best skincare brands UK

Best skincare brands UK: We’ve picked the best skincare brands for all skin types and budgets

12th January 2024 | Author: Jenny Tai

We’ve handpicked the best skincare brands in the UK for all skin types and budgets that we keep coming back to time and again

There are an estimated 25,000 skincare brands globally – and growing. This makes it nearly impossible to distinguish the best skincare brands from the average or poor.

It can also be confusing because so many of the best 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 a lot of good skincare brands – as well as bad brands! – to ensure that they do as they promise.

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 is something for all skin types and all budgets.

To help you navigate this often complex and confusing 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).

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Best Skincare Brands UK

  1. The Ordinary
  2. L’Oreal Paris
  3. The Inkey List
  4. CeraVe
  5. La Roche-Posay
  6. Elemis
  7. Nivea
  8. Glossier

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best BB cream | Best moisturiser | Best tinted moisturiser Best moisturisers for dry skin |The best moisturiser for acne and oily skinBest toner | Best primer | Best cleanserBest eye creamBest anti-ageing cream | Best hand cream| Best foot cream | Best face mask  | Best face exfoliator | Best face oil| Best serum| Best night cream | Best SPF | Best Vitamin C serum | Men’s skincare routine| Best stretch mark cream

1. The Ordinary

 Explore the full The Ordinary range

Why is it such a good skincare brand? When it comes to skincare brands backed by effective clinical technology, there are few as good as The Ordinary. And that’s before you factor in just how affordable 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.

Our favourite The Ordinary products:

  • Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%: This serum is hugely popular because of its ability to clear the skin and get rid of spots and blemishes, as well as help control oil production.
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This hyaluronic acid serum attracts up to 1,000 times its weight in water, helping to hydrate and plump the skin.
  • AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution: This solution exfoliates the skin to get rid of spots and improve skin radiance. The formula also helps improve the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines.

What the reviews say: 

“I used Liz Earle for years until I was recommended The Ordinary, I just love it, it works for me, and so does the price!” – Elaine from Blackburn

“I am 22 years old and after being finally done struggling with acne in my teen years I was looking for something to soothe my skin, brighten it, and give it some extra hydration. I was skeptical at first but [The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum] has worked miracles on my skin. My skin is super smooth and looks hydrated and healthy and the tone of the skin is more unified. 10/10” – Sylvie220

“This [Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%] serum glides so beautifully on my skin, even putting it on is so wholesome experience :)! Not to mention how hydrating and nourishing it is, it has made my skin look way healthier than before.” – Cinderella

FURTHER READING: Spotlight on The OrdinaryThe best The Ordinary products for all your skincare concernsThe best The Ordinary foundation alternatives

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2. L’Oreal Paris

Explore the full L’Oreal Paris range

Why is it such a good skincare brand? L’Oreal Paris has been creating effective skincare for more than 30 years. It’s a firm favourite for millions of 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 its bottles to save 7,000 tonnes of plastic.

Our favourite L’Oreal Paris products:

  • L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler Serum: This is one of the best hyaluronic acid serums we’ve tried. It contains 1.5% hyaluronic acid, which helps to plump and hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. This is where it gets its “filler” name from.
  • L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Anti-Ageing Cream SPF2o: This moisturiser is great for helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It firms the skin and brightens your complexion. All with the added benefit of SPF20.
  • L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Masks: As pictured above, the L’Oreal masks come in different versions with different benefits, from detoxifying, to brightening, and exfoliating. Each one is made using natural clays to address various skin concerns, from oiliness to dullness. You can often buy them in a pack of three, too.

What the reviews say: 

“Love this! Great base for makeup and keeps my sensitive skin moisturised, leaves my skin plumped, and looks great. Fantastic value for money.” – Bevasahopper

“Been using [L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Anti-Ageing Cream] for years, and I realised that my under eyes look better than my friends who use other products!” – Nattip Boonthanakit

“Wow!!! I really like this [L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler Serum] and the price. No more spending on expensive products for me. My skin already feels so much better after just 2 weeks and I will definitely be using this going forward. I would recommend this product to anyone looking for quality at an amazing price.” – Sharon

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3. The Inkey List

Explore the full The Inkey List range

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.

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4. CeraVe

Explore the whole CeraVe range

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.

FURTHER READING: Skin purging: What does skin purging look like and how long does it last?

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5. La Roche-Posay

Explore La Roche-Posay full range

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.

FURTHER READING: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Cleanser review: Simply the best cleanser we’ve ever used

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6. Elemis

Explore Elemis full range

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.

FURTHER READING: Best cleansing balm: From Elemis to The Body Shop, here are our fave cleansing balms for taking off the day

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7. Nivea

Explore the full Nivea range

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.

FURTHER READING: The best body firming creams, lotions and oils that *actually* work

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8. Glossier

 Explore all Glossier range

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.

At mamabella, we have reviewed Glossier’s famous milk jelly cleanser, that is suitable for all skin types, and we also like the trio for treatment serums: Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid and Niacinnamide.

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.

FURTHER READING: Glossier UK: The best Glossier products from across its makeup and skincare range

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