I've long looked to Beautypedia for product ingredient breakdowns, and one point that's always emphasised across their reviews is that there is no one power ingredient that will do it all.
In other words, your skin is much like the rest of your body, and will benefit from a range of ingredients working to plump, hydrate, restore, protect and nourish. We are spoiled for choice with brands like The Ordinary, providing active skincare and smart formulations at low cost, making it really easy for everyone to access and try lots of ingredients that may have at one point been out of bounds due to price point.
It's called "doing the most" (if you've browsed Into The Gloss), but at what point do you call time on the 10-step plus routine? You might want to re-evaluate if:
Your Makeup Is Pilling
If your colour and base products seem to slip off your face more quickly than usual, or you find that product rolls up an "pills" on top as you apply - this might signal that you've not given enough skin to grip to - maybe a sign you should cut down on some serums, or switch to a lighter moisturiser. (Don't forget, you'll also dilute your coverage and end up with an unintentional tinted moisturiser if you're layering moisturisers, oils and more every day).
Your Actives Aren't Taking Action
There are several schools of thought when it comes to getting the best out of your actives and tackling sensitive skin, or gradually exposing your skin to certain ingredients (for example, most forms of retinol can be "buffered" by being layered before, after or blended with a moisturiser), but too many layers of product can stop a powerhouse product from even getting enough contact with your complexion to make a difference.
Also, check out what actives you're using interact with others to make sure you're not wiping out the productivity of a key ingredient. If you're using a potent active like tretinoin, then you absolutely should cut down on your other actives just while your skin becomes "retinised".
You're Seeing Signs of Congestion
Generally speaking a real "breakout" will take several days to form depending on the intensity, so a cyst for example will have been brewing under the surface for some time before you it. In a skincare culture where a heavy oil can be touted as the ultimate miracle for any and all skin types (this is a whole post of its own!), it's little wonder that some people will layer an essence, a serum, a moisturiser, and an oil plus sunscreen - even if they lean towards combination skin.
Blackheads, clogged or enlarged pores and increased texture across skin may be signalling that you need to cut back on what sits on your face each day. Don't forget that most sunscreens have an emollient base, so you could be doubling up without need (if you're especially oily-skinned, a light toner might be all the moisture you need).