This week we celebrated the 5th annual Stylist skincare awards, which honoured the greatest skincare products on the market.
From body scrubs to eye creams, our 9 judges - from House of Fraser's director of beauty, Ruth Newman to celebrity facialist Su-Man - joined Stylist's associate editor (beauty) Joanna McGarry in carefully choosing the winning formulas.
Here, Joanna talks us through the selection process. And for the full list of winners take a look through our gallery though be warned, you may not be able to resist a couple of purchases!
“You know that moment, first thing in the morning, after you’ve scrubbed and kneaded your skin, but before a stitch of make-up hits it? Those fleeting seconds are when my skin looks its happiest – cheeks like a beach ball and smooth to the touch. It’s the moment all my skincare efforts (and there are MANY) are realised.
But still, I want more. I’m forever in pursuit of the next skincare great, not only to power my morning skin but in the hope of powering yours. Because, let’s face it: wading through today’s vast sea of skincare options can feel a tad overwhelming.
It’s this very sentiment that fuels the Stylist Skincare Awards – the only annual beauty awards dedicated entirely to skin – we believe getting your skin right is the springboard from which all other acts of beauty are propelled.
And, as we value your input just as much as that of the industry’s leading skincare experts once again we’ve bound your votes with theirs to award 22 new winning formulas (selected from around 1,000 entries), which you’ll find in the gallery below.
I believe in every one of them. And you do, too. We have 53,540 of your votes to prove it. Let me know what you think on Twitter, using #stylistskincare2014.”
From the best moisturisers to self-tans, you can click the gallery below to discover which lotions and potions we deemed worthy of winning.
Winner: best facial exfoliator
This cleanser-exfoliator makes mornings more manageable; jojoba wax clears clogged pores, while caffeine brightens skin.
Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser, £18.50; origins.co.uk
Winner: best body scrub
This warm-scented body scrub buffs skin before argan, macadamia, almond and rose oils moisturise. Expect the nourished limbs you’ve always wanted.
Garnier Oil Beauty Nourishing Scrub, £7.15; garnier.co.uk
Winner: best luxury facial exfoliator
Antonia Burrell, founder of Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare, said this gentle, baby powder-soft exfoliator was “super easy to use”.
Givenchy Hydra Sparkling One- Minute Glow Powder, £29.50; debenhams.com
Winner: best luxury cleanser
Our judges were blown away: “It left my skin feeling supple and smooth after one use,” said facialist Caroline Hirons, while make-up artist Kay Montano likened using it to “a top spa-like experience”.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, £39.50; timetospa.co.uk
Winner: best luxury body scrub
Splurging on a body scrub seems extravagant, but this is worth every penny. The almond butter, oil and crushed shells (they buff rather than scratch) are brilliant at brightening up winter-weathered skin.
L’Occitane Almond Delicious Paste, £29; loccitane.com
Winner: best cleanser
Before this hit the UK, it could only be found in Paris, make-up artists’ kits or online bidding wars. We’re hooked on its make-up removing abilities and skin-calming effect.
Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution, £9.99; lloydspharmacy.com
Winner: best facial treatment
It’s the specialised massage that sets Clarins’ six variations of Tri-Active Facials apart from the hundreds of others we’ve tried. Utilising more than 80 (EIGHTY!) rhythmic strokes to stimulate circulation, it delivers a blissful experience that’s about way more than piling on products.
Clarins Tri-Active Facial, from £65(Appointment time 1 hour 20 minutes); clarins.co.uk
Winner: best anti-ager
A higher concentration of Matrixyl (a powerful, anti-ageing peptide)a blend of antioxidants and salicylic acid work as one to treat;a myriad of ;ageing complaints. And ;you agree – it secured twice the amount of votes as its runner-up.
No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum, £24.95; boots.com
Winner: best luxury night treatment
Stampeding to victory with over 50% of votes, this can be found on most beauty editors’ bedside tables. Ground-breaking research into overnight skin purification means this updated serum delivers on its beauty-sleep promise. “It plumps skin and works excellently with a massage,” said celebrity facialist Su-Man.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, £43; esteelauder.co.uk
Winner: best night treatment
As your body slips into deep sleep, your skin works overtime. This can mean a host of new blemishes come morning. Handily, Vichy’s serum regulates sebum, calms skin and tightens pores to help you wake fresh-faced and spot-free.
