It's July, and even though summer 2020 has involved far less beach-frolicking, pool party-RSVPing, and overall skin-bearing than we anticipated seven months ago, it's still peak season for certain skin-centric topics which still (annoyingly) have yet to be completely normalized within our body- and size-obsessed-culture.
Cellulite, stretch marks, sagging, uneven skin texture, discoloration, we're here to tell you that all of the above (and any other part of your body you might be tripping up over) is very normal, very expected, and is very A-OK and beautiful. We all age, live, experience, and change, and we're here to advocate that anyway your life manifests physically, is something to be celebrated.
That being said, we're also human, and it kind of feels like it's just written into our DNA at this point to become hyper-aware of even the most minuscule changes. It's also okay to seek antidotes. For instance, just because I've been on the hunt recently for an effective body cream to help firm, hydrate, and rejuvenate my skin, doesn't mean I automatically hate my cellulite or haven't come to terms with how my body has settled or changed since college.
Body-firming creams and cellulite creams are some of the most fervently searched terms on Google (trust—we have analysts who share this kind of intel with us!), and while these types of treatments won't make bumps and lumps disappear completely, they can be a great way to make your skin look and feel as healthy as you do on the inside. (Apologies if that sounds sappy.)
Yes, the below body-firming creams might help tone and improve the elasticity of your skin a bit (the reviews I've included speak for themselves), but they're also dreamy to apply and feel like a nice little self-care ritual regardless. So, cheers to that, because in 2020 we can all use a heaping extra dose of TLC. Keep scrolling! The 17 best body creams for firming, brightening, and all-around skin-boosting are just below.
Save: $5 to $25
Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 1,223 reviews at Amazon
Palmer's makes some of the most beloved OG bodycare products on the market, and in addition to the trademark scent (think cocoa heaven!), the brand is known for its firming, stretchmark-relieving skin antidotes. Cocoa butter, raw shea. butter, Q10, and vitamin E are synergistically designed to help restore skin firmness especially, according to the brand, after pregnancy or weight loss.
Starring review: "This lotion is thick and creamy and has a lovely cocoa smell. It absorbs cleanly and quickly. I noticed an improvement in my skin's tone and texture before I was through the first bottle. I was pleased to find such a good value!"
Rating: 4.5/5 stars, 121 reviews at Ulta
The best body creams need not be expensive in order to be effective and rack in the positive reviews. This one from Nivea is a fan favorite and utilizes a dynamic combination of Q10 and shea butter for a hefty dose of hydration and firmer skin in as little as two weeks. (The brand recommends applying twice daily, every day for optimal results.)
Starring review: "When I reached my mid-forties, my skin started changing quite a bit. I went through a lot of different brands to find something that worked. This one was best by far of keeping my skin soft and eliminating the aging/crepe thing that starts happening as we age. It's my go-to now."
Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 135 reviews at Ulta
This best-selling body-firming cream is a great option for anyone seeking a formula with clean, natural ingredients. In lieu of water, it's made with organic, botanical juices plus a skin-rejuvenating mixture of essential fatty acids, vitamin C, and peptides to help tone, tighten, and lift undernourished skin.
Starring review: "I've tried every expensive moisturizer out there and this one surpasses all of them. I have terribly dry skin and eczema in the winters and this lotion has been an absolute miracle product for me. The scent is light and not overwhelming, and it leaves your skin super-soft and supple—10/10 would recommend."
Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 41 reviews at Ulta
Not only is this body-firming cream one of the most effective and affordable in our bunch, but it also has the most mouth-watering lemony scent. Key ingredients included caffeine and a potent melding of botanicals that share a targeted goal to tighten, smooth, and tone the skin anywhere on the body.
Starring review: "I noticed immediate results after one use. The tone and elasticity of my skin, as well as texture, suppleness, and softness, showed noticeable improvement after just one use and dramatic improvement with continued use. I'm not great about remembering to put it on morning and night in fact some days I don't use it at all and it is still producing great results. Imagine if I followed the regime to the 'T.' The smell is a sweet lemon with a hint of vanilla. It reminds me of lemon cookies."
Rating: 4.4/5 stars, 37 reviews at Nordstrom
Although this cult-loved body cream isn't necessarily touted as a firming formula, improvement in tone, texture, and elasticity is just one of its many pleasant side effects. It's enriched with skin-enveloping vitamins, and the fragrance-free formula is especially great for anyone with sensitive skin.
