7 Products Every 20-Something Should Have In Her Skincare Routine

Your 20s are the perfect time to get your skincare routine on track and set yourself up for a lifetime of beautiful skin.

By Simone Sydel4 min read
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ShotPrime Studio/Shutterstock

Many of us never paid attention to our skin until we crossed our 20s and started noticing some changes. Whether that was the first signs of aging, or the years of accumulated skin damage from sleeping in our makeup, using harsh scrubs daily, or ignoring the role that our hormones play in our skin starting to show up in the form of enlarged pores, acne, and dullness, we can all agree our 20s are the time to get serious about our skin and invest in a proper skincare routine.

However, getting into skincare can be overwhelming, and you may often buy stuff you don't need just because it's the latest product to sweep social media. So, to save you from splurging on overrated trends, we rounded up a list of seven essential, time-tested products that will take care of all your skin needs and ensure your skin remains healthy and glowing for years to come.

Evie's product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

1. Cleansing Balm

Getting more serious about your skin health means no more sleeping in your makeup or removing it with makeup wipes. Besides being loaded with drying alcohol and irritating fragrance, makeup wipes only remove a fraction of the makeup and dirt from your skin while making you rub, tug, and pull extra hard, which can lead to skin damage in the long run.

So, if you haven't already, your 20s are the time to make the switch to cleansing balms. Cleansing balms are a gentle yet highly effective way to remove makeup and dirt from your face without irritating your skin, as they are usually made with a blend of oils and emollients that dissolve makeup and dirt more effectively without the need to rub and tug your skin.

Product To Try: Clinique – Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover, $38

2. Hydrating Serum

A hydrating serum is a perfect addition to the skincare of any 20-something who wants to keep her skin plump, glowy, and hydrated. Serums are lightweight solutions that usually contain active ingredients such as antioxidants and humectants that help mitigate the damage from free radicals in air pollutants. These harmful molecules degrade vital parts of cells, including cell membranes, proteins, and DNA, which can lead to abnormalities in their function that manifest on the skin as premature wrinkles, dullness, dryness, and uneven skin tone. But, by using a serum with antioxidants and hydrating ingredients, you can help your skin fight off the signs of damage and keep it looking youthful for years to come.

Product To Try: Drunk Elephant – B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, $49

3. Retinol

Retinol, or any vitamin A derivative, is a fantastic active ingredient if you're a 20-something who wants to keep your skin looking young, clear, and beautiful. Retinol helps boost collagen production, plumping up your skin and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Retinol also helps promote faster cellular turnover, which will help push the dead skin cells stuck inside the pores toward the skin's surface, where they will shed. This action will reduce acne, as one of the main causes of this inflammatory skin condition is the accumulation of cellular debris in the pores.

Additionally, retinol can help mitigate accumulated UV damage that has resulted in uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and sun spots on the skin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which becomes overactive when the skin is inflamed, producing an excessive amount of the brown pigment melanin, which leads to these skin issues. Retinol is the way to go if you want a product that does it all when it comes to transforming your skin and tackling every skin concern under the sun.

Product To Try: Shani Darden – Skin Care Retinol Reform Treatment Serum, $88

4. Ceramide-Based Moisturizer

Ceramides are lipids or fats that are a part of our skin barrier and help protect us from environmental damage, dehydration, and infections due to external pathogens. However, the natural ceramides that make up our skin barrier can easily be destroyed by the use of cosmetics, certain medications, or even just through the natural aging process, leaving our skin compromised and vulnerable to harm and discomfort, including dryness, irritation, and sensitive reactions. This is why using a moisturizer that contains ceramides is the perfect way to help replenish the lipids in your skin barrier, keeping it safe and healthy by preventing moisture loss and protecting it from being exposed to a harmful environment that can lead to serious inflammatory conditions.

Product To Try: Farmacy – Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer, $48

5. Eye Cream

The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate, which makes it more prone to damage from external factors such as sun exposure and harsh cosmetic products, as well as internal factors such as lack of sleep, dehydration, and stress, which can lead to wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness around the eye area. So, if you want to keep your eyes looking bright, youthful, and vibrant, your 20s are the best time to invest in a specialized eye cream that contains active ingredients such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and peptides to help reduce the signs of aging and keep your skin looking fresh.

Product To Try: Paula's Choice – Super Boost Vitamin C Eye Cream, $39

6. Sunscreen

Getting that precious vitamin D is essential for maintaining optimal bone health, but that doesn't mean you should expose your skin to harm in the process. UV radiation emitted by the sun is the main cause of premature skin aging, which manifests as wrinkles, age spots, and dull, saggy skin by the time you're in your 30s. Therefore, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays as early as possible by investing in a good sunscreen in your 20s is the best way to ensure your skin will remain looking youthful and radiant for years to come.

Product To Try: La Roche-Posay – Mineral Tinted Ultra Light Sunscreen SPF 50, $39

7. Nourishing Lip Balm

Smooth, plump, and juicy lips can be achieved with lip fillers, but if you want to avoid the discomfort of paying hundreds of dollars to be pricked with a needle and have to endure bruising for days after, start to take good care of your lips in your 20s by ensuring they stay hydrated all the time. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a good nourishing lip balm that you will apply liberally as often as you can to keep your lips soft and kissable.

Product To Try: Mario Badescu – Lip Balm, $8

Closing Thoughts

Achieving clear, glowy, and ageless skin is a lifelong pursuit, but with the right products and hormonal knowledge at your fingertips, you can save yourself from having to do damage control treatments that cost a lot of money and more often than not come with intense discomfort in the future. So, get savvy with your skincare routine now to ensure beautiful skin for years to come!

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