Dermatologist Dr. Love Creates the Perfect Morning Skincare Routine for Every Budget

Get a dermatologist's opinion on how to spend $25, $100, and $1,000 wisely to take care of your skin.

You can spend $5 or $500 on a single skincare product, but with thousands of products to choose from, how do you decide which ones are best for your skin—and your bank account?

"I don't think you need $1,000 to get healthy skin," says Elyse Love, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. With a few key products—a cleanser, an antioxidant, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen—you can create a simple and effective skincare routine, no matter your budget.

In this episode of Play Money, Dr. Love shares three complete skincare routines for $25, $100, and $1,000 total.

Under $25 Routine

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser

Dr. Love is a big fan of this everyday cleanser, which is gentle for all skin types—and gentle on your wallet.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serums tend to be on the pricey side because that ingredient is difficult to stabilize. But they're great for helping sunscreen work better and reducing oxidative damage from the sun. The Ordinary's version is a great option that can fit into the tightest budget.

CeraVe Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen, AM

You don't have to spend a fortune to get high quality products—CeraVe's facial moisturizing lotion is one of Dr. Love's go-tos, with an SPF 30.

Under $100 Routine

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

When you have a little more to spend, CeraVe's hydrating facial cleanser gives you a clean—not stripped—feeling.

Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum

This beloved French serum contains 15% L-ascorbic acid—the most bio-available form of vitamin C.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

This soothing moisturizer features ceramide-3, prebiotic thermal water, and niacinamide, creating a lightweight yet hydrating formula that won't clog pores.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum

This broad-spectrum sunscreen is perfect for every skin type and skin tone—it contains both physical and chemical sunscreens, without creating that white cast that physical sunscreens usually cause.

Under $1000 Routine

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Even when the sky is the limit, Dr. Love still loves CeraVe's "perfect" cleanser.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Put this luxurious essence on before your serums, to help your skin absorb them.

Skinbetter Science Alto Defense Serum

This antioxidant-rich serum is the "gold standard," according to Dr. Love. It helps decrease skin sensitivity, making it great for people with acne and other skin troubles.

Alastin Restorative Skin Complex

Alastin helps restore elastin and collagen in the skin, which reduces sagging and wrinkles.

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream with TFC8® Face Moisturizer

This splurge-worthy moisturizer uses natural amino acids and vitamins to aid in skin regeneration.

Perricone MD High Potency Growth

Apply this lightweight serum around the eyes to improve wrinkles and fine lines.

Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Sub-D/neck

The neck is an often overlooked area that shows early signs of aging. But this rich cream hydrates and helps firm up sagging and wrinkles.

ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless

If you were a little lax on your suncare in the past, make up for it with this lightweight SPF 50 mineral sunscreen, which includes peptides and antioxidants that can help repair existing sun damage.

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