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Explainer: 15 top-rated anti-aging serums

  • Getting the ideal balance of moisture and effectiveness in one anti-aging treatment isn't easy, but with the guidance of these reviews, you can pinpoint the right skin care serum for your skin type and for the amount of cash you're willing to spend.

  • Chanel Precision Hydramax + Active Serum Active Moisture Boost, $75

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.5

    Why it's great: "Drugstore serums by brands like Olay can work just as well, but the sheer perfection of [this serum] is worth a splurge. Dry skin types who usually reach for a rich, heavy cream will love this lightweight blue serum. It not only instantly hydrates but also makes skin a perfectly smooth, youthful canvas for sunscreen, primer or foundation." — Charli, Associate Editor

  • Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum, $17.99

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "This goes on so smooth, never leaves your face feeling sticky or greasy, absorbs into your skin immediately and leaves your skin looking radiant and flawless. I can't say enough about how good this product is for your skin. [It's] a must for any skin that is maturing. I didn't realize how great it was working until I switched brands for a few months to try something new." — sundropz1, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Aveeno Positively Ageless Rejuvenating Serum, $19.99

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I have been using this product for about two months. It's probably the best facial serum you can purchase at a drugstore for anti-aging benefits. My two sun spots (one on each cheek) seem to have faded somewhat and my facial skin feels really soft and smooth. Of course you need to use this product along with a daily moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 15 and eye cream." — luvtee, TotalBeauty.com member

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  • Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee Energizing Fluid, $59

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 10

    Why it's great: "I like that it is natural and [contains] grape seed extract, which I think is the ingredient that really makes my skin glow. The serum feels light and yet [leaves you] moisturized to the hilt. I can't afford it all the time but I found this is one investment that lives up to its claims." — LisaMary, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Genie Instant Line Smoother, $30

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty. rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I have tried several line smoothers, more than I care to count and so far, this is the BEST out there! The only drawback is that you have to apply it every day — but who cares, it WORKS! If you worry about any lines/wrinkles and don't want to go the surgery route, use GENIE! It will take years off your face and neck!" — MelMorris1, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Kinerase Extreme Face Lift, $150

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "After using this wonderful anti-aging skin care product the very first time I was impressed! It smells like pineapple and you can feel it tightening as it dries. My skin was firmer in just five minutes, and it only gets better with repeated use! I know that I am gushing here, but you really have to try it for yourself and see the results. Unlike other products that claim to reduce wrinkles, this product does not leave any white flakes on your skin and can be used under makeup." — foontou, TotalBeauty.com member

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  • Lancome High Resolution Collaser-5X, $65

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I don't have a lot of wrinkles, and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm only 40, after all. When my Lancome lady gave me a sample of this I thought it would be another little tube for the trash. I tried it at home, because I'm always looking for something to make my foundation go on smoother. I love it! It has a light scent, but nothing too overpowering. I put it on under my moisturizer and it really does the trick!" — tammigirl, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Estee Lauder Repair Serum Fruition Extra Multi-Action Complex, $73

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I have used this product since it first came on the market and have been amazed at the results. I get more compliments on my skin and I feel Fruition is really the one to thank as it exfoliates and smoothes, improving skin's texture. I found it a bit harsh at first and had to reduce the frequency of use from daily to three times a week but it was worth the effort. Folks tell me my skin looks 10 or more years younger than it is. I'm in my mid-50s." — charlieb45, TotalBeauty.com member

  • AmorePacific Time Response Intensive Skin Renewal Ampoules, $500

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "The ingredients alone will immediately tighten and firm your skin, but if you use this ampoule system, you can completely resurface your skin in one month's time. This is perfect if you have a wedding or special event to go to and you want to look absolutely flawless. If you want to lighten dark spots, tighten pores, reduce redness, and lift, firm and tone your skin, all you need to do is try this system. I made the investment and my skin thanks me every day!" — Casey, TotalBeauty.com member

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  • Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum, $25

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I just started using this product a few weeks ago and I've already noticed a difference. My face is softer, smoother and more radiant. I put a bit around my eyes and mouth every morning and night. Someone recently told me that my face was glowing." — MusicMuse, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Spot Erase Complex, $75

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 10.0

    Why it's great: "This serum is runny, yellow and oily in texture, but it goes right into your skin and does not leave an oily feeling at all. It simply leaves dry skin soft and hydrated, and I use it all over my face. I have noticed a big improvement in scar/sun spot reduction in a very short amount of time! I highly recommend this product!" — kimbid, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Serum, $14.99

