It may sound like a cliché, but looking after your skin and finding the best skincare routine when you’re young will pay dividends when you’re older.
That’s not to say that if you’ve already got fine lines, wrinkles or have noticed the first signs of age spots that it’s too late; you’re never too old to invest in your skin, but if you’ve put skincare at the bottom of your beauty regime, it’s time to make it a priority.
This is because no matter how much you spend on buying the best makeup, if you’ve not created a balanced and healthy base to place it on, you’ll never get the best results. Decent skincare doesn’t need to cost the Earth, nor does it need to take up too much time. Plus, the more attention you pay to your skin, the less money and time you’ll need to spend on trying to cover up the areas you’d rather hide.
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Our mission at mamabella is to help you find the best products that suit you; products that have been tried and tested by people of varying ages, skin tones and types. As part of this mission, we’ve handpicked what we consider to be must-have skincare products for 2020 and within each of these Best Buys lists, we highlight a Budget Buy, a Luxury Buy as well our absolute favourite – what we call the Editor’s Pick.
To help you navigate the many, many, many slogans, scientific claims and marketing BS involved in skincare, we’ve put all of these leading products, from BB creams and moisturisers to cleansers, toners and tinted creams, below. Here are the best skincare products we recommend you buy in 2020. Oh, and drink more water!
Why we love it: If you can only afford one product for your makeup bag, make it this fantastic wonder cream from IT Cosmetics.
Firstly, it’s a CC cream, which stands for colour-correcting cream, meaning it helps reduce redness, brightens dark circles and generally balances your skin tone better than some foundations we’ve tried. Secondly, because of this coverage, this CC cream also doubles up as a foundation. Thirdly, both its moisturising properties – it features on our best foundation for dry skin list – and its finish means it can be used as a primer, too.
What’s more, it carries SPF50 and anti-ageing ingredients to complete the set. This isn’t a cheap product but considering it could feasibly replace three or more other makeup items, it’s actually an absolute bargain.
£32 | Buy now from Bobbi Brown
Why we love it: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better all-round beauty balm than Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream. Not only does it cover blemishes, but it also evens skin tone, moisturises and brightens the skin and even reduces the appearance of fine lines – all while offering UVA/UVB protection.
The addition of light-reflective pearls minimises pores, and caffeine diminishes discolouration and redness. Again, this is not a cheap skincare product, sitting around the mid-range mark, but is a worthy investment and if you don’t want to shell out for separate moisturisers, foundations or concealers, this catch-all product does the job for one single price. It’s our Editor’s Pick of the best BB cream as well as one of our Wonder Makeup Products.
FURTHER READING: What even is a BB cream anyway?
£12 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: La Roche Posay’s Effaclar purifying foaming gel cleanser – as with all of the products in the Effaclar skincare range – is great for all skin types but excels at tackling the causes of blemishes, spots, acne and oily skin.
READ NEXT: How to get rid of spots fast
As its name suggests, this gel gently purifies the skin, getting rid of impurities and removing excess sebum without stripping necessary oils from the skin.
The formula also contains La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water which helps soothe the skin, reducing redness and irritation, while balancing even the most sensitive skin.
FURTHER READING: The best foundation for oily skin
£14 | Buy now from Beauty Bay
Why we love it: Carbon Theory‘s Facial Purifying Tonic gently cleanses and refines pores while reducing redness and inflammation. It contains Citric Acid, which works by removing dead skin cells, tea tree oil to treat mild acne and prevent future breakouts and grapefruit extract to minimises shine.
FURTHER READING: What does toner actually do?
Why we love it: The cocktail of luxe ingredients in Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream plump, firm and reduce the appearance of fine lines, giving a runway glow to your skincare regime. Complete with SPF15, Magic Cream is universally loved across the globe and is known to visibly reduce the signs of ageing.
It also works wonders as a primer underneath makeup, for those who wish to go for a lighter look. It has a somewhat thick consistency when you first remove it from the jar but it melts into the skin and a very small amount goes a long way so you’ll get months of use out of this, albeit expensive, cream that topped our best moisturiser list.
FURTHER READING: The science of moisturiser
£34.99 | Buy now from Superdrug
Why we love it: Olay (or Oil of Ulay if you’re over a certain age) is an OG when it comes to anti-ageing skincare and our favourite pick of the Olay bunch is Regenerist Whip. It’s lightweight and smells incredible, using niacinamide and peptides to smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines and increases the skin’s elasticity. We often use this anti-ageing cream as a primer because it leaves skin smooth and matte.
£35 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: Absolutely packed with antioxidants and Vitamin E, this tinted moisturiser from Laura Mercier controls oil and shine while leaving your skin soft, supple and hydrated. It’s not cheap but you’re paying for this great combination of ingredients as well as the fact this tinted moisturiser comes in 15 shades covering a range of cool and warm tones. If you’re not sure which undertone you need, read our explainer on how to find your perfect foundation match or check out our full list of best tinted moisturiser brands designed for a range of skin types and budgets.
£8.25 | Buy now from Lookfantastic
Why we love it: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is packed full of Hyaluronic acid – an ingredient with the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making this budget-friendly cream extremely moisturising.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? The truth about the acids in your skincare
It repairs dry and damaged skin, while simultaneously protecting the delicate skin and helping to reduce puffiness and eye bags. You can read more about this, and alternatives, in our best eye cream guide.
£5.39 | Buy now from Superdrug
Why we love it: Not only is Nivea’s Firming and Goodbye-Cellulite Gel Cream an absolute bargain, it actually works. One of the main ingredients is a coenzyme called Q10, which has been scientifically proven to be a strong antioxidant which helps to neutralise harmful free radicals that are behind many of the annoying signs of ageing.
Of course, it’s unlikely to get rid of cellulite completely but Nivea promises a noticeable reduction within three weeks of use and we can vouch for this.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget