The 11 Best Anti-Aging Creams of 2023 for Smooth, Plump Skin

These youth-boosting retinols, night creams and moisturizers beautifully tighten and smooth the skin

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Best Anti-Aging Creams of 2023

InStyle / Brian Kopinski

As we age (but even as early as our mid-twenties), the skin on our face and neck begins to lose some of its elasticity and suppleness, and we might start to see fine lines and wrinkles forming — especially around the eyes or mouth. If these skin concerns bother you, using a potent anti-aging cream that’s specifically formulated to target them is a must.

While there’s no magic cream that will make you look like a teenager again, using a wrinkle cream can, in fact, reduce fine lines and other signs of aging, like hyperpigmentation, dullness, and rough texture.

Best Overall

Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream

Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream


What We Love: It stimulates collagen production for visibly firmer skin.

What We Don’t Love: The texture is quite thick.

While many anti-aging creams are suitable for all skin types — which is great, of course — this one goes for a more targeted approach by offering two formula options for the same product: one for very dry to dry skin, and one for dry combination to combination oily skin. “This rich, hydrating cream really gets to work stimulating collagen production, restoring the building blocks within your skin for noticeably firmer and smoother skin within just a few weeks,” says Dr. Kajal Babamiri, a specialist in dermatology, lasers and esthetics at CLNQ Clinic.

While some people find this cream a little thick to apply, most reviewers love how smooth their skin looks and feels when they use it consistently (but you actually will notice results pretty damn quickly). It provides lift and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, plus hydrates thirsty skin and is delicate enough for sensitive skin thanks to a fragrance-free formula.

Price at time of publish: $73

Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Glycerin, rosemary leaf extract, murumuru seed butter | Texture: Cream

Best Splurge

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Cream for Face and Neck

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Cream for Face and Neck


What We Love: It’s designed for all skin types, as well as both face and neck.

What We Don’t Love: The formula was changed recently, and some find the new iteration makes their skin feel greasy.

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Cream for Face and Neck “contains ingredients which help firm and even out texture,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. These ingredients are: “glycerin, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and vigna aconitifolia seed extract, which is known to boost cellular regeneration.”

The brand apparently changed the formula fairly recently, and some people find the new texture a little too greasy, but this change hasn’t stopped longtime fans of this cream from keeping it as a staple in their skincare routine. It leaves your skin incredibly hydrated and soft, and noticeably smooths out fine lines and wrinkles for a revitalized look.

Because it’s designed for all skin types — even sensitive — this is a great product if you have both dry and oily areas on your face. Bonus: It’s paraben- and mineral oil-free as well.

Price at time of publish: $95

Size: 2.5 oz | Active Ingredients: Vitamin A, hyaluronic acid | Texture: Cream

Best Budget

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream


What We Love: It’s suitable for all skin types.

What We Don’t Love: The jar isn't filled to the very top with product.

Behold: yet another one of CeraVe’s products that’s an all-around winner. “I love the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream,” says Dr. Babamiri. “It’s affordable, packs a punch in terms of its formula (boasting peptides and hyaluronic acid) and has a lovely, lightweight consistency, allowing your skin to breathe while treating it to a dose of deep hydration and reparation as you sleep.”

This cream is suitable for all skin types: It’s designed to relieve excess dry skin, but is also non-comedogenic so those with combination, oily or acne-prone skin can benefit from it, and it’s paraben- and fragrance-free for those with more sensitive skin. Thanks to CeraVe’s MVE delivery technology, the product will penetrate your skin progressively throughout the night, so that you wake up with plump, glowy, and smooth skin. Sadly, this cream suffers from bag-of-potato-chips syndrome: The jar only comes half-filled with product. I can forgive this since it’s a more affordable product, but it does seem like a waste of plastic.

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid | Texture: Cream

Best Drugstore

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream



What We Love: It hydrates, brightens, and refreshes the skin for a glowy look.

What We Don’t Love: Although the scent is faint, it may make the cream unsuitable for sensitive skin.

“Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and peptide fragments are used in the formulation of Olay's Micro-Sculpting Cream to hydrate, brighten, and revitalize the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell. “Anyone who wants to strengthen their skin's moisture barrier should use it.”

Unfortunately, some people find that this fairly thick product sits on the skin and can cause breakouts, but most reviewers found it left their skin supple, soft and quenched, and effectively minimized the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

While this cream contains fragrance and might not agree with more sensitive skin, it’s paraben-free and suitable for dry, oily and combination skin alike. At this price, it doesn’t get much better.

Price at time of publish: $37

Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Vitamin B3, amino-peptides, hyaluronic acid | Texture: Cream

Best for Neck

Neostrata Triple Firming Anti-Aging Neck Cream

Neostrata Triple Firming Anti-Aging Neck Cream


What We Love: It firms and smooths the skin without sticking.

What We Don’t Love: We wish it was fragrance-free.

While some of the products on this list are suitable for face and neck, the skin on those areas is actually different, so you may want to invest in a separate neck cream to prevent or reduce the appearance of creases there. “​​One of your body's first areas to start aging is your neck,” Dr. Mitchell explains. “With a special trio of ingredients that boost collagen production, exfoliate to lighten dark spots, and hydrate with vitamin E and shea butter, this cream firms the area.”

The product feels pleasantly rich but without sticking to the skin (which you definitely want to avoid if you’re planning to cover it with clothing), and does a great job of smoothing and firming up the skin around your neck and minimizing wrinkles.

It is scented, though, and not everybody likes how it smells — just something to be aware of.

Price at time of publish: $88

Size: 2.8 oz | Active Ingredients: Proprietary blend of Neocitriate and pro-amino acids| Texture: Cream

Best for Dry Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallegro Night Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Cream


What We Love: It’s non-greasy, but super moisturizing.

What We Don’t Love: It’s firming and hydrating, but not specifically designed to target wrinkles.

Dr. Jaliman recommends this one for mature skin, thanks to its “hydrating and protective ingredients,” namely shea butter, niacinamide, glycerin and vitamin E. Incidentally, these ingredients are also what makes this La Roche-Posay product so perfect for dry, itchy or flaky skin, leaving the skin refreshed and hydrated with no uncomfortable greasy feel.

As you might have guessed from its name, this moisturizer is also a great choice if you have sensitive skin, since it’s formulated without harsh ingredients such as parabens, preservatives and fragrance. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t block your pores or cause breakouts.

Beyond the hydration it provides, this product is formulated with a dipeptide called neurosensine, which works to prevent skin aging, and it leaves the skin noticeably firmer. With that in mind, it’s not specifically designed to target fine lines and wrinkles, so if that’s your primary goal, you’ll need to combine it with an anti-aging serum for best results.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 1.35 oz | Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, shea butter, niacinamide, glycerin, vitamin E | Texture: Lotion

Best for Sensitive Skin

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

 Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream


What We Love: It’s gentle yet super effective for targeting fine lines and wrinkles.

What We Don’t Love: You need to use it in tandem with a more moisturizing serum or cream.

Just because your skin is more prone to redness and itchiness doesn’t mean you don’t get to use a really effective anti-aging product. “I’d recommend the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream for those with sensitive skin, but who want to introduce retinoids to their skincare regime,” Dr. Babamiri says. “Not only does it contain 1 percent retinol (which we all know is the holy grail in anti-aging ingredients!) but it also boasts skin-protecting antioxidants and peptides, protecting your complexion from damage, stimulating collagen production and reducing redness.”

It targets deep wrinkles as well as fine lines for bouncy, brightened, youthful-looking skin, and is lovely and gentle since it doesn’t contain any essential oils, silicones, or fragrances. It also helps with skin concerns such as acne and hyperpigmentation, but you will need to use it in tandem with a more moisturizing serum or cream to make sure you’re getting enough hydration (plus SPF for the daytime).

Price at time of publish: $74

Size: 1 oz | Active Ingredients: Retinol, peptides, vitamin F | Texture: Cream

Best for Hyperpigmentation

Paula's Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream

Paula's Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream


What We Love: It protects from — and diminishes the negative effects of — UV exposure.

