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3 Ingredients to Look for in a Firming Serum

3 Ingredients to Look for in a Firming Serum

by Catherine Conelly

Oh, face serums. There are so many options to choose from, and reading the labels might induce more confusion than clarity. But if you’re on the anti-aging skin-care train, aside from eating lots of fruits and veggies and wearing sunscreen, buying a firming serum is the first stop (oh, and joining team sunscreen, of course). 

The problem? You can innocently Google one type of serum and your Instagram feed will likely inundate you with ads from so many other brands vying for your attention. Enter that overwhelming feeling that often prevents you from buying anything at all. But instead of giving up, stock up on some skin care facts. Here’s a quick guide on a few of the top anti-aging ingredients in face serums.

Retinol (or alternative - Bakuchiol)

There’s no arguing the benefits of retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. But there’s a downside: If you have sensitive skin, annoying side effects like redness and dryness can take the focus off retinol’s anti-aging properties. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, retinol is generally restricted to nighttime use and can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays. Luckily, there’s a gentler plant-based alternative having a moment. It’s called bakuchiol. 

As dermatologist Elizabeth K. Kale tells Good Housekeeping, it has the same gene expression as the ever-so-powerful retinol. So how do we know it’s effective? The British Journal of Dermatology  published the study that’s behind bakuchiol’s increased popularity. For 12 weeks, participants applied either 0.5 percent bakuchiol or retinol to their skin (they didn’t know which), and in the end, both groups had significantly fewer wrinkles and improved hyperpigmentation. But the bakuchiol users experienced fewer side effects.


Research has shown that peptides (which are the short-chain amino acids in collagen) can help eliminate and shrink wrinkles  when applied topically. According to dermatologists, by applying these synthetic peptides, you’re basically telling your skin to produce more collagen. Sounds easy enough, right? But there is a catch.

Reign Together’s Confidence Face Serum specifically includes hexapeptide 8. While it’s been shown to be an effective skin-firming ingredient, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, it’s most effective when paired with water. This allows it to better penetrate the skin’s barriers. That’s why the very first ingredient in the Confidence Face Serum is water. 

Vitamin C

It’s in tomatoes, strawberries and, yes, a variety of anti-aging skin care products. But why? Full disclosure: There’s been conflicting evidence about just how beneficial it is when applied topically versus consumed through food. That’s where one scientific review published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery  comes in. 

Researchers analyzed various clinical data and studies from over the years on topical vitamin C. In the end, they concluded that there’s plenty of evidence to say that it promotes collagen production and also helps protect skin from the damage of UV rays. Meanwhile, another clinical review found that it’s especially beneficial when paired with vitamin E — a dynamic duo of sorts.  

All in all, there are tons of ingredients that can help firm and tighten your skin. These are just a few to get you started, and they’re among the most studied ingredients in dermatology. Reign Together combines them with its broad-spectrum CBD oil (which has its own set of skin care benefits) in a face serum that also helps calm skin. Ultimately, you can be the champion of your own skin by keeping up with the latest research. And, hopefully, you feel a little more armed to read labels without getting utterly confused and overwhelmed.

Catherine Conelly is a former beauty and health editor turned freelance writer and digital marketer. She’s written for Shape, Thrillist, PopSugar and StyleCaster. Her work has also appeared on Forbes, Entrepreneur, the Glassdoor blog and Adidas GamePlan A.