Adding this ingredient to your skincare routine will make your products work harder

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Looking for better performance from your skincare? Behold the power of peptides. Here’s everything you need to know about the wonder ingredient that’s set to bolster your routine.

When it comes to skincare, there are a lot of ingredients that promise big claims. From vitamin C to retinol, niacinamide to tranexamic acid — it can be hard to navigate which ingredients your skincare routine really needs. But if you’re looking to boost your regime with some hardworking, high-potency products, peptides are a good place to start. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Consider this your peptides crib sheet. 

What are peptides?

“Peptides are fragments of protein and it’s these proteins that are the building blocks of the skin,” says Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, medical and cosmetic doctor at Skndoctor.

Collagen, elastin and keratin are the most common proteins that make up our skin. Adding peptides topically can help boost the production of these proteins and reinforce the skin’s repair barrier function.

“Peptides are great little messengers,” says Francine Krenicki, VP of product development at StriVectin. “When they’re applied topically to the skin, they can help send a signal to produce new collagen and elastin, leading to the appearance of younger, more supple skin. They’re also a bit bossy — they have the power to micromanage your cells to get real results.”

Peptides are also great for ageing or menopausal skin as they will stimulate collagen production and boost the skin’s elasticity. They can be blended with other ingredients like retinol and niacinamide, bolstering your products and making them work even harder. 

15 best peptide skincare buys

  • The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum

    The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + HA Serum (formerly known as Buffet) consists of a lightweight formula that is big in benefits, from the inclusion of Matrixyl 3000 (which is known for its ability to stimulate collagen production) to hyaluronic acid which is packed with hydration and has the power to retain moisture in the skin. The Ordinary has made it easy to achieve youthful-looking skin with this serum. 

    Shop The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum at Cult Beauty, £14.30

    buy now

  • Allies of Skin Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment

    Allies of Skin has created a do-it-all daily leave-on-treatment that’s powdered by multiple peptides, seven brighteners, nine antioxidants and a 16.5% repair complex to firm and repair skin that’s damaged. So whether your skin concerns are dark spots or tired-looking skin, daily use of this treatment can help the skin to look more radiant and firm. The treatment should be used after cleansing but before sunscreen.

    Shop Allies of Skin Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment at Cult Beauty, £108 

    buy now

  • Youth To The People Triple Peptide and Cactus Oasis Serum

    Dry skin sufferers, say hello to your new holy grail! Youth To The People’s serum is formulated with three peptides, hyaluronic acid, organic cactus and rambutan peel for the ultimate in skin-plumping hydration.

    Shop Youth To The People Triple Peptide and Cactus Oasis Serum at Cult Beauty, £52

    buy now

  • Votary Super Seed Serum – Broccoli Seed and Peptides

    This serum has sensitive skin at the forefront with its blend of powerful peptides and soothing broccoli seed that get to work in relieving redness and calming the skin, welcoming a much-needed boost of hydration and a hard-to-miss glow.

    Shop Votary Super Seed Serum – Broccoli Seed and Peptides at Cult Beauty, £75 

    buy now

  • Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream

    Formulated with a showstopping blend of vitamin C, peptides and caffeine, this eye cream is packed with everything you need for an eye area that looks smoother, firmer and more radiant. It’s also a great option for no-make-up make-up days for an undereye that looks visibly brighter.

    Shop Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream at Space NK, £40 

    buy now

  • Naturium Multi-Peptide Moisturiser

    Naturium is one of the buzziest brands to have just launched in the UK and its Multi-Peptide Moisturiser makes it easy to see why it’s in such high demand. The vegan and cruelty-free moisturiser is packed with a blend of multi-peptide and vitamin C for a formula that’s long-lasting, minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and unveils your very best youthful-looking glow.

    Shop Naturium Multi-Peptide Moisturiser at Space NK, £21 

    buy now

  • Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream

    Formulated with a blend of 9 peptides, this powerhouse moisturiser revives depleted and tired skin to its former glory. The result? Firmer, stronger and more hydrated skin.

    Shop Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream at Space NK, £57

    Buy now

  • Decree Peptide Emolient Veil +

    Formulated by Dr AJ Sturnham this rich moisturiser contains a proprietary peptide blend which helps improve collagen production for firmer, more supple skin. 

    Shop Decree Peptide Emollient Veil + at Cult Beauty, £115

    Buy now

  • Medik8 Liquid Peptides

    This lightweight serum boosts collagen and elastin production, smoothing away fine lines and wrinkles and elevating the skin’s natural stores of hyaluronic acid. 

    Buy Medik8 Liquid Peptides at Lookfantastic, £49

    Buy now

  • Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster

    Use alone or mix with other serums and moisturisers to help skin appear firmer, brighter and more renewed. The silky formula helps to address dullness, wrinkles and discolouration, too.

    Buy Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster at Cult Beauty, £51

    Buy now

  • StriVectin Peptight Tightening & Brightening Face Serum

    This dual-focus formula visibly tightens, brightens and evens skin tone by harnessing tetrapeptides (to improve firmness and elasticity) and hexapeptides (to brighten and improve dark spots.) 

    Buy StriVectin Peptight Tightening & Brightening Face Serum at Lookfantastic, £79

    Buy now

  • Veneffect Anti-Aging Intensive Moisturiser

    Perfect for menopausal skin, this super-hydrating, moisturiser is rich in phytoestrogens, peptides and proteins, all of which work together to enhance skin’s elasticity and minimise the signs of hormonal ageing.

    Buy Veneffect Anti-Aging Intensive Moisturiser at Space NK, £148

    Buy now

  • Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream

    Packed with a rich blend of ceramides, peptides and oligopeptides this luxurious moisturiser helps improve the skin’s texture while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

    Shop Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream at Space NK, £132

    Buy now

  • The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser

    This soothing moisturiser contains 2% royal epigen, a peptide-protein found in royal jelly which is proven to increase the speed of cell turnover for noticeably smoother and more even skin in just 28 days. 

    Shop The Inkey List Peptide Moisturiser at Boots, £14.99

    Buy now

  • Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

    Peptides help to bolster the effectiveness of this retinol night cream. Blended with peptides and soothing niacinamide, together with an innovative Tri-Active Technology (which combines a fast-acting retinoid, a time-released retinoid and a retinol booster) expect smoother-looking skin in as little as 2 weeks.

    Shop Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream at Cult Beauty, £70

    Buy now

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