According to experts, more often than not, it’s good to keep your skincare routine stripped back and simple. Using just a handful of seriously efficacious products morning and night, as opposed to a complex 10-step regimen that risks confusing your skin’s natural functions, is all your complexion needs. In simple terms, as a rule, the less you smother your skin, the better.
As a beauty editor, however, this simple rule can be hard to abide by. With what feels like hundreds of different products landing on your desk to test and trial each week, it’s all too easy for your complexion to fall into turmoil. It’s safe to say, therefore, that we beauty editors know a thing or two about hero skincare products. In fact, every single beauty editor I know has a small selection of products they reach for day in, day out, in order to give their skin some sort of familiar routine. And usually, it’s these hero products that have the power to save our overworked complexions.
I certainly have my daily constants when it comes to my skincare routine, and, ever nosy, I thought it might be worthwhile to chat with my fellow beauty editors to see what heroes they swear by, too. Keep scrolling to discover the top beauty editor–approved skincare products.
"Arden's pre-dosed ceramide capsules mean business. I use them every other evening to keep my skin baby soft, but they're especially good if you've overdone it with exfoliating acids or retinols (a hazard of the job) and need something to thoroughly re-quench dry, irritated skin."
"I want to give an honorable mention to Murad's Rapid Relief Spot Treatment. If you get a hint of diva skin, pop this on developing blemishes, and it will calm them down overnight. It's the best I've tried for nipping them in the bud without drying the area out."
"I'm pretty much wedded to Soleil Toujours' Mineral Glow Sunscreen. SPF doesn't have a particularly glamorous rep, but this one is blended with a gorgeous golden tint that works across all skin tones. It's like an illuminator, primer and sunscreen in one and gives a Gwyneth-level healthy glow."
"I have a genuine fear of not having this stuff within arms reach, so I have about seven scattered around various handbags, my bedside table, coffee table and desk. It’s pure lanolin, and a little goes really far so you only need a dab to soothe dry lips and skin."
"Whenever I have tested something new and my skin freaks out, I always strip everything back and return to this moisturiser. The formula isn’t ingredient-heavy but includes squalane, which is anti-inflammatory and helps restore the peace when my skin is acting up."
"I’m terrible at remembering how often I’ve used things like masks and serums, so using this for my BHA, AHA and PHA hit daily is a godsend. I get bad hyperpigmentation after spots and cuts (and straightener burns!), and this really helps to even out my skin tone as well as tighten pores and generally leave my skin looking brighter."
"I LOVE cleansing my face at the end of a long day, and this is probably my all-time-favourite cleanser to use. It melts away makeup with complete ease, the texture is really satisfying, and it just leaves skin feeling refreshed instead of dry or tight."
"I will always, always, always have a tube of this in my skincare stash. It’s rich but not oily, it’s fragrance-free so won’t irritate, and it’s just the best product for helping to calm my skin when I’ve gone too hard on the acids or if it feels a bit dry or dehydrated. I’ll often apply it 20 minutes or so after applying retinol if my skin feels like it needs some moisture."
"SPF is the one product I harp on about most, and, surprisingly, Glossier’s is one of the best I’ve ever used. It truly is invisible, sits perfectly well under makeup, is noncomedogenic so won’t clog pores and isn’t at all greasy. I probably couldn’t rave about it more if I tried."
"I have extremely sensitive skin and, if I'm more than a few metres away from a bottle of this stuff, I start to get anxious. Using Lauder's famous ChronoluxCB Technology, this serum works to aid the skin's natural renewal process. The minute I sense even a hint of irritation or redness, I soak my face in a healthy coating of this and let it work its soothing magic. It's healthy skin in a bottle."
"I like a cleanser that does it all, and this is just that. It rids the skin of impurities and also helps to reduce the appearance of pores (which is something I really require). Most importantly, though, it's gentle enough for me to able to use morning and night without even a hint of irritation. I can even use it on my eyes, which is my primary cleanser requirement."
