Shoppers in Their 60s Dub This Cream "Fabulous" for Softening Lines and Texture
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Shoppers in Their 50s Dub This Cream "Fabulous" for Softening Lines and Texture

People stick with it for 35 years.
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It's a generalization, but the French have a lot of things going for them. While on vacation there last year, I was struck by how easy it was to nip into any neighborhood pharmacy and get a COVID-19 test within 10 minutes — a stark contrast from the hour-long waits and hundred-dollar fees that characterize our American system. Croque madames, crêpes, and excellent skincare are also widely available, including finds like Avène's Hydrance Aqua-Gel moisturizer.    

The latter, at least, is available in the U.S., which is excellent news based on the myriad shoppers who dub it "fabulous" for plumping up fine lines with ample hydration. On Amazon, one person said it's their "precious treasure," a high compliment with a fun undercurrent of Sméagol vibes. The acclaim comes from how well the nonsticky gel plays on their sensitive skin, and those with rosacea seconded the praise. 

"The best I have ever used," wrote a 56-year-old on the brand's website, adding that the moisturizer makes them look 36. An Ulta shopper over 65 saw similar results: With it and the brand's Hydrating Moisture Cream in their routine, their skin looks "so much better and hydrated." Others noted the instant glow and dewy, soft texture the Aqua-Gel leaves behind; "life-saving" results — even for people with eczema-prone skin. 

avene gel cream
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Shop now: $23–$36; amazon.com, aveneusa.com, ulta.com, and dermstore.com

What gives the light, airy gel its moisturizing oomph? According to Avène, cohederm, a "patented lipidic trio," restores the skin's barrier and prevents water loss along with squalane. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin attract water as humectants, the brand's thermal spring water soothes, and a combination of dextran sulfate and pre-tocopheryl provide antioxidants. Finally, the unsaturated fatty acids in pumpkin seed oil tone down inflammation, per researchers.   

Thanks to those hard-working additions, one reviewer said they've stuck with the moisturizer for 35 years — and another wrote that they actually prefer it over $190 creams. The fragrance is a little divisive, but its quick work on dryness and rough texture as a whole make it a shopper favorite (and the gel texture is a godsend for oily skin in humidity, per a Floridian commenter). 

"I receive compliments all the time on my skin and it really makes me feel great, especially since I've turned 50," concluded a penultimate customer, and a last one in their 70s said it's the best hydrator they've ever found. If your moisturizer starts to feel suffocating in the warmer months, Avène's water-weight Hydrance Aqua-Gel is available for $36 on the brand's website, $23 at Amazon, and $25 at Ulta Beauty.