10 Best Products to Build a Skincare Routine for Your 30s

Written by Anoushka Sinha, Skincare Coach & Writer
Updated on May 14, 2024
best skin care routine for 30s
best skin care routine for 30s
The products curated for this article are independently chosen by the editorial team. If you make a purchase through the links mentioned below, we may receive a commission. Check out our product research & curation process

Our skin takes shape gradually, based on the decade of our life we are in, which is why simply hoarding skincare products labeled as “anti-aging” is not a good solution. You need to build the best skincare routine for your 30s, 40s, and 50s, (or even teens and 20s) based on the specific needs and problems your skin has in that decade. 

Speaking of those in their 30s, while visible signs of aging such as fine lines, crow’s feet, age spots, and dullness kind of start to appear on the skin, it still doesn’t let go of its 20s hangover yet, which is why some acne problems may still persist! At this age, you need to prioritize collagen production in your skin to restore skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, etc. that may start to appear. Also, the impact of UV damage and free radical damage over the past years become more apparent on the skin, for which, antioxidant-rich products are essential to keep the skin healthy. However, you don’t need to invest in heavy creams or too many serums either, as your skin is still young and may be prone to breakouts. Hence, finding products that strike the right balance may be tricky! 

To help you get your hands on the right products for your specific skin concerns, I’ve tested and scrutinized several products out in the market before reviewing the cherry-picked ones below. The ingredient information in each review is science-backed, and I’ve incorporated the testimonials of customers from around the globe for the same, so you get a clear idea of how these products work. The following list entails cleansers, moisturizers, serums, essences, exfoliants, etc. Scroll away to take a look!

10 Best Skincare Routine Products for Your 30s

The hydration prowess of this essence from Hada Labo Tokyo is absolutely unbeatable, as it is bolstered with the power of macro hyaluronic acid as well as sodium hyaluronate (micro hyaluronic acid), which revitalizes the skin’s surface while penetrating moisture deep into the skin’s layers, to keep it comforted and prevent dehydration (studies Dermato Endocrinology and MDPI - Polymers).

Other than that, this is a wholesome skincare formula for the 30s, as it also contains hydrolyzed proteins, marine collagen, and a milder version of vitamin A. These ingredients work harmoniously to restore skin’s youthfulness, making it tighter, firmer, and plumper (research by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology and MDPI - Antioxidants). When I tried this product out, I loved how my dehydrated skin drank it up in a jiffy, and the quenched, nourished feel I experienced afterward felt rather addictive! This product instilled in me a newfound admiration for Japanese skincare!

  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Improves elasticity
  • Smoothes skin texture
  • Fragrance-free
  • Not too expensive
  • Can be applied under makeup
  • Sticky consistency
  • Not non-comedogenic
  • Best for a Natural Glow

    SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum

    SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum
  • By leveraging the properties of ferulic acid and 20% vitamin C, this anti-aging serum impressively safeguards the skin from oxidative stress and free radicals to prevent premature aging (studies by the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition and as published on NCBI). This formula is tailor-made to restore an incandescent, youthful glow in the skin, which gradually diminishes in one’s 30s. 

    The prowess of this godsend K-beauty serum doesn’t stop here! It also harnesses hyaluronic acid, cica, and other natural ingredients to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also invigorating the skin. This serum offers a little bit of everything one requires in their skincare routine, and is hence a great investment!

    • 72% Organic ingredients
    • Vegan and cruelty-free
    • Multi-tasking formula
    • Boosts hydration
    • Improves overall skin balance
    • Pleasant tingling sensation
    • No harmful chemicals
    • Too potent for sensitive skin
    • Vitamin C doesn’t suit everyone

    Quick Tip:

    For best results, use this serum 2-3 times a week, preferably during the day and under a generous amount of sunscreen to shield the skin as much as possible from environmental aggressors and sun damage.

