As ever, following this new round of testing, nobody ever, ever dare tell us that 'miracle' treatments don't exist. Our testers' comments definitively confirm that there are products out there which do indeed make a massive difference to skin, tackling lines and wrinkles, crêpiness and sagging. What we believe is that one reason our testers get such great results from the top-scoring products, though, is that because they're taking part in a trial, they diligently use exclusively one product – right through to the end of the jar, as we request. (Most also do as instructed and use it on one side of their face for comparison – complaining of lopsidedness, when a product is effective, and almost begging to be able to use it all over.) One of the reasons women DON'T see results, often, is because they're chopping and changing all the time. So: try these. Stick with them. And let us know how YOU get on with the high-scoring 'miracle' products which have so impressed our testers, once again.
Forgive the massive stream of comments below the product descriptions – and the large number of winners (scroll down for more miracle-workers) but we felt we just HAD to share them all – this is SUCH an important category.
GOLD AWARD (JOINT) Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%
First off, we'll share that this got an incredibly high score– 9.1/10, across our 10 testers. And as for the product itself, there are four tubes in this set of vitamin C-powered age-defier from the hypoallergenic, high-tech brand, which Clinique tell us is 'designed as a daily supplement to help visibly rejuvenate skin from the outside.' You mix two drops with your regular moisturiser, morning and evening, to help brighten and even out skin – but the results seen by our testers far exceeded that promise. Normally we'd like a product like this to be more minimally-packaged – why four bottles when one might do? That's because vitamin C naturally degrades when exposed to oxygen, so this squeezy tubes are a stay-fresh form of packaging that isolates the powerful vitamin C till it's activated.
‘My face was instantly uplifted after using this product. Skintone was brighter – even radiant'; my complexion looked even toned, wrinkles were less noticeable and wrinkles were less noticeable. I used it as a supplement to my moisturiser and was able to put on make-up after with no issues. I felt good after using this, which helped me feel confident. I would certainly purchase’ • ‘Top marks. This immediately gave my skin a brighter texture and improved more even skin tone. This is better than similar high end products I have tried. I love this’ • ‘I am a little bit in love with the Fresh Pressed Daily Booster. After the first usage my skin looked like I'd had a good night’s sleep, healthy and with a bit of a glow. After two weeks of daily use my skin looks more even, sunspots have almost disappeared and I can genuinely get away without wearing foundation and still look good. I love feeling like a bit of a scientist, measuring out the required quantity and mixing it with my moisturiser or another serum. It makes my skin very smooth and even so my make-up sits beautifully. It definitely gives best results with continued use. My skin looks healthy, even and is much smoother to the touch. Clinique says to use it am/pm but I definitely had to build up to using it twice a day because my skin felt sensitive the first week. So I just used it in the mornings for a week then went to twice daily’ • ‘Each day after using this product my skin looked better and better. More fresh looking. More toned looking. Brighter looking. Skin tone more even looking. I am a big make-up wearer during the week so I tested this with and without make-up. When I did wear make-up I found it applied nice and smoothly, and sat fabulously on my skin. I am very happy with the results. It promised to brighten, even and re-texturise and this certainly lived up to the claims’ • ‘Extremely easy to apply, even with poor eyesight, as you just mix two drops with moisturiser. The first time I used it my skin looked and felt much smoother. The texture was better and as I had acne really badly when young, I am always looking for something to improve the texture. My skin looked and felt much improved. It was uplifted in a glowing way, which pleased me, and was very comfy on, with no tautness.’
£58 for 40ml - click to buy
GOLD AWARD (JOINT) Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream
Long before she had her own brand (sales are now headed billion-wards, astonishingly!), our make-up artist friend Charlotte Tilbury used to have this product privately mixed up to use on her celebrity and supermodel clients. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that it's become a bestseller in the range: a rich, nourishing blend that includes a rather gloriously-named 'BioNymph Peptide Complex', floral extracts and hyaluronic acid, glamorously and dressing table-worthily packaged. In Charlotte Tilbury's own trials, 100% of women agreed that fine lines and wrinkles are reduced and skin was intensely moisturised for up to 24 hours – but let's hear what our testers have to add to that. (Do check out the application tips on Charlotte's website if you invest in this – which finish with her 'Tilbury Tap', a patter of fingertips across the face to stimulate circulation that's really super-effective.)