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I have combination skin and usually break out from a cream. However, the other serums I have tried are either sticky, smelly or feel filmy after application. This product does not. I bought a few bottles and I like it as much now as when I started. My skin is definitely firmer and the reduction in breakouts is a big plus for me. I'm in my mid-30s ... The only thing is you'll have to get SPF from somewhere else." — Marcygold, TotalBeauty.com member

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  • Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Concentrated Serum, $130

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 10.0

    Why it's great: "It is rather expensive, isn't it? ... Ask for a sample to try first. I'm allergic to a lot of products, so I try to do this to alleviate returns. This is very easy to apply, goes on smoothly, and let me tell you, WOW. If I saw a difference after two days, anyone will! ... Now I'm off to kiss the virtual feet of the Dior research and development crew who created this." — Judythbaby, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Avon Anew Ultimate Age Repair Elixir, $54

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 9.0

    Why it's great: "I am only 28 years old and didn't think my skin was that bad ... until I tried this elixir by Avon. The first time I used it I could tell that my skin was more luminous. After two weeks I could not believe how perfect my skin was. I have no frown lines. No visible pores. Just healthy, beautiful skin that really glows." — missoconee, TotalBeauty.com member

  • Borba Age Defying Concentrate, $45

    TotalBeauty.com
    TotalBeauty.com rating: 10.0

    Why it's great: "With oily skin, it's been hard to find a serum that won't put the shine back in. This is a great product that's not oily. Your skin drinks it in. [And] there's no bad smell or sticky feel." — BeautyBabi, TotalBeauty.com member

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Photos: The secrets behind Hollywood's best complexions

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  1. The secrets behind Hollywood's best complexions

    How do they get that glow? Find out how celebrities like Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and more get soft, supple skin.

    Lauren Conrad's natural glow
    The Laguna Beach native is known for her sun-kissed California look. For a smooth and safe glow, opt for a paraben-free self-tanning formula, advises celebrity skincare expert Kate Somerville, who has worked with the star.

    We like St. Tropez Gradual Tan lotion for Face ($25, sttropeztan.com), which smells good -- seriously -- and is nearly impossible to screw up. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Kate Hudson's lit-from-within skin

    The ever-fresh Kate Hudson sees nutrition expert and dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, who prescribes an anti-inflammatory diet of high-quality protein, low-glycemic carbs like broccoli and yogurt, healthy fats, and antioxidant-rich drinks like green tea.

    "These foods help maintain normal levels of insulin and blood sugar," he says. Even better? The benefits are visible in just three days." Check out Perricone's latest book, "Forever Young," ($26, amazon.com) for more information.

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    (Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Glamour Magazine via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Debra Messing's consistent radiance

    Messing recently signed on to star in NBC's new musical comedy "Smash," but the 42-year-old star still looks as radiant as she did on "Will & Grace." According to Somerville, that's partially due to peptide treatments.
    "Long-term use of peptides softens and strengthens the skin and encourages cellular repair," she says. Squeeze a few drops from Philosophy's When Hope Is Not Enough capsules ($50, ulta.com) into your daily moisturizer to work peptides into your routine. (Lester Cohen/WireImage via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jessica Alba's blemish-free face

    To achieve Jessica Alba-level epidermis perfection, Somerville recommends an oxygen therapy facial.

    "We exfoliate with enzymes and gentle acids," says Somerville, who has worked with the star. "Follow with vitamins and a moisturizer to lock in hydration." If you can't make it to the spa, Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing mask ($52, blissworld.com) will work at home.

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    (Erik Pendzich / Rex USA via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Charlize Theron's sunspot-free skin

    Theron may have grown up in sunny South Africa, but you wouldn't know it from her damage-free face.
    "Charlize loves our microdermabrasion treatments for their polishing, refining and cleansing qualities," says celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen, who works with the star. Try the Ole Henriksen At Home Mini peel system ($95, olehenriksen.com) for a similar tightening, repairing and renewing experience. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Dior via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Kate Walsh's quenched skin

    The "Private Practice" star's complexion has a natural dewy finish. To keep aging skin from drying out, Somerville recommends her own Quench Hydrating Serum with HSC Complex ($65, katesomerville.com). "It's the one product my clients can't live without," says Somerville, who has worked with Walsh.

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    (Rob Kim/FilmMagic via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Kerry Washington's even skintone

    Washington knows how to maintain clear skin – a gift that no doubt helped her nab a L'Oreal Paris contract back in 2007. To accentuate the star's supple sheen, Somerville turns to ultrasound treatments.

