Peptides are a popular ingredient that are added to various cosmetic products. Serums with peptides, however, are an excellent choice as they're concentrated, so they penetrate the skin faster than creams to get the best results. Many different options can be used on the face, neck, eyes and even the hair, so there's something to suit everyone's beauty goals.
We've put together a guide with information on different peptides like matrixyl 3000 and Argireline, which can be combined with vitamin C and other ingredients to ward off sagging skin. Don't miss our picks of the best peptide serums including offerings from The Ordinary, medik8 and Wishful. If you read our tips and recommendations, you're sure to find a serum that works.
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Peptides are a beauty buzzword, but that doesn't mean we all know exactly what they are! In simple terms, these ingredients are amino acids that build various proteins. Most commonly, they make collagen and elastane which help fight the signs of ageing, but some can also treat hair loss and dark under-eye circles.
Peptides are more effective than other cosmetic ingredients because they penetrate below the skin's surface to do their job, as opposed to just sitting on top. Although many beauty products contain peptides, serums are one of the best choices as they are left on the skin all day, so the active ingredients have time to soak in.
In addition, as with almost all serums, they often achieve better results than moisturisers as the ingredients are more concentrated, so they work faster and have stronger effects – especially when used as part of your evening skincare routine.
Don't worry if your knowledge of peptides is limited – we're going to talk you through the different types. In our guide, there's also a section on other beneficial ingredients to help you find the best serum for all your beauty needs.
We've already established that there are different types of peptides, so now it's time to learn what they are. Once you've read the information, you should know which ones to look for in order to achieve the most noticeable effects.
Most peptides found in facial serums help to boost collagen and elastane production. More collagen production means fewer wrinkles, as it stops the skin from sagging for a firm, youthful look. If this is your goal, some forms to look out for include palmitoyl tripeptides 1 and 7, Matrixyl 3000, SYN-AKE and Relistase.
Argirelox and Argireline are a little different and are actually considered to be natural alternatives to Botox. Much like the cosmetic treatment, they reduce muscle contractions which smooths lines and helps prevent expression wrinkles. Some clinical trials have found they provide very good results, so you might want to give these peptides a try.
As we age, the skin can become thinner and develop a crepey texture. Heptapeptide-7 boosts collagen production, but it also stimulates keratinocyte proliferation that will fill fine lines and wrinkles – albeit usually only temporarily.
Anti-ageing isn't the only beauty goal peptides can accomplish – they can also help illuminate skin and brighten around the eyes. Cyrstalide is a peptide in some facial serums that induces the a-crystalline protein, which gives skin a radiant glow thanks to its highlighter-like effect.
There are also peptides found in some eye serums that can reduce dark circles by increasing lymphatic circulation, including nicotiana benthamiana octapeptide-30 sh-oligopeptide-2, dipeptide-2 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. This combination also tightens and firms the area under your eyes, helping you to stay looking fresh-faced for longer!
Do you want to improve the appearance of thin, lifeless hair? It might be worth trying peptide serums that aim to target such issues by incorporating biotinoyl tripeptide-1 and acetyl tetrapeptide-3. One of our recommendations is a form of biotin, which is found in many haircare products as it helps stimulate keratin production to increase growth.
In addition, acetyl tetrapeptide-3 boosts matrix proteins which can help anchor and improve follicle size, resulting in a reduction of hair loss and even a thickening effect. You'll often see these peptides added to hair-loss formulas to achieve maximum effects.
Peptide serums can also have other ingredients added, most of which are there to hydrate the hair or skin. If you suffer from dryness, for example, go for formulas that also contain hyaluronic acid or microalgae, which will lock in moisture. Hyaluronic acid works alongside peptides and helps boost their effects.
If you regularly suffer from breakouts and redness, look for ingredients that fight inflammation like hollyhock rose, aloe vera and vitamin C and B3 (especially as niacinamide). Vitamin C and B3 work particularly well with anti-ageing peptides, as C protects the proteins they create and B3 further increases collagen production.
Some haircare serums also contain caffeine, another ingredient thought to stimulate growth by blocking the hormone DHT which can cause us to lose our hair. It also appears in eye products, as it's a tried-and-tested ingredient that can reduce the appearance of dark circles. Is there anything it can't do?
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The Very Best Peptide Serum for Any Concern
Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Day Serum
Amazing Results in Just 14 Days
Anti-Aging Face Serum
Botox-Like Effects Without the Pain or Price
Peptight 360 Degree Tightening Eye Serum
Tightens, Firms and Brightens in One Fell Swoop
The Light Salon
Hydrating Peptide Serum
An Amazing Moisture Boost With Multiple Uses
The INKEY List
Great Under Makeup and a Bargain Too
Thirst Trap Juice Serum
A Super Refreshing Shot of Hydration
Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
Powerful Active Ingredients to Tackle Hair Loss
Peptide 6 Super Serum
For a Smooth Matte Finish
Achieve a Radiant Complexion as You Protect
The Ordinary's Buffet serum tops our list as it contains a whole range of peptide complexes like Matrixyl 3,000, Synthe'6, SYN-AKE and Relistase, which will give you the best anti-ageing results. It also includes Argirelox, one of the natural Botox alternatives that will compress muscles to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Other beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid and probiotics, which together will hydrate, reduce age spots and shield against bad bacteria to stop inflammation before it causes problems. The Ordinary is a hugely popular brand and for good reason – their affordable, science-backed products do exactly what they say they will.
