from thinnest to thickest.


Aside from addressing crow’s feet and dark circles, eye creams can also serve to protect your delicate eye area from your other skin care products.

“Generally, you’d want to apply your eye cream before your treatments to protect your eye area against potent ingredients, which could potentially cause irritation,” according to Dr. Rogers.


Like the rest of the body, skin does the bulk of its repairing, restoring and regenerating as we sleep. This is why most targeted skin care treatments—like prescription meds (tretinoin, acne and rosacea creams), retinol creams, exfoliative treatments (peel pads and masks) and anti-aging serums (infused with peptides, growth factors and other biologically active ingredients)—are better used at night. However, instead of layering up all your treatment serums and creams, Dr. Rogers suggests choosing your evening treatment depending on your skin’s of-the-moment needs.

“Too many steps just increase the risk of irritation and decrease the likelihood of the desired result,” says Dr. Rogers. “Pick your evening treatment based on what your skin needs that night, not based on what you have in your medicine cabinet. Some nights, it may be just wash, moisturize and bed. There is always tomorrow to give your skin more love.”

Here are other considerations:

Choose between prescription meds (for acne or rosacea) OR exfoliative treatments (like AHA/BHA pads, peels or detoxifying masks). “If you use both on the same night, you significantly increase your risk of irritating your skin,” warns Dr. Rogers.

Just like prescription meds, don’t use retinol creams (over the counter and prescription) on the same night as exfoliative treatments.

Exfoliative treatments: Use these sparingly, one to three times a week.

Detoxifying/Clay Masks: For most people, once a week is plenty.


If your skin is on the dry side, you may want to add a hydrating cream mask or face oil. Both product types are generally mild and can be typically used as often as your skin needs an extra boost of hydration.


Some people use the same moisturizer in the day and at night. However, night moisturizers or night creams are generally thicker and heavier, and designed to be absorbed over the course of several hours.

“Moisturizer, particularly the heavier ones used at night, create a protective coating on the skin to prevent water evaporation while you sleep,” says Dr. Rogers. “Maintaining a high water content in the skin is key for healing and maintaining healthy skin. If you are using the right moisturizer, it should be your last step because nothing is going to get through it.”

Timing Matters, Too

Aside from the order of application, some experts believe it’s also important to consider the time it takes for your skin to absorb your products. However, since most of us are often in a rush to get somewhere (or hit the sack), Dr. Rogers understands that this isn’t always possible. Her advice? Keep your skin care routine simple.

“Many products say you have to wait anywhere from five to 30 minutes before the next step to ensure proper absorption, but who has time for that? If you make it too complicated, you just won’t do it,” says Dr. Rogers. “If you have many steps, pause for a bit (a minute) to allow each product time to react with the skin. For example, at night, after I wash my face and apply my serum or evening treatment, I just wrap up my day and get into bed. I keep my moisturizer on my bedside table and apply it right before I go to sleep to give these typically expensive, specialty treatments a touch more time to penetrate the skin before I seal them in with my cream.”

Another piece of advice? Listen to your skin. Remember that you are unique and that nobody else has your skin. No matter what experts say, it’s important to find what works for you and to always be kind to your skin.

Need a quick reference on how to go about your skin care routine? Check out our ultimate cheat sheet below.

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What Is the Importance of Skin Care?

You’ve likely heard many beauty and health influencers and experts tout their best skin care tips, but their recommendations might leave you wondering, “why is skincare so important, really?”.

Skin care plays an important role in your overall health and appearance. After all, your skin is the largest organ of your body. Skin care primarily focuses on the delicate areas on your face, neck, and chest, with regimens focused on cleansing, moisturizing, and treating specific conditions.

If you want to dive deeper into why skin care is important and how you can make it a priority in your life, we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll break down the importance of skin care and provide helpful tips on how to care for your skin–from wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer to how to find quality skin care products. Keep reading or use the links below to learn more.

Why Is Skin Care Important? 3 Main Reasons

Why is it important to take care of your skin? There are many reasons why skin care is important, including your health, self-confidence, and preventing future skin problems and even skin cancer.


Your skin acts as a barrier to our internal systems that are imperative to our health and well-being. Taking steps to properly care for our skin helps to ensure this important barrier is strong. When the skin is dry or irritated, cracks can occur, which make you more prone to infection.

Your skin also plays a vital role in protecting you from the sun and it’s harmful rays. That’s why sunscreen is recommended for adults and kids to wear daily. After all, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and can occur in people of all ages.


Who doesn’t enjoy looking their best? It’s important to take care of your skin as it helps it look more youthful. As you age, your skin cells regenerate less frequently, which means your skin can start to show signs of aging and lose that jovial radiance.

Using high-quality skin care and having skin treatments such as facials help promote clear and glowing skin. When you use good skin care products, you remove dead skin cells that regenerate into new cells that have you looking and feeling your best.


Taking preventive measures with a well-thought-out skin care routine is essential to long-term skin health. This can help you avoid the development of certain conditions and signs of aging, as well as reduce the severity of problems you may already be dealing with.

For many years, people believed that prioritizing a consistent skin care regimen with high-quality products was only intended for those with sensitive skin. Not even close. Preventive skin care is for everyone.

4 Tips for How to Practice Proper Skin Care

Good skin care is important at any age. The skin has strong collagen and elastin production in the first few decades of life, but it decreases. A good skincare routine helps regenerate skin cell production to keep the skin looking and feeling its best throughout your life.

