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What are the must-have components in a morning skincare routine?

Whether you have sensitive skin or not, it's important to treat your skin with care to make sure you look your best.
Whether you have sensitive skin or not, it's important to treat your skin with care to make sure you look your best.(BestReviews)

For most of us, healthy, glowing skin isn't something that comes effortlessly.

If you want enviable skin, you have to choose the right products and build an effective daily routine that you stick to. That can be easier said than done, though, considering how many skincare options there are to choose from.

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To demystify the quest for healthy skin, we consulted with Dr. Katie Manno, of Skin Cancer and Dermatology Institute out of Reno, Nev. We asked what components every effective morning skincare routine should have.

We've gathered a list of some great products to get you started, too, so you'll have the right arsenal on your side to get your skin into shape.

The must-have components in your skincare routine according to a dermatologist

This varies a lot depending on your skin type and where you live. But, in general, she said the fundamentals are a gentle cleanser, an antioxidant serum, and sunscreen (either with or without moisture, depending on how your skin is feeling).

“An absolute must for everyone is the sunscreen step at the end of your regimen,” says Manno. “Use at least an SPF 30-50 or greater with Broadband (UVA and UVB) protection. Most sunscreens you buy now will protect you from both.”

With these instructions in mind, we set out to find the best options for gentle cleansers, serums, sunscreens, and moisturizers. Here are our picks — as recommended by BestReviews.

BestReviews’ preferred gentle cleansers

Trilogy Cream Cleanser: $23 at Ulta

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You always start your day with a clean face, and this creamy, gentle cleanser removes all the dirt, oil, and other debris that can clog your pores without stripping your skin of moisture. The certified natural, vegan, cruelty-free formula features hydrating rosehip seed oil, soothing evening primrose oil, and antioxidant-rich carrot oil for a truly nourishing cleanser. It's free of synthetic fragrances, too, so it's safe for even sensitive skin.

Want a lighter cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin? This gel cleanser contains 100% natural salicylic acid to clean deep within the pores and keep pesky breakouts at bay. It also has grape water, which helps soothe redness or irritation. It can be used morning and night, too.

Sunscreens

This sunscreen provides SPF 46 and uses natural zinc oxide to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. It's particularly effective at protecting sensitive skin that's prone to acne and rosacea without irritating, and it doesn't leave any residue behind that might leave a white cast. It's also earned a recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use.

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If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you'll need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. This transparent sunscreen powder allows you to easily apply a fresh layer without disrupting any makeup that you might have on. It even has a built-in brush applicator to make touch-ups throughout the day a breeze -- and the natural titanium and zinc oxide in the formula serve as physical sunscreens that effectively block UVA and UVB rays all day.

For drier skin, reapplying your sunscreen becomes much easier with this handy setting mist. Like the powder sunscreen, it doesn't disrupt makeup, but it contains natural oils to help keep your skin looking fresh and healthy. We also love its fresh rosemary scent that puts other spray sunscreens' artificial fragrances to shame.

Serums

Using an anti-aging serum daily is crucial to preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Dr. Manno says retinol is the best ingredient for younger-looking skin, and we love that this serum doesn't just fight the signs of aging -- it also instantly brightens and firms the skin. It contains AHAs and plenty of other natural ingredients that can help give your skin a youthful glow.

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum: $45 at Nordstrom

Antioxidants are a powerful tool in the fight against the free radical damage that can lead to premature aging, and this serum from favorite beauty brand Mario Badescu features the best known antioxidant, vitamin C. It's especially good for brightening and evening out the skin, but it also contains hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and collagen to help firm the skin. Best of all, it works for all skin types.

Prefer a serum that contains a combination of antioxidants? This formula has a powerful lineup of vitamin E, green tea, prickly pear, and more to help fight free radical damage and nourish the skin. It can be used twice a day and even features a fresh orange scent that's invigorating in the morning.

Moisturizers

Want to wake up every morning to healthy, hydrated skin? You'll need a more intense moisturizer to serve as your night cream, and this formula from Juice Beauty features organic shea butter and olive-derived squalane to provide serious hydration. It also fights wrinkles and fine lines while you sleep, thanks to the evening primrose and sacred lily extracts. It features vitamin C and fruit stem cells to help renew your skin.

You shouldn't skip on moisturizer just because you have oily skin, but this organic formula can help keep breakouts at bay. It features tea tree oil, which is known for its antibacterial, anti-fungal properties, but also offers hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin. That makes it the perfect daily moisturizer for anyone with oily, acne-prone, or combination skin.

Healthy skin needs hydration, so you should moisturize in the mornings if your skin feels dry. This moisturizer is diamond-infused to instantly give your skin a healthy glow, but it also has hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and help it look plumper to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. We also love that it's cruelty-free and features completely recyclable packaging.

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Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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