beauty products on 661 volunteers and tallied responses on 2,004 questionnaires to find 22 winners that really can make you look younger!We tested 97 anti-aging
Makeup used to promise to add a flush to your cheeks, a rosy hue to your lips. Today it aims to do much, much more: hydrate skin, minimize wrinkles, diminish lines on lips. And not just while you're wearing it: Like lotions and serums, anti-aging makeup vows to deliver skin benefits over time, so you'll eventually look better even when you don't have it on.
Skeptical? We were, too. Last summer, we began a yearlong project to determine, scientifically, if any of the myriad anti-aging cosmetics lived up to their claims — eye shadows that say they don't crease, lipliners that are supposedly anti-feathering, and primers that promise to hide lines. We enlisted 661 women, ages 35 to 79, to try them — in some cases, for as long as eight weeks. They filled out questionnaires, came to our lab for skin analyses done with high-tech equipment, and went home with the test brands.* The good news: The bold claims aren't all marketing hype. Here are the 11 winners (gold) and 11 runners-up (silver) that were proven to work.
*Testers didn't know what brands they were testing.
The Contenders disguise dark circles while moisturizing, firming, and improving the look of lines and wrinkles over time.
Testing Time: Four weeks.
• Gold Winner:
Testers found Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer ($10, drugstores; six shades) lived up to its name: It excelled at hiding undereye circles as well as going on smoothly and providing lasting coverage. In the lab, it earned one of the highest scores for moisturization — quite a feat, since most of the competition was drying.
Testers said: "Good coverage — not greasy or heavy."
• Silver Winner:
The lab gave Avon Anew Age-Transforming Concealer SPF 15 ($10, avon.com; six shades) high marks for firming. Though some shades had peachy undertones, consumers liked how well the product matched their skin tone. Also noteworthy: It was the only concealer we tested that offered a shade for dark skin.
Testers said: "The shade blended well with my skin. The brush tip helps dispense the concealer evenly."
Tip: Apply concealer after foundation — you'll use less, thereby helping to prevent caking and creasing.
The Contenders have an SPF of 15 or higher, instantly moisturize and firm skin, and, over eight weeks, reduce the look of fine lines and even out skin tone.
Testing Time: Eight weeks.
• Gold Winner: Sheer to Medium Coverage
The luxe Chanel Lift Lumière Firming and Smoothing Fluid Makeup SPF 15 ($65, chanel.com; eight shades) earned the only perfect lab score for firming, as well as high marks for moisturizing. Women raved about its natural, subtle coverage and smooth texture.
• Silver Winner: Sheer to Medium Coverage
Women favored Avon Anew Age-Transforming Foundation SPF 15 ($16, avon.com; 14 shades) for going on smoothly as well as providing just the right amount of coverage. It also earned high moisturizing and firming scores in the lab.
Testers said: "It gave my skin a great glow, and I felt like I wasn't wearing anything."
(See also: Best beauty products of 2012)
•Gold Winner: Medium to Full Coverage
The splurge-worthy La Prairie Anti-Aging Foundation SPF 15 ($105, department stores; eight shades) excelled at moisturizing skin (per our lab tests). Just as impressive, some testers noticed that it helped even out their skin tone, a result the lab also observed after eight weeks.
Testers said: "It covered my sunspots with a smooth, velvety finish. My husband said my skin looked more youthful!"
• Silver Winner: Medium to Full Coverage
It was a photo finish, with Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream Makeup SPF 20 ($14, ulta.com; eight shades) sliding into second. Both winners garnered the same moisturizing scores, while consumers ranked Revlon just below La Prairie for non-cakey coverage. (None of the foundations we tested did much to minimize the look of fine lines over eight weeks.)
Testers said: "I absolutely loved how my skin looked using this foundation."
Tip: Don't rely on foundation alone for sun protection, especially if you're not wearing an even layer all over your face. Apply over a moisturizer with SPF.