So now you’ve made it into your 40s and your skin is changing. I am guessing you aren’t happy with the changes or you wouldn’t be here.

Fear not! You can bring those changes to a halt without having to drain your bank account in the process.

You can get your glowing, youthful complexion back with products that are $20 or less. You just have to know what to look for.

So that’s what you will learn how to do in this post.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Basics For Morningbasic skincare products photo by karolina grabowska

You will have two separate routines for morning and night. But don’t worry, you don’t have buy completely different products for each routine!

For each you will cleanse, tone, treat, moisturize, and apply eye cream. During the day, you also apply SPF. 

When applying products, you always go thinnest to thickest. So if your eye cream is thinner than your moisturizer, you apply it first, then moisturize.

The first step is cleansing your skin. 

You use a gentle cleanser that will wash away all the dirt, oil, and impurities but won’t strip your skin of its natural moisture. There are several affordable and effective cleansers on the market, but the ones I can attest to and use for myself are what I recommend.

1. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Facial Cleanser – This cleanser has niacinamide and retinol, so not only does it cleanse your skin but also will work on deep wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s feet, dark circles, and uneven skin tone. It’s also great for removing long wear makeup.

2. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser– With hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin, this cleanser is giving you 24 hours of hydration while you wash your face. The ceramides will help maintain your skin’s barrier. It’s an excellent face wash for any type of skin. Even sensitive skin. 

The second step is to tone your skin.

There are several reasons for you to include a toner in your routine, such as hydrating the skin, shrinking your pores, helping cell turnover, and exfoliation.

If you’re like me and want one that does it all, then L’Oreal Paris Revitalift 5% Glycolic Acid Toner is the toner you’re looking for. The glycolic acid exfoliates and increases cell turnover, while also helping shrink the size of your pores. For hydration, it has aloe added.

And it’s gentle enough to be used daily.

The third step is your antioxidant serum.

Antioxidants protect against free radicals. Free radicals, such as UV rays, toxins, and pollution, speed up the aging process.

You can use antioxidant serums during the day or night, but the daytime is when your skin is mostly bombarded by the environment. Plus, I have an even better suggestion for your skin at night further down this post.

Vitamin C is one of the most studied antioxidants and proven to work, so it’s what I use. More specifically, I use CeraVe Vitamin C Serum because it has 10% pure vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides to brighten, hydrate, fight free radicals, and protect my skin barrier.

Vitamin C also promotes the production of collagen. 

Learn other ways to promote collagen production here.

The fourth step is moisturizing.

Even if you have oily skin, moisture is important. If your skin gets too dry, the more prone to wrinkles it will become. 

Moisturizers help by hydrating the skin, keeping it plump and supple. They also help protect your skin’s moisture barrier.

During the day, you want to wear a light moisturizer with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin that will attract and seal in moisture.

Also, if you’re on an extremely tight budget, you can combine your moisturizer and SPF with a moisturizer like CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30It has all the ingredients your skin needs to keep it hydrated during the day and protect it from the sun’s damaging rays.

I also like the hydration that Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF 25  provides, but you will need more sun protection if you choose this one. An SPF of 30 or above is recommended.

If you’re like me and want to use a separate moisturizer and SPF, then e.l.f. Skin Holy Hydration! is the moisturizer you should use. Its ingredients include hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalane, and vitamin B5 to hydrate, minimize pores, even out skin tone, promote elasticity, and soothe your skin.

The fifth step is eye cream

If your eye cream is thinner than your moisturizer, then you will put it on before your moisturizer. If you use CeraVe Skin Renewing Eye Creamand I do, then you will put it on after your moisturizer because it’s pretty thick.

lady squeezing sunscreen into her hand

Caffeine, hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacinamide, and ceramides to hydrate, smooth, firm, brighten, protect the skin barrier, and reduce dark circles and puffiness.

The sixth step is SPF.

If you don’t use a moisturizer with SPF added, do not skip this step! The sun causes the most damage to skin. So protecting it is non-negotiable.

You need to use an SPF of 30 or higher to get the best protection from the sun.

The best one to wear under makeup is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion. It’s lightweight, fast absorbing, and not greasy.

Night Routine

My night routine consists of cleansing, retinoid, moisturizer, eye cream, and night mask (sometimes). However. if you choose, you can still include the first 3 steps of your morning routine.

Regardless, I would include retinol in the routine. It is known as the “Holy Grail” because of its anti-aging capabilities. 

The benefits of including retinol in your routine include reduced fine lines and wrinkles, improved skin tone and texture, it shrinks and unclogs pores, and boosts radiance.

If you have never used retinol before, you’ll want to start slow because it can cause irritation.

Once your skin is used to using retinol, you can make even more improvement in your skin with tretinoin. Tretinoin does the same as retinol. It’s just stronger and works faster.

Get started for $5 with Dermatica!

Moisturizer and eye cream 

You can use the same eye cream from your morning routine, but at night you’ll use a heavier moisturizer.

Why should you use a heavy moisturizer at night? 

Because our night your skin goes into repair mode. By using a richer moisturizer, it will provide extra nourishment during the critical skin renewal time.

A heavier moisturizer will also slow water loss. Our skin loses more moisture as we sleep, but using a heavy moisturizer will slow the water loss, preventing dehydration and dryness.

There’s also more time at night for a rich moisturizer to absorb.

So, which budget night cream should you use? I have 2 choices for you.

First, RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Restoring/Anti-Aging Facial Night Cream is made to enhance your skin’s night time repairing process. It also contains their breakthrough Hexinol technology for improving dark spots and firming and hydrating your skin.

The other night cream is CeraVe Skin Renewing Night CreamIts Peptide Complex will fade the look of fine lines and wrinkles, while boosting your skin’s elasticity. 

While hyaluronic acid is softening and hydrating your skin, the ceramides are restoring and maintaining your skin’s barrier.

Treat your skin with a masklady sitting on couch putting on face mask/photo by cottonbro studio

Give your skin some extra TLC by treating it with a mask a couple of times a week. There are several benefits to using a face mask, depending on which masks you choose.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on these either.

  • Clay masks can help absorb excess oil and deep clean pores, preventing breakouts that can lead to acne scarring and hyperpigmentation. The minerals in clay may also have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness.
  • Hydrating masks with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides can hydrate and plump up fine lines and wrinkles, providing a temporary smoothing effect. Over time, proper hydration can improve skin’s elasticity.
  • Exfoliating masks with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid can remove dead skin cells. This helps with cell turnover to reveal brighter, smoother skin and allows other topical treatments to better penetrate.
  • Sheet masks, especially those with anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, peptides, stem cells can help nourish skin and neutralize free radicals that damage collagen. This can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness.
  • Overnight/sleeping masks give ingredients more time to work. Ingredients like retinol can stimulate collagen production while antioxidants protect skin overnight.

One of my favorite masks to use is a probiotic mask, and you can it for less than 5 bucks at Walmart.

It’s plain Greek yogurt. You apply it to your clean face. Leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse. 

Probiotics make an excellent anti-aging skincare ingredient. Learn more about probiotics here.

Learn how to make other homemade masks here.

Do you have a favorite budget skincare product? Let me know in the comments below!

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