    "They detoxify and are good for acne," she says. "When used in combination with lightening agents, ultrasound can improve and brighten pigmentation." Ask your facialist or dermatologist if you're interested in trying a similar approach. (Lisa Lake/WireImage for Niche Media via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Eva Mendes' taut skin

    Mendes has an incandescence that seems to come from within. Perricone, who has treated the actress, says you can get a similar luminosity by following his Three-Day Nutritional Face-Lift. What, exactly, does that entail? "Eating salmon twice a day," he says. You can supplement with fruits and vegetables; the dermatologist swears you'll see results almost immediately.

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    (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Rashida Jones' pore-free complexion

    The "Parks and Recreation" star looks perfectly polished when she's not wearing a trace of makeup. Jones' facialist, Kate Somerville, advises using laser treatments to achieve even texture and minimize fine lines. "This is a noninvasive laser technology that uses near-infrared light to get down into the dermis," she explains.

    Again, speak with a skincare consultant if this treatment interests you; at-home lasers aren't available for these purposes just yet. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sofia Vergara's supple skin

    The "Modern Family" bombshell has excellent skin elasticity. Maintain healthy hydration with a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, says Somerville, who has treated Vergara. Cucumber and willow herb extracts help firm skin and soothe irritation. The facialist swears by her own Quench Hydrating mask ($45, katesomerville.com).

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    (Gilbert Flores/CelebrityPhoto.com via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: The 5 biggest skin sins

  1. Closed captioning of: The 5 biggest skin sins

    >>> this morning on "today's beauty" the five biggest skin sinses, but there is good news. you can correct mistakes and your skin will bounce back looking better and younger than ever a cording to allure's latest issue. linda is the editor in chief. you can bounce back and be better than ever?

    >> i would not lie to you.

    >> you are using dermatologists and reporters.

    >> we looked at studies and dermatologists. they say the most insidious skin problems are ones you don't pay attention to, you make by mistake. we identify the ones you can fix. your skin bounces back.

    >> we're glad you did the research. let's look at the five thingses on the list. number one on the list is when you get a breakout, don't overwash. don't blast it.

    >> right. the first instinct is to say, get rid of this thing. then you're left with flaky skin. go gentler. as your skin is older you have less oil so you don't have to deal with the oil. use milder products and moisturizers. one of the fist things is a cleanser with salycilic acid and moisturizer in it. we love aveeno clear complexion. it has soy, too, so it's gentle. apply the spot treatments but when you were a teenager you may have used -- not you because you have perfect skin but 10% ben zoil peroxide lotion. now only 2.5 and it does the job without blasting it away. this on the spot treatment is a good one. doctorses love it because it's mild. then apply moisturizer which you think is heresay but if you have one with anti-redness ingredients it helps. cera-v is $14. it's fantastic and reduces redness and takes care of skin at night.

    >> very useful. adult acne is a problem. number two is not using the right products at the right time. what do you mean?

    >> there are so many products out now. they are confusing and you don't know when to use what. use antioxidants in the morn when they can product against environmental hazards like pollution and son. at night use rhett knopeels and retinolss, things that can go to work as your skin is resting. this is one doctors love so much. put it on before sunscreen and it protects your skin more. so do that in the daytime. at night, you can use a retinol product like roc protection skin cream . that takes care of all of the things you want to repair and anti-aging. you don't have makeup or sunscreen to get in the way of them working.

    >> you mentioned sunscreen a few times. very important. but that's as mistake that we don't use it everywhere we need to.

    >> everyone knows they should use sunscreen but they misapply it. doctors are finding a lot of skin cancer on the hairline and ears. women pull their hair back and don't protect it and there's the problem. the idea is to forget your vanity. make sure you apply it all over and to your chest and hands as well. the one we love now is shiseido urban environment with spf 35 with uva screens which is important. those are the ones that cause damage and the aging and skin cancer .

    >> this is related to the next point which is about rhett tolls tolls -- retinols.

    >> it's confusing. they are the proven anti-aging ingredient according to dermatologists. they fight wrinkles build collagen, get rid of spots, even help acne. so there are all these great things in one perfect package. if you get an over-the-counter one at the drugstore, the department store it's much milder than one you will get from a prescription. still, they can cause irritation, so be sure to use it correctly on dry skin and use a pea-size amount. don't layer it all over. less is better. then let it dry and then apply moisturizer afterwards. use it every other day so your skin isn't red and irritated.

    >> quickly on the last one. this is mistake number five. always buying the next big thing.

    >> right. that's coming from me who edits a magazine which writes about new products, but it's true. we hop from product to product and don't give things to work. take it easy. be patient. use ingredients that are proven.

    >> all right. linda wells, looking especially beautiful this morning. the

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