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The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

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With over a million search results for the best skincare products for 40s, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one looking for high-performance ingredients to improve my skin health. And that couldn’t be more true as I enter this new phase of my life. I turned the big 4-0 earlier this year and while I don’t ever want to be in my 20s again, I do miss that 20s collagen and high cell turnover. But I’m not writing this to lament about wrinkles and fine lines either. (But I will admit I have gone under the needle and have tried almost every buzzy beauty treatment.)

No, I am embracing my 40s wholeheartedly because, in all seriousness, I have never felt better. I am emotionally more stable and available, I am spiritually connected, and I am physically well and comfortable in my body. (Mind you, it’s always a work in progress.) But, I’m entering this new decade with a newfound confidence in myself. And I can say with certainty: all that wisdom and growth is worth it.

Featured image by Teal Thomsen.

The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

Today, you’re here to learn about the best skincare products for 40s. Lucky for you, that’s something I love to talk about. I guess you could say I have been skin-obsessed since my mom put me on a simple cleanse-tone-moisturize-sunscreen routine at the age of 14. As an Aussie, where 14,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year, the sunscreen part is critical.

Sunscreen is my number one must-have product everyone should wear every day for anti-aging and skin health. And please note, that while I list all of these products here, you certainly don’t need to buy all of them. When it comes to skincare, all you really need is a quality cleanser, toner (yes, I am team toner), moisturizer (or face oil), and sunscreen. That’s it! And for me, it’s all about investing in quality over quantity.

Read on to learn about the best skincare products for 40s that I use in my everyday routine! Some of them I’ve been using for over 10 years. So if you’re in your 30s and looking for anti-aging solutions, you’re welcome to keep scrolling, too.

Editor’s Note: We did a follow-up to this post where we asked two dermatologists to share the best drugstore skincare for your 40s dupes. Read the article here.

Skincare products.

The Best Skincare Products for Cleansing

Cosmedix Purity Solution Cleanser

I like to rotate my cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling that day. For my morning routine, I usually reach for an oil cleanser. Why? Well, typically my skin leans dehydrated, making my epidermis especially parched.

This Cosmedix cleanser restores the skin’s natural moisture and removes impurities. It’s also especially great for removing makeup. I have been using Cosmedix for over 10 years now because they have high-performance ingredients and do what they say. I highly recommend an oil cleanser if you haven’t tried one yet, especially for mature skin as it’s super hydrating and moisturizing while being sensitive to the skin. I also love Mara’s oil cleanser and the one from Emma Lewisham, both of which are packed with exfoliating fruit enzymes like papaya.

Agency Cloud Care Duo

A recent addition to our editors’ radars, Agency by Curology differentiates itself in the overly saturated skincare world by formulating personalized prescription products. That’s right, everything you’ll try (and soon love) by the brand is tailor-made to target your skin concerns. You start by sharing your skin goals with a licensed medical provider who then creates customized formulations. From there, you’ll receive check-ins offering tips and formula adjustments to ensure your skincare evolves alongside you—because yes, you should be regularly switching up your routine!

The Cloud Care Duo pairs the efficacy of the brand’s Cream Oil Cleanser with its Weightless Whipped Moisturizer. The result is a fresh, soft, and hydrated complexion that never feels heavy.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

I was introduced to iS Clinical about a year ago and have slowly been developing an obsession ever since. The cleansing complex is relatively new to my routine. But after at least four months of using it, I’m hooked. It’s a gel resurfacing cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin. The product is soft and gentle thanks to white willow bark that exfoliates the skin while breaking up any grime or makeup. Beauty editors love it because it works across every skin type and concern. I can use this one every day, multiple times a day, and it won’t leave my skin feeling dry, stripped, or squeaky. An all-around excellent addition to your skincare routine.

COSMEDIX Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser

In the past, foaming cleansers got a bad rap for being too stringent and stripping the skin of all of its oils. But let me introduce you to the new generation. Clarify is incredibly gentle and hydrating. The salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and helps prevent breakouts while the aloe vera soothes and heals. But this cleanser’s genius ingredient is the probiotics which encourage healthy bacteria on the surface. 10/10 recommend.

Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser

When my skin is feeling hormonal or blemish-prone, I bring out the big guns. Renée Rouleau is renowned for her arsenal of acne-fighting products and this one really nailed it. It packs a punch in the acids department mixed with gentle biodegradable jojoba beads which reduce acne, bumps, blackheads, and clogged pores while lifting away red discoloration and scarring leftover from blemishes. I use this cleanser about three times a week—prevention rather than cure!

Woman washing face.

The Best Skincare Products for Toning

Cosmedix Purity Balance Exfoliating Prep Toner

The jury has been out on toner in recent years but I swear by this one. Personally, I prefer a chemical exfoliation to a physical one. This one has salicylic and L-lactic acid combined with tea tree oil to cleanse, clarify, and smooth the skin. It’s great for blackhead management and removing excess oil or makeup. I’ve even been known to use it as a cleanser on the trips I’ve forgotten to pack mine.

