The world of skincare has changed a lot since the days of slathering on cold cream before bed—or, if you’re a little younger, heading to the Clinique counter to get your personalized skin “number.” These days, we now know that anti-aging products can be started in a person’s 30s or, for the real go-getters, even in their 20s.
On top of that, there are huge dermatological advancements everyday, which is great for consumers, but can also be incredibly confusing. It can be hard to keep up with all the new products and increasingly elaborate skincare routines, but there are a few special solutions that both dermatologists and beauty editors love. These products hit the sweet spot between being effective and feeling great.
Unless you’re fighting the world’s worst case of acne, your cleanser should be as gentle as possible. After all, your skin’s natural oils are one of your best defenses against aging. One of the best face washes out there is Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser, which contains irritation-reducing botanicals. As for removing makeup, a beloved European cleanser is now available stateside. Bioderma Sensibio H20 is a gentle micellar water that effortlessly sweeps away makeup and dirt.
Ten years ago, nobody used serums in their skincare routine—today, they’re a beauty staple and it’s easy to see why. Serums are the most effective way to deliver high-powered anti-aging ingredients like retinols and peptides directly to the skin. Added bonus: Considering how potent they can be, many are much less expensive than they should be.
The Ordinary by Deciem has a great line of serums that promise “clinical formulations with integrity.” Or, in plain speak, expensive ingredients offered at unbelievable prices. Retinol is one of the few ingredients proven to reduce wrinkles, and Deciem offers it in a number of strengths. Because it’s important to build up your tolerance slowly, start with 0.5% for regular or oily skin, or 0.2% for sensitive or dry skin.
If you’re looking for something even more accessible, try out the beloved Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting System. It boasts an impressive array of peptides and you can grab it at your local drugstore.
As Derek Zoolander once said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” He may be an idiot, but he’s not wrong. Even if you have oily skin or drink all the water in the world, a topical moisturizer is still going to do a lot of heavy lifting in the long run when it comes to preventing wrinkles.
Another thing that’s going to do be doing a lot of the work? Sun protection. If you’re only going to do one thing to prevent aging, make it this: Switch to a daily moisturizer with SPF. An inexpensive option is Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. For a bit more of an anti-aging boost, try La Roche-Posay Hydraphase UV Moisturizer. It also contains hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that helps skin retain moisture.
Exfoliation is key when it comes to keeping skin looking fresh. By gently sloughing away dead cells, you prime your skin so that it’s in great shape to soak up all the anti-aging ingredients you’re feeding it. In the past, we made the mistake of using overly-harsh scrubs that were rough on pores. Today, acid-based exfoliants are much more popular, like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. Direct acids like BHA exfoliate away dead skin but stop before they do damage to new skin—basically, it’s magic in a bottle.
Our bodies often get neglected at the expense of our faces, but skincare is just as important below the neck. Jergens Skin Firming and Toning Moisturizer contains collagen and elastin to keep skin tight and firm. Another area that often gets neglected—and can be a dead giveaway when it comes to aging—is the hands. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream has long been beloved by fans and beauty editors alike, and their hand cream is just a moisturizing, but leaves a non-greasy finish so you can go on with your day quickly.
Getting more aggressive about adding anti-aging products to your skincare regime doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. There are so many powerful products out there that do a lot of work for very little—start with just one, and see where it takes you!