What We Don’t Love: It may trigger breakouts for acne-prone skin.

Excess sun exposure and aging can create frustrating dark spots on your skin, so if you’re looking to even out your skin tone and texture, you’ll need a face cream that’s formulated to do just that.

“This Paula's Choice hydrating night cream has peptides, hyaluronic acid (HA), and 0.01% retinol, which together reduce wrinkle appearance, plump up the skin, and retain moisture,” Dr. Mitchell says. “Additionally, it contains antioxidants, which work to counteract the negative effects of environmental stressors like UV ray damage.”

Used as part of your evening routine, this cream leaves your skin soft, smooth and glowing. Those with especially dry or sensitive skin love it for soothing itchy or flaky areas, and it can be used around the eyes and neck as well. Some people do find it breaks them out, though, sadly.

Price at time of publish: $37

Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Retinol, peptides, omega fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil | Texture: Cream

Best Night Cream

Medik8 Advanced Night Restore

Medik8 Advanced Night Restore


What We Love: It feels super luxurious and works like a charm.

What We Don’t Love: It’s a British brand, so isn’t as readily available in the U.S.

Skin cells repair themselves best at night, making it the ideal time to harness the power of a great skincare product to boost this natural process. This anti-aging cream by Medik8 helps stall free radical damage from your daytime activities — that is, fine lines or discoloration, for example — and firms and smooths the skin so you wake up feeling refreshed, glowy, and impossibly soft.

“I love Medik8 Advanced Night Restore cream,” says Dr. Babamiri. “It’s paraben-free, [artificial] fragrance-free, suitable for all skin types and deeply nourishes dry skin, with a multi-ceramide, peptide-infused formula to protect and repair damaged skin as you sleep. It’s a great all-rounder, which works to firm, tone and plump dehydrated skin for a younger-looking appearance.”

The rich, creamy texture feels super luxurious and nourishes the skin beautifully without being unnecessarily heavy or causing breakouts. The only blemish is that Medik8 is a British brand, so isn’t as readily available as other options on this list.

Price at time of publish: $74

Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Retinol, ceramides, fruit-derived antioxidants | Texture: Cream

Best Extra Strength

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream


What We Love: It dramatically fades fine lines and wrinkles practically overnight.

What We Don’t Love: It can be too strong for sensitive skin.

“For the strongest, best-suited product for your individual needs, book in with your dermatologist — who can prescribe you products [customized for] your individual skin concerns and advise you on how to use them safely, to avoid irritation or skin damage,” cautions Dr. Babamiri. Still, there are some great extra strength products on the market that you can buy over the counter and that will deliver pretty amazing results.

“One potent anti-aging product that has been brought to my attention (and can be ordered online, prescription-free) is the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, which combines a powerful blend of retinol and hyaluronic acid, hydrating and smoothing skin while you sleep,” Dr. Babamiri says. “Just be careful not to overdo it, as its formula is powerful enough to cause some skin irritation.”

This product is truly potent, with many users seeing dramatically faded fine lines and wrinkles overnight with just a small dab of lotion. It’s also deeply moisturizing and leaves skin gorgeously plump and soft, plus the texture is lightweight and non-greasy, and it sinks in easily. If you have sensitive skin, however, skip this stuff and see a dermatologist for a more suitable prescription.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 1 oz | Active Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid | Texture: Lotion

Best Firming

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Cream


What We Love: It firms and smooths the skin in just a few days.

What We Don’t Love: Sensitive skin types should proceed with caution.

Retinol is one of the most potent ingredients you’ll find in anti-aging creams, since it boosts collagen production and improves skin texture overall. That’s why Dr. Jaliman is a big fan of this pick from RoC. “It reduces the appearance of lines and deep wrinkles while you sleep,” she says.

It also “helps to fade dark spots, lift and firm the skin.” The expert explains that retinol and squalane particularly help with fine lines and wrinkles, that shea butter and glycerin help keep the skin moisturized, and that vitamin C helps even out the skin tone for a beautiful complexion.

