Once you hit 40, your skin starts to noticeably change. It gets drier, you begin to see fine lines and wrinkles, it loses that healthy plump look, and the list goes on. While we can’t change genetics or make time stand still, there are ways to prolong the inevitable, and stay looking younger for a while! And it all starts with good skin care.

Now more than ever, it’s time to commit to a good skincare routine. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you have to learn your skin and use the right products.


Never underestimate the power of a good cleanser! And, did you know you should cleanse for a full minute? It allows the ingredients to stay on your skin long enough to actually reap the full benefits.

Starting with a good clean face will help your skincare products sink in and really do their jobs. A lot of people, myself included, swear by double cleansing. This ensures that your skin is super clean, and ready to fully absorb all the products that will follow. More on double cleansing later! Here are a few cleansers I’ve personally used and recommend:

For Dry to Normal Skin

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Contains hyaluronic acid for hydration, and doesn’t dry your skin out. It’s super gentle, yet effective and affordable!

For Normal to Oily Skin

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

Removes oils without drying your skin out. It is actually formulated to continuously hydrate for 24 hours!

For All Skin Types

Tatcha – The Rice Wash

Pricey, but a great option for normal, dry, and combination skin. It contains amino acids, superfoods, and AHAs to restore radiance, and hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumpness.

Should I Double Cleanse?

Double cleansing is washing your face with an oil based cleanser, then immediately washing again with a water based cleanser. Oil based cleansers remove oil based dirt, sunscreen, pollution, makeup, and sebum (sebum buildup causes acne at any age). The water based cleanser will then clean deeper, removing impurities and any traces of oil left behind from the oil cleanser. Double cleansing allows skincare products to penetrate deeper and work even better.

If you wear sunscreen or makeup, you should definitely be double cleansing (even if you have dry skin). And since oil based cleansers are so efficie

nt at removing oil based dirt, those will oily skin should double cleanse, too. So basically, everyone can double cleanse!

Oil Cleansing

You can oil cleanse with micellar water, regular oils like olive oil or coconut oil, or cosmetic oil based cleansers. No matter which you choose, you should massage it into the face for 60 seconds. My tried and true favorites are below:

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

This is probably the quickest way to oil cleanse if time is an issue. Just saturate a few cotton pads and gently smooth over face until you see no more dirt or makeup. No need to massage for a full minute!

Tatcha – The Camellia Oil

A 2-in-1 makeup remover and cleanser, and the one I personally recommend. It’s non-drying, and great for combatting fine lines and wrinkles.


After thoroughly cleansing, it’s time to tone! Toner balances the ph of your skin, hydrates, and enhances your skin’s ability to soak up all the products that are applied afterwards. There are tons of great toners out there, but here are the ones I recommend:

Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner

This toner is 97% made of natural ingredients, and extremely gentle. It calms irritated skin and hydrates. While it’s great for all skin types, if you have dry skin you may want to use 2-3 layers.

Kanebo FreePlus Moist Care Lotion 2

This is the toner that transformed my skin from dry and patchy to smooth and hydrated! Like Soon Jung, this toner is also great for layering on dry skin. All other skin types can use the recommended one layer.


If you’re 40 or older, you should DEFINITELY be using a retinol. It’s the holy grail of anti-aging skincare products! Retinol increases collagen production and promotes quicker cell renewal, resulting in smoother, firmer, more youthful skin. It also clears and prevents clogged pores, and evens skin tone. But what most people love about this product is its ability to smooth and prevent fine lines and wrinkles!

Retinol is available both over the counter and by prescription (the prescription form of retinol is called tretinoin). Here are 3 I’ve used and absolutely loved.

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

I recommend this if you’re just starting retinol. It’s not as harsh as the creams but still yields beautiful results. It can be used daily from the start. No acclimation period!

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

This is as close to prescription retinol as you can get! I’ve used both this and prescription Tretinoin and I honestly saw no difference between the two. Since this is a true retinol, you have to start slow – once or twice a week. Otherwise you will have peeling, flaking, sore skin (fittingly dubbed “the retinol uglies”). I recommend this cream if you don’t want to bother with a prescription.

Prescription Retinol (Tretinoin)

Comes in strengths from 0.025% to 0.1%. It’s recommended to start at the lowest concentration until your skin can tolerate it daily, then move up to the next strength if you’re not happy with the results. You can skip the dermatologist visit and get tretinoin online. The company I use is Nurx.


There are so many serums to choose from! We’re going to focus on the ones that are the most beneficial to aging skin. We need hydration, lifting, plumping, and firming!

Clarins Double Serum

This serum has a cult following and is a best seller because it works! It firms, smooths, hydrates, boosts radiance, minimizes pores, and visibly reduces wrinkles – all in 7 days! Works for all skin types. I try to never run out of this. When I do, my skin gets dry and textured again.

bareMinerals Skinlongevity Long Life Herb Anti-Aging Serum

Also for all skin types. It contains herbs and niacinimide, which is clinically shown to reduce the look of fine lines, improve skin texture, and boost radiance. This serum really improved my skin’s clarity!

Fresh Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence

Another best seller. This essence increases luminosity, evens tone, smooths skin, and protects against environmental pollution. It contains hyaluronic acid for hydration. While it’s a great essence/serum, I would recommend the other 2 over this one.

Hyaluronic Acid

There it is again! Hyaluronic acid. Yes, most of the products on this page contain it, but there’s no substitute to using it by itself in your routine. Try these:

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This is my favorite hyaluronic acid serum, hands down. It contains Vitamin B5 and CeraVe’s 3 essential ceramides. Click here to read my review on it.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum

This is the most popular choice, partly because of its low price, and partly because of its effectiveness. At only $7, the world has fallen in love with it!

TruSkin Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum with Vitamins C + E

This is another popular and well loved one. And their customer service is amazing!


As skin ages, it loses its ability to retain moisture. But, whether your skin is oily or dry, everyone should use a moisturizer. Thick and rich creams are better suited for dry skin, while light, water-based formulas are best for oily skin. Here are a few that are amazing!

For Dry Skin:

Tatcha – The Dewy Skin Cream

This is hydration on steroids! It’s a super rich, thick cream that moisturizes even the driest of skin. It plumps, hydrates, firms, and gives an unbelievably dewy glow you have to see to believe.

For Normal to Oily Skin:

Tatcha – The Water Cream

A pore minimizing water based, oil free moisturizer that treats signs of aging like dullness and uneven texture. This water cream looks like a cream, but as you apply it, you can feel the water burst through. It’s not heavy or thick at all, making it the perfect moisturizer for oily skin.

For Oily Skin:

Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb

Smoothes skin and minimizes pores, moisturizing with a matte finish. No shinies here!

Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb


Okay, so the name sounds gross. But it’s extremely beneficial for dry, aging skin. Despite what TikTok may tell you, slugging is a K-Beauty trend that originated in South Korea. Slugging is using an occlusive (like Vaseline) over your moisturizer and as the last step of your routine, to trap water into your skin for maximum hydration. This is best done at night, and you will wake up to baby soft, hydrated skin!

Vaseline Original Healing Jelly

Vaseline is the best and most widely used product for slugging. Fragrance free and dermatologist recommended. And no, Vaseline will not clog pores.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

This is the second best choice for slugging, as it contains 41% petrolatum.

CeraVe Healing Ointment

This is another popular choice. It contains 46.5% petrolatum with a non-greasy feel.

And there you have it – the basics of skincare over 40. It may seem like a lot, but your skin will thank you!