Woman in sauna

The Best Skincare Products for Boosting

Cosmedix Cell ID Nutritive Defense Serum

There are a lot of serums out there. (I repeat, a lot.) But this one deserves a spot on your shelf. It’s packed with peptides, amino acids, and antioxidants which are great for aging skin. I can’t emphasize it enough: this serum is like giving your thirsty skin a big drink. The ingredients create a skin barrier that locks in moisture and keeps my skin feeling plump and dewy all day.

iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum

Speaking of drinks, let me introduce you to the ultimate glass of water for your epidermis: the hydra-cool serum from iS Clinical. I know hyaluronic acid has been hyped a lot in recent years, and for some people it can be drying (the opposite effect of what you want in an HA). But this serum has worked wonders for me. Perhaps it’s the additional vitamin B5, kojic acid, and menthol. Whatever the case, I find it really plumps up my skin and keeps the hydration locked in.

City Beauty Skin-Lifting Booster

This droplet serum is designed to be mixed with other skincare products or to be used alone for a lifted and sculpted look. I love blending a few drops into my moisturizer as a final step in my routine to supercharge my skin with advanced peptides (i.e., amino acid chains that support the skin’s firmness and promote elasticity). I have a few other City Beauty faves on this list—the products’ almost-instant results are unmatched.

Makeup products.

The Best Skincare Products for Correcting

iS Clinical Active Serum

The iS Clinical Active Serum has truly changed my skin. It reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, redness, acne, and smooths and evens skin tone, resulting in a clearer and healthier-looking complexion. A total no-brainer.

Cosmedix Elite X-cell+ Brightening Serum

If you’re looking for a brightening serum that packs a punch, look no further. This x-cell is from the Cosmedix Elite line, so it’s only available from licensed estheticians. But trust, it’s worth the extra step for the niacinamide and microencapsulated retinol. It does have witch hazel which my skin doesn’t have a problem with. If you react to it, you might want to opt out of this one. Don’t worry, I have another favorite brightening serum coming up.

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

If you can only invest in a few products then make sure one of them is a vitamin C serum. It’s one of the few ingredients proven to protect against free radical damage, even skin tone, and promote collagen production.

Is Clinical Active Peel System

When I could see Candace Marino aka The LA Facialist in person, I would get the iS Clinical Fire + Ice facial but since we’re on the second phase of lockdown in LA, this at-home kit will have to do. This kit provides enough product to give you two professional-grade treatments at home which is great value.

Camille Styles skincare.

The Best Skincare Products for Exfoliation

Cosmedix Pure Enzymes Mask

There really is no other mask quite like pure enzymes. You definitely feel the tingle with this one (which I love) as the fruit enzymes are working their magic and you will feel a little red post-application but that’s what you want. The flush of oxygenated blood to the skin will boost circulation and collagen production. This mask is gentle enough to be done once a week.

Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

This one is another favorite with beauty editors and celebrities with good reason. It’s packed with five skin smoothing fruit AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes to clear blemishes and clogged pores, fade post-breakout marks, lift discoloration, and stimulate cellular renewal. Plus, it’s just a really fun mask to apply because of the bright pink berry color!

Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment

I have been using retinol for years now and swear by it for anti-aging and overall skin health and maintenance. What I love about the Cosmedix line is their range of retinol that start low so you can work your way up as your skin adjusts. I asked the education director for Cosmedix, Ryan Christopher to explain and he told me that Serum 16 and Serum 24 are the starters and are great for sensitive skin. If you have textured skin then you can move to Define which also includes lactic acid to exfoliate. Refine, Refine Plus, and Refine RX follow each other in strength with RX being the highest. Genius.

Skincare products on sink.

The Best Skincare Products for Moisturizing

Matter of Fact Maximalist Age-Defying Moisturizer

Thankfully, younger generations are more attuned to the importance of SPF—but I get it, if you didn’t grow up in Australia like I did, you were probably encouraged to soak up as much sun as possible. This moisturizer is a go-to for undoing the damage of photo-aging. It combines a peptide and hyaluronic acid blend with heavy-hitting ingredients like niacinamide and bakuchiol to keep skin protected against environmental stressors and improve skin tone.

Cosmedix Mystic Moisturiser

Choosing a moisturizer can be tricky, especially when you’re looking for something rich that doesn’t clog your pores. This is hands down the best one I’ve come across for mature skin. It’s super hydrating and targets the concerns you want to address at this age like fine lines and wrinkles. I have combination skin but hydration is my number one goal with skincare and this definitely does the job. I can’t recommend this enough.

iS Clinical Moisturizing Complex

This is a great option for the summer months when you’re looking for something lighter. I usually mix this (and the X-Age) with oil for extra hydration and to seal in moisture.

Furtuna Skin Biphase Moisturizing Oil

I have tried so many oils and they’re either too fragrant or too heavy and they sit on top of the skin. This oil from Furturna is neither of those things. It has a super subtle fragrance and its lightweight formula sinks immediately into my skin giving an instant luminous glow while protecting my skin from the harsh dry LA air. I have been through three bottles of this already and I can’t get enough. It’s just a really beautiful product.

