Day creams are the knickers of the beauty world. Something we put on every morning, pretty much like clockwork. But of course, they’re not all created equal – some are your M&S briefs, others your Agent Provacateur luxury frillies... Nowadays, some offer SPF protection, shielding effects against pollution (and even ‘blue light’ from computers, in some cases) – while others simply offer a good skin drink. Personally, what we want from a day cream is a sense of comfort, an ease of application – and a good canvas for make-up. With these trials, we always pick testers whose complexions are ‘matched’ to the products – to give them the best possible chance of success. Here are those the testers rated most highly (including a ‘balancing’ option, for specifically combination skins, from Temple Spa).
GOLD AWARD - Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Defence Daily Moisturiser
If you’re unfamiliar with this skincare range, it really is fantastic value – and really is very good. (Read our review, for instance, of Neroli Firming Intense Facial Serum here.) All formulations, meanwhile, are free from parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum and synthetic colours. This almost qualifies as a ‘beauty steal’ – and it’s always chuffing when the Gold Award-winner is the least expensive product in the rankings. From her Vitamin C+ skincare range, powered by collagen-boosting ingredients and hyaluronic acid, it’s designed to brighten skin and give back its glow. There’s also ferulic acid, sometimes referred to as ‘the next big thing’ in antioxidants, to fight free radical damage. The slightly ‘radiant’ cream comes in a white, flip-top tube. On the packaging, you’ll see a claim for UVA/UVB protection – but there’s no measure of the level of SPF, so we wouldn’t recommend relying on it for anything but a cloudy day, FYI.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'A great fuss-free everyday moisturiser, with a texture between a serum and lotion. Excellent for moisturising, but probably best for 30/40 somethings rather than older skins (which need an extra layer of hydration). My skin felt smoother and looked fresh and brighter. My make-up went on really well. A great fuss-free everyday moisturiser, with a texture between a serum and lotion' • 'I’m a beauty snob and only buy high-end name brands so I never picked this up when I saw it, but I am so glad it was sent to me as it’s as good (if not better than) my usual high-end moisturise and less than half the price. Plumps my skin and leaves it smooth with a healthy glow. My husband said my skin felt lovely and smooth' • 'I like the strong orange fragrance, which is in keeping with the vitamin C. Sank in fairly fast and left my skin (which is quite dry due to pregnancy), feeling silky, smooth and moisturised. I’m now at the end of my pregnancy and people tell me how good I’m looking – I don't think this is due to pregnancy glow; it's the product. A well-priced, quality day cream' • 'I like the effect of this moisturiser, which is rich enough to be effective, but not at all cloying on the skin. It gives great nourishment to my skin. I certainly knew I was using something different to my usual one, as there is a pleasing lift to my skin. I liked the way it helped prep my skin for the day. I'd say the product has anti-ageing benefits as it gives a very positive boost to the complexion, and helps even it out, get drenched in moisture and makes it glow' • 'My skin looks as though it has been on holiday, but not parched – it's hydrated and radiant. I’ve had a couple of compliments on my skin – people have asked what is different' • 'The label says it may cause flushing due to the high vitamin C content but I didn't experience this at all.'
£16.99 for 75 ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD - Temple Spa Moisture To Go Balancing Moisturiser
It astonishes us – since so many of our testers fill in on their Beauty Bible questionnaires that they have ‘combination skin’ – that there are so few ranges out there which target those complexions with specific products. This winner does, though – a pale green, cream-gel-textured product which, as they put it, ‘takes care of skin that can’t make up its mind if it’s oily or dry.’ Fact is, all skins need moisture – even oily ones – and this can be applied to the T-zone as well as drier patches, featuring a complex called Combiderm, to absorb excess oil while hydrating dry areas. A hazelnut-sized dollop is recommended, from the pump action atop the slim bottle.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'I loved this product and will be changing to it from my usual moisturiser. It acted like a gel but firmed and plumped up skin like a cream. My skin felt calmer, smoother and less aggravated. Over time, my skin texture has improved and is less shiny/oily. I loved the calming spa-type fragrance' • 'This is one of the nicest moisturisers I’ve used for a long time. It has such a light texture and yet feels hydrating where I need it. It's a real pleasure to use – the scent and texture combine make for a really nice experience. It's particularly effective after I use a facial scrub; it makes my face feel strokeable!' • 'I have combination skin and this fulfils its claims to be well behaved on both oily and dry areas. I normally avoid putting moisturiser on my forehead as it leads to spots but this didn't make my T-zone shinier; in fact, my forehead feels less greasy to the touch. At the same time, it moisturises my cheeks perfectly' • 'This is silk in a bottle. I loved it so much when I trialled it that I bought more and use it twice a day. My skin is so much improved I can’t believe it' • 'I used this product on half my face and my usual moisturiser on the other. My husband said the side with this one looked younger' • 'I have seen a vast improvement in my combination skin with this product. It hydrated the drier parts of my skin and tackled the oily parts. My skin is definitely more radiant and clearer. It controls my T-zone better than any previous creams I have used; skin feels nourished and it provides a great canvas for make-up, too' • 'My skin was immediately softer, smoother and brighter. Over time it gained a lovely youthful radiant quality. My daughter says my skin looked more radiant. This is one of the best moisturisers I have used for years and I will be buying it instead of my normal one from now on.'