Starring review: "This body lotion is by far the best I’ve ever tried. I have dry sensitive skin and this lotion is perfection all the way through. It’s not greasy at all, it absorbs easily, and it leaves my skin so soft and smooth. Highly recommend this product!"
Splurge: $45 to $195
Rating: 4.3/5 stars, 6,155 reviews at Sephora
Here it is—the most iconic and well-loved body-firming cream on the market. Yes, the intoxicating smell is like hugging a contestant on The Great British Baking Show (think salted caramel, pistachio, and vanilla) but somehow it doesn't translate as tacky or teeny. Plus, the potent mix of caffeine, guaraná, cupuaçu butter, açaí, and coconut oil naturally boosts circulation, smooths skin, restores elasticity, and offers long-lasting moisture. It's a true pot of gold.
Starring review: "I have tried several body creams over the years and nothing has ever come close to Bum Bum. I have been using this magic in a jar for about two years now, and I can't live without it. I slather this on religiously after every shower, and it leaves my skin so silky smooth and firm. It has a subtle shimmer, so it gives me this beautiful glow and the smell is so amazing and addictive!"
Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 128 reviews at Sephora
Caudalíe's French skincare offerings have an ultra-loyal following, and this firming body cream is at the top of reviewers' lists. Shea butter and iris extract work in tandem with the brand's signature hero ingredients—grape seed oil and grape polyphenols—to moisturize, firm, lift, and tighten the skin wherever you decide to apply. (The brand recommends the bum, legs, arms, and waist, specifically.)
Starring review: "I had a baby about 10 months ago and had ripples on my stomach from weight loss and stretched skin. I just applied this cream for the first time a few hours ago, and I can't believe my eyes. The ripples are completely gone. It looks like they were never there. I am in complete shock. I will definitely continue using this cream. I do agree with other users, the smell is very potent, and I am sensitive to perfumes. The pros outweigh the cons though."
Rating: 5/5 stars, 15 reviews at Dermstore
Fragrance-free and fortified with witch hazel, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and coconut oil, this effective firming concoction is great for spot treating certain areas like the neck, thighs, butt, and arms that inevitably lose elasticity and firmness as we age.
Starring review: "I have purchased the entire line of Kayo products and the Concentrated Firming Serum is hands-down my favorite. The consistency is perfect! It absorbs nicely, and it smells great. I use it on my glutes and thighs. My skin in that area looks tighter than it ever has. Combine it with dry brushing, and it will blow your mind. I love knowing that I'm putting a quality product on my body's largest organ. Thank you Kayo for changing my body care for the better."
Rating: 5/5 stars, 402 reviews at Bangn Body
Prepare to meet your newest skincare brand obsession. A new-to-the-states import from Australia, the brand specializes in creating ultra-dreamy body elixirs focused on firming and anti-aging. Plus, everything in the line is vegan, natural, and cruelty-free. This lotion is a best-seller (there's also a fragrance-free version and a luminous version) and teams with a rich, skin-tightening roster of ingredients like shea butter, pineapple fruit oil, and green coffee bean extract from Byron Bay.
Starring review: "This stuff works! I've been using it for about a month now, and the cellulite on the back of my legs has dramatically decreased and it definitely feels a lot firmer. I wish I took a before and after, but I was pretty skeptical that it would do anything so it was a very pleasant surprise. It is also getting rid of the little red bumps I get on my legs from wearing tights etc. I wasn't too keen on the smell, it's a bit strong for my liking, but I have ordered the fragrance-free for next time. I just wish it came with more in the tube, it's awesome!"
Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 42 reviews at Ulta
StriVectin is known (and loved by Dermatologists) for its innovative skincare technologies and ultra-effective formulas. This new-ish body-firming cream from the brand boasts specific ingredients like vitamin- and fatty acid-rich jojoba seed extract, anti-inflammatory turmeric root extract, and a decadent blend of butters (shea, capuaçu, and murumuru) to improve skin texture and crepiness, brighten, moisturize, soften, and tighten any areas of the body that have lost elasticity.
Starring review: "My skin appears more firm, toned, and 'glowy' after using this cream. The results are exactly what I was hoping for!"
Rating: 4.2/5 stars, 39 reviews at Sephora
Clarins actually makes an entire line of body contouring products, but this specific formula is their best-seller and consistently receives high ratings. It has a soothing, gel-cream formula that's powered by eight specific plant extracts to visibly firm, lift, and streamline any area of the body you're looking to address.
Starring review: "I went into this with guarded expectations, since I don't expect miracles from firming creams. But, it really does work to tighten the skin. After about a week of using it, my cellulite has been reduced significantly and the results last all day long. It's not a miracle cure, but it works much better than anything else I have tried. It isn't permanent, and it won't make anything magically vanish, but regular application and massage makes my legs look smooth from morning until bedtime. Consistent use seems to add up as well."
Rating: 4/5 stars, 21 reviews at Dermstore
The aim of this tightening concentrate from SkinCeuticals is to, essentially, fight the inevitable effects of gravity that occur as we get older. It's a unique cooling fluid that feels soothing and calming to even the most sensitive skin, and the hard-hitting combination of 2.5% tripeptide, 5% yeast extract and 2% hydrolyzed rice protein work to improve the texture and tightness of the skin.
Starring review: "I bought this not expecting it to work… it does. I noticed increased firmness after two weeks of daily use. As a bonus, the texture of my skin everywhere has greatly improved, and the crepey skin has gone smooth. I definitely will be reordering this."
Rating: 4.2/5 stars, 6 reviews at Nordstrom
Augustinus Bader's famous face creams have gained the brand frenzy-inducing notoriety, but this luxe body cream is a definite dark horse. It's infused with the same cell-renewing, patented technology as the face creams (TFC8), and other skin-improving additions like natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins, synthesized molecules, shea butter and more nourish, firm, soften, moisturize, and re-invigorate the skin anywhere it's applied.
Starring review: "This body cream from Augustinus Bader is super-luxurious and rich, and it melts beautifully into the skin. It is fragrance-free which I love in addition to being hydrating and moisturizing. I use it on the tops of my thighs and arms to address my dry 'chicken skin' and loss of tone. The brand says this product is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve skin tone and texture, and I think it really lives up to these claims. My only slight gripe is the packaging which is a beautiful heavy glass jar with a cheap plastic lid that doesn't seal particularly well. However, in terms of the amount of product and the quality, this body cream is definitely worth the price tag and undoubtedly one to repurchase."
Rating: 5/5 stars, 5 reviews at RéVive Skincare
FYI, this is the body-firming cream that made us believers in body-firming creams. Deeply nourishing, this hyaluronic acid– and protein-rich cream deep-treats dry, tired skin with results that look glowy, lifted, and tightened.
Starring review: "I cannot believe what this does for my skin. I am 50 and I get somewhat obsessed with my skin being soft and hydrated. In winter I usually have to switch over to a super-heavy, creamy body lotion to achieve that. Not with this cream. It is amazing. It doesn't weigh down my skin, it softens, it firms, and it is minimizing the lines on my decolletage."
And a few editor favorites…
This body-firming serum-lotion hybrid is a brand new product, and it's already one of the best beauty launches I've tried in 2020. (Especially in the body category.) Although it can, of course, be used on its own, it's designed to be utilized as kind of a pre-game before you go in and apply your favorite creams, oils, or butter. It's a potent, targeted formulation that was specifically created to help sculpt, smooth, and renew dull or lifeless skin anywhere on the body. Its key ingredients include radish root extract (for boosted skin elasticity), marula oil and shea butter (for velvety softness, hyaluronic acid (for mega-watt plumping and hydration), plus other luxe fares like brown and red algae, coffee, and gotu kola extracts which rev up microcirculation.
A retinol treatment for your body. I'm not sure why more brands haven't worked up versions of this heavenly skin-saving treatment sooner. Not only does the mix of caffeine, bakuchiol (a natural retinol alternative), and safflower seed brighten the skin for instantaneous radiance, but it also—fairly dramatically—tightens and firms your skin to reduce the look of cellulite, as well as uneven tone and texture.
If I could only use one body product for the rest of my life, it would be this luxurious Body Cream from Natura Bissé. It smells heavenly (like velvety lavender) and provides the same lit-from-within glow as an oil without the grease or tackiness. It features the brand's Oligo-Collagen Complex, which also improves firmness and elasticity and is even touted to redefine the tone, texture, and contour of your skin. It's a skin miracle, bottled.