The One Skincare Product You Need to Get Through Your 40s

Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir of Forever35 are definitely over 40, which means you can trust their skin secrets for real now.

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You know how sometimes you read an article about someone's skincare routine and you're like, okay but you're 25 and your skin is perfect so it literally does not matter what you put on your face? Yeah, this is not that article. This is, actually, a column about beauty and skincare from the perspective of two forty-something women who have strong opinions about many things, but especially about the creams, serums, lotions and potions we put on our faces and bodies as we get older.

We're Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer, the hosts of Forever35, a podcast about the things we do to take care of ourselves. Welcome to the first installment of The New Age. Twice a month, we'll take you on this journey with us as we explore the important beauty questions, such as: What products don't work for us anymore now that we're over 40, and what products do we suddenly, absolutely need? What is the deal with that gadget every TikTok beauty influencer is using? Am I too old to wear bright orange lipstick? (NO. But we will say it in more words, because this is a column.)

For this first installment, we each chose the one skincare product we wouldn't want to go through our forties without.

The One Skincare Product I Need to Get Through My 40s
Doree Shafrir, left, and Kate Spencer. Diana Ragland

Kate Spencer, 42, thinks drinking a lot of water can fix (almost) anything. Her next book is a romantic comedy called In a New York Minute, out in March 2022.

There are so many wonderful products to choose from, that truthfully, I wouldn't want to live without any of them. I dare you to try to pry this retinol out of my hands! To just pick one is the ultimate challenge, and yet for me, it was a decision that was easy to make.

You need a good moisturizer.

Basic? Sure. Boring? Maybe. Absolutely necessary? Always.

When I say "good moisturizer" what I mean is this: a cream that works for you and your skin. It should feel luxurious going on, like that first moment a masseuse lays their hand on your back. And it should also give you the oomph your skin needs. It should hydrate, sooth, balance, plump and nourish. But above all — I personally believe that you should enjoy using it, and relish the sensation of putting it on your face. Otherwise, what's the point of any of this?

Now lest you'd think I'd lead you down some vague path where you must choose your own moisturizer, please, rest easy. I've got a hot tip for you, a cream that works wonders. I am obsessed with everything about it: the ingredients, the price, and the philosophy behind it. Allow me introduce you to SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream.

Skinfix's focus is the skin barrier, and they strive to make their products accessible to even the most sensitive skin. They work with an independent panel of dermatologists that reviews their products. And they're cruelty free and environmentally focused, with cardboard packaging made from recycled materials, and sustainable, ECOCERT-certified ingredients.

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Buy now: $50,

And this cream. Oh, this cream! It's packed with lipids to repair and protect the skin and peptides for collagen production. Plus hyaluronic acid, which is masterful at helping the skin retain moisture. My skin appears more plump and supple, and is definitely softer thanks to this stuff. It's rich and smooth going on and soaks right in, with no noticeable scent. It calms irritated skin, and has cured every dry patch on my face. I pat it on at night, and I am literally dewy and glowing in the morning.

I also wear it during the day, because I truly can't get enough of this stuff. 1.7 ml will set you back $50, which is a good chunk of change, to be sure. But I have tested a lot of moisturizers on my face, and this one performs better than products three times its price. Do yourself a favor and slather it on. Your skin will thank you.

Doree Shafrir, 44, never leaves the house without a sun-hat. Thanks for Waiting, her new memoir about being a late bloomer, is out June 29.

I first learned about Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10, as it's commonly referred to) when I was undergoing fertility treatments. Before my egg retrieval, my doctor had told me to take this supplement called CoQ10 because it was supposed to help with egg quality, and when I did a little research on it, I learned that CoQ10 is a nutrient that's already in our bodies, but taking more of it has been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure, and it's also sometimes used to treat heart conditions (and, apparently, try to improve egg quality). When I went searching for some supplements, though, one of the suggested search terms was "CoQ10 serum." Serum? I wondered. Like… for your face?

The One Skincare Product I Need to Get Through My 40s
Diana Ragland

For your face, indeed. It turns out that CoQ10, in the last few years, has become something of a trendy ingredient to put in serums and moisturizers. I didn't know that, though, when I clicked "buy" on a CoQ10 serum made by Timeless Skin Care, a company that focuses on just a few products and does them all really, really well. With only six serums, a "pure" line of three individual ingredients (hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and squalane), two eye creams, and a hydrating spray, the brand focuses on high concentrations of certain ingredients that they test rigorously (including a dupe for Skinceuticals C+E Ferulic), and they're committed to offering them at an accessible price point. And indeed, this serum is relatively affordable ($18.99 for 1 oz. at Target no less), at least compared to some of the pricier serums in my repertoire. I figured it couldn't hurt — worst case, my skin would hate it and I would move on.

That most emphatically did not happen, and five years later, I can report that the Timeless Coenzyme Q10 Serum is officially my ride-or-die, my holy grail, my serum I would save if my house was burning down. (Okay, that might have taken it too far.) It smooths out my skin. It gives me a glow. It also has Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that tells your cells to produce more collagen, and hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin retain moisture, and it's cruelty-free. It's the perfect serum for skin that may be losing some of its elasticity, as skin at my age is wont to do. This serum does it all. If you haven't added it to your cart yet, seriously, what are you waiting for?

And there you have it, your first dose of skincare real talk for The New Age. If there are products you want us to try or aging-skin quandaries you need a not-twentysomething to unpack for you, email us at And if you want more skincare talk and other fun chit-chat check out Forever35 wherever you listen to podcasts!

This is the Glow Up, an examination of the most popular cosmetic procedures and products today, using survey data straight from readers like you.

Updated by Kate Spencer
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