The stream of the best new beauty launches dropping daily, it can be impossible to know what is and isn’t worth buying (though the monthly Marie Claire UK Beauty Desk Drop column is a great place to start). Despite being a beauty editor myself, armed with plenty of knowledge, if I’m considering a new purchase, the first place I consult is my trusted group of beauty journalist friends. Since we—quite literally—try products for a living, we know which new products nailed it at launch and which missed the mark. So, on my mission to determine the best skincare products of 2023, I knew I had to turn to them for their insights.
When it comes to skincare, well, that’s even more difficult to know what to buy. With skin type, condition, goals and budgets to take into consideration—plus the fact that results with skincare aren't instant so it's difficult to gauge what works— I understand that it gets overwhelming.
But the launches so far this year have been really good, with some fantastic products landing on our desks, and we want to shout about them. To give you the lowdown on newness in skincare this year, I asked some fellow beauty editors what their favourite 2023 skin launch was—here's what they said...
Lucy Partington, freelance beauty journalist
"I can’t lie, the launch of Dermatica’s skincare range has seriously impressed me. Not only is it affordable, but it’s really well formulated and pairs well with actives. I truly rate everything, but if I had to pick a favourite product, it’d have to be the Nourishing Ceramide + Peptide Moisturiser. Packed with all the good stuff (including a ceramide complex, niacinamide, panthenol and squalene), I was lucky enough to get my hands on pre-launch lab samples, so I’ve already been through two tubes. I love it because it’s hydrating and nourishing, and I love that it’s not greasy so it’s just as good to apply under make-up as it is before I go to bed." — Lucy Partington, freelance beauty journalist
Nateisha Scott, beauty editor
"I don’t wear make-up day to day (despite my make-up-adorned selfie), so I am both cautious and meticulous with my skincare routine to ensure it looks and feels its best at all times. That means seeking out products that target my concerns, which are hyperpigmentation, uneven texture and dullness. Enter: Clé de Peau Beauté’s Concentrated Brightening Serum. It truly helped to alleviate some pesky dark marks and really helped to brighten and even my complexion. Aside from its splendid formulation, what sold me on this serum is its silky and lightweight texture that worked with my skin through the seasons." — Nateisha Scott, beauty editor
Grace Day, beauty editor and aesthetician
"2023 has been a great year for SPF launches. Brands are finally clocking onto the fact that texture is key and are formulating sunscreens that look invisible and feel lightweight, while still providing stellar protection.
"To be honest, Supergoop have always had this front of mind, but their latest launch completely nails the invisible brief. Every Single Face is the kind of sunscreen that people who claim not to like sunscreen will actually want to wear. Truly, this was the formula that finally got my boyfriend into the habit of daily SPF application (it’s been my life's mission). It has a weightless, serum-like texture which melts right into skin and is totally undetectable—no matter how much you apply, no excessive massaging is required to make it disappear. Skin is left looking fresh, dewy (but not greasy) and without any chalkiness. It also sits beautifully under make-up (no pilling!) and doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes. Win, win." — Grace Day, beauty editor and aesthetician
Ata-owaji Victor, freelance beauty journalist
"Throughout this year whenever my skin has felt dry and a tad lacklustre, I now find myself reaching for Avène Hyaluron Activ B3 Multi-Intensive Night Cream. As a long-time fan of the brand because of its affordability—without any compromise on efficacy—and expansive range for all skin times, when this landed on my desk earlier this year, it was arguably love at first sight.
"Formula-wise, it's an ingenious balance of retinal, pure hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. I, like many people, often experience additional dryness when using retinals, so the added boost of hydration from the hyaluronic acid is a welcome addition to this night cream. The packaging lover in me cannot talk about this product without giving credit where credit is due to its handy lock system that has saved me from the dreaded 'product spills in a suitcase' situation on many occasions this year, in spite of my less-than-conscientious packing style." — Ata-owaji Victor, freelance beauty journalist
Lucy Abbersteen, freelance beauty journalist
"As a beauty editor, one of the main reasons I hear people cite as to why they don't regularly wear SPF every day is that they don’t like how it feels. Sadly that’s no excuse not to protect your skin but, regardless, this newcomer to Ultra Violette’s range nips that particular problem in the bud.
"The brand hails from Australia where they take sun cream seriously, and when they say this is Ultralight, they mean Ultralight. I often take 'non-sticky' claims with a pinch of salt, but this genuinely impressed me because it sinks in so easily—even after I feel like I've doused my skin with it—and I say that as somebody with quite oily, not particularly absorbent skin. It’s also a dream under makeup and contains niacinamide and vitamins C & E, which we love to see. When you look forward to applying an SPF, you know that a brand has done well." — Lucy Abbersteen, freelance beauty journalist
Vanese Maddix, freelance beauty journalist
"2023 has seen the release of some of my favourite skincare products to date, from body washes and SPFs to lip balms and more. However, I didn't expect to become completely obsessed with a launch so late into the year. Tula's Gold Glow + Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm has been a great addition to my skincare routine thanks to it being a skincare-make-up hybrid balm. I love using it to hydrate around the eye area and take down some of my early-morning eye puffiness. It also doubles up as a highlight due to its gold, glowing finish, which I like to use on the high points of my cheeks as a highlighter.
