Musicians have the Grammys and actors have the Oscars. For beauty products, earning a spot in InStyle’s coveted beauty awards is the industry pinnacle. With over 100 winners in 2016, these contenders are carefully chosen and vetted by the industry’s top experts—dermatologists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and manicurists. With a process that takes over six months, we begin sending out super detailed (and long!) surveys in October and then tally up the results. As our beauty closet begins to fill up, we interview our pros to find out why they really love these products and why they deserve some real estate in your makeup bag.
While we can’t turn back the hands of time, we can slow down the effects the ticking clock has on our complexions. Taking preventative measures by adding a skincare product to your routine that’s packed with skin-firming ingredients that target signs of aging, is the best way to keep your complexion tight and smooth. According to our pro-panel, the following three anti-aging fighters are the best at keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
1. Best Overall: SkinMedia TNS Essential Serum
Are you familiar with the saying "You don't know what you've got till it's gone"? Don't let it apply to your bright, youthful skin. This much-heralded serum makes "more mature skin cells behave like young, healthy ones to improve the overall texture and tone," says N.Y.C.-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. The key to this dermatological voodoo? A formula that, unlike the ones in some other equally pricey products out there, has a proven track record of spurring collagen production with the use of growth factors, says Dr. Zeichner.
"Studies have been done using this product which showed the improvement in lines and wrinkles," says N.Y.C. dermatologist Anthony Rossi. And it doesn't just just stop there, it also helps with overall tone and hydration. "Additionally it has arbutin which helps to lighten skin and hyaluronic acid to help moisturize along with antioxidants," says Rossi. And while it comes at a hefty price tag, both dermatologists agree that the ingredients make it worth every penny.
SkinMedica | $281
2. Best Inexpensive: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum
Can your love affair with retinol be best described as on-again, off-again? Dermatologists say this over-the-counter cream can help you stick with the ingredient, which is essential to addressing fine lines and sun damage. "Many people find it irritating at first," explains Redondo Beach Calif.-based dermatologist Annie Chiu. But this gentle time released formula, which doesn't blast your skin with a highly concentrated dose of retinol at once, can help mitigate that, she says.
With dryness and redness under control, moisture-drawing hyaluronic acid can do its work of plumping up lines in the short term, while the retinol builds collagen in the long term. "I think this is as effective as some prescription versions or more expensive formulations- it just works...and at a fraction of the price of some department store versions," says N.Y.C. dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.
Neutrogena | $21
3. Best For Eyes: Garnier SkinActive Renew Eye Roller
For some of us, it's going to take a lot more than a cucumber to get rid of undereye baggage. This multi-tasking tool checks all the boxes: It has a cooling metal rollerball tip, which helps to physically massage away excess fluid build up. Then the formula packs caffeine to stimulate circulation and decrease puff. An addition of pro vitamin B5. and glycerin also help hydrate the notoriously dry undereye area so fine lines and wrinkles are less apparent. And applying it feels like a therapeutic treat—so you'll actually want to whip it out in the morning (and at night and lunchtime) and get rolling.
Garnier | $9