  • Most Gentle Cleanser

    Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser

    Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser
  • Bolstered with the goodness of oat extracts, this facial cleanser is a soothing treat for your 30s skincare routine as it hydrates, coddles, and calms the skin while also offering it some much-needed TLC. Compared to all ingredient-cluttered anti-aging products I came across in my research, I adore this face wash for its low-key and lean formula. After all, it doesn’t confuse or exacerbate the skin but washes off impurities as gently as possible!

    The product has a silky consistency, and while it doesn’t lather that well, its cleansing results are quite impressive for a sulfate-free formula. Now, this isn’t the kind of product I’d recommend to remove makeup as it is very mild. However, it is great to refresh the skin in a jiffy or incorporate while double-cleansing.

    • Non-comedogenic
    • Efficient pump dispenser
    • Excellent for sensitive skin
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Fragrance-free
    • Restores skin barrier
    • Doesn’t produce a very good lather
  • Best Mild Exfoliant

    The Ordinary Exfoliating Lactic Acid 10% + HA

    The Ordinary Exfoliating Lactic Acid 10% + HA
  • According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, lactic acid offers splendid anti-aging benefits, and this product from The Ordinary is a testament of the same as an excellent addition for an AM PM skincare routine for the 30s, as well as other age brackets. As someone in my 20s, I was head-over-heels about the effects of this holy grail product on my skin, as it left it smooth, supple, and a lot healthier. 

    The key ingredient is supported by the skincare benefits of our trusted hyaluronic acid as well as Tasmanian pepperberry. You can trust this product to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by making your skin more resilient. Cherry on the top — it is quite mild and suitable for all skin types that I can think of!

    • Suits sensitive skin
    • Impressive hydration
    • Exfoliates dead skin cells
    • Brightens the skin tone
    • Reduces dark spots
    • Balances skin pH
    • The results are a bit short-lasted
  • Best to Soothe Irritation

    ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner

    ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner
  • While it is free of any sulfates or other harsh surfactants, this toner from Elemis uses saponins from Quillaja wood extracts to purify the skin, thereby balancing its texture and reducing uneven skin tone. This is a good pick for those whose skincare for 30s regimen has been cluttered with heavy moisturizing ingredients, as this formula helps refresh the skin while having an astringent effect on it.

    The formula is lightweight, hydrating, and easy on the skin — no excess clutter or risks of congesting the pores. Moreover, it is bursting with essential vitamins that keep environmental aggressors and free radicals at bay!

    • Improves the complexion
    • Calms irritation
    • Maintains skin homeostasis
    • Suits sensitive skin
    • Alcohol-free
    • Refreshing scent
    • Expensive
    • Limited usage

    Quick Tip:

    Spritz a little bit of this toner as a hydrating mist during a humid and exhausting day outdoors, before re-applying your sunscreen.

  • Best Face Moisturizer

    Inkey List Vitamin B, C And E Moisturizer

    Inkey List Vitamin B, C And E Moisturizer
  • For a simple skincare routine for 30s, this low-key vitamin-enriched moisturizer from Inkey List would be an excellent investment. To begin with, this nourishing moisturizer doesn’t contain anything too harsh, or in a concentration that may interfere with the other products in your routine. However, it does contain vitamins B, C, and E, in a regulated proportion to offer your skin antioxidant benefits and help maintain a healthy homeostasis. 

    In addition, this is a lighter moisturizer compared to other anti-aging creams, and its water-drenched formula makes it perfect for combination and oily skin types. However, having tested it, I believe dry skin types have nothing to lose from using this either (study by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology).

    • Brightens the skin
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Prevents skin dehydration
    • Absorbs quickly
    • Has a silky-smooth texture
    • Some don’t like how it smells
  • Best Sunscreen

    HydroPeptide Solar Defense Non-tinted SPF 50

     HydroPeptide Solar Defense Non-tinted SPF 50
  • The broad-spectrum sun protection this mineral sunscreen from HydroPeptide provides is truly beneficial to safeguard the skin from nasty UVA and UVB rays. Compared to the plethora of other sunscreens that I’ve worked with before, I recommend this one for your anti-aging skin routine for 30s because the peptides infused in it help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging (study by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences).

