Welcome to Marie Claire's first ever awards dedicated exclusively to skin.
Kicking things off are our Skin Heroes Awards. These are our judges' edit of the most exciting new advances in skincare, plus brands with a purpose when it comes to protecting the planet.
Best Environmentally-Friendly Packaging
50% of the plastic in the world is used just once, then thrown away. This statistic is all the more shocking when you consider that we’ve produced more plastic in the past 10 years than during the whole of the last century. L'Occitane is not only pledging to be more sustainable in the future. It’s actively cutting down on virgin plastic usage right now. By reducing the thickness of its packaging, it has already saved 28 tonnes of plastic. Plus, many of its products are available in eco-refills. By 2025 all L'Occitane bottles will be made of 100% recycled PET.
Judge Lisa Oxenham says: 'I'm so impressed that to further cut down on waste, L'Occitane has partnered with TerraCycle on a collection and recycling programme. This makes it so easy for customers to responsibly dispose of empties.'
Runner up: Tropic
Best Ethical Skin Initiative
Winner: Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Lift Cream
Neal's Yard Remedies not only uses the first certified organic frankincense oil from Oman in this cosseting cream. It also uses the antioxidant-rich by-product to make the process more sustainable. Last, but by no means least, the brand has partnered with the Environment Society of Oman to launch a frankincense tree planting campaign. So far, 1,500 seedlings have been distributed to local farmers, students and community members to safeguard the future of the Boswellia Sacra trees.
Judge Dr Ateh Jewel says: ‘I love Neal's Yard Remedies for its clean, powerful and luxurious formulas with proven scientific stats to back up its claims. The texture, smell and efficacy of this product makes it a winner for me.’
Best Organic Range
Winner: Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
Born out of the founder’s desire to soothe and protect her own reactive skin, Pai's organic ingredients soothe even the most easily riled complexions. This is largely down to the hero ingredient, rosehip oil. Using an advanced CO2 extraction method, a fresher, more effective oil is produced than cold-pressed versions. All of which means it preserves the omega fatty acids and antioxidant carotenoids to help heal skin and protect against aggressors.
Judge Abigail James says: 'A nice oil by a brand generally good for sensitive skin types.'
Runner up: The Organic Pharmacy
Best Sustainable Brand
Winner: The Body Shop
Ever since this brand launched in 1976, it has been fearless in standing up for what’s right. The Body Shop will always be against animal testing. Its Community Trade programme helps communities to thrive; it uses ethically sourced, naturally derived ingredients and last year it launched Plastics For Change. This sustainable leader is now buying recycled plastic collected by waste pickers in Bengaluru, India, for use in its packaging. Which means a fair price for waste material, a reliable income for 2,500 waste pickers and improved living conditions.
Judge Jasmine Hensley says: 'The Body Shop's amazing local community initiatives and sustainable sourcing makes it one of the top companies for sustainability.'
Runner up: Weleda
Best Skincare Device/Tool
Winner: Foreo UFO2
A product that promises results in just 90 seconds is setting the bar pretty high.The Foreo UFO 2 combines sheet masks with a proven combination of LED light therapy, T-sonic pulsations, plus heat and cooling modes to ensure the mask’s ingredients are absorbed better and your skin is left looking more lifted. Expect brighter, tighter skin in just a minute and a half.
Judge Debbie Thomas says: 'I love how quick, easy and effective this 90-second mask-boosting tool is. It's great for helping to push the ingredients in deeper, as well as boosting skin circulation overall.'
Runner up: Duolab
Best New Skin Brand
Winner: Vitamin Injections London Skin Care
Vitamin shots are lauded as a great way to increase your energy and strengthen your immune system. Now imagine kickstarting your skin cells in the same way with key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This black-owned brand has thought of everything and is suitable for all skin tones. Whether you’re opting for a serious boost of hydration or collagen, these curated formulas perk up your skin almost immediately.
Judge Ruth Crilly says: 'I loved this brand! Beautiful formulations in no-frills packaging with glass jars that aren't massive and wasteful. The Vitamin C range is so brilliant!'
Best New Luxury Skin Brand
Winner: Victoria Beckham Beauty
Victoria Beckham is renowned for being diligent with her skincare. So when she collaborated with stem cell scientist Augustinus Bader for her own line, every beauty editor’s ‘new cult product’ radar started beeping. At the heart of the line is Bader’s legendary TFC8 compound - a blend of amino acids and vitamins that fire up your skin’s own repair process. Her first foray into skincare was a priming moisturiser that gives skin a next level glow followed by a serum she described on social as ‘the best product you will ever use’. Our judges clearly thought so, too.
Judge Sabrina Elba says: 'I love the practicality of the Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturiser with regards to everyday make-up prep. Skin immediately glows.'
Best New Skin Product
Winner: Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides
Despite its proven track record for stimulating collagen and minimising the look of wrinkles, retinol has one major drawback for those with sensitive skin: it can cause irritation and peeling. Enter bakuchiol, a natural, vegan alternative that functions in the same way as retinol without the irksome side effects. One very good reason Medik8 has harnessed its power in a light-weight oil complete with skin-brightening peptides for good measure.
Judge Munroe Bergdorf says: 'It's very effective.'
Runner up: Luneia Radiance Ritual
Best Skin Innovation
Winner: Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate 2.0
Many skincare products focus on solutions after the damage has occurred. Not so with this silky serum, which is all about prevention. Ingredients such as antioxidant reishi mushroom and iris root extract restore firmness, defend against pollution and strengthen skin’s natural moisture barrier from within. The scent deserves a special mention, too. Knowing that stress is a major skin ager, its green floral fragrance of rose and lotus creates both a sense of relaxation and renewed energy. Pretty clever, no?
Judge Lisa Potter-Dixon says: 'A great serum, I definitely saw results.'
Runner up: Codex Beauty Bia Skin Superfood
Most Iconic Product & Best Natural Formula
Winner: Weleda Skin Food Original
This citrus-smelling skin salve launched in 1926 and is considered one of the best-kept secrets in the industry. Make-up artists regularly use Weleda Skin Food on set to take off make-up, illuminate cheekbones or quench dry skin. But it seems that secret is out as Marie Claire readers have voted it their Most Iconic Product. One reason it has reached cult status is the minimalist formula. With no unpronounceable compounds, it just contains natural ingredients such as calendula and camomile in a base of oils and beeswax. Another is that this cream feeds your skin exactly the nutrients it needs when it has been tipped out of balance.
Judge Margo Marrone says: 'Lovely natural formula with a great feel and smell. It does what it says on the tube.'
Runner up (Best Natural Formula): Philosophy Nature in a Jar Cica Complex Moisturiser
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Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.
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