Ask a Beauty Editor: 7 Skincare Lines That Make It Easy to Streamline Your Routine

Struggling to build a routine? These brands have everything you need—all in one comprehensive collection.

best-skincare-lines dr jart
Photo: Dr Jart

Ever wanted to pick the brain of a beauty editor? Or get beauty product recommendations from someone who has tried them all? You've come to the right place. In our weekly series, beauty editor Hana Hong answers your biggest skincare, hair care, and makeup questions, all submitted by Real Simple readers. Tune in every Tuesday and submit your own burning beauty questions here for a chance to be featured.

Reader question: I'm looking for a good skincare line with everything...cleanser, toner, and moisturizer included! —@belmarbubby

Developing a skincare routine is typically lauded as self-care, but oftentimes it can just feel…overwhelming. How many steps do we really need? Which ingredients do what? Which formulas should and shouldn't be combined?

With the beauty aisles these days basically overflowing with supposed "must-haves," a surplus of skincare ingredients, and hundreds of new brands, deciphering a skincare routine is harder than ever. Add to that the fact that everyone has different skin—and therefore different skin types, concerns, goals, etc.—and skincare can start feeling more like rocket science.

Amidst the marketing noise, there are some brands trying to simplify things. By streamlining their products into categories like ingredient type, skin goals, and time of application, it makes shopping for—and applying—skincare a whole lot easier. From cleansers to serums to moisturizers, I've highlighted a few standout collections below so you can shop everything you need, all in one place.

01 of 07

Dr. Jart

One of the biggest names in K-beauty, Dr. Jart offers multiple collections that each feature a proprietary branded technology. From its pH balancing Teatreement Solution to the 5-Cera Complex, the brand's unique technologies target the source to help a wide variety of skincare concerns.

Try: The Cicapair line. The entire collection is suited for sensitive skin and infused with tiger grass to calm irritation and help strengthen your microbiome. The soothing formulations are perfect when paired with the brand's newest collection, The Pore Remedy Album, featuring resurfacing PHAs to smooth skin's texture.

02 of 07

The Ordinary

Overwhelmed by all the topical actives and acids out there? The Ordinary pares down the extra fluff (i.e., marketing, unnecessary ingredients, etc.) to make skincare the simplest it can get. You can see the exact percentage of active ingredients on the label, so there's no second-guessing involved in terms of potency. Plus, it's famous for being budget-friendly, so you can be experimental without depleting your bank account. With skincare this transparent, you'll become a pseudo cosmetic chemist in no time.

Try: Don't want to do the mixing yourself? The Buffet features a skin-friendly mix of amino acids, peptides, and hyaluronic acid complexes that sync together for maximum skincare benefits.

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No. 7

No. 7 has one of the most easy-to-navigate websites out there—you can filter its products by category, collection, skin concern, or skin type. My favorite view is skin concern, which includes hyper-specific categories like fine lines/wrinkles, dark spots/sun spots, clogged pores, dark circles/puffy eyes, and maskne.

Try: The recently expanded Pure Retinol Collection, which now includes a night cream and eye cream alongside the cult-favorite Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate for a more targeted, slow-release form of retinol without the common irritating side effects.

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In addition to raw ingredients and acids, it seems like there are more and more novelty ingredients that are being discovered. From white truffle to copper peptides, it's hard to know where these goods are sourced and what exactly they do for your skin. Fresh has several collections categorized by underrated (but superstar) ingredients—including black tea, kombucha, and Umbrian clay—so you can reap the full benefits of each extract.

Try: The Rose collection. The brand says it selected the damask rose out of 200(!) rose species for its special power to retain moisture while strengthening the skin barrier.

05 of 07


In addition to ingredients, another complicated aspect of skincare is when to apply. For example, vitamin C is recommended to apply in the morning, while retinol is for night. Meanwhile, certain ingredients should never be mixed together…like AHAs with BHAs, or vitamin C with niacinamide. Confused yet?

Neutrogena not only has streamlined collections targeting specific skincare goals (i.e., HydroBoost for hydration and BrightBoost for brightening), it also separates its formulas by day and night (or clarify that you can use it for both), so you know exactly when to apply what.

Try: The Rapid Wrinkle collection. The daytime moisturizer has SPF to protect skin during the day, while the nighttime moisturizer includes retinol to boost collagen production while you sleep.

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Howard Murad, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, founded this line of clinical skincare products. Not only is his prolific line some of the best on the market, it's also the easiest to understand, thanks to its categorization by skincare concern. From acne to dark spots to wrinkles, each collection features every oil-controlling, brightening, and firming product you need catered to that particular goal.

Try: If you have dry skin, try the Hydration collection, which aims to lift impurities while restoring moisture balance. If you have oily skin, try the Oil Control collection to control oil without eliminating it. And for anti-aging, try the Lifting and Firming collection, which targets loss of firmness and elasticity.

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Body care is skincare too—and so is maintaining your pH balance. You've picked up ingredients that talk about "balancing your skin's pH" and "supporting your skin's pH"—but what does that actually mean?

Because the skin naturally has a slightly acidic pH around 5.5, you need to maintain this for proper skin cell turnover and barrier function. But since we don't all have litmus strips readily on hand, you can look for brands that sell exclusively pH-optimized formulas. See: Necessaire, which only sells products close to your skin's natural pH—somewhere in the 4.6 to 5.5 range—to avoid stripping the skin.

Try: The Body Line. From body wash to exfoliator to serum to lotion to oil, you'll be able to find everything you need for the ultimate body care routine.

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