Cement is being used in cosmetics. Scandalous, but true. Sodium silicate, used in the manufacture of cement, acts as an instant skin tightener and I’ve found it in Hydroxatone’s Instant Effect eye cream and Athena 7-minute Lift. Still, we can all appreciate a little instant gratification and so I set about finding some safe and effective alternatives to cement-filled skin tighteners along with some heavy-hitting, sagging skin solutions.

Instant effects: Pepha-Tight

Pepha-Tight, a combo of algae and something called pullulan, is a cosmetic ingredient that forms a film over the skin to give it an instant tight feel. Pullulan comes from fungi and is a film former and binder popular in the production of breath strips. While pullulan is making your skin feel tighter in a superficial way, the algae extract should be providing collagen building and antioxidant benefits over the longer term.

Where to find Pepha-Tight:

Hyalogic Episilk Instant Facelift Serum. As well as Pepha-Tight, it has hyaluronic acid. Our reviewer, Miree, bears witness to the “surprisingly instant” effects with firmer skin and less visible wrinkles (and she got compliments!). Read the full review

Snowberry Rich Day Cream has our algae and pullulan combo as one of its dominant ingredients and then there’s so much more with peptides, hard-working antioxidants and tons of botanical extracts (some from indigenous New Zealand plants). A great day cream for winter months. Read the full review

More subtle but longer lasting: Argireline, Snap-8 and Syn-ake

Argireline and Syn-ake are often referred to as Botox in a jar because they are believed to inhibit the release of neurotransmitters and relax the facial muscles, thus reducing expression lines and wrinkles. Snap-8 is an octapeptide created by Kinerase that is marketed as 30% more effective than Argireline, which is also known as acetyl hexapeptide-3 or 8. Syn-ake, also a peptide, is said to mimic the effect of snake venom.

Where to find Argireline:

BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift ($210 in the shop) is a hyaluronic acid serum featuring anti-aging heavy hitters Matrixyl 3000, Snap-8 and Argireline. It is excellent at achieving tighter, plumper skin, as well as improving tone and radiance. It is a standout product. Read the full review of BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift.

Where to find Snap-8:

Prana Active Vitamin Lift Serum ($75 in the Shop). Prana always formulates with a combination of actives and organic botanicals. Here Snap-8 is backed up by apple stem cells, antioxidant alpha lipoic acid and a collagen booster called Homeostatine. A good serum for firming and wrinkle smoothing. Read the full review of Prana Active Vitamin Lift Serum

Tilth Beauty Eye Wondrous Serum ($62). Rounding out Snap-8 in Tilth’s eye cream are plant stem cells, retinol and a bacteria called pseudoalteromonas ferment that is supposed to have a big impact on collagen production. Read the full review of Tilth Beauty Eye Wondrous Serum

Where to find Syn-ake:

Stemulation Facial Serum (0.5oz/$135). Syn-ake goes by the name of dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate and in Stemulation’s serum it is somewhat overshadowed by the human growth factors. Stemulation uses Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells that are harvested from human bone marrow. This powerful formula also includes the collagen-boosting peptide, miristoyl pentapeptide-8. Read the full review of Stemulation Facial Serum


The heavy hitters: microcurrent and ChroNOline

Microcurrent uses a subsensory electric current that delivers a pulse to the facial muscles and stimulates them and the surrounding tissue. The theory is that microcurrent improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical in muscles that provides energy. In short term, a firming and tightening of the skin is perceived that is of the “if I wasn’t seeing this with my own eyes….” variety.

Where to find microcurrent:

Myotone Facial Toning System ($279 in the shop). Myotone is my new best friend and I alternate using it with my LED/ultrasound device and I do get an instant tightening and firming. Myotone is simple to use and sessions take about 10 minutes so it is pretty easy to work into your routine. Read the full review of Myotone Facial Toning System

ChroNOline, the name given to caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, is derived from a growth factor, namely TGF-ß and stimulates production of laminin 5 (as well as collagen VII). By stimulating laminin 5 synthesis, the formation of the basement membrane is given a significant boost. And the basement membrane is like the skin’s scaffolding. This baby is anti-sag.

Where to find ChroNOline:

Osmosis Correct ($44) This retinol serum has ChroNOline and the anti-aging heavy hitters continue with two wound repairers, epidermal growth factor and GHK copper peptide, antioxidant R-lipoic acid and chlorella, and 1,3 beta glucan (usually found in mushrooms), which can activate the immune system. Read the full review of Osmosis Correct

Chella Lift Recovery Micro Sculpt Concentrate ($95). Lift the upper eye area and improve the contour of the jawline with Chella’s ChroNOline serum. It also has magic mushroom extract ergothioneine and carnosine. Read the full review of Chella Lift Recovery Micro Sculpt Concentrate