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The purpose of a skin care routine seems simple: practice good habits, and your skin will thank you. But honing your skin care routine means examining every part of your regimen, from removing your makeup and cleansing your skin, to properly hydrating and giving your skin the nutrients it needs. The beauty of finding the perfect skin care routine isn’t just the physical benefits of clearer or more vibrant skin, it’s the meditative practice of beginning and ending each day with a sacred routine that’s just for you. The key to finding a regimen that works for your schedule and your skin is preparation. So, we consulted three experts—a skin care blogger, an esthetician, and a dermatologist—on their top products and tools for the ultimate luxury skin care routine.
Renée Chow is the face of—and the brains behind—video blog Gothamista, where she tests products “so you don’t have to.” As a busy New Yorker, her skin care ethos is uncomplicated and efficient, but that doesn’t mean she’s willing to sacrifice luxury. On the contrary, with limited time and unlimited products choices, Chow opts for products and tools that work and feel good.
What it is: Clé de Peau’s signature anti-aging lip serum is meant to plump and define.
What Chow says: “This lip serum is one of the most effective formulas designed for lips, and it works just like the skin care we use on our face. It’s a creamy emulsion that we have to rub into our lips until it completely absorbs. To seal it in, I will use a lip balm on top.”
To buy: $95, Nordstrom.com
What it is: A gua sha is flat, heart-shaped rose quartz stone.
What Chow says: “[The gua sha is] one of my favorite tools, not just for skin health and circulation, but for intense muscle relaxation through accupressure, which helps with facial tension, lifting, and wrinkles.”
To buy: $25, Solarislabny.com
What it is: From one of the most iconic beauty brands, Chanel Sublimage La Crème Yeux is a lush anti-aging eye cream that comes with an applicator tool.
What Chow says: “The texture of this eye cream is elegantly divine—rich and moisturizing without being heavy, and very soothing on tired eyes. This makes my eye area look immediately more youthful and the fine lines disappear.”
To buy: $240, Nordstrom.com
What it is: The honorstige face cream has an anti-aging formula containing the “mushroom of immortality.”
What Chow says: “My skin loves nourishing Hanbang formulas which use traditional Korean medicinal ingredients and preparation methods to treat our skin. This cream is full of age-defensive antioxidants and does not just moisturize deeply, but transforms my stressed, tired skin and gives it a healthy brightness and radiant glow.”
To buy: $800, Nordstrom.com
What it is: A serum composed of African marula, Kalahari melon, moringa, and baobab to protect the skin’s barrier and address signs of aging.
What Chow says: “I treat the skin on my body like a queen with this exquisite serum. This has everything: hydration, antioxidants, a beautiful oil blend, and salicylic acid to prevent chicken skin (keratosis pilaris). The refined texture absorbs into the skin immediately, leaving it soft and plump, but the earthy scent might be my favorite aspect of this formula. It’s intoxicating and grounding.”
To buy: $483, Net-a-porter.com
What it is: ZIIP is a sleek, handheld device that uses microcurrent and nanocurrent technology for nine targeted treatments.
What Chow says: “[This] microcurrent device works fantastically for keeping things lifted, rejuvenated, and contoured [and is] great for puffy, dull skin, as well as a powerful age-defense device.”
To buy: From $480, ziipbeauty.com
Dr. Karen Kagha
Karen Kagha recently finished her dermatology residency at Loma Linda University, then moved east to Boston to become a cosmetic and laser fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. For self-care, she keeps it simple by lighting a candle and turning on soft Afro-beats while she applies her skin care—which, in the morning, always ends with sunscreen.
What it is: This strong, antioxidant serum helps reveal glowing skin.
What Kagha says: “I love that it contains multiple antioxidants to protect against free radicals from the environment and brightens my complexion. I apply it in the morning after cleansing my face and after my hydrating serum.”
To buy: $160, Amazon.com
What it is: A serum using hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin and smooth fine lines.
What Kagha says: “Ensuring the skin is hydrated is very important. Hyaluronic acid is like a water magnet that leaves my skin feeling supple and glowy.”
To buy: $115, Amazon.com
What it is: SENTÉ’s exfoliant is a gentle but acidic cleanser for clear, bright skin.
What Kagha says: “SENTÉ exfoliating wash contains glycolic acid, and it gently exfoliates. I use it a few times a week when I feel like my skin needs the extra exfoliation. The key for me is this product is gentle yet effective.”
To buy: $46, Dermstore.com
What it is: A facial moisturizer that focuses on signs of aging.
What Kagha says: “I love the luxe feel of this item when I apply [it] to my face. It leaves my skin feeling moisturized without feeling too oily. For those with oily skin, you can also consider the ‘lite’ version.”
To buy: $74, Epionce.com
Melanie Grant has three practices—in Sydney, Melbourne, and Los Angeles—and does residencies in Paris a few times a year. Her approach to skin care is about coupling clinical treatments with beauty traditions (think: microcurrent, massage, and LED), and the proof is in the faces of her A-list clientele, including Kim Kardashian and supermodels like Natalia Vodianova and Georgia Fowler, to name a few.
What it is: The Rich Cream, like many Augustinus Bader products, is a skin remedy with a cult following.
What Grant says: “I use this product morning and evening, layered over my serums. It calms, restores, and nourishes my skin whilst providing a luminous dewy finish.”
To buy: $85, Net-a-porter.com
What it is: Déesse makes a low-level light therapy mask with six treatment modes.
What Grant says: “This is the gold standard for at-home devices. I like to use my mask two to three times per week to boost collagen, blood flow, and hydration. It’s saved many of my clients during quarantine, where they haven't had access to professional treatments.”
To buy: £1,680 (approximately $2,185), Déesse.com
What it is: A “finishing serum” from renowned, naturale French skin care brand Biologique Recherche applied as the last step of your routine.
What Grant says: “I’m never without this product. I love to apply it as a last step over my serum and cream to seal everything in and give a veil of radiance to my complexion. It's packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, watercress, and St John's wort to really plump, nourish, and protect.”
To buy: $212, Amazon.com
What it is: A serum that blends antioxidants, actives, and botanicals to protect and repair skin.
What Grant says: “I love to use this serum in the morning after cleansing to hydrate, reinforce, and strengthen my skin as well as protect against free radical damage and blue light. The lightweight gel formula is perfect underneath makeup and really boosts skin tone and elasticity.”
To buy: $210, Violetgrey.com
What it is: An all-in-one treatment that quickly smooths, brightens, and tightens skin.
What Grant says: “This product is packed full of my favorite actives such retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid and employs a clever technology that seeks out and treats damaged cells only—meaning a higher tolerance and lower chance of irritation or sensitivity—so you can truly absorb all of the benefits of these powerful active ingredients. I like to use it at night after cleansing and before my night cream to refine the texture of my skin.”
To buy: From $88, Theubeauty.com