10 amazing skincare products for women in their 40s
Here's to the best days—and skin—of your life.
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They say life begins at 40, and while this may be true, our skin may tell a different story. In the movie “Steel Magnolias,” Dolly Parton’s line, "Honey, time marches on and eventually, you realize it is marchin' across your face," could never ring more true—especially now that it’s happening to me!
When you hit 40, it may seem like your skin has developed a whole new set of concerns (or maybe you just started to notice them). Areas of the face with the most movement, such as your forehead, eyes, mouth, and the space between your eyebrows, may experience deeper set lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Another skin concern? Loss of collagen—a protein in the skin—can contribute to dullness, dryness, an uneven complexion, and loss of plumpness because your 40-plus skin doesn’t have that same bounce back it once had.
While all this may sound a bit scary, tweaking your daytime and nighttime skincare routines can make a big difference without taking up lots of time. You’ll want to add in products that promote collagen and elastin (the duo that helps keep the skin plump), over-the-counter retinol for its skin resurfacing properties, and antioxidants to combat hyperpigmentation and free radicals (molecules that attack and age the skin).
If that still sounds overwhelming, don't worry—we have you covered. Here are 10 popular skincare products that’ll ensure you continue to age with grace.
1. To cleanse the skin of impurities: La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing Water Ultra and Makeup Remover
The La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing Water Ultra and Makeup Remover is a no-rinse, multi-purpose cleanser formulated with purified water, glycerin, and micelles (or clusters of molecules that reduce the surface tension between liquids) that trap and dissolve dirt, oil, and makeup. This cleanser is suitable for all skin types and is gentle enough for daily use. If you are sensitive to smells, though, note that it has a mild fragrance.
One Amazon reviewer raves: “My skin has been loving this product, doesn't get as dry anymore, and I have had fewer breakouts. I haven't changed anything else in my skincare routine, and my diet hasn't changed any, so I know it's definitely this product. It also makes it easier to clean my face on lazy days, takes only a minute to put it on a cotton pad and wipe my face.”
2. To brighten your complexion: Lumene Valo Vitamin C Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil
This oil claims to replenish even the driest skin with vitamins C, B3, B5, and omega fatty acids. After cleansing, pump a pea-sized amount onto your fingertips and gently rub this blended oil of arctic spring water, wild arctic berry, and cranberry seed oils into the skin. You can expect more hydrated, suppler, and brighter skin with regular use, according to happy reviewers.
One Amazon reviewer gushes: “I rarely write reviews, but I must with this product. After only a few days, I noticed a significant difference in how smooth and moisturized my skin felt. It also smells amazing! I use it under my makeup, as well. I’m only a third of the way through my bottle and am ordering more.”
3. To reduce fine lines and wrinkles: Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
The Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream contains the most potent form of retinol to firm and brighten skin, fade dark spots, and reduce deep wrinkles and fine lines while you sleep. This cream also contains shea butter and minerals for smoother skin and additional hydration, and it claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by 50% after 12 weeks. Forewarning for sensitive skin and retinol first-timers: You want to build up your tolerance to this product by only using it once or twice a week at first. If you experience burning, peeling, or redness, reduce or discontinue use.
One Amazon reviewer enthuses: “This product has completely changed the appearance of my under-eyes and forehead. I have been applying it to my under-eyes and crows feet and forehead and my eyes look lifted and youthful. My forehead wrinkles have faded significantly. [...] I will definitely be repurchasing once this tube is done."
4. To prevent sun damage: Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-free SPF 50
The Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-free SPF 50 uses Fernblock PLE, an antioxidant extract, to help maintain your skin’s ability to protect itself against free radicals. Unlike other sunscreens, this one uses both chemical and physical (or mineral) active ingredients to protect your skin against harmful UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. This sunscreen is dry to the touch and suitable for all skin types, whether you lean dry, oily, or have acne or other sensitivities. Although on the pricier side, this sunscreen includes antioxidants and vitamin C to correct and prevent signs of aging on mature skin.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “This product surprised me in how smoothly and cleanly it applied to my combination skin. I live in (mostly) sunny San Diego, so I apply this daily, and I used it exclusively on our summer trips to various countries in Europe. I was thrilled with how well it protected against UV damage despite being outdoors and in the sun constantly. It serves as a great basis for make-up application, and I have no problems layering with it in my minimalist regimen. One order has lasted me at least 9 months thus far, so to me it’s absolutely worth the expense!”
