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Best anti-ageing creams to buy in 2024 according to our testing

A collection of anti-ageing creams

Keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay with the best anti-ageing creams we’ve tested

As we age, our skin becomes thinner, drier, less elastic and more prone to fine lines and discolouration. While no pot of cream can promise eternal youth, the best anti-ageing creams can slow the effects of ageing and use targeted ingredients to help maturing skin look its best and feel more comfortable.

We’ve tested our way through heaps of day and night creams to discover the formulas that really work. No matter your skin type, a good face cream with anti-ageing ingredients can help plump and renew the skin’s cells to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It should soften and firm the skin, as well as boosting the body’s natural healing processes, to help skin look and feel its best.

Below, you’ll find quick links to our top anti-ageing picks or you can jump to our mini reviews of our favourite tried and tested creams. Be sure to also check out our buying guide at the bottom of this page if you’re looking for advice on the best cream to buy.

JUMP TO: How to choose the best anti ageing cream for you

How we test anti-aging creams

We know that hands-on testing delivers the best and most complete information about a product. We’ve personally tested all of the anti-ageing creams in the roundup below, following the directions on the packaging.

We use the creams as directed for a period of weeks and note any impact they have on fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture and the firmness of the skin. It’s important to consider how the product feels and smells in use, too. We note how the skin feels immediately after using – or the next morning in the case of products designed for overnight use – and the effects with repeated usage. When a product is fragranced, we’ll make sure it isn’t too overpowering and where it isn’t, we’ll keep an eye out for that infamous fragrance-free twang.

Any issues such as heaviness, greasiness or residue are taken into account, as these can drastically impact how makeup sits on the skin, as well as how the skin looks during the course of the day. Our expert testers also go over the ingredient lists of every anti-ageing cream we test, noting any potential irritants we would want to avoid.

READ NEXT: Best moisturisers

The best anti-ageing creams you can buy in 2024 according to our tests

1. Clarins Multi-Active Night cream: Best anti-ageing cream overall

Price when reviewed: £49 | Check price at Selfridges

clarins multi-active night cream best anti ageing creams

  • Great for: Fine lines and dehydration
  • Keep in mind: Lightly scented

Clarins’ wonderfully hydrating Multi-Active Night contains golden poppy extract, which Clarins claims can revitalise skin overnight. That’s because poppy extract helps the natural synthesis of collagen, which is the protein that brings firmness and bounce to the skin, and gives tired-looking skin an overnight lift.

We thought the cream felt lovely on the skin – light and non-greasy, yet immediately hydrating – and it sunk well into the skin during our testing. It also smelled heavenly, with floral scents of jasmine, heliotrope and freesia.

Suitable for all skin types, including dry and combination skin, Clarins Multi-Active Nuit is a great first step for those just starting to notice dehydration and fine lines creeping onto the face, as it delivers a firmer, plumper look. It’s also available to buy as a day cream, if you’re looking to get those anti-ageing benefits all day long.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Night; Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, teasel extract, Myrothamnus extract, glycerin, shea butter; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

2. L’Oreal Revitalift Brightening Moisturiser SPF30: Best budget anti-ageing cream

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon

l'oreal revitalift brightening moisturizer best anti ageing cream

  • Great for: SPF protection, brightening
  • Keep in mind: Retinol and Vitamin C can be irritating

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.

During our testing, after daily use, we noticed smoother, brighter, more even-toned skin. This pleasant-smelling moisturiser also went on smoothly and absorbed quickly into the skin. If our experience is anything to go by, if you use it twice daily after cleansing you should see results in a matter of weeks.

For a cream that costs far less than other anti-ageing creams, that’s incredibly impressive. Just watch out if you have very sensitive skin, as retinol and vitamin C can be irritating when used together, even at low doses.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types; Quantity: 30ml; Best time to apply: Day; Key ingredients: Retinol, SPF 30, vitamin C, glycolic acid, glycerin; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

3. Olay Regenerist 3-point Age Defying Day Cream: Best for day and night use

Price when reviewed: £34 | Check price at Boots

olay regenertist cream best anti ageing cream

  • Great for: Deep hydration, day and night use
  • Keep in mind: No retinol or SPF protection in formula

Looking for an effective anti-ageing cream that won’t break the bank? Olay Regenerist’s hydrating formula contains firming amino-peptides, plumping hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 to improve the skin’s texture.

Olay promises that the skin-firming ingredients sink 10 layers deep to boost regeneration at a cellular level. While we can’t confirm this with our real-world testing, we did notice that it certainly sunk in easily on application and left our skin feeling smoother, moisturised and more comfortable. The non-greasy formula tackled skin dullness, brightening our complexion and with regular use, our skin definitely looked smoother and more even.

Those are good results at a great price, especially since this cream can be used morning and overnight. However, if you’re looking for a formula that provides SPF protection or the resurfacing power of retinols, consider the L’Oreal Revitalift option above.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day; Key ingredients: Peptides, niacinamide, glycerin; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

Check price at Boots

4. Drunk Elephant Protini PolyPeptide Cream: Best for fine lines

Price when reviewed: £61 | Check price at LookFantasticbest anti ageing cream Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream product image on a white background

  • Great for: First signs of ageing, discolouration, sensitive skin
  • Keep in mind: No retinol or SPF protection in formula

If you’re starting to notice fine lines, a lack of firmness and discolouration from sun damage, then 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. We noticed firmer, plumper skin from the first application and fewer fine lines and dark spots over time. That’s great results fuelled by powerful peptides. That being said – there’s no resurfacing retinol in this cream, so the formula will be milder than others on the market. Depending on your needs though, this might be a benefit or negative.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day and night; Key ingredients: Amino acids, growth factors, signal peptides, glycerin; Vegan: Yes; Cruelty free: Yes

5. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream: Best for mature skin

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at John Lewis

best anti ageing cream L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream product image on a white background

  • Great for: Mature skin, wrinkles
  • Keep in mind: Fragranced formula

According to our expert tester, this face cream will make you feel as though you’ve just had a facial. For the high price, you’d hope so too. The product’s name comes from the wonderfully fragrant antioxidant ingredient, extract of Immortelle Flower – or the “flower that never dies”.

