While the best body-firming creams can’t solve all your sagging skin and cellulite woes (sadly!), they can make a noticeable improvement – here are the creams, lotions and oils that we love and that actually work
As we age, we lose elasticity in our skin that not even a change in diet and fitness can completely reverse.
It’s why the mature skincare market is a billion-dollar business, why there are myriad treatments aimed at getting our youthful, firm skin back and why firming lotions are so popular.
Having babies and the middle-aged spread can also lead to loose skin, cellulite, and wobbly bits all of which are, of course, beautiful but can cause many of us to lose confidence.
If this is you and you’re looking for firming lotions that actually work, we’ve spoken to skincare experts to reveal which ingredients to look for, and which products do as they promise.
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£9 | Buy now
Why we love it: Not only is Nivea’s Firming and Goodbye-Cellulite Gel Cream a bargain, it actually works.
One of the main ingredients is a co-enzyme called Q10, also known as Coenzyme Q10. This is an antioxidant found naturally in the body, as well as in certain foods, that plays a role in cellular energy production and is linked to a range of important biochemical reactions.
As an antioxidant, Q10 helps reduce the impact of free radicals, which can cause premature ageing and put the skin and body in a state of stress.
When applied topically, Q10 and the other ingredients in this firming cream help protect the skin from damage, anti-ageing effects – such as sagging – and have been found to boost collagen. All of these benefits combine to tighten and firm the skin and reduce fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.
You can read more about this in our guide to the best anti-ageing cream for targeting wrinkles and fine lines.
Alongside Q10, this cream also contains Lotus extract. As well as helping to hydrate the skin, which alone can help reduce creasing and crepiness, lotus extract contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) that help to exfoliate the skin and promote cell turnover.
Any increase in cell turnover can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and other pigmentation, but it can also turbo-charge the skin’s natural ability to produce collagen.
In this way, the Nivea firming cream brings with it a host of benefits beyond firming and tackling cellulite all for a relatively affordable price.
It should be noted that it’s unlikely to get rid of cellulite completely, no cream can – read why in our cellulite guide – but Nivea promises a noticeable reduction within three weeks of use and we can vouch for this.
£11.37 | Buy now
Why we love it: Jergens Skin Firming Daily Moisturiser has gathered a cult following because it more than outperforms its low price tag.
Using a mix of collagen and elastin, it tightens and increases the elasticity and resilience of skin and improves its firmness.
It’s also great for revitalising dry skin because it improves skin tone, texture, and luminosity and the addition of caffeine helps stimulate the skin and improve circulation.
This can help directly improve the texture of the skin and target cellulite.
To see the benefits, you do need to use this moisturiser regularly and we find it works best at improving the condition and appearance of our skin when applied straight out of the shower or bath.
We also love that this firming cream contains an ingredient called centella asiatica which is used to heal the skin and is great for softening eczema.
This should make it suitable for sensitive skin. However, it is fragranced so we recommend you apply a small amount first to see how your skin reacts before lathering it all over!
Speaking of the fragrance, we love how this cream smells and it’s not too overpowering. It lasts all day too and even when getting undressed at night, we could still smell the subtle scent on our skin.
At this price, we’d buy it for this alone we love it so much!
£65 | Buy now
Why we love it: Body Power has proved so popular as a firming cream range that it’s sold out multiple times and has become a firm – excuse the pun – favourite among social media users and influencers.
Body Power is a two-step program that helps reduce cellulite and slim the areas where it’s applied, with results being seen in as few as 30 days.
Step 1: Warm Up
The first formula is designed to be used before a workout.
Step 2: Smart burn
The second step in the Cocunat firming cream duo is for when you are at rest.
This formula contains:
In clinical tests, results across 60 women found that Body Power reduced the circumference of key body parts, as follows:
While 30 days may not seem like a quick result, other firming creams and lotions on this list typically take three months before noticeable changes appear. This is why Cocunat gets our best firming cream for fast results title.
From £35 | Buy now
We recently put (almost) all of the Maelys firming creams to the test as part of our wider Maelys Cosmetics reviews, and one of our favourite products in the range is the Maelys B-Flex Lift & Firm arm cream.
