Best anti-aging serums 2021: eradicate fine lines and wrinkles with these age-defying active ingredients

The finest bottled concoctions to help banish the signs of aging

Best anti-aging serums
(Image credit: Getty)

Face serums are not only a great way to target specific skin concerns, but they will also improve the overall quality of your skin. Used as a base before applying your daily moisturiser, a serum is a concentrate of active ingredients, making them much more powerful than a regular face cream. Different serums will feature a different mix of ingredients depending on what skin problem you are trying to address. Anti-aging serums, for example, tend to have potent levels of certain ingredients to help banish signs of aging.

“There are now more effective ingredients than ever available within serums such as retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C which are able to renew and regenerate our skin,” says Dr Sabrina Shah-Desai, oculoplastic surgeon on Harley Street.

“Serums, in particular, are a beneficial addition to a skincare regimen as they can effectively deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients.”

How to choose the best anti-aging face serums for you

An anti-aging serum is an ideal purchase for those concerned about fine lines, wrinkles and expression marks as they can provide an extra boost of age-fighting benefits over just using a typical moisturiser and sunscreen. However, the number of serums available in the skincare market at the moment - all promising to make you look 18 again - is quite extraordinary. It can, therefore, be quite overwhelming to navigate your way through to figure out which is the best for you. I mean, why else would I put together this guide?! 

So, there are a few factors you should take into consideration when it comes to picking out the best serum for you. First off, you should also note that not all serums are anti-aging. While some are focused on helping you not look past it, others can focus on closing pores or brightening the skin. The ones to look out for to target aging should include active ingredients such as Retinol, Vitamins C, Retinoic acid, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, LActic acid, Glycolic acid and Ceramides.

Also, think about the skin problem you are wanting to address (reduce fine lines, wrinkles around the mouth, or sunspots, for example) and read the product description carefully to find a serum that claims to do what you’re wanting to achieve.

You should also consider your skin type. If you have oily skin, for example, it might be best to go for a serum that has salicylic acid and retinol ingredients. For dry skins, look for a formula with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. 

As for price, a facial serum can often be a lot more expensive than other skincare products, but there’s a reason. The ingredients are way more concentrated and not diluted with needless things to properly address skin problems. While there are exceptions to the rule, you can expect to pay at least £50 for a good quality anti-aging serum. 

The best anti-aging face serums you can buy right now

Best anti-aging serum: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate: The best all-round serum

(Image credit: Kiehl's)

1. Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate: The best all-round serum

A great versatile serum with a mid-range price point that should suit most skin types

Reasons to buy
+Contains both Vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid+You can feel it getting to work immediately+Brightens skin 

With a more inclusive price point making it a little more accessible to those on a budget, the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate by Kiehl’s is super effective considering it doesn’t cost the earth. With a high Vitamin C potency, this serum has been formulated to penetrate deep into the skin’s surface layer, addressing multiple signs of aging including dryness and dullness. You can even feel it getting to work within the pores; tingling the face immediately after application. 

This has to be one of my favourites because it not only helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, but thanks to its Hyaluronic acid content, it boosts your skin’s overall radiance. A great all-rounder that is well suited to most skin types. 

Best anti-aging serum: Bioeffect EGF serum: The best premium serum

(Image credit: Bioeffect)

2. Bioeffect EGF serum: The best premium serum

Small but mighty with visible effects

Reasons to buy
+Boosts collagen and elastin production+Can visibly improve effects of aging+A little goes a long way
Reasons to avoid
-Very pricey

This award-winning anti-aging serum is not only one of the smallest bottles in the list, but it’s also one of the most expensive. Thankfully, though, a little goes a long way as you only need a couple of drops per application. And then, the results are some of the most stunning I found when putting these serums to the test. 