‘I LOVE this cream – everything about it is fabulous, from the beautiful packaging and nice smell to the luxurious smell and the results! I’ve had compliments on my younger-looking skin from friends and my hubby for the first time ever! My skin was softer immediately. After two weeks my wrinkles and lines are less obvious, my skin looked brighter and plumper, and my skin tone was more even. After finishing the jar the benefits continued. My skin looks fresher and plumper so fine lines are less obvious. My husband thinks the grooves between my eyebrows have lessened so I’ll take that one. Would I buy it? Absolutely, YES, YES, YES!’ • ‘Magic it certainly is. I fell in love with this product and would buy it for sure. My skin is clearer, brighter, softer and smoother, appears less crêpe-y and fine lines and wrinkles reduced. My skin looks younger’ • ‘I loved using this product - the smell is absolutely amazing, delicate but natural and the feel of the product on my skin is amazing; my skin felt very healthy and looked very natural. I had no hormonal (or other) breakouts during my use of this product. The product felt velvety, luxurious and sophisticated. After two weeks skin felt moisturised, soft smooth and plump – fine lines not so noticeable on cheeks, forehead and neck. Neck much improved for crêpiness and the necklace lines less pronounced. At the end of the trial, my skin looks bright with a consistent texture, feels velvety soft and appears plumper with fewer visible fine lines. The skin around my neck seems to have firmed up with less crêpiness visible. I am very happy with these results’ • ‘Love, love, love this product. My skin was immediately softer and smoother and make-up went on well. After two weeks there was a definite further improvement and skin was a little brighter, with some reduction in crêpiness, fine lines and bigger wrinkles around my eyes and forehead for sure. Love the packaging too; it looks fab on my dressing table’ • ‘This absolutely makes my skin look younger! It has instant effects on plumping skin and giving a wonderful glow. My skin was tired and dull and this made a significant difference to the overall radiance.’
£70 for 50ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD (JOINT) This Works No Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser
This isn't simply very stylish, in its cube packaging – it's a very effective 'miracle' treatment, our testers report. Rich and ultra-nourishing, the blend of naturals includes hyaluronic acid (we have abiding love for this skin-plumper), moringa oil and British-born crambe oil (from a member of the cabbage family, FYI), to nourish from the get-go. Retinol also features, 'time-released' to work round the clock to support skin renewal. As ever with This Works, the fragrance pushed testers' buttons: whispers of cedarwood, petitgrain, lemon and bergamot. Designed as a day cream – but you could equally use it at night.
‘This is the Holy Grail of face creams for me. My face looks so healthy compared to when I started to use it. After the first use, I noticed a slight improvement, and then my skin just got better and better. As someone with dull, dry, acne scarred skin I never thought a cream could make such a difference to my skin. This has improved lines, texture, plumpness and has injected life into my face’ • ‘I loved this product, I am trying to be sparing as I am soon to run out! I look forward to putting this on; the citrus fragrance, the feel and the results are fab. The packaging is quirky too! All around great product. Within 24 hours I noticed my skin was brighter and softer. After two weeks my fine lines definitely weren’t as noticeable. My complexion was a lot brighter in general, which really pleased me. A few weeks on, my skin is noticeably brighter and fresher, softer and smoother. It looks plumper so there is a reduction in some fine lines. I am conscious of what I put on and into my skin so the more natural the better. The anti ageing is a bonus. This is definitely more appealing to me than high tech synthetic products’ • ‘Within 24 hours I noticed plumper and more moisturised skin. After two weeks there was a difference in my fine lines and my skin was really hydrated. I looked brighter and more glowing. I really like this cream and it definitely improved the texture of my skin over the trial period. It is really soft and there is a reduction in fine lines’ • ‘This is a really good anti-ageing cream. After two weeks fine lines seemed a little blurred, the crêpe-y skin on my neck is definitely improved, generally my skin looked more nourished, clearer and brighter. After finishing the jar my skin is a lot brighter overall. A couple of light pigmentation marks have almost disappeared. Skin looks softer, which has made any fine lines look less. My skin is so hydrated and nourished that fine lines look less’ • ‘My skin looks healthy, bright and luminous with improved clarity. There is a big reduction in wrinkles depth and length. It promised to intensely hydrate and improve wrinkles and it lived up to these claims very well. I was concerned about using a cream with retinol, expecting sensitivity, but I had not problems with this at all. I’m very much enjoying the cool, light texture and the scent. It is a very pleasant cream to use and over time gives good results.’
£46 for 48ml - click to buy
SILVER (JOINT) and BEST NATURAL AWARD L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Crème
We'll tell you a little story about this product: when it came top in our trials, a few years back – with a score only a smidgen higher than this – it became a global bestseller for L'Occitane, and as long-term fans ourselves, we're totally not surprised. (The Divine range has since grown and grown and grown.) It's mostly but not 100% natural, and key to its anti-ageing powers is super-antioxidant immortelle essential oil – known as 'golden sunshine', flourishing in the grasslands of Corsica where L'Occitane sources the aromatic harvest. It targets dark spots and sun damage, evening out skintone, with the lightweight, velvety-textured cream melting into skin to deliver a radiant luminosity.
