Last Updated on December 22, 2023 by Erin
Looking for a simple and affordable skincare routine in your 40s? I’m sharing products and tips to help you achieve healthy midlife skin without breaking the bank or spending hours in front of the mirror.
As I approached my 40s, I began to notice changes in my skin that I had never experienced before. Fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots started to appear, and my complexion looked dull and tired.
I knew I needed to take better care of my skin, but I was overwhelmed by the vast array of skincare products and treatments available. Whenever I read a skincare article, the list of “needed” products seemed to be 20 bullet points long! There’s just no way I can manage (or afford) that.
I wanted a simple skincare routine that was easy to follow and didn’t involve spending a fortune on expensive procedures like Botox. I realized that by incorporating a few key steps, such as cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting my skin from the sun, I could improve the overall health and appearance of my skin without breaking the bank or spending huge chunks of time in front of the mirror.
Now, with a simple and consistent skincare routine, I feel confident that I’m taking care of my skin in the best possible way for me. Simple. Healthy. Affordable.
If that sounds like something you might be interested in, read on! Or pin this post and save it for later!
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- AM Skincare for Midlife Women
- PM Skincare Routine in Your 40s
- Final Thoughts on a Skin Care Routine in Your 40s
AM Skincare for Midlife Women
You want to make sure you have a routine in the morning and evening. Taking care of your skin in the morning helps remove the oil and dead skin cells that were shed while you were sleeping (ew!). It also makes sure your skin is prepped and ready for the day!
Start Your Routine with a Gentle Cleanser
I always start by washing my face in the shower with a gentle cleanser. My skin is incredibly sensitive and a combination of oily/dry. While fine lines and wrinkles are a new “concern,” I’m still dealing with hormonal acne.
You want your cleanser to be gentle so that impurities are removed without stripping your face of its natural oils.
My cleanser of choice is CeraVe. It’s recommended by dermatologists (and all over TikTok) because it works AND it’s affordable. This post is not sponsored by this brand. I’m just a huge fan and most of my skincare routine involves CeraVe products.
The Cerave hydrating facial cleanser is fragrance-free and non-foaming, which means it doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight. I absolutely hate that feeling! Instead, it leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. It’s formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, all of which help to lock in moisture and improve my skin’s overall texture and appearance. Plus, it’s widely available, so I can easily incorporate it into my daily skincare routine without spending a ton of money.
Add a Vitamin C Serum to Your Skincare Routine
Incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine can help to protect your skin from damage, boost collagen production, and improve skin texture and tone. Midlife women in particular may benefit from using vitamin C as part of their anti-aging arsenal, as it can help address many of the common skin concerns that arise with age.
Vitamin C serums can be a bit on the pricier side, but again, CeraVe offers a more affordable option. I consider it a staple in my skincare routine because of its benefits. I’m hoping with long-term use it will prevent further skin damage and lighten age spots.
Whichever serum you choose, make sure it has:
- ascorbic acid
- 10-20% concentration
- dark or tinted container
Moisturize and Protect Your Skin
Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of premature aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Using a moisturizer with SPF helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays, reducing your risk of sun damage.
Rather than applying a separate moisturizer and sunscreen, you can use one product that provides both benefits! I’m all about efficiency, folks.
CeraVe offers two AM moisturizers with SPF, depending on your skin type. First up is the AM Facial Moisturizer. It contains broad-spectrum SPF 30, which means it provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This is important because UVA rays can cause premature aging and wrinkles, while UVB rays can cause sunburn and skin cancer.
Since my skin is a bit more oily in the T zone, I need something a bit more lightweight. Fortunately, there is an ultra-lightweight version of the AM moisturizer, which I use. It’s been harder for me to find in stores, so I typically purchase online.
P.S. THANK GOODNESS their products are fragrance-free. I will never understand putting “parfum” in skincare? I don’t really want to feel like I have a sunburn while caring for my skin.
PM Skincare Routine in Your 40s
Alright, you’ve made it the end of the day, you’ve got the kids to bed, and you’re ready to wind down. It can be tempting to rush through your bedtime self-care routine. I get it! For that reason, I’ve put together the most efficient bedtime skincare routine I can manage.
Wash Off the Day with a Cleanser
I have to use a bit more substantial cleanser in the PM, to make sure I get all the oils and makeup off my face. You can stick with the hydrating cleanser you used in the AM, but I use the foaming version at night. It makes my face feel squeaky clean, without being too dry.
