What do the skincare routines among beauty insiders really look like? And what are the products they use to whip their complexions into shape or just maintain an already enviable glow? That's exactly what I was determined to get to the bottom of when I flooded the inboxes of some of the beauty world’s most in-the-know women, pleading with them to share the cult skincare items they can’t live without.
The experts I turned to are women working in different areas of the beauty industry—editors, makeup artists, consultants, publicists, and art directors—who are constantly testing the best new products on the market. As someone who is always ready to step up my personal skincare routine, I was curious to find out the truly game-changing products they think are worthy of a purchase.
Here, beauty insiders talk cult skincare products they always stock in their medicine cabinets and refuse to travel without—from the blemish-fighting mask Allure’s executive beauty editor uses to keep her skin clear to the toner Violet Grey’s art director spends 10 minutes pressing onto her face.
"I use this mask at least two to three times a week, and true to its name, it solves all your skincare problems. It really does it all: exfoliates, improves circulation, calms blemishes and irritation, tightens pores, and leaves you looking glowing and radiant when you take it off. I love to mix it with the honey mud from May Lindstrom, and I highly recommend you get the bowl and brush because it makes the whole experience that much better."
"I love, love, love this moisturizer. It restores your skin's natural barrier and moisturizes while calming any irritation. I use this as my morning moisturizer, as it keeps my skin hydrated and calm all day. It absorbs well, is not greasy, and works well with makeup."
Biologique RecherceLotion P50 (price upon request)
"This is my desert-island skincare product. I've used this for the last decade and always have a backup and a travel size. It exfoliates, hydrates, visibly shrinks pores, and evens skin tone. Insider tip: Melanie Simon taught me to press the toner into the skin to get the most out of it and let it sit for at least 10 minutes so it can balance the pH of your skin. This takes more time, but the results are worth it."
Daniela Dello Joio, Public Relations Manager, Dior
"I've tried almost every day, night, and everything in between cream in my search for the perfect moisturizer, and nothing comes close to Dior's La Crème. It's rich without feeling heavy, and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft regardless of the climate."
"My mother gave this to me in my Christmas stocking last year, and I don't travel anywhere without it. Its hydrating qualities are instantly noticeable, making it the perfect quick treatment for my constantly jet-lagged, over-dried skin."
"Glamglow's Supermud Clearing Treatment is a cult favorite for a reason! It seriously helps rehabilitate my skin when it’s breaking out (if I use it about every other night or as a spot treatment). It's full of salicylic acid (and a blend of other acids), so it helps to dry and exfoliate skin so your pores *and* pimples look better."
"The fact that Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant has been an Allure Reader's Choice Winner says it all—people *know* it's good. I got turned onto this six years ago, when I was stuck in a cycle of breakouts, drying products, and peeling skin. This gentle physical exfoliator not only gets rid of errant flakes but makes skin positively gleam."
"I use the Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM 400 toner every night after I cleanse my face. I love that it's astringent (thanks to mandelic, phytic, and citric acids) and thus helps prevent breakouts and clogged pores, but it also helps lighten the dark spots I have left over from pimples past, so I don't have to wear heavy foundation or cover-up."
"I usually break out from vitamin C, but this one is the exception. It comes in powder form, which I mix with Agent Nateur's Holi (water) Pearl and Rose Hyaluronic Toner. I use it every morning, and my skin is exceptionally bright with no pimples. Win-win."
"My dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman recommended this cream for my unpredictable, breakout-prone complexion since colostrum is fantastic for acne. The hydrator turns into a balm-like, yet not heavy, consistency and the packaging really does what says. It makes you glow."
"Back to my acne woes, this sunscreen is the best for pimple-prone skin. The texture is light and the application is transparent. It's great as an everyday moisturizer or if you're basking in the Capri sun (been there, done that)."
"Honestly, my skin can’t live without Vintner's. Also, I prep all my clients' skin with this before makeup. It immediately brightens, smoothes, and plumps the skin, giving you the most radiant glow. Glow, baby, glow!"
"Where do I even begin with this mask? It doubles as a cleanser. I like to leave it on while in the shower as a mask and to protect my skin from the hot water. Talk about radiant, tight skin! Not to mention it smells and tastes like chocolate—all of her products are food-grade quality!"
"I often change cleansers depending on the weather or what's going on with my skin. But this is one that's always in my arsenal. It does a gentle resurfacing—just what my skin needs to remove makeup, and it also helps with breakouts. Also, it has chamomile, so it's very calming. All around, a must-have!"