This Is the Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine, According to an Expert

Low effort, high reward.

By Langa Chinyoka

I’ve been fascinated with finding the best anti-aging skincare routine for years. From the first time I examined my burgeoning forehead creases in the mirror, I was hooked on products that could turn back the clock on my skin. The journey saw me leaning into whichever trends the skincare experts on my social media feeds were touting. (It all started with exfoliating acids, then I quickly turned to retinol night creams.) Now, I’ve incorporated a little bit of everything into my skincare routine. What I’ve realized? It’s not one single product that will transform your skin. Rather, it’s crafting the best anti-aging skincare routine to prevent fine lines, promote collagen, and repair blemishes. All at once.

I’m no minimalist—my overflowing vanity can attest to that. I’ve even started keeping my spare skincare products in one of the extra drawers in my kitchen. Some call it an obsession, I call it my Carrie Bradshaw era. If she can keep sweaters in her oven, I can keep extra serums on my snack shelf. But despite my passion for trying all the latest skincare products, I do have fantasies about being the kind of person with an unchanging, simple skincare routine. Could you imagine? Just one shelf in a bathroom cabinet dedicated to a matching set of bottles from one brand. While I’m far from reaching that goal, I try to edit my routine based on my skincare goals.

Feature image by Divina Stennfeld.

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Right now, I’m curating a line-up of anti-aging products that support my deep-dive into preventative skincare. I’ve learned the value of finding ingredients that stimulate cell turnover and collagen production. Suffice to say, I’m fully obsessed. These ingredients help repair signs of aging, as well as hyperpigmentation and acne. Win-win.

Designing that routine doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your skincare. With all the exciting glow-promoting products out there, you can incorporate an anti-aging element into every product you use. To get even more product recommendations to fuel my obsessions, I spoke to Brian Nourian, co-founder of Le Jolie Medi Spa in Los Angeles about all things age-defying skincare—plus everything to help you create the best anti-aging skincare routine for you.

When should you start an anti-aging skincare routine?

After the age of about 20, you lose 1% of your collagen reserves per year. You can even lose more with frequent, unprotected sun exposure as well as lifestyle factors like diet, sleep, and stress. In short, it’s us and our collagen in a race against time. Nourian is adamant about preventative skincare, and emphasizes that the right time to start an anti-aging skincare routine was yesterday.

“It’s never too early to begin taking care of your skin. Especially when you start wearing makeup and taking it on and off, your pores get clogged and your skin gets very dehydrated. Additionally, external factors such as environment and hormones affect people’s skin barriers, making anti-aging skincare routines essential.”

What ingredients should someone be looking for in an anti-aging routine?

According to Nourian, the best anti-aging skincare routine should include a combination of actives, which stimulate cell turnover and address common anti-aging concerns like fine lines and sunspots. We should also keep an eye out for nourishing ingredients which keep moisture in your skin and replenish and restore your skin barrier.

Nourian’s must-have ingredients checklist includes:

  • vitamin C
  • hyaluronic acid
  • peptides
  • retinoids
  • glycolic acid
  • niacinamide
  • growth factors.
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What types of products are a must for the best anti-aging skincare routine?

One of the basic rules of any skincare routine is to use products that are both appropriate for your specific skin type and targeted for your skin concerns. Tailor your routine to what your skin needs and how it reacts. For the best anti-aging skincare routine, you don’t need a ton of products—but you do need to choose them carefully.

Nourian says that it’s best to start simple. Begin with “a cleanser, exfoliator weekly, apply a facial serum, moisturize with your specific skin type in mind, use a targeted eye cream, and ease into using a retinol product twice a week depending on how your skin reacts.”

In what order should you apply anti-aging products?

“Cleanser should always be the first step in your regime in order to clean any excess dirt or makeup and make sure your pores are clean before applying products to your face,” says Nourian. “After cleansing, you should put your facial serum on, then moisturizer, eye cream, and finish with sunscreen. For your nighttime routine, the order should be a cleanser, serum, retinol, then moisturizer.”

