Getting older can bring on a lot of changes, some of them pretty good. Increased confidence, life experience and self-knowledge among them. It can also bring about a few less than pleasant changes to our appearance.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite budget beauty heroes to manage some of those changes but without breaking the bank. My personal approach is to invest in a handful of products that are more high end and supplement them with less expensive ones.
What I’ve rounded up here doesn’t just work for women over 40 and can be used by folks at any age. However, they tend to work especially well for some issues that more mature women tend to experience. For example, I blogged about how purple shampoos are excellent for keeping blonde and highlighted hair free of brassy tones, but did you know they’re also wonderful for keeping grey and white hair sparkling and bright?
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Here are my favorite essential budget beauty buys for women over 40!
Dark circles unfortunately aren’t something just older women experience, but they do tend to be exacerbated by aging. While there isn’t much you can do to get rid of them completely, the LA Girl peach color corrector goes a long way towards minimizing them, without spending a lot. How to use: pat on and blend out a thin layer, then apply and blend out a thin layer of my favorite undereye concealer on top (I like to do this using a Beauty Blender). The peach color neutralizes darker and bluish tones so you won’t need to cake on concealer. For those with darker skin tones, use the orange corrector to neutralize unwanted dark circles. ($4.99, Ulta or Walmart)
One skin concern that women often grapple with as they get older is hyperpigmentation and dark spots. While sunscreen helps to minimize this, often the best solution is lavishing your skin with antioxidants. My favorite serum, Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum, is definitely an investment buy at $118 for a 30 ml bottle that lasts me 6 months with daily use. However, pairing any vitamin C serum with The Ordinary’s Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% serum will boost its efficacy so much. Just add a few drops to your serum, mix together and apply as usual. You’ll notice brighter and more even-toned skin in a couple of weeks. It’s often out of stock because it’s such a high quality budget buy, so I highly recommend signing up for an email when it’s back in, then snapping some up immediately. ($7.90, via Sephora or Ulta)
For a quality budget Vitamin C serum, K-beauty superstar brand Klair’s comes through with its Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drops. Another great way to maximize your vitamin C serum? Use a face pack at night a few times a week with vitamin E, which pairs exceptionally well with vitamin C. The Klair’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask is my favorite and especially formulated to work best with their serum. ($23 via Ulta)
Speaking of sunscreen, one of my ride or die’s for the last few years has been Kao Biore Japan Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunblock Spf50+ Pa+++. It absorbs into skin beautifully, without leaving behind greasiness or a white cast, making it ideal for all skin tones. The only downside is the formula contains alcohol, so if your skin is very sensitive, it might react to this product. My skin is mildly sensitive and I’ve been using it for years without any problems, and I’ve also found that it’s not drying on my skin. ($15.44, via Amazon)
If you haven’t incorporated a retinol into your skincare routine, start now. They’re among the most effective skin care warriors out there, with the ability to smooth wrinkles, even tone and minimize pores. While they can wildly vary in price, the RoC Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is widely considered to be probably the single best bang for your buck option out there. ($17.95, via Walmart)
New to retinol? Starting off slowly and letting your skin build up a tolerance to this powerful skincare ingredient is essential. Alternate nights, initially apply a thin and even layer to a completely dry face 2-3 times a week. To best prepare skin for retinol a few days in advance, and to add a few drops in to the retinol as a buffer, The Ordinary comes through again with its Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum. ($5.90 via Ulta) or Sephora)
A good quality and highly emollient night cream is an essential last step in an evening skincare routine to not only add extra needed moisture, but also to seal in the serums and other steps that you’ve applied prior. Luckily the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Moisturizing Night Cream for Sensitive Skin is not only one of the best night creams on the market, it’s also ideal for even the most sensitive skin and comes in at a budget-friendly price. ($29.99 via Walgreens)
We’ve all been there: a late night where the simplest skincare routine is out of the question and even washing your face seems like a monumental task. This is where Cetaphil Gentle Makeup Removing Wipes come in. Gentle but effective, keep a pack in your nightstand to make sure you wake up with a fresh face and a clean pillowcase. ($6.19 via Walmart)
Taking care of the skin on your body is just as important as caring for the skin on your face. Cetaphil Ultra-Healing Lotion with Ceramides has loads of skin-loving ingredients to hydrate and smooth and is formulated without parabens, fragrance or gluten. ($16.97 via Walmart)
Let’s not forget about our neck and chest! Powerhouse product Roc Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest Neck & Face Cream with SPF 30 firms and protects throughout the day. ($22 via Amazon)
If you’ve made the choice to go au naturel with your grey or white hair and have decided to stop dyeing it, a purple shampoo will be your best friend to banish yellow and brassy tones that can creep in. L’Oreal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Sulfate Free Shampoo is an excellent budget option that’s also gentle on your hair and scalp with no sulfates or harsh surfactants that can strip natural moisture. Don’t forget to pair with purple conditioner and leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing for maximum efficacy. ($6.72 via Walmart)
A longtime favorite body wash, OGX Ultra Moisture Body Wash Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil not only whips into a rich lather and cleans skin without stripping moisture, it leaves me feeling soft and silky. And the scent reminds me of spending the day at the beach. ($9.29 via Walmart)
Gel moisturizers are one of my favorite ways to prep skin before primer and makeup to make sure skin stays plump and hydrated but without makeup sliding off. Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Water Gel is an ideal budget choice, and the Gel Cream is perfect for those with drier skin who still want moisturized skin for the day without heavy emollients. ($16.97 via Walmart)
So many of us will lavish attention on our faces with multi-step skincare routines, but neglect our hands. I blogged about the importance of taking care of our hands, and O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream came out one of the clear winners to keep hands soft. One trick I like to use to help keep hands young and liver fade liver spots: rub a few drops of vitamin C serum on the tops of hands, give it a minute to absorb a bit, then seal in with hand cream. Try it! ($5.56 via Walmart)
Do you have any budget beauty heroes for mature women that I’ve left out? Share with us in the comments below!