There’s nothing wrong with aging — after all, just think of the alternative. But while surviving another year of life on earth is something worth celebrating (that’s what birthday parties are all about, right?), for some people, embracing the telltale signs of getting older is another thing altogether. Whether you’re 25 or 85, there’s no shame in wanting to maintain the fresh, youthful glow of a much younger person. That’s what anti-aging skin care is for.
We’re still waiting for someone to discover the real thing, but for now, the closest we can get to a sip from the mythical Fountain of Youth lies in these 10 game-changing products. They might not exactly turn us into Tuck Everlasting, but we’ll take what we can get.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
1 of 11
The hands-down winner of our 2018 Beauty Innovator Awards is the rare — if not heretofore unheard of — retinoid that suits even overly touchy skin types. With a genius list of ingredients that combines a gentle vitamin-A derivative and exfoliating lactic acid with soothing aloe vera, niacinamide, and coffee extract for a hit of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, it's a brightening, collagen-boosting, pore-clearing powerhouse that nearly all of our editors swear by.
2 of 11
The hype is real: Straddling the line between clinical efficacy and straight-up luxury, this intensely reparative — but surprisingly lightweight! — cream is everything you could ever want from your anti-aging skin-care routine, in one heavy, expensive-looking bottle. The price tag might be tough to swallow, but considering there are 30 years of stem-cell research behind this formula (shoutout to Professor Bader himself), it's a splurge we — and countless other in-the-know beauty enthusiasts who swear by the recent launch — are willing to make.
3 of 11
Like a teaspoon of Tang in your water, add this super-concentrated serum to your favorite moisturizer for skin that’s preternaturally bright. It's like switching the lights on inside your face.
4 of 11
Whether you’re staving off the first signs of aging or trying to do away with the fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots that already exist, this light-as-air treatment has you covered for restoring your skin's youthful glow — and with its silky, serum-like texture, it actually makes applying unsexy, science-y retinol feel chic and indulgent.
5 of 11
If you're going to promise visibly smoother skin in just one week of use, you better deliver. This rich hydrating cream certainly does, working to blur away fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots, and keep skin just the right amount of moisturized without feeling heavy — all in an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that even the acne-prone can embrace.
7 of 11
Not only does this unique booster — meant to be mixed in with your usual serum, sunscreen, oil, or moisturizer — deliver a naturally bronzed glow without ever seeing the sun, but it does you one better, mimicking the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D and defending against pollution and environmental stressors, so you can get all the benefits of sunlight without any of the bad shit.
9 of 11
Over at the other end of the price spectrum, this powerful treatment — a high-potency blend of vitamin A, fatty acids, and soothing extracts of chamomile and Persian silk tree — will quickly become the hardest-working component of your skin-care routine. Pair it with a gentle cleanser, a lightweight moisturizer, and sunscreen for daytime, and it's really all you need.
10 of 11
The potent brightening power of glycolic acid and vitamin C now comes in the most convenient form ever. Slip a few in your carry-on when you're on the go, stash them at your desk for the ultimate pick-me-up when you're heading from work to a night out, or use them while watching TV for the laziest skin treatment ever — the choice is yours.
11 of 11