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A good anti-ageing routine needs a round-the-clock approach, but with so many day and night creams on the market, which are actually worth parting money for?
Finding out was a challenge we set for our Real Beauty Awards and our panel of reader testers.
It’s a simple process – we handpick the latest launches, and send five of each out to our eager real women testers.
They tested them for a month, and reported back on any effects they saw in the mirror. Here are the ones that impressed our testers the most.
Premium day cream
WINNER: Clarins Nutri-Lumière Day, buy it here for £90
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This cream, designed for mature skin, made a real anti-ageing difference as well as being a sumptuous moisturiser.
Tester says: “I felt a “glow” in my skin and I saw a definite reduction in fine lines after a few weeks. I was concerned they would return if I didn't continue using this, so I will and I anticipate they will reduce even more! Yes, it is expensive, but well worth the money! People asked what I was using as it was a significant improvement in my skin.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: This Works My Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser, buy it here for £50
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All but one tester rated this ‘excellent’ for hydration and ‘very good’ for its anti-wrinkle effect.
Tester says: “All my lines have reduced in depthness and that gave me a refreshed and (I hope) more youthful look. I have actually been asked three times whether I've been on holiday as I apparently look very fresh faced and relaxed. I think that's from the cream as I have not been away! This has been the first product ever that ticks all the boxes for me.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Lancȏme Rénergie Multi-Lift Ultra SPF 20, buy it here for £68.50
This was a treat to apply, and one that scored well for radiance, plumping and smoothing.
Tester says: ‘“You can tell this was a top-end luxury moisturiser – my skin feels smooth and glowing. My mum said how radiant my skin was. I had been considering having fillers but this cream has certainly plumped my face up a treat!”
Mass market day cream (under £40)
WINNER: Bharti Vyas Daily Defence Moisturiser with SPF 20, buy it here for £14.99
The celebrity facialist’s day cream gave the majority of our testers a professional boost.
Tester says: “This product made my skin so soft all day. I have crows feet and don’t feel that they are as noticeable now. It even reduced my eye bags, I love it. My husband keeps asking me what I have done differently.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Mavala Nutri-Elixir Anti-Age Nutrition Ultimate Cream, buy it here for £27
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Most testers reported glowing skin, and its biggest fans simply couldn’t get enough of it.
Tester says: “My wrinkles and fine lines look like they have been very much smoothed out. In harsh daylight there was a very noticeable improvement, and this gave me a much needed boost to my confidence. It gave me a much more even skin tone, my skin was very obviously plumper. My skin looked younger and more healthy.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Q+A Collagen Face Cream, buy it here for £12
All but one tester would keep using this bargain find – “a grafter” as one tester put it.
Tester says: “This lovely cream did such a super job of keeping my skin hydrated all day, my fine lines and wrinkles became so much less noticeable. My skin looked fresh and dewy – radiance in a jar, wonderful stuff! I often use a face cream that costs more than five times what this costs but I can honestly say this made my skin look and feel just as good as the expensive cream.”
Premium night creams
JOINT WINNER: Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Night Cream, buy it here for £42
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Every tester saw impressive wrinkle results from this “vegan collagen” formula.
Tester says: “Wow wow wow, this is the best night cream I’ve ever tried. My skin felt so hydrated and plumped in the morning, you could see and feel the difference so quickly. After four weeks my skin looked fuller and lines finer. People told me my skin looked brighter and plumper. My skin has never felt so good.”
JOINT WINNER: Emepelle Night Cream, buy it here for £175
This cream, targeted at menopausal skin, was universally loved by those who took it to bed.
Tester says: “It’s a gorgeous rich cream. My skin looked younger, and more luminous. My husband thought there was an improvement in my complexion. I loved this cream for making my skin feel plumped, and it definitely helped to soften my lines. It felt like a treat!”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream, buy it here for £70
Every tester saw at least some wrinkle improvement from this retinol formula.
Tester says: “My skin absolutely loves it! I've never had such visible results from a product. My skin looks healthier and more radiant than it has in years. Because it appears plumper, it irons out fine lines, making my skin look younger. Friends have asked what my secret is! They say I look about 10 years younger – probably exaggerating, but hey, I'll take it!”
Mass market night creams (under £40)
WINNER: Prai Platinum Firm & Lift Night Cream, buy it here for £35
Every tester saw their lines smoothed out and got compliments on their skin.
Tester says: “My skin appeared plumper and more hydrated immediately, and over four weeks my fine lines were much improved. My skin appeared brighter and more plump. Some colleagues said I looked ‘glowing’ and ‘fresh’. A really nice night cream, I love it.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Garnier Organic Anti-Ageing Lavandin Sleeping Cream, buy it here for £10.99
This rich lavender-scented night cream smoothed lines while it soothed minds.
Tester says: “I noticed my skin was more hydrated, brighter and plump. It felt smooth and looked glowy, fresher and less tired in the morning. My skin looked plumped and hydrated which made my lines less visible. I’d keep using it.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Indeed Labs In-Circadian Night Mask, buy it here for £24.99
Everyone liked this rich overnight cream and saw improvement to their lines.
Tester says: “My skin was smooth to the touch and my husband said it felt very soft and definitely looked brighter. After four weeks my fines lines were starting to soften. I’d keep using it – I have seen the short term effects so I can imagine long term it would get so much better.”
PS: Like the sound of these creams? You'll find some of them in our amazing Real Beauty Awards giveaway, where three lucky winners will be picking up £1,800 worth of skincare! You can enter it here.
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