We tested each product for the following:
Kaori is the representative director of Japan's Scientific Beauty Institute. She also runs the Beauty Science Blog, which sends out beauty science information in a way that's easy to understand. She operates with the mission of "wanting people to enjoy the process of finding skincare that works for them by offering a scientific perspective". Kaori broadcasts her expert knowledge from working with skincare and cosmetics societies and academic journals on her blog, social media, and more. She also works with PR, product development, and corporate support teams for cosmetics.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Dehydration is said to be one of the biggest culprits behind the various signs of aging. And it’s not just the wrinkling and the sagging; when your skin is dehydrated, its natural barrier gets worn down, which in turn leads to hyperpigmentation and acne.
Furthermore, as your skin ages, it loses its ability to hold on to water. When your skin starts losing its firmness and elasticity or when spots and dulling start to become apparent is when you need to pay attention to hydration more than ever. When it comes to anti-aging, the most important thing is to use products that help with water retention.
That isn’t to say that other things, such as ingredients that help firm up skin or prevent age and sun spots, aren’t important; they are. But they’re more like the cherry on the sundae. At the end of the day, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Does my anti-aging serum keep mature skin properly hydrated?”
Moreover, check for ingredients such as niacinamides, astaxanthin, collagen, plant extracts, and fermented extracts, as these can help improve wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Moreover, the older we get, the more prone our skin becomes to developing blemishes. Products that feature brightening ingredients like placenta extract, vitamin C derivatives, 4MSK, and tranexamic acid can help minimize the appearance of those pesky spots!
Additionally, proteoglycans have enjoyed tons of popularity in recent years. The poster child of proteoglycans would be aggrecan, found in articular cartilage.
That’s would explain why it’s highly elastic; it has exceptional water retention. It has also been experimented on and proven to help with collagen synthesis–truly a superstar when it comes to anti-aging.
If you end up looking for the strongest ingredients that can help your address your concerns with signs of aging, but end up irritating your skin, you'd be doing yourself a major disservice.
If you find a product that lists ethanol, plant extracts, or essential oils near the top of the ingredients list, watch out, as it could potentially irritate your skin. As a general rule of thumb, the earlier an ingredient appears in an ingredients list means the more of it is included in the product.
If you've ever had an experience where a product has irritated your skin in the past, we recommend doing a patch test somewhere discreet, such as on the inside of your arm, before you start using the product.
While active ingredients that can easily penetrate the skin, such as peptides, can certainly help improve signs of aging, they can also irritate the skin for some.
If you're concerned about rough skin or feel any stinging sensations, it's best to avoid ingredients like these.
With skincare, consistency is key. Even the best anti-aging serum in the world will be of no help if you don’t use it every day. That’s why it’s important to find a formula that smells and feels good, wrapped up in packaging that’s easy to use.
Serums vary in density. They can be lightly or heavily scented or have no scent at all. As for packaging, you can find serums in tubes or bottles with either a pump or dropper. This all comes down to personal preference, so make sure you find something you like.
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ORBIS U Dot Lotion
A Fantastic Anti-Aging Serum With No Drawbacks
Enrich Plus Lotion II Moist
A Wrinkle-Minimizing Anti-Aging Serum
SK-II Facial Treatment Lotion
An All-Around Great Aging Care Serum
Curél Aging-Care Series Lotion
A Mild, Anti-Aging Serum for Sensitive Skin
Strong Scent, but Packed With Beautifying Ingredients
Obagi X Lift Lotion
Incredibly Ingredients in One Bottle
Whomee Moist Aging Care Lotion
A High-Performance Anti-Aging Serum, but Not for Sensitive Skin
Albion Co. Ltd.
Unique Ingredients and a Refreshing Fragrance
Elixir Advanced Lotion T III
An Anti-Aging Serum With Great Ingredients
est G.P. Conditioning Serum Lifting Moisture
A Fantastic Moisturizing Serum, but No Notable Anti-Aging Ingredients
Orbis' U Dot Lotion is an anti-aging moisturizing serum that makes the skin appear brighter while also making it feel soft but firm, thus leaving the skin looking healthier.
The texture is slightly thick, but not sticky, which easily blends into the skin to give it a plump feel. It was also incredibly moisturizing and had almost no discernable scent. Although its texture makes it better suited for those with dry skin, it has a light feel that all can use comfortably.
