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You shouldn’t feel like you have to be in perfect shape to put on a bathing suit, but for those who want to tone up in time for bikini season, the task can seem plenty daunting. Bikini season also means beach season—fun in the sun season—which often translates to indulging a little more than we would usually. No topical product can make you lose weight, but if saggy skin and cellulite are your biggest issues, these creams and serums can actually work to tighten the skin for a “firming” effect that makes everything look a little, well, better over time. They’re best when paired with diet and exercise, of course, but if a quick firming fix is what you need, look to these 5 tried-and-true formulas.
Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super-Intense 4D Firming + Smoothing Body SerumFair warning: You can really feel this one work, thanks to its star ingredient, an oil derived from pink pepper berries, so that heating or tingling sensation (probably) doesn’t mean that something’s amiss. Between the slow-releasing ingredients intended to reduce puffiness, like caffeine and sweet orange, and the massage roller applicator, this lightweight, non-sticky gel really works to improve circulation and tighten skin.
$24, at Amazon
One of the original skin-firming beauty products on the market, the tongue-in-cheek name alone has inspired many an impulse purchase. This thick yet lightweight cream is powered by a strong dose of caffeine, which stimulates blood flow while firming and toning skin to visibly (yes, visibly) reduce the appearance of cellulite.
$36, at Ulta
Mio Skin Tight Tightening Body Serum
This more under-the-radar pick has a cult following whose testaments really prove its worth. You can use this serum anywhere to improve skin texture with tightening, toning, and “lifting” properties while also nourishing and hydrating—pomegranate oil and vitamin C brighten, while papaya gently exfoliates. Green tea gives this serum its antioxidant-rich firming power.
$56, at mioskincare.com
Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizer
A low price doesn’t mean low efficacy: Formulated with collagen and elastin, this drugstore favorite smooths out the appearance of cellulite and makes the skin more supple and resilient over time. It’s also wonderfully moisturizing, so you can use it as your daily body moisturizer instead of doubling up on product.
$4.99, at walmart.com
Nivea Skin Firming & Smoothing Concentrated Serum
The ubiquinone in this concentrated formula—a little goes a long way!—is super effective for reversing the visual effects of aging on skin, namely sagging, wrinkling, and cellulite. Massaging the lightweight serum into problem areas will noticeably firm and tighten skin, and just for a little over $10.
$10.69, at Amazon