Give Your Skin *Exactly* What It Needs by Mastering the “Skin-Care Wardrobe”

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There's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to skin care. If there were, the product aisle (and your Instagram feed) would be a whole lot less crowded. But what you may not realize it that there is also no such thing as "one size fits you" either. In the same way you have a wardrobe packed with clothes you wear in different seasons or to different events, your skin needs its own type of wardrobe.

A ‘skin-care wardrobe’ is based on the idea of being empowered to customize your skin-care regimen instead of sticking to a pre-set routine," explains Christine Chang, co-founder and CEO of Glow Recipe. She's a big proponent of listening to your skin to understand what it needs, and choosing products accordingly. "Similar to how one can choose outfits from their closet, we want to encourage our beauty community to select the appropriate products based on how their skin is feeling that day," she says. "And you should feel free to switch it up if necessary."

Some days, for example, you may wake up with your face dehydrated, while on others it's greasy AF and there's a cystic pimple threatening to pop up on your chin. As you probably know, those two scenarios require vastly different products. "It’s important to have ownership over your regimen choices and get out of the mindset that one routine should work the same for everyone," says Chang. 

Despite switching things up based on your skin's differing daily needs, there are a few basic things that should always be in the mix. "Everyone should have their base: A moisturizer, a gentle cleanser, an antioxidant, and a retinoid night cream," says board-certified dermatologist Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD FAAD. "After that, the rest can be supplemental based on need." Here, the pros provide a cheat sheet on what, exactly, that looks like.

And one thing to keep in mind? "There is no set number of products you need to start a ‘wardrobe’, but as long as there are products that address your different skin needs, whether that’s dehydration, oil control, refining pores, you should be set," says Chang. So consider this your official permission to stock up on as many new products as your heart (and skin) desires.

If you're breaking out...

"Have a benzoyl peroxide product around in case you need an anti-bacterial," says Dr. Bhanusali. This ingredient happens to be one of Dr. Pimple Popper's favorites for dealing with zits, particularly those big, angry, and inflamed ones. Look for 10 percent BPO (which is the maximum strength you can get over the counter), and use it as an overnight spot treatment when you feel a pimple coming on. Our pick? La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment ($37), because it combines the one-two punch 5.5 percent micronized benzoyl peroxide and Lipo Hydroxy Acid to hit zits where it hurts and stop 'em in their tracks.

If you're feeling extra dry...

It's everyone's favorite hydrating hero, hyaluronic acid, for the win. It can hold 1,000 times its weight in water (a derm favorite fact) and leave skin feeling moisturized and plump, which is why Dr. Bhanusali calls on the ingredient as your best bet for days when your skin's feeling parched. One worth investing in? SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($120), which combines five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid for maximum moisturization.

If you're looking hungover and dull...

While there is sadly no easy fix for an actual hangover, there are ingredients that can help it—and general, non-booze related dullness—from showing itself on your skin. "If your skin is feeling hungover and dull, cocktail a brightening serum like the Pineapple-C Bright Serum ($49) with a hydrating serum, like the Sweet Chef Kale Serum ($20),  to target both those concerns at once," suggests Chang. 

Another way to target your varying skin concerns? By cocktailing your serums. Plus, how to deal with the notoriously impossible to treat issue of hyperpigmentation

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