"When I first got my hands on this mask I expected it to just be another mediocre Instagram fad. However, after the first use, I realised that this was a product to be taken seriously. It hydrates, soothes and plumps in a matter of minutes and is generally a total joy to use. It comes away with me on every single holiday and is a permanent fixture in my Sunday night skincare routine."
"Dermatologists extol the virtues of this broad-spectrum SPF, and for good reason. It's great for acne-prone skin, as it's noncomedogenic (less likely to block pores), and makeup glides over it easily. With this, I don't feel as though I'm wearing anything at all on my skin."
"When my skin is dull, congested or I'm having an oily day, I reach for this. I'll be honest, it tingles a lot, but the results are impressive. After three minutes, skin is brighter, smoother and dewier, and it's all down to exfoliating lactic acid and moisturising vitamin E."
"This targeted gel's spot-shrinking properties are akin to magic. Thanks to star ingredient salicylic acid, a tiny dab brings down all kinds of breakouts almost instantly (including those angry, red, painful dwellers under the skin)."
"Cleansing is my beauty happy place. An instant reset twice a day, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever skip it. This does that clever thing where the texture ‘breaks’ and becomes an oil then a milk as it’s massaged in. It’s gentle but thorough and just delicious."
"The price is so outrageous I’m almost embarrassed to recommend this, but I stand by its dewy/glowy/skin-toning properties. It’s the one thing I know will boot life back into my face when I need it. (I have small children and never sleep.) Plus, it smells and feels glorious to use. (At that price, you’d hope, wouldn’t you?)"
(Dermatica is an online dermatology service that operates on a subscription service with an initial payment of £20.)
"Prescription-strength skincare from online service Dermatica has turned my skin around in a few months. I’ve tried most options for hyperpigmentation, and this is what’s worked. My skin looks clearer, fresher and definitely has a luminous quality it didn’t before. I doubt I’ll ever be without it."
"The primary goal of my morning skincare routine is to create the most optimal skin condition for the makeup I'm about to place on top of it. This primer is my fairy godmother, as it manages to make my foundation look like a pro has applied it and significantly reduces any hint of midday shine. It's the kind of product that makes you scrape the sides for every ounce of residual goodness."
"I consider this the equivalent of decanting a multivitamin and smearing it all over my face. Such is its ability to give my skin so much life. With a healthy dose of oil-soluble vitamin C and squalene (the hero ingredient of the year), it's always got my back when the late nights and too much central heating begin to take a toll on my skin. The ingredient list reads like it belongs on a supplement shelf, and when I'm in need of a hit of radiance, I just pop one of these capsules open."
"Face oils are all pretty much the same, right? Well, I too believed this until this oil-meets-serum became a staple in my nighttime skincare routine. The blend of super-high-grade, organic, pure and carefully sourced cold-pressed oils gives my skin all of the comfort and de-stressing action of a weighted blanket. The care and integrity that's gone into sourcing and blending these can be seen on my skin every single morning when I wake up to a complexion that looks like I have permanent residency in a spa."
"It's rare to find a skincare product that produces instant results, but Allies of Skin's Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial visibly changes my complexion overnight. The potent mix contains antioxidants and colloidal silver, stopping spots in their tracks as well as leaving skin brighter, more even-toned and more refined. It's not cheap but in my opinion worth every penny."
"Despite having a drawer full of eyecare products, I always come back to Drunk Elephant C Tango Eye Cream. Initially, I didn't believe the hype. Sure enough, after some months of excessively slathering it on, I realised it really does live up to the claims: plumps, hydrates, brightens and primes. I use it religiously morning and night."
"Intensive, but incredibly efficacious, Sunday Riley's A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum should be approached with caution if you're not a seasoned retinol user. At 5%, it is one of the stronger formulas, but I swear by it. Since adding it to my routine, my face has felt so smooth."