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Best anti-ageing cream 2022: Look younger for longer with these anti-wrinkle creams

Lise Smith
12 Jul 2022
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Look younger for longer with our pick of the best anti-ageing creams on the market

As we grow older our skin changes, becoming thinner, drier, less elastic and more prone to lines and discolouration. While no pot of cream can promise eternal youth and beauty, the best anti-ageing creams can slow the effects of ageing and offer targeted ingredients to help make maturing skin feel more comfortable.

So, which products are worth the investment? We’ve worked our way through jars, tubes, and pots of day and night creams to discover the formulas that really do smooth your skin, soften lines and wrinkles, leaving you with a youthful glow. Read on for some key information to consider before you make a purchase.

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Best anti-ageing creams: At a glance


How to choose the best anti-ageing cream for you

What are the effects of ageing on skin?

As we grow older, our skin tends to produce fewer natural oils that help keep young skin dewy, plump and healthy-looking. As a result, the skin on the face can become dry and appear dull. Levels of elastin and collagen – skin-repairing ingredients produced naturally by the body– start to decrease, so that skin doesn’t quite bounce back following a smile or frown, and fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear. Skin may start to show dark spots, especially after sun exposure, and dark circles under the eyes may become more pronounced.

Skin products targeting the first signs of ageing focus on hydrating the skin and smoothing out fine lines. Products for mature skin deliver intense nourishing to help repair skin that has lost elasticity, including ingredients that help reduce dark spots and discolouration.

How much does my skin type matter?

It’s worth taking the time to research your skin type so you can match the ingredients accordingly. Your skin type will impact how your skin ages in the first place, and therefore informs the treatments that will be most effective. Oily skins tend to benefit from exfoliating ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acid that encourage the natural skin-renewal process. Dry and sensitive skins, on the other hand, may benefit from hydrating creams with antioxidants to limit damage from the sun and pollution, and boost healing.

A lighter cream or serum may suit you in your 30s, but as you grow older you’ll probably find you need a richer, more nourishing cream. Don’t forget that the delicate skin around the eyes responds best to specialist eye products.

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Do anti-ageing creams really work?

How a product performs will depend on its ingredients, how often it’s applied and the period of time over which you use it – and whether the one you buy is appropriate for your skin type and age. An anti-ageing cream can’t reverse deep wrinkles, but evidence suggests that it can be effective at addressing fine lines, at least stemming the tide of wrinkles, even if they can't get rid of them completely.

Your chosen cream will help, but you can also reduce the signs of ageing by avoiding smoking, using a good SPF cream throughout the year that offers both UVA and UVB protection, and steering clear of harsh soaps and cleansers that can strip the skin of its natural oils. Cleanse gently using a cream cleanser or balm, and keep that sun hat on!

Which ingredients should I look out for?

Skincare ingredients recommended by the Mayo Clinic – a non-profit academic medical centre – include retinol (a vitamin A derivative originally used in prescription creams), vitamin C (an antioxidant that helps protect against skin damage), peptides (originally used for wound healing and stretch marks) and niacinamide (another antioxidant). Also look for anti-ageing creams with a built-in sunscreen – at least SPF15, and ideally broad spectrum so it can block both UVA and UVB rays.

Some of these ingredients, particularly retinol, can make skin more sensitive to the sun, which makes the use of an SPF cream even more important. Retinol can also cause irritation when first introduced, so it's best to use such products every other day at first to build up tolerance. If you have skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, do a patch test first or speak to a dermatologist before adding anything new to your skincare routine.

How do I apply my anti-ageing cream?

Apply the cream after cleansing, toning and serum, if you use one. Wait a few minutes before applying your makeup (day cream) or getting into bed (night cream), so it has time to sink into your skin. Some creams are made for use both morning and evening; thicker night creams or overnight masks are designed to sink into the skin overnight and are better suited to use as part of an evening routine.

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The best anti-ageing creams you can buy

1. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30: The best anti-ageing day cream

Price: £65 | Buy now from Amazon

We love this world-renowned day cream, widely considered the best anti-ageing cream you can buy. Formulated with soothing rose and Mediterranean marine algae, this cream is light in texture but big on results. In fact, you can expect fewer lines in just two weeks.

Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, it’s super-hydrating and has a fresh, clean smell. Apply a pea-sized amount to your face and neck every morning after your favourite serum; the cream will soak into your skin in an instant, enabling you to apply your makeup straight away. For sun protection we recommend the SPF 30 version shown here; there’s also an ultra-rich version for drier skins at the same price, and a men’s version at £44 for 30ml), which is ideal for use after shaving.

Key features – Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day

2. Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream: The best anti-ageing cream for dry skin

Price: £64 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

Clinique’s rich moisturising cream with nourishing vitamin E and brightening vitamin C works to stimulate the skin’s own collagen production, lifting and firming the skin for a more youthful look. The lightweight cream has a very slight chemical smell in the jar, which disappears soon after application. It’s noticeably rich but sinks easily into skin, leaving the face baby-soft and glowing. Immediately after use, dry skin feels fresh, comfortable and hydrated. With regular use, you should notice firmer and smoother skin after four weeks. Repairwear Uplifting Dry is perfect for dry to very dry skin; it’s also available in a version suitable for combination skin.

