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Best in Beauty: The Best Skincare Products 2020

I well and truly took advantage of slobbing it out at home in my favourite pj’s most days, hair thrown up, with not a trace of makeup on my face. But, I made more of a conscious effort to discover products that really benefitted my skin, educate myself on the advantages and disadvantages of certain skincare ingredients, and commit whole-heartedly to my daily skincare routines. I’ve even put a lot more thought into sustainability and my own consumeristic habits, and I’m really happy to say that a good portion of my beauty stash and all but one product mentioned in this Best in Beauty round-up are cruelty-free and/or vegan, too.

Best Cleanser 2020

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

When it comes to cleansers, I’m very much a ‘no-frills’ kinda girl. I appreciate a cleanser that does just that: cleanse. As someone who likes to incorporate a lot of acids and actives, I need something that simply cleans my skin, without the need for other ingredients that could interfere with the rest of my skincare routine. Added fragrance and perfume that irritate my sensitive skin is another huge no-no. (Why do so many skincare brands do that?!)

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser – my Best in Beauty cleanser 2020 choice – takes it back to basics with this gentle but super effective face wash.

Its balm-to-oil consistency works wonders at removing stubborn makeup and grime without drying out the skin. It leaves it smooth and soft to touch, perfectly cleansed, and not tight and uncomfortable like many harsher cleansers on the market.

Best Hyaluronic Acid 2020

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Hyaluronic Acid is something I’ve experimented with for some years now, and probably a component I will never remove from my skincare routine, regardless of whether I’m using The Ordinary’s or a product from another brand.

Hyaluronic Acid works wonders at hydrating the skin by attracting water up to 1000 times its own weight. It just gives that healthy, fresh, youthful glow, with fine lines and textural irregularities plumped and smoothed. It really is a miracle worker for dry skin, and those that are concerned with early signs of ageing.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 works on a multi-molecular level, with HA molecules of different sizes that penetrate the various depths of the skin. This brings hydration, not just to the surface of the skin like many other HA products, but deep down within it, too. It’s also supported by the addition of Vitamin B5 which works alongside the Hyaluronic Acid to enhance surface hydration even further.

Where to Buy Online

Look Fantastic UK*
Beauty Expert*
Look Fantastic US*

Best Niacinamide 2020

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc

The benefits of Niacinamide really started to gain some traction in 2020, with some of the biggest brands incorporating the ingredient into their skincare products.

I do think many skincare manufacturers jump on the bandwagon of slapping a new ingredient on their products just to honour the latest money-making fad. But Niacinamide is actually a super effective skincare ingredient that has a whole plethora of uses.

For that reason, I stuck with a brand I whole-heartedly love and trust for this Best in Beauty skincare pick (if it isn’t already obvious by the copious amount of times I mention and review their products, we’re talking about The Ordinary again, here.) But, on that note, I’ve been using it for a good couple of years and it’s still an absolute staple in my skincare routine, so I think that says it all.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc works to effectively:

  • Regulate oil production
  • Reduce congestion
  • Minimize pore size
  • Reduce the appearance of blemishes such as hyperpigmentation caused by old spots and acne scarring, sun damage, and age spots
  • Brighten skin tone
  • Reduce redness

Up until recently, I was using The Ordinary Niacinamide both morning and night, and my oily complexion was more-or-less completely balanced. I’ve since reduced my usage to just once daily, in the morning, to accommodate my use of Vitamin C and Retinol at night, and I’m still reaping the benefits without any reduction in its effectiveness.

The first thing I noticed when I started using The Ordinary Niacinamide, alongside regulating oil production, was a dramatic decrease in redness. I used to be so insecure about how my sensitive skin was so prone to becoming flushed, but this pretty much subsided almost completely after just a few weeks of incorporating Niacinamide into my regimen!

Where to Buy Online

Look Fantastic UK*
HQ Hair
Look Fantastic US*
JC Penney*
Skinstore US*

Best Vitamin C 2020

Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid

I have to give praise to my sister-in-law for my obsession with the Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C serum since she gifted it to me for my birthday last year. (In fact, it’s the first and only Vitamin C skincare serum I’ve ever used!) This bad boy, coupled with The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Suspension has been a God-send over the past few months.

If you’re sat there asking “Can you use Vitamin C and Retinol together?”, the answer is yes, absolutely! Despite a few skincare myths, you can use them together as long as you allow time in between each product for the skin to regulate its PH. I usually wait 30 minutes to an hour after applying my Vitamin C to go in with my Retinol. Alternatively, you could also apply your Vitamin C in the morning and Retinol at night.

Vitamin C is known for its anti-aging benefits and can promote collagen production, making the skin thicker and plumper while reducing fine lines.

My main concern, however, was some pretty stubborn hyperpigmentation that I’d developed as a result of old acne scarring and sun damage, which the Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C serum worked absolute wonders at fading. (I’ll be posting a blog post soon all about combining Vitamin C with Retinol and boy do I have some amazing before and after photos to share with you!)

Where to Buy Online

Victoria HealthVictoria Health

Best Retinol 2020

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

It’s a sure-fire sign that you’re not getting any younger when you start incorporating Retinol into your skincare routine (at least it is in my case). With the big 3-0 on the horizon for 2021, I’ve definitely noticed some age-related wear and tear in my skin, that I decided to knock on the head (well, slow down) by investing in retinol in 2020.

Retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient known for promoting collagen production and softening fine lines and wrinkles.

