Fellow beauty editors will feel this hard: The texts usually come on Sunday nights. The tone is direct, if slightly twinged with desperation: "Have you heard of the Hanacure mask?" (Yes.) "Do wrinkle creams actually work?" (Yes.) "What are the best anti-aging products?" (Right this way.) I've gotten these texts from my closest friends, my 16-year-old niece, my far-flung college acquaintances, and my baby daddy. Aging is an honor and a privilege—and it's coming for all of us. So while some of us foster our commitment to it when we're in our halcyon twenties, others don't catch the skincare bug until their thirties or beyond. And guess what? All of those approaches are okay, especially considering the quality products available.
That being said, finding the best anti-aging products isn't easy, per se. If a drugstore or beauty counter felt dizzying, Instagram just makes the market even more cluttered. That's why consulting expert advice is essential. We reached out to the best dermatologists in the game to find their favorite anti-aging products on the market today. (We also threw in a few of our own personal favorites.)
What ingredients should I look for in an anti-aging product?
When it comes to the products Marie Claire recommends, we take your faith in us seriously.
But if something seems too good to be true, and promises to deliver the moon in 20 minutes flat? Well, be wary. And then send me a text. Ahead, the anti-aging products I feel completely comfortable recommending to my nearest and dearest.
You need power active ingredients, but you also need a good go-to moisturizer, which is why so many turn to the red jar. Hyaluronic acid moisturizes while a proprietary peptide-B3 complex hydrates and renews cells alongside antioxidants vitamin E and green-tea extract. It's thick, creamy and fragrance-free, making it an indispensable step in a lifetime skincare routine.
"This is one of the most effective over-the-counter retinol creams on the market. At one percent vegan retinol, it has a higher concentration than the average OTC retinol, but still quite sustainable for skin that's sensitive or dry. Plus, it's formulated with a blend of three peptides that firm the skin and enhance the benefits of the retinol." says Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a dermatopathologist in Boston.
This is not the first time I've written about my love for RoC retinols and God willing, it won't be my last. Thanks to a hypoallergenic formulation and a soothing mineral complex, you'll experience none of the retinol downsides (puffing, scaling) and all the upside (visibly smoother, clearer skin).
"I love this product because it helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, plus it's great for lightening dark circles and highly recommended for patients with sensitive skin since it's fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic," says Dr. Stacy Chimento, a dermatologist in Miami Beach.
An old-school product with excellent results. Hyaluronic acid hydrates as algae and yeast extracts boost cell activities, meaning new, better skin cells get built. Enzymatic alkyl guanine transferase brightens any age spots or dark marks.
"There is no better anti-aging product than sunscreen. We can't control our genes, but we can control our environment. UV light exposure causes damage to collagen and elastic fibers leading to lines and wrinkles and stimulates pigment producing cells to go into overdrive leading to dark spots. Even incidental exposure on a daily basis adds up over a lifetime, so it is important to wear sunscreen every day. Studies have shown that applying nothing more than sunscreen over a one year period was associated with improvement in all aspects of skin aging. With so many sunscreens on the market, there is one for every preference and skin need. This is a light formula that goes on almost invisibly with a texture that lies somewhere between a primer and a serum," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City.
This luxurious retinol serum is made with both melanin-rich and sensitive skin in mind. Strong enough to visibly renew skin but gentle enough to prevent irritation, this product will become your best friend in no time.
"This is one of my favorite OTC antiaging hacks: A formerly prescription topical retinoid FDA-approved for acne that is reasonably priced. As we know, one of the good side effects of retinoid use is a reduction of fine lines and sun damage," says Dr. Dina Strachan, a dermatologist in New York City.
This firming serum works not only for under-eye bags, but also for crow's feet, crinkly skin, and other concerns for the delicate skin around the eyes. Pair this product with one of the brand's other face serums, or collect 'em all with this handy sampling kit.
"This is one of my go to as a daily physical blocking sunscreen with the 10.7 percent zinc oxide and SPF50+. But it also contains photolyase, peptides, and antioxidants to protect, repair, and correct DNA damage and signs of aging. Liquid, lightweight, and tinted against sometimes pasty-appearing zinc oxide, it blends in well on all skin colors and types." says Dr. Naissan O. Wesley, an aesthetic and surgical dermatologist and author based in Beverly Hills, CA.
This iconic cream is on J. Lo's beauty rider, and that's all you really need to know.
