red velvet

One reason why silicones feature predominantly in many department store creams is because they sit on the surface of the skin and give it that feel-good factor. I am a little obsessed with the notion of velvety skin, but I want it to be more than superficial. I want skin that feels velvety because it is healthy, firm and rid of any crepeyness.

Of course, cleansing and exfoliation help provide the foundation of good skin texture. However, I have been on a particular mission to find serums that improve skin texture without exfoliation. I have made some great finds, along with Truth In Aging community testers. Here are 9 beauty products that made us utter the word “velvety” — and how they do it:

Sea Vegetables with Blissoma Peace Evening Calming Crème

Have you noticed that seaweed is getting rebranded? Now that it is becoming increasingly recognized for its nutritional prowess, “weed” is being replaced by “vegetable.” Anyway, sea vegetables are dominant in Blissoma Peace Evening Calming Creme ($25.99) and, notably, dulse. Seaweed — I mean sea vegetables — is a major source of iodine, which is great for softening the skin. About 20% of our body’s iodine is in the skin, and deficiencies need to be replenished for the skin to stay healthy. Nori (not the Kardashian infant but another sea vegetable) is also a key ingredient and is an abundant source of vitamin B and omegas, which is essential for the skin.

Hydrate with Sciote Super Moist Hyaluronic Serum

“I’ve gone from raisin to grape!” proclaimed our tester, Judy. Sciote Super Moist Hyaluronic Serum ($75 in the shop) has superlative moisturizing qualities due to hyaluronic acid and Methyl Sufonyl Methane (MSM). Hyaluronic acid is water-binding and water-attracting, and it uses the moisture to fill up the spaces between the connective fibers collagen and elastin in the dermis. Result: plumper, softer skin. MSM is a sulfur compound and is supposedly good at restoring flexibility and permeability to cell walls and allowing fluid to pass through the tissues more easily. If there is insufficient sulfur in the body when new cells are being manufactured, the new cells will be rigid. When sufficient sulfur is present for new cells, the skin is softer, smoother and more flexible.

Support Skin Cell Function with MitoQ

Luscious skin is how one reviewer described her results from MitoQ Moisturizing Anti-Aging Serum ($119 in the shop). Softer skin is also a persistent theme among testers, as well as reduction in crepeyness and, as a bonus, firmer, less sagging skin. The active ingredient in MitoQ is mitoquinol mesylate, a turbo charged form of ubiquinone, the active antioxidant in Coenzyme Q10. But unlike other antioxidants, MitoQ was developed to target mitochondria and, as a result, is supposed to support healthy skin cell function. It certainly smoothes my crepey neck, does wonders for my forehead lines and gives me a radiant look overall. MitoQ also includes the emollients dicaprylyl carbonate and glycerin.

A Second Skin with Innarah Treatment Serum

Soft and velvety is how my skin looks and feels with regular use of Innarah Line Smoothing Treatment Serum Oxygenated Moisture Serum ($175). A key ingredient, phospholipids, is often dubbed a second skin because they hold their structure when applied. This is a good thing because they attract water and hold on to it, making it a great moisturizer. They also bring fatty acids, which are most helpful for healthy skin. It is also worth mentioning one of the peptides in the formula, tetrapeptide-3, as this is supposed to boost fibronectin (by 60% apparently), which means helping the things that keep our skin firm.

Tone Up with Arcona Triad Pads

Pads presoaked with toner are in and of themselves a neat idea, and the result of using these pads is glowing skin. Arcona Triad Pads ($30) are saturated with rice milk and cranberry (based on the same formula as Readers’ Choice Awards winner Arcona Cranberry Toner), but I give most of the credit of reports of glowing skin to witch hazel. In a recent study, Japanese researchers sought plant compounds that protect cells in skin tissue from damage against harmful forms of oxygen. Witch hazel was found to have strong activity against reactive oxygen in skin tissue. With rice milk and sodium lactate, Triad Pads help shrink pores, contributing to the skin’s feel good factor.

A Smoother Body with Sweetsation Lumi*Essence Body

Supple, softer and clearer skin is reported with Sweetsation Lumi*Essence Body Organic Advanced Brightening Repair Treatment ($48). There are tons of oils including coconut, borage, flax, rose hip, wheat germ and others too numerous to mention. Coco butter and glycerin also contribute to a highly moisturizing body lotion. Anti-aging is taken care with antioxidant botanicals including a personal favorite, milk thistle, and you’ll even out skin tone with the help of kojic acid and alpha arbutin.

Recondition with Osmotics Eye Surgery

“A reconditioned and lifted satiny smoothness” is one tester’s result with Osmotics Eye Surgery Under Eye Rejuvenator ($68). This could be due to the peptide combination that is known as Matrixyl 3000, one of the ingredients that really does seem to have a positive impact on wrinkles and especially crepey skin. Sodium hyaluronate helps hydrate, and there is hydroxysuccinamide to mitigate dark circles. Although dubbed an “Under Eye Rejuvenator,” it can be used on the lids and brow bone, as well.

Banish Crepey Under Eyes with Sciote Vitamin C Eye Treatment

A vitamin C based eye cream is a rare thing. Perhaps because vitamin C – at least, historically – could be irritating to sensitive skin. Sciote Vitamin C Eye Treatment ($65) has 5% vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This stable form of vitamin C is considered gentle and stable and waits to convert into ascorbic acid once it is absorbed. Sciote’s interesting formula also has a complex of amino acids, which are great for improving skin quality, and there are useful botanicals such as horsetail (for broken veins and dark under eye circles) and periwinkle for increasing blood flow. Crepey under eye skin becomes “plump and youthful” according to our tester.

Silkier Neck and Décolleté with Medik8 Firma Derma

Formulated specifically for the neck and décolleté, Medik8 Firma Derma ($68) improves skin texture. The key ingredient here is DMAE, which is thought to firm the skin by stabilizing the membranes, boosting acetylcholine, or reducing lipofuscin deposits. Some controversy surrounded it for a time as a study concluded it may damage skin cells. This seems to have been refuted, however. Although it typically gets off to a slow start, use over time often gives suppler skin with an improved and hydrated texture. 

Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.