It’s probably no surprise to you by now that my retinol of choice is manufactured by no other than… The Ordinary.

The fact of the matter is, not all retinol products are made equal, and that’s evident with The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Despite The Ordinary’s humble price point, their Granatic Retinoid (without getting overly technical) contains a highly-advanced form of retinol which is actually more effective than nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinol. It’s also developed in a way that reduces irritation and skin sensitivity associated with the use of retinol, so as well as their claim that it works better than most, it is also a brilliant option for beginner’s and seasoned retinol users alike!

Where to Buy Online

Skinstore US*

Best SPF 2020

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+

I’m actually quite ashamed to say that, up until 2019, I had been breaking one of the most important rules of skincare way more often than I care to admit: To wear SPF daily.

But, in 2020, I made it my mission to make sure that I wore SPF every single day (well, almost), regardless of whether it was dull outside, or I was staying indoors.

When I first picked up the La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50+ (this is the ultra-light type, as I’m aware there are different versions of this sunscreen), I was looking for something that sat well underneath my makeup, wasn’t oily or shiny, and didn’t cause epic flashback.

So many that I tried beforehand were so uncomfortable on the skin, looked like I was wearing a mask of grease, and made my makeup slide. Not to mention the Casper-like G L O W it caused on holiday pic’s, shortly followed by a prickly red rash since my skin can be uber sensitive.

But, in comes La Roche-Posay, who gave me a glimmer of hope with their Anthelios Ultra-Light SPF. Although it isn’t the most affordable SPF of all time, it definitely ticked all the other checkboxes my finicky skin insisted on!

Non-greasy? Check. As the name suggests, this SPF is ultra-light and it sinks into the skin, making it smooth and soft. Perfect for under makeup.

No white marks or flashback? Check. Even a harsh flash is no match for this.

What about suitable for sensitive skin? Again… check!

In fact, clinical trials carried out by world-renowned expert dermatologists have been conducted using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios range on subjects with sensitive skin, and even sun intolerances caused by UVA rays. It was so successful that 90% of them recommend Anthelios for intolerant and sensitive skin.

Where to Buy Online

Look Fantastic UK*
Beauty Expert*

Best Moisturiser 2020

Simple Protect n Glow Hydrating Gel Moisturiser

One skincare product I surprisingly find difficult to get on with is moisturiser. Which is unfortunate since a good moisturiser plays a vital part in anyone’s skin regimen, regardless of skin type.

I picked up the Simple Protect N Glow Rest & Reset Hydrating Gel on a whim. I’d noticed that Simple had launched this new range dedicated to helping your skin minimize the effects of blue light radiation and, coupled with the fact it was on sale, was intrigued enough to want to know more – and cheap enough to know when I was getting a good deal, haha!

The first thing that really struck me about this moisturiser (besides the low price!) is it’s bouncy, gel-like texture. It’s so hard to describe, but it’s a cooling, lightweight gel moisturiser that gives a very smooth finish to the skin. It almost feels like a silicone-based primer, as it is so fresh and hydrating, but makes the skin feel like silk as if in preparation for adding makeup on top. And I can confirm that foundation glides over the top and blends like a dream.

It wasn’t until I did a little more digging that I realized the Simple Rest & Reset gel cream is actually intended for night time! Which was a shock for me since it has so many benefits when using in the morning or during the day. (Now I think about it, ‘rest’ and ‘reset’ kinda give it away. But in my defense, the sunny orange packaging and lack of the words ‘night cream’ don’t exactly scream “bedtime use!”)

The price-tag is a massive clincher, so I definitely recommend if you’re on a tight budget. But, even if you’re not, either way it’s a very lovely, lightweight moisturiser that is hydrating and smoothing, great under makeup, and when used at night-time makes your skin GLOW by morning!

Where to Buy


Best Chemical Exfoliant 2020

The Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution

If there’s one skincare product I haven’t stopped obsessing over and raving about, it has to be The Ordinary Peeling Solution. I keep back-ups of this little bottle of red magic and like to think I’ll repurchase indefinitely. I really do love it that much.

Think of The Ordinary Peeling Solution as smoother, fresher, brighter skin in a bottle. Just once or twice weekly for 5-10 minutes helps to unblock pores, reduce breakouts, slough away dead skin cells for baby-soft skin and a more even texture, fade hyperpigmentation, and brighten skin tone for a healthy, radiant glow.

Be sure to read my in-depth review of The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution, as well as the frequently asked questions for all you need to know about what it does and how to use it.

Where to Buy

Coggles *
Look Fantastic UK*
Look Fantastic US*

Best Skincare Brand 2020

The Ordinary

I’m sure you might of sensed a theme reading through my best skincare 2020 picks, and that would be my adoration for The Ordinary.

I’ve spent a really long time trying to find an inclusive skincare brand that a.) provides innovative skincare products that really work, b.) at a price point that is accessible to most people, and 3.) really works to educate its customers on skincare ingredients, their products, and how to use and combine them properly into a skincare routine that is perfect for each and every one of us.

The Ordinary has totally taken the skincare industry by storm this past year or so, becoming one of the most popular and most-loved skincare brands of 2020 throughout the US and UK. I’m actually really excited to see the brand grow, and try out more amazing products from them, and the Deciem umbrella brand.

I really hope this Best in Beauty 2020 post has been insightful and helpful, and that you’ve discovered some new skincare products that you’d like to try!

What were your best skincare 2020 picks? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments section below!

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