Our inboxes, desks, and, naturally, the internet, are constantly flooded with information about new and seemingly life-changing skincare products. And while we do have expertise (we've been doing this for a while and we've tried a ton of stuff), we recognize that no one on our team is above the age of 45. And while we can reach out to experts in the industry, there's nothing like real-life recommendations from our readers. And so, we asked members of our secret Facebook Group, The Beauty Line, along with our devoted Instagram followers over the age of 40 to share their favorite anti-aging products—ones they truly swear by.
From cult-favorite masks and cleansing balms to night-time facial oils and glycolic acid masks, these are the best of the best anti-aging skincare products for women over 40. Below, find your new favorite offerings.
Best Toner: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary's concentrated formula boasts 7% glycolic acid, an AHA that is pretty magical in the exfoliation department. It restores clarity, vibrancy, and even texture to your skin after just one use (and with compounding results over time). This one offers plant-derived Tasmanian pepperberry and aloe vera to soothe any irritation or redness and ginseng root for extra glow, according to the brand. One of our over-50 readers, Rina, uses it in the morning before her moisturizer and foundation.
Best Device: NuFACE Trinity Facial Toning Device
This handheld facial toning device is pretty incredible. It helps improve your facial contour and skin tone and may actually reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. All you have to do is hold it your face (make sure to push upward) and move it around your cheekbones, jaw, and wherever else that may need lifting. According to the brand, real results are visible in just four weeks.
Our almost-40 reader, Tahera, started using NuFace a year ago because she noticed the pores on her cheeks started looking more visible. "My husband's aesthetician gave me a NuFace facial, and I kid you not the difference was immediate and impressive. She explained the pores were more visible because my muscles were starting to lose their tightness (sagging), which made the pores more prominent in my mid-face. Now I use it as directed, and I'm in no rush to get any invasive cosmetic procedures yet as a result."
Best Face Oil, Night-Time: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
Jessica, 42, uses Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil about three to four times a week. The formula includes a retinol complex to reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles while also working to nix uneven texture, age spots, dryness, and dullness. According to Sunday Riley, the retinol is blended with blue tansy and German chamomile essential oils to neutralize redness or sensitivity.
Best Face Oil, Daytime: Lumene Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin, but we cannot produce it on our own. For the skin, it helps to boost collagen, lighten discoloration, and fight free radicals.
"I use it before bed and then as a primer," Rina gushes of the facial oil, "and it makes foundation go on like a dream. I'm super impressed!" See, it's a cocktail of vitamins and berry seed oils—including vitamin C, B3, B5, and omega fatty acids—as well as arctic spring water to keep everything hydrated, supple, and bright.
Best Chemical Exfoliant: Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that works to exfoliate the skin. Its molecule is slightly larger than glycolic acid, meaning it works a bit slower and doesn't penetrate the skin's outermost layer as easily.
Good Genes is a cult favorite for good reason; it's even the winner of the best chemical exfoliator in the 2019 Byrdie Skincare Awards. The treatment is formulated with high-potency, purified lactic acid to exfoliate dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells and reveal smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. It helps plump up the skin and, over time, lifts the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Jessica, 42, cannot get enough. She alternates it with the brand's Luna Sleeping Night Oil for a well-rounded anti-aging routine.
Best Multitasker: Dr. Roebuck's Byron 2-in-1 Mask + Scrub
This two-in-one formula is filled with biodegradable eco beads to target any clogged pores, remove dead skin cells, and lift away skin impurities. It also contains a blend of peppermint oil (which makes your skin practically breathe a sigh of relief), kaolin, and white tea for a ton of healthy antioxidant benefits. It’s all-natural, hydrating, and made without silicones, chemicals, and fillers. Jessica, 42, also recommends this one for all your masking and moisturizing needs.
Best Cleansing Gel: Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
To renew your skin, increase cell turnover, and keep pores clear, look no further. This salicylic and glycolic acid formula, mixed with a variety of botanicals, helps to create a clearer, healthier-looking complexion. And Jessica, 42, recommends it vehemently.
Best Cleansing Balm: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
This super-velvety cleansing balm melts makeup off your face in one warm, comforting application—even tough eye makeup like mascara. It cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely, and removes dirt, oil, debris, and any pollution from your skin before bed. Rina, a reader over 50, is obsessed.