For a speedy solution that really works, check out Olay's Ultra Restoring day serum. You'll start to see the effects in just two weeks! It achieves this by incorporating very high levels of peptides that penetrate the skin to restore a healthy complexion.
The product also contains vitamin B3 for 24-hour hydration and has anti-inflammatory properties to target redness. An added bonus is that it's free from fragrances and artificial dyes, so it shouldn't cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Great results from a trusted brand.
Like the thought of Botox but not keen on the pain or cost? Try this serum, which contains Argireline, an ingredient that reduces muscle contractions in order to smooth wrinkles. Plus, it has Matrixyl 3,000, a popular peptide composition, which increases collagen production for firm and bouncy skin.
The serum also contains vitamin C to brighten and help reduce age spots and the appearance of blemishes. It might not be from a high-end brand, but this is a really budget-friendly product that many people have seen results from.
Eyes are a problem area for many people but worry not, this bestselling treatment is here to help. It's formulated to brighten up those dark circles, reduce wrinkles around the eyelid and under-eye areas and moisturise with plum extract and microalgae.
With its cooling applicator, it doesn't only feel good to apply, but it will soothe and calm puffiness and irritation too. To top it off, it contains caffeine, which is proven to leave tired eyes feeling refreshed. What more could you want?
Containing the wonder-ingredient hyaluronic acid, this lightweight serum is an excellent hydrator that doesn't leave the skin sticky. It works especially well when you apply it with the brand's Boost LED mask, so it's worth grabbing one of those for double the benefits.
The formula also has anti-ageing properties with key peptides that firm skin, improve elasticity and reduce wrinkles, and to top it off, there's oat extract and vitamin B3 to help tackle blemishes and redness. Overall, this is a great product with some excellent properties that work to combat several different concerns.
Want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in seconds? This serum strives to do just that with soft-focus technology for an instant blurring effect. It provides a great base for makeup base too, as the complex smooths skin as it gets to work.
Like most of The INKEY List's rage, this serum is a lot less expensive than some of the other options on the market, so it could be a smart way to try out peptides without breaking the bank. Use both it in the morning and the evening to get the best results!
Wishful's hugely popular serum is a particularly good product for dry skin as it contains lots of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, hollyhock rose, aloe vera and sodium hyaluronate. Not only does it hydrate, but it also illuminates skin, leaving you with a healthy, youthful glow.
We also like that you can apply the serum to your whole body for maximum benefits. Just keep in mind that although the peptides do bring some anti-ageing properties, the highest proportion of ingredients are for hydration.
Full to the brim with multiple active ingredients that are aimed at preventing thinning and hair loss, this is an excellent scalp treatment from the experts at The Ordinary. There's a Procapil peptide complex, for one, which improves blood flow and activates follicles for new hair growth.
It also contains caffeine, which blocks the DHT hormone that can lead to hair loss. You can even use it on your eyebrows! One thing to note is that the formula may make your locks feel greasy, so it's best to apply this serum before bed and wash your hair once you wake up.
Are you tired of serums leaving your skin feeling greasy? This is the perfect product for you, as it has a matte finish. It will also help hydrate skin, which is always important, as well as working to reduce fine lines thanks to the inclusion of Matrikine Peptide 6.
Unfortunately, aside from the peptide complex, the brand does not disclose what other ingredients this formula contains. However, Skin Chemists have been making high-end products for a long time, so you can trust that they sell effective serums.
Most formulas with peptides reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but this one is best for brightening the skin! It achieves this with zinc PCA and crystalide, which help to restore luminosity to your complexion. Plus, it's suitable for sensitive skin and can even help to calm it.
The formula also contains 10% niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 which can protect the skin from environmental stressors like sunlight and pollution. While effective, this serum loses a few points as doesn't have as many beneficial active ingredients as products in a similar price range.
Peptides also come in a range of different night and day creams, which you should definitely consider adding to your new routine. Or, if it's more serums you're after, check out our articles on retinol products and other anti-ageing formulas to further tackle the first appearances of fine lines and wrinkles.
With products designed to tackle all kinds of concerns that achieve real results for many people, peptides are more than just another trending skincare ingredient. Hopefully, now you've read our guide, you should know what to look out for when choosing a peptide serum for your own beauty goals.
Author: Rosa Fairfield
No. 1: The Ordinary｜Buffet Serum
No. 2: Olay｜Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Day Serum
No. 3: Galia Skincare｜Anti-Aging Face Serum
No. 4: StriVectin｜Peptight 360 Degree Tightening Eye Serum
No. 5: The Light Salon｜Hydrating Peptide Serum
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