Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams and Serums Work? M&S Time Capsules Review

Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams and Serums Work? | M&S Beauty Time Capsules review | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion and beauty
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Anti-wrinkle skincare is FOREVER going to be a hot topic on any site or publication aimed at over 40 (and even over 30) women.

I’ve talked before about not being the world’s greatest expert on serums, retinols and general skincare, but if there’s one way to find out more about anti-wrinkle treatments and what products are out there, then blogs really are THE way to learn. I’ve learnt so much about skincare just from reading blogs over the past few years, so I hope to be able to pass on some useful information about a particular skincare range that I’ve been trialling for the past month.

Go grab a cuppa, get yourself comfortable and let me tell you all about the Marks & Spencer Formula skincare range, namely the and .

(I resisted the urge to start this with “Once upon a time there was a wrinkly old witch…” – it would have made an entertaining story though, but I don’t think I looked THAT bad to start with!)

Marks & Spencer Beauty asked me to work with them on this campaign as they’ve recently launched their new within the pre-existing Formula Absolute range. I’ve been covering my trial on my Instagram feed, and judging by the comments it seems that it’s a very popular range to start with (there’s a lot of love for the Ultimate Sleep Cream out there).

But what were my thoughts?


The M&S Formula Absolute Time Capsules

First of all – let’s look at the product itself. A pot of 28 capsules, each one with the perfect amount of hexapeptide to apply daily to cleansed skin before moisturiser. What is hexapeptide, I hear you ask…? It’s a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It principally works in the same way that Botox does: it inhibits the reactions that cause muscles to move or contract. This is just what we want out of our daily serum, isn’t it?

Its other credentials are pretty impressive too: The capsules themselves are made from carrageenan (an extract from red seaweed), corn starch, disodium phosphate and vegetal glycerol. They’re suitable for vegans and vegetarians (which always sounds funny to me, like only vegans are allowed to eat them? Please do NOT do that though!) and completely biodegradable. Plus the range is cruelty-free… even before I’d started using anything all this all screamed WINNER to me.

I used the Time Capsules every evening after cleansing for 28 days, and I also used the  and the aforementioned Ultimate Sleep Cream. M&S recommend that you use the capsules in the morning, but as I like to take my time over my skincare routine in the evening, massaging products into my skin (in the mornings I’m usually rushing), I stuck to the evening because that works for me.

(I’d probably forget to add the capsule to my morning skincare routine to be honest… I’m so #NotAMorningPerson)


The results after 28 days (and my thoughts on the products)

Below is a photo of my (almost) bare skin – just a little concealer and dusting of powder plus eyebrows… the pink flush was my cheeks getting hot in our south-facing bathroom! 😉

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Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams and Serums Work? | M&S Beauty Time Capsules review | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion and beauty

And here’s another, slightly more scary close-up:

Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams and Serums Work? | M&S Beauty Time Capsules review | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion and beauty

I have two main things to say about the products: they all go on really well, sinking beautifully into the skin, and they made my skin exceptionally soft. Other plusses: no strong fragrance other than a lovely “hmm that’s a nice cream” smell and the capsules were really easy to tear open with fingers (I was very glad I didn’t have to get scissors out every time). Also the packaging is beautiful so it looks good on your bathroom shelf or window ledge – I like leaving out the odd pot of cream or product on show and I hate to sound Instagram-obsessed, but that stuff makes a difference to me.

If you look at my opening image you’ll see what I mean about the packaging – VERY Instagramable… call me shallow, I don’t care!

The product in the capsules was really, truly… yummy. It had that satisfying quality whereby you’re thinking OMG this is so oily – then it just starts to really work into your skin and very quickly your face ends up feeling perfectly silky smooth. Now M&S do say that you can use the capsules neat on the skin (meaning no moisturiser), but I like the routine of a night cream and really slathering it on. And everyone on Instagram who sang the praises of the Sleep Cream was right: it’s really quite yummy. I do have sensitive skin and it did sting a little on my T-zone every so often, so although it’s meant to be for all skin types I’d probably avoid it if you’ve got very sensitive skin. But maybe it’s just me and was only on the nights of my over-zealous double cleansing… girl’s gotta get that makeup well and truly OFF!

