Wrinkle creams can improve the look of your skin in
Their name makes them sound like they're just
for seniors to scrub away existing wrinkles (which would be awesome, by the
way), but, in fact, wrinkle creams should be a part of everyone's skin care
regimen even before you start noticing actual wrinkles. A more appropriate
name, and one most manufacturers use, is "anti-aging." These
anti-aging products run the gamut from formulations to prevent damage that can
make your skin look older, to products that help to reverse some damage you may
When used in conjunction with a good facial cleanser, facial moisturizer and eye cream (which we cover in
separate reports), a good wrinkle cream can minimize fine lines and wrinkles,
diminish age spots, and brighten your skin for better skin tone and a youthful
Types of Wrinkle Cream
Wrinkle Creams Without Retinol
Many non-retinol wrinkle creams contain various antioxidants, which can prevent the fine lines and wrinkles associated with aging, without the irritation that many experience with retinol (retinol creams also tend to be pricier, sometimes much pricier). These products can be used during the day as part of your morning skin regimen. They usually contain ingredients that plump the skin, minimize skin damage, and even, in some cases, reverse it. That difference can be subtle -- there is no magic potion that will make your wrinkles disappear overnight, or prevent all wrinkles -- but if you use them consistently you should see an improvement.
Wrinkle Creams With Retinol
Retinol is the crème de la crème (or cream, or serum) when it comes to anti-aging, but it can take some trial and error to find the one that works for you. For example, if you really think a retinol cream is right for you but you have sensitive skin, find a retinol formula targeted for sensitive skin (and we have a top recommendation in that category). If you have deeper wrinkles, look for a dropper or pen-type applicator that makes it easier to directly apply the product just where you need it.
Fast-Acting Wrinkle Creams
Believe it or not, these products really do work to provide instant smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles. They're not comparable to injection-based treatments like Botox or dermal fillers that you get at your dermatologist or aesthetician's office, but they can quickly smooth your complexion and make wrinkles less noticeable immediately. The best of these products also contain ingredients for longer-term smoothing as well.
Wrinkle Creams for Men
Men may not be the main target market for wrinkle creams, or any skin care product for that matter, but it's just as important that they take care of their skin for the same reasons women do -- to look and feel younger and to radiate a healthy glow. All of the products in any of our skin care reports can be used by men as well, although some fragranced products are probably best suited to women. There are only a few expert sources for skin products for men, but we have some recommendations based upon our research and a little bit of common sense.
Don't let a wrinkle cream put a crimp in your
Experts agree that price is no indicator of
the overall effectiveness of wrinkle creams. In fact, many of the best wrinkle
creams can be found at the drugstore -- and we encountered more reviews for
these affordable brands than we did for expensive department-store wrinkle
creams. Although many of those pricey products feel more luxurious on the skin,
experts say the vast majority work no better than budget formulas with the same
Some wrinkle creams can be worn all day, but
most are designed to be applied at night. That's because they typically don't
contain sunscreen and some of the most powerful ingredients that they do
contain, such as retinol, easily degrade in daylight and can make skin extra
sensitive to the sun. Still, there are wrinkle creams that people put on in the
morning and wear all day, under makeup or another moisturizer or both.
Remember, experts say you should always wear a moisturizer containing sunscreen on your face during the day to protect your skin from the aging properties of
the sun and other types of environmental damage -- otherwise, you're negating
the effect of the wrinkle cream.
Finding The Best Wrinkle Cream
"The Best Anti-Aging Skin Products"
"The Best Wrinkle Cream"
Over the past couple of years Good Housekeeping has
put a number of wrinkle creams to the test -- both in the lab and on the faces
of testers. Products that did well in both metrics are named the best of the
bunch, and that was very helpful to us in making our decisions. And, as always,
Beautypedia, run by beauty products expert Paula Begoun helps to narrow -- or sometimes
widen -- the field even further.
To provide even more perspective, we turned to beauty
product retail sites like Ulta, Makeup Alley and Sephora. These specialty
makeup retailers are invaluable in gauging real-world results from these
wrinkle creams. And, because so many of our top choices are available at
drugstores and large retailers, feedback from customers at places like Walgreens,
Walmart and Amazon (though see Our Sources for a caveat regarding some
wrinkle cream reviews at Amazon) often offer a look at how more typical users
of some of these products react to their performance and price.
wrinkle serums and creams
There are few over-the-counter wrinkle creams that get the kind of
praise that (Est. $21 for 1.7 oz.) does. The Olay Regenerist line is
well-respected by experts for its effective, beneficial formulas, and the Micro-Sculpting
line is no exception. At Good Housekeeping, it earns a Seal of Approval for its
ability to hydrate and smooth skin, as well as for its lab-proven anti-aging
properties. As with all serums, because it doesn't have any sun protection
factor, it's best used at night or as a base for moisturizing creams or makeup.