We love this cream’s lightweight texture, which doesn’t take away from its effectiveness at all in terms of anti-aging and moisturizing benefits. Our skin feels soft, smooth and noticeably firmer after just a few days of use. However, it is important to note that not everyone’s skin responds well to retinol — especially at first — so consult a professional before using this product if you have more sensitive skin or are prone to reactions.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 1 oz | Active Ingredients: Retinol, shea butter, glycolic acid, squalane | Texture: Cream

What to Keep in Mind

Active Ingredients

Dr. Babamiri explains that there are four classes of anti-aging skincare ingredients, all of which play a key role in the product’s formulation.

“Generally speaking, exfoliating products (be these physical exfoliants or chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid) lift dead skin cells from the surface of your complexion, leaving your face brighter, temporarily plumper and with a more even tone,” she says. “Moisturizers containing ceramides help repair the skin’s natural barrier, and products containing hyaluronic acid restore and retain lost moisture, for plumper and softer, hydrated skin.”

Her go-to from Medik8 contains ceramides, while many of the other products on this list are formulated with hyaluronic acid.

“Antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E) protect the skin from environmental damage and premature signs of aging,” adds Dr. Babamiri. “Finally, peptides and retinoids (vitamin A compounds) help boost collagen production, improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”


“There’s a huge selection of anti-aging skincare out there — and each formula, consistency and active ingredient plays a different role in your skincare regime, targeting different concerns and acting differently on your skin,” explains Dr. Babamiri.

When it comes to anti-aging face creams, a deeply moisturizing, creamy texture is usually best. That said, if your skin doesn’t absorb richer creams very well, a more gel- or lotion-like texture might work better: La Roche-Posay and Neutrogena are great options here.

Your Questions, Answered

When should you start using anti-aging wrinkle cream?

“Prevention is always better than cure, so if you’re starting to notice the formation of wrinkles or fine lines, it might be time to invest in some good anti-wrinkle skincare,” says Dr. Babamiri, adding that there isn’t an exact age when everyone should think about anti-aging skincare, but that there is a ballpark to keep in mind.

“Everyone is different, but I find that patients typically begin to notice wrinkles forming in their early to mid-twenties,” she says. “This coincides with when our skin’s natural collagen production begins to dip. As a result, your skin can lose some of its elasticity and volume, becoming thinner, more sensitive and more prone to wrinkles.”

If that all sounds a bit doom-and-gloomy, don’t worry: Anti-aging creams are designed specially to slow that process and give your skin its bounce back. “Collagen is key in younger-looking skin,” Dr. Babamiri says. “By regularly applying clinically-proven skincare products that work to stimulate and boost collagen, we can help slow signs of aging and keep our body’s bank of collagen topped up.”

How do anti-aging creams work?

Anti-aging creams may seem kind of magic, but they’re actually very scientific (obviously). There are three main classes of anti-aging ingredients: Those that exfoliate dead skin cells to brighten the skin, those that provide hydration, and those that improve skin elasticity.

“Anti-aging creams work by different mechanisms, but the majority of them decrease fine lines and wrinkles and help to build collagen,” says board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Jeanine Downie. “Another thing that some anti-aging creams do is they even out the skin tone, which is very important, because if your skin tone is even, you look younger and more glowing.”

Why Shop With Us

Iris Goldsztajn is a Paris-born, London-based freelance writer with 10 years of experience covering fashion, beauty, wellness and lifestyle for the likes of InStyle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Refinery29 and many more. As the former associate editor for Her Campus, she was responsible for all style and beauty news coverage. For this story, she researched and tested anti-aging creams, and spoke to four skincare experts who shared their insights and recommendations: Board-certified dermatologists Dr. Hope Mitchell, Dr. Debra Jaliman, Dr. Jeanine Downie, as well as the U.K.-based Dr. Kajal Babamiri, a specialist in dermatology, lasers and esthetics at CLNQ Clinic.

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