"With a feel-good creamy formulation of two percent bakuchiol, stabilized vitamin C (a potent antioxidant), plant stem cell extract, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, this cream helps repair signs of aging and sun damage while replenishing the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Plant-derived bakuchiol works along the same gene pathways as retinol, but is often much better tolerated without. Vegan, cruelty-free, and from a certified B corporation, this is formulated with the importance of efficacy and sustainability for the world," says Dr. Naissan O. Wesley.
"The science is there proving efficacy with this particular product. Vitamin C is a large molecule and it needs to get into the skin to be an effective antioxidant and fight the signs of aging as well as sun damage," says Dr. Dara Spearman, a dermatologist in Fort Wayne, IN.
Beauty editor Julia Marzovilla swears by this serum: "I'm a bit of a retinol newbie, so I love to incorporate this serum into my nightly routine a few nights a week. I also use Versed's Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum (not on the same nights!) and I've seen a major improvement in the texture of skin, especially under my eyes. "
"I was looking for an eye cream that was moisturizing but not too oily and this one is perfect! It hydrates the dry skin around my eyes, and I've noticed improvement of my fine lines. Often I'll use an eye cream and continue looking for a new one to try. Since purchasing Bioassance, my search has ended," says Dr. Aleta Simmons, a dermatologist in Nashville.
"Definitely a splurge product, but so worth it. It’s a proprietary blend of retinol and lactic acid boosts collagen and exfoliates unique to the brand. (Lactic Acid one of my faves because it’s an emollient as well as an exfoliator.) Also has stellar moisturizing ingredients—squalane, niacinamide, fatty acids, ceramides—to reduce irritation and protect the barrier," says Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston.
StriVectin's eye serum has made a marked difference in reducing my under-eye bags, personally. It has a lightweight formula that makes it easy to apply, and it contains minimal synthetic ingredients, making it great for sensitive skin.
We've raved about this game-changer before, and for good reason. It's practically Botox in a bottle, and it'll reduce the appearance of crow's feet and fine lines in the eye area in just weeks. The secret: it's dual formulas, that only mix together when you pump them out for maximum efficacy.
Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas is famous for making Hollywood look supernaturally dewy, and now, you can house her mysterious ways in this potent little jar. Ginkgo biloba extract and plant-based stem cells sooth and plump while macadamia seed oil nourishes the skin, leaving your cheeks bouncy and your canvas for makeup flawless.
Cleanser is one item people seem to forget can have a major impact on the complexion, and this efficacious formula is here to remind them. Not only can this powder-to-foam scrub skin of impurities, but it will chemically exfoliate and brighten with the brand's special green-tea probiotic-derived enzymes, leaving you with clear skin before the rest of your routine has even begun.
This formula contains a whopping 20% acid—a smart blend of AHAs and PHAs—but don't let that scare you away. While super effective, this night serum is still gentle enough in its exfoliation that you'll wake up radiant rather than red.
Dryness and irritation can make fine lines and wrinkles much more apparent, which is why healing and hydration are key for achieving that glow you're chasing. This formula is actually a serum-in-moinsturizer, which calms redness and strengthens the skin's barrier overnight so you can wake up, well, hotter.
"While we focus a lot of attention on retinols/retinoids and other sexier items like peptides, we should never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer. And this versatile product is worth the investment. It’s hydrating due to its unique hyaluronic acid, without leaving your skin oily. It also contains soothing antioxidants like green tea polyphenols that prevent premature aging. It’s a one-stop-shop moisturizer," says Dr. Cheri Frey, a dermatologist in Maryland.
If you're chasing even, toned skin, don't forget about everything below the neck. This decedent body cream contains Bader's proprietary complex, which encourages healing and firmness to keep your skin tiptop from the feet up.
If you're thinking of the skin like a brick and mortar structure, ceramides are the lipid-based adhesives between cells, and it's something that your body produces less of over time. Here a complex of ceramide, hyaluronic acid and beetroot work to replenish parched skin and propping up compromised skin scaffolding.
Exfoliating—or physically/chemically removing dead skin cells from the surface of your complexion—is an essential part of any complete skin routine, and this fruit-enzyme based option from skin savant Kate Somerville is one of the best. A blend of lactic and salicylic acid, plus papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes loosen dull skin from clogged pores and leaves skin refreshed. A soothing blend of honey, aloe vera, and vitamin E also assures you aren't left red and raw.
A rather unassuming elixir that packs a lot of punch. Dampen your face with this milky liquid, which contains the brand's proprietary hadasei-3, a concentrate o green tea, rice, and algae, which, when fermented together as they are here, produce a gentle form of exfoliating lactic acid. The result is softer, hydrated skin with no irritation.