A funny thing happened on my way to recommending the anti-aging serum I consider my own personal miracle in a bottle.

Before touting Product X as one of your 25 Days of YouBeauty Christmas Gifts, I went looking for reviews to make sure that folks who professionally compare skin care products share my high opinion. I found to my dismay that they do not. My personal favorite actually is held in rather low regard.

I thought my miracle serum was doing a fine job of turning the surface of my face into porcelain. It turns out my opinion was seriously uninformed. I will spare you the disheartening details.

Let’s just say the critics really hit home when they said I was paying way too much for less than mediocre results. Ouch.

So I went running to my neighborhood Sephora skin care consultants.  They offered two recommendations for anti-aging serums:

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid and Retinol Brightening Solution. The serum from Dr. Dennis Gross is a fragrance-free mix of antioxidants that includes Ferulic acid, which helps your skin defend against environmental damage. It also contains retinol, which aids in reducing fine lines and wrinkles by helping your skin create better, healthier skin cells.

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum. From Peter Thomas Roth comes a silicone-based serum with retinol that additionally includes antioxidant vitamins C and E.  An anti-irritant is also part of the formula.

With my newly adopted motto of trust, but verify, I went back to the professional reviewers. They were not merely kind; they were ecstatic about both my new discoveries.

Here’s a shout out to Beautypedia, where you can find more extensive reviews on both products.

The Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid and Retinol Brightening Solution is admittedly pricey at $88 for one fluid ounce. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum costs $65 for one fluid ounce. I was paying $78 an ounce for My Own Personal Favorite.

So there you go. Choose either of my two new favorites, and they will either cost less or not that much more for a serious upgrade in the fight against Mother Time’s depredations. Santa is sure to appreciate that as the jolly old elf is slipping the 1-ounce bottle into your Christmas stocking.

Both are available at Sephora and Nordstrom. Peter Thomas Roth’s serum is also available at Macy’s.