face creams

Fresh faced: The best face creams and moisturisers for women (that actually work)

22 Apr 2024 | |By Zoe Gunn

Fill your bathroom cabinet with powerful products that are worth the investment

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Whether it’s repairing the effects of trying winter weather, combatting summer’s UV rays or hydrating naturally dry skin, great face creams and moisturisers should be a skincare basic for everyone (yes, men, we’re looking at you too).

But different concerns call for different formulations and, while we’d never swap our options for the somewhat limited men’s lines, more choice doesn’t necessarily make it easier for women to, well, choose. If the sci-fi-sounding ingredients and beauty jargon have left you more than a little mystified, allow us to cut through the marketing fluff with our guide to the best face creams and moisturisers for every skin type and concern.

Best all-rounder: Dr Sebagh Supreme Day Cream

Don’t have any specific issues to address but looking to keep your skin in tip-top condition? Firstly, lucky you. Secondly, meet Dr Sebagh’s brilliant Supreme Day Cream. This jack-of-all-trades moisturiser is blended with antioxidants and botanicals to keep skin hydrated and seal in moisture while also containing light-reflecting pigments to maintain radiancy. It also promises to protect against daily irritants, such as pollution, free radicals, LED lights and UV rays, making it a brilliant option for those who can’t afford to spend hours slathering on layers and layers of cream every morning.

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Best moisturiser for dry skin: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

For those with chronically dry skin, moisturising can often feel like a losing battle that leaves you endlessly applying face cream only for skin to return to its tight, rough state within hours. The key here, as with most things in life, is quality not quantity. It doesn’t matter how much cream you apply if it just sits on the surface without getting into the skin’s deeper layers. Luckily there’s a whole genre of ‘rich’ creams designed to do just that – and our pick of the bunch comes from Augustinus Bader. A Hollywood favourite among stars including Diane Kruger and Dakota Johnson, it contains the brand’s TFC8 complex, a patented technology designed to deeply hydrate while combatting signs of aging and protecting against environmental aggressors.

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Best moisturiser for oily skin: Oskia Violet Water Hydra-Gel

If you struggle with the excess shine that is a common side effect of oily skin, investing in a daily moisturiser that works to keep it under control can produce far better results than layering on mattifying foundations and powders. Oskia’s Violet Water Hydra-Gel contains Vitamin C, niacinamide and micro-plankton complex to create a great, lightweight oil-free moisturiser designed to tackle the excess sebum, redness, blemishes and pigmentation associated with oily skin. It also doubles up as a brilliant primer so you needn’t aggravate skin with unnecessary product.

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Best anti-aging face cream: Medik8 r-Retinoate Intense

The slick monochrome packaging of this cream may look a little intimidating but, trust us, this is as close as you’re going to get to replicating the work of your favourite facialist at home. Accordingly, there’s a lot of science behind this one. Built on a base of fast-absorbing hyaluronic acid, Medik8’s r-Retinoate Intense cream blends retinyl retinoate (a next-gen retinol designed to combat aging without risking irritation) with retinaldehyde (a Vitamin A derivative that exfoliates and promotes skin cell turnover) to produce one seriously powerful product. Medik8 has also packed in some ceramides and copper peptides for good measure, while removing parabens, artificial fragrances and alcohol, to deliver a cream which reduces fine lines, firms skin and effectively rejuvenates and moisturises.

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Best vegan moisturiser: Aesop Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream

If sustainability and ethical supply chains are high on your list of priorities when it comes to skincare, the scientific ingredients lists don’t often make it easy to deduce exactly what is in each product and where it came from. When it comes to vegan moisturisers, however, no one offers a range quite as extensive as Aesop and our pick of the plant-based pack is the Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream. Infused with antioxidant Vitamins C and E, as well as refreshing botanical butters and seed oils, it works particularly well for normal and dry skin types, with a matte finish that serves as a great base for makeup.

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Best SPF moisturiser: Shiseido Essential Energy Hydrating Day Cream

It may seem extreme but most beauty professionals will tell you that if a room is bright enough to read a book without a light on, you should be wearing SPF. Thankfully the growing trend for SPF moisturisers means you can satisfy your needs for hydration and UV protection in one fell swoop.

There are some brilliant options on the market but for suncare backed up with some serious skin science, Shiseido’s Essential Energy Hydrating Day Cream is hard to beat. Its SPF20 rating is enough to protect against all but the most extreme day-to-day sun exposure. It also contains the brand’s Hyaluronic Acid Red & Ginseng, which stimulates the skin’s sensory receptors to optimise its reaction to ingredients including hyaluronic acid, citrus unshiu peel extract and panax ginseng root.

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Best tinted moisturiser: Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF50 Tinted

Combining the best of Sarah Chapman’s world-renowned skincare expertise with all the coverage of a foundation, the Skin Insurance SPF50 tinted moisturiser is a one-stop-shop for great skin in a hurry. Packed with a whole host of patented complexes, including restoring Vederine, regenerative Celligent, and age-reversing Elix-ir, as well as optical diffusers to brighten the skin and blur imperfections, it even boasts SPF50 UVA and UVB protection. If you’re only going to buy one beauty product, make it this.

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Best night cream: Clé de Peau Beauté Intensive Fortifying Cream

Japanese skincare brand Clé de Peau Beauté grounds all its products in the results of its very impressive scientific research, the most important of which is Skin Intelligence: the discovery of the skin’s ability to distinguish between good and bad stimuli and react accordingly. Designed for overnight use, the brand’s Intensive Fortifying Cream marries this technology with its Skin-Empowering Illuminator, a patented ingredient developed to boost the skin’s natural power to repair and defend. The result? Fresh, dewy and supple skin every single morning.

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