An NYC Dermatologist Tells Us the 8 Beauty Products We Should Be Using Every Day

Stop buying products you don't need and go with these expert picks instead.

If you’re anything like just about every other woman on the planet, your a.m. and p.m. skincare routines are probably pretty one-size-fits-all. Same cleanser, same cream, etc., etc., etc. Turns out, however, your day and night regimen should be, well, as different as day and night.

“Most of how we age occurs during the daytime,” explains dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D. of Union Square Laser Dermatology in Manhattan, who fingers UV rays, pollutants, makeup, oily build-up, and bacteria as prime suspects. Nighttime, on the other hand, is all about undoing the day’s damage. “While you get some much-needed rest at night, you skin goes into overdrive to repair itself,” she explains, so nighttime should be all about hydrating skin and pumping it full of nutrients. 

Ahead, Dr. Idriss’s step-by-step guide to products that’ll fight premature aging 'round the clock. 

A.M.: CLEANSER

You’ve just been sleeping, so what’s there to wash off, right? Actually, your skin was hard at work getting dirty in your sleep. “It's important to start your day with this step. You want to clear your skin of the morning-after residue of sebum build-up that occurs overnight,” says Dr. Idriss. 

Dermatologist’s pick: “I recommend starting your skincare routine with a sulfate-free gentle cleanser as they tend to be less irritating overall,” says Dr. Idriss, who likes Garnier SkinActive cleanser.

Garnier SkinActive The Gentle Sulfate-Free Cleanser

BUY FROM: Amazon, $8.59

A.M.: SERUM

“Serums are an essential mid-step between cleansing and moisturizing,” says Dr. Idriss. The reason? They can be formulated with tinier micro-particles that can burrow deeper into the skin, protecting skin from daytime pollutants that can kick off a cascade of bad behavior by free radicals. 

Dermatologist’s pick: “My personal go-to is SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic,” she says. “It contains a potent triple combination of antioxidants including vitamins C & E, and ferulic acid,” a trio that’s been research-proven to improve fine lines, up firmness, and brighten tone.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Antioxidant Serum 

BUY FROM: Dermstore, $165

A.M.: MOISTURIZER WITH SPF

You know you need moisturizer. You know you need sunscreen. “If you can combine both in one single product, you've hit the holy grail,” says Dr. Idriss.

Dermatologist’s pick: “Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 is it for me,” she says of the matte hybrid, which tag-teams SPF and antioxidant-packed moisturizer. “This product really knocks it out of the park as it also has a subtle complexion-enhancing tint that evens out my complexion, and allows me to start my day without any makeup on.”

Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

BUY FROM: Alastin, $55

PM: CLEANSER

It’s been a long day. You’re tired, we know. But nighttime is not the time to skimp on cleansing. “You want to rid your skin of the day's accumulation of toxins, bacteria, makeup, pollutants etc.,” explains Dr. Idriss. 

Dermatologist’s pick: “I personally love CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. As the name implies, it quenches your skin with ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin—all key ingredients for locking in moisture.”

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

BUY FROM: Amazon, $9.46

P.M.: EXFOLIATOR

Reserve a twice-weekly spot in your nighttime beauty regimen for exfoliation. “Doing it at night is so important because your skin repairs itself during this time. By exfoliating, you are creating a clear foundation for your skin to absorb the essential nutrients it needs to repair itself overnight,” says Dr. Idriss.

Dermatologist’s pick: “First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads are my fave!,” she says. “They contain glycolic acid and lactic acid that make the skin appear brighter while exfoliating." 

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

BUY FROM: Dermstore, $30

P.M.: SERUM

“While resting, your skin undergoes a restorative state, so providing the appropriate nourishment and hydration to boost its metabolism is essential,” says Dr. Idriss, who favors products that contain retinol. “It’s one of those rare ingredients that can get deep into your dermis to stimulate your collagen production right at the source,” she explains. “Over time, it has been scientifically proven to help even out texture, fine line, wrinkles and even pore size!”

Dermatologist’s pick: “I am currently hooked to Dr. Brandt 2% Retinol Complex Serum,” she says.

Dr. Brandt Skincare 2% Retinol Complex Serum 

BUY FROM: Sephora, $69

P.M.: FACE CREAM

Just like during the day, at night our skin is constantly losing moisture as it respires. The difference is that at night we typically don’t replenish lost moisture levels through drinking water or applying topicals, for the obvious reason that we’re asleep. The fix? “I look for a rich moisturizer that will soak in gradually throughout the course of the evening,” says Dr. Idriss. 

Dermatologist’s pick: “If you're in the mood to splurge, Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Cream does exactly as its name implies,” she says of the product, which teams up super-moisturizing hyaluronic acid with actives that help skin to regenerate collagen. 

Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Gel Cream

BUY FROM: Saks Fifth Avenue, $120

P.M.: EYE CREAM

Skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body, and just like your thin-skinned friend, its extra-sensitive nature requires extra TLC. Try an antioxidant-packed cream that protects skin’s moisture barrier and also evens pigment. 

Dermatologist’s pick: “I'm into Nia24 Eye Repair Complex as it not only helps smoothen out the delicate texture of the skin around your eyes, but the niacin it contains helps to brighten your pigment around your eyes, making you look instantly fresher!,” says Dr. Idriss.

Nia 24Eye Repair Complex

BUY FROM: Jet.com, $52.39

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