There are an estimated 25,000 skincare brands globally – and growing. This makes it near-on impossible to distinguish the best skincare brands from the average or poor.
It can also be confusing because so many of these skincare brands are part of larger corporations.
The L’Oreal Group, for instance, owns Lancome, YSL, Kiehl’s, Biotherm, Shu Uemura, IT Cosmetics, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Skinceuticals, and CeraVe to name a few.
At mamabella, we’ve tried and tested many of the best skincare brands to ensure that they do as they promise.
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We’ve also spoken to skincare experts to breakdown the ingredients that are worth looking for, and which are marketing BS. You can read more in our guide to How we test skincare to see if it lives up to its claims as well are The science of moisturiser? guide.
From this we’ve learned that skincare doesn’t have to cost the Earth and there really is something for all skin types and all budgets.
To help you navigate this often complex and confusion skincare minefield, we’ve combined the results from all of our various group tests and reviews to bring you what we consider to be the best skincare brands that are worth your money (and time).
We’re previously selected the best cheap makeup brands, if that’s something you’re interested in, too.
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Why we love it: When it comes to great skincare, backed by effective clinical technology and underpinned by the most cutting-edge science, you don’t get any better than The Ordinary.
This is before we even factor just how cheap it is.
We’d happily pay five times as much for the results we get from The Ordinary range and we just love how much of a humble brand it is, offering pioneering and honest skincare. The Ordinary is a brand from DECIEM which is an umbrella of brands focused on advanced functional beauty.
At mamabella we LOVE this brand, it trumps all in skincare and we’ve recently dedicated a Brand Spotlight to it, as well as created an entire guide to The best The Ordinary products for all your skincare concerns – from large pores to redness, wrinkles and acne.
Why we love it: L’Oreal Paris has been creating effective skincare for more 30 years. It’s a firm favourite for millions consumers (us included!) and it comes with a great high-street price to match. Boots, Superdrug and even supermarkets supply L’Oreal Paris meaning it’s within easy reach.
What’s more, L’Oreal Paris Elvive scores highly on the sustainability front having recently announced plans to recycle 100% of it bottles to save 7,000 tonnes of plastic.
Why we love it: Another affordable effective skincare brand. The Inkey List’s founders believe that knowledge is power and they wanted to understand more about their skin before creating The Inkey List in 2018.
In just its second year, the brand has transformed what it means to be a beauty, skincare – and more recently a haircare – brand today, with digital and online services making it even easier to get products that are just right for you.
It even has a live chat tool called #askInkey where you can get personalised skincare advice at any time of the day, direct from experts. It really is one of the best skincare brands around.
Why we love it: There are times our skin just needs to be looked after, and keeping things simple is the key.
CeraVe was developed in 2005 by dermatologists who wanted to enrich skincare with a blend of three essential ceramides, fatty acids and other lipids.
These all help repair and strengthen your skin. We reach out for this when our skin needs a little TLC, especially when we’re suffering from hangover skin – and the brand offers great protection without costing you a fortune.
Why we love it: La Roche-Posay’s mission is “a better life for sensitive skin” and all of its products have been tested on sensitive skin types.
For the past 30 years, La Roche-Posay has partnered with dermatologists to develop skincare products that don’t sacrifice on quality in the pursuit of gentleness.
With a reasonable price tag under the La Roche-Posay belt, we can’t fault this and it deserved a spot in our best skincare brands guide.
Why we love it: Elemis is most well-known for gracing the treatment menus and shelves of high-end spas and with more than 30 years of expertise, this British skincare brand was created to have ‘truth in beauty.’
Elemis is passionate about taking care of skin and, although the price range can be on the higher end of the spectrum when compared to others in this list of the best skincare brands, we would say it’s worth it.
Why we love it: Nivea has more than 100 years experience in skincare, with its first Nivea Creme being developed as far back as 1911.
In that time, Nivea has developed innovative skincare products and we love that there is a wide range, all with reasonable price tags.
Nivea offers face and body care, sun protection, shower gel and deodorant. It’s a much-loved brand globally and we love it here at mamabella.
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Why we love it: Glossier was founded in 2014 with “real beauty routines” in mind, and of course, skincare should always be the most important part of any makeup routine.
What we also love about Glossier skincare, and why it made it onto our list of the best skincare brands, is that its offers sets that save you money.
These are the kinds of sets you can’t say no to, even if the prices are a tad on the expensive side.