No one talks about it, but being a selfie-taking beauty editor and writer in 2018 can be anxiety-inducing. We’re supposed to be the pioneers of “flawless” skin with no hormonal pimples, minimal discoloration, and wrinkle-free skin. But really, we’re just like everyone else.
We drink (some of us even smoke—I know), get fewer than seven hours of sleep (often), accidentally have that extra hangover-inducing margarita (and the tequila shot). Oh—and we eat lots and lots of sugary, buttery treats at those fun beauty events. This all adds up to the perfect recipe for “bad” skin.
Then we’re expected to take #selfies, sharing our “glows” with the world. Bring on the filters, face-tuning apps, and emergency appointments to the derm. My advice: There is no quick fix for beautiful skin. Topical creams, injections, lasers, facials, and the like can only take you so far. Your skin is your largest organ, and it reflects what’s going on internally, health- and stress-wise.
That said, I personally do rely on one product category to keep things fresh and smooth, regardless of how many glasses of champagne I drank at my best friend’s engagement party. This secret weapon is called a targeted wrinkle-fighting formula. Unlike your go-to moisturizer, it works to instantly plump skin, fill in lines, and keep everything looking creaseless.
“Wrinkle fillers are usually made of more advanced structural molecules of hyaluronic acid that are cross-linked and therefore act as a sponge to draw in water and plump up the skin cells quicker and for longer periods of time,” Marnie Nussbaum, MD, a top dermatologist in NYC, tells Byrdie.
Patricia Wexler, MD, another in-demand dermatologist in NYC, agrees. “They give longer-lasting results and stimulate your own collagen production,” she explains. “In other words, wrinkle fillers are actually changing the structure of the skin, not just hydrating. They give immediate and long-lasting benefits. The technology has evolved to bring larger particles that help attract water and plump lines while still delivering the line-erasing results.”
While I started using these in my 30s (I’m now 33), Nussbaum said you can begin when you notice a change in your skin’s texture. “A topical wrinkle filler could be used as soon as fine lines appear,” she notes. “The immediate and long-lasting hydration will minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” Wexler adds that factors leading to wrinkles are smoking, genetics, pollution, photodamage, weight fluctuation, and poor health (basically, many of the woes I mentioned earlier!).
Use this product in your routine after your anti-aging serum, advises Wexler. Serum is usually lighter than the wrinkle filler, and you don’t want the former to interfere with the function of the latter’s active ingredients.
Here, I share my tried-and-tested favorites for keeping me feeling confident and camera-ready.
The late Frederic Brandt, MD, was known as one of the pioneers for using injectable fillers and collagen on his many celebrity clients—before he created his own OTC version. When his buzzy Needles No More serum launched, there was finally an option to “freeze” your skin at home. The formula is known for its wrinkle-relaxing properties thanks to a combination of peptides and minerals. As a longtime user, I can confirm Needles No More actually works. The cooling lotion-like serum blends in instantly, blurring anything in its path and keeping the area smooth for hours.
You could spend $500+ on one injection—or you could buy this luxe cream to last you for a few months. The actives in this formula are protected by the pump top, which ensures no air or bacteria can alter the cream. It houses La Prairie’s signature caviar ingredient; roe is known for its skin volumizing and firming properties. I like to use it in tandem with an overnight moisture mask to wake up with baby skin.
This syringe-shaped package houses a warrior blend of peptides and hyaluronic acid to instantly firm skin and improve it over time. The silicone-free formula is made up of Sodium Hyaluronate Filling Spheres (aka glycosaminoglycans), a fancy term for an ingredient that absorbs water and then plumps skin to 30 times its original size. When spread onto fine lines, it expands and fills in the creases. What I like about it as a user is that it has a nourishing, buttery texture.
As soon as I tried this newbie from Estée Lauder, I was obsessed with the results. It goes on with a cooling sensation that blends easily before drying down to a powdery, velvety finish. The cocktail of filling spheres and sodium hyaluronate works in tandem to flatten fine lines, leaving a sleek, matte canvas for foundation to go on top of. It’s also non-acnegenic, so it likely won’t cause breakouts or clogged pores.
For my vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free friends—yes, there is an option. This Eminence wrinkle fighter is a mainstay in my cabinet because it’s natural and it actually works. It contains stevia extract, which reduces involuntary muscle contractions, the movement that causes your expression lines. No, it’s not going to stop you in your tracks like an injectable filler would, but it’s one way to help minimize facial movement. Plus, it comes with a curved-tip applicator that physical pushes the botanical serum deeper into skin.
On a 10-day trip to Greece one summer, I packed this nourishing serum along with a night cream and sunscreen. It was really all I needed to combat dehydrating flights, long beach days, and late-night partying. I love the light optical–blurring technology, which instantly makes you look more radiant. It also has hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and babassu oil to keep your skin dewy.
If you’ve ever met Tata Harper, the Vermont-based skincare expert behind her eponymous line, her own glowing skin is reason enough to try the products. The botanical offering is a mainstay in my bathroom, because it’s the perfect, soothing brand for sensitive skin like mine. This jasmine-scented serum is not cheap, but it’s worth it. As with many others in this list, it’s another line-filler to try if you’re not getting injectables or between treatments. Expect more lifted skin thanks to smoothing spilanthes extract, wrinkle-inhibiting snowflake bulb extract, and restoring viniferin.
Don’t let the price tag fool you—this drugstore pick is packed with a rock-star ingredient: fragmented hyaluronic acid. You’ve probably heard of hyaluronic acid before, but let’s break it down: The polymer forms a protective layer on the skin to increase moisture in your skin cells. Massage the gel-like formula in with your fingers before adding your favorite lotion on top to watch fine line disappear like a magic act.
Finally, this pick relies on alguronic acid filling spheres to work against fine lines. It is basically a compound from microalgae that helps to repair cells (re: anti-aging benefits!). It also has soy protein, echinacea, and an active peptide—a combination to even out skin texture. When applied, it feels tacky at first before drying down completely to leave a silky finish that your makeup can sit atop.
Up next, learn how this dermatologist-recommended supplement can help reduce premature aging of the skin.