"It's Botox in a Bottle": 19 Serums That Make a Huge Difference

As you get older, your skin loses elasticity because your body produces less collagen and elastin. In fact, by the time people turn 20, they'll produce 1% less collagen in their skin each year. And because your skin loses elasticity, it can seem loose and saggy.

Other factors can accelerate collagen and elastin loss: UV exposure, environmental pollutants, and certain lifestyle habits (such as smoking, poor nutrition, and drinking excessively). Your skin can also lose its tightness after weight loss or pregnancy.

The 20 Best Skin Tightening Serums, According to Reviews



There are a couple of things you can do to combat saggy skin if it's bugging you. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are nonsurgical procedures you can get at the dermatologist's office, like ultrasounds, radiofrequency, laser treatments, and laser resurfacing. And, of course, there are surgical procedures, too.

But if you want to try an at-home remedy first, you can opt for a skin-tightening serum. Look for formulas that contain ingredients that can boost the production of collagen and elastin, including retinol, peptides, and vitamin C.

Take a look at some options for the face and body below, which have rave reviews.

The Best Skin-Tightening Serums for the Face

The Best Overall

Pros: Firms the skin without the use of retinol

Cons: None

The key ingredient in this firming serum is bamboo, which contains soluble or insoluble fiber, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The formula also has a natural retinol alternative complex with ingredients like chicory root oligosaccharides and tara tree. You can use this on your face and neck.

What a reviewer said: "This has worked wonders on my neck and jawline; it just lifts and firms up loose, dry skin. It seriously took a few years off in just a month's time! I'm buying some more to gift to my girlfriends!"

Pros: Clinically proven to tighten the skin

Cons: High price point

Many reviewers say that the splurge-y price tag is worth it. The lightweight serum contains plankton extract and red algae (to smooth), hyaluronic acid (to plump and hydrate), and purslane (for overall skin health).

What a reviewer says: "This is literally like Botox in a bottle! I use it on special occasions as the last step in my routine, and it makes my skin look so firm and lifted. Yes, it's expensive, but you only need the smallest amount. It does leave a tight feeling, but I think that means it's working and tightening/firming my skin!"

Pros: Visibly brightens dull skin

Cons: Potentially irritating to sensitive skin

This oil-free serum is infused with resveratrol, a powerful vine antioxidant that targets fine lines and wrinkles. Other key ingredients include hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and a vegan collagen alternative.

What a reviewer says: "Once again, the fresh and discreet scent is a wonder. The serum penetrates quickly. Its application is enjoyable! I saw the difference in the firming and lifting of my skin. This serum leaves a very lightweight sensation on my face. It feels great!"

Pros: Lifts and tightens the skin

Cons: Tacky consistency when layered with moisturizers

You've got a potent hyaluronic acid formula here—there's 1.5% pure HA, to be exact. It works to deeply hydrate the face and lock moisture in, leading to plumper and firmer skin.

What a reviewer says: "I have tried everything on the market, and this is the best. I have seen a huge difference in my face and neck; this will be my one and only product now. I'm 50 years old, and this product has helped with wrinkles."

Pros: Flawless, dewy finish

Cons: Small amount of product for the price point

Here's another hydrating product. Tatcha's resurfacing and plumping serum combines lactic acid to smooth fine lines and texture with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and firm the skin. It's recommended to use it morning and night.

What a reviewer says: "Amazing! I've had large pores and slight bumps in small areas around them all my life and have tried everything. After two weeks of this, my skin looks so smooth, and my pores are much smaller. I've traded in my foundation for tinted moisturizer!"

Pros: Plumping and brightening

Cons: Sticky consistency

At just $12, this might be one of the most affordable options on our list. The serum contains Matrixyl 3000, which supports natural collagen production. Plus, it has a dual peptide for more collagen-boosting benefits.

What a reviewer says: "I'm 26 with some fine lines and fairly clear skin. I used this product in the evening, and it made my skin noticeably firmer and healthier looking, and it made fine lines less noticeable. I've been using it for about a week, and I'm really happy with it."

Pros: Affordable price point

Cons: Potentially drying formula

If you want the anti-aging benefits of retinol without having to use retinol, you can try this serum. It contains bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative that works well with sensitive skin. The firming product is also infused with hyaluronic acid for super hydration.

What a reviewer says: "This is a moisturizing product that makes your skin glow and removes blemishes over time. Your skin texture and health will improve with consistent use. [This is] great for people who are prone to acne as this product is noncomedogenic. Perfect for sensitive skin like mine."

Pros: Gentle on sensitive skin

Cons: Possible piling when layered with moisturizers

This powerful serum is specifically designed to target fine lines and wrinkles and promote firmness and elasticity. It's recommended you apply the product before your moisturizer, focusing on any areas with wrinkles.

What a reviewer says: "I absolutely love this serum! I have acne and wrinkles and have tried many brands, but it's hard to find a serum that doesn't make me break out. This serum is so silky and gives the skin a light glow. I also use it above my eyes, where I have started to notice some light wrinkles. In just a week, I started to notice a difference."