Vichy Normaderm Night Detox, £15.50; boots.com
Winner: best luxury anti-ager
Clinique has redeveloped its already award-winning serum to provide twice the smoothing results as before, and fused it with enzymes to repair sun damage.
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Serum Smooths Restores Corrects, £42; clinique.com
Winner: best luxury sun protection
When it comes to sun-protecting skincare, we can be demanding. We want a formula that’s moisturising without swamping skin, sits seamlessly under make-up and doesn’t leave a chalky residue behind. This does all of the above, brilliantly. Better yet, the subtle tint means you can forego foundation.
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45, £26; feelunique.com
Winner: best body lotion
For a product that dramatically cuts down application time, this spray-on lotion doesn’t scrimp on hydration. The ultra-fine mist sinks in before you even have a chance to do the other leg, leaves skin soft, not slippery, and smells delightful
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Rapid Moisture Spray Lotion, £4.99; chemistdirect.co.uk
Winner: best luxury body lotion
This isn’t just a sweetly-scented body cream. With lactic acid to gently slough away tired skin cells, oatmeal to soothe and a medley of hydrating butters, this is sophisticated skincare for your body.
Bliss High Intensity 24-‘Heaven’ Healing Body Balm, £29.50; blissworld.co.uk
Winner: best sun protection
Incomparably user-friendly, this aerosol spray is non-sticky and non-greasy, making it the best option out there. Available in factors 20, 30 and 50, the nozzle is multi-directional so sprays from any angle. You voted for it in your thousands.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist, £15.99; boots.com
Winner: best luxury self-tan
St. Tropez is your self-tan best friend, which is why you’ve awarded it a Stylist Skincare gong for a fourth year. It takes just one hour for sun-kissed colour – leave it for two for a weekend-away glow. Or three for a Bali-style tan.
St. Tropez Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse, £33; st-tropez.com
Winner: best self-tan
Not all tans were created equal. Infused with hydrating agents and anti-ageing vitamin E, this rapid bronzer develops in under an hour. “One of the best self-tans I’ve ever used and it doesn’t have that ‘biscuity’ scent,” said Ruth Newman.
Lancôme Flash Bronzer Self-Tan For Face, £23; boots.com
Winner: best luxury eye cream
We adore its silky texture and geekish ability to dispense the perfect dose for both eyes per pump, but the real power is in its ability to allay puffiness and blur dark circles immediately, while evening skintone and smoothing fine lines over time. It’s the night-time equivalent of a luxury spa weekend.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum, £95; boots.com
Winner: best eye cream
When a late night leaves us with patchy, puffy eyes, a quick sweep of this magic rollerball is enough to deflate, wake heavy lids and camouflage dark circles (the yellow pigments correct the purple-ish tone of eye bags). And as if that wasn’t enough to wake us up, the cooling metal rollerball tip never fails to soothe.
No7 Beautiful Skin Dark Circle Corrector, £13.50; boots.com
Winner: best classic buy
The feather-light texture, the instant hydration, the soothing prowess, the luminous effect; we could go on (and on) about why the Stylist beauty team has bestowed ‘classic’ status on this cream. An all-round ace moisturiser that does exactly what it says on the pot.
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Cream, £42.50; dior.com
Winner: best day cream
If your skin struggles to behave, you can’t go far wrong in trusting Nivea to settle it. This day cream is enriched with nourishing grape seed oil to relieve that tight, post-cleanse feeling and, thanks to a calming licorice extract, unsightly flare-ups become a thing of the past.
Nivea Daily Essentials Day Cream, £4.49; boots.com
Winner: best luxury day cream
Targeting signs of stress, this breakthrough formula takes a three-pronged attack, reinforcing the skin’s barrier function and making it less vulnerable to stress-induced irritation. Make-up artist Sharon Dowsett said, “I use this morning and night. It’s the sensible side of luxury.” You rate it, too, awarding it 40% of the votes.
Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer, £29.50; kiehls.co.uk