"The formula contains an array of skin-loving ingredients from hydrating duo hyaluronic acid and aloe water, along with caffeine which is known for its power to firm and tighten the appearance of skin." — Vanese Maddix, freelance beauty journalist
Mica Ricketts, freelance beauty editor
"When it comes to brilliant beauty launches, 2023 has truly been Naturium’s year. So many of their products now have a permanent place in my beauty routine, but it’s this moisturiser that has impressed me most when it comes to new skincare. At first swipe, I thought this peptide-enriched cream would be too rich for my spot-prone skin, but I was wrong. It sinks in seamlessly, leaving skin velvety-soft and—dare I say it—feeling a little firmer. (Now that I’m hitting my mid-30s, I’m already noticing that my skin is losing a little of its natural elasticity.) Plus, it contains panthenol and vitamin C to deliver moisture and boost brightness, so my skin always looks a little juicier and more radiant after application." — Mica Ricketts, freelance beauty editor
Amerley Ollennu, freelance beauty and lifestyle editor
"Any beauty editor worth their salt will have heard of the Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum. It’s a cult classic that drenches the skin with hyaluronic acid and mineralised volcanic water. I have been using it for years, so was beyond thrilled to discover at the beginning of 2023, that a ‘matching’ moisturiser was set to hit shelves.
"It doesn’t matter how hydrating your serum is, if you don’t have a healthy skin barrier, you’ll lose moisture fast. That’s where the Vichy Minéral 89 72H Moisture Boosting Cream comes in. Packed with a hefty dose of pure hyaluronic acid, vitamins and squalane, it locks in hydration by fortifying, and repairing the skin barrier—weakened by the likes of UV, pollution and even the overuse of potent actives. As someone who tests products and aesthetic treatments for a living, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy barrier, and I know all too well how a weak barrier can impact the skin. Think acne, dryness, redness, lines and wrinkles and sensitivity.
"However, finding a moisturiser that catered to my oily, sensitive skin and helped repair my barrier has always been a challenge. Bouts of acne and contact dermatitis have been commonplace and frankly I’d almost given up.
"Thankfully for my temperamental skin, this face cream comes in three different formulations—Hero, Rich and Fragrance-Free. A lightweight gel-cream texture that glides on with ease and sinks in quickly - the Hero version has saved my skin." — Amerley Ollennu, freelance beauty and lifestyle editor
Zeynab Mohamed, freelance beauty journalist
"Unfortunately for me, my skin is terribly reactive, which is no fun and no good, especially in my job, and so I very rarely mix up my skincare routine. However this year, I kept coming across the wonders of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) in skincare and I was intrigued. It made headlines as the new anti-ageing skincare ingredient to know about.
"It’s essentially a vitamin B derivative that works to reduce inflammation and treat fine lines. Researchers have found that supplementing your skincare with NAD-rich skincare can charge up the levels of NAD, in turn helping to protect and repair skin against sun damage, as well as help with firmness, lines, wrinkles and hydration. After too much time in the sun, my skin was looking worse for wear and I thought what better time to test this magical ingredient? I’ve been using the Invity Youth Activating Instant Filler (which launched into the UK this year), developed with patented hyaluronic acid technology, NAD and collagen-boosting botanical extracts. For occasions when I just want my skin to feel and look smoother, tighter and my pores to appear less pronounced, I’ve been slathering my face with the serum.
"It’s strange to see it working, but it’s like a before and after happening right in front of you. I’ve definitely noticed less make-up settling in my smile lines, almost as if they’re not there, and pores don’t look so huge, which I am not mad about. I love that it comes in a syringe packaging, it feels fun and makes it super easy to use, giving you more control. The scientists behind the brand have found that with regular use, the formula helps to strengthen the skin. One of the few changes I’ve made to my skincare routine this year, and it was only a recent addition but definitely a noteworthy one." — Zeynab Mohamed, freelance beauty journalist
Mollie Burdell, freelance beauty journalist
"Although this serum does have a pretty hefty price tag, for the results I've seen since using it every morning for the past 4 weeks, I'd say it's worth every penny. Vitamin C works alongside ectoin to protect the skin, and Australian Wild Hibiscus flower extract provides a super hit of hydration. My skin has never looked more glowing, and I find it sits really nicely under make-up. A really great all rounder which, when followed by an SPF, is all you need for a very effective AM routine." — Mollie Burdell, freelance beauty journalist
Tori Crowther, freelance health and beauty journalist
"Obviously I would never have doubted Caroline Hirons and her ability to make exactly what I didn't know I needed, but I'm still surprised at how good this cleanser is. The Cream Cleanser is where basic meets luxury. It's everything my congested, rosacea-prone skin wants but doesn't feel like your average basic-but-works brand. This fragrance-free option (it also comes with a subtle fragrance version, too) also doesn't aggravate my fussy skin.
"The texture is ultra creamy (as the name suggests), melts into the skin and works at removing grime and leftover make-up from the day. I also really like to wear this as a mask during my second cleanse, letting it sit for 20 minutes as I'm getting ready for bed.
"Although it's not the cheapest cleanser I have in my stash, it's the one I look forward to using the most, so in my eyes, it's worth the extra cash." — Tori Crowther, freelance health and beauty journalist