What's it take to achieve your best skin ever?
Knowledge. Discipline. And a willingness to go your own way.
In other words, just because all of your friends are doing fancy sheet masks, doesn't mean you need to too.
To illustrate the many, many paths you can take to get the complexion of your dreams, we asked 15 of the most luminous women we know to share what works for them.
While you'd be crazy to try to emulate all of them, you just might pick up a few ideas that'll improve your routine. (If nothing else, it'll remind you that it does matter whether you take your makeup off before you go to bed. And to drink water!)
Stop Looking for a Quick Fix
"I have an 8-step skin care regimen every day, which turns into a 10-step process when I add an exfoliant and clay mask twice a week. But if you're going to use only one product I believe it should be retinol. I use Define by Cosmedix. I also have regular microdermabrasion and organic facial peels, drink 3 liters of water a day, and aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you're as invested in your skincare as I am, you have to be very disciplined." —Nicole Warne, founder of Gary Pepper Girl
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
“Hydration and clean eating are my secrets for great skin. I am religious about my skin care regimen and wash, tone, and moisturize in the morning and at night. I have found, however, that the best thing I can do for radiant, healthy-looking skin is to not only drink a lot of pressed juice and water with lemon but also incorporate minerals into my diet so that I actually absorb the water. I do this by taking drops of ionic minerals and a tablespoon of Himalayan salt water each day.” —Carly de Castro, co-founder of Pressed Juicery
Troubleshoot Pimples BeforeThey Get Bad
"I can always sense when something is about to go down with my skin, but I’ve gotten my routine down now. If I feel a pimple coming on, I’ll pop some EradiKate by Kate Somerville on it. I also drink a ton of water, exfoliate twice a week, and stay away from sugar and sheet masks. I used to use sheet masks often but I realized they were just clogging my pores—no bueno.” —Gabriette Bechtel, model, and dancer
Try Going Natural
“I try to use all natural products that are really potent and active. Each morning I massage my face with oil and use a hot washcloth to remove the excess. If I've just worked out or gone riding, I use Evan Healy’s Tea Tree Gel Cleanser for a deeper clean. Then I spray my face with a hydrosol [an essential oil mist]—Evan Healy Douglas Fir HydroSoul or Cosmos Lavender + Witch Hazel Toner are my go-to products lately. I also love Marie Veronique Protective Day Oil. I follow this with my sunscreen and BeautyCounter Dew Skin Tint.” —Jenni Kayne, Fashion Designer
Invest in Hydrated Skin
“Keeping a consistent routine does wonders. For me that means exfoliating every day, investing in a good moisturizer (I love iS Clinical Youth Intensive Creme), staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet. Drinking water is one that I forget too easily so I keep a filled water bottle near me at all times. It makes a huge difference in my skin.” —Samantha Wennerstrom, founder of Could I Have That?
Don’t Equate a Hefty Price Tag With Effectiveness
“I’ve learned that luxurious skin is not always about luxury products. Cetaphil face wash anchors my skin care routine. For dark circles around my eyes (thanks, dad), I use Jason Vitamin E Oil. It’s my ritual morning and evening. And then I know where to spend a little bit more. I adore my Clé de Peau Concealer Stick—it’s worth it!” —Joyce Azria, CEO, and CCO of Avec Les Filles
Create Your Own Skin Care Cocktails
"I have dry skin so I like to mix my daily moisturizer with a tiny bit of coconut oil or shea butter, which gives my face a glowy sheen. I use Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Cream or Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Fluid SPF 20. I'll also use some rose water afterward. It not only keeps it radiant but manages to retain a certain look of freshness. I end my day with a good shower, a big glass of water, and Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil on my face." —Nneoma Anosike, model
Spend Time on Your Skin at Night
“I love my Clarisonic brush for nighttime cleansing. I use it with the Luxe Cashmere brush head, since I have sensitive skin, and Origins Checks and Balances Face Wash because it's foamy but never leaves my skin tight. I alternate that with the Eve Lom Solid Cleanser, which melts onto your skin—it makes me feel like I'm in a spa! I also love SK-II face masks. My mom introduced me to them, and I’ve stayed loyal ever since. I use one any time my complexion is starting to look dull.” —Denise Lee, Founder, and CEO of Alala
If All Else Fails, Pare Down
“The trick I discovered for my skin is actually to not wash my face. Throughout high school and college, I tried so many different face washes, lotions, and creams to prevent breakouts and none of it seemed to work. One day I had the idea to just stop washing my face, and it worked! So I've learned that for me, less is better. It's funny how using water can actually take moisture out of your skin. When I'm feeling like a need a clean, I’ll just use a toner with glycolic acid to remove my makeup.” —Blair Ethington, SVP and GM of Covet Fashion
Beware of Refined Sugar
“Honestly, I eat really well and sugar is not a part of my diet—and I drink alcohol very rarely. You'd be surprised what it can do for your skin. Oh, and I swear by my Clarisonic!” —Sian Gordon, yoga teacher and co-owner of Love Yoga
"I never struggled with my skin until I started traveling for my job. Being in different climates and spending so much time on planes really messed with my natural balance. I use a moisturizing mask while I'm on my flight—I like to treat it as my personal spa time—despite the stares I get. And when I do break out, I take a banana peel (the riper, the better) and put it on the zit. I know it sounds bananas (ha!), but the peels contain an antioxidant called lutein (basically vitamin A) which can help reduce inflammation and fight acne." —Courtney Quinn, Founder of Color Me Courtney
Give New Brands a Go
“I cannot live without Sunday Riley tinted moisturizer and facial oils—they totally changed my skin. I discovered the brand through an amazing makeup artist named Romy Soleimani. The products are filled with skin-loving vitamins A and C, along with retinoids.” —Stephanie Danan, co-founder, and designer of Co
Consider a Laser Treatment
“Since I am constantly on and off the subway and chasing my babies around NYC, I need a moisturizer that does it all. Elizabeth Arden City Smart Moisturizer not only has SPF 50 but also protects against the unavoidable pollutants of living in a city. Every five or six months, I go in for a laser treatment and walk out feeling like a teenager." —Shoshanna Gruss, founder and creative director of Shoshanna
Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day
“I’ve always gone to my father, a renowned dermatologist in Switzerland, for advice: Antioxidant moisturizer with SPF every single day. No tanning and no smoking. And let’s be honest, I also get a little Botox here and there." —Ada Polla, CEO of Alchimie Forever
Don't Forget: You Can Always Fake It
“I wish I could say my skin is flawless by nature, but it’s incredibly sensitive and is very hard to keep balanced. I gravitate towards a natural, luminous look, which doesn’t come easy for someone with pink undertones like me. I use Clé de Peau Concealer in Beige every day, only on my blemishes and red spots, leaving the rest of my skin foundation-free. I use a Beautyblender to dab the concealer in, then I add some cream blush (usually Stila or La Prairie). After that, I use a little Tom Ford Illuminating Duo on my cheekbones and under my eyebrows.” —Katherine Power, Co-Founder & CEO, Clique Media Group