The facial cleansers seem to be in the $15 range in the stores but trust me when I tell you these bottles last forever. They are huge!
Makeup Removal (Round 2)
It doesn’t matter if you think your face is completely free of makeup after using a cleanser, there is guaranteed to still be makeup lingering on your face. It gets into every little nook and cranny.
For this reason, I use micellar water after cleansing. I bought some reusable, washable cotton pads to save money and be environmentally friendly. Once I go through them, I just throw them in the washer with my towels. Highly recommend!
Pour some micellar water on a cotton round, and wipe all the makeup off your face. This gives you a perfectly clean surface for the next step in our routine. I prefer the Garnier SkinActive line. It’s affordable and they have a variety of options depending on your skin type.
Time to Treat the Wrinkles!
I’m not super gung-ho about getting rid of my wrinkles and I have zero plans to get Botox in the future. Did you know there is research showing Botox not only affects our facial expressions but our ability to empathize with others’ emotions?? Yeah, no thanks. What the world needs right now is not less empathy.
There does happen to be a natural wrinkle treatment out there that I’m currently testing out. It’s called Frownies and they have been around for a really long time.
When you use Frownies, you are essentially putting your facial muscles in a cast overnight. There is a bit of a learning curve to learn how to put them on, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty quick and easy.
You tear pieces of the unbleached Kraft paper, wet the vegetable-based adhesive on the back, pull the skin taut with one hand, and place the paper on your forehead with the other hand. It will quickly dry into a cast, which you remove in the morning with water.
Here is my official Frownies review: My forehead is perfectly smooth in the morning, no joke. It’s noticeable enough that my husband is showing interest in wearing them. The effects do start to wear off throughout the day because I’m a very expressive person. I’ve read that if you use them nightly for a few months, you can start to wear them less often for maintenance. I’m excited to keep trying!
Add a Retinol to Your Midlife Skincare Routine
Midlife women should consider using retinol in their skincare routine because it is an effective anti-aging ingredient that can help address many of the common signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.
Retinol works by increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen production, and improving skin texture and elasticity.
It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the frequency of use over time to avoid any potential irritation or sensitivity. It’s also important to always use broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day, as retinol can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Good thing it’s in our AM moisturizer, right?
My retinol of choice is Differin. That’s right, the same Differin teens use to clear up their acne. It also happens to be great at treating fine lines and smoothing out skin texture.
If you have deeper wrinkles or need something a little stronger, you will want to get a prescription from your doctor. If you want to dip your toes into the retinoid world, or you have very fine lines, Differin will work just fine.
Skincare Routines in Your 40s End with Moisturizer
Moisturizing at night can help to lock in hydration and support your skin’s natural regeneration process, which typically occurs while you sleep. During this time, your skin works to repair itself, and applying a moisturizer can help to support this process and enhance its effects.
CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion is fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types, making it a versatile and reliable option for anyone looking to add an evening moisturizer to their skincare routine.
I’ve recently started to notice some looser, thinner skin on my neck and hands. It’s getting a bit “crepey” if you know what I mean. I just discovered Gold Bond Crepe Corrector and I’m going to be putting that all over my neck, chest, and hands. They claim 82% of users had noticeable improvements. Sounds good to me! You can find this product online and at your local drugstore. Definitely worth trying if this is a concern for you, too.
Should You Use Eye Cream?
I do not use eye cream because they tend to cause little milia (bumps) in my undereye skin and my skin always tends to have a reaction to the ingredients.
If that’s not a concern for you, carry on. There are plenty of benefits to using an eye cream. They can help to smooth the skin around the eyes, as well as reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.
You can’t just use your facial moisturizer under your eyes because the skin there is too delicate. Make sure whatever you are applying you are using your ring finger and gently tapping the product onto the skin.
Final Thoughts on a Skin Care Routine in Your 40s
A skincare routine in your 40s doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. With a simple and effective skincare routine, you can nourish your skin and boost your confidence.
By incorporating gentle cleansers, hydrating moisturizers, and targeted treatments like vitamin C and retinol, you can address common skin concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture.
And the best part? With consistency and dedication, you can start to see real, tangible results. So don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your skin. You deserve to feel confident and naturally beautiful at every age…no Botox needed!
Before you leave, if you’re wondering about a simple and affordable makeup routine, I’ve got you covered in a different post.
Over to you- what are some affordable skin care products that you love? Have you seen great results? Let me know in the comments!