Skin need a pick-me-up? You need a souped-up formula from the Marie Claire UK 2023 Skin Awards

Here comes hard-working skincare

Marie Claire UK Skin Awards 2023 - Souped-up Formulas winners
(Image credit: Future)

Let's be real, life is busy and often we just don't have the time to dissect our skincare routines or spend hours on perfecting them. That's why we rely on formulas that go the extra mile. The ones that extinguish rosacea, diminish breakouts and eliminate pigmentation without much effort required from us. 

That's why for the 2023 Marie Claire UK Skin Awards we're highlighting the impressive souped-up formulas. These are the products that go way beyond pretty packaging; they're at the top of their game delivering note-worthy results that wowed our judges. We've delved into pigmentation serums, retinoids, spot treatments, rosacea formulas and so much more so that you can shop with confidence. 

Read on to shop the winner of this year's souped-up formulas that go one step further so we don't have to. Then check out our other categories: Elevate Your Routine, Self-care Sessions, Everyday Heroes and The Future is Bright

How were these products tested and judged?

The brilliant Marie Claire UK Skin Awards judging panel - which include a line up of top dermatologists and doctors, influencers, beauty experts, and editors - were asked to individually test a selection of skincare products, review them on efficacy, innovation and packaging.

Introducing the 2023 Marie Claire Skin Awards the Souped-up Formulas award-winners…

Best Treatment for Pigmentation

Winner: Comfort Zone Luminant Serum

An all round fantastic product liked by our judges. "This serum was completely new to me and I absolutely loved using it," says Katie Thomas, Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. "A little goes a long way - about three of four drops will do the entire face. My skin looked much brighter after a couple of days. I'm excited for what it can achieve with further use." This serum works by improving and reducing the appearance of dark spots and overall brightening the complexion. This is all thanks to the inclusion of the brand's 3-bright targeting technology, which targets dark spots, reduces their appearance and illuminates the complexion.

Highly commended: 

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

Best Vitamin C Serum

Winner: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

This is a total classic, proving time and time again to be a winner in the vitamin C category. Judge Dr Ash Soni, a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and Founder of The Soni Clinic, notes this as a very well thought-out product, this antioxidant is a powerful addition to any routine and is well deserving of being in the souped-up category. 

Well loved in the industry as a whole, this serum is more than just a vitamin C serum, thanks to its antioxidant-rich formula. With L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid CE Ferulic is a protector against external aggressors, a line softener and a brightener. 

Highly commended: 

Medik8 C-Tetra Luxe

Best Hydrating Serum

Winner: Bioeffect EGF Serum

Designed to visibly reduce signs of ageing through minimised fine lines and added radiance, Bioeffect's EGF Serum uses a plant-based alternative to EGF (epidermal growth factor, a human protein). 

It's expensive given the small 15ml size but it often becomes the one and only serum used by many people; often hailed as their holy grail. "Great product, effective and nice to use," says judge and Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Sophie Shotter

Highly commended: 

Neal's Yard Remedies Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Booster

Best Retinol Serum

Winner: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 

As the gold standard in skin ageing, retinoids are arguably the most souped-up formula you can use, but they can be difficult to get used to and confusing to get your head around. Leading skincare brand Medik8 makes that all the easiest with its much-loved Crystal Retinal. "The five different strengths of retinal used in this series is ground-breaking and allows the consumer to effectively and appropriately choose the correct product for their skin," says judge and NHS Doctor Dr Kemi Fabusiwa. In case you've never used this product before, this serum is available in five strengths: 1, 3, 6, 10 and 20. Meaning you can start low and gradually build up your tolerance. A simple concept, but we've not seen anything else on the market that offers the consumer so much clarity. 

Highly commended: 

EVE LOM Radiance Repair Retinol Serum

Best Spot Treatment

Winner: Murad Deep Relief Blemish Treatment

When it comes to spot treatments, we ask a lot of them yet few truly deliver like Murad's Deep Relief Blemish Treatment does. "The blend of salicylic acid with anti-inflammatory actives," is key, according to judge Debbie Thomas. "Unblocking the pore is just part of the trick with tackling spots, reducing the redness and swelling really helps the skin heal better post-spot," she adds. 

Highly commended: 

Codex Labs Shaant Spot Hero

Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin

Winner: Meder Equa-Derm Cream 

If you're still in camp "I don't need a moisturiser because I have oily skin" then allow this product to change your mind. That's because it gives your skin all of the hydration it needs whilst never giving the greasy feeling that other moisturisers can. "Its innovative ingredients, and eco-conscious packaging make it a standout choice for oily and acne-prone skin," judge Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, Founder & Medical Director at Adonia Medical Clinic, notes. 

Best Moisturiser for Dry Skin

Winner: The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Day Cream 

The Body Shop never fails to let us down with lovely formulas, sustainable efforts and affordable price points, making everyday products a delight to use. "A true icon, this is a product I return to time and time again and one that lots of people have a place in their heart for," says judge and journalist Rose Gallagher. "This is a cult classic for a reason," says judge and content creator Ola Awosika. "The formulation is great, the texture is lightweight and nourishing and my skin felt amazing after use and lasted all day!" 

