Vitamin C is a do-it-all ingredient: It brightens blah skin, it's essential for wrinkle-smoothing collagen production, and it protects your cells against damaging free radicals. But it doesn't always play so well with other ingredients in the same bottle and can lose its potency. The fix: Whip up a fresh vitamin-C-infused cream daily. In the palm of your hand, add a few drops of Dr. Brandt Skincare Power Dose Vitamin C ($69; sephora.com) to your regular moisturizer and apply to skin.
You've heard it before: A topical retinoid is the No. 1 ingredient to smooth wrinkles and reverse existing sun damage. So, why are you still not using one? We'll guess the potent anti-ager is a bit too irritating for your delicate skin. To get its smoothing and firming benefits, without the sting and drying effect, Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, tells his patients to moisturize before applying. The moisturizer acts like a buffer, but the powerful ingredient is still able to slip into skin.
Stash your depuffing eye cream in the fridge, says Francesca Fusco, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. The chilly cream will further constrict blood vessels, shrinking and tightening puffy under-eye bags even more effectively.
Well-hydrated skin looks smoother, plumper, and has more glow. To maximize your moisturizer, Fusco says to add a few drops of a facial oil (we like Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil, $25.99; ulta.com) to a dollop of moisturizer in the palm of your hand, and apply to damp skin.
Get more out of your anti-aging facial mask. A little heat will help the formula soften skin faster, and it increases absorption, so the mask's active ingredients penetrate better, Fusco says. Run the tube under hot water for a minute or two to get it warm.
Sigh! As we age, skin cells don't turn over so fast, which means dead skin cells hang out on the surface a little longer. The result: a dull complexion. To get brighter skin instantly, Fusco suggests adding a spoonful of sugar to your facial cleanser. The tiny granules will gently slough off dead skin and they dissolve, so you can't overdo it. Bonus move: "Rub it on your lips, too," she says. "It will exfoliate and plump them."
... without buying a new one. If you're already using a topical retinoid for your face, add a tiny dab of it to your usual hydrating eye cream and apply it to your eye area before bed. The vitamin A derivative will help firm and smooth under-eye wrinkles, Zeichner says.