There are a few rules to abide by to ensure you get bang for your buck. For starters, the label should always say “non-comedogenic,” which means it won’t clog pores. “The worst culprit is silicone for those that are acne-prone,” says Dr. Julia Carroll, Toronto-based dermatologist. “Oil based serums can also be tricky.” Often it comes down to a texture preference – delivering active ingredients like vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, plumping hyaluronic acid and line-smoothing peptides in lightweight textures like serums gel-creams.
“Anti-aging cleansers are great for those who cannot tolerate traditional anti-aging products,” says Dr. Carroll. “They harness a treatment protocol that we call ‘short contact.’” This concept is that you still get a benefit even if the active ingredient is only on the skin for 60 seconds. “The shorter contact time will reduce the likelihood or irritation.”
From left: Prevage Anti-aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser,$62, Neostrata Oil Free Gel Cleanser, $23, Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, $55.
The best investment you can make in your skincare routine is a daily SPF 30 with broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage – but if you tend to break out you’ll want a nearly invisible formula that doesn’t suffocate skin. The order in which you apply is important. “If you’re using a chemical-based sunscreen block with ingredients like avobenzone – that should go on the skin first so your skin can absorb it and filter out UV rays,” says Dr. Nowell Solish, a Toronto-based dermatologist. “But a you’re using a physical or mineral block containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for example – that goes on as a last step to shield skin.”
From left: Shiseido Sports BB Light SPF 50, $48, Coppertone ClearlySheer Lotion for Face SPF 50, $8.50, Ombrelle Ultra Light Advanced 100% Mineral Tinted Face Lotion SPF 60 – $18
“Spend the money on the serum and you don’t have to spend a lot on the moisturizer,” says Dr. Solish. “Serum is like the medicine – you want it on your skin as the first layer,” he adds. “I stay away from thick creams and I steer patients towards serums because there’s usually not as much oil content,” he adds.
From left: Jouviance Hydractiv Hydrating Boosting Serum, $50, Biologique Recherche Sérum Extraits Tissulaires, $107, Vichy IDÉALIA Radiance Booster Serum, $50
Liquid, watery textures absorb right away without clogging pores and if you want to take it one step further, you can opt for exfoliating ingredients. “I recommend glycolic acid or retinol for my patients. They do double duty as they are anti-aging and also help control breakouts,” says Dr. Carroll.
From left: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, $37, L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius, $24, Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Cooling Gel – Normal to Combination Skin, $46
Best night cream
At night is when your skin regroups against aging and repairs itself from daily environmental stress. However, a lot of night creams are thick in texture or contain oil and are not recommended if you have break-out prone skin. “I recommend a lighter serum or gel option containing hyaluronic acid. It retains a lot of water without being oily,” says Dr. Carroll.
From left: The Body Shop Aloe Vera Soothing Night Cream, $22, Glam Glow Dream Duo Overnight Transforming Treatment, $69, Biotherm Aquasource Everplump Night, $64