In an ideal world, we would all embrace our every bump, blemish, line, and scar. And we would also hold hands and run through grassy meadows in white cotton dresses and never feel bad about anything ever again. But, sadly, this is reality—a reality in which many of us would very much like to have smooth skin for as long as possible.
Which is where anti-aging face creams come in: Filled with line-plumping humectants and collagen-increasing retinoids, these all-in-one formulas brighten, tighten, and hydrate skin, while you do virtually nothing but eat and sleep. And, surprisingly, some of the very best anti-agers—with intensely tested, science-backed formulas that really, truly work—are actually found at the drugstore for crazy-cheap prices. And these six, broken down for your skin type, are the best in their league by far.
L'Oréal Paris Bright RevitaLift Bright Reveal Overnight Moisturizer, $20
This night moisturizer is essentially a magic wand for your face, thanks to its hefty dose of vitamin C, which brightens skin and fades dark spots; glycolic acid, which exfoliates rough complexions on a cellular level; and retinol, which speeds up collagen production.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, $20
What this little jar of cream lacks in flair, it completely makes up for with a kickass formula. Filled with retinol, retinol-boosting ingredients (i.e. the stuff that makes retinol a billion times more effective at penetrating your skin), and hyaluronic acid, this silky night cream gives you both immediate and longterm line-softening results.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-Lift 2-in-1 Serum + Moisturizer, $17
Most anti-aging creams can feel like a mask on your face, but this lightweight retinol– and vitamin E–laced formula truly sinks into your skin within a minute of massaging it on each night, so the only thing you need to worry about is how quickly your fine lines will disappear. (Answer: 4 to 12 weeks).
Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream, $20
If your skin runs for cover at the first mention of retinol, then please behold this gentle cream that uses amino peptides—not retinoids—to smooth lines. The result: soft, hydrated, and noticeably plumper skin that's anything but terrifying.
Pond's Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream, $8
This ain't your grandmother's face cream—er, it might be (it is an iconic brand), but I'm guessing her skin looks really excellent then. Because this cult-favorite formula is loaded with brightening AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and firming collagen, leaving skin smoother, clearer, and tighter with consistent use.