    Besides, this sunscreen is soothing and hydrating too, suited to keep your skin comforted on days when you forget to apply moisturizer. Another great attribute — it is safe for the skin as well as the barrier reef.

    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Very moisturizing
    • Dye-free
    • Sensitive skin-friendly
    • Offers antioxidant protection
    • Replenishes skin barrier
    • Cruelty-free
    • Overpriced
    • The formula could be leaner
  • Best Hydrating Serum

    Pestle & Mortar 2% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

    Pestle & Mortar 2% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  • I’ve tried out several HA serums in the past, but the fact that this product from Pestle & Mortar is infused with pure hyaluronic acid, consisting of different molecular weights, truly makes it stand out. For a simple skincare regime for 30s, this product would be a great investment as it won’t expose your skin to too many unrequired chemicals and will make the results of this hero ingredient more apparent.

    The multi-leveled hydration that this revitalizing serum offers is truly outstanding — like a skincare mirage that relieves one’s parched, desert-like skin. You can count on this product to plump up your skin, especially areas with fine lines and wrinkles.

    • Imparts a radiant glow
    • Layers well under other products
    • A little goes a long way
    • Maintains a skin balance
    • Lightweight formula
    • Very expensive
  • Best Body Moisturizer

    Medix 5.5 Vitamin C + Turmeric Brighten + Firm Body Treatment Cream

    Medix 5.5 Vitamin C + Turmeric Brighten + Firm Body Treatment Cream
  • While most anti-aging skincare products target the skin of the face and neck, I strongly believe that it is important to not neglect the body. And, this body treatment cream from Medix 5.5 occurred to me as an ideal pick as it is not only immensely moisturizing but also invigorating for the skin in multiple ways. 

    Considering you cannot use a serum for the skin of the body, this treatment cream itself contains all the properties of the same — featuring ingredients such as vitamin C, ferulic acid, and turmeric. While the antioxidant content of this product is immense, you can also count on it to brighten your skin and improve its appearance overall!

    • Efficient pump dispenser
    • Works well under sunscreen
    • Suits both AM and PM use
    • Fights sun damage
    • Softens skin texture
    • Contains natural ingredients
    • Increases collagen production
    • Vitamin C may not suit everyone
    • Pricey for the quantity
  • Best Essence

    Sunday Riley Pink Drink Skin Firming Resurfacing Face Essence

    Sunday Riley Pink Drink Skin Firming Resurfacing Face Essence
  • For something as simple as a facial essence, I found the key ingredients of this product from Sunday Riley quite impressive. The formula is rich in skin-replenishing agents such as ceramides, peptides, and sea kelp extracts, which cater to strengthening the skin’s protective barrier, as demonstrated in studies published on NCBI and ScienceDirect. These studies also show how these ingredients have an anti-wrinkle effect on aging skin.

    The formula is rich and rejuvenating — not very different from a refreshing summer beverage as the product’s name already suggests. And, while it’s expensive, this is the kind of splurge that your 30s skin deserves once in a while!

    • Reduces redness
    • Supports skin’s microbiome
    • Easy to dispense
    • Sustainable product
    • Cruelty-free
    • Antioxidant-rich formula
    • Expensive

    Now that you’ve seen our product recommendations, let’s check the following buying guide to understand the kind of products we should look for to build a skincare routine for the 30s. Further, I’ve also elaborated on an 8-step skincare regimen to achieve optimal skin health in the 30s.

    How to Build a Skincare Routine for the 30s: The Right Products to Buy

    Once we reach our 30s, it is pivotal to upgrade a standard CMS skincare routine (cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen) and incorporate advanced formulations infused with potent active ingredients. The following is a detailed guide to help you prioritize products for the same.