This is down to an ingredient that Bioeffect calls Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a barley-based protein that signals cells to boost collagen and elastin production to help maintain healthy, dense, and youthful-looking skin. Grown in an ecologically-engineered greenhouse in Iceland, with added hydrochloric acid and pure Icelandic water to boot, this little bottle of magic is not only natural (being oil, fragrance and alcohol free) but it significantly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Best anti-aging serum: Carbon Theory Overnight Detox Serum: The best value serum

(Image credit: Carbon Theory)

3. Carbon Theory Overnight Detox Serum: The best value serum

A multi-action overnight serum at a bargain price of £14

Reasons to buy
+A little drop goes a long way +Added breakout prevention 
Reasons to avoid
-Can make skin feel a little sticky -Not as fancy-looking as other serums 

This anti-aging serum is great value for those looking to avoid the signs of aging while also fighting potential breakouts. Applied at night so it can work its hydrating magic while you sleep, the Vitamin E ingredient helps repair your skin while cranberry beads melt into the surface to stimulate the natural rejuvenation of skin cells. At the same time, the added ingredients of charcoal and tea tree oil work together to draw out bacteria, toxins and excess oil from within the skin. This helps reduce inflammation and keep it clear. 

Best anti-aging serum: Jurlique Nutri-Define Supreme Rejuvenating Serum

(Image credit: Jurlique)

4. Jurlique Nutri-Define Supreme Rejuvenating Serum

A silky smooth and clinically tested to help reduce the appearance of deep lines

Reasons to buy
+Super silky+Gel texture is nice and light +Sustainably sourced
Reasons to avoid

Aussie skin care brand, Jurlique, is known for its sustainably-sourced, organic botanicals that are grown and handpicked on its biodynamic farm in South Australia. Its Nutri-Define Supreme Rejuvenating Serum has been infused with a cocktail of ingredients from this very farm, all designed to firm and freshen up your chops.

Due to its silky, gel texture, this serum is one of the lightest on the list, so it doesn't feel heavy or oily on the skin. This makes it ideal for those who break out easily or have naturally oily complexions. When it comes to anti-aging, the serum works to support collagen production with Horseradish and extracts from a medicinal plant called Spilanthes, which earned it the name “toothache plant” for its numbing and pain-relieving effects.

Best anti-aging serum: ECooking Super Serum

(Image credit: Ecooking)

5. ECooking Super Serum

An effective moisturising serum with active peptide ingredient Hexaptid-8

Reasons to buy
+Contains Hexaptid-8 peptide compound+Vegan
Reasons to avoid
-Not as long-lasting as other serums 

Danish skincare brand Ecooking might have a bit of a strange name, but it’s known for delivering high quality ingredients without the eye-watering price tags. Take for instance its Super Serum that has an anti-aging formula that’s not only moisturising but contains the  peptide compound Hexaptid-8, which is known widely in the beauty industry as “Botox in a jar”.

Targeting the appearance of wrinkles brought on by repeated facial expressions, this ingredient is said to promote the skin’s natural production of collagen-I, the protein that keeps your skin looking plump and youthful. The serum is also vegan and cruelty free.

Best anti-aging serum: PCA Skin Exlinea peptide smoothing serum

(Image credit: PCA Skin)

6. PCA Skin Exlinea peptide smoothing serum

Target specific areas of the skin with this wrinkle-busting smoothing serum

Reasons to buy
+Powerful Argireline peptide reduces expression lines +Super hydrating; leave skin plump
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t suit everyone’s budget 

This serum is by far one of the priciest on the list, but for good reason. Its formula contains a peptide called Argireline, a short-chain amino acid that affects the nerve-to-muscle communication so that the facial muscles can't properly contract. This helps to zap away the appearance of expression lines in areas of repeated movement, such as crow's feet and laugh lines. It also stimulates collagen production to firm and smooth fine lines in the skin. 

What really stands out about this serum is that it’s also super hydrating thanks to its natural organic oil ingredient - Squalene, Found in olives and wheat germ, this compound keeps skin moist for the best part of the day so it appears plump and luminous.

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