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When we say glow up, we don’t mean in a sweaty way.
Every woman (and skincare-friendly dude) has had a moment as they grow older where they start thinking about anti-aging creams. You can wander into Sephora right now and find one that costs $300. So the higher the price, the better it is, right?
Wrong. I’ve tried a truckload of them and can vouch for quite a few that won’t clean out your bank account. Because I’m going to drop another big bomb on you: super expensive moisturizers are not worth the money.
Having used a routine that’s a combination of Korea’s 10-step and Japan’s pared-down approach, I’ve learned that how you touch your face is more important than anything you put on it, no matter how much it cost. I’ve also learned that the moisturizer you use acts like a lid that seals in all your prior steps. In other words, if you layer your skincare daily and treat your facial skin gently, it really doesn’t matter if your moisturizer costs $200 or $20.
So yeah, forget spending a paycheck on a face cream. These absorb fast, keep your skin moist, and give you that dewy look that screams youth. Don’t forget – pat them in instead of rubbing!
The best anti-aging creams
You’ll notice the moment you open the jar that this cream jiggles in the exact way you wish your thighs wouldn’t. In the case of skincare, though, it’s a good thing. Cell Memory Cream uses plant stem-cells and peptides to promote collagen synthesis, meaning your face will stay plump and youthful. It also features hyaluronic acid, one of my favorite skincare ingredients ever. It feels cool and thin when applied and absorbs almost immediately. You’ll never go back to the gloppy stuff.
Price on Beautytap: $58
There’s a reason why this little yellow bottle has been a part of millions of people’s skincare routines for decades. Clinique makes a solid, affordable product that is especially praised by users with oily or combo skin. You can still use it if you have normal skin, although Clinique recommends the + version for dry skin types. It’s great for managing wrinkles and fine lines as well as giving your skin that healthy glow.
Price on Amazon: $28.25
If you want to roll your actives and your moisturizer into a single step, this Cosrx cream is for you. Not only is it super affordable, but it’s ideal for dry skin in need of anti-aging creams. It contains 3% PHA for exfoliation, 50% coconut fruit extract and 2% niacinamide, which will both address dry skin. Remember, the most crucial element of anti-aging creams isn’t the ingredients, but the consistent daily usage!
Price on Beautytap:$25
If you want to know why Korean celebrities look like they’re aging backward instead of forward, look no further. The Moisture Bound cream uses Tremella Mushroom and White Jelly Natural Herbs to brighten overall skin tone and pack in the collagen. It also smells lovely (think light aromatherapy).
Price on Beautytap: $36
Using powerful ingredients like ascofilline, pre-tocopheryl, and hyaluronic acid, the Avène Physiolift Day Smoothing emulsion is ideal for plumping skin’s appearance. Best for normal to combination skin, it’s much more lightweight than the average moisturizer but delivers the results of the rich products we’re used to reaching for in colder months.
Price on Amazon: $48
Gel creams are known for their ability to absorb quickly without leaving a sticky feel. Red Cream is a hybrid between a gel and a cream, meaning that you’ll get the cooling, light effect of gel with the deep moisturizing effects of a cream. This one is a cult favorite among K-beauty fans, with some saying that it bests expensive bestsellers like Le Mer. If paying $200 for a moisturizer is not your thing (and it certainly isn’t ours), give the Red Cream a shot.
Price on Amazon: $35.99
Praised by those with both oily and sensitive skin, Dr. Jart’s Cermidin cream has also gained quite the cult following (enough so that Sephora now carries the line). People with dermatitis also praise it for its healing qualities. Rich but not greasy, it’s an ideal way to top off your skincare routine in the morning and at night.
Price on Amazon: $38.75
MORE BAZAAR DEALS:
- The best Korean beauty products for $10 or less
- 5 K-beauty sampler crates under $25 that will leave you glowing
- The best Asian beauty products to help you survive winter
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Colette Bennett is a writer and editor who specializes in geek culture, beauty products, and Amazon deals. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She's also given talks on working in news for CNN's Leadership Unplugged program. Bennett also runs popular Korean beauty blog Chok Chok Beauty and regularly slathers her face in snail slime.