‘I am a convert. I have used this morning and night for two weeks and my skin has never looked better. My skin was looking tired, dull and lack lustre but after using this cream it appeared more plump and fresh and even. Even my husband noticed the difference in my skin and had the nerve to ask me if I’d had ‘any of that rubbish injected into my cheeks’. I should have been insulted but I can only put the effect down this cream. I also met people I hadn’t seen for 20 years recently and three of the women asked me what moisturiser I used, as I hadn’t aged at all! I’ve never that response before. So I’m saving up to buy more!’ • ‘I like this cream very much. Within 24 hours, my skin was nicely plump, soft and hydrated. After two weeks se, it looked brighter and healthier. The improvements continued over the trial period and my skin is also definitely less crêpe-y. It's a pleasure to use and because its so rich, less if more. It lasts really well as so little is required’ • ‘I really notice a difference using this cream. I love the smell and the luxurious texture. My skin is more hydrated and so looks brighter. It is definitely softer to the touch. Fine lines are slightly reduced. I love this as a night cream for my sensitive dry skin. If I use it in the morning I need to use very little and leave it to sink in before applying foundation’ • ‘My skin looks much brighter and more youthful and I have received compliments that I was looking good. My skin most definitely looks younger, skin is more radiant, plumper, much softer and there is definitely a reduction in fine lines, even bigger wrinkles slightly reduced’ • ‘I have kept a small amount of this cream to wear in the lead up to my daughters wedding day in August because it does make me feel special. After following the instructions to massage it on at night my skin looks rested and plumper in the morning. It’s so rich I feel it is definitely making my wrinkles less pronounced.’
£79 for 50ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) Cult 51 Day Cream
From a brand which does indeed live up to the 'cult' status of its name – Cult 51 claim to offer 'Revolutionary 3D Skincare' – this is a very high-tech formulation which promises no less than 40 anti-ageing benefits. (We're not going to list them here. We're just not. Simply look at what our testers experienced, below!) What we will tell you about is that it's a real multi-purpose, skin-plumping moisturiser and make-up primer, which also features an SPF15 for light daily protection. And as those comments below show, it puts on an impressive performance. (Interestingly, Cult 51 advise applying sparingly – if you overdo it, the product 'rolls' off, making it easy to figure out the correct dosage.)
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘The glass jar looks luxurious and a sweet little acrylic scoop is provided to scoop out the product hygienically; it really controls the amount you need – a lovely addition. The cream is rich but light and a little goes a long way, gliding on effortlessly. It definitely added a healthy plumpness, spring and glow to my face. After two weeks, I truly believe the lines on my forehead, including my frown lines, have softened and the crepiness around my eyes doesn't seem to reach so far. It acts as the most wonderful primer; make-up really doesn't glide on over it and doesn't collect in wrinkles, which it has with other day creams. The brand says that you can witness remarkable results for yourself in two weeks and I can’t argue with that. The wonderful feeling of moisture and squidgy skin seems to last all through the day’ • ‘Seeing is believing the ‘oooh that was the best night’s sleep’ look and feeling on my face. It is hard to resist stroking my cheeks as they feel so soft and smooth the weathered look on my red cheeks and chin has hugely diminished. I can’t ladle enough praise on this gorgeous fabulous game changing deliciousness for the results it has given’ • ‘I came to love this product, which made my skin softer, brighter, with more even skin tone. Fine lines looked smoother, particularly around my eyes, and creepiness reduced. I loved this cream, particularly the silky texture, and would buy it myself. I particularly liked the fact it absorbed very quickly so I could apply make-up quickly if I was going out; this sat well and lasted, and skin looked hydrated without any greasy residue. It seems to make my make-up look more “defined”’ • ‘My skin seemed plumper, healthier looking, and feels so soft. I got very odd looks at the supermarket checkout as I became aware I'd been stroking my face constantly whilst waiting in the queue! My fine wrinkles are subtly softer, reduced, my big frown line softened, dark circles banished and broken veins fewer. I do look healthy and young, and at a time of life when I could look the opposite. By the end of the test period, my skin is ultimately brighter and skin tone/redness evened out.’
£100 for 50ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) Decorté Environmental Day Cream
Gosh. The blurb for this positively made our heads swim, with statements including the notion that Decorté's 'Vi-Fusion's Aqueous Algin-Mesh forms an imperceptible, breathable barrier on the skin, holding onto vital moisture to create a lasting resilience', or that 'Decorté Cell-Surround 360° envelops cells with one of the most powerful anti-oxidants known to science.' What we gather is that this cream – from a Japanese skincare name 'approved by Kate Moss' – is designed to protect skin against environmental damage, lifting, firming and brightening. But honestly, just read on. That's all that counts.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘After using this product for two weeks I absolutely LOVE it. A a joy to use this every morning before putting my make-up on because it feels so luxurious and leaves my skin feeling super soft and bright. I noticed the immediate brightness because my skin can look very dull, due to being dehydrated at times. After using for two weeks, fine lines near my eyes looked smoothed out and much less prominent. By the end of the trial period, my skin is so much brighter, which I’m very happy about. It’s so much softer and smoother and there is a big reduction in fine lines. I definitely think my skin looks better all round’ • ‘My make-up has never looked better. I’ve never used a moisturiser this hydrating before and my skin has definitely benefited in terms of brightness, smoothness and softness’ • ‘Over the trial period, I saw a big difference in the brightness of my skin. It made my skin much softer and there was a slight blurring of lines. My skin didn't necessarily look young but I definitely felt it looked better than before using this cream. I felt much more confident when I wasn't wearing make-up. It was a lovely cream to use and I saw noticeable improvements’ • ‘I would buy this for the creamy texture and moisture boosting properties. I enjoy using it very much and saw improvements in brightness, softness, crêpiness and fine lines’ • ‘Initially I couldn't see what was special about this cream but in the first few weeks of using it I did start to see and feel a significant different in my skin. On the side I applied there was a noticeable improvement particularly in the mornings: the fine lines around my eyes and the deeper lines at the sides of my mouth were softer and less prominent. There was a definite plumpness to my face. Skin was brighter and some age spots had diminished. You only need a small amount to really moisturise the skin. I love that you can use it day and night. I also applied it to my neck and felt the crêpiness there was diminished and the skin firmer. I would invest in this product’ • ‘Top marks for this light oily cream that sank in immediately without leaving a residue or shine. I liked the light floral fragrance. My skin definitely became smoother and plumper, and looked more relaxed. Crow’s feet were noticeably improved and deeper wrinkles seemed smoother. My hyperpigmentation improved; normally it gets darker in the summer and this year it didn't. Fine lines were much improved, plumper and I saw a reduction in deep forehead wrinkles so they appeared smoother and relaxed. I absolutely love this cream.’
£170 for 50ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) Jurlique Radiance Renewal 28 Day Programme
Aussie naturals brand Jurlique have put on a great performance in these Awards – here, winning for a new two-step all-natural treatment which has done so, so well against other seriously higher-tech contenders. For the first two weeks, the idea is that you use a pearl-sized drop from Step 1, which gently exfoliates and improves skin tone and texture. For weeks two and three, you move onto Step 2, which smooths and deeply replenishes. The treatment should be 'pressed' into face, neck and décolletage – and you use it between serum and moisturiser, rather than instead of either of those. So yes, it's an EXTRA skincare step... Good for a booster, though, when skin is sending out a cry for some extra anti-ageing help. Key botanicals include shea butter, olive oil, willow bark extract, peach leaf extract, algae – a different combo for each of the two products, though.)
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘I really like this product and would use it again. It gives an immediate look of smoothness, which lasts longer as you use the product. My skin is not very wrinkled but does look lined when dry; this has helped keep the dryness at bay so my skin looks brighter and fresher – dewier as if it has just been spritzed with water. It helps with the lines round my neck and crepiness on my décolleté. Even my frown lines – I frown even when I laugh! – look a bit less entrenched’ • ‘I do feel my skin is more radiant which is exactly what the programme is meant to achieve. I would buy it, although the high price point means I would keep it for using before special occasions. After two weeks, my skin was glowing, skin tone was more even and it looked smoother and plumper, with less crepiness. By the end of the trial, the fine lines around my eyes did appear reduced and a few had nearly disappeared. My skin looked brighter overall, especially my cheeks. I liked using the cream and was happy with the visible results. My skin has a more youthful glow and appearance’ • ‘This promises to rejuvenate tired or dull skin and give an intensive radiance boost for a special event. It lives up to these claims and I would buy it. I don't know what it costs but I am very pleased with the results and I think it’s worth every penny of whatever it costs!’ • ‘Both creams smelt nice and I enjoyed using them. It’s like a little treat at the beginning and end of the day. Within 24 hours my skin was less flaky and dry around my nose and hairline. After two weeks, the wrinkles around my eyes definitely looked better and the groove that had recently appeared between my brows looked much reduced. My skin certainly seemed firmer and more hydrated and dry patches were completely gone. Over all I look better, less grey and tired. By the end of the trial, my skin looks much brighter – but more soft peach than shiny apple - and I look more awake. My skin is bouncier and when I pinch a bit it springs back. The lines around my eyes, frown lines and the groove between my eyes are definitely much less noticeable. Both stage 1 and 2 creams were a lovely base for make-up. This is a great product and really delivers’ • ‘My skin looked more nourished and smoother after repeated use. After two weeks I needed less concealer and foundation. This has taken years off me’
£60 for 2 x 20ml - click to buy