How Much A Beauty Editor's Skin-Care Routine Actually Costs

Everybody invests their money a little differently, but dropping dollars on skin care can feel especially like wishing on a scratch-off ticket. How are you to know whether a $455 jar of Guerlain Orchidée Impériale The Cream will yield the jackpot glow you've always dreamed of, or if that's just Kim Kardashian's genetics?
The truth is, you don't. There's a degree of risk (and maybe a few dozen returns to Sephora) that comes with years of trial-and-error. But, as privileged beauty editors with unlimited access to thousands of product samples, we've found a formula or nine that are worth every damn penny.
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Ahead, check out the pro-approved skin routines that we've carefully curated over the years. You'll find drugstore gems and pricey splurges for every budget and skin type — so you don't have to gamble.
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Skin Type: Combination & Sensitive

"My skin is kind of like the needy partner in all the worst rom-coms in the world: It's overly sensitive, hyper-reactive, and needs constant attention, coddling, and TLC. I try my best to give it the products it deserves, which is why I keep gentle formulations with soothing and hydrating (but never heavy) ingredients on daily rotation. Then, two to three times a week, I'll use a retinol serum at night or do a glycolic acid peel to show my occasional breakout or oil-slicked forehead some tough love." — Kelsey Castañon, Senior Beauty Writer
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Cleansers

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water & Waterproof Makeup Remover ($6.69)

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: ($8.39)

Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser ($7.99)
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Treatments

M-61 Powerglow Peel ($28)

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 ($76)

Renee Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment ($45.50)
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Moisturizers/SPF

Kiehl's Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50 ($38)

Clinique All About Eyes Rich ($32.50)

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer ($19.99)

Total: $263.06
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Skin Type: Normal/Dry

"Even though my skin is normal to dry, it tends to get very congested around my chin, nose, and sometimes my forehead. But the clogged pores rarely flare into zits. Instead, I have what derms call tons of closed comedones, which basically means bumps under the skin that are impossible to remove at home. To quote Cher Horowitz, my skin is a total Monet: From far away it's okay, but up close it's a big ol' mess." —Lexy Lebsack, Senior Beauty Editor
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Cleansers

La Roche Posay Micellar Cleansing Water Ultra and Makeup Remover ($19.99)

Dr. Karyn Grossman Replenishing Cleanser ($25)
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Treatments

Renee Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment ($65.50)

Differin Acne Treatment Gel ($11.99)

Renee Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum ($85.40)

Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Pink Plumping Mask ($56)

Renee Rouleau Overnight Eye Serum ($48.50)
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Moisturizers/SPF

Shiseido Essential Energy Moisturizing Cream ($48)

Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($65)

Total: $425.38
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Skin Type: Combination

"I've got combo skin with a T-zone that refuses to dim its shine no matter how much powder I use, and I also suffer from hyperpigmentation and ingrown hairs. That's why it's important for me to choose skin-care products with plenty of ingredients that tone and refine my pores — and hydrating elements are a plus, too." — Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer
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Cleanser

Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Cleansing Bar ($24)
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Treatments

Urban Skin Rx Clarifying Gly Sal Pads 10% ($36)

DermHA* Acne Skin Brightening Serum ($48)
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Moisturizer

Tatcha The Water Cream ($68)

Total: $176
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Skin Type: Oily, Acne Prone

"I have a theory that anyone who's had moderate to severe acne at any point in their life is really stringent about what they put on their face. That's why I always reach for hydrating products that are free of (or limited in) essential oils, and a serum designed to keep acne at bay. I've found foam cleansers tend to dry out my skin, so I stay away from those.

"Over the past few years, I've also really taken to simple face oils as my night-time moisturizers because they hydrate my skin effectively without making my face feel overly greasy. I'm still figuring out what works best for me, but thankfully I've gotten to a point where I can read an ingredients list and know with relative certainty what products to try." — Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
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Cleansers

Dermablend Long Wear Makeup Remover ($22)

Kat Rudu Papaya Enzymes Cleanser ($45)
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Treatments

Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator ($35)

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90)

Renee Rouleau Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum ($48.50)

Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil ($56) (Night)
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Moisturizers/SPF

Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme ($48)

Farmacy Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36)

Total: $296.40
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Skin Type: Normal/Dry

"I look for potent (but gentle!) hydrators, brighteners, and anti-aging products. I only started using vitamin C regularly last year and I'm kicking myself for not getting on board sooner because it's significantly helped with discoloration around my eyes. Hyaluronic acid is key and using a dedicated HA serum before my moisturizer has kept flakes away in the cold months. Overall, I'm much more concerned with results-driven, science-backed products developed by dermatologists than I am with trendy, Instagrammable brands." — Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor
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Cleanser

Tatcha The Deep Cleanse ($38)
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Treatments

Urban Skin Rx Super C Brightening Serum ($58)

Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum ($300)

Marie Veronique Balancing HypoTonic ($45)

Dr. Brandt 2% Retinol Complex Serum ($69)

Marie Veronique Barrier Restore Serum ($110)
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Moisturizer

Amorepacific The Essential Creme Fluid ($98)

SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream ($129)

Total: $847
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Skin Type: Combination

"It's not usually the texture of my combination skin that I'm most concerned with. In fact, my biggest worry is future breakouts or not being able to heal old ones. With that, I try to make sure my skin is always soft and hydrated, without clogging my pores with too many oily products. Also, I try to avoid washing my skin too much and only use micellar water in the morning. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I swear it works." — Sam Sasso, Beauty Writer
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Cleansers

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($9.99)

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish ($24)
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Treatments

Renee Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment ($65.50)

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum ($79)

Renee Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion ($30.50)

Pixi Glow Tonic ($15)

Neogen Dermatology Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling - Lemon ($27)

Renee Rouleau BHA Clarifying Serum ($48.50)

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($47)
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Moisturizers

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream ($29.50)

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base ($60)

Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme ($48)

Total: $483.99
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