Key features – Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day and night

Buy now from Look Fantastic


3. L’Oreal Revitalift Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30: The best for skin discolouration

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

L’Oreal’s brightening moisturiser blends retinol – a powerful ingredient known to soften skin and promote healing – with a protective SPF 30 sunscreen and vitamin C to target dark spots and discolouration. Use daily to see smoother, brighter, more even-toned skin. The pleasant-smelling moisturiser goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly; use twice daily after cleansing to see results in a matter of weeks.

Key features – Quantity: 30ml; Best time to apply: Day

4. Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream: The best for first signs of ageing

Price: £57 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

If you’re starting to notice fine lines, lack of firmness and discolouration from sun damage, Drunk Elephant's potent combination of cell-boosting peptides and amino acids promises to help turn around the skin’s tone and texture. The high-protein concentrate, which can be used on its own or added to a moisturiser or serum, contains nourishing marula oil and waterlily, together with signal peptides that direct the skin cells to renew their own cell-building proteins.

The vegan formula is silicone- and fragrance-free. You’ll notice firmer, plumper skin from the first application, and fewer fine lines and dark spots over time.

Key features – Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: day and night

Buy now from Cult Beauty


5. Clarins Multi-Active Nuit: The best anti-ageing cream

Price: £55 | Buy now from Amazon

Combination skin, where cheeks are dry and the T-zone on the nose and forehead is oily, can be difficult to treat: harsh exfoliants may irritate dry cheeks, while anything too rich and oily may make oily zones look and feel worse. Clarins’ Multi-Active Nuit offers a great solution. It’s a night cream that has been created specifically to tackle both skin types in one.

With heavenly floral scents of jasmine, heliotrope and freesia, this lightweight cream will give tired-looking skin a brightening lift by morning.

Key features - Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Night

6. No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Night Complex: The best retinol cream

Price: £35 | Buy now from Boots

Boots No7 cornered the market in high-street skincare in 2009 after a BBC documentary found that the brand’s iconic Protect & Perfect serum really did work. This recent addition to No7’s ever-expanding range of anti-ageing skincare harnesses the power of retinol to boost the skin’s own natural renewal process, including skin-building peptides to firm and plump up skin cells. The hydrating formula goes on smoothly and sinks in well, leaving skin feeling fresh and smooth. If you’re new to Retinol, apply every other night after cleansing to begin; softer, noticeably glowy skin will reveal itself in three to four weeks.

Key features – Quantity: 30ml; Best time to apply: Night

Buy now from Boots


7. Olay Regenerist 3-point Age Defying Day Cream: The best high-street anti-ageing cream

Price: £16 | Buy now from Boots

Looking for an effective anti-ageing cream that won’t break the bank? Millions of women swear by Olay Regenerist’s hydrating formula with firming amino-peptides, plumping hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 to improve the texture of the skin. Olay promises that the skin-firming ingredients sink 10 layers deep to boost regeneration at a cellular level – it certainly sinks in easily on application and leaves skin feeling smoother, moisturised and more comfortable. The non-greasy formula tackles skin dullness, brightening and lifting the complexion, and with regular use skin looks smoother and more even. Good results at a great price.

Key features – Quantity: 50ml Best time to apply: Day

Buy now from Boots


8. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream: The best for mature skin

Price: £79 | Buy now from John Lewis

This world-renowned face cream will make you feel as though you’ve just had a facial. The moisturiser’s name comes from the wonderfully fragrant antioxidant ingredient, extract of Immortelle Flower – the 'flower that never dies’. The texture of the cream is rich but melts easily into the skin leaving it feeling fresh, hydrated and nourished – and it really does smell divine.

In particular, Immortelle Divine cream tackles tired-looking skin that can come from thinning, replacing it with a healthy, youthful glow. Use it regularly with the Immortelle Overnight Reset Serum in the same range to wipe years off your looks.

Key features – Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day

Buy now from John Lewis


9. Creme de la Mer 60ml: The best premium luxury face cream

Price: £245 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

If money is no object, this world-renowned ultra-premium face cream really is the creme de la creme of hydrating, nourishing, rejuvenating products. Famous as the cream that kept the female cast of Friends looking fresh throughout the 1990s, Creme de la Mer is frequently found backstage at Fashion Weeks worldwide, soothing the faces of busy supermodels.

Developed by physicist Dr Max Huber as a burn repair cream, the formula contains algae, citrus extracts and a trademarked Miracle Broth of ultra-soothing ingredients, and is famed for its ability to make the skin appear softer, smoother, more evenly textured and super-radiant. Warm the opaque balm in the hands first, then apply by pressing gently into the face and neck. If you have the budget to buy in bulk, the 500ml jar comes in at a mere £1,700.

Key features – Quantity: 60ml; Best time to apply: Day and night

Buy now from Cult Beauty


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