Navigating anti-aging skincare shelf as a newbie can feel like a trip to the the Upside-Down, in Stranger Things terms. Nothing really makes sense, it’s kind of scary, and there’s a bunch of products made with ingredient names you can’t pronounce. Demogorgon, much? But don’t stress over what should go in your starter kit, because we consulted with a top dermatologist to find out what to stock up on to delay the signs of aging from showing up on your face. Trust, it’s not that different than your regular everyday routine, just maybe a little more retinol and attention to eye cream.
Keep scrolling to find out exactly what you need to shop to ward off fine lines and wrinkles.
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1. Morning — Gentle Cleanser
"Going to bed with a full face of makeup is like begging for a pimple the next day," says Dove Dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba. So while she hopes you had already taken off the makeup from the night before, starting off your day—and your skincare routine—with a gentle cleanser is pretty consistent for everyone.
We Love: Simple Water Boost Micellar Water
Simple | $9
2. Morning — Antioxidant Serum to Protect
"Know that sunscreen, not matter how religious you are about it, is not a complete block," she says. "Rays still get through. When they get through, because it’s not a complete block, we want to be able to neutralize those free radicals that are getting released because UVs are penetrating, and that’s why an antioxidant underneath a sunscreen is key."
So while you’ll always want to wear a SPF, investing in a product with extra antioxidant production is needed in the line-up.
We Love: Caudalie Vine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum
Caudalie | $52
3. Morning — Under-Eye Cream
"If under-eye wrinkles are not your problem but you want to be proactive, take care of that sensitive skin under your eye, which is probably going to be the first signs of aging that you're going to notice that are going to bother you," says Dr. Barba.
We Love: Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb
Belif | $48
4. Morning — Tinted Sunscreen
"Consider a tinted sunscreen if you want a little coverage," says Dr. Barba. "Tinted sunscreens are nice enough that you can get away with that being your sunscreen and your foundation—a little bronzer and you’re done."
We Love: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
It Cosmetics | $38
5. Night — Gentle Cleanser
"If you’re wearing a sunscreen with coverage, you need to make sure it comes off," suggests Dr. Barba. "That’s where a different cleanser comes in."
We Love: Cetaphil Normal to Oily Skin Daily Facial Cleanser
Cetaphil | $10
6. Night — Hydrating Toner
"I like a hydrating toner—alcohol-free toners just to tone and make sure all the residual is off. I look at the cotton, but I don’t get obsessed with rubbing everything off because, especially for darker skin tones, what we actually see on our cotton ball is skin cells that are pigmented and not dirt, so people can cause problems from too much rubbing," says Dr. Barba.
We Love: Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Toner Hydrating
Dickinson's | $6
7. Night — Collagen Stimulators or a Retinoid
Dr. Barba says the gold standard in this case is adding in a retinoid. You can do this effectively with serum or moisturizers.
We Love: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturize With Retinol
Neutrogena | $18
8. Night — Under-Eye Cream
Once again, you'll want to hydrate this delicate, sensitive area.
We Love: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum
Murad | $85
9. Night — Hydrate Lips
Don't forget your lips when you're treating your skin to anti-aging TLC. This means hydrating your pout with a balm or a moisturizing treatment.
We Love: Vaseline Lip Therapy Original Lip Balm
Vaseline | $3
10. Night — Hand Cream
Along with our necks, our hands often get neglecting. Dr. Barba says it's important to hydrate your hands during your nighttime skincare routine, so leave that hand cream by your bedside table.
We Love: Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream
Chantecaille | $78