When it comes to skincare, any beauty lover would be familiar with a series of certain (very well-loved) ingredients that make the rounds in endless products and treatments.
Pick up any popular skincare offering from the shelf and bear witness to at least one of the holy (complexion-loving) trilogy: hyaluronic acid, retinol or vitamin C. And while, yes, all three of these key ingredients are important for clear, glowing skin, there’s an underdog inching its way up the beauty food chain.
Almost like the holy trio’s lesser known cousin, peptides (otherwise known as polypeptides) play a major role in improving the elasticity and longevity of youthful skin.
What Are Peptides?
But what exactly are peptides? Well, our skin-loving friends are simply chains of different amino acids. So, when housed within skincare products, they work to boost and replenish amino acids in the skin, working to promote collagen production, as per Healthline.
Given that amino acids are the smallest unit of protein, peptides are able to copy other types of protein, i.e. collagen. While collagen-specific products can work just as well, peptides are smaller in particle size which means that your skin will absorb them more efficiently.
How And When Should I Use Peptide Skincare?
Now that all that science talk is behind us, let’s look into what effect it has on your skin. For those looking to add some peptide formulas to their beauty shelves, the must-have ingredient helps reduce fine lines and firms the skin’s general appearance.
Unlike ingredients that promise similar results, like retinol, it’s pretty difficult to have a negative reaction to peptides. There should be no redness, itching or skin peeling, but if there is, it’s a good idea to stop using the product immediately.
According to Dermstore, peptides tend to be present within certain serums and moisturisers, so incorporating them into a beloved skincare routine shouldn’t be difficult. Typically, they can be used both day and night and can be applied all over the face and neck due to their gentle nature.
Of course, those with more mature skin will benefit the most from peptides, since results will be more noticeable and welcomed in skin with less collagen production, as per Dermstore. But don’t let that stop you, younger skin can still benefit from the extra plump and glow-riddled results. With the results it produces, peptides work to give your complexion an unmatched radiance à la that post-facial treatment glow that skincare savants spend their lives trying to replicate. But now, it’s possible.
While peptides aren’t spoken about as much as other ingredients, it doesn’t mean they should be dismissed. In fact, this writer has noticed a major difference in skin clarity and hydration after only adding one serum to my routine.
Still not sure on where to start peptides? Below, we’ve rounded up the best peptide-based skincare products on the market—you can thank us later.
Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum by Youth To The People
Youth To The People’s offering doesn’t just offer one but three peptides with their triple bio-peptide blend. Not only that but it boasts a 4D hyaluronic acid formula for intense hydration and contains cactus and Rambutan peel, which are moisture-binding plant extracts that hang onto hydration longer.
Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum by Youth To The People, $94 at Sephora.
Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturiser by Ole Henriksen
To seal the deal, Ole Henriksen’s moisturiser doubles hydration, boosts elasticity and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, all while protecting your skin’s moisture barrier all day. It’s packed with eight different amino acids, eight kinds of peptides and three types of ceramides, as well as essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12, niacinamide and panthenol.
Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturiser by Ole Henriksen, $70 at Sephora.
Liquid Peptides Drone-Targeted Peptide Complex by Medik8
Jam-packed with a 30% peptide complex, Medik8’s Liquid Peptides uses an advanced drone-based delivery system to make sure every peptide is activated within the layer of skin that it is needed most. This anti-ageing serum also uses prebiotics to help nourish and promote optimum skin health.
Liquid Peptides Drone-Targeted Peptide Complex by Medik8, $108 at Adore Beauty.
Resilience Multi-Effect Tri-Peptide Face and Neck Crème by Estèe Lauder
This youth-infusing cream includes Estèe Lauder’s signature tri-peptide complex that works to amplify collagen production by 124% in only three days. Applied last in your skincare routine, it sees skin become its most radiant, plump and supple self.
Resilience Multi-Effect Tri-Peptide Face and Neck Crème by Estèe Lauder, $185 at Estee Lauder.
Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% by The Ordinary
Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% by The Ordinary, $50.30 at Adore Beauty.
Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum by Biossance
Built with a complex of clinically demonstrated hydrators and collagen-supporting copper peptides, Biossance’s Squalene and Copper peptide plumping serum is powered by a synergistic blend of three clinically tested moisture boosters (hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid, and squalane) to draw in moisture. It also boasts paracress extract, a flower-derived ingredient shown to quickly and visibly lift and firm skin.
Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum by Biossance, $120 at Sephora.
A lightweight moisturiser, Tata Harper’s Water-Lock Moisturiser is engineered to do just that, lock in moisture. It also contains orange blossom peptides to reinforce the skin barrier, as well as pomegranate carbohydrate spheres to absorb and trap hydration. All in all, it creates a flexible, breathable barrier for an instant and lasting smoothing effect.
Water-Lock Moisturiser by Tata Harper, $103 at Sephora.
Firming Peptide Hydrogel Mask by Aceology
If you’re in need of a quick peptide boost sans the commitment, Aceology’s peptide hydrogel face mask features six different peptides that gives this serum-soaked hydrogel-style mask some serious anti-ageing power. It works to calm skin and to repair skin cells.
Firming Peptide Hydrogel Mask by Aceology, $69 at Sephora.
Peptide 8 Hyaluronic Serum by Endota
The all-in-one Peptide 8 Hyaluronic Serum is super-charged with botanical stem cells and hyaluronic acid, helping to increase skin moisture by 11% within 24 hours when used twice daily over 12 weeks.
Peptide 8 Hyaluoronic Serum by Endota, $65-$180 at Endota
Main image via @imaanhammam.