So FINALLY – the million dollar question (no, not why are bloggers so obsessed with avocado on toast, rose gold stationery, or fairy lights draped over everything): Did my new evening skincare routine, namely the capsules, work?


Do anti-wrinkle creams and serums work?

I will say this: I am AMAZED that I don’t look rougher than I actually do due to the busy month I’ve had. This trial coincided with a hugely busy time in our life where we decided to sell our house, get it seriously decluttered and on the market within the space of a couple of weeks… I haven’t had much sleep and I’ve been running around like a headless chicken this month working on the house AND doing my blog work. So although I certainly haven’t ended up looking 10 years younger, I AM very impressed that my skin looks this good despite all that’s been going on.

I would normally expect much darker circles (there’s no under eye concealer on my face in these photos), a more furrowed brow and a general greyish-ness to my face. It does make me wonder: If I’d got lots of sleep as well, what could the results have been like? Luckily I always keep up my water intake and take off ALL my makeup every night, so the products had the best chance of working their magic every time. I think you’ll agree my skin is quite glowy (I started to get a hot flush when I took these photos, I didn’t realise the bathroom would be so hot when the sun came out!) and looks very healthy.

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And that, for me, is the number one thing. The actual health of my skin is more important to me than the appearance of wrinkles, but if there’s a way to target both then I’m all in. I need to keep up the water, the double cleansing and the good skincare routine, and then sort out the sleep now that the house is looking Pinterest-worthy.

Now I don’t think that serums and anti-wrinkle creams turn back time dramatically, but I definitely think they do an awful lot to keep your skin plump, super clean and healthy and, therefore, more youthful looking. Like the disclaimers for foods advertised as helping you lose weight (“when eaten as part of a calorie controlled diet”), anti-wrinkle creams and serums will only yield results if you do all the other things that you’re meant to do for your skin AS WELL.

And judging by my skin after 28 days of the and a lot less sleep than I should be getting, then I think I can safely say this is a range I’m sure I’ll be continuing to buy myself from now on – if only to see just how good the results COULD have been…!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by M&S Beauty (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

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Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams and Serums Work? | M&S Beauty Time Capsules review | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion and beauty


  1. 8 April 2018 / 6:41 pm

    You look fabulous, C what amazing skin you have. I’ve just reviewed the capsules on my March beauty products and for me I won’t be repurchasing. They felt dreamy on application but just not for my 50 plus skin. I’m not particularly prune-y either for my age!

    I’m 55 next month and I felt would’ve been perfect for my skin about 10 years ago.

    I’ll keep looking! I’m addicted to my Elizabeth Arden capsules but they are too heavy for my skin for day time so was hoping these M&S ones would have been the answer. xo

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:47 pm

      Oh that’s a shame Sharon – but not all products work for every single person, and I truly believe in trying things to find out what works for YOU. Not unlike clothes I guess!!

      Have you tried the M&S Formula Absolute Serum Elixir for daytime? I was sent some of that too and I love it under my day moisturiser, you might find it lighter than the capsules! x

  2. Charlotte
    8 April 2018 / 7:40 am

    I have purchased the capsules after being recommended by you and seeing your amazing results and that you took the time to reply and explain the capsules. I hope they work as good for me. I will let u know my results .

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Charlotte that’s wonderful, I’m so pleased you did and I hope you love them too! Honestly, I loved how my skin felt once the product had sunk in, so smooth. It was lovely talking to you on Insta xx

  3. Gill
    4 April 2018 / 12:35 pm

    Great post, very informative. You have lovely skin in your after photo, maybe a before photo would give us the full picture?

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:43 pm

      Unfortunately I didn’t think to take one Gill – however as I mentioned there wasn’t much of a visible difference because I think the products were really just stopping my skin getting dry and grey/lacklustre due to lack of sleep. So they not so much improved my skin but more kept it looking fresh (or not terrible)!! x

  4. 3 April 2018 / 9:17 am

    How gorgeous are you Mrs without makeup? First of all, I’d like to concur with everyone who has said how lovely you and your skin look. I’m always interested to read about serums and the like. This sounds like an excellent range so I’ll try it when my current lot runs out! xxxx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Not totally makeup free, Liz…! But thank you, the light touch of concealer and powder evens out my skin tone but the intense moisturising and serum is what I find is so important to give your face the perfect clean base to at least give the ILLUSION of near-perfect skin…!

