When it comes to upgrading our skincare regime, it’s tricky to know where to start. With that in mind we’ve chosen some of the most hardworking products to transform a tired complexion, from budget buys to luxury big-hitters.
With a cacophony of skincare brands promising to plump, tighten and basically leave you with complexion smoother than a Barry White ballad, finding the right products can be a minefield – and a costly one at that.
From the tried-and-true classics to those just hot off the press, us beauty boffins at Stylist have cut through the marketing spiel and cherry-picked 30 of the best supercharged skincare products to invest in right now.
Allies of Skin Bright Future Sleeping Facial
If your skin is particularly knackered, three nights with this should turn things around. This potent peel works while you sleep to speed up cell turnover with the help of glycolic and lactic acid, together with good old retinol. It helps sweep away dead skin cells and encourages the skin to produce collagen and hyaluronic acid to boost elasticity.
NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF35
If you’re stepping up your skincare regime, daily UV protection is a must. Targeting oily complexions, this mattifying moisturiser also protects against those damaging UVs with broad-spectrum SPF whilst helping to create a more even skin tone with ‘hero’ ingredient NeoGlucosamine.
Omorovicza Midnight Radiance Mask
Ideal if you’re dealing with fine lines and congestion, this contains exfoliating salicylic acid for a smooth surface and a rosy glow, while red algae and hyaluronic acid deliver a hefty hydration hit to plump out fine lines. Expect to see results the morning after.
Skin Design London C Antioxidant Glow Serum
Together with retinol, Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient in skincare. A potent anti-oxidant, it works to brighten the skin by tackling pigmentation and helps to protect and repair from sun exposure (which can do a lot of damage). Wear it in the morning under sunscreen to boost the effects of your SPF. If you have rosacea, it tackles that too.
Clarins Extra Firming Day Cream
This is your best bet for putting a bit of bounce back into lacklustre complexions. Its secret weapon is special plumping extract called kangaroo flower (yes we love that name too). Their scientists identified that the clusters of young cells that promote skin renewal drops by around 55% in mature skin – leading to a loss of volume. This special extract helps to preserve them to leave skin happy and plumped.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II
This beloved night serum is a modern classic and for good reason. Not only does it rehydrate thirsty complexions, but helps treat sun damage, fine lines and lost elasticity. This latest incarnation has been supercharged with a special algae-based complex to boost the skin’s own natural renewal process while you slumber.
LIXIR Skin Night Switch Retinol 1%
Retinol is a popular skincare ingredient and for good reason. Derived from Vitamin A. few things are better at boosting collagen and tackling pigmentation. However, sunlight renders it less effective, so you want to use this at night to ensure performs at its best. This potent night treatment is a good way of incorporating it into your regime.
Augustus Bader The Rich Cream
As one of the world’s leading stem cell and biomedical pioneers, Professor Bader channelled his research working with burns patients to create his unique skin care line developed to support the skin’s natural renewal processes. This cream works as a toner, serum, moisturiser and eye cream (which helps to justify the hefty price tag). It uses his special TFC8® complex featuring natural amino acids, synthesised molecules and high grade vitamins to speed up cell renewal for a fresh, youthful glow.
Darphin Lumière Essentielle Instant Purifying & Illuminating Mask
As we mature, our skin’s shedding process slows down causing congested pores and dullness. This 2-in-1 mask first aims to purify with kaolin clay, followed by a hyaluronic rich second-step to leave skin bright and glowing. A #selfcaresunday essential.
Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes
Stress or fatigue can take its toll on the fragile skin around the eye area. Infused with soy peptide and rice bran extract, this formula works to tackle fine lines, dark circles and puffiness in one fell swoop to leave you bright-eyed if not bushy tailed.
Take your humble masking routine to the next level with this clever gadget. Using an attachable sheet mask infused with skin-plumping plant and fruit extracts, this combines heat and T-sonic pulsations to maximise the ingredients’ absorption. But the pièce de résistance is the collagen-boosting LED light it emits. A high-tech facial that fits in the palm of your hand - natch.
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Corrector
This award-winning serum originally launched last year and is well on its way to attaining iconic status. And it’s no wonder. Use just three drops twice a day and in 12 weeks, you will achieve 63% of the visible wrinkle reducing power of a laser.
Pond’s Nourishing Anti-Wrinkle Day and Night Cream
Kylie Minogue’s beloved skincare brand has created the perfect skin-quencher for dry or more mature complexions. SPF 15 helps protect skin during the day while Vitamin B3 and white tea extract work to repair and combat wrinkles at night.
Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream
This deceptively lightweight concoction does battle with fine lines and crow’s feet thanks to a combination of retinol and natural bioretinols to firm and brighten without irritation. It comes with a side-serving of hydrating hyaluronic acid, all delivered via a cooling gold applicator.
Chantecaille Biodynamic Lifting Serum
Not only is this serum hydrating and skin clarifying, its key ingredient is the anti wrinkle compound, hexapeptide which reduces the depth of wrinkles by 27% after 30 days.
Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate
Liz Earle has attained her cult status by proving that natural based products can be just as effective as those of her hi-science counterparts. Superskin Concentrate is a blend of essential oils - including neroli, lavender and chamomile - in a base of argan oil that plumps, smooths and rebalances the skin.
Creme de la Mer Regenerating Serum
Creme de La Mer’s moisturisers have an almost legendary reputation in beauty circles. This could be to do with ‘The Miracle Broth’ - the secret elixir that forms the base of all their products. Combined with other powerful anti-ageing ingredients, this serum reduces lines and totally renews the look of your skin.
Dr Sebagh Instant Fix Eye Lift Gel
If you’re battling with sagging skin around the eyes, this lightweight gel instantly tightens and lifts. It stars hyaluronic acid – a humectant that binds water to the skin – and dramatically transforms tired, crepey lids.
Dr Levy Switzerland Booster Serum
For maturing skin, this is a worthy investment - what it lacks in jazzy packaging it makes up for in potency. Using an exclusive argan tree cell extract, it stimulates fibroblast-producing dermal stem cells (apparently the first ever formula to do so), bolstering elastin and collagen levels so wrinkles are drastically reduced.
Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream
This intense formula works while you sleep to regenerate your skin’s levels of Q10 and Creatine, which help protect skin from environmental aggressors - while delivering an intense moisture hit. Great for grabbing in Duty Free to pop on before a long-haul flight.
Alpha H Liquid Gold Ultimate Perfecting Mask
When your stressed, parched skin needs a hydrating boost before a big event, this new mask ups the ante with renewing glycolic and lactic acid, calming tazman pepper and softening shea butter. Pop on for 10 minutes for a post-facial glow.
Boots No 7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum
This now-iconic serum rocketed to fame back in 2007 when BBC documentary ‘Horizon’ subjected several serums to rigorous clinical tests. Protect and Perfect was the only one to live up to its claims that it repaired damaged skin and reduced fine lines, thanks to a star peptide complex Matrixyl 3000.
Immunocologie Oxygen Treatment Crème
A godsend for tired, sluggish skin, the secret weapon in this is the special Vital Oligo Science delivery system that mimics the skin’s own metabolic process to speed up collagen production and shift toxins, while delivering a hefty oxygen hit. Added to the mix are protective and reparative magnesium sulphate, together with lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate and brighten.
Algenist Regenerative Anti-Ageing Moisturiser
Those who have used this product claim a significant increase in skin elasticity and decrease in the production of melanin – which can cause discolouration. As if that isn’t enough, it also minimises fine lines and boosts the skin’s radiance.
Murad Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum
Pigmentation is a key concern, particularly for deeper skin tones. This new offering from Dr Murad works its magic on existing dark spots with plankton extract, while Niacinamide (B3) and Hexylresorcinol help prevent new ones.
Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask
If you want a home treatment that will give you luminousity in 15 minutes. this is it. The cocktail of potent ingredients, including extracts of Black Rose, Vitamin E and red vine leaf, immediately lifts a sallow, line ridden complexion.
Emma Hardie Lift and Sculpt Neck Firming Treatment
Emma Hardie is one of the UK’s pioneering facial specialists - she can totally transform your skin and the contours of your face through her skilful massage techniques. Using a powerful combination of actives and oils, this roll-on treatment helps to revitalise the often overlooked neck and décolleté areas.
Orveda The Prebiotic Emulsion
Working with the skin’s ‘microflora’ (its natural bacterial balance), this pioneering vegan formula works to replenish lost moisture and speed up recovery from irritation, harsh chemical peels and other procedures. Use it as a daily treatment, or weekly in conjunction with the silicone mask for a more intense effect.
When a product sells every 10 seconds and it costs less than a meal for one, you cannot help but pay attention. Originally formulated to hide the flaws highlighted by high definition cameras, Nanoblur literally blurs out fine lines.
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
A retinol-based night treatment is a must when starting a comprehensive skincare regime. This purse-friendly option uses a special retinoid active that doesn’t cause as much irritation as other retinol formulas. The result – fine lines and pigmentation are reduced, while skin looks more revitalised.