The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Anti-Aging Skincare Routine

If you’ve Googled, saw eight hundred serums, and closed your browser in terror, we got you.
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated Dec, 2022
The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Anti-Aging Skincare Routine

It’s hard to Internet research anti-aging skincare and not be met with a lot of conflicting and stressful advice. But you know you want to start. Anti-aging might’ve not seemed important in your 20s, but in your 30s and beyond, you probably have started to see signs of decreased collagen, skin laxity, and, oof, those pesky wrinkles—which is why you even thought to look for an anti-aging skincare routine in the first place.

Since anti-aging is one of the primary focuses of skincare and there are so many different products available, it’s challenging to know where to start. Should you use retinol? Double-cleanse? What about professional treatments?

If you’re new to the anti-aging segment of skincare, welcome—here’s your beginner’s guide to starting an anti-aging skincare routine.

When Should You Start?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to when you start developing an anti-aging skincare regimen. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to start in your 20s.

Yes, it seems early, and if you missed the boat, don’t panic—it’s never too late to start an anti-aging practice to protect your skin.

Here’s a brief snapshot of what your anti-aging skincare routine should entail for each decade:

In your 20s

In your 20s

Start using eye cream as early as age 20 and use a good vitamin C serum to help prevent sun damage (and sunscreen, of course!)

In your 30s

In your 30s

Start using retinol and incorporate alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) into your routine to encourage cellular turnover and combat the effects of reduced collagen.

In your 40s

In your 40s

Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides to keep skin looking bouncy and youthful while continuing to use retinol, eye cream, and AHA serums or masks.

In your 50s

In your 50s

Focus on your neck with a separate neck cream that can help reduce wrinkles and keep skin looking firm and youthful. Your 50s is also a great time to amp up your serum game with an anti-aging serum.

In your 60s and beyond

In your 60s and beyond

Consider professional treatments for stubborn wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or rough skin that doesn’t respond to OTC products. You can also start using face oil to protect your skin barrier and maintain a healthy glow.

What Products Should You Look for?

What Products Should You Look for?

Anti-aging skincare products reduce wrinkles, promote collagen production and help your skin glow at any age. However, not all products are created equal. Different ingredients, formulas, and concentrations provide various benefits.

So, what should you look for when starting an anti-aging skincare routine? Look for products that:

  • Are designed for your skin type 

These will ensure the best chance of success with a particular product and minimize any reactions or harm to your skin.

  • Contain potent anti-aging ingredients

Some of the best include vitamin C, retinoids, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, ceramides, and peptides

  • Tackle your biggest concerns 

Do you struggle with hyperpigmentation, skin texture, or wrinkles? Looking for products designed to tackle your biggest concerns can help you see the most benefits. 

  • You will actually use 

We all get excited about a new product and want to try it out. But consider products that align with your goals and that you will realistically use every day—consistency is key when it comes to an effective anti-aging skincare regimen.

Getting Started With a Routine

Keep your routine simple at first—it’s the best way to commit to a skincare regimen and ensure you stay consistent. So even if you only use eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen at first, stick with it. You can always build up your routine as you go.

A sample anti-aging skincare routine might look like:

Step 1: Cleanse


Always use a gentle cleanser and one that’s designed for your skin type. If a cleanser makes your skin feel dry, tight, or itchy after you use it, that’s not the cleanser for you.

Step 2: Tone, Mask, or Exfoliate

Tone, Mask or Exfoliate

Not everyone will need to use a toner, but toner can be particularly beneficial for oily skin types or those struggling with breakouts. If you’re using a face mask or exfoliator, use it at this step while your skin is free of other products.

Step 3: Serum


Serums can be a game-changer for your anti-aging skincare routine because they contain targeted ingredients such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, or antioxidants. That can fight signs of skin aging.

Step 4: Moisturize


Even if your skin is oily, you should still moisturize it. If you have particularly rough or dry skin, look for a cream instead of a lotion. They are thicker and tend to contain more potent ingredients to protect the skin. If you decide to use a face oil, which can be an excellent way to give your skin an instant glow and protect your skin barrier. You can use it after your moisturizer in this step.

Step 5 (Morning): Sunscreen


Sunscreen is arguably the most important product in your anti-aging regimen because it helps prevent age-related damage from the sun. The sun accelerates skin aging, quickening collagen degeneration and causing hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and skin laxity

Step 5 (Evening): Retinol

If you’re using a retinol cream, make it one of the last steps in your skincare routine, and always use it at night. Since retinol can increase sun sensitivity, it’s crucial to use sunscreen in the morning to protect the skin from potential damage.

How to Reap the Most Benefits

How to Reap the Most Benefits?

Anti-aging skincare products aren’t cheap, and a routine takes commitment to maintain. So, of course, you want to reap the most benefits from your efforts. How can you enhance the effects of your anti-aging skincare routine?

Keep Exfoliating

Exfoliating is underrated. But it can help keep skin looking fresh and encourage the natural process of cellular turnover to show those healthy new skin cells to the world. Depending on the product, exfoliate at least once a week.

Pat Your Products In

You should always be patting products into your skin rather than rubbing your skin or pulling at it. It may exacerbate skin laxity and wrinkles.

Consider “extras.” 

A weekly face mask, a monthly facial, or a professional treatment such as a chemical peel can go a long way in your anti-aging skincare routine—plus, who doesn’t need some pampering now and then?

Discover Your Skin Type Now!

Don’t know YOUR skin type? Find out now by taking our free quiz. It’ll get you on your way to developing the best anti-aging skincare routine for your particular skin type. And you can have your healthiest skin all year long.

your true skin type?

Gain insight into your skin type for your clearest complexion yet! Get ready to sparkle like there’s no tomorrow.

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