One of the best parts of shopping the Sephora skin-care aisle is exploring its extensive collection of treatments. So extensive, we admit, it can get a little overwhelming trying to navigate through the copious amounts of cleansers, masks, and serums. But don’t worry — that’s where we come in. Because when you’re in a hurry (which, we always are), the last thing anyone wants in the middle of a shopping session is to find themselves keeled over re-reading labels and circling shelves
So if your latest skin-care concerns are fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and dark circles, keep reading — we’ve got some recommendations for you.
FOR FINE LINES AND WRINKLES, TRY…
As the days grow long and the years go on, fine lines and wrinkles become commonplace. The slight etches start to show up in between furrowed brows as the “11s,” in creases around the eyes (also known as crow’s feet), and as smile lines framing the mouth. While we happen to believe fine lines and wrinkles are a beautiful sign of a life well lived, for those who’d prefer to smooth them out at any age (and may not be ready for in-office procedures), dermatologists often recommend a single ingredient: retinol.
It’s “a vitamin A derivative with many skin benefits: skin cell turnover, increased collagen production, and decreased collagen breakdown,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New Haven, Connecticut. “It decreases fine lines, evens out the skin tone, helps prevents acne, and makes acne go away quicker.”
For an over-the-counter option at Sephora, the Youth to the People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum is a great pick. Formulated with 0.15 percent retinal (short for retinaldehyde, which is one of the most potent forms of over-the-counter retinol), as well as texture-smoothing niacinamide (more on this ingredient later), and hydrating ceramides, it’s the perfect starter product for anyone beginning their retinol journey. (In fact, 91 percent of testers saw visibly firmer skin after long-term use.)
After cleansing, apply it a few times a week (you can work you’re way up to nightly) making sure to follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning. Skip your other actives (acids, vitamin C, etc.) when using this one — it’s potent enough on its own.
While fine lines around your eyes may be a sign of too many hours spent scrolling through TikTok and indulging in one-too-many chuckles, crow’s feet are beautiful signs of a well-laughed (and emoted) life.
“When people come in wanting to get rid of their crow’s feet, we really think through whether this is the best choice,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Boston, previously told Allure. “More than any other wrinkle, crow’s feet are expressive. I often say, ‘Trying to emote without facial expressions is like trying to text without emojis.’”
However, for those who prefer their fine lines on the smoother side, there’s an over-the-counter treatment for that. The Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Eye Zone Treatment is formulated with trusty niacinamide, a plumping peptide, and hydrating glycerin to combat fine lines, dark circles, and dryness around the eye area.
After cleansing and applying your serum of choice, dab on a pea-sized dollop — using your ring finger — onto the brow bone, eyelid, crow’s feet, and undereyes in one fell swoop. Repeat the technique on your other eye. Then wrap up your routine with a moisturizer. After this daily ritual, your undereyes will begin to look smoother and feel hydrated overtime. Crow’s feet, be gone.
FOR DARK SPOTS, TRY…
Whether they’re from a breakout gone bad or too much time in the sun, dark spots can happen to anyone — anytime. Luckily, there’s a fix for that, and it’s called niacinamide. It’s a form of vitamin B3 that “helps to reduce the appearance of pores, reduce sebum production, and even out skin tone, as well as increase protection from sun damage,” explains New Jersey-based cosmetic chemist Ginger King.
According to Roberta Del Campo, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in North Miami, niacinamide is also effective for reducing redness and fading dark spots. “It can help to lighten pigmentation over time,” she notes. And it’s great for all skin types, including those with sensitivity. “It’s one of the miracle ingredients in skin care that handles all concerns,” says King. As Gohara adds, it’s a “nice supplement to a skin-care routine, like a cherry on top.”
The Peace Out Dark Spots Serum is made with a potent blend of acids to help fade discoloration and brighten dark spots over time. The proof is in the pudding, because according to 67 percent of testers, users saw visibly reduced dark spots after continued use.
To use, simply pat on the serum to a clean face and neck twice daily, making sure to follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen. For those on the sensitive side, start slow with a once-daily application, easing into a twice-a-day dosing. And be sure to skip retinol on the nights you use this one.
Of course, when using any product to fade hyperpigmentation, it’s important to keep in mind that dark spots can happen to any of us — and oftentimes, they’re out of our control. However, there are a few ingredients that target the production of pigment, such as the above-mentioned niacinamide, vitamin C, and, according to Caudalie, viniferine.
That’s why dermatologists often recommend a combination of ingredients to fade hyperpigmentation. “When targeting hyperpigmentation, you want to use multiple ingredients that have different functions,” New York City-based board-certified dermatologist David Kim previously told Allure.
The Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Dark Spot Serum, which is formulated with a proprietary ingredient called viniferine. For the uninitiated, viniferine is derived from grapevine sap and helps target dark spots and brighten skin in a similar fashion as vitamin C.
Use this translucent treatment twice daily — after cleansing and before moisturizing — making sure to seal it all in with a healthy dollop of sunscreen when used in the morning. Luckily, this one is safe to use alongside your favorite treatment, but it’s also a superstar when used on its own.
Of course, there are a number of other skin-care products your dermatologist may recommend for fine lines and dark spots, but we happen to think these are at the top of the list. But don’t just take our word for it — shop them at Sephora now and try them for yourself.