As much as I love makeup (and trust, me I really love it), skincare is the place to invest when it comes to your beauty routine. I'm not saying you have to drop half your overdraft on a face serum, but you do have to invest time, patience, and yes, perhaps a little cash, when it comes to curating a skincare routine that works.
So where to start? There's a whole lotta noise out there and it can be tricky to seperate the magic from the marketing when it comes to skincare shopping. That's why I asked the rest of the Cosmopolitan beauty team which products they genuinely couldn't live without, from face creams to serums and oils to mud masks, these are the holy-grail picks that we go back to time and time again, why? Because they really work...
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"If you want a cleanser that removes everything, from makeup to dirt and excess oil, this is for you. The low-foam formula dissolves impurities and leaves the complexion feeling clean - without stinging your eyes or leaving your skin dry and tight. It's perfect if you don't fancy faffing around with multiple makeup removers and just want a one-stop-shop." Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"I've tried so many sunscreens in my mission to find one that doesn't break me out. From oil-free to all-natural, they all seems to give me those tiny under-the-skin bumps. That was, until I found this ah-mazing formula by Drunk Elephant. Free from essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS, this SPF kept my skin happy and breakout-free." Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"You don't need to drop £££ to find the best moisturiser, this purse-friendly formula offers immediate hydration thanks to it's multiple amino acids, fatty acids and hyaluronic acid. It's non-greasy and absorbs fast enough for you to apply makeup directly afterwards. For under a fiver, you can't beat it." Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"One of the things I want most in life (apart from an endless supply of Dairy Milk) is glowing skin. Normally I can only achieve the glow I like from makeup but after using this decongesting face mask, my skin literally glows through my foundation. Packed with three different types of clay, it does have quite a tingling effect but it’s well worth it for the end result." Laura Capon, Acting Beauty Editor
“I LOVE Dr Hauschka’s clarifying face oil, my skin can bounce between being super-dry and super-oily, so when it’s on the oilier side I reach for this. Don’t ask me how it does it, but somehow the formula ‘balances my skin’ and brings it back to a happy medium. It reduces shine, calms redness, and actually helps to prevent breakouts before they happen.” Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"Hyaluronic acid is my favourite skincare ingredient and its the one thing I wouldn’t be without because it makes such a difference in plumping out those fine lines that are becoming more and more common now I’m in my thirties. This one by the Ordinary is the most effective you will find for the price." Laura Capon,
Acting Beauty Editor
“These two are my go-to for hormonal skin days. Once a month (without fail) I’ll get a couple of those nasty cystic spots - you know the ones that feel like you have a an actual grape sitting under the surface of your skin? Well this duo is the only combination of products that vastly improve my hormonal flare ups. I’ll mix a few drops of the Rose Plus oil in with the moisturiser, the high quality essential oils (including rosehip and jojoba) soothe and help promote healing, so they cut the life of those cystic spots in half. Instead of being plagued with breakouts for over a week, my skin is back to it’s former glory in a day or two.” Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
MV Organics Rose Plus Booster Oil, £77
MV Organics Rose Soothing Protective Moisturiser, from £27
"What started out as something I only applied here and there when I could remember, is now a staple in my morning skincare routine. A potent antioxidant cocktail that targets everything from dulness, to ageing to pigmentation - it might be pricey, but I really do think it's worth every penny." Gabrielle Dyer, Senior Beauty Writer
"Ok, hear me out, I know that this is a LOT of money to spend on skincare, but this is one of the best serums I've ever used (and trust me, I don't say that lightly). Why? Because every time my skin freaks out, this serum calms it down asap. From hormonal breakouts, to redness, dry patches or texture issues, this soothing formula contains an active, plant-based complex that calms skin, taking down redness and reducing irritation." Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