The serum contains tranexamic acid, which helps brighten the skin. It also includes Common evening-primrose extract and Japanese honeysuckle extract as moisturizing ingredients. All the ingredients are meant to prevent skin damage from dryness and UV rays, making it great for early-stage anti-aging care. We found that it has fantastic moisturizing abilities too, with an increase of 104% at the 2-hour mark.
This is a great anti-aging serum for all due to how well it balances moisturizing ability, gentleness, and feel.
FANCL's Enrich Plus Lotion II Moist claims to make the skin elastic and firm, bouncing back when touched.
This product features the active ingredient niacinamide, which has been shown to minimize wrinkles. It also contains additional anti-aging ingredients such as collagen, tripeptide F, oenothera biennis flower extract, and sweet pea flower extract, earning it high marks for its anti-aging ingredients.
This serum performed great in the moisturizing ability test since it could keep the skin moisturized for a long time, with a 105% increase in moisture after two hours from application. While it was slightly hard to get the serum out of the relatively small container, it wasn't that big of an issue.
This anti-aging serum boasts fantastic moisturizing ability and plenty of anti-aging ingredients, making it a great product to consider.
SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence contains over 90% of the brand's proprietary ingredient, Pitera. The product comes in a fancy glass bottle, but make sure not to drop since the bottle is a bit heavy.
The main ingredient, Saccharomycopsis ferment filtrate, is rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, which can be expected to smooth aging skin. We really appreciated its gentleness on the skin, since its composition of ingredients is incredibly simple.
In our moisturizing ability test, this serum performed well enough, increasing moisture levels by 76% in two hours after application. However, our testers said it had a very unique fragrance, which some people might not like. If you're sensitive to fragrances, it's best to check the product's fragrance beforehand or find a retailer that accepts returns.
This product is likely to assist the skin in many aspects and is great for aging skin.
Kao's Curél Aging Care Series Lotion claims to add moisture and make the skin around the eyes, mouth, and face in general, more firm.
The lotion contains the active ingredient allantoin, which helps prevent rough skin. Overall, this product is formulated with sensitive skin in mind, featuring simple ingredients. It's also formulated with pseudo-ceramides and eucalyptus extract for further moisturization, but the anti-aging effects of these ingredients are fairly mild.
In terms of moisturizing ability, though, this product was leagues ahead of others, resulting in a 115% increase in moisture levels, two hours after the application. This product can surely add plenty of moisture to aging skin, which is more prone to drying out.
The texture is slightly thick and easy to blend into the skin, which helps create soft and supple skin. Our testers were fond of the product's feel, where it earned high marks as well. We think this product is great for most to use.
POLA's B. A Lotion claims to add plenty of moisture and create plump, dewy skin.
The texture was slightly thick and not the easiest to blend in, but our skin didn't feel particularly sticky after applying the lotion, and it also felt hydrated and dewy. You might want to check the scent beforehand since some of our testers said the product's sweet fragrance was a bit strong for them.
However, this product has fantastic moisturizing abilities, increasing our tester's moisture levels in the skin by 94% at the two-hour mark after application. While the product does have a slightly high concentration of ethanol, it's also packed with beautifying ingredients like amaranthus caudatus seed extract, sage leaf extract, glycolipids, and sodium lysine dilauroyl glutamate.
Obagi X Lift Lotion claims to hydrate the deepest parts of the skin to improve various signs of aging.
The texture was slightly thick, which left our testers divided, with some saying it blended well while others begged to differ. The lotion didn't leave stickiness on the skin, meaning it works for most skin types anytime throughout the year. However, it has a perfume-like dense and sweet fragrance, which some might find too strong.
When looking at the ingredients, it has plenty of moisturizing ingredients like hydrolyzed soybean protein and hydrolyzed eggshell membrane. This translated to its top-of-the-line moisturizing ability, showing a 124% increase in moisture levels.
Although it has a light feel to it, our testers were thrilled at how it was able to thoroughly hydrate their skin.
Whoomee Moist Aging Care Lotion claims not only does it give moisture to the skin, but also improves it.
The lotion is characteristic by containing animal ingredients as a moisturizer such as bovine lean blood, placenta extract and umbilical extract. While its packed with various ingredients that fight the signs of aging, they're also known to potentially irritate sensitive skin, so make sure to do a patch test beforehand.
