The Under-$20, No-Botox Skin Routine I Swear By in My 40s|

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Society seems to be at a tipping point with anti-aging. Though Botox and other injectibles have become more normalized, we’re simultaneously seeing women in the public eye forsake these treatments and embrace their mature skin—and as with any personal style choice to each their own. Personally, I’ve considered getting injectibles—possibly Botox to eliminate the “political rage” lines between my eyes, or maybe some Juvederm to round out the smirk lines around my mouth—but like many luxury beauty treatments, injectables have simply never been accessible in my budget.

So instead, I’ve taken to using time-honored, affordable strategies for skin quality. I’m certainly not fooling anyone with my age, but with a consistent skin-care routine, some artfully applied makeup, and a few injectible alternatives, my skin looks and, most importantly, feels healthy. Here are my tried-and-tested tips and tricks for keeping my complexion fresh in my 40s, no needles required.

1. A gentle, hydrating skin-care routine

Our faces change as we get older: Skin becomes more delicate, we have less collagen and elastin to keep our complexions plump, and dryness runs rampant. Because of this, many women can benefit from less-harsh cleansers and other products as we tiptoe into our 40s and 50s. I use Ethique’s Bliss Bar ($17) as a gentle morning and evening cleanser.

A friend introduced me to pure rosehip oil during a recent visit, which has significantly helped my hyperpigmentation (brown spots or giant freckles from sun damage). I use Radha Oil ($20), which is affordable and high quality. You’ll know you’re getting a good product if the oil is a rich, orange hue and has a faint smell of tea or grass (there are some not-so-great versions out there, so make sure you’re shopping smart). For an oil, it’s very lightweight, and many use it in acne treatments. It is lightly anti-bacterial and loaded with Vitamin C, which helps eliminate the free-radical damage that leads to visible signs of aging. If I’m staying home, sometimes rosehip oil is all I use for the day after washing.

After moving from the moist Midwest to arid Southern California, I found my aging skin needed a lot of extra moisture, and the biggest key to plump skin is giving it as much hydration as it can handle. To do this, I slather on an active serum infused with hyaluronic acid (it’s got niacinamide, vitamin A, and azelaic acid for brightening), plus rosehip oil and a mix of Weleda’s Skin Food with pure glycerin. Pro tip: A few drops of vegetable glycerin mixed with your regular moisturizer can seriously boost hydration potential—just make sure to buy palm-free vegetable glycerin, which is the most environmentally-friendly option. This combination results in a thick layer of moisture akin to an overnight hydrating mask, which may be too much for certain skin types. However, if certain areas of your face feel parched, experiment with heavy moisturizers for a short period of time, and add more time as your skin tolerates it.

2. Artfully applied makeup

Another key to having a healthy-looking complexion is to help your skin reflect light. I’m a comedian, and my skin-care strategies often help when I’m onstage, as moist, dewy skin reflects the harsh light. In addition to a light application of rosehip oil, I use moisturizing sunscreen, dewy foundation, and shimmery blush to give my skin radiance.

Contouring and heavy eyeliner are dicey for me in my 40s; I find that they tend to weigh down my face or look awkward in bright lights or sun. By keeping my makeup routine simple, I can let my healthy skin shine through. Believe the hype on Essence Lash Princess Mascara ($5): A few layers of the lengthening formula help me feel bright-eyed.

My last strategy is to apply a dewy, luminous concealer one shade lighter than my skin tone right on top of a few strategic wrinkles to further reflect light. Make sure the concealer is light enough that it won’t sink into creases, use less than you think, and blend gently so that the subtle change in tone disappears.

3. Injectable Alternatives

In lieu of actual injectibles, I use Frownies ($24), which are patches that you moisten and stick to your face overnight, and totally work. They use the underlying principle of Botox, which is to hold the inner eyebrow muscles in place. In addition, the “glue” on Frownies exfoliates the skin when you pull them off, helping minimize lines further. Some areas of your face may be too sensitive for this (I can’t use Frownies on my cheeks), so try a small area first. Of course, Frownies provide much less of a result than an actual injectable, but it reduces the appearance of the depth of the wrinkle. You won’t look frozen, but the lines will look slightly less obvious.

Although none of these strategies will provide the smooth lift of injectables, they can help folks highlight their favorite features and share healthy skin with the world. At some point, injectables may be something I turn to, however, for now, I’m happy to show off healthy skin that feels honest and well, me.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.