Prequel: Your Skin Tells a Story

There are skincare influencers—and then there are board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologists who share their expertise on social media. Dr. Samantha Ellis is the latter. Dr. Sam has gained popularity on YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok, with her down-to-earth approach to looking after your skin, one that emphasizes skin health over all else.

“The crinkle around your eyes when you smile. The dark patch on your nose that arrived after your first born. The scar under your chin. Your skin tells your story,” her website reads.

Dr. Sam is the founder of Prequel, a collection of dermatologist-developed, fragrance-free skincare products that are safe for a number of skin conditions–and without a hefty price tag. I had the chance to test out three products from the brand, which launched in 2023.

Gleanser ($18 for 13.5 oz of product) is a non-drying, 50% glycerin cleanser for face and body. It is clinically proven to be safe for rosacea and sensitized skin. The texture is thick and gel-like, ideal for a morning or second cleanse. Thick cleansers like this one usually leave behind some kind of residue, yet this one simply left my skin feeling clean and balanced.

After using Gleanser, I moisturized with Barrier Therapy ($18 for 10 oz of product), a skin protectant cream for face and body that is eczema- and psoriasis-safe. It is designed to bring relief to dry skin, containing 1% colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, and multi-ceramides to support the skin barrier. I left some water on my face before slathering this on, and was left with comfortable, hydrated skin. This would work well morning or night, but I prefer to apply a thick layer in the evening.

Finally, as a last step, I applied Skin Utility Ointment ($18 for 2 oz of product), a multi-purpose skin protectant–think Vaseline’s sophisticated older sister. This contains bisabolol, a skin-soothing molecule, USP grade petrolatum, and a skin barrier complex containing ceramides and more. It is thick but non-greasy; I used this to “slug” – a term that means to apply an occlusive agent as the last step in your night-time skincare routine to help skin hold in moisture. It felt surprisingly light, even atop the multiple layers of skincare products I had underneath. I love using products like this under the eyes overnight, and this worked beautifully there.

Prequel boasts elegant and budget-friendly formulations– I would describe these products as highly-elevated versions of your favorite and most-trusted drugstore skincare products. They didn’t irritate my sensitive skin or bore a hole into my wallet–I will certainly be supporting this brand into the future.
All products are available at