When I was twelve years old, I decided it was the time for earrings. After getting my two lobes pierced with a pair of silver studs, I walked down an aisle of beauty products while my mom paid. Two seconds later, overwhelmed by the ordeal, I became dizzy. I smacked my head on a shelf and fainted in the middle of the salon—yes, it was mortifying. Since then, my aversion toward needles has only grown stronger, and necessary medical appointments like flu shots, blood drawing, and the ilk continue to elicit a mild amount of anxiety (to put it lightly). As you can imagine, Botox is not a treatment I feel enthusiastic about. It's safe to say I will likely never get injections, which is why I was genuinely ecstatic to add Dr. Brandt's Needles No More Wrinkle Smoothing Cream to my beauty cabinet.
Their tagline of "make injections pointless" resonated deeply with my needle-averse disposition, and the idea of simply applying a cream to areas of concern for instant (and long-term) effects seemed worthy of trying out. Is it possible for a product to procure noticeable results within fifteen minutes of application as reviewers claim? Can wrinkles really be eliminated without injections? Ahead, my findings.
Star rating: 4/5
Best for: All skin types, especially those with visible signs of aging
Uses: Smoothes expression lines
Active ingredients: Neuropeptides, magnesium and adenosine
Byrdie Clean?: Yes
About the brand: Founded by Dr. Brandt, a former cancer researcher whose eponymous line of at-home products are formulated to mirror in-office procedures
About My Skin: Sensitive, Combination, and a Bit of Rosacea
My sensitive, pinkish skin is a pain point in my skincare and dietary routine. It's not uncommon for a mask to turn my face bright red or for a few slices of pizza to render my appearance congested. Thankfully, I've found a handful of products that play nicely with my epidermis and have created a mostly harmonious balance of retinoids and acne-fighting ingredients with more restorative ones like oils and serums. That being said, despite my efforts to quell developing wrinkles, I am 33 and the fine lines have begun to take form between my eyebrows, on my forehead, and around my eyes.
I've tried the rigmarole of warding off wrinkles with the usual suspects (exfoliating, moisturizing, jade rollers, serums), but to no avail—the lines remain. For the most part, it doesn't bother me all that much; I like the notion of showing my life experiences on my face in a natural way. But the frown line in the center of my eyebrows—that's the one that gets to me, and the wrinkle I was most determined to target with Dr. Brandt's cream.
The Feel: Creamy and Absorbent
The smoothing cream is contained inside a small, opaque bottle and comes out through a convenient pump. The texture is thick and creamy and absorbs relatively quickly into the skin. I appreciate a product that feels plump to touch but doesn't take too long to dab on. I also enjoyed that it comes out in tiny doses, so you don't accidentally pump too much (something that I am, regrettably, guilty of doing).
The Science: An Innovative Take on a Wrinkle Treatment
Peptide Technology: Dr. Brandt developed a tri-blend of wrinkle relaxers for this smoothing cream that is intended to work like botulinum toxin. These peptides and minerals act synergistically to block transmission of signals that cause your muscles to contract while simultaneously tricking your muscles into a superficial tightening action, which lends relaxation.
Magnesium and Adenosine: These work to soften and decrease the appearance of wrinkles and expression lines over time.
In a clinical test, one hundred percent of users reported that the skin around the eyes had a more lifted appearance after just fifteen minutes of use and that there was a noticeable smoothing of expression lines. Coming into this experiment, I was hoping for similar results. I’ll be straight up—I didn’t notice any smoothing fifteen minutes after my first use. What I did notice was how pleasant the product felt on my skin. It has a minty, tingling sensation that manifests about thirty seconds after dabbing it on, and I could definitely feel the tightening happening in real time; I’d compare the sensation to how a clay mask feels when it begins to harden.
The lack of instant gratification didn’t discourage me. After all, I am someone who used to struggle with cystic, hormonal acne, and after sticking with Differin for several months, I’m proud to report that I haven’t had a large pimple since March of earlier this year. Results take time—nothing resolves itself overnight.
Optimism in tow, I continued on with the recommended smoothing cream routine (apply AM and PM every day; after cleansing, exfoliating, and any toners or serums but before a moisturizer or primer). After a couple more times of applying the product, I did in fact notice a smoothing effect on my crow’s feet region—a couple of them seemed to completely disappear. My forehead wrinkles, however, stayed relatively the same with only a very subtle softening. I suspect that's because those wrinkles are deeper than the fine lines around my eyes, they’ll require more time before I can report any significant changes—fair.
The Value: Backed by Science, but Still a Small Bottle
Dr. Brandt’s products are developed by dermatologists, nutritionists, plastic surgeons, geneticists, clinical estheticians, and derma-psychologists — all this to say, there’s a lot of science behind his products and with that comes a higher price tag. I’d say that this product is worth the cost despite its 0.5 oz size because you only need a few pumps per use. Would I prefer if it were 1 oz instead, though? Indeed.
Similar Products: Not a Ton
Obviously, the industry of wrinkle creams is abundant, but I haven’t found a ton of similar creams intended to target specific regions of the face using peptide technology in conjunction with magnesium and adenosine. There are a few serum options in the same family, though.
Kate Sommerville KX Active Concentrates Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum ($98): A clinical serum featuring five bio-identical peptides that are meant to be used on your entire face. Fewer wrinkles, tighter skin—you know the drill.
Tula Firm Up Deep Wrinkle Serum ($78): This option from clean skin brand Tula also targets wrinkles with peptides as well as prebiotics and probiotics. Their motto is probiotics + superfoods = glow.
Our Verdict: Subtle Results in a Handful of Uses
This product subtly reduced the fine lines around my eyes in just three uses. It wasn’t anything miraculous, but for that small amount of product, I’m confident it’ll make a difference in the long run. If you’re on the hunt for alternatives to Botox and are willing to put in the time, I’d definitely give this smoothing cream a go.