Olay Micro-Sculpting Serum gets a perfect 5-star rating from Paula
Begoun at Beautypedia. She notes that, "With each use your skin is treated
to a helpful amount of the cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide,
skin-identical glycerin, and a cadre of other anti-aging ingredients, including
peptides, antioxidants, and more cell-communicating ingredients." She also
praises how well it brightens skin tone.
Users say Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum makes their skin look
and feel hydrated, and, over time they can see improvements in firmness,
smoothness, and overall skin tone. It glides on skin and covers very well
without having to use a lot, and is reported as feeling "lightweight and
silky" even under makeup or a facial moisturizing cream. Good
Housekeeping's assistant beauty editor agrees, saying it, "Wears well
under makeup without pilling or melting off during the day." However,
because it is so light, those with very dry skin may need an additional layer
of moisturizer even at night. We recommend some good choices in our separate
report on facial moisturizers.
Unlike many anti-aging creams, Olay Regenerist does not contain retinol,
which is a proven wrinkle-fighter. However, that works in its favor as the omission
of retinol, plus its lack of fragrance, make it suitable for even the most
sensitive skin. Many users say this is the only product they can use that does
not make them break out or cause irritation or allergic reactions.
(Est. $100 for 1.7oz) is another over-the-counter anti-wrinkle
serum that gets raves from experts and users. Yes, it's pricey, but it gets
rave reviews across multiple sites such as Macy's, Sephora and Nordstrom.
Amazon carries it as well, and the prices line up with what we see elsewhere,
however, the ratings at Amazon are lowered by reports of counterfeit products.
We have no way of verifying or refuting those reports, other than to suggest
that you should be sure to buy from a seller (Amazon does not sell this
themselves) with top user feedback to ensure you are getting the real
So, moving on from that, Begoun gives Estee Lauder Perfectionist CP+R
Wrinkle Lifting Serum a perfect 5-star rating, calling it, "...a
formidable, ultra-silky serum to consider in the battle against signs of aging."
It's loaded with ingredients that will repair and improve the look and feel of
Many users say they have used Estee Lauder Perfectionist serum for years
and that they have seen their lines and wrinkles improve. Quite a few say they often
get comments on their beautifully smooth skin. Many who have spot-specific
wrinkles -- such as crow's feet, nose crinkles or smile lines -- say they've
seen a noticeable improvement over time. Even immediately, some say, they
notice softer, more hydrated skin, although Begoun says Estee Lauder
Perfectionist is not a good choice for dry skin as it's not as emollient as
Like Olay, Estee Lauder Perfectionist does not contain retinol or fragrance
so it's a good choice for sensitive skin. Because it contains no sunscreen, it
should not be used as a daily moisturizing lotion unless it's used under an
SPF-rated product, such as a daily facial moisturizer. However, many users say
they use it day and night, layering it under other products.
(Est. $25 for 1.6 oz.) is another top finisher in Good Housekeeping's
roundup. It was the best performing non-retinol product in the lab, with "impressive
scores for firming, moisturizing and improving spots." Consumer testers found
success with it as well, saying the improvement in the appearance of their skin
was noticeable to family and friends. Regular users like Boots No7 too, with
hundreds of reviewers weighing in at various online retailers to say they see a
visible difference in their skin, even when other products did nothing.
However, Boots No7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream earns only a 2-star
rating at Beautypedia. While Begoun acknowledges that it makes skin feel
"smooth, silky-soft, and beautifully hydrated," and praises its good
mix of ingredients, she dings it for containing fragrance -- a serious concern
for those with chemical sensitivities. It's also packaged in a jar instead of a
more sanitary pump-style dispenser. Dipping your fingers into a jar lends
itself to the risk of contaminating the ingredients. Still, many people prefer
jar packaging for its convenience, and if you wash your hands before applying
and have no sensitivities to fragrances, we highly recommend this product --
it's a great performer at a not-too-bad price.
At a fraction of the price of any of the other over-the-counter wrinkle
creams in this category, but just as popular with users, (Est. $10 for 1.7 oz.) is
also praised by Begoun for its "well-documented antioxidants in a light
yet creamy base formula." However, she gives it only two stars because of
its packaging -- it comes in jar form only -- downsides that we discuss above. However,
users on the Beautypedia site disagree, giving it a perfect 5-star rating. Eucerin
products are perennially popular, and if you store and use this properly, it
could be a great budget choice for everyday skin care, especially if your skin
is very sensitive or very dry. Eucerin Q10 does not contain sunscreen, so is
best used under an SPF containing moisturizer.