As a beauty editor, I'm testing, reviewing, and analyzing beauty products for countless hours each and every day. And let me just say, "skin-tightening" benefits seem to litter every product label I lay eyes on. But can so many types of products actually firm up our skin and give our tired complexions the bounce and elasticity the beauty market promises us? While the notion might seem feasible for high-tech gadgets and gizmos, the efficacy of skin-tightening product formulas feels a bit murkier, especially when it comes to a popular category like face oils. I mean, can something as simple as a face oil make me feel like Bella Hadid?
Even though I might be well-versed in all things beauty, I'm by no means an expert when it comes to the science of skin, so I reached out to the experts for some answers.
"There are a variety of products and ingredients that can tighten and enhance the appearance of the skin," confirms board-certified plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, MD, MPH, FACS. "The look of 'tighter' skin is a seemingly loose term, but it reflects the image of a hydrated, plump, and smooth complexion," she adds.
According to Devgan, there are plenty of ingredients found in our favorite products that can assist in reducing signs of aging while brightening, hydrating, and nourishing the skin. But for a skin-tightening effect, in particular, she recommends zeroing in on ingredients that boost collagen production and hydration like peptides, hyaluronic acid, retinol, squalene, niacin, and even antioxidants like resveratrol. That being said, investing in a formula teeming with peptides might be an especially strategic choice. (Try adding a peptide-rich cream or serum to your routine in addition to a retinol and/or antioxidant-rich face oil, and you'll be Gucci.)
"When peptides are applied to the skin, they provide a signal to the body that healing or recovery needs to take place which helps to boost natural collagen production," notes board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick. "This translates into skin firming, tightening, and improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Unlike collagen, which is too large to penetrate the skin topically, peptides are shorter chains and are able to penetrate the skin and signal to the skin to boost collagen production."
Below, find 15 of the best skin-tightening face oils money can buy, plus more complexion-firming products recommended by Garshick and Devgan. Keep scrolling!
1. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
2. Goop GoopGenes All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil
3. Mutha Face Oil
I'm biased, but this is my all-time favorite face oil. It's ultra-luxurious, and I swear it gives me botox-level results when I'm consistent about incorporating it into my nightly routine. I blame the motherload (see what I did there?) of antioxidants and omega fatty acids.
4. Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil With Vitamin A
5. Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil
6. Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil
Sunday Riley has an amazing wardrobe of face oils under its product umbrella, but Juno happens to be our choice formula in the skin-tightening arena thanks to its roster of antioxidants; vitamins; essential amino acids; and omegas 3, 6, and 9.
7. Elemis Pro-Definition Facial Oil
8. La Mer The Renewal Oil
This skin-renewing face oil from La Mer is the crème de la crème when it comes to all-in-one results. Shake it up, and let the multitasking, dual-phase treatment work its magic. (And yes, obviously the brand's signature Miracle Broth and sea-sourced nutrients are the all-star players.)
9. La Prairie Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil
La Prairie's precious nighttime face oil is a mega, mega, investment, but if you're serious about getting some major skin-firming perks in the form of an oil and not, say, a syringe, it's one of the highest picks on our list. The unique blend of caviar-derived retinol and caviar lipids works in harmony to smooth lines all while lifting and firming tired skin.
10. Klur Unseasonal Kind Lipid Replenishment Oil
This beautiful face oil from Klur is designed for all skin types (yep, even if you veer oily), and it will keep your skin bright, balanced, and dewy all year round. The potent mix of plant-based actives like vitamin C and E plus squalene and Coq10 treat your skin to a healthy portion of protective antioxidants which tag team to form a bio-identical support system that mimics your skin's natural protective functions.
11. Róen Elixir Restorative Face Oil
If you thought Róen just made beautiful makeup, think again. I personally love this face oil due to its feather-light consistency, and it smartly combines 100% plant-based oils (which work on a cellular level to promote cell turnover and collagen production for firmer, plumper skin) while also topping up the surface of your skin with essential nutrients and moisture. The glow is unreal.
Shop More Skin-Tightening Products Our Experts Love:
"Known to be particularly helpful after procedures such as lasers or micro-needling, this serum uses Tri-Hex Technology to help enhance overall procedure results and facilitate recovery. The TriHex technology is formulated as a blend of active peptides to help boost collagen and elastin production. In addition, it contains arnica Montana extract which has a calming effect on the skin." — Garshick
"This topical serum contains both growth factors and proprietary peptides to improve the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin texture and overall firmness and elasticity and boosting hydration. It is safe to use on the face, neck and décolleté one to two times per day and can be followed by a moisturizing cream." — Garshick
"This multipeptide complex targets multiple skincare concerns improving overall texture and boosting hydration of the skin. It's an affordable and easy-to-use serum that can be applied one to two times per day after cleansing and prior to moisturizing." — Garshick
"An absolute must-have for ultimate hydration and a gorgeous complexion. Not only does this provide immediate hydration, but the hyaluronic acid penetrates deep into the skin, locking in moisture and increasing collagen production. This is great for firming and tightening the skin." — Devgan