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Lift Off: The Complete Guide to Defying Gravity

If you’re like us, you’re obsessed with contouring skincare. And who wouldn’t be? While sculpting and contouring your every feature with a precise combination of dark and light makeup is still a mainstay in our daily makeup routines, there is a new wave of contouring serums, creams, and masks that pledge definition without ever having to lift a makeup brush.



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Firming and lifting products aren’t new to the skincare game, and we have a lot to benefit from when it comes to the advanced technologies and clever formulations that combine fast-acting ingredients with long-term workers: Caffeine to boost circulation, hyaluronic acid to plump, plant extracts to contract and ease in an instant tightening effect, peptides to rejuvenate collagen, and antioxidants to prevent the skin’s natural tendency to sag from exposure to free radicals.

Any age, any budget—there’s something for everyone when it comes to lifting skincare. Here, meet the ten sculpting skin saviors that have us going au naturel and passing on the contour sticks, maybe for good.


Clarins Shaping Facial Lift


At Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, Alabang Town Center, and Cebu, and soon, Power Plant Mall New Wing

There is a reason why this product has been around for twenty years—it works! Developed by Clarins Research labs and one of the first skincare products especially created for Asian women, the award-winning serum has been perfected to complete three key anti-aging actions by combining three plant extracts: Guarana extract to slim the face for more visibly defined cheekbones and a reduced double chin, Zerumbet ginger extract to depuff the face for sharper features and brighter complexion, and Kaki extract to lift the face for a sharper facial line and tighter skin. 


Sisleÿa L’Integral Anti-Age Eye and Lip Contour Cream

At Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, Alabang Town Center, and Cebu

While we may not yet have a magic wand to banish dark under-eye circles and wrinkles in an instant, we may have the next best thing. Sisley’s relatively new contour cream promises to work double duty, combating wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. The formula is rich in plant extracts such as Padina pavonica (which stimulates the synthesis of the skin’s natural moisture), German Chamomile and Licorice (which softens and soothes), Orange blossom (which tones), and Rose (which freshens and softens), effectively helping eyes appear younger, more rested, and refreshed by gradually reducing the appearance of dark circles and fighting wrinkles. As for lips, the same cream can be used to contour by helping firm up the skin and smooth out fine lines. The product comes with a limited-edition massage tool that is designed to “cool and prepare” both the eyes and lips before application of the contour cream, transforming your day and night skincare ritual into an at-home DIY spa dream.


La Mer The Lifting Contour Serum

At Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, Alabang Town Center, and Cebu

A silky serum like no other, the Lifting Contour Serum by La Mer is charged with sea-sourced sculpting power formulated for dramatic changes in the shape, definition, and contour of the face, all the while simultaneously utilizing the beloved Miracle Broth, an ingredient integral to the brand’s DNA. While Miracle Broth needs little to no introduction, it is important to note that it is this that is key to allow the skin to repair itself much more effectively by carrying a tremendous amount of cellular energy—helping skin that would otherwise be losing much of its structure and elasticity. In this potent sculpting serum, La Mer combines the Miracle Broth with the Lifting Ferment, a brown perennial algae found off the coast of Brittany, where the waters are not only pristinely clear but are also subject to such extreme changes in temperature. (This means that the plants in these waters thrive under any and all conditions.) Immediately, skin feels more toned, firmer and more lifted, while contours appear transformed. To use, gently sweep 1 to 2 pumps over face and neck morning and night, and follow with moisturizer.


Shiseido WrinkleResist24 Balancing Softener


At Shiseido boutiques in Powerplant Mall, Glorietta, Greenbelt 5, Eastwood, Shangri-La Mall, Trinoma, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Place Magnolia, S Maison Conrad, Alabang Town Center, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Megamall Bridgeway, and Centrio Mall Cagayan de Oro


While treatment lotions and softeners are mostly designed to be a second step in cleansing and purifying the skin, this balancing softener from Shiseido takes it a notch further and adds age-defying ingredients and properties to effectively challenge visible signs of aging as you prep the skin for additional products. Adding softeners (and sometimes in the place of toners if skin feels dry or depleted) to your skincare regimen balances and brightens skin as they gently remove excess surface cells, deeply moisturize, and instantly helps re-texturize skin—helping it become more receptive to the skincare products that follow afterwards. Shiseido’s WrinkleResist24 technology, which is formulated with Chlorella extract, Mukurossi extract, and Gambir extract, prevents the appearance of wrinkles while Super Bio-Hyaluronic Acid and Hydroxyproline help smooth and improve the look of wrinkles. For immediate results, use both day and night, after cleansing.


Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

At Murad Spa in Rustan’s Makati, and on counters at Rustan’s Makati, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La, and Cebu

Everyone’s been buzzing about retinoids (an umbrella term for retinol products) and for good reason. In just a few drops or a dime size amount of cream, retinoids are powerful enough to improve overall texture, pigmentation, and tone. Murad’s luxurious retinol night cream, Retinol Youth Renewal, works alongside the skin’s natural repairing cycle to reduce the visible signs of aging such as sagging and decreased suppleness. The lightweight cream has three key ingredients: Retinol Tri-Active Technology Proprietary, a combination of a fast-acting Retinoid, a time-released Retinol, and a Retinol booster (which quickly and visibly minimizes lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet), Peptide-rich Red Algae Extract (which improves skin firmness and elasticity while soothing skin), and the lifting Swertia Flower Extract Breakthrough Technology (which helps increase skin’s resilience to boost firmness and elasticity). Use as final product in nighttime skincare ritual, massaging evenly over face, neck, and chest.


SK-II LXP Ultimate Perfecting Cream

Shop SK-II at

Do you ever gaze at Cate Blanchett’s skin, admire its practically poreless, natural glow and firmness, and lose of track of time? No worries, it happens. There is no wonder that she is the brand ambassador (and for sixteen years, no less!) for SK-II, a Japanese skincare brand that has garnered a cult-like following and a well-earned reputation for their highly effective anti-aging products. Cue entrance of the LXP Ultimate Perfecting Cream, a new ultra-rich moisturizing cream that hydrates and nourishes intensely for firm and radiant skin. Formulated with the highest concentrated PITERA (a natural bio-ingredient containing over 50 micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic acids to condition skin’s natural functions), Skin Regenerating ActiV (a revolutionary complex of PITERA with Niacinamide and three types of peptides to provide intense moisture for firm and luminous skin), and Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), which works on fundamental skin functions to improve barrier function and the appearance of firmness as well as improve and brighten skin tone. An ageless, lean and supple look (like Cate’s!) is quite literally within fingertips—use after serum.


Areum Ultra Intensive Lifting Mask

At Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, and Cebu

Luxury Korean brand Areum has been in the PH for a few years and while many of its products, such as this crazy effective facemask, do cost a pretty penny, it is a penny worth spent. A facelift in a mask—the Ultra Intensive Lifting Mask by Areum combines a complex series of potent ingredients with advanced cosmetic nanotechnology to dramatically reverse the main signs of skin aging such as loss of firmness, wrinkles, pigmentation, and enlarged pores. It takes some serious downtime (read: 30 minutes to dry) but is a perfect ally if you have a major event coming up. The treatment comes in vials, which are mixed in a silver dish that comes in the box. With the brush, apply the translucent mixture onto your face and neck, and allow it to dry. During the lifting process, your skin commits firmness to memory and you can feel the skin tightening.


Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate

At Kiehl’s stores at Greenbelt 5, Powerplant Mall, Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, SM Aura, and Ayala Center Cebu

Nutritional micro-filtered yeast extract may not sound so sexy but when you hear what it does, you’ll definitely think so. (We do.) A potent ingredient in this powerhouse serum, the extract lifts skin and tightens pores. Coupled with Geranium essential oil, which preserves anti-aging and anti-oxidant potency (not to mention a light, floral aroma), this serum visibly lifts facial skin and re-defines facial contours. For full effect, apply the lifting and tightening serum over thoroughly cleansed face, twice daily and avoiding eye area, before moisturizing. (An added bonus to the lifting effect is noticeably smaller pores and brighter skin tone, making it a perfect primer underneath your makeup!)


Algenist ELEVATE Advanced Lift Contouring Cream

At Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La, and Cebu

Of course, this list would not be complete without a vegan alternative and Algenist provides what might be the best lifting cream out there for the eco-conscious beauty consumer. The whipped sculpting cream visibly sculpts, tones, and lifts, while simultaneously improving signs of aging. The secret? It combines Algenist’s naturally sourced and sustainably produced ingredient, Alguronic Acid with Tripeptide-2 in a glycoprotein matrix, which promotes and reinforces a firmer skin structure, visibly minimizing signs of aging, and rapidly tone skin with clinically proven lifting effects. A smart technology and gold delivery provides continuous and extended activity of peptides and anti-aging microalgae to strengthen and improve the appearance of skin texture and tone for a smoother, plumper-looking, and lifted appearance in 10 days.


Origins Plantscription SPF25 Power Anti-Aging Oil-Free Cream

At Origins counters in SM Makati, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Megamall

Protecting the skin is key to staying ageless and so we’re in love with the day cream formulation of Origins’ award-winning, anti-aging Plantscription line. The potent, oil-free, anti-aging moisturizer delivers age-correcting moisture and sun protection simultaneously—making it a perfect choice for those in a rush to get their days started. The cream with the African anogeissus is newly infused with Dill Seed extract to bring back a look of elasticity and cassia alata to help visibly improve lines and wrinkles, and revive a plumped appearance. For protection from the sun, Origins packs the cream with UVA/UVB filters through a blend of chemical sunscreens, as well as a mix of pink rose, mandarin orange, and star anise essential oils to refresh the senses. It’s good for all skin types, which we love, and works to make skin feel firmer and more taut within two weeks.


Lead photo via Into the Gloss