£36 for 50 ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) - Clarins Multi-Active Jour
An absolute classic, this – been around for aeons, and yet still won the hearts of our Beauty Bible testers in this most recent round of testing. Of course Mutli-Active Jour has been tweaked over the years as more skin research emerges from Clarins’s team of boffins; this jar of pale pink, nourishing cream now offers a plant extract called myrothamnus, from a South African plant adapted to ultra-dry habitats, alongside Clarins’s patented anti-pollution complex. There’s a light, floral fragrance to the product, while Multi-Active Jour is also enriched with ‘radiance’ pigments, for an instant brightening effect. Very welcome of a morning when you’re maybe not feeling so bright yourself, we suggest.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'I really have to say that I have never had my socks knocked off quite so much by any other face product and am so overwhelmingly happy with the results. OMG my skin is so bright and lovely looking! I swear it’s knocked off 10 years. All hydration issues are a thing of the past and no more crêpiness. My skin looked more healthy from the get-go and results have improved over time. It’s more settled and relaxed looking. Because it is better hydrated, it reflects light better and looks more luminous' • 'I loved the very fresh look of my skin, which appeared immediately I applied this. It made it look softer, smoother and more radiance. My sister is now trying it, as she liked the look of my skin. I love it' • 'I have had a lot of compliments on my skin since using this lovely cream. My skin seemed brighter immediately' • 'This product has reawakened my interest in Clarins. I really enjoyed the silky rich (but not heavy) texture and my skin looks balanced and hydrated and has a good firm texture. It takes a bit longer than my usual day cream to sink in properly before I apply foundation' • 'A very nice face cream, which felt lovely on my skin, was easily absorbed and faded lines on the side of my face' • 'With prolonged use of this product I’ve actually gone out and bought a lighter coverage foundation, as my skin looks so great so I would rather let it shine through' • 'My skin looked great from the time I started using this and continues to look better with further use. It has plumped out some of my fine lines and makes my skin appear brighter. It made my skin noticeably softer and the dry patches less apparent. My husband agrees that my skin looks better than normal.'
£42 for 50 ml - click to buy
BRONZE (JOINT) and BEST NATURAL AWARDS - Ananné Equilibrium Day Cream
Annané is an ‘eco luxe’ brand which is particularly well-loved by Sarah, created in Switzerland by neuroscientist Dr. Urs Pohlman, derived exclusively from plants or of mineral origin. Simple yet luxurious packaging, here – a tall, elliptical bottle featuring a light yet nourishing blend of oils and extracts of rosehip, jojoba, sea buckthorn, tea tree, cape chestnut, along with papaya leaf and centella Asiatica. Coenzyme Q10 also features, to promote luminosity and radiance. The ‘luxe’ nature of the brand is reflected in the price-tag, NB – this is quite some ‘skin-vestment’.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'This luxurious cream feels divinely soft and velvety. My skin felt a lot softer and extremely moisturised immediately. It absolutely enhances radiance. My skin looks and feels 100% better. Over time, my lines seem less and the little red veins around my cheeks are fading. People now say I don't look my age' • 'My skin felt quite a bit firmer on the side I used it and lost that dull winter look; it appeared finer and healthier' • 'My sensitive skin felt very balanced from first use and instantly moisturised. It didn't get drier or oilier or have a reaction, which is often what happens. I grew to love the natural, herby smell of this rich velvety cream. It gave my skin a velvety texture and pores were reduced. My skin definitely looks betters. I love my existing day cream, which is half the price of this, but I would still by Ananné – it's just gorgeous and I looked forward to applying it every morning' • 'My skin became soft, smooth and – as far as it can be – radiant. I enjoyed using it and I like how foundation sat over it. I liked the clean, grown-up-looking packaging and the well-designed dispenser that only allows you to get the right amount out at a time, avoiding wastage!'
£100 for 50 ml - click to buy