Aveeno is one of those brands that I am a little bit wary of. The brand messaging is all about being 'natural' and unlocking nature's secrets, whilst its formulas are all too often made up of standard lab-maufactured emollients, silicones and preservatives. Whilst Aveeno's Positively Ageless Night Cream ($23) stands guilty as charged, it does have more than a couple of redeeming features.

Positively Ageless Night Cream is billed as containing shitake, but it was another mushroom that caught my eye: ganoderma lucidum. This is the mother of all fungi used in Chinese medicine - or least the oldest, with claims that it has been used to cure all manner of ailments for the last 4000 years. Modern research has established ganoderma lucidum, also known as lingzhi, as a powerful antioxidant due to the presence of a peptide. In fact, there is so much supporting data that it is surprising that I haven't seen it cropping up more often in anti-aging creams. One study, for example, claims that it protects DNA against UV damage. This is definitely an ingredient to look out for.

Shitake, although the second most commonly grown mushroom in the world, should not be dismissed. It too is an antioxidant due to its very own polysaccharide called lentinan. Mind you, this mushroom can also cause skin problems - there is a even a specific condition called shitake dematitis in Japan.

Aveeno's night cream also contains a rather odd ingredient, mucor miehei extract. Cosmetic Cop dismisses this as a mold with no proven value for skincare. Traditionally, it has been used to make rennet but in cosmetics it is used to make esters of other ingredients such as retinyl because it is cheaper than using actual retinol (vitamin A).

Worth a call out is mauritia flexuosa,  a palm tree that grows in South American swamps and is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. A brazilian research team claims it has the richest natural source of beta-carotene known to man. One study speculates that the oil, called buriti, has such low cytotoxicity that it may render topical creams completely non-irritating.

Ingredients

Water , Cetyl Alcohol , Glycerin , Phenyl Trimethicone , C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate , Ethylhexyl Palmitate , Cyclopentasiloxane , Stearyl Heptanoate , Ganoderma Lucidum Stem Extract Mushroom, Lentinus Edodes Extract Shiitake Mushroom , Mucor Miehei Extract , Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein , Butyrospermum Parkii Shea Butter , Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil , Glyceryl Stearate , Polyacrylate-13 , Stearyl Caprylate , Phenoxyethanol , PEG-75 Stearate , Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate , Polyisobutene , Fragrance , Methylparaben , Dimethicone Crosspolymer , Xanthan Gum , Calcium Chloride , Sodium Citrate , 1,2-Hexanediol , Caprylyl Glycol , Butylene Glycol , Ceteth-20 , Steareth-20 , Magnesium Aluminum Silicate , Polysorbate 20 , Algae Extract. May also contain: Citric Acid.