These 8 Cellulite Creams Are Ideal for Smooth, Soft Skin

Ole Henriksen Beam Cream Smoothing Moisturizer revs cell turnover across arms, legs, and butt.

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Best Cellulite Creams
Photo: Courtesy of the Brands/InStyle

When people think of cellulite creams, they might recall the surge of products being hawked back in the late '90s and early 2000s. Before we go any further, an important reminder: Cellulite is natural and normal. There is nothing wrong with your body — it can appear at any age and on any body size and skin type. If you've learned to love and embrace your dimples, all the power to you. However, if you are interested in exploring products that may soften the appearance, keep reading.

The thing that has changed the most in the last 20 years is the science behind cellulite "miracle creams" that promise to provide results, fast. Cellulite can be really tricky to make disappear completely, but there are creams that can improve the overall look of your skin, and the science behind it is constantly advancing. Take Ole Henriksen Beam Cream Smoothing Moisturizer, our best overall choice, the AHA's smooth skin and even out dark spots and texture.

Here are our top picks for the best cellulite creams on the market.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Ole Henriksen Beam Cream Smoothing Moisturizer

Best Cellulite Creams
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Also available at Ole Henriksen

What We Love: This product pulls double-duty and helps smooth skin's appearance, while evening out dark spots and uneven texture.

What We Don't Love: Alpha hydroxy acids will give you a burning sensation if used on freshly shaved skin.

The TLC you show your face everyday can be a part of your body care routine, too. This cream is part of a recently-launched, much anticipated, body line from Ole Henriksen — even Kim Cattrall is a fan. The brand really thought about its hero face ingredients, from alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to rich butters and oils, to pack their body products with the same good-for-your-skin components. AHAs and fruit enzymes are chemical exfoliants that loosen and remove dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, smoother, more hydrated look. The whipped cream also contains caffeine, an antioxidant that helps protect against collagen-damaging free radicals and stimulates blood flow, which may ease the appearance of cellulite.

This dreamy cream also has a light, sweet citrus-y scent. While it comes out of the jar looking thick, the buttery texture melts into skin sans any greasy residue. The moisturizing formula, combined with AHAs and caffeine, plumps skin and increases cell turnover, both of which are shown to help the appearance of cellulite. Be aware: AHAs should not be used on freshly shaved skin to avoid irritation. Save this for the day after or opt for the Ole Henriksen Firmly Yours Dry Body Oil with Peptides instead.

Size: 6.4 oz | Key Ingredient: AHAs, caffeine, essential fatty acids | Formula: Cream

Best Value: Advanced Clinicals Retinol and Collagen Bundle

Best Cellulite Creams
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What We Love: You get a great amount of product for the money. Retinol is also supported by skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera for hydration.

What We Don't Love: The price varies widely depending on the retailer you are buying from.

This set is like a one-two punch for cellulite. The retinol lotion should be used at night to promote collagen production and prevent fine lines. While the collagen lotion can be applied over the retinol, or used solo in the morning, to keep the top layer of skin moisturized and looking supple. I'm a long-time fan of this duo that uses collagen and retinol separately to get skin-smoothing results. The best part about this purchase is the jumbo size of the product. You get two jars for under $26, plus each jar contains a whopping 16 ounces of product. Once you can't pump any more product from the applicator, unscrew the jar and reach in to get the dregs Trust me, you won't want to miss out on a single drop.

Size: 16 oz | Key Ingredient: Retinol, Collagen | Formula: Lotion

Best Splurge: Sonage Jolie Contour Body Creme

Best Cellulite Creams
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Also available at Amazon

What We Love: This cream has a vegan formula and contains green coffee oil, a potent, but rare ingredient in the skincare world.

What We Don't Love: The new launch is not available on store shelves, you'll need to order online

Your derrière and legs might be the first spots you notice cellulite (that's partly because of poor circulation in the area, FYI), and this cream targets just that. The Sonage Jolie Contour Cream contains green coffee oil, a plant-based ingredient shown to reduce cellulite by increasing blood flow to the area. The caffeine naturally found in the coffee oil decreases the appearance of puffiness on the skin's surface, and helps with collagen production. It's also packed with antioxidants, which contain free radicals produced by the body as a result of environmental stressors, that left unchecked can damage your skin's natural collagen and increase the speed of aging.

The cocoa butter and avocado oil base is super hydrating and the eucalyptus scent will make you want to reach for this one daily — a key component to achieving results over time. Apply this everywhere your skin could use a firming boost.

Size: 5 oz | Key Ingredient: Green coffee oil | Formula: Cream

Best for Butt: Rainbow Tighten Unisex Butt Mask

Best Cellulite Creams
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What We Love: This in-shower mask is powerful, yet delicate enough for daily use.

What We Don't Love: This small jar is a higher price point than typical drugstore products.

This whipped formula comes in a jar — the sigh you let out when a bar of soap slips from your fingers — making it super easy to dip into while standing in the shower. The star ingredients here are jojoba beads and retinol, which work together to mechanically and chemically exfoliate the skin, while maintaining hydration. The inclusion of papaya helps reveal an overall brighter, more glowing appearance. Grab a glob of this mask, lather with water, and apply in circular motions all over your skin, then rinse clean.

