2010 Anti-Aging Awards Winners

Good Housekeeping

In our 2010 Anti-Aging Awards — a new annual feature — the Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested 90 products on 820 volunteers, conducted more than 3,000 lab tests, and tallied 1,800+ questionnaires to find the 26 best anti-aging beauty products. Find out how we tested anti-aging skin products during 18 months of research and see how the testing equipment works.

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Anti-Aging Product Awards

It all started with a wish: to find the best anti-aging skin care on the market. The products that really work. The only way to do that is with scientific studies — the kind Good Housekeeping is famous for. So we asked beauty companies for their hardest-working treatments in 12 categories, and enlisted a slew of women ages 35 and up to incorporate these lotions and potions into their routine for a week…or four…or even eight. Our volunteers gave us loads of feedback and let the scientists at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute photograph, poke, and prod their skin with state-of-the-art equipment.

Eighteen months of research later, here’s the news: Some of these products do make a difference — and while a few are pricey, many drugstore brands beat their high-end competitors. These 14 winners and 12 honorable mentions are proven to outperform the rest.


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Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15

Best Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15+:

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15

The contenders: Daily moisturizers with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher promising benefits that include a firmer, more even-toned, less lined complexion.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

Admittedly pricey, Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15 ($150, department stores) proved to be an all-around MVP (most valuable product). It rated highest overall with consumers and was also the most moisturizing. While the Visia Complexion Analyzer images showed very little reduction of age spots or wrinkles with any of the 10 products tested, using the Chanel did result in a slight improvement in beneath-the-surface UV spots (which turn into splotchy skin over time). Testers also gave Chanel the top score for firming, softening, smoothing, and adding radiance to their complexions. "I liked the creamy texture and the way it went on," reported one pleased panelist. "It really helped my skin look plump and younger."


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Best Night Cream Winners

Best Night Creams:

L'Oréal Paris Advanced RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme and Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night

The contenders: Creams and lotions created to keep skin moisturized and boost its overnight-repair function. These formulas often include antioxidants and wrinkle-fighting ingredients such as retinol.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

And the winners are... It's a tie! When lab and consumer results were tallied, L'Oréal Paris Advanced RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20, drugstores) and Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night ($42, CVS) shared the top spot.

The differences between them: Pro-retinol-A–infused L'Oréal received the best overall consumer performance score, including the highest ranking from panelists for firming and reducing wrinkles. Budget-friendly L'Oréal was also tops, per lab results, in minimizing forehead lines and wrinkles. Visia analysis showed that Vichy, on the other hand, was best at evening out skin tone and addressing fine lines and wrinkles around two other age-sensitive areas — the mouth and nose. Both treatments received impressive moisturizing scores and high praise from consumers for their light textures and unobtrusive scents, and for not causing skin irritation. "A couple of people have commented on how nice my face looked in the past month," said one volunteer who tried the Vichy. "I don't know if it's the product, but this has never happened before."

Tip: While panelists were generally pleased with the softening and smoothing benefits of night creams, the treatments were less successful at minimizing age and UV spots than more targeted treatments, such as the winning age-spot faders.


Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex

Best Eye Cream:

Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex

The contenders: Treatments promising to improve signs of aging around the eyes, including dryness, crow's-feet, fine lines, puffiness, dark circles, and sagging lids.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

And the winner is... Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex ($42, drugstores) ranked highest in the lab and proved to be a standout hydrator, according to the Corneometer moisture study. Visia analysis also showed Olay to be one of the top performers on undereye crinkles, though the results were modest. Consumers noted that the cream reduced their crow's-feet, puffiness, and undereye bags. Several liked the nonirritating, soothing properties as well. "It felt nice going on, moisturized my skin, and was very gentle," reported one.


Boots No7 Protect & Perfect
Intense Beauty Serum

Best Anti-Aging Serum:

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum

The contenders: Concentrated blends of vitamins, peptides, antioxidants, and botanicals formulated to avert or minimize fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and uneven tone.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($23, Target) was a superior performer overall and shared the highest consumer score with the second-place finisher, Mary Kay. Consumers gave this vitamin A- and E-enriched formula high marks for its tone-evening and skin-firming properties; the latter victory was echoed in the lab, where Boots received a perfect firming score, according to our Cutometer measurements. "It's easy to apply and nongreasy," said one panelist. "My skin has never looked better."


Fresh Sugar Açai Age-Delay
Body Cream

Best Body Lotion:

Fresh Sugar Açai Age-Delay Body Cream

The contenders: Moisturizers that, over time, can also firm, smooth, and even out skin, plus enhance radiance.

Testing time: Four weeks.

It may be packaged — and priced — like a royal indulgence, but Fresh Sugar Açai Age-Delay Body Cream ($65, Sephora) is also a real worker bee. This lightly scented formula, laced with antioxidant açai oil, skin-smoothing sugar, and softening citrus fruit acids, was the only body lotion that received top lab scores for both moisturizing and firming. Fresh also earned one of the highest consumer grades for its skin-tone-evening and radiance-enhancing properties. Panelists raved about the rich-but-not-too-greasy texture as well: "Easily applied and clean," said one tester. "Left a nice glow."


Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Hand Repair Creme SPF 15

Best Hand Cream with SPF 15+

Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Hand Repair Creme SPF 15

The contenders: Hand lotions and creams with a minimum of SPF 15. These moisturize and address roughness, wrinkling, and brown spots, some with ingredients commonly found in face creams: antioxidants, peptides, and retinoids, to name a few.

Testing time: Four weeks.

Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Hand Repair Creme SPF 15 ($56, department stores) had the best overall performance score, rating first in a key hand-cream measure: ability to moisturize after six hours. Testers raved about the soft feel of their skin, and several singled out the scent — an unsurprising bonus from a company known for its fine perfumes. Most comments reflected these perks: "What a difference," raved one 49-year-old tester. "My hands look much smoother, as if I am in my 30s."


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Best Instant Wrinkle
Smoother Winners

Best Instant Wrinkle Smoother

Boots No7 Intensive Line Filler and Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment

The contenders: Fast-acting topical treatments promising to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. These temporary smoothers work by either plumping up the skin or filling in creases with a spackle-like serum.

Testing time: 15 minutes in the lab (to test the instant claims); one week at home.

And the winners are... Boots No7 Intensive Line Filler ($18, Target) and Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment ($19, drugstores) showed their might in somewhat different areas when our experts and panelists rated skin changes in three wrinkle-prone hot spots: the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. Olay ranked highest in the lab for reducing forehead lines, and came in first with consumers for minimizing wrinkles all over the face. Boots won for ease of use and performed slightly better than Olay on eye wrinkles. As one tester reported about the Boots: "Very fast results, not irritating, and it gave me a fresh look when I was tired." Tip: The wrinkle-flattening effects our lab experts noted on the Visia 15 minutes after application were definitely subtle. But if you don’t have a cosmetic dermatologist on your speed dial, or months to wait for your skin care to kick in, our winners can provide you with a quick pick-me-up.

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Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-ageing Glycolic Peel Kit

Best At-Home Peel:

Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-ageing Glycolic Peel Kit

The contenders: Facial peels infused with glycolic and salicylic acids, among other exfoliants. Inspired by in-office dermatologist treatments, these at-home versions aim to slough off dead cells in order to improve radiance, skin tone, and smoothness — and soften the look of lines.

Testing time: Four weeks.

Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-ageing Glycolic Peel Kit ($25, Target) won most-appealing peel. This twice-weekly Boots kit, a glycolic acid solution that's left on for five minutes and neutralized with soothing pads, was the top performer both in the lab and with volunteers at home — a hit on all fronts. Visia imaging showed that the peel evened tone and smoothed skin, which consumers echoed; they also reported that it minimized the look of creases while leaving skin soft and radiant. "It made my face smoother and silky as a baby's bottom," one woman raved. "I was tempted to use it every day!" (She didn't.)


Peter Thomas Roth Firmx
Growth Factor Extreme
Neuropeptide Serum

Best Facial Firmer:

Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum

The contenders: Creams and serums that claim to firm, tighten, lift, tone, and/or sculpt sagging skin with active ingredients like peptides. Some also aim to hydrate and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles.

Testing time: Four weeks.

Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum ($150, Sephora) is a treatment that proved splurge-worthy; lab tests showed that it toned and firmed the jawline, and more than half of consumers agreed that it increased firmness. "I even feel as though my face looks thinner due to firming around the jaw," one participant claimed. The creamy serum also scored well for hydration in the lab, but didn't improve the look of lines and wrinkles — none of the treatments in this test did.


Roc Multi Correxion Tone Perfecting Treatment

Best Age-Spot Fader:

Roc Multi Correxion Tone Perfecting Treatment

The contenders: Serums and lotions aimed at fading dark splotches. These manifestations of UV damage are among the major signs of aging — right up there with wrinkles and sagging.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

Roc Multi Correxion Tone Perfecting Treatment ($13.80, drugstores) proved to fade age spots noticeably, according to Visia analysis — and, even better, to do so for under $15, a lot less than you'll pay for the other age-spot faders we tested. This lotion, which you can wear alone or under moisturizer, also happened to be the product best tolerated by skin and least likely to cause irritation. Still, not even the winners erased spots outright. Said one tester: "Although it did not lighten all my spots, it worked remarkably on the ones it did lighten."


Clinique Redness Solutions
Instant Relief Mineral Powder

Best Instant Redness Reducer:

Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder

The contenders: Remedies — whether in cream, serum, or powder form — that claim to reduce facial redness and soothe skin both immediately and over time. Though their anti-aging qualifications may not be immediately obvious, uneven skin tone can add years to your appearance.

Testing time: 15 minutes in the lab (to test the instant claims); one week at home.

Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder ($32.50, department stores) nearly swept the category, with top scores for ease of use, consumer performance, and overall performance (a measure of lab and consumer results). "This face powder worked immediately," said one tester, adding that "it definitely minimized the amount of redness I have and did not take a lot of work to apply." Another liked its calming effect on her inflamed skin: "It felt soothing and worked great under my makeup."


Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 Lotion

Best Body Sunscreen with SPF 30+:

Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 Lotion

The contenders: Water-resistant or waterproof broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sun damage is the number-one cause of wrinkles and age spots, so not all the sunscreens were required to make specific anti-aging claims; instead they had to be formulated and packaged in a way that would appeal to women 35 and over.

Testing time: A single summer.

Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 Lotion ($10, drugstores) is a product that volunteers gave outstanding marks for both preventing a sunburn and resisting water. Surprisingly, testers also preferred this product over lower-SPF options for ease of absorption, not feeling oily and greasy, and not causing any burning or stinging — three areas where lower-SPFs usually perform better. Testers noted that it was "easy to apply" and "felt rich and creamy on dry skin." They also liked the fact that it didn't have a strong fragrance. And considering the price ($10 for eight ounces), you never feel guilty about using too much.

See More of the 2010 Anti-Aging Award Winners (including some cheaper options)

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