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This $18 anti-aging cream gives me smoother skin in only a week

There's a reason hundreds of women swear by this popular product.
Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

There aren't many skin care products that provide visible results within a week (aside from maybe self-tanners). So when I read that 100% of women reported seeing visible results within a week of using Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, I was skeptical.

That's a pretty bold claim for a product that's available in drugstores, doesn't have botox in it and costs less than $20.

Still, I wasn't skeptical enough to not try it in the first place. It's one of the winners of Good Housekeeping's 2019 Beauty Awards, and as long as I have a choice, I'd rather sport cat eyes than crows feet.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair

The reviews seemed promising

Before committing to a purchase I skimmed the online reviews. They came from people ranging in age from their 20s (like me) to their 80s — many said they've been using it for years. In other words, it sounded like one of the very few skin care products that I could share with my mom and my 91-year-old grandmother if I wanted to.

Most of the reviews were very good. On Walmart it has an average 4-star rating from 421 reviewers. On Amazon, it has a 3.9-star rating from 2,861 reviewers. Even more impressive is the fact it's on Amazon's list of top 10 best-selling facial night creams. That says a lot considering how many night creams are on the market!

You can feel it working

One of the main ingredients in the night cream is hyaluronic acid. During the day, I use Neutrogena's best-selling hydro boost water gel moisturizer, which also features hyaluronic acid in the formula.

Since I've been using the day moisturizer for years, I wasn't too worried about how my skin would react to the powerful ingredient. However, it's important to note that my face did mildly burn and turn red the first few days I used it.

At night, I apply a dime-sized portion of the moisturizer to my face and rinse it with water. When I wake up, I look like I spent the day basking in the sun on a boat. I'm naturally pale, so I actually appreciated the color.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer in my hand and next to contact lens case
Katie Jackson

The burning sensation didn't bother me much either. According to the instructions on the bottle, mild redness and a warm tingling sensation are normal indications that the product is working. For sensitive skin, the company recommends users limit application to every other night until your skin gets used to it.

I was able to use it every night for a week with no major discomfort. After night three, I'd say the color and burning sensation mostly went away. I even know of a woman who actually uses this moisturizer day and night with no problems. She says one bottle lasts her about a month.

I also love the lightweight feel of the formula. According to the bottle, there are 31 ingredients (but it feels like there are only three). Retinol is one of the key components of the moisturizer and it's also why this product works on fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinoids are basically vitamin A in topical form, so they increase collagen production and the rate at which skin cells turnover. They also help fade dark spots and even out skin tone.

It made a visible difference

Just to be clear, I haven't seen a noticeable difference on my deep frown lines on my forehead, but with any skincare product it takes time to make an impact. According to this Harvard Medical School article, it takes 3-6 months of regular retinol use to really see improvements. The same article says you'll see the best results after 6-12 months of regular use.

However, my inner skeptic was silenced after just a week of use. I tried not to look too closely at my crows feet during Days 1-7. But on Day 8, I took my "after pictures" and compared them with my "before pictures." The difference is definitely noticeable, and in a good way.

Before and after trying Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer
Katie Jackson

My fine lines are a little finer and I actually like the little flush of color in my face. In fact, I think I look better in the after pictures even though I'm wearing less makeup.

I turn 30 in less than a month, but I'm dreading it a little less knowing that I have this anti-aging secret in my toiletries kit. The best part is that it's so affordable I don't mind sharing it with my mom and grandma if they want to tackle their fine lines too.

After all, a family who slays together stays together.

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