We road-test the most effective anti-ageing creams for men from just £6
It might be uncool to talk about anti-ageing skincare these days (we’re all supposed to be ‘pro-age’ rather than ‘anti-age’) but a decent anti-ageing cream is still a worthwhile addition to any man’s grooming routine. After all, who doesn’t want to turn back time a little?
Skin ageing is certainly a concern with the average British male, with a survey by skincare brand Clarins revealing that over a quarter of men are worried about fine lines and wrinkles, while a further 16% fret over age spots and uneven pigmentation.
Thanks to hormonal and structural differences, men’s skin tends to age differently from women’s, with the onset of deep wrinkles appearing later in life. That’s the good news. The bad news is that unless you never go out in the sunlight, avoid pollution and never touch sugar – which weakens collagen in the skin – the slow crawl to prunedom is pretty much inevitable.
Luckily, though, help is at hand in the shape of the raft of anti-ageing creams now available to men. Designed to tackle some of the most noticeable signs of the ageing process such as fine lines and wrinkles (mostly caused by sun damage), age spots (again, caused by the sun) and sagging skin (the result of changes in collagen in the skin as we age), these anti-ageing avengers are the true heroes of your skincare regime.
They’re not miracle workers, of course. No lotion, potion or cream can stop the clock completely, but what they can do is at least slow down those unforgiving hands of time a little.
How to choose the best anti-ageing cream for you
Can’t I just use an ordinary moisturiser?
You can – and in fact any moisturiser is better than no moisturiser, since dry skin tends to age faster than skin that’s adequately hydrated – but by opting for an anti-ageing cream you’re taking skincare to the next level.
Good creams will contain a raft of wrinkle-busting ingredients or ones that minimise age spots and guard against sun damage, helping future-proof your face against the worst of the ageing process.
READ NEXT: Best skincare products for men
What ingredients should I look out for?
Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient to have on your radar. Naturally found in skin, it has superb hydrating properties, drawing moisture to the skin and helping keep it there. It’s especially important if you’re an older guy, since our body’s ability to produce this crucial acid diminishes as we age.
Ingredients that aim to support collagen production, such as vitamin C, are useful too, as are antioxidants such as ferulic acid and vitamins A and E, which help counteract some of the damage done by everything from stress and sunlight to pollution. Hero ingredient retinol is good, too, as it targets skin ageing on a number of fronts.
Since the sun is the main cause of skin ageing (consultant dermatologist Dr Natalia Spierings reckons it accounts for 95% of “extrinsic” skin ageing), opting for a cream featuring a built-in UVA/UVB sunscreen is a good insurance policy against future wrinkling as well.
When should I start using one?
Since fine lines and wrinkles are cumulative, there’s no cut-off point for using anti-ageing products. You can be 70 and still reap some benefits, but if you’re savvy, you’ll start your anti-ageing routine before those deep wrinkles and age spots start. You know that they say – prevention is better than cure. Protecting your skin with sunscreen from your teenage years onwards is certainly a good idea.
READ NEXT: Best sunscreen
Do I have to spend a fortune on an anti-ageing cream?
Not necessarily. Some of the creams we rated aren’t much more expensive than regular moisturisers. As with many skincare products, you’re often paying for the packaging and marketing, but bear in mind that sometimes you’re paying for a better range of ingredients, too.
What’s the best way to apply an anti-ageing cream?
Apply in the same way you would a regular moisturiser: once in the morning and once at night just before bed. The evening application is especially important as anti-ageing creams and their ingredients tend to be better absorbed at night when the skin is in repair and recovery mode. Don’t apply one with sunscreen at night, obviously.
Take time to massage the cream into your skin with your fingertips and don’t forget to apply a little to the neck area, too – after all, there’s no point in having the face of a teen if you’ve got the neck of a tortoise.
How we test men’s anti-ageing creams
Unless you can travel thirty years into the future, it’s almost impossible to gauge how well the average anti-wrinkle cream works. What you can rate an anti-ageing cream on, however, is its commitment to slowing the ageing process via the use of known skin-improving and wrinkle-busting ingredients. Things we look for are ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, antioxidant vitamins, time reversing retinol and the addition of sunscreens to minimise photo-ageing via sunlight.
As is always the case when reviewing face creams, we test how each product feels on the skin, how easily it is absorbed, whether it leaves any greasy residue (luckily none of them did) and how they smell. Since anti-ageing creams can be one of priciest weapons in a man’s grooming armoury, we also base our reviews on potential return on investment.
READ NEXT: Best moisturiser for men
For the money, this multitasking wrinkle-buster from Nivea Men’s Anti-Age range can’t be beaten. Offering a comprehensive approach to the ageing process, it goes big on hyaluronic acid to help combat wrinkles and rejuvenate tired-looking skin and has been formulated to firm and tighten the skin a little, too. As well as helping improve skin in the here and now it also helps future-proof it by including an SPF15 sunscreen to help minimise sun-induced lines and age spots.
Like most Nivea Men products, it has a distinctive fragrance which we could have done without, but we loved the pump dispenser which allows you to measure out just the right amount. If you have slightly oily skin and prefer lighter products, there’s a gel version too.
2. Shiseido Men Total Revitalizer Cream: Best for guys over 40
Price when reviewed: £84 for 50ml | Check price at ShiseidoGiven how good Shiseido’s skincare products are it’s surprising they aren’t better known in the UK, but if you’ve a little cash to spend the Japanese skincare brand’s small men’s range is well worth exploring.
Star of the range is this high-performance wrinkle buster from its three-piece Total Age Defence collection, featuring rice bran oil complex to speed up cell turnover, xylitol to moisturise and nicotinamide to increase skin elasticity and tackle pigmentation.
It claims to tackle five major skin ageing issues: wrinkles, dullness, sagging, roughness and lost firmness. We loved the super-light, quickly absorbed texture, barely-there scent and chic, minimalist packaging, and though we can’t say what the effects will be years from now, it certainly made skin feel softer and smoother in the short term.
3. Dr Dennis Gross Intense Wrinkle Cream: Best dermatologist-branded product
Price when reviewed: £77 for 60ml | Check price at Space NKAn updated and reformulated version of dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross’ cult Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Intense Wrinkle Cream, this turbo-charged wrinkle cream includes antioxidant ferulic acid to fight UV damage and retinol, the beauty industry’s go-to ingredient when it comes to anti-ageing because of its ability to boost collagen, speed up cell turnover and minimise pigmentation. A raft of other ingredients supports these two anti-ageing heroes to create a superb support team for skin.
It’s slightly heavier in texture than the original cream, but that just gives it a more luxurious feel, but just like its predecessor it’s swiftly absorbed and is non-greasy. Pricey, yes, but it’s a premium product with potent ingredients – the most important of which is probably Dr Gross’ quarter of a century’s worth of skincare expertise.
4. Green People Scent Free Anti-Ageing 24-hour Cream: Best organic product
Price when reviewed: £24 for 50ml | Check price at Green PeopleIf you like your skincare to be organic, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and/or are looking for an anti-ageing cream that’s perfect for sensitive, easily irritated skin, this is your man. Scent-free (thus reducing any changes of skin irritation), it’s made from 89% organic ingredients, offers 24-hour hydration (it certainly kept skin feeling comfortable throughout the entire day) and features antioxidant green tea and squalene (derived from olives) to keep skin supple.
The hero ingredient here, though, is baicalin, a plant-derived anti-ageing antioxidant prized for its ability to increase the skin’s firmness and elasticity. As you might expect from Green People, the entire packaging is fully recyclable, too.
5. Auden Age Defence Face Cream SPF30 and Peptides: Best multitasking anti-ageing cream
Price when reviewed: £45 for 30ml | Check price at AudenAuden’s skincare range for men was specifically created to address the unique challenges men’s skin faces in the 21st century: stress, pollution and environmental assault (and that includes the potentially skin-ageing effects of blue light emitted by mobile phones and laptops).
Acting a bit like a defence shield for skin, this lightweight daily moisturiser keeps skin supple and hydrated (thanks to hyaluronic acid, peptides and vitamin B5), guards against sun damage (courtesy of an SPF 30 sunscreen), and also minimises the effect of blue light due to the antioxidant power of green algae. It has a pleasant, slightly fruity smell, has a non-greasy, matte-finish texture and comes in a handy pump dispenser to prevent wastage. Auden is a small, independent British brand, too, if you like supporting homegrown businesses.