We found that the cream’s texture was rich, yet melted easily into the skin, leaving it feeling fresh, hydrated and nourished. It’s worth noting that this cream is fragranced, which isn’t ideal if you have sensitive skin. However, it really does smell divine.

Immortelle Divine Cream is formulated to tackle tired-looking, thinning skin, replacing it with a healthy, youthful glow. Use it regularly, along with the Immortelle Overnight Reset Serum in the same range and you can plump up your skin to wipe years off your looks.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day; Key ingredients: Immortelle flower extract, antioxidants, zinc, glycerin, vitamin E; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

6. Facetheory Regena-C Moisturiser M4: Best lightweight anti-ageing cream

Price when reviewed: From £19 | Check price at Facetheory

best anti-ageing creams Facetheory Regena

  • Great for: Combination skin, Vegan
  • Keep in mind: Low percentage of retinol

Combination skin, where cheeks are dry and the T-zone on the nose and forehead is oily, can be tricky to balance. Harsh exfoliants may irritate dry cheeks, while anything too rich may make oily zones look and feel worse. This lightweight cream from Facetheory is a perfect solution to this common problem.

According to our reviewer, it’s moisturising on the cheeks and drier areas of the face, while the hyaluronic acid hydrates without adding greasiness on oilier areas. It also contains healing vitamin E and brightening vitamin C, to help all skin types look their best.

All Facetheory products are vegan and cruelty-free, and arrive in sustainable amber glass packaging that can be easily reused or recycled. Regena-C Moisturiser is available with a light citrusy Mandarin scent or fragrance-free. The 0.6% retinol is good for sensitive skin or tackling the first signs of ageing but it’s still quite low. If you would prefer a stronger retinoid to address hyperpigmentation or more pronounced fine lines, a 3% “pro” version is also available.

Key features – Suitable for: Combination skin, normal skin; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day and night; Key ingredients: Vitamin E, vitamin C, retinol (0.6%), hyaluronic acid; Vegan: Yes; Cruelty free: Yes

7. Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream: Best anti-ageing cream for dry skin

Price when reviewed: £75 | Check price at Boots

clinique repairwear uplifting cream best anti ageing cream

  • Great for: Hydrating dry skin, brightening
  • Keep in mind: Not for oily skin types

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.

In the jar, we noticed that the lightweight cream had a very slight chemical smell but this soon disappeared after application. We love that while the cream is noticeably rich, it sinks easily into skin, leaving the face baby-soft and glowing.

Immediately after use, our dry skin felt 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 but it’s also available in a version suitable for combination skin.

Key features – Suitable for: Dry and very dry skin; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day and night; Key ingredients: Vitamin E, vitamin C, jojoba, glycerin; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

Check price at Boots

8. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30: Best high-end day cream

Price when reviewed: £95 | Check price at LookFantastic

elemis pro collagen anti ageing cream

  • Great for: SPF protection, collagen boost
  • Keep in mind: Lightly fragranced

This day cream is widely considered the best anti-ageing cream you can buy if you’re not worried about the cost and we understand why. Formulated with soothing rose and Mediterranean marine algae, we found this cream to be light in texture and delivering big on results. In fact, after prolonged testing based on the product’s instructions, we saw fewer fine lines in just two weeks.

Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, Elemis Pro-Collagen is super-hydrating and has a fresh, clean smell. We also found the cream soaked into our skin in an instant, enabling us to apply makeup straight away. For sun protection, we recommend the SPF 30 version reviewed here. However, there’s also an ultra-rich version for drier skin, available at the same price and a men’s version that’s ideal for use after shaving.

Key features – Suitable for: All skin types, including sensitive; Quantity: 50ml; Best time to apply: Day; Key ingredients: Vitamin E, mediterranean marine algae, SPF 30; Vegan: No; Cruelty free: No

Check price at LookFantastic

How to choose the best anti-ageing cream for you

How do anti-ageing creams work?

Skin products targeting the first signs of ageing focus on hydrating the skin and smoothing out fine lines.

Products for mature skin deliver intense nourishment to help repair skin that has lost elasticity and contain ingredients that help reduce dark spots and discolouration.

How a product performs will depend on its ingredients, how often it’s applied and the period of time over which you use it. 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 it won’t erase them completely.

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
  • Niacinamide – another antioxidant
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15) – built in and ideally broad spectrum to 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.

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 much should I spend on anti-ageing cream?

There’s really no limit to how much anti-ageing products can cost; some creams cost hundreds of pounds. The good news is that there’s no evidence to suggest that price reflects the performance of a product.

In fact, participants in a clinical trial once declared that they saw results from using a relatively cheap Boots anti-ageing cream, with stores running out of the product within a fortnight. The creams we’ve tested above start at a pocket-friendly £19 and, as long as your chosen cream contains some of the ingredients listed above and you use it regularly as directed, you’ll see some benefits.

What else should I consider when choosing an anti-ageing cream?

It’s worth taking the time to research your skin type, so you can match the ingredients accordingly.

  • 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 boost healing, as well as limit damage from the sun and pollution.

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

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. Of course, creams with SPF protection are designed for daytime use and thicker night creams are designed to sink into the skin overnight.

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