This Anti-Aging Cream Makes My Skin Supremely Soft and Bright

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This Anti-Aging Cream Makes My Skin Supremely Soft and Bright
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Agh, fragrance in skincare. There are few things that surface memories like sniffing the face lotion your mom faithfully used, but if you have sensitive skin or hope to avoid endocrine-disrupting phthalates, it's a hot spot to skip (my raging case of hives from scented bug spray says hello). But forgoing "fragrance" doesn't have to mean a life of bland products, as Eight Saints' newest anti-aging moisturizer proves.

If the name rings a bell, it might be because the indie, women-owned brand's hyaluronic acid and vitamin C serum is widely loved by shoppers in their 40s. And after trialing its new Up the Anti Anti-Aging Night Cream for the last two months, I can confirm the company has developed another hit: The airy, delicately scented moisturizer smells like heaven, feels like marshmallow whip, and leaves my skin super soft and bright.

To focus on the scent for a minute, the formula draws on organic green tea leaf extract for a whiff that smells exactly like Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea Eau de Parfum. I might be biased because Green Tea was my first "adult" perfume as a teenager, but it was a magical first: Light, fresh, herbal, bright, and not cloying. Yet in retrospect, my memory of constantly spritzing on it and other body mists takes on dark edges.

As reproductive epidemiologist Dr. Kim Harley, PhD, discovered while working on the University of California, Berkeley's Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas Study for the last 20 years, personal care product use is associated with higher exposure to certain phthalates, parabens, and other phenols in urine. Exposure is especially concerning during critical periods of reproductive development, like pre-conception, pregnancy, and early adolescence, according to Dr. Shanna Swan, PhD, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine.

"Avoid fragrance in any form, whether it's in your room freshener, perfume, cosmetics, or laundry soap," Swan tells InStyle. "[Manufacturers] don't have to list phthalates but fragrance is a giveaway." Why is it worth skipping? Swan found that prenatal exposure lowers testosterone, which alters development of male genitals and decreases sperm counts, as detailed in her book, Count Down. By the same coin, a Chinese study of over 500 children found that childhood and adolescent exposure to phthalates influenced the age girls started menstruating; their findings were echoed by a peer-reviewed, longitudinal study of Chilean girls by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"We're concerned about girls entering puberty earlier because it increases their risk for various reproductive cancers, like breast or ovarian cancer, over the long run," Harley tells InStyle. "There's also increased risk of mental health problems and risk-taking behaviors in girls that are entering puberty earlier." Last year, Dr. Russ Hauser, PhD, a professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at Harvard University, called for a ban on the chemical class, since over a dozen studies found that maternal exposure to phthalates during pregnancy can impair brain development in children and increase their risks for learning, attention, and behavioral disorders.

eight saints anti-aging cream
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Shop now: $44; amazon.com and eightsaintsskincare.com

All of that is why it's been so fantastic to see brands like Eight Saints cut fragrance, and thus phthalates, from the picture, especially considering our other daily exposures to endocrine-disrupting agents in food packaging and household products. Instead, Up the Anti centers skin-helping ingredients like aloe, glycerin, jojoba oil, vitamin E, panthenol, and hyaluronic acid for hydration. Niacinamide and lactic acid brighten in tandem, as amino acids repair skin damage, and three peptides slow collagen breakdown.

I'm in my late 20s, so can't yet speak to how the cream softens wrinkles — but it's definitely softened my skin overall and left it bright, glowing, plump, and moisturized. Between those effects and its gorgeous, risk-free scent, I'll be using the eye-catching turquoise jar of night cream until the very last scrap. If you're interested, you can get Eight Saints' new anti-aging moisturizer for $44 at Amazon or the brand's website.

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