This proves that crafting the best anti-aging skincare routine doesn’t have to be overly complex. If you consistently and intentionally care for your skin, all you have to do is choose the right products and you’ll age effortlessly. Read on for some of Nourian’s favorite products to boost your anti-aging routine and help you keep your youthful glow.

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To support you in selecting the perfect products to craft your routine, Brian Nourian shared his picks. Read on for Nourian’s suggestions and a few more beauty editor selects to curate an anti-aging routine that prevents damage from the sun or environmental stressors, stimulates collagen production, and helps reverse signs of aging.

First, a cleanser that won’t strip your skin. Pick one that provides a burst of hydration to start your day.

IS Clinical Cleansing Complex

Nourian recommends starting your day with this fan-favorite cleanser, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s both gentle and clarifying, making it suitable for all skin types. Willow bark gently exfoliates while antioxidants heal and prevent skin damage from the environment and free radicals.

IS Clinical Cleansing Complex, $45

Shani Darden Cleansing Serum

This soothing cleanser is filled with so many good ingredients you’ll never go back. It’s the ultimate instant pick-me-up, making your skin visibly clearer on first use, while also packing your skin with replenishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and oat bran extract to promote moisture and a healthy skin barrier.

Shani Darden Cleansing Serum, $38

Choose a serum to pack your routine with antioxidants that will repair and protect your skin.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

This is one of the most beloved serums for a reason. Nourian recommends it for your anti-aging line-up since it pretty much does everything. The potent concentration of vitamin C brightens, promotes cell turnover, and is clinically proven to reduce combined oxidative damage from free radicals. It’s pricey, but worth the investment for a universal holy grail.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, $169

Klur Brilliant Light Multi-Correctional Repair Serum

Klur’s reparative serum is a plant-powered blend of skin-strengthening ingredients. It contains a potent mix of 20% bioavailable vitamin C with natural oils and hyaluronic acid. The result is one of my favorite serums for pretty much any skin concern.

Klur Brilliant Light Multi-Correctional Repair Serum, $88

best anti-aging skincare routine

Next, an eye cream to protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

Susanne Kaufmann Eye Cream Line A

The area around your eyes is the most delicate skin on your face, so preventative skincare is a must. Nourian recommends this luxe eye cream filled with silk proteins to deeply moisturize plus powerful antioxidants to nourish and protect. It works instantly to reduce puffiness, while also decreasing fine lines and slowing signs of aging.

Susanne Kaufmann Eye Cream Line A, $205.50

Youth To The People Superfood Hydrate + Firm Peptide Eye Cream

When it comes to your eyes, opt for products with soothing ingredients. Youth To The People uses superfoods to supply your skin with all the good stuff. This eye cream combines the superfood blend with firming peptides and gentle, calming agents like aloe and sunflower oil to kill fine lines with kindness.

Youth To The People Superfood Hydrate + Firm Peptide Eye Cream, $35

When it comes to your retinol journey, the earlier you start, the better.

Cosmedix Define Age-Defying Treatment

Adding retinol night creams to your rotation is one of the best ways to fight against signs of aging. Retinol increases cell turnover to promote collagen production and buff away imperfections like fine lines and sunspots. This one from Cosmedix combines retinol with exfoliating AHAs for a transformative effect on your skin.

Cosmedix Define Age-Defying Treatment, $88

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Facial Moisturizer

This drugstore retinol gives you all the benefits of vitamin A at a more accessible price point. Its gentle formula balances the efficacy of retinol with a deeply hydrating cream. Slather it on a few nights a week to lock in 24 hours of deep hydration.

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Facial Moisturizer, $29.99

Don’t forget to (apply and reapply) sunscreen!

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Sunscreen is always a must, but it’s even more crucial if you’re using retinol in your routine. This EltaMD Sunscreen is a holy grail for a reason—and Nourian agrees! You can’t go wrong with its natural zinc oxide formula, non-tacky texture, and hydrating ingredients.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $39

SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34

For a sunscreen that addresses existing signs of aging, this SkinMedica SPF turns back the clock while protecting your skin from further damage. 

SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34, $68