    1. Cleanser And Toner:

    Using a cleanser is an absolute non-negotiable for any age group. However, in your 30s, you may want to go a little easy on the heavily sulfate-drenched cleansers and look for milder options that purify your skin while also retaining its natural moisture and protective barrier. Addedly, if you haven’t been using toners in your 20s, incorporating one in your 30s is an excellent idea to retain that youthful glow. Look for a toner that contains mild exfoliating properties in addition to astringent properties, as that can help dissolve excess dead cells from time to time and refine your complexion.

    2. Retexturizing Exfoliants:

    Unlike the kind of exfoliants you may have used in your 20s, such as the ones that control excess oil and treat pimples, the exfoliants you use in your 30s should have adequate retexturizing properties. This is because, as we age, the pores on the skin our our face start to get larger and more visible, in addition to old acne scars and other lesions. Hence, through powerful exfoliation, it is important to resurface newer skin cells and slough off the superficial layer of dead skin cells from the skin to smoothen its texture and reduce the appearance of pesky skin imperfections.

    3. Collagen Boosters:

    This step ideally comes right after exfoliation. By collagen boosters, I mean products with ingredients that either replenish collagen into the skin — such as peptides, amino acids, hydrolyzed collagen, etc. — or stimulate the skin to synthesize its own collagen — such as retinol, vitamin C, etc. You’ll find such ingredients most commonly in serums, as serum-based formulations enhance the penetration of these ingredients better than creams. However, you may also invest in essences, mists, toners, lotions, and gels that contain such ingredients and offer these benefits. Peptide-based masks and under-eye creams are also gaining momentum to provide your skin with these benefits.

    4. Eye Creams/Serums:

    You may never have invested in or even thought of investing in a product like this in your 20s, but in your 30s, the story is different! Most signs of aging reflect in the delicate skin around the eyes, such as crow’s feet, dullness, dark circles, etc. Hence, it is important to invest in an invigorating eye cream or an under-eye serum infused with ingredients such as caffeine, peptides, vitamin C, green tea, hyaluronic acid, cica, etc.

    5. Moisturizers:

    If there’s a skincare product that no one has any trouble incorporating, regardless of their age, is the humble moisturizer. But here’s a caveat — don’t let the anti-aging wave compel you into buying a moisturizer that’s richer and heavier than your skin can tolerate. Personally, I recommend continuing with the same moisturizer from yoru 20s, if it works fine for you, as long as you’ve been upgrading your anti-aging skincare regimen in other ways. If you’re looking for a product change here, then an antioxidant-rich multi-vitamin moisturizer would be a good place to start. 

    6. Sunscreen:

    SPF is of immense importance when we talk about skincare in your 30s, as the sun is one of the most notorious factors for premature aging (photoaging). Hence, invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF levels between 30 and 50 to prevent the same. 

    Skincare Routine for 30s: 8 Steps to Follow:

    The following is a generic skincare routine for 30s. For AM skincare, ensure you incorporate sunscreen, and skip the exfoliants and retinol. Do the exact opposite for PM. You can customize and tailor your regimen based on your skin type, concerns, tolerance, and requirements. 

    Step 1: Start by double-cleansing your face and neck. For this, you can use an oil-based cleanser first, and then follow up with a water-based cleanser to get rid of all the oil-soluble and water-soluble dirt particles. Ensure that after lathering, you allow the products to settle on your skin for at least 30 seconds before rinsing, to ensure no impurities are left behind. 

    Step 2: After you have rinsed your skin clean, pat it dry with a soft towel. At this step, you can use an exfoliant. However, as we move from thin to thick formulations in an ideal skincare routine, avoid any serum-based exfoliants at this stage. You can use rinse-offs or exfoliating mists/toners/essences. 

    Step 3: Next, pour an astringent toner onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it all across your face and neck. If your toner comes already infused in cotton pads, or in a spray bottle, then you can use the product directly. 