“Do you ever look at your skin in the mirror and feel like it’s just a bit bleh? Maybe it’s just me, but somedays my face looks dull, tired, and like i've been up all night - even though I'm a grandma and like to go to bed at 10pm. Whenever my skin gets like this I slather my face in Evolve's Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Not only is it 99.3% natural (which means it’s made up of non-toxic, non-synthetic ingredients), but it’s like a big drink of water for thirsty skin. Pop it on before any moisturiser and it’ll get rid of all signs of dehydration.” Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"Probably the best HA serum that I’ve found. You can really tell the difference between cheaper and more expensive formulas, and while I do recommend cheaper ones as an entry point into using HA (mostly The Ordinary), this is a great upgrade. I apply onto damp skin (I usually use La Roche Posay Serozinc after washing my face and apply this straight after – it helps it absorb better)." Lucy Partington, Former Beauty Writer
"I’m constantly surprised at how irritating make-up removers can be. My eyes are bloodshot enough at the end of the day without rubbing some stingy-as-hell solution into them. Nivea’s offering totally delivers on its gentle-yet-effective promise. It’s cooling on the skin and you don’t even have to rub at your eyes to break down stubborn mascara or layered-on liner. Oh, and what a bargain!" Cassie Powney, Beauty Editor
“I like my cleanser to do just that, cleanse. I really don’t have the time or patience to triple cleanse my face every day with a balm, oil, and then a cream. I just want one product that does the whole job (preferably in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea). NYR Rose Face Wash does just that, removes all my makeup, including mascara, and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean - with stripping it of all it’s moisture. Basic, but it works.”Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"I wouldn’t say I’m a loyal fan of one moisturiser, but I’m nearly at the end of this pot of creamy loveliness, which is a good sign. Recently updated with a higher hit of Immortelle essential oil (which boasts double the anti-ageing anti-oxidants of Vitamin E, apparently), I’ve had more skin compliments than ever, despite my Botox wearing off, having full-blown flu and not enjoying an unbroken night’s sleep in eighteen months (don’t have kids, kids)." Cassie Powney, Beauty Editor
"It’s pretty tricky keeping vitamin C stable in skincare, due to its effectiveness taking a nose dive once it’s exposed to oxygen. But there’s no denying its plumping and brightening benefits, so brands keep trying. This one is water free (despite its watery texture), and the vitamin C has a coating that blocks the oxygen-sensitive part of the molecule. My skin looked airbrushed after a week’s use." Cassie Powney, Beauty Editor
"I use this after I’ve taken my makeup off, I prefer something gel-based because I feel like it gives my skin a deeper cleanse. It’s soap-free so isn't drying and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight, dry or irritated. It’s really enjoyable to use, which I know sounds wanky but it’s true!" Lucy Partington, Former Beauty Writer
"I’ve just started using this and it’s lovely. Sits well under makeup, is a nice texture and absorbs into skin quickly. I think everybody should use Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C as standard in their routines and this is one of the best, most effective formulas out there at the minute but doesn’t totally break the bank." Lucy Partington, Former Beauty Writer
“I’m an impatient person, I like to see a difference the day after I use a product and no other serum works quite as hard as this one from Colbert MD. The formula is loaded with glycolic acid, which helps improve skin texture and tone, leaving my complexion clearer pretty much overnight." Victoria Jowett, Digital Beauty Director
"OK, so, this is spenny and I didn’t think retinol was right for me, and then I was introduced to this. It’s technically not retinol but is a type of Vitamin A and it helps skin to repair itself. It’s non-irritating (like some retinols can be) and suitable for sensitive skin. I use it every night and honestly, the change in my skin is incredible. I never want to be without it." Lucy Partington, Former Beauty Writer
"Nothing slays those final traces of make-up better than a face balm and a hot cloth. This one comes in a handy portable stick, and cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises in one simple step. It contains no nasties (synthetic chemicals, parabens or silicones) and smells like an expensive spa, thanks to all the nurturing plant-based essential oils Frances has packed in." Cassie Powney, Beauty Editor
"I can honestly say i've never come across a product that works SO quickly and so well. At first, I didn't really get it. An overnight mask, with the texture of a serum that claims to brighten, blitz spots and generally improve your complexion ten fold. This is one of the very few products that truly lives up to the hype - it does all of this and WAY more, so much so that the morning after I always look like I have just had an hour's facial. Its magical powers can be pinned down to ingredients: alpha hydroxy acids, natural enzymes, probiotics and antibacterial colloidal silver. It's truly an unbelievable product." Gabrielle Dyer, Senior Beauty Writer