This $15 Drugstore Buy Is the Closest Thing You’ll Find to Sephora’s Most Expensive Serum

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
There are few things in this world that I am willing to shell out $495 on. A flight to California, maybe. A portion of my rent, for sure. But a skin-care product? I'd have to take major pause (and calculate whether or not I'd be okay to go an entire month eating canned chickpeas) before swiping my credit card.

That said, Sephora sells a $495 serumPerricone MD Neuropeptide Smoothing Facial Conformer—that's renowned for using proprietary neuropeptide technology to activate the renewal of the surface of your skin, making it a game changer for things like dullness, discoloration, under-eye circles, fine lines, sagging skin and wrinkles. And if the reviews on the product are to be believed, it's the real deal. "Within one day I began to see positive changes in my skin—not just in toning, but it really does peel off the years," wrote one fan. "I've used this for 10 days every night and morning and my skin is tighter, velvety smooth, and so bright," echoed another.

While the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, if you're not able to shell out that much cash, you don't have to feel left out. We scoured the Internet to find the next best thing at an affordable price point. Our pick? Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum, which retails for only $15.

Photo: Olay

Like the Perricone MD serum, the Olay version utilizes peptides. "Peptides are made of linked chains of amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins, and are essentially protein fragments that are generally small enough to penetrate the skin.," says board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD. "Polypeptides act as signaling mechanisms when collagen breaks down and tell the body to produce more collagen. In theory, they can trick your body to producing more collagen without the actual breakdown which could be beneficial in preventing wrinkle formation."

Straight out of the bottle, the Olay serum has an opalescent finish with a slight tint, so it offers instant illumination when you put it on. But it's the serum's longterm effects that have earned it over 1,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. "I have noticed since I started using this product that my skin is more hydrated than it has been in ages," wrote one user. "I work at a skincare company and have tried probably over 50 products from either my company, or other high-end brands, and this is the best of all of them. I’ve been using this for about a month, and was able to tell the difference after just a few days. My skin cleared up, and doesn’t allow it to break out much, even when I’m hormonal or eating less healthy (usually the two causes of my skin to break out). It’s very hydrating, and has the much-needed SPF for a daily skincare routine," shared another.

And as for what a dermatologist thinks of these drugstore peptides? "It’s a great calming moisturizer.  With glycerin and niacinamide being the workhorses, which are both potent anti-inflammatories, it’s a great option for sensitive skin," says Dr. Bhanusali.

And so, if you've gotta save that $480 to book a flight to a wedding, but also want smoother, plumper, more hydrated skin, consider adding Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum straight into that digital cart.

We love a beauty bargain, and this $9 Trader Joe's moisturizer is the perfect alternative to La Mer. Plus, the one ingredient you should look for in a moisturizer to be sure it's working the most of its magic. 

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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