So Many Face Oils Claim to Have Skin-Tightening Perks, so I Investigated

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.


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

"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.)


(Image credit: @thatcurlytop)

"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

4. Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil With Vitamin A

5. Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil

6. Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil

7. Elemis Pro-Definition Facial Oil

8. La Mer The Renewal Oil

9. La Prairie Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil

10. Klur Unseasonal Kind Lipid Replenishment Oil

11. Róen Elixir Restorative Face Oil

Shop More Skin-Tightening Products Our Experts Love:

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.