5 Unsexy Products That Deserve a Spot in Your Over-40 Skincare Routine

I love exploring all the different facets of skincare, and often find myself drawn to the "fancy stuff." You know what I mean: the hard-to-get face oils, the latest trendy products, the expensive body care rituals at celeb-frequented spas.

But there is something to be said for the less sexy side of skincare — the products that have been around forever, don't cost a ton, and probably had a home inside your grandmother's medicine cabinet. I've collected products like this over the years, and they've been staples ever since; skincare workhorses that have been around forever and are often overlooked for cooler, newer products. But not today!

We're about to dig into some classics that deserve a spot on your bathroom counter, all while not pissing off your bank account.

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Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser

I've tried just about every "cleansing balm" there is out there, and I struggle with cleansing balms irritating my sensitive eyes, but Pond's Cold Cream has recently edged out all of them as my number one. Using it is simple: smear it on your face, massage it around for about a minute, and then wipe or wash it off. You could include this as the first step in a double cleanse routine, and some people may want to rinse or wash it off completely as its first ingredient is mineral oil, which is known to clog pores. But because it's 50% moisturizer, and leaves skin feeling especially soft, many people like how their face feels after simply wiping it off with a cotton swab. If you have sensitive skin, I'd recommend the fragrance-free version.

To shop: $6; target.com

Nivea Original Daily Moisture Lotion

Growing up, my grandmother kept a tin of Nivea Creme in every room — this is not an exaggeration. The ease with which I could find a jar at her house is what got me hooked on it as a kid. Recently I grabbed a giant container of it at the drugstore, and have been reminded about why my grandmother was so attached to it. There's no getting around it: this stuff is thick and moisturizing. It may not be your go-to in the dead of summer, but if you're looking for something that goes on silky smooth and leaves your skin feeling amazingly supple, this is it. In my opinion it falls into the "whipped body butter" camp of today's lotions and creams. I tend to find many body creams unappealing because they just sit on top of my skin but this stuff soaks in like a sponge. I love the powder-y scent, though it may not be for everyone. Still, at this price, it's worth a try. 

To shop: $5; walmart.com

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Pure Aloe Vera Gel

My other grandmother used to keep aloe plants all over her house, and would just snap off a branch every day and rub it on her face. It is a very light, natural moisturizer and sunburn healer. But if rubbing a plant on your face isn't your thing, you can easily just buy some in a bottle. You can find aloe as an ingredient in a gajillion products, but in my opinion, using the most pure stuff possible is the best way to go. And here's my little secret: I use it as my conductivity gel with my face microcurrent device.  

To shop: $20; amazon.com


Please say hello to what is probably my most-used product of all time. I've kept a container of Vaseline on my bedside table since I was a kid and a character on Doogie Howser said using it made his lips soft for kissing (it's amazing the things that make an impression on us as kids). Anyways, he wasn't wrong — I use Vaseline every night on my lips, without fail, and they feel great. It's also my go-to when I dabble in slugging, which is the currently popular practice of sealing in your skincare products and moisture with a layer of an occlusive product on your face. One of my aunts used it for years as her daily moisturizer, and I like it as a nighttime eye cream. It also makes your eyelashes super shiny and can give them a fuller look. It's basically magic.

To shop: $4; target.com 

Epsom Salt

A few years ago, when my entire family was dealing with a terrible cold, a friend recommended filling the bathtub with warm water, a couple cups of epsom salt, and one to two 32 oz bottles of bacteria-killing hydrogen peroxide as a sort of detox bath. Desperate, I did as she instructed, and it definitely seemed to speed up our recovery. Even when I'm not sick, I try to take an epsom salt bath once a week; it can soften skin, soothe sore muscles, help relieve stress, and even help draw out splinters.

To shop: $5; walmart.com

The New Age is a column about beauty over 40, written by women who are over 40. Revolutionary, when you think about it! Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir are the hosts of Forever35 Podcast. Doree's memoir, THANKS FOR WAITING: THE JOY & WEIRDNESS OF BEING A LATE BLOOMER, is out now, and Kate's rom-com, IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, will be published in March. Learn more at doree-shafrir.com and katespencerwrites.com.

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