Highly commended: 

Beauty Pie Shinkai Electrolyte Drench 3-in-1 Deep Hydrating Gel Cream  

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides

Best Product for Acne-prone Skin

Winner: OSKIA Violet Water Treatment Tonic

Any preconceptions you had about toners and tonic waters will be forgotten when using this. Oskia's Violet Water Tonic is hard-working treatment for blemish-prone skin without any of the harsh ingredients or drying nature. It works to deeply unclog pores and balance oil production, whilst giving the skin some much-needed hydration too. Judge and Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, Shannon Lawlor really liked this product and already counts it among her skincare heroes: "I'm a low-fuss kind of girl, so it takes a lot for me to add a toner into my routine. This one, however, is so good that I actually looked forward to using it every evening. The combination of colloidal silver and salicylic acid noticeably reduced the appearance of my stubborn blackheads while maintaining glow. It's a feat."

Highly commended:                

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+M

Best Natural Formula

Winner: INIKA Organic Hyaluronic Hydration Complex

One of the key indicators of a good hydration serum is that it feels really great on the skin; comforting and instantly relieving dryness and irritation. That's exactly what this serum achieves. Our judges noted how lovely it felt on and how much they enjoyed using it. But of course, experience isn't everything. It has to be results-driven, too, which luckily this is. "My skin was visably plumper after the first use," says judge and nutritionist Michaella Mazzoni

Best Rosacea Product

Winner: Paula's Choice CALM Repairing Serum 

A rosacea product can be a tricky formula to nail, but leave it to Paula's Choice to do just that. "A joy to use, never irritated my skin, kept it feeling comfortable. I'll continue to use this post-judging," says judge Rose Gallagher. Beauty journalist, Tori Crowther, agreed, "this will remain a staple in my routine, I found that it was a real asset to my routine and works brilliantly for calming and soothing my rosacea. It worked alongside my other products seamlessly and great with my make-up routine, too." 

Highly commended: 

Cultured Biomecare Biome-Calm Cream

Best Moisturiser for Ageing Skin

Winner: Lancôme Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream

Judge Karen Williams, Fashion and Lifestyle Stylist, Presenter & Marie Claire UK Contributor, sums it up: "Brilliant on all fronts." The moisturiser uses the power of peptides (over 300 types, to be exact) to deeply hydrate the skin, which in turn, helps reduce fine lines and give the appearance of plumper skin. 

"Everything about this cream is beautiful, the texture is sublime, and the look and feel of the skin after the first application is gorgeous. Soaks immediately leaving the skin immediately soft, supple, and smoothed with a stunning radiance. This cream pushes the boundaries of what peptides can really do for the skin," judge and skincare expert Fiona Brackenbury says. 

Highly commended:

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream

Best Base with Skincare Benefits

Winner: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Skin Tint

Bobbi Brown knows how to get a complexion product spot-on and this skin tint is no different. It works to minimise blemishes and marks on the skin with decent coverage whilst looking incredibly natural. "A product that simply beautifies the skin and keeps it looking fresh and natural," says judge and make-up artist Caroline Barnes.  Make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE, adds that it "leaves a dewy finish." 

Highly commended: 

Pixi H20 Skintint

Best Treatment Face Mask

Winner: myBlend Skin Renewal Peel

When you're spending a little more on a product, especially a treatment, you really want it to deliver great results with little effort needed and this does just that. "A superb product that delivers great results in beautiful packaging," says judge Andrew Wheatcroft, Skincare & beauty influencer.

The ingredients truly pack a punch, which "in the right hands, it can give some great results," says judge Dr Ahmed El-Muntasar, Founder of The Aesthetics Doctor and GP. However, be sure to not overdo it with this one. Remember: when it comes to actives, less is always more. 

The packaging also got bonus points, "the packaging is fabulous! Very heavy marble container, looks great in your bathroom cabinet," says Dr El-Muntasar. 

Highly commended: 

Marie Reynolds London Restore 

Best Collagen Supplement

Winner: Revive Active Beauty Complex 

When it comes to supplements and collagen, it can be difficult to know which to rely on but our judges were really impressed with this winner so you can shop with confidence. Judge and dual-qualified consultant dermatologist and nutritionist Dr Thivi Maruthappu, says "I really enjoyed using this product—it was very tasty and has an excellent ingredients profile." Judge Michaella Mazzoni was also impressed with the ingredients and the amount of collagen included. 

Best Skincare Supplement

Winner: Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C  

Judge and Marie Claire UK's beauty & style director, Lisa Oxenham, dubbed this: "A clear winner." Do you need more convincing than that? 

Most of us are lacking in vitamin C so staying on top of it with a fantastic supplement can help keep our immune system in shape, particularly as we head into winter. Judge Dr Kemi Fabusiwa is also a fan of the product, "great combination of vitamin C to maximise efficacy." 

Highly commended: 

HUM Nutrition Daily Cleanse