    Step 4: At this stage, you can layer up on hydrating essences and serums. You can start by using a sheet mask if you wish to, and leave it on your skin for 10-15 mins before taking it off. Pat all the essence into your skin well, and resist the urge to rinse it. If you use an exfoliating serum, now is the time to apply it (not more than 2-4 drops evenly on your face and neck). 

    Step 5: If this is your PM skincare routine, you can use a retinol serum at this stage, but avoid using it simultaneously with an exfoliant/benzoyl peroxide at all costs. If you don’t use retinol, you can opt for a serum infused with bakuchiol, vitamin C, peptides, or hyaluronic acid — and these ingredients can be used during the day as well. 

    Step 6: Now, use your humble lightweight moisturizer. Dot your face and neck evenly with the cream/lotion you’re using and massage it in a circular, upward direction to seal all the moisture in. 

    Step 7: Use your favorite body moisturizer and repeat the same on your hands, feet, and other areas of your body. 

    Step 8: To top off, use a generous amount of sunscreen on your face and the exposed areas of your body. Use the two-finger rule when applying the product to your face and neck. Massage the product till there’s no white residue visible.


    So there you have it. The above-mentioned products are excellent to help you build the best skincare routine for your 30s. You may also choose to incorporate retinol/bakuchiol serums and other anti-aging contents in your routine if you feel the need for it. But regardless, this product list has been mindfully curated to cater to the needs of all skin types, without causing any reactions or side effects. The products I’ve entailed are mild, effective, and tolerable, especially the Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser, The Ordinary Exfoliating Lactic Acid 10% + HA, and the HydroPeptide Solar Defense Non-tinted SPF 50. Ensure you go through our buying guide and steps to build a skincare regimen. Happy shopping!


    Is it okay to use retinol in your 30s?
    Yes. If you haven’t started using retinol in your 20s, then doing so in your 30s would be a great idea. If your skin has already started showing signs of premature aging and sagginess, then using a retinol/bakuchiol product is pivotal!
    Is it too late to start a skincare routine in your 30s?
    I believe that it is never too late to start a new healthy habit, be it skincare or anything else. If you may have neglected some skin conditions in your 20s, such as dark circles or acne, then you need to use appropriate products in your 30s to counter those effects.
    What anti-aging products should you use in your 30s?
    Anti-aging products for the 30s would include retexturizing exfoliants such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, collagen-boosters such as retinol, vitamin C, and peptides, as well as high-quality moisturizers including hyaluronic acid, squalene, etc. Antioxidants and SPF-based products should be given high priority too.
    How to take care of your skin in your 30s?
    To do so, follow a dedicated skincare routine comprising a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Sculpt your face regularly with a gua sha or an ice roller, and make time for intensive facial massages. Invest in products containing retinol, peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, etc. to make your skin firmer, tighter, and smoother.
    How do you get glass skin in your 30s?
    Getting glass skin is quite ambitious when it comes to skincare, at any age. However, an elaborate 8-10-step routine can help you achieve the same. Always start with double cleansing with an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. Then, use a good chemical exfoliant followed by a calming, astringent toner. Layer up on hydrating and anti-aging serums containing hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin C, squalene, sea kelp/algae extracts, and antioxidants. Then, use a moisturizer that delivers long-lasting hydration, and follow up with sunscreen.
    How often should you exfoliate in your 30s?
    Not more than 2-3 times a week.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Anoushka, our in-house beauty editor and skincare expert believes that one’s skincare regimen should be tailored specifically for their age group. For the 30s, she recommends the usage of multi-vitamin and antioxidant-rich products such as serums, exfoliants, and moisturizers. She leveraged that approach when hunting products for this article and prioritized the ones whose prowess she could back with science and customer testimonials. 

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    Anoushka Sinha
    Skincare Coach & Writer

    Anoushka is certified in Professional Skincare and is a Mass Media (Journalism) graduate from Mumbai University. As a More