The texture was slightly thick and left a little bit of stickiness on the skin. If you prefer a heavier, denser, obviously-moisturized feel from your product, this is the one for you. With a 118% increase in moisture levels in our moisturizing ability test, we'd say this product offers a satisfactory moisturizing ability.
Albion's Flora Drip has a rich and elegant texture, which the manufacturer claims to smooth out and plump up the skin.
The lotion was thick and milky and was moderately easy to blend in. We felt moisturized, but not sticky, and a few layers of the application made the skin feel dewy and plump. Its floral fragrance was cool and refreshing and lingered on the skin for a while, but some might find it too strong.
Its proprietary ingredient, which combines a variety of fermented plant extracts, provides a multifaceted approach to moisturizing aged skin. In the moisturizing ability test, we saw a 95% increase in moisture levels at the two-hour mark, indicating it's thoroughly hydrating.
Shiseido's Elixir Advanced Lotion TIII claims to make the skin feel more firm, hydrated, and dewy. The product is available in three different types, all suited for various skin types, and the manufacturer recommends using a cotton pad to apply.
Our skin became firm and moist after gently applying the slightly thick lotion. While there was no stickiness, allowing us to use it comfortably, we did notice that it had a sharp floral fragrance, which some might not appreciate.
The lotion is rich in plant extracts such as ginkgo biloba extract, turmeric rhizome extract, and iris root extract, which helps add elasticity and firmness to the skin while still being gentle.
While the results of our moisturizing ability test varied between our testers, overall we saw a 108% increase in moisture levels, so we think it offers adequate moisturization.
Kao's Est G.P. Conditioning Serum Lifting Moisture claims to keep the skin moisturized and prevent dryness-related damage.
This product's greatest appeal is its ingredients that not only hydrate but also boost the skin's baseline strength, such as ginseng root extract, ginger root extract, and ectoine. However, this product lacks any active ingredients that provide effective anti-aging care, and it's formulated to address aging skin indirectly through hydration.
The slightly thick texture, which was easy to blend in, was praised by our testers, commenting that the product feels great, balancing hydration and dewiness. The product also increased moisture, where it stayed at an additional 98% even after two hours. We think this product, as the manufacturer claims, can certainly keep the skin moisturized and protect it from dryness.
First off, we tested each product's moisturizing ability. We used a special device known as a Corneometer to measure the amount of moisture in the skin of our tester's arms. We then applied a set amount of serum on their arm and measured moisture levels two hours after application.
We evaluated the products based on how much of an increase there was in moisture levels.
Next, we had our expert, Scientific Beautician Kaori, check whether or not the serums featured a high amount of quality anti-aging ingredients.
Quick note: some products that we tested are classified as quasi-drugs, which is a unique Japanese classification of products that sits in between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Manufacturers are not obligated by law to label all their ingredients for quasi-drugs, so Kaori only evaluated those products based on what was written on the label.
We also asked Kaori to evaluate how gentle on the skin each product was based on their ingredients.
We assigned two Japanese testers to each product, asking them to evaluate each product on the following:
Humans are naturally conditioned to look at people's eyes first, and we subconsciously collect a lot of information about other people through the eyes. Unfortunately, the eyes are also where we tend to show more signs of aging compared to other parts of the face.
The skin around your eyes is much thinner compared to other parts of your face, and produces less sebum, meaning they're more prone to drying out, making it more likely to develop wrinkles there. To combat this, we recommend using an eye cream in combination with your anti-aging serum.
There are a plethora of products, including those that are formulated with ingredients that are confirmed to minimize wrinkles, such as NEI-L1, retinols, and niacinamides, so try and look for an eye cream that has these ingredients.
For more on eye creams, check out the link below!
Both in Japan and the US, serums that aim to merely beautify and alter appearance are labeled as cosmetics. Their main ingredients are usually not present in high concentrations and are called “cosmetic ingredients.”
On the other hand, serums that are meant to change bodily functions are labeled as drugs. Their main ingredients are present in higher concentrations and function like medicine (though, rather than curing anything, they are meant to prevent things, like the production of melanin). These ingredients are called “active ingredients.”
No. 1: ORBIS | ORBIS U Dot Lotion
No. 2: Fancl | Enrich Plus Lotion II Moist
No. 3: P&G | SK-II Facial Treatment Lotion
No. 4: Kao Corporation | Curél Aging-Care Series Lotion
No. 5: POLA | B.A Lotion
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