My Down-to-Earth, Won’t Bust Your Budget Skincare Routine for Your 30s

My Down-to-Earth, Won't Bust Your Budget, Skincare Routine for Your 30sIt wasn’t long after I turned 30 that I noticed them. Were those… fine lines? Crinkles? WRINKLES?

Whatever you call them, they made their first appearance around my eyes.

My skin also began to look duller and less, you know… 18. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation of motherhood or aging or sun damage (or a potent cocktail of all of those things), but my skin didn’t look as healthy as I remembered, and I was ready to do something about it.

Now that I’m in my late 30s, I’ve developed a skincare routine after listening to a few trusted, down-to-earth sources.

I’m definitely not an expert, so consider this more of a friend-to-friend talk about skincare in your 30s rather than the final word on glowing skin.

That said, if you’re looking for a great listen as you learn more about skincare, I highly recommend 10 Things To Tell You’s podcast episode with Jamie Golden as she talks all things skincare.

A final note before we dive in – my Midwestern sensibilities have limited the skincare products I use to ones that:

  1. You can easily find at the store
  2. Last a long time
  3. Don’t require a second mortgage to afford

Without further ado, check out my morning and evening skincare routines:

In the morning

Morning Skincare Routine

  1. Cleanse | Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil is the gold standard of inexpensive facial cleansers. There’s a reason it’s been around forever.

I’ve used Cetaphil for years, in various ages and stages of life, and through it all – it’s still worked great. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, but never stripped dry. A single bottle lasts me about six months.

  1. Treat/Prevent Breakouts | Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment

As I’ve hit my 30s, my skin is far less oily than it was through my teens and 20s. Still, if my diet is too sugary or at certain points in the month, I can still experience a breakout. A thin layer of this salicylic acid-based product on a problem area works wonders. I replace this product about once a year.

  1. Moisturize + Protect | CeraVe AM Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30

When I struggled with oily skin, I was highly skeptical of using a moisturizer, assuming it would increase my issues with breakouts. Instead, as my skin is evenly hydrated, it’s less reactive to the environment, and in fact, less prone to breakouts.

The key is to look for a product that is labeled non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores).

You also want to look for a moisturizer that includes two additional key ingredients: niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.

  • Niacinamide will help brighten your skin tone, protect your skin, and minimize pores.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps skin look smoother, brighter, and reduces the look of fine lines.

As most skin damage is caused by the sun – plus, hello, skin cancer- you’ve just got to wear sunscreen every day. Whether it’s built into your moisturizer, or something you add over the top, the healthiest thing you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen (30+ SPF).

CeraVe has all the ingredients I’m looking for, while not causing my sensitive skin to react. I go through a bottle about 3x/year.

  1. Brighten | CeraVe Eye Repair Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness

I have naturally dark circles under my eyes. Add in the sleep deprivation of parenting + a fondness salty tortilla chips, and I occasionally need eye cream! If I notice my under eyes are looking dark or puffy, I’ll pat a tiny amount of this eye cream on before I start my day. A little goes a long way, and I haven’t used up my initial bottle yet.

In the evening

Evening Skincare Routine

  1. Cleanse | Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Yes, even if I’m dead tired.

  1. Tone | T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Astringent

Toner helps even out skin tone over time but also is effective at providing a deep cleaning, especially if you’re removing makeup. I put mine on a cotton pad and gently wipe my face and neck. This stuff lasts forever.

If you’re scent-conscious, it does have a bit of a weird smell, but it doesn’t linger.

  1. Exfoliate | Pixi By Petra Glow Peel Advanced Exfoliating Pads

This product is new to me, and was a bit of a splurge (by my standards) that I bought with a gift card.  However, I only exfoliate 1-2x a week, and I’ve been wanting to try out a chemical exfoliant, which doesn’t use beads or walnut shells to exfoliate your skin. Physical exfoliants, like the St. Ives apricot scrub, have been known to create micro-tears in your skin if you’re not careful – which is no big deal when your 16 years old, but takes your skin much longer to recover from at 37.

This product will last me more than six months and gives my skin a nice glow.

  1. Treat Acne (as needed) | Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment

  2. Reverse Aging | RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum with RoC Retinol

Retinol is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to preventing signs of aging on your skin. It promotes the production of collagen, which significantly slows as we age. It also reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol can cause skin sensitivity as you adjust to it, and I’d recommend using it 2-3x a week, only at night. I put a small pump of it and mix it into my moisturizer and apply it all over my face and neck. If I have any leftover, I rub it into my hands (which also can show signs of aging).

A little goes a long way, and this small bottle lasts 6-9 months.

  1. Moisturize | CeraVe PM Face Moisturizer

This is the nighttime version of CeraVe’s Moisturizer, without the sunscreen. It keeps my skin hydrated overnight, and is fragrance and irritation-free. I replace this bottle about 3x/year.

  1. Repair Wrinkles | Strivectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks:

Forehead creases can be difficult to smooth away with moisturizer. My aunt gave me a sample size of Strivectin’s Intensive Wrinkle Repair, and I’ve got to say, it works really well. I only use it about once a week, and this tiny bottle has lasted forever.

(Before researching this article, I didn’t realize how much it fell into the splurge category, but if you’ve got a troublesome crease, this may be the solution you’re looking for.)

So there you have it, my routines from start to finish!  Written out, it looks like a lot, but I don’t do all steps every day, and even my full nighttime routine takes less than five minutes. By following these steps, I feel like my skin tone is more even, has a healthy glow, and I’ve slowed the signs of aging.

If you’re just starting to think about a skincare routine, I hope this helps you on your way to feeling great about your skin as a mom.

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Lindsay grew up in Cedar Rapids and is surprised and delighted to find that she lives here as an adult. She's been married to a really great guy named Christian since 2007 and during that time, they've added three amazing kids to their family - Eadie (9), Graham (6), and Greta (4). Lindsay has spent time working as a content strategist, freelance writer, stay-at-home-mom, and is now enjoying homeschooling her kids. When she's not reenacting the Boston Tea Party for her kids with stuffed animals and fruit snacks, she loves being active outside, watching baseball games, reading great books, and having friends over for any reason at all. At the end of the day, Lindsay hopes she consistently lives out her faith, builds a strong family culture, and encourages moms around her in a meaningful way.