Eight experts share their secret potions and treatments for good skin

Know all about their most-loved potions.

Harper's Bazaar India

Finding the time out of one's busy schedule and taking care of their skin can be a tough task, even though necessary. But one needs to make time for the right things as good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay natural ageing and prevent various skin problems. If you're thinking what to do, eight Bazaar contributors tell us what they use and why it's the best for you. 

Dr Anjali Mahto, Dermatologist

“Since I have acne-prone skin, I have devised a simple-yet-effective routine to ensure it receives all the nourishment it requires, minus any product fatigue. Some of the formulas I love include Lancôme’s Rénergie H.C.F Triple Serum. It is a beautiful three-in-one serum housed in very clever packaging. The three key ingredients—hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and niacinamide—are kept in separate chambers, which then dispense equally when you push down. Not only is it very well formulated, but it’s a pleasure to use from a sensory aspect too. 

image: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, ₹1,200

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid has been a staple in my skincare routine for some time now. It’s fantastic for those with oily and acne-prone skin as the salicylic acid in the formula chemically exfoliates the pores. I have been using it for years, and often recommend it to my patients with acne, too. Another one of my absolute favourite products is the Clarifying Water Gel by Murad. This lightweight formula is extremely hydrating, but the gel texture is what I enjoy using, in particular. It doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue, which is something I always look for in a moisturiser.

I recently invested in the HALO Laser by Sciton for my own practice. Having tried (and loved) the treatment myself, it was non-negotiable in my clinic. It has multiple uses and can treat a very large range of conditions. I personally think it’s brilliant for acne scarring, but it’s also fantastic for imparting a beautiful glow to the skin.”

Karen Thompson, Brand General Manager, M.A.C Cosmetics

“Being a beauty enthusiast, I have always believed in the power of good skincare that creates the perfect canvas for flawless make-up. I have been consistently using three products from M·A·C’s new Hyper Real range for the past few months. What I love about this range is that it is skincare that’s botn from science, and approved by make-up artists, too. I wear make-up daily, and I use the Hyper Real Fresh Canvas Cleansing Oil to ensure every trace of make-up is removed. I use the Serumizer Skin Balancing Hydration Serum next.

image: M·A·C Hyper Real SkinCanvas Balm Moisturizing Cream, ₹4,800

Since it’s a serum-moisturiser hybrid that balances, re-texturises, and strengthens the skin barrier, I don’t need to layer it with anything else. I love that this product sinks into my skin, leaving it luminous. The SkinCanvas Balm Moisturizing Cream is another hero product that strengthens and protects the skin barrier. You only need a pea-sized amount to make your skin feel smooth, bouncy, and healthy. It also works as the perfect base under make-up. Through the day, I like spritzing Prep + Prime Fix+ to refresh my skin and make-up.”

Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, Aesthetic Physician and Medical Director, Isaac Luxe

“I have a few Holy Grail formulas that I use every morning and night. I start my routine with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Cleansing Foaming Gel—the formula is both gentle and effective. The second step is a gentle toner, and Lotion P50 by Biologique Recherche, which is an excellent product. I layer two serums: Biologique Recherche’s Serum Amniotique VG, followed by Skin by Dr G B3 Super Serum with niacinamide and zinc. I pat on a tiny amount of ZO Intense Eye Crème and pair it with Biologique Recherche’s Crème VIP O2. And before stepping out, I apply a generous layer of Bioderma’s tinted sunscreen. 

image: iS Clinical Youth Intensive Creme, ₹22,000

At night, I start with double cleansing my face using Biologieque Recherche’s Lait VIP O2 cleanser and Dr G’s Gentle Face Wash. Next up is the same toner, serum, and under-eye cream from my morning routine. I also add Biologique Recherche’s Collagène Originel serum as it boosts collagen production. ZO’s Brightalive Brightener and Wrinkle + Texture Repair 0.5% Retinol come next and I lock in the goodness using iS Clinical’s Youth Intensive Creme.

