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Developing Your First Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Step-by-Step Skincare for Ages 25 to 35

Here’s how to age gracefully.

When it comes to skincare, it’s never too early to start with a consistent anti-aging routine. Of course, aging is a natural part of life and genetics play a role. However, the way you care for your skin at an early age can make a huge impact on how it looks in the future.

When you’re young, it can be easy to feel invincible. You don’t have to worry about the consequences of staying up late, excessive screen time, and basking in the sun. But, lifestyle choices like these can show up later in life in the form of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Although that’s not to say you can’t enjoy indulgences every once in a while—life is for living, after all!

In my early 20s, I abided by the essential steps. I washed off my makeup, cleansed, moisturized, and used SPF. But I never really thought much about how necessary it would be for my routine to shift as I grew older. Since turning 29 this year, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of ingredients and formulas I’m using to prevent premature aging. If you’re between the ages of 25-35, read on for a few tried-and-true products that may help for an effective skincare routine.

Opt for a Gentle Cleanser

Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser

The first step to skin protection is simple: keep it clean. It’s important to find an effective cleanser that helps your skin get rid of excess oils and makeup without stripping moisture. This one from Summer Fridays does just that while treating it with 11 amino acids. Inside the light green bottle, the clear, lightweight, and pH-balancing formula, helps support skin elasticity, which may naturally decrease over time. Mineral seawater helps calm irritation while Vitamin E and other key ingredients keep your skin hydrated and looking—and feeling—refreshed.

Don’t Forget a Moisturizing Toner

Innisfree Dewy Glow Toner

After cleansing, follow up with a toner, such as this one from Innisfree. It’s made with glow-enhancing Jeju cherry blossom, responsibly sourced from South Korea. Not only does it help clean up remaining oil and dirt after cleansing, it can also tighten pores and create an all-around smoother appearance. Upon aging, skin tends to get drier, so keeping it moisturized is key. To use, soak a cotton pad with the toner and swipe it across your face, neck, and chest, before applying serum and other products.

Count on a Clarifying Liquid

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength 10% PHA Exfoliating Clarifying Liquid

Adult acne can be caused by many factors, from stress to pollution, and even food choices. To lessen the look of blemishes, try a product that exfoliates and clarifies. I’ve been using this one from Peter Thomas Roth for the past few weeks and already started seeing results in more even skin texture. Infused with 10% glucanolactone (PHA), it works hard to improve overall skin tone. It’s also worth noting the product has 5% glycolic acid (AHA) to boost radiance. Additionally, 0.5% salicylic acid (BHA) helps unclog pores (a savior during these face mask-wearing days). The combination of star ingredients makes this mix effective, yet gentle enough for everyday use.

Bring on the Vitamin C

FEMMUE Lumière Vital C Serum

In your 30s, collagen production usually starts to decline and you may notice reality set in as the first signs of aging appear. This is the decade where wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth, start to show. For a dose of anti-aging and to prolong youthful-looking skin, add a serum rich in Vitamin C to your routine. This one from K-beauty brand FEMMUE is packed with antioxidants that help even out skin tone, brighten dark spots, and refine texture.

Apply a few drops to your face morning and night and let the smooth hyaluronic acid-filled formula hydrate your skin. Vitamin E and safflower seed oil reduce inflammation, block pollutants, and your skin’s natural radiance. Another perk: the subtle refreshing scent of jasmine and rose (the brand is inspired by the energy of flowers).

Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen

TULA Skincare Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This is a beauty mantra worth repeating: use sunscreen. No matter what period of life you’re in, protecting your skin against ultraviolet rays is a significant part of an effective routine. This probiotic-infused sunscreen from TULA is like a fruit smoothie for your face—with a mix of pineapple and papaya, the lightweight, slightly textured formula has a hint of sheen and helps to keep your skin safe from the damaging effects of sunlight, pollution, and blue light. Even if you’re home most of these days, practicing this step every morning and reapplying every two hours can better your skin now and in the long run.

Invest in an Effective Eye Cream

La Prairie White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire

If you’re looking to splurge on an anti-aging product for your eyes, consider this rich, creamy, ultra-moisturizing one from La Prairie. Yes, it costs a pretty penny ($550, to be exact). However, the benefits are abundant, especially if you’re looking to combat dark under-eye circles—one of the most tell-tale signs of aging. The thick formula includes an illuminating molecule called Lumidose. It’s the most potent inhibitor of tyrosinase (the enzyme responsible for the formation of melanin). Also, golden caviar extract targets dullness and boosts the reflection of light from the skin, leaving it more illuminated. Results are both immediate and long-term, with consistent use.

Like a work of art in itself, the luxurious white and silver jar comes with a ceramic pearl tool, which you can use together with the cream. Starting at the inner corner of your eye, roll the tool around for a cooling, de-puffing massage. Another factor that makes it worth its price tag? You’ll likely need to use less concealer after seeing the difference.

Add Retinol to Your Nightly Routine

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

And of course, with the topic of anti-aging, comes the mention of retinol. For decades, retinol (a form of synthetic Vitamin A) has set the gold standard in skincare for its ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles while boosting collagen production. Between the ages of late 20s to early 30s is usually the best time to start adding retinol into your routine, even if you don’t show signs of aging just yet. This formula from Murad is gentle yet potent and includes niacinamide and picolinamide to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier.

Don’t forget to also apply on your neck and décolletage (two places that can show signs of early aging). Since retinol can be powerful, start slow. Apply it at night once a week for one week to start. Then, build to twice a week for two weeks, until every other night while using a non-retinol daytime moisturizer. Of course, every skin type is different. It’s always helpful to visit your dermatologist to ensure the right retinol strength for you.

Rejuvenate Your Hands With a Renewal Cream

PCA Skin C&E Hand Renewal

Cell turnover decreases not only on our faces as time passes by but on our hands, too. It’s one of our body parts that’s used most often for everyday tasks from washing dishes, typing, cooking—the list can go on and on. Since hands are often exposed to elements like water, aging can happen fast if not properly taken care of. PCA Skin’s C&E Hand Renewal is all about moisturizing and hydrating to keep hands looking youthful and smooth.

Vitamins C and E in this product penetrate effectively to deliver results of more hydrated skin with reduced skin discoloration from UV rays and aging. Other helpful ways you can take care of your hands? Wear gloves while washing dishes, use gentle soaps, and protect them from sun exposure. It’s a balance, but with a little TLC, you can age gracefully.

Wendy Sy

Wendy Sy is a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle writer based in New York City. In addition to her editorial website, Style Meets Story, her work has been featured in Allure, Avenue Magazine, InStyle, and more. When she’s not brainstorming ideas for upcoming articles, you can find her spending countless hours searching for lost treasures at vintage shops. Photo by Sophie Elgort.

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