Beauty products

Forget the unreliable Buzzy beauty products – those “boring” products still work

A little warning before we start: Despite the fact that my job is to test hundreds of beauty products every year to decipher which ones are really good and which are a case of the Emperor’s new clothes, I’m still not up to date. sheltered from the buzz around a trendy beauty product. In fact, one of the greatest joys of my job is testing out the most talked about new beauty product launches – you know, the ones that are currently saturating your Instagram feed – to find out if they actually work. However, while there are plenty of beauty products out there that are definitely worth the hype (Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial, I’m looking at you), there are a lot more cases where a new version turns out to be a lot of nice packaging and not much else.

If you ask a dermatologist which buzzy beauty products you should incorporate into your skincare routine, they’ll be pretty unanimous in their answer – forget them. Instead, there are a plethora of basic products that skin experts consistently recommend for healthy skin. Yes, they might look a bit boring compared to the glittery masks and colorful under-eye patches that dominate your TikTok feed, but trust me. These products still work.

Coming up, I’ve rounded up the 18 skin care products that dermatologists always recommend when I ask for their expert advice. We’re focused on the three key products you need for healthy skin – cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF – because your active ingredients and fancy serums can be layered once you’ve got the basics in place. To make things a bit easier, I’ve separated each product into Sensitive, Normal to Dry, and Combination to Oily categories so you can find what’s right for you. Keep scrolling for the best basic skin care shopping list. (Your skin will be able to thank me later.)


For sensitive skin:

La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser (£ 14)

It turns out that many recommendations on this list will come from French skin care brands like La Roche-Posay, as those from across the Channel excel in hard-working drugstore products. When you have skin problems, dermatologists always recommend that you go back to basics with your products, and this cleanser does the trick. Containing only a few ingredients, it gently cleanses and removes makeup without causing discomfort or dryness.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (£ 20)

It might not sound particularly exciting, but it’s the cleanser that dermatologists recommend me the most consistently. It’s completely free of soap and fragrance – two common skin irritants – and it adapts to your skin’s natural pH level to keep it healthy and calm.

For normal to dry skin:

CeraVe Hydrating cleanser (£ 10)

A deep hydrating cleanser is a great option, and this one contains a combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid to leave skin soothed and protected.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (£ 17)

This gentle foaming cleanser contains apricot kernel oil and vitamin E to hydrate and soften the skin.

For combination to oily skin:

Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel (£ 8)

We live in a world where everyone wants glowing skin, and as such, cleansing gels are often dismissed as being too mattifying or stripping for the skin. However, as someone with oily skin, I can personally attest to the fact that whenever I have seen a dermatologist, he has always recommended that I use a gel formulation to cleanse. This one from the French brand Avène leaves the skin purified without stripping it.

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Gel (£ 27)

This cleansing gel gently exfoliates the skin while cleansing it, ideal for oily skin that wants to promote skin cell renewal and prevent congestion and clogged pores.


For sensitive skin:

La Roche Posay Toleriane Sensitive Moisturizer (£ 17)

This basic daily moisturizer is gentle and actually helps reduce skin sensitivity over time and with continued use.

Avene Skin Recovery Cream (£ 18)

Dermatologists consistently recommend this moisturizer for occasions when your skin barrier may have been compromised. Personally, I use it when I use too many exfoliating and acidic treatments because it’s so soothing.

For normal to dry skin:

CeraVe Moisturizer (£ 9)

This hydrating rich moisturizer is like a glass of water for dry skin. It locks in moisture without a trace of fat and is popular with skin and beauty editors.

Neutral Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel (£ 13)

We often look to France for our basic skin care products, but Neutrogena is a overlooked brand that dermatologists recommend if you’re looking for budget products. This moisturizer has a pleasant and light texture that keeps skin thirsty throughout the day.

For combination to oily skin:

Paula’s choice Clear Moisturizer SPF30 (£ 34)

Paula’s Choice is a brand often recommended by dermatologists for its active ingredients, but this lightweight hydrating fluid contains vitamin-rich plant extracts to gently hydrate oily complexions without clogging pores.

Biodermy Sebium Hydra (£ 11)

A few years ago, I was prescribed retinoid treatment for my acne, and the dermatologist recommended that I use this moisturizer alongside. It is specially designed to compensate for imbalances that your skin may experience in the short term due to more aggressive skin treatments such as retinoids or Roaccutane.


For sensitive skin:

Biodermy Photoderm Max Cream SPF50 + (£ 15)

Bioderma is probably best known for its cult micellar water, but skin experts love this basic skincare brand for its sun protection. This one is completely free of perfume and parabens, so it is ideal for sensitive skin.

Avene Very High Protection B-Protect SPF 50+ (£ 14)

Not only is this SPF created especially for sensitive skin, but it also contains microencapsulated pigments that are released on application to add a little radiance to your complexion.

For normal to dry skin:

SkinCeuticals UV Defense SPF50 Ultra Facial Sunscreen (£ 41)

The scientific brand SkinCeuticals is loved by dermatologists, and this broad spectrum high SPF is a great option for all skin types.

CeraVe Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 25 (£ 13)

Skip a step and use this base product as a moisturizer and SPF.

For combination to oily skin:

Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50+ Face Protection (£ 16)

I am guilty of ignoring SPF for many years due to the traditional formulations clogging my pores and exacerbating the rashes. A dermatologist recommended this control version of the oil to me a few years ago, and I’ve never looked back.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid Sunscreen SPF50 + (£ 13)

This SPF has such a light texture that you won’t even know you have it. I love it for the layering under makeup.

Then I’m in my 30s and all my friends swear by these beauty products.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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