I also try new treatments regularly, and the Ice Glow Infusion facial at ISAAC Luxe is my current favourite—it works as an instant pick-me-up for my skin. I also love laser toning as it keeps the skin clear and radiant. Emsculpt NEO is great to tone the body as it helps one lose fat and build muscle at the same time. And I get Ulthera done once a year to rebuild collagen and keep the skin lifted.”

Dr Rashmi Shetty, Dermatologist and Founder, RA Skin & Aesthetics

“The most important aspect in skincare is hydration and protection of the skin barrier. The top layer of the skin is made up of water, lipids, and protein, and all of these components need to be protected, replenished, and preserved. For the skin, hygiene is key, hence, finding the right face wash is essential.

I usually start my morning skincare by cleaning my face with micellar water and then rinsing with warm water. Since I use a fresh pillowcase every night, I don’t wake up with oily skin. And I have a clean scalp, so I don’t feel the need to use a face wash. Post cleansing, I use a hydrating serum by Biologique Recherche. Before leaving home, I apply a thick layer of moisturiser as I have slightly dry skin, followed by sunscreen.

image: Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, ₹3,990

At night, I prefer using my night creams in rotation. For example, one night, I will use Revision Peptide Night Cream, which I alternate with Clinique and Biologique hydrating masks, along with Chanel’s eye cream, which is my go-to formula. As I experiment with different lasers and energies at the clinic, I also include a hydroquinone cream to help with pigmentation.

In addition to exterior care, I believe that maintaining internal health and balance is equally imperative. Along with balanced meals, supplementation is key. I usually take Ra Hydrate, Ra Skin Bright and Ra Vitamin C+ in the morning and Ra Primrose+, Ra Anagen and Ra Hydrate at night. At the clinic, I indulge in a facial at least once in three weeks. I generally lean towards a peel and a facial that boost collagen stimulation. I also work with some energy-based devices such as radiofrequency, red light therapy, low-level lasers, and Ultherapy (which I do at least once a year). I also use hydrating hyaluronic acid injections like Profilo, which treats dry skin on the neck. Along with this, I love a little bit of Botox on the upper face and neck to prevent expression lines and wrinkles.”

Shamika Haldipurkar, Founder and CEO, D'YOU

“I like to stick to a balanced skincare routine, which is not too high on actives, but includes just enough to give my skin the support it needs. My primary focus is barrier nourishment. I massage my face with an oil cleanse every night—either with a cleansing balm or an oil cleanser. I follow it up with the nourishing trifecta of a hydrating serum, barrier- supporting moisturiser, and retinol, twice or three times a week.

I am currently testing a cleanser that we are developing, otherwise my staple is Innisfree’s Green Tea Cleansing Oil. I follow it up with the d’You Hustle serum, In My Defence moisturiser, and Naturium’s encapsulated retinol serum. I get a Photo Facial done at Isaac Luxe once every three months—it is basically a chemical peel followed with laser therapy for anti-ageing, pigmentation, and overall skin rejuvenation. Since I don’t exfoliate very often in my daily routine, this chemical peel helps with my exfoliation needs, while the laser treatment (an LED light therapy) helps me manage post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) pigmentation, which my light-hued skin is prone to.”

Ritika Sharma, Founder and CEO, House of Beauty

“Ensuring I cleanse my skin twice is an important part of my daily skincare regime. I begin my routine with the Korean double cleanse ritual. I use Innisfree’s Green Tea Cleansing Oil as the first step—it’s lightweight and non-greasy, and yet extremely effective when it comes to taking off make-up and grime. Next, I cleanse my face with Innisfree’s Green Tea Foam Cleanser. I love its creamy-yet foamy texture as it leaves my skin feeling clean and nourished.

image: Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex, ₹17,900

Usually, I apply a moisturiser right after cleansing, but, during winter, I layer it with a hydrating serum. My current favourite is Caudalie’s Vinosource-Hydra S.O.S ThirstQuenching Serum. The vegan formula gets absorbed instantly and offers extreme hydration. The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream by Sulwhasoo is one formula I can’t do without. It feels luxurious and deeply nourishes the skin. During colder months, I lock in moisture with Kora Organics’ Noni Face Glow Oil. However, I skip serums and oils during the summer to ensure my pores don’t get clogged, resulting in breakouts.”

