Announcing 2021's ultimate skin essentials—our w&h clever skincare awards winners!

These award-winning products are the skin essentials you need now, selected by our judging panel

skincare awards banner
(Image credit: Future)

Getting the skin essentials right will not just boost your complexion, it can enhance your life. That's why it gives team woman&home great pleasure to announce that after months of rigorous testing and judging, the time has come to reveal our 2021 w&h Clever Skincare Award winners!

A skincare routine that works perfectly for your needs is a surefire route to looking and feeling your best. Our skin is the canvas we put our makeup on and using the best products to achieve a healthy, happy complexion can offer a huge self confidence boost. Investing in skincare can be expensive, so when you spend on a product, you need to know it’s going to work and give you the results you want—that’s where we come in. 

Our panel of beauty experts have tested each and every one of these winners to bring you 56 of the best skincare products. From the best eye cream to ascorbic acid serums and the best retinol creams, these are the ultimate award-winning skin essentials for every skin type and concern.

The clever skincare awards 2021 judging panel

Special thanks to our panel of judges whose hard work and expert insights made the woman&home Clever Skincare Awards 2021 possible. This year's judging panel included:

  • Pamela Marshall
    Clinical aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk
  • Dr Sophie Shotter
    Skin expert and founder of Illuminate Skin Clinic
  • Dija Ayodele
    Clinical aesthetician and founder of West Room Aesthetics
  • Catherine Westwood
    Group editor in chief, Women’s Lifestyle
  • Miranda McMinn
    Editor, woman&home
  • Sarah Cooper-White
    Group beauty director
  • Charley Williams-Howitt
    Group beauty director
  • Fiona McKim
    Senior beauty editor, woman&home
  • Stephanie Maylor
    Beauty editor, woman&home
  • Jess Beech
    Deputy beauty editor, woman&home
  • Emma North
    Beauty writer, woman&home

The award-winning skin essentials you need now

Serums

Emma Hardie

(Image credit: Emma Hardie)

Emma Hardie Midas Touch Super Serum

Best skin smoothing serum

Specifications

RRP: £58

'A well formulated "active" serum with equal amounts of anti-inflammatory ingredients. I like how my skin looks after use. This is a great product that is now part of my daily regime.' Pamela Marshall

Medik8

(Image credit: Medik8)

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3

Best retinol/retinol alternative joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £45

‘A more gentle vitamin A option for those who find some retinols too strong.’ Dija Ayodele

Monat Botanic Bakuchiol

(Image credit: Monat)

Monat Botanic Bakuchiol

Best retinol/retinol alternative joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £80

‘I really liked this Bakuchiol serum. It’s combined with humectants for a product that will be a good retinol alternative for many.’ Sophie Shotter

No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Night Concentrate

(Image credit: No7)

No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Night Concentrate

Highly commended retinol/retinol alternative serum

Specifications

RRP: £34

‘All the results of retinol without the irritation. No7 does it again with a great product to help us fight lines and wrinkles.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex

(Image credit: Estee Lauder)

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex

Best night time serum

Specifications

RRP: £82

‘A really lovely nourishing, yet lightweight formula. I know many who swear by this, and I can understand why.’ Sophie Shotter

Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Capsules Hydra-Plumping Serum

(Image credit: Elizabeth Arden)

Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Capsules Hydra-Plumping Serum

Best hydrating serum joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £75

‘Ideal for dry skin. These capsules absorb quickly, and leave skin glowing.’ Emma North

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex

(Image credit: NIOD)

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex

Best hydrating serum joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £25

‘A very good serum. It has a beautiful texture and sinks in leaving skin smooth and hydrated.’ Dija Ayodele

Katherine Daniels

(Image credit: Katherine Daniels)

Katherine Daniels Rehydrating Concentrate

Highly Commended hydrating serum

Specifications

RRP: £55

‘As well as the wonderful aroma, this is a pleasure to apply and quickly quenches dry skin.’ Stephanie Maylor

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

(Image credit: Ole Henriksen)

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

Best Vitamin C serum

Specifications

RRP: £53

‘Everyone should have a great vitamin C serum in their morning regime. This one is light, easily absorbed and perfect for layering with the rest of your skincare. The high percentage of vitamin C is perfect for brightening, too.’ Emma North

Root + Fruit Juice Boost Brightening Serum

(Image credit: Root + Fruit)

Root + Fruit Juice Boost Brightening Serum

Best brightening serum

Specifications

RRP: £38

‘As well as loving the fragrance, I was seriously impressed at the way this serum pepped up my skin. Dubbed a power serum, this is really the equivalent to a shot of caffeine, leaving your face energised.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Supplements

Zitsticka Skin Discipline

(Image credit: Zitsticka)

Zitsticka Skin Discipline

Best supplement for clear skin joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £36

‘I’d recommend this if you don’t know where to start with skin supplements. It’s a good all-in-one. A must-have for people who have acne.’ Emma North

Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Clear Biome

(Image credit: Advanced Nutrition Programme)

Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Clear Biome

Best supplement for clear skin joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £55

‘I think gut health is so important for good skin and these did a great job of clearing my spots. They’re small, easy to take and don’t smell – which a lot of probiotics do.’ Emma North

111Skin Reparative Beauty Dose

(Image credit: 111skin)