Mara Chlorella + Reishi Sea Vitamin C Serum

Okay, so this is technically a vitamin C serum but it’s an oil-based version so I put it in the moisturize category because I LOVE mixing it with my moisturizer. It ticks all the boxes for me: lightweight, mild scent, clean formula, and packed with potent ingredients—we’re talking 14 vitamin C rich fruit extracts, herbs and botanicals to help improve skin brightness.

Cosmedix Elite Eye Doctor High Potency Eye Treatment

I started out using the hero product in the Cosmedix line, Opti Crystal also known as unicorn tears but quickly moved onto Eye Doctor after learning it contains retinol and alpha-lipoic acid. I wasn’t a huge fan of eye cream until I met this product but what I love is that it also doubles as a highlighter thanks to their special liquid crystal. Try it, I guarantee you’ll love it. 

HydroSerum Eye Stick

I love the easy application of this moisturizing eye stick. Simply glide on a thin layer for a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid, argan oil, niacinamide, and licorice root extract to smooth fine lines and illuminate the skin. Trust: your under-eyes will appear brighter and feel revived immediately.

Woman face rolling in mirror.

The Best Skincare Products for Protection

iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30

Now to my favorite product: sunscreen. I am at the esthetician level of an obsession now for this amazing product. As an Aussie, I have literally had 100s of sunscreens applied to my face and body and there are a lot of bad ones out there. This one is the best I’ve tried. It’s light, leaves a dewy glow without being sticky or oily, and it doesn’t smell like sunscreen!

I am the biggest preacher of sunscreen application (I’m talking every day, and reapplying multiple times a day) so if this one doesn’t suit you, please, please, please find one that does and wear it every day, even inside because this one also protects you from the blue light of your phone and computer screen.

SilkScreen Sheer Tint Mineral Sunscreen

I also love a tinted sunscreen, but it can be hard to find one that isn’t streaky or heavy. Thankfully, this sheer mineral sunscreen by Agency pairs a weightless application with SPF 50 protection. And because Agency is dedicated to providing customized skincare for everyone, this is my favorite sun-protection pick for all skin types. Simply swipe it on for even, poreless skin.

Cyndi Ramirez headshot.

The Best Skincare Products for Hydration

Matter of Fact Minimalist Hydrating Moisturizer

When it comes to hydration, a lightweight formulation is key. Yes, you want to feel that it’s working, but a gloppy texture isn’t ideal. And where sensitive skin is concerned, Matter of Fact’s hydrating moisturizer is the best in the game. The liquid crystal lipids not only provide hydration, but they also support your skin barrier—key when you’re playing the skin health long game.

City Beauty Line-Smoothing HydroMask

Something about doing a face mask feels so luxe. Not only do you get the results of an in-office treatment at home, but the process of applying one to your skin is self-care at its finest. And when the mask actually works? *Chef’s kiss* Infused with antioxidants, peptides (key for promoting collagen production), and hyaluronic acid for deeply hydrated skin, you’ll notice a complete transformation after just 20 minutes.

Cosmedix Mystic Hydrating Treatment

This isn’t essential by any means but since I love any hydration when I can get it throughout the day, I love a face mist. I find my skin will dry out after I’ve stared at a computer screen for a few hours so I love to spritz in between to keep my skin fresh. This one is an exfoliating formula so it also helps current breakouts and helps to prevent new ones.

iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist

I always keep a few mists handy on my desk so I can reach for whatever I feel like my skin needs. This copper firming mist smells great and is just the right amount of hydration when you need it.

Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2

If you haven’t tried this French skincare line yet then I highly recommend their masks. I like to multi-mask with the vivant so I’m hydrating while I’m targeting my t-zones. It’s not cheap but you don’t need much and it’s safe enough to use daily or weekly, whenever you like to mask. If you want a more affordable option, try the Cosmedix Restore.

Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant

I’ll just be straight up on, this mask doesn’t smell great. In fact, it smells like vegemite (if you know, you know!) but it’s such a great mask for treating dull, tired, or oily skin. I love it on the weekends when my skin is needing a boost or it’s a great hangover cure!

The Things We Do Liquid Lift Sleeping Mask

Vanessa Lee, RN is renowned in California for her incredible natural cosmetic procedures—her threads are the best but sadly she isn’t taking on new clients. But luckily for us, she has designed a product line to give us the in-clinic results at home. Her sleeping mask is one of my favorites. I love the jelly-like formula that is super hydrating thanks to organic oats, Vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid. It’s great post-treatment or chemical peel too.

City Beauty City Lips Night Oil

Niche, but when it comes to the best skincare products for your 40s, a plumping, overnight lip oil is essential. Simply apply a swipe of this hydrating, exfoliating formula before going to sleep and get ready to wake up to noticeably plumper lips. I’m obsessed with this ingredient list: portulaca pilosa extract rejuvenates the skin while plankton and floral extract provide a smoothing effect. And of course, hyaluronic acid delivers all the hydration your lips could dream of. Seriously, this is a perfect overnight lip treatment. (Eat your heart out, Laneige.)




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