Here are four tips on how to practice proper skin care and prioritize the importance of skin care in your daily life.

Using Correct Face-Washing Technique

While you might be thinking, if you’re washing your face, that should be good enough. And while that’s a start, how you wash your face can play a role in not only how it feels and looks, but also what’s happening underneath the skin.

That’s why practicing proper face-washing technique is essential. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends washing your face no more than twice a day. That said, once a day will suffice for some.

When you wash your face:

Start by wetting your face with lukewarm water and using your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser without alcohol. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Apply a moisturizer after cleansing when the pores are open to lock in hydration.

Note: Using a sponge, washcloth, or any other material may also lead to irritation.

Following Dermatologist Skin Care Recommendations

Dermatologist-recommended skin care includes products and regimens that are generally advisable by a dermatologist. Typically, dermatologists are asked whether they would recommend a certain product to a group of people. A dermatologist can make product recommendations based on your skin type, any skin conditions you have, and your medical history.

There are two ways to find dermatologist-recommended skin care products. First, you can visit your own dermatologist for customized recommendations. Second, you can research products that are dermatologist recommendations–some may even feature this on their label or on their product page.

During your first visit to a dermatologist, you may undergo a full-body exam where they look for any lesions, moles, or spots. If they find anything suspicious, they may recommend a biopsy. Next, they will give you recommendations and may even suggest some prescription products too.

Colorescience skin care products are dermatologist recommended and use only natural botanicals, minerals, and antioxidants like bisabolol. Our skin care treatments include those that cater to specific concerns such as rosacea, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and more.

Wearing Sunscreen Every Day

Why is skin care important? Because it protects your skin from harmful UV rays. Sun protection is the most important skincare product you can wear daily. Without protecting your skin first, it won’t look its best, no matter what other products you use. People of all ages should wear sunscreen regularly, even young children.

Wearing sunscreen every day–and reapplying every two hours–is essential for preventing sun damage, which impacts the overall health of your skin. Some sun care options can provide even greater protection. For example, Colorescience mineral sunscreen gives you an added defense against environmental factors that may irritate or harm your skin, including the effects of blue light from devices and pollution.

There are a variety of sunscreen formulas for you to choose from, so you can find one that suits your needs best. You can even find SPF in makeup for added protection.

Customizing Your Skin Care Routine to Your Needs

Don’t underestimate the importance of a skin care routine—the experts don’t. When you’re establishing a skin care routine, you must take your skin type and lifestyle into account. The best skin care routine includes a gentle cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen, exfoliant, and serum.

For oily skin, Colorescience offers products that help reduce shine and balance the skin. Our clinically-tested skincare products are made with botanical extracts, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid. Layer them for correction and all-day protection. Skincare for sensitive skin from Colorescience uses high-grade ingredients that ensure that sensitive skin is always well-cared for and looking and feeling hydrated. Restore moisture with our dry skin care treatments that help account for lack of hydration.

Combination skin types may need to use a variety of our high-quality skin care products for the best skincare routine for their needs. All of that said, your skincare routine may change as you age and even if your skin needs evolve.

How Do You Find High-Quality Skin Care Products?

Reduce the signs of aging with powerful, clinically tested, and dermatologist-recommended skin care products. Choose ones that are made to promote healthier and younger-looking skin without harmful ingredients. The best thing about high-quality skin care products from Colorescience is that we use safe and natural ingredients, to create treatments that are gentle on all skin types including sensitive skin.

There are products to help address a large variety of skin care concerns, including:

Dark circles : Improve dark circles and puffiness with Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 which also helps address fine lines under and around your eyes.

: Improve dark circles and puffiness with Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 which also helps address fine lines under and around your eyes. Discoloration or hyperpigmentation : Discoloration like brown spots can be resolved with products like our Even Up® Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50, a mineral-based perfector that evens skin tones and reduces the appearance of discoloration. The non-chemical mineral SPF 50 protection protects against environmental stressors and UVA/UVB damage. Our proprietary LUMIRA Skin Brightening Complex® is clinically tested to treat this skin concern.

: Discoloration like brown spots can be resolved with products like our Even Up® Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50, a mineral-based perfector that evens skin tones and reduces the appearance of discoloration. The non-chemical mineral SPF 50 protection protects against environmental stressors and UVA/UVB damage. Our proprietary LUMIRA Skin Brightening Complex® is clinically tested to treat this skin concern. Redness and Rosacea: Soothe irritated or irritated skin with clinically-tested skin care specifically designed to address redness. The Redness Corrector: All Calm® SPF 50 is a 3-in-1 formula that neutralizes redness and soothes sensitive skin with added sun protection.

Whatever skin condition you’re dealing with, we have mineral-based treatments that can help.

Make Skin Care a Priority & You Won’t Regret It

As you can see, Skin care plays a major role in the appearance and health of your skin. And now that you have a better understanding of why skin care is important, it’s time to make some changes to get on the right track.

First things first, you need to think about what conditions you might need to address as well as your lifestyle. Once you have an idea of the types of products you need and want to use, you want to make sure you’re using skin care treatments that are safe and chemical-free. That’s where Colorescience comes in. We value the importance of skin care and create treatments that are designed to cater to your needs.

Whether you’re looking for products for dark circles, discoloration, redness, lines, wrinkles, or any other signs of aging, we have a diverse collection of high-quality dermatologist-recommended skin care products for you to try. Revitalize your skin care regimen with Colorescience today.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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