While one of our 33-year-old contributors has chosen to abstain from Botox (check out her favorite wrinkle-smoothing serums), this 28-year-old has already tried it. Twice. And though I have zero qualms about accepting a little help in the anti-aging department—the results have been very favorable—it's expensive. And it involves needles, which are not exactly high on my list of favorite things. So it's in my best interest (and the interest of my dwindling back account and squeamish stomach) to supplement each Botox appointment with a round of anti-aging moisturizers that actually work to reduce wrinkles, smooth fine lines, and boost collagen production.
I began to experiment each time I left the doctor's office. For the three to four months post-injection, I'd try a different moisturizer and record the results. That way, I'd be able to better gauge which product helped me push back my Botox appointments and which one, well, sent me running back to Dara Liotta, MD.
Below, find the six anti-aging offerings that worked the best. That means they genuinely made a difference in the look and feel of my skin post-treatment.
While this option isn't particularly cost-friendly, it works to stave off Botox appointments (which, if I'm being frank, aren't cheap either). I spent a few months using 3Lab's moisturizer as a last step in my skincare routine, and it left my skin plump, effectively filled the lines on my forehead, and allowed for an even glow.
The formula contains shea butter and Aqualane, two ingredients that really help moisture to penetrate deep into your skin. Then, with that, apple stem cells and Golden Collagenine, work as active anti-wrinkle ingredients and collagen booster peptides.
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter ($161) slows the loss of elasticity and firmness in your skin, perfect for the time in between injections. The whipped, velvety formula is designed to keep your collagen levels up and delay the weakening of your epidermis.
In it, there's blueberry extract and a high concentration of Pro-Xylane (a sugar-protein hybrid) to help restore skin firmness and the appearance of skin crêpeing.
Dr. Barbara Sturm's Face Cream Rich is my most treasured moisturizer—and the one I use most often to keep my skin as line-less as possible. Sturm herself calls it "your cell spa while you sleep," as it is so intensely regenerating.
But that's not all. The cream incorporates purslane (a succulent herb packed with omega-3 fatty acids) to reduce redness and skullcap extract to stimulate natural collagen production. No lie: Using this moisturizer results in more youthful-looking skin come morning.
Recommended to me by our editorial director, Faith (she told me it "plumps your wrinkles upon contact"), this moisturizer lives up to the—very expensive, I know—hype.
It's infused with potent "caviar absolute," an ingredient that targets the loss of volume in your skin and almost immediately restores tone and density. It refines contours, firms, lifts, and contributes to increased elasticity, as it should for the price. But when something works, it's hard to ignore.
This shockingly potent serum (it's called a serum, but it's the only step you're meant to use post-cleanser) revived my skin in a way I can only describe as magical. You only need two to four drops (a little goes a long way), and the seven-ingredient blend goes to work.
Clinical tests showed a 60% increase in skin thickness and a 30% increase in skin density due to the concentration of plant stem cells (barley, to be specific). It's incredibly potent and moisturizing and visibly smooths wrinkles each time you apply it.
While we're on the subject of Botox, it's important to note the most life-changing difference happened around my eyes. My crow's-feet weren't deep by any means, but small lines began cropping up around my under-eye bags, only making them more pronounced. Liotta took care of that with tiny little droplets of Botox injected around my under-eye (right above the top of my cheekbone). It completely changed everything, opening my eyes, erasing fatigue, and really making a huge difference with puffiness and circles.
So I started supplementing the injections with Philosophy's newest eye treatment. It blends together actives including a bi-retinoid, soy peptide extracts, and hyaluronic acid to visibly plump, firm, and densify skin; fill in the appearance of hollows; and target any budding wrinkles. I don't say this often, but it's a perfect product.
Ole Henriksen's newest addition, Goodnight Glow, houses the ingredient bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative (so, no irritation, no harsh side-effects). The creamy, velvety formula exfoliates your skin at night, courtesy of a powerful concentration of AHAs, while the aforementioned bakuchiol fights any major signs of aging.
I couldn't believe how transformed my skin looked when I woke up after applying Shani Darden's newest launch (a gentler retinol serum) the night before. My pores were practically erased, my skin even, and my lingering breakouts gone. And, now weeks later, it continues to make a difference in my skin—it's consistently glowier, smoother, and less fatigued come morning.
FYI: I got Botox to help with my teeth grinding. And, yes, it works.