111Skin Reparative Beauty Dose

Best supplement for glowing skin

Specifications

RRP: £95

‘An impressive amount of vitamins and minerals in each capsule. They definitely restored some glow to my dull skin.’ Emma North

SPF

Katherine Daniels Daily DNA Defence SPF30

(Image credit: Katherine Daniels)

Katherine Daniels Daily DNA Defence SPF30

Best SPF for face

Specifications

RRP: £50

‘Perfectly hydrating and sits well under make-up.’ Emma North

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+

(Image credit: La Roche Posay)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+

Highly commended SPF for face

Specifications

RRP: £25

‘Protection, plus actives to reduce wrinkles and dark spots.’ Charley Williams-Howitt

Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray

(Image credit: Sun Bum)

Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray

Best SPF for body

Specifications

RRP: £17.99

‘Simple to apply, plus it smells lovely. Big fan.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Eau Thermale Avène Intense Protect SPF50

(Image credit: Avene)

Eau Thermale Avène Intense Protect SPF50

Best SPF for sensitive skin

Specifications

RRP: £20

Sinks in beautifully. Skin is left smooth, soft and protected.’ Charley Williams-Howitt

Tools

Foreo UFO 2

(Image credit: Foreo)

‘A fun, clever little gadget giving a different masking experience for every skin type.’ Sophie Shotter

New Launches

medik8 glycolic

(Image credit: medik8 glycolic )

Medik8 Sleep Glycolic Serum

Best new launch joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £35

‘Cleverly releases glycolic acid slowly into the skin, with no redness or irritation. It left my skin noticeably brighter and smoother.’ Charley Williams-Howitt

Prai MenoGlow Hot Flush Cool Fix Serum

(Image credit: Prai)

Prai MenoGlow Hot Flush Cool Fix Serum

Best new launch joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £28

‘A must for anyone experiencing menopausal skin symptoms. This clever product is a must for your handbag if hot flushes are a problem. Amazingly cooling thanks to both the formula and the metal roller ball applicator, it quickly dilated any redness in my skin.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Oils

Sanctuary Spa 10-in-1 Super Secret Facial Oil

(Image credit: Sanctuary)

Sanctuary Spa 10-in-1 Super Secret Facial Oil

Best does-it-all oil

Specifications

RRP: £20

‘Great price, great aroma and gives skin a great glow. Fine lines are plumped and it sinks in a treat.’ Stephanie Maylor

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

(Image credit: Biossance)

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Best Brightening oil

Specifications

RRP: £61

‘A luxe treat for radiant skin. The texture is so light that you can even mix it with foundation. Pricey? Sure. Worth it? Yes!’ Stephanie Maylor

TRUE Skincare Certified Organic Rejuvenating Cacay & Frankincense Facial Oil

(Image credit: TRUE Skincare)

TRUE Skincare Certified Organic Rejuvenating Cacay & Frankincense Facial Oil

Best organic oil

Specifications

RRP: £17

A savvy choice for your skin and the environment, with a light texture and beautiful scent.’ Stephanie Maylor

One to watch

Swissline by Dermalab Cell Shock Age Intelligence

(Image credit: Swissline by Dermalab)

Swissline by Dermalab Cell Shock Age Intelligence

One to watch joint winner

Specifications

RRP: from £75

‘From day and night serums and moisturisers to eye creams, the results of each product in this range really wowed me. Skin looked fresher, smoother, glowing and fine lines disappeared. A really impressive range that’s worth the investment. Top marks from me.’ Sarah Cooper-White

KEYS Soulcare

(Image credit: KEYS Soulcare)

KEYS Soulcare

One to watch joint winner

Specifications

RRP: From £10

‘Ultra-cool packaging, luxurious textures and effective ingredients. This range looks and feels so much more expensive than it is. Even better, it was founded by the musician Alicia Keys. Huge fan!' Fiona McKim

Smart Skin

(Image credit: Smart Skin)

Smart Skin

Best sustainable brand joint winner

Specifications

RRP: From £24

‘A simple, yet effective skincare regime with impressive eco credentials. The brand is natural, vegan and sustainable with lovely luxe formulas that have achieved COSMOS certification. Great plastic-free packaging, too.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Weleda Hydrating Prickly Pear Cactus Facial Care

(Image credit: Weleda)

Weleda Hydrating Prickly Pear Cactus Facial Care

Best sustainable brand joint winner

Specifications

RRP: From £14.95

‘I love Weleda. The biodynamic farming methods. The eco packaging. It’s a great brand and this new ultra-hydrating face care range is as good as it gets.’ Sarah Cooper-White

Orlaya Skin DermaDeep RF Pro

(Image credit: Orlaya)

Orlaya Skin DermaDeep RF Pro

Innovation in skincare joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £499

‘This is my new favourite radio frequency home-use device. It is able to safely heat the tissue close to a level we would in-clinic, which will deliver superior results. Comfortable to use and clinically effective.’ Sophie Shotter

Skin + Me Daily Doser

(Image credit: Skin + Me)

Skin + Me Daily Doser

Innovation in skincare joint winner

Specifications

RRP: £19.99

‘Uses prescription ingredients in a formula that doesn’t need an in-clinic consultation, just a virtual one. Totally bespoke, depending on needs, while still allowing skin to be assessed.’ Sophie Shotter 

Moisturisers

L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream

(Image credit: L'Occitane)