Size: 2 oz | Key Ingredient: Jojoba, retinol | Formula: Mousse

Best for Legs: Truly Anti-Cellulite Body Mask

Best Cellulite Creams
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Also available at Truly Beauty

What We Love: This mask can be used all over your body and doesn't need to be rinsed.

What We Don't Love: The tube packaging isn't mess-proof.

Even though this product is called a "mask," it's more like a rinse-free treatment. Once applied the ingredients stay on all day to keep skin hydrated, glowing, and tight. The secret ingredient at play here is bitter orange, which you might be more familiar with in your cocktails. Used topically in skincare, it's thought to smooth lumps under the skin, potentially due to its high vitamin C content, although more research is needed to support this claim. It also works as a decongestant for the skin and contains the powerhouse ingredient, retinol — the gold standard for accelerating cell turnover and enhancing natural collagen production.

Size: 5 oz | Key Ingredient: Bitter orange, retinol | Formula: Cream

Best For Stomach: Tracie Martyn Resculpting Body Serum

Best Cellulite Creams
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Also available at Dermstore

What We Love: This product can be used from head to toe, so you can really concentrate on a single area with face-strength ingredients.

What We Don't Love: The price point for this product is on the higher end.

I use this serum daily by slathering it right across my stomach, an area that often goes unnoticed when it comes to firming or cellulite creams. I have noticed a huge difference with using this product for just over a month. Ingredients like amino acids and seaweed extract work together with trademarked Beyond Hyaluronic technology — an extract similar to hyaluronic acid that keeps skin hydrated. Thanks to natural minerals, this product also helps diffuse light away from your imperfections, making it a great pick for all the skin exposed during summer. Just be sure to layer with SPF.

Size: 1.8 oz | Key Ingredient: Caffeine | Formula: Serum

Best with Retinol: Paula's Choice Retinol Smoothing Body Cream

Best Cellulite Creams
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Also available at Paula's Choice

What We Love: This lotion contains a powerful formulation of 0.1% pure retinol.

What We Don't Love: Shoppers reported this product having a strong, unpleasant smell.

This full size lotion pairs antioxidants with a retinol complex to help smooth out uneven skin and keep it looking fresh. Natural oils like grape seed oil and primrose oil help shield skin from the negative impacts of environmental stressors, like UVA/UVB rays, pollution, and more. Retinol is a great ingredient to reach for in a cellulite cream, according to Mona A. Gohara, M.D., dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, because "creams with retinol can build collagen to help minimize the appearance of dimpled skin."

Although some reviewers mentioned an unpleasant smell, the upside is that it did not linger on the skin.

Size: 4 oz | Key Ingredient: Retinol | Formula: Lotion

Best Drugstore: Weleda Cellulite Body Oil

Best Cellulite Creams
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What We Love: This oil relies on plant-based ingredients for its firming properties.

What We Don't Love: It can feel a bit heavy on the skin.

Anti-inflammatory plant extracts, such as birch, rosemary, and ruscus, combine with carrier oils, like jojoba and apricot seed oils to form this hydrating blend. Smooth across your entire body morning and night to take advantage of its softening and skin tightening properties. According to the brand, this oil showed a 22% increase in tightness and a 21% increase in smoothness, in just one month in their dermatologic tests.

Size: 3.4 oz | Key Ingredient: Birch | Formula: Oil

What to Keep in Mind

Formula

Normally when you shop for a body cream, you consider the moisturizing properties. And while that is still a factor here, even more important are the ingredients that will make it effective as a cellulite treatment. According to Dr. Gohara, cellulite creams on the market now can "make the skin appear better." "But don't expect miracles." "Even procedures can't make those happen," she says. They can, however, hydrate the skin, add volume, and help build collagen production. Dr. Gohara says to watch for retinol, caffeine, and antioxidants when choosing a cellulite cream that actually performs.

Most products come in serum or cream/lotion form. Dr. Gohara suggests reaching for a cream if you feel stuck on which to choose. "I like creams and butters, because the oil content hydrates the skin and thereby adds volume in the form of water," she says. "The volume evens out the skin."

Of course, this also depends on your preference and any allergies you might have. If you're concerned, tell your dermatologist about your product selection; they can can read labels more closely and alert you to concerns.

Amount of Product

When applying a cream or serum to parts of the body, under 2 ounces of product simply won't do if you're on a budget. Consider the cost to full ounce ratio of these products. If you don't have a lot to spend, you may want to consider a bulk product like one of them listed above. The key to seeing results is consistency, and the easiest way to stay consistent is to have a large amount of product around your house at any given time.

Your Questions, Answered

What causes cellulite?

You know how Botox lovers like to use the folded piece of paper metaphor? Well when it comes to cellulite, Dr. Gohara compares it to a button on a couch cushion. "The button is tethered to the material through a string or band that holds it in place with a little pucker," she explains, adding, "that is what happens with cellulite." Essentially, what's going on is that under the skin, "little bands [are] tethered to deeper tissues causing the skin to pucker."

How do cellulite creams work?

One of the main things to look for in a cellulite cream should be the ingredients. Additional moisture "increases volume and evens out the texture," says Dr. Gohara. Some ingredients, like retinol, build collagen, which in turn helps boost volume in the skin and smooth the appearance of cellulite.

One of Dr. Gohara's favorite ingredients in a cellulite cream is caffeine, which helps deflate "the water content of fat cells, making them reduce in size." Smaller fat cells = skin appears tighter and cellulite is less noticeable.

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