As its name suggests, this cream is designed to lift and firm your arms. Particularly your bingo wings.
It’s bright purple and you only get a small amount with each pump, meaning you have to use around 3-4 pumps each time, on each arm, but it works like a charm.
In just two weeks, we saw an almost transformational change in the firmness on our underarms, as you can see in the before and after photo (left).
This bingo wing cream also helped reduce the appearance of stretch marks and has left our skin feeling smooth and soft.
It does cause a warming sensation on the skin, thanks to an ingredient called Pink PepperSlim which comes from a tree whose berries are used for a spice known as pink pepper.
This “spiciness” is what causes the skin to heat up, but it’s also what helps the cream offer such great results.
The heat increases circulation, which helps increase collagen levels, which help to make the skin more firm and less saggy.
It’s not a painful experience, in fact, we quite enjoy how it feels but it’s worth noting.
The downside is that this cream isn’t cheap. A single bottle costs £52.
If you buy in “bulk” you can get three bottles for £35 each and Maelys claims you’ll see results by the second bottle.
However, in our experience, that sells this cream short. We saw results much quicker than that, when we used the cream twice a day.
As a result, the B-Flex is a very worthwhile investment in our opinion. Whether you buy one bottle, or multiple.
£5 | Buy now
Why we love it: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter is a favourite here at mamabella towers because it leaves skin feeling tighter and firmer.
With pure cocoa butter and Vitamin E, collagen, and elastin found in shea butter, this firming butter keeps your skin tight and won’t leave it feeling greasy.
It’s particularly good if you’ve recently lost weight and you’re looking for a good arm-firming cream.
We’ve used it on our bingo wings, and belly, and while it hasn’t got rid of either completely it has improved them and we feel more confident wearing sleeveless tops now.
Plus it helps with scarring. All for around a fiver!
Although it’s called a firming butter, the texture is might lighter than we had expected. It’s closer to a lotion than a cream and this makes it easy to apply and it absorbs beautifully into the skin.
As with all Palmer Cocoa products, this firming cream leaves a chocolatey scent on the skin – it reminds us of summer holidays – and Palmer’s has added Ginseng to nourish and rejuvenate.
Like the Nivea version, it uses Q10 as a powerful antioxidant that stimulates your skin cells to be more toned in appearance.
£20 | Buy now
This is, in part, due to the fact it’s infused with Macadamia and Sweet Almond Oils.
Meanwhile, Wheat Germs provide anti-ageing properties to help firm and plump the skin and antioxidants stimulate circulation to minimise the appearance of cellulite.
£40 | Buy now
Why we love it: Clarins New Body Fit has been designed to target the three types of so-called Adipocytes cells found in our bodies and which are responsible for storing energy as fat.
Its formula helps firm and tone the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite with only a handful of uses.
Elsewhere, Body Fit contains Quince Leaf which is said to reduce fat storage for what Clarins called a “corrective Anti-Cellulite action”.
It’s also great as a moisturiser because it leaves the skin soft and smooth.
£25 | Buy now
Why we love it: Caudalie Lift & Firm Body Cream targets four areas: arms, chest, stomach, and bum. All the areas that often can lose elasticity as we age.
This cream is enriched with antioxidant grapeseed, which also nourishes your skin; shea butter to give you a soft, moisturising feeling; polyphenols, which are anti-wrinkle ingredients; and Iris extract to help with firming and toning.
Using this morning and night on dry skin you will see the benefits of firmer, smoother and more hydrated skin.
This body cream is on the thick side, so you will need to work this in but it doesn’t leave a greasy residue, it absorbs into the skin nicely. It isn’t heavily scented, only carrying a hint of orange blossom, and it’s suitable for sensitive skin. So much so, that it can be used during pregnancy as well.
Tests have shown that 96% of women noticed their skin was firmer and 91% said it was more toned, in around three weeks. Reviews have also mentioned that stretch marks have visibly reduced in size along with smoother feeling skin.
FURTHER READING: Best stretch mark cream: From Bio Oil to Burt’s Bees Belly Butter
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget