Experts Reveal The Beauty Products Everyone Over Age 40 Should Have

Is it time to upgrade your regimen?
Iryna Veklich via Getty Images

Aging is a privilege, and it comes with some responsibilities — and if you’re concerned with the health of your skin, adjusting your skin care routine is one of them.

You may see some loss of volume, or more noticeable lines and wrinkles and drier skin. If you’re wondering what you can do to support and complement your skin through the various changes you will experience from age 40 onward, we have some expert suggestions. Read on to find out what products you can add to (or remove from) your skin care and makeup routines.

How your skin changes around the age of 40

“The major changes can be described in two words ― gravity and laxity,” said Dr. Kenneth Mark, a cosmetic dermatologist. “The face begins to sag, resulting in loss of jawline definition, early jowling, loss of volume in the mid-face, and loose skin around the eyelids.”

“People in their 40s experience significant dryness of the skin, so hydration is key,” said Dr. David Kim, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. At this age, deeper lines and wrinkles also start to develop, and collagen production slows down, resulting in decreased facial volume. “These changes occur due to aging and menopause, when you lose the ability to hold on to moisture and lipids to keep your skin hydrated,” Kim explained.

The production of collagen ― an essential part of the skin’s building blocks (together with elastin, fat cells and muscles) that gives the skin a plump appearance ― actually starts decreasing from the age of 25.

Fine lines become more prominent around the eyes, which means some changes may need to be made when it comes to your makeup routine as well, explained Elaina Badro, a celebrity makeup artist.

Eyelids can also become more hooded with age, noted Jamie Greenberg, a celebrity makeup artist. “I often adjust eye looks on clients based on that, too,” Greenberg said. “Skin care and prep is also important, and I always recommend a retinol among other skin care products.”

Of course, hormonal changes can’t be avoided, with perimenopause making an appearance in your early 40s. Discoloration and pigmentation can become more prominent.

“The accumulated sun damage really starts to become apparent — this might include more brown spots, textural irregularities as well as fine lines and wrinkles becoming more pronounced,” said Dr. Carmen Castilla, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

“There is also a decline in the skin’s ability to heal,” Castilla said. “Small scratches or acne that may have not left marks previously are more likely to scar or leave behind lingering dark marks.

Why do these changes happen?

“The onset of perimenopause triggers fluctuations in estrogen, a vital hormone for the production of collagen, and the maintenance of the skin’s barrier,” Castilla explained. “This is what contributes to drier, lax and more thin skin.”

She also noted that lifestyle factors can play a huge role in how the skin ages. If you spend an excessive amount of time in the sun, the damage will accumulate. The same goes for smoking. Genetics, of course, affect how the skin ages as well.

How to update your skin care routine as you age

Adding certain treatments and ingredients to your skin care routine is an important step, and dermatologists suggest that if you haven’t already, you could consider using retinol (another name for vitamin A).

“Vitamin A boosts collagen production, and helps with hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and keeps your skin cells engaged and stimulated,” Kim said. For age spots and pigmentation, pick products with vitamin C, tranexamic acid or licorice root. Castilla explained these ingredients work by “incorporating an antioxidant that can help protect the skin from free radicals and pollution damage.”

Let’s not forget the basics of the routine: moisturizing and sunscreen. You may want to opt for heavier moisturizers to support the skin, which will likely be drier because of a “natural decrease in oil production and weaker skin barrier,” Castilla suggested. And sunscreen will “help prevent UV-induced damage” and “help with hyperpigmentation and keeping the skin healthy, with an even complexion,” Kim said.

Recommended changes in your makeup routine

“It’s important to remember that ‘less is more’ when applying makeup to clients 40-plus,” Badro said. “Too much makeup can actually appear to age the face.”

The makeup artists said their over-40 clients prefer a more natural base ― think light to medium coverage, with lighter products on the face and the eyes. After all, glowing skin can give the illusion of lift and plumpness.