Karishma Manga Bedi, Entrepreneur

“My beauty regime starts with trying to keep my space clutter-free and my mind as stress-free as possible (difficult as it may be at most times!). To replenish myself, I have made my skincare regime a sort of an oasis where I play some calming music and really take time to do what I do. When I am done, not only does my skin feel better, but so does my overall state of being, which allows for a bright day and peaceful rest, depending on the time of the day I am indulging myself.

I start my morning with a glass of warm water with lemon. I then wash my face with water. My morning routine consists a few high-performance formulas like the Vitamin C Brightening Booster by 111 Skin, Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum by MZ Skin, and Soundarya Radiance Cream With 24K Gold and SPF25, and SUN FLUID Tender Coconut Water with Turmeric & Basil Leaf SPF 50, both by Forest Essentials.

image: Forest Essentials Transformative Soundarya Night Cream With 24K Gold; ₹7,600

At night, I wash my face with the Delicate Facial Cleanser Mashobra Honey, Lemon & Rosewater by Forest Essentials and apply a few drops of Dr. Barbara Strum’s Niacinamide Serum. I then pat some Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel by 111 Skin and layer it with Forest Essentials’ Transformative Soundarya Night Cream With 24K Gold. 

Apart from this morning and night routine, I use the Soundarya Facial Ubtan by Forest Essentials twice a week and indulge my skin with the Rose Quartz Exfoliating Mask by 111 Skin once a week.” 

Karishma Khokhar, Founder and Ceo, Kult App

“As an entrepreneur, you almost never have time for yourself. But I use my AMPM beauty routine to focus on myself and indulge in some much-needed selfcare. For any skincare regimen, the first step is to understand your skin—that’s how you can choose the right products and give your skin the love it needs. 

According to the Baumann Skin Types, a system developed by Dr Leslie Baumann (which we also use on Kult App to offer hyper-personalisation), my skin is DRNW (Dry, Resistant, Non-pigmented, and Wrinkle-prone). My morning routine begins with Charlotte Tilbury’s Glow Toner—it’s hydrating and leaves the skin baby-soft. Next up, I apply Sesderma’s C-VIT Liposomal Serum. This awards my skin with unmatched radiance—just how one’s mornings should be like! I am a big fan of East Asian skincare brand Hada Labo and their Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion has definitely become my go-to for boosting the skin’s moisture levels without leaving a sticky finish. I truly believe that hydrated skin is healthy skin and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream does the job for me. It absorbs instantly and keeps the skin moisturised all day. The routine can obviously not be complete without sunscreen. 

image: Sesderma C-VIT Liposomal Serum, ₹1,400

My current favourite is Summer Friday’s ShadeDrops Mineral Milk Sunscreen for its soft, natural finish. Alternatively, I love Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen because, like its name, it is totally clear and weightless. My night-time routine is equally exhaustive and the pay-off is even better! My beauty mantra is that no matter how tired you are, never hit the bed without a cleansed face. I use the Biologique Recherche Lait U Botanical Cleansing Milk to remove make-up. I reserve the VHRC Honeydew Face and Body Cleanser for those laid-back days when my skincare ritual involves a long shower. The Serum by Augustinus Bader, powered by TFC8, is one of my most-loved beauty products for its anti-ageing qualities. I often hear people complain about their uneven skin tone. My answer to them is retinol. I use the ZO Skin Health Retinol Skin Brightener for a smooth, even-toned complexion.

A skin that is supple, ultra-smooth, and radiant to the point of becoming translucent is the skin goal for myself. The Renewal Oil by La Mer is my luxe pick—it boosts collagen production and leaves you with youthful skin. I came across the Venusia Max Intensive Moisturizing Cream on Kult App, and its compatibility Kult Score with my skin was 98. So naturally, it is one of the staples in my routine. And bringing the beauty shenanigans to an end is a sheet mask to seal the deal. My top picks are Pulse+Glo Aqua Sheet Mask by Georgia Louise and SK-II Facial Treatment Mask—I love them both for the hydration they offer.”