Skin-Care Tips

I’ve Tried Hundreds of Face-Firming Serums, and This $28 Pick Holds the Top Spot

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
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I'm still three months away from my 30th birthday, but I can already see the effects of its looming presence in my skin. You see, your body's natural collagen and elastin production starts to slow down around the time you hit 30, which explains the fine lines and wrinkles that have recently started to become visible on my face. As a beauty editor, I've spent years training for this moment by testing hundreds of anti-aging serums that promise to firm up my complexion, and Murad's Retinol Youth Renewal Serum has proven to be the best one for getting the job done.

What makes the serum stand out is the fact that it's formulated with three different types of retinol. Derms agree that everyone should be using a retinoid by the time they hit 30 because it's known to stimulate your body's natural collagen production (which, in effect, smooths out fine lines and wrinkles on your skin), and this serum delivers a triple-threat of the stuff. There's an instant release retinol, which works to instantly plump skin, a time-release retinol that continues this plumping effect for the long haul, and a retinol booster to ensure that these ingredients are working to their full potential.

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Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

In addition to its skin firming abilities, the serum also offers radiance-boosting and texture-evening properties thanks to the cellular turnover that retinol brings about. The formula brings healthy, new skin cells to the surface to replace dead, dull ones, delivering a smoother and brighter overall appearance. According to trials conducted by the brand, 98 percent of people of all ages noticed smoother skin after two weeks of using it.

As someone with dry skin, I've traditionally had to be careful when introducing a retinoid into my routine. But because this formula pairs the ingredient with hydrating hyaluronic acid, I've never had a problem with irritation. It's got a lightweight texture that makes it perfect for layering on under moisturizer, and it doesn't feel greasy or goopy when you apply. I like to put it on before bed to let it really work its magic while my skin is in "recovery mode" during my snoozing hours, and after using it for a few weeks have already noticed a difference in the smoothness of my skin.

While I may not be able to avoid turning 30, with this serum, I've been able to stave off its effects on my skin for at least a little while longer.

Got more retinol questions? Check out the video below. 

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