  5. 1 April 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Very informative post!! I was drawn in by the lovely photo (yes, so instagramable haha). It’s so wonderful this product did well to maintain your skin’s health AND is biodegradable- what a cool thing!! I’ve been recently more into biodegradable skincare and such so I’ll definitely check this out sometime. It sounds like it’d be wonderful in the winter to add a fresh, plump look to the skin! 🙂

    helen x

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:37 pm

      The packaging is gorgeous, isn’t it Helen?! The two products have been wonderful to try at this time of year, I trialled them during the coldest spell we’ve had for ages and I was really happy with how fresh looking they kept my face! x

  6. 31 March 2018 / 10:40 pm

    This routine does sound good Catherine, I agree with your advice to use the capsules with the cream. I also like to slather these days, since my skins default setting is now dry & crepey as opposed to T-zone oily.
    I’m also carrying some heavy under eye luggage these days so this is definitely worth a try! 😉
    Echoing everyone else here – Your skin looks incredible! The words Dewy & youthful immediately spring to mind xx

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:35 pm

      Slathering is the way to go for me, MT!! heehee 😉 I’m feeling the crepeyness too, I know how impoertant serums and moisturisers are to help that.

      Thank you so much my lovely xx

  7. 31 March 2018 / 10:56 am

    Your skin looks beautiful, Catherine!I really enjoyed to read your experience and see the results.I would love for my skin to look like yours.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:33 pm

      Thanks Debra – though I wish I could wake up like this!! 😉

  8. Christy Peeples DuBois
    31 March 2018 / 9:51 am

    Your skin looks amazing is an understatement !!! Your skin is as close to perfection as I’ve ever seen. Just being honest. Oh how I would love for my skin to look like yours. And I promise I follow a rigid skincare routine but my genes aren’t too good obviously.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:30 pm

      Christy do remember I’m wearing light makeup, my skin isn’t perfect by a long way – good daylight (lighting) always makes skin look great too! But thank you, I am happy about the smoothness of my skin, I seem to be keeping lines at bay (for now at least)! 😉

  9. 30 March 2018 / 9:42 pm

    First, OMG, your skin looks amazing! Even the closeup is gorgeous.

    I love how you describe everything and I’m thrilled that there is no animal testing. Lucky for me there is an M&S in walking distance, so I’m going to have to try these products. I love a serum. Actually, I LOOOOOOOVE a serum; this one sounds brill.

    • catherine
      11 April 2018 / 2:28 pm

      I’m glad about the no animal testing too, Lisa… I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the capsules as you’re the skincare expert I always look to for advice!

      (and thank you for the lovely compliments 🙂 ) xx

  10. 30 March 2018 / 5:42 pm

    Your skin looks amazing, Catherine! I agree – not even the most expensive creme or serum will eliminate my wrinkles at 55 but I want my skin to look healthy and fresh.
    Oh and I am the same – my skincare and body lotions need to smell and look good too 🙂

    xx Annette

    • catherine
      9 April 2018 / 8:24 am

      Healthy and fresh-looking is the ultimate goal – rather than totally wrinkle free – isn’t it Annette…? thank you x

  11. 30 March 2018 / 3:21 pm

    Great post Catherine, really interesting to read your experience and see the results. You look great by the way!! I know how busy you’ve been lately and it isn’t showing in your skin xx

    • catherine
      9 April 2018 / 8:22 am

      Thanks Michelle, I’m amazed my skin looks this good after the month I’ve had!

  12. Karen
    30 March 2018 / 9:45 am

    Great post, love how you go into just the right amount of detail and ‘ paint ‘ the picture about using the products ( sometimes people just say this is good & I use this !) They sound interesting products but with sensitive skin I will stick to my basic hypoallergenic moisturiser and the Nivea Q10 eyecream….! It’s a nice product and although I can’t say it’s turning back the years it might just be holding some back !!! Have a great Easter x

    • catherine
      9 April 2018 / 8:22 am

      Karen that’s great that you enjoyed the post… thank you! A good skincare routine is so important, isn’t it x

DISCLOSURE: Items marked* are PR products (I never accept anything I wouldn’t choose for myself) and my opinions are 100% honest. I also use affiliate links where I may earn commission if you click through and buy, at no cost to you.