Pros: Smoothes and moisturizes the skin

Cons: None

After using this product, you're supposed to see some results in just a day. The formula includes Olay's Amino-Peptide Complex II, which will promote the regeneration of surface skin cells, so the skin will appear plump, smooth, and firm.

What a reviewer says: "Showed improvement within days. This has been the best product I have tried. It didn't get rid of 100% of the wrinkles, but I'd say there was a 50% to 75% improvement. The only downside is you have to apply it every day to maintain the benefits."

Pros: Deeply moisturizes the skin

Cons: Breakable glass packaging 

With a gel-like consistency, this serum contains a liquid matrix of hyaluronans to firm up the skin. There are also phycocolloids, which work with the hyaluronans to plump and hydrate.

What a reviewer says: "It really tightens my face (I make sure I put it on my forehead, laugh lines, crow's-feet, 11's, and sometimes down my neck if I have put a little extra). It has a tacky feeling at first, but after you apply your makeup, you don't notice [it] as much. Makes me feel wide awake and fresh."

Pros: Hydrates skin with no residue

Cons: Potentially irritating to sensitive or acne-prone skin 

With a tripeptide and hyaluronic acid complex, Kate Somerville's firming serum will decrease the appearance of wrinkles and increase elasticity. There is also hyaluronic acid and mukul myrrh extract (to hydrate and plump); nasturtium flower (to strengthen the skin barrier); vitamin E (to protect against free radicals); and squalane, sunflower, and cucumber seed oils (to moisturize).

What a reviewer says: "Holy grail serum—I have used Kate Somerville skin products for years. I love her skin products because they are expensive but not as bad as other brands, and I see results. Even when I try other skin products, I always find my way back to KS.

Pros: Lightweight formula with quick absorption

Cons: High price point

The Moroccan rockrose extract in this serum works to neutralize free radicals that can damage collagen. In addition to that anti-aging ingredient, there's also Camu camu, Madagascar green coffee bean, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, smooth, and revitalize the skin.

Pros: Lifts and tightens the skin

Cons: May not noticeably reduce the size of pores depending on skin type

Kiehl's serum is formulated to redefine and lift the contours of your face. It will also reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.

What a reviewer says: "For the first three weeks of religiously applying this product on my face after my toner, then my usual morning/night cream, my skin appears more elastic, radiant, and plump. The pores seem to be less visible."

Pros: Softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Cons: May cause slight irritation for sensitive skin

You get so many benefits with this formula. It targets dark spots, wrinkles, and a lack of firmness. The key ingredients include Matrixyl 3000, No7's pigmentation complex that contains vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and hibiscus.

What a reviewer says: "This may be the single best beauty product I have ever used! Here's why: Not only does it deliver on its three promises of softening lines/wrinkles, firming skin, and evening skin tone, it actually performs much better than I would've expected. In introducing this product to my beauty routine, I made no other changes to my routine or the products I use. In one month, I have definitely noticed a softening of the fine lines around my mouth, and my age spots (from years of carelessness in the hot Florida sun) are much less noticeable. Pores are much less noticeable. My skin is much more luminous."

Pros: Effectively lifts and plumps the skin

Cons: None

There's a special polyamine growth factor in this serum, which improves elasticity and promotes visibly firmer skin. Other ingredients include an eggshell membrane to support the skin's moisture barrier and retinol.

What a reviewer says: "I have been using this product for many months now. It has made a noticeable difference in my (aging) skin! It's tightening and smoothing. I love it."

The Best Skin-Tightening Serums for the Body

The Best Overall

Pros: Hydrates and revives the skin

Cons: Small amount of product

Kayo's line of skincare is a favorite with Who What Wear editors. This daily serum is formulated for dry, normal, and mature skin types and is really lightweight. Copper peptide, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and coconut oil all work together to plump the skin, moisturize, and protect against environmental damage.

Pros: Diminishes the appearance of fine lines

Cons: Strongly fragranced

This formula contains alpha-hydroxy acids, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid to lift and firm the skin. It also works to lighten dark spots, moisturize, and protect against environmental damage.

What a reviewer says: "Since using this product, the deep lines on my neck have become less visible over time. Skin is hydrated and more supple. I also use it on the décolleté area and find it very beneficial."

Pros: Can be used wherever you need it

Cons: Small amount of product for the price point

In addition to firming and lifting the skin, the product also reduces the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles thanks to light-diffusing minerals and pumpkin seed extract. You can use it all over—face, neck, and body.

What a reviewer says: "I love this resculpting serum. It's pretty expensive, so I only use it on my neck and décolletage area, but it feels nice and cool going on, and it is lightweight, so you can layer lotion on top of it. It's now part of my nighttime routine."

Pros: Tones and restores the neckline

Cons: High price point

This serum is specially formulated for the neck and décolletage, working to promote collagen and elastin production. The product targets wrinkles and sagging skin while also providing moisture and protection.

What a reviewer says: "[I] have purchased numerous neck creams with, usually, not very positive results, but this one is a good one. I have only used this cream for one week now, and I can say I actually saw a difference the very first day."

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated. 

Next, these are the best face serums money can buy.