The Everygirl’s Favorite Anti-Aging Products for Your 20s

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it, scream it, tweet it, and graffiti it with sharpies onto public bathroom stalls until the end of time… you cannot recreate a youthful complexion once it is gone — you can only maintain the one that you currently have.

Your 20s are already hard enough without having to consider anti-aging skincare, especially since it all seems too soon, right? Wrong. Even though you just graduated from college a few years ago, signs of aging will soon begin to creep up on you before you know it. But please don’t stress (seriously, that will just make it worse), because there really are just a few steps to incorporate into your existing routine that will keep that baby face of yours plump, rosy, and glowing for years to come.


Retinol and Retinoids

Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, is probably the most well-known anti-aging ingredient in skincare. Retin-based products stimulate skin cell turnover, improve circulation, and increase collagen production. Retinoids are powerful — Tretinoin (brand name Retin-A) is an FDA-approved pharmaceutical-grade anti-aging ingredient prescribed by dermatologists to treat a litany of skin issues from acne to sun damage and wrinkles (and is backed by several decades of research into its effectiveness).

Lesser doses of retinol and retinoids found in over-the-counter products are a great place to start when venturing into the use of these ingredients, as you will likely go through an adjustment period when you first begin treatment. On nights that you use retinol, avoid using AHAs within the same 12 hours. Use a simple moisturizer or night cream following retinol.



Niacin, or Vitamin B3, definitely does not get the attention it deserves for the skincare boss that it really is. Niacinamide improves the epidermal lipid barrier, protects the skin from infrared light from UV rays, decreases oil overproduction, diminishes redness, addresses hyperpigmentation, and finally, minimizes the appearance of lines and wrinkles by increasing the frequency of cell turnover. So, if you want to address early signs of aging but are still experiencing breakouts or other skin issues, niacinamide should definitely be in your rotation.


Source: @goop


Vitamin C

Antioxidants in skincare are your first line of defense against the environmental stressors of pollution, sun damage, and free radicals that aim to age your skin, and Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic and L-ascorbic acid, is the leader of the pack. Vitamin C improves skin’s ability to retain hydration, evens out tone and texture, and goes to work on diminishing dark spots. Vitamin C is best used in the morning prior to sun protection, but can be used twice a day as well.


Glycolic Acid

We truly love our Alpha-Hydroxy Acids over here, and glycolic acid is one we especially couldn’t imagine our skincare regimen without. Glycolic acid is special in its ability to disrupt the binding of lipids that hold dead skin cells together, allowing for them to dissolve and be easily removed from our epidermis. The result is a smoother and brighter complexion and an increase in collagen and elastin production, meaning softer lines and firmer skin with continued use. Avoid using glycolic acid on the same days you use Vitamin C, as the two will counteract each other.


Hyaluronic Acid

While hyaluronic acid doesn’t necessarily have any super special anti-aging ingredients or effects, it is absolutely impossible to keep skin youthful when it isn’t properly hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is a chemical that our bodies naturally produce; it is a glycosaminoglycan, meaning that it attracts and binds to the moisture being produced in the deeper layers of our skin and brings it to the surface. Aging isn’t simply defined by lines and wrinkles — dull and dehydrated skin leads to volume loss and therefore accelerated aging. HA is a powerhouse ingredient that is suitable for all skin types.  




If you really want to supercharge your other anti-aging skincare products, consider incorporating peptides into the mix. Peptides are combinations of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, and your skin contains an incredibly important protein — collagen. Peptides alone aren’t the end-all be-all of anti-aging skincare, but in addition to other ingredients, especially Vitamin C, they can take your anti-aging skincare to the next level.



There really is no way to avoid the necessity of UVA/UVB protection on a daily basis. The sun is your skin’s arch-nemesis, and not protecting it from this damage is absolutely unacceptable. If you aren’t interested in any of the aforementioned products, just promise us you’ll at least wear sunscreen, okay? PLEASE.


Not sure what you should be using on your skin and when? Check out our 5-minute Morning Routine and Nighttime Routine.

  • I’m glad that I settled on using retinol products to help deal with my acne in my mid-20s, now that my skin is finally settling down it looks like I won’t even need to change up my routine much!

  • Taste of France

    This stuff in your 20s? The #1 product you should use in your 20s to avoid/delay aging and wrinkles is SUNBLOCK, reapplied multiple times during the day and used year-round.
    And don’t smoke.

    • Jordan Bishop

      Sunscreen is on the list.

  • I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say…ageing isn’t the worse thing that can happen to a person. It’s natural and unavoidable. And honestly…if all I end up with to show for my long, long life of craziness is a couple of deep wrinkles…I’m really okay with that.

    • Jordan Bishop

      Hey Roze, thanks for the input! I definitely agree that I hope to have a lot to show at the end of this wild ride, I’m not unrealistic about the inevitable signs of aging. It’s just that some people really enjoy taking care of their skin and are really interested in the different ways that skincare enhances and maintains your complexion. It might not be your thing, but it’s ok for others to enjoy it.

      • I never said anything about not not taking care of my skin or enhancing it, I just said that I don’t mind a few wrinkles when I’m older….

  • Kate

    Allure Magazine just got rid of the term “anti-aging” and I think other publications should as well.

    • Jordan Bishop

      I am very interested in this approach and I’m curious as to how they will shift the conversation around these types of products since they only committed to this sentiment 10 days ago. I will look to them for guidance in my writing going forward.

  • Ámbar Torres

    You mentioned so many great brands in this post! Love it.

  • Natalie Redman

    Great picks! A nice range of prices too.

  • Elizabeth Burke

    Hey, a fun thought for us to ponder here. I saw that Allure is no longer using the term “Anti Aging”. What would it be like if we as women actually were never really even introduced to the term Anti Aging? What if it was more of a focus on looking your best and taking care of yourself? Just a thought to think about. I do love great beauty products that help me look my best, this just really got me thinking about the verbage we use when we discuss aging and how cutting it out from earlier age might impact us.
    Thanks for all that you write and post!

  • Smartlowcarb Cruz

    I’ve been using different kinds of masks and even tried some home remedy until I’ve stumbled upon this trial offer from Cosmedique. I was fortunate enough to read the terms and condition before paying for the shipping cost. To be honest, after trying it for 15 days I notice a difference in my skin and actually loved the product. I use this product as my all in one product and it removed the bumps in my chin area and the circles under my eyes. However, the cost is way out of my budget. I tried sending an email to their support asking for instructions on how to return the product, even though I love it. They offered me a discount to keep the product and they also gave me a discount if I continue with the subscription. I’m just happy I’m one of the few who read the terms first before buying anything online.

  • sophia

    I saw you mentioned to avoid using AHAs within 12 hours of using a retinol cream. What is an AHA? Can I use a retinol cream and a peptide cream together? Thanks, love the article.