Best Mask: Hanacure The All-In-One Facial Starter Kit
Hanacure's Multi-Action Treatment Mask is virtually legendary. "The philosophy is inspired by the lotus flower which, according to the brand (and drawn from South Korean culture), freshly blooms each and every morning. The premise for the mask: Your skin will mirror the lotus flower in that it will be 'reborn' which each and every use," writes our assistant editor of the mask. Her mother, who's in her 70s, couldn't stop inspecting and praising the results. Her skin felt insanely smooth and soft, and her newfound glow was virtually glasslike in appearance.
Best Serum: SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0
"I am 45 but look younger because of my Asian genes and oily skin. My approach to anti-aging skincare is to stick with products that focus on scientifically proven ingredients with published concentrations. My favorite is SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex 1.0.," says one of our readers. This serum is formulated for skin types pre-conditioned to retinol treatments, and, as such, minimizes the appearance of age spots and wrinkles.
Runner-Up, Best Serum: The Ordinary Buffet Multi-Technology Peptide Serum
"I didn't start using anti-aging products until I was 35, and I wish I'd started sooner," one reader says. "Now, at 43, I'm devoted to my skincare regimen to try to avoid the needles. I use The Ordinary Buffet, along with Argireline Solution 10%, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, and will soon incorporate retinol. And, of course, SPF on the daily. I need to get better at the whole 'healthy lifestyle' thing, like regular sleep and lower stress levels, but one step at a time. People think I'm about 10 years younger than I am, so I must be doing something right. Right?"
Best Supplement: Nature Made Fish Oil & Omega-3 Supplements
"I am almost 51. I drink lots of water [and apply] sunscreen every day. I do periodic Botox maintenance (every six months to a year) and take Spironolactone for hormonal breakouts, vitamin E, and fish oil supplements, and try to have a monthly professional facial."
Best Night Cream: Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20
"My skin became super sensitive about five or six years ago when I was living in L.A. and has become dry in the last couple of years since I moved back to New York," says one reader over 40. "I stick to everything unscented and use face wash and masks that have activated charcoal. In the morning, I use vitamin C serum, Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer, and SPF."
What to Look For in Anti-Aging Skincare in Your 40s
If you’re in your 40s, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick considers exfoliating acids one of the most important anti-aging ingredients to incorporate into your routine. “As we age, skin cell turnover slows down, which can lead to a buildup of dead skin on the surface, contributing to skin dullness,” she explains. “As a result, it’s important to incorporate exfoliating ingredients like AHAs such as glycolic acid, BHAs, or physical exfoliants.” As these dissolve or sweep away dead skin cells, they can also help brighten the skin’s appearance and improve its overall tone and texture.
Moisturizing is important for all skin types of all ages, but Dr. Garshick explains that our skin barrier weakens as we age, allowing for increased moisture loss. For this reason, she says it’s important for those in their 40s to use products that not only boost the skin’s overall hydration but also strengthen its natural moisture barrier. “Seek out products containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture in, as well as barrier-boosting ingredients such as ceramides,” she says.
The delicate skin surrounding our eyes is the thinnest on our face, and it's usually the first area to show signs of aging, like fine lines, puffiness, and skin laxity. For that reason, Dr. Garshick says it can be beneficial for someone in their 40s to incorporate one into their routine. “While an eye cream may not be a necessity for everyone, for someone bothered by these changes, incorporating an eye cream can be helpful,” she says.
What skincare should I use in my 40s?
In your 40s, you should use a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Adding serums, eye creams, and moisturizers specifically formulated for aging skin to your skincare routine is ideal. In your 40s, if your skin begins to become dryer, choose more hydrating products and overnight creams. Consider using hydrating facial oils as well.
Is it too late to take care of my skin at 40?
It is not too late to take care of your skin at 40. 40 is still young enough to start addressing some of the concerns people have with aging skin, such as thinning, sagging, and fine lines. No matter how you treated your skin previously, late is better than never, and there are many products designed to hydrate and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How can I get healthy skin at 40?
To get healthy skin in your 40s, choose products formulated for your skin type and combat the signs of aging. Be sure always to use sunscreen, which will prevent signs of aging and sun damage, including wrinkles and sunspots. Ingredients such as antioxidants, emollients, vitamin C, and retinoids are all proven to work for skin in your 40s.
Meet the Expert
Marisa K. Garshick, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist practicing at MDCS Dermatology in New York; she is also an assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell—New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
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