5. To minimize eye puffiness: Mario Badescu Caffeine Eye Cream
The Mario Badescu Caffeine Eye Cream contains jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid to restore moisture, Terminalia arjuna extract (medicinal tree bark) to brighten, and caffeine to constrict the blood vessels under the eyes and tamp down any puffiness or dark circles. To use, pat a small amount of cream under and around the eyes with your ring finger.
One Ulta beauty reviewer writes: “I've tried other caffeine eye creams and serums, and this one is by far my favorite. I love Mario Badescu products and couldn't wait to try this eye cream. I use it every morning and sometimes mid-day when I'm feeling tired. It's more of a cooling sensation than a tingling for me. It's very refreshing, and a little goes a long way.”
6. To moisturize: Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream Moisturizer For Dry and Extra Dry Skin
Made with hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerin, volcanic mineral water, and plant sugar, the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream Moisturizer quenches dull, dry skin. The moisturizer claims you’ll see a suppler, softer, and brighter complexion in one month, as 92% of buyers reported. For those with sensitive skin, reviewers note that this has a light fragrance.
One happy Amazon reviewer writes: “I can't believe this moisturizer. I'm 63 and have been desperately searching for a moisturizer that really did moisturize my face and neck without leaving an uncomfortable film on my skin or made it oily and greasy or left my skin dry. I just received my order last night and used this last night before bed. It felt velvety, smells lovely, truly moisturized my skin, not oily, greasy, and no uncomfortable film. I woke up this morning to soft, hydrated skin. I'm totally in love with Vichy Aqualia Rich Face Cream.”
7. To fight free radicals: InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum
This serum is suited for all skin types (think: normal, dry, oily, combination), including those with blemish-prone, sensitive, and mature skin. The InstaNatural Vitamin C serum uses hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, sea buckthorn oil, and plant stem cells to not only fight blemishes and reduce the appearance of dark circles, but also relieve dehydrated skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and banish signs of aging from free radicals.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “I normally don’t write reviews but I absolutely loved this serum, so much so that I felt obligated to publicly endorse it. Since I started using this serum every day I have noticed a significant difference in the texture and overall tone of my skin. I spend a lot of time in the sun and dark spots are my nemesis. This serum brightens my skin and has helped significantly reduce those nasty dark spots. Additionally, the array of ingredients in this serum work to hydrate my skin and I have been getting closer to that glowy complexion I’ve been striving for.”
8. To exfoliate: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant with Chamomile & Green Tea
The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Gel Exfoliant effectively exfoliates with 8% glycolic acid while soothing the skin with a combination of hyaluronic acid, chamomile, aloe, and green tea leaf extract. You can use a dime-sized amount of this up to twice daily, but start out by applying once every other evening until your skin adjusts to the chemical exfoliation. With regular use, you should notice a reduction in wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and texture.
One Amazon reviewer gushes: “It makes my skin super-soft. And I notice any moisturizer I follow up with this gel absorbed into my skin much faster than without the gel. I definitely recommend this exfoliant over physical scrubs. I also liked this gel formula compared to liquid serums because it's much easier to apply without wasting product.”
9. To restore skin: Laneige Hypoallergenic Cica Overnight Sleeping Mask
The Laneige Hypoallergenic Cica Overnight Sleeping Mask contains fermented forest yeast extract (yes, that's a real thing), shea butter, tea tree oil, and vitamin E, all of which help to soothe, strengthen, and repair the skin’s moisture barrier. Laneige claims that your skin is more susceptible to moisture loss at night, which is why you should replace your nighttime moisturizer with this overnight treatment once or twice a week. Wash off the treatment in the morning and continue with your usual routine.
One Sephora reviewer raves: “I discovered this product while I was on Accutane (an acne treatment that dries your skin out a lot!). My skin was super dry and this product brought life back to my skin! I used this every night and my skin felt very refreshed and moisturized in the morning. It also didn't irritate my skin while on Accutane either.”
10. To tone skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner
Toners aren't just for acne-prone teens—as a product, they can help add or subtract certain elements to your skin to "tone" it. The Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner is a lightweight, moisturizing toner that contains ceramides to act as the skin’s defense against environmental aggressors and restore moisture and elasticity. But this toner is also infused with panthenol (a calming complex of fig), Centella Asiatica (tiger grass plant), and Phytoextracts (plant extract), which relieves dry, cracked, and flaky skin.
One Sephora reviewer writes: “Reviewing this because I am blown away by all things Dr. Jart. Hooked on the Ceramidin line. I can’t remember the last time I have been this sold on something. My skincare routine has now become my favorite part of the day. This toner has a mild moisturizing effect, so lately there hasn’t been a need to add one on top of it. Two to four generous drops go a long way. My skin feels soft and hydrated after.”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.