No matter how tired, broken-out, congested or eczema-prone your skin is, there is a product out there that can help. Our judges have done their homework, and these are the powerhouse products that actually transform your complexion...
Best Treatment for Pigmentation
Winner: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
3-5 drops deliver brightening kojic acid into the skin alongside tranexamic acid, a new ingredient that is currently exploding on to the beauty scene. An anti-inflammatory, it helps to lighten dark patches and decrease their reoccurrence.
Judge Debbie Thomas says: ‘A great combination of niacinamide for brightening and tranexamic acid to break down pigment patches.’
Runner up: Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum
Best Skincare Product For Redness Prone Skin
Winner: Cetaphil PRO Moisturising Night Cream
Calms, comforts and takes down redness by feeding skin a continuous flow of moisturising glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter and soothing niacinamide. But don’t just take our word for it.
Judge Rose Gallagher says: ‘Simple and effective. This rich balm is comforting, fragrance free and will moisturise without irritating.’
Best Treatment for Acne
Winner: Dr Dennis Gross DRx Blemish Solutions Breakout Clearing Gel
When a dermatologist puts his know-how into a skincare line, you can guarantee the products will deliver. No more so than this acne gel by Dr Dennis Gross. Salicylic acid, AHAs, and monk's pepper help to unclog pores and diminish the appearance of breakouts. Meanwhile, niacinamide takes the sting out of the tail of a spot.
Judge Dr Anjali Mahto says: ‘Excellent combination of actives for targeted spot therapy.’
Best Eczema Product
Winner: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+M
Shea butter, thermal spring water and 'aqua posae filiformis', an exclusive ingredient that restores the skin's natural barrier, are an antidote to itch-prone skin.
Judge Lucy Abbersteen says: ‘The brand is known for being amazing for sensitive skin, and it moisturised dry patches nicely.’
Runner up: Farmologie by Childs Farm Farmologie Unfragranced Moisturiser
Best Hyaluronic Acid Product
Winner: Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Capsule Hydra-Plumping Serum
The OG of capsules has added these biodegradable, single servings of hyaluronic acid plus ceramides to its repertoire. Think deep hydration, a stronger barrier and skin that’s plumper than a hotel pillow.
Judge Alice Hart Davis says: ‘Elizabeth Arden is clever to combine hyaluronic acid with its signature ceramide capsules.’
Runner up: Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
Best Vitamin C Product
Winner: Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
Vitamin C is one of skincare’s heavy hitters when it comes to brightening and evening out skin tone. Here it sits alongside resurfacing glycolic acid and ingredients that bounce visible light off the skin. The effect isn’t unlike having your own professional lighting team following you around.
Runner up: StriVectin Super-C Retinol Brighten & Correct Vitamin C Serum
Best Retinol Product
Winner: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3
Cosmeceutical brand Medik8 is all about high-tech ingredients. This product is no different thanks to anti-ageing powerhouse retinaldehyde. A new form of vitamin A, it speeds up the line-smoothing, brightening and collagen-making process of normal retinol. At 0.03per cent, this is great for those dipping their face in the retinol water.
Judge Alice Hart Davis says: ‘Fab, strong, effective stuff. ‘
Runner up: Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum
Best Blemish Product
Winner: Plenaire Violet Paste
When one of those massive chin huggers strikes, dot this vegan formula over the top. A blend of hydroxy acids draws out any excess oil and takes down redness while stopping any breakouts from multiplying.
Judge Dr Tatiana Papa says: ‘Lovely brand ethos and a product that is easy to use, non-inflammatory and effective.’
Best CBD product
Winner: The Body Shop CBD Restoring Facial Oil
CBD is one of the most in-demand ingredients for stressed, out-of-whack skin. The main obstacle is finding a formula that’s not too thick or cloying. The Body Shop’s new face oil with hemp seed oil and squalane soothes but still manages to feel like nothing at all on your skin.
Judge Holly Rains says: ‘One of the best CBD products I've tried. My skin was instantly hydrated and glowy and it didn’t feel greasy.’
Runner up: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ CBD Advanced Serum Concentrate
Best SPF Product
Winner: Caudalie Milky Sun Spray SPF30
Each year, 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen pollute the oceans and end up in coral reefs worldwide. Caudalie's sunscreen is both reef-friendly and non-toxic to the marine eco system. Also nice: organic grapeseed oil ramps up hydration while antioxidant-rich polyphenols from grape seeds add another layer of wrinkle-fighting protection.
Judge Dr Kemi Fabusiwa says: 'This smells delightful, which is important for a product you need to reapply often.'
Runner up: SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF50
Best Face Mask
Winner: Glamglow Supermud
A 10-minute session with this mask, enriched with glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids, is enough to deep clean pores, reset oily skin and also improve collagen production if wrinkles are an issue. We love how you can use it all over, or as a targeted dollop on individual blemishes.
Runner up: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
Best Base with Skincare Benefits
Winner: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream
Brace yourself for a CC cream that a) gives solid coverage b) doesn’t crease or cake during the course of the day c) doesn’t look chalky despite its all-mineral SPF50 and d) makes skin look like it’s won the lottery.
Judge Adeola Gboyega says: ‘I love the dispenser and how radiant it made my skin look. It gives good coverage, too.’
Runner up: Erborian CC Cream
Best Skincare Supplement
Winner: Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C
Not all vitamin C is created equal. This daily liquid supplement uses liposomes - minute bubbles of healthy fat - to encapsulate the vitamin C and transport nearly all of it into your bloodstream to boost your immunity. Bonus: new research shows this potent dose also increases skin elasticity.
Runner up: Simone Thomas Wellness Skinquencher
Best Self Tan for Face
Winner: Amanda Harrington London Illuminating Bronzing Face Mist
Think of this as bronzer - but delivered in a gossamer-fine face mist with skincare benefits. As well as a beach-fresh glow, skin is soaked in super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and CQ10, a powerful antioxidant that also supports firmer skin.
Runner up: James Read Tan Click And Glow
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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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