Shimmer can still be used, but more sparingly, as it can accentuate the fine lines and wrinkles. “Keep it on the lid of the eye, versus the crease and brow bone,” Badro said.

Creamy products and proper skin prep are your friend. Moisturizers and primers should be used before foundation, especially those containing hualuronic acid and peptides, said makeup artist Nicole Walmsley.

“The more natural eye looks also help to brighten the face up and lift the eyes a bit,” Greenberg said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t still rock a cat eye past 40, though! One tip I use is making the cat eye wing flick upwards. It has a great lifting effect for the eyes, and individual false lashes are a major game changer.”

Expert-recommended products for women over 40

Antioxidant and hydrating serums

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
“This serum is packed with tranexamic acid and niacinamide to keep your skin bright and even-toned.” — Dr. David Kim, board-certified dermatologist
Caire Beauty Theorem Serum Boost
“A great serum for 40-plus users because it helps to deeply hydrate hormone-depleted skin. It also stimulates hyaluronic acid (HA) production, a key to helping build your skin back up!” — Elaina Badro, celebrity makeup artist


Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF
“This has great coverage, with different shades that suits most skin types and works well into the skin." — Dr. Carmen Castilla, board-certified dermatologist
Lightsaver Activated Mineral Sunscreen SPF 33
“A fantastic sunscreen with a sheer tint and whipped texture that will keep your skin protected throughout the year. It’s also packed with photolyase, which has been shown to help repair UV-induced damage.” — Kim


SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream
“Super hydrating and moisturizing. This cream will keep your skin protected all year around.” — Kim
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer
“This is formulated for dry sensitive skin and helps support the skin barrier.” — Castilla
Chuda Healing Hydrating Cream
“This is great for a deeply hydrating nighttime moisturizer.” — Jamie Greenberg, celebrity makeup artist


Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer
“This is a retinol cream with added moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, so [it] works well with dry, sensitive skin types.” — Castilla
SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex
“This gentle yet effective retinol will keep your skin cells stimulated to produce collagen, and accelerate cellular turnover so you have healthy skin cells at all times,” Kim says. Choose either the 0.5% or 1% strength, according to your needs.


Eau Thermale Avène Milk Cleanser
“This is a creamy cleanser that’s gentle and does not strip skin of natural oils." — Castilla
Neutrogena Acne Wash
“Even for those without acne, the 2% salicylic acid in it is a perfect exfoliator.” — Dr. Kenneth Mark, cosmetic dermatologist

Lip Products

Buxom, Plump Shot Collagen-Infused Lip Serum
“This is a collagen-infused plumping lip serum gloss. It helps to visibly plump [and] smooths and conditions lips. As we age, we tend to lose volume in our lips, and it’s always important to hydrate!” — Badro
Mellow Liquid Lip Paint
“This has a long-wearing creamy formula, which is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. It even comes in 13 shades, and Ι always love a beauty product that Ι don’t have to keep reapplying throughout the day. ‘Auckland’ is also one of my favorite shades.” — Badro

Creamy Contour

Westman Atelier, Face Trace Cream Contour Stick
“This is great if you’re looking for a great contour stick that’s also vegan. Depending on your skin type, this can last up to eight hours. Ι love a good product that keeps me from having to reapply.” — Badro

Creamy Concealer

Kosas Revealer Concealer
“A great hydrating concealer is a must for any makeup bag.The key to using concealer over 40 is to be strategic. It’s not about heavy cover-up. It’s more important to spot-treat and place the product in such a way that it lightly veils imperfections and lifts and brightens where you need it.” — Nicole Walmsley, makeup artist

Eyebrow Pencil

Rare Beauty Brow Harmony Precision Eyebrow Pencil
“Eyebrows tend to thin as we age, and we lose the frame and definition that they help to provide. Finding an eyebrow pencil to enhance and define is essential. The Rare Beauty pencil is a medium-coverage, waterproof formula that can be used to draw featherlike strokes mimicking the natural brow. The attached spoolie brush can be used to shape and finish the desired look.” — Walmsley
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