Today we're revealing the results of your vote on 2023 in beauty, I'll be sharing my thoughts on everything and also the winner of the giveaway everyone was entered into for participating!
The winner of the £50 Cult Beauty e-gift card is Gwen Anna! The winner has been contacted via email.
YOUR FAVOURITE AFFORDABLE SKINCARE BRAND OF 2023 WAS... THE ORDINARY
By the skin of its teeth, the Ordinary has once again been named your favourite affordable skincare brand! Inflationary increases have driven up the prices of some of their formulas, but they've kind of countered this by releasing formulas in 2023 that are more complex and go far beyond their original line of 'single active' serums. I also think that many of their classic products are formulas you're all repurchasing time and again. Compared to everything else on the market, these products are still affordable, contain the most proven active ingredients and come with simple formulations to suit most skin types, so I'm not surprised they're still topping this poll.
There were a few of brands that just fell shy of the Ordinary, and they were Byoma, the Inkey List and Geek & Gorgeous. Byoma is a brand that's really grown on me since its initial launch and they now have a bunch of really great formulas, all designed to support the skin barrier with the holy trinity of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. Plus they're likely stocked at your local Boots, as are the Inkey List. Personally, I think they have a core selection of really good products that are a step above the standard 'single ingredient actives' on the market, though I think some of their more recent launches have been a little patchy (for me!) So, I have to say what I said last year and recommend Geek & Gorgeous. Ok, they aren't the most accessible brand out there, but they do have their own UK site now and it's worth ordering online to get these formulas. From pure-form Vitamin C to retinal; typically-expensive proven actives are available from Geek & Gorgeous at a fraction of their competitors' pricing. Plus, they do solid basics to support those actives! So, if you haven't tried their products, I really do recommend you do so!
YOUR MOST DESPISED BEAUTY TREND OF 2023 WAS... COMMON SENSE MASQUERADING AS A 'NEW TREND'
Image via: realsimple.com
From Skin Cycling (not using the exact same products every single AM and PM) to Skin Flooding (applying hydrating products to damp skin, a tip that's been known by anyone into skincare for years), it seems every TikToker and beauty writer wants to have pioneered the 'next big trend' in beauty. However, in everyone's eagerness to coin a term the internet will pick up and run with, we've seen some quite obvious stuff made into a 'hot new trend'. You just need to give it a buzzy-sounding name to get us to click on a video or article to reveal how we've been doing skincare 'wrong' this entire time. It's a little tedious, so I'm not surprised you didn't appreciate this trend!
I have to agree with you all on this one; maybe we're just reaching this saturation point where most people know the basics, so in order to keep being able to share 'tips', creators are recycling things we know to make it seem like new information because in this attention economy, 'new' gets clicks and engagement. You also had a bone to pick with people demonising proven skincare ingredients (whether it's preservatives, retinoids, sunscreen filters etc.) And I do think this comes from the same place; there are definitely people earnestly concerned around issues such as microplastics in waterproof makeup, but someone screaming in a 15 second TikTok that your shower gel is toxic and will kill you is almost certainly looking for attention. It's way less catchy to actually have a nuanced, informed conversation around this topic. Plus, it takes more than a video of 1-2 minutes to convey that information.
YOUR FAVOURITE K-BEAUTY BRAND OF 2023 WAS... BEAUTY OF JOSEON
Image via: yesstyle.com
Honestly, I've not tried enough from Beauty of Joseon to call them my favourite K-beauty brand of the year, but their sunscreen is in my 2023 favourites and I'm even wearing it as I type out this post! It's just a brilliant formula and I've also tried one of their serums. Almost their entire product range comes in at under £20 per item and it includes all of the staple ingredients you want from a Korean brand. So, I'll definitely be taking the landslide vote in favour of this brand as a sign I need to explore Beauty of Joseon more in 2024!
I really struggle to name a single brand that I've been extra-loyal to in the K-beauty space this year, and I think that's ok. I've had a real pick 'n' mix approach to Korean skincare, with individual products being must-haves for me, with very little brand loyalty (other than to Tonic 15, which is where I primarily order from!) So, I've linked some of my posts covering off my favourite specific Korean formulas of the past 12 months, if you'd like to know more about my standouts.
YOUR FAVOURITE NEW MAKEUP LAUNCH OF 2023 WAS... MERIT BEAUTY (IN THE UK)
Image via: cosmopolitan.com
Merit Beauty is the 'quick, easy and elegant' beauty brand that's been gracing our Instagram feeds for a while now, but it only arrived here in the UK in 2023. Think multi-complexion sticks, blush balms, tinted lip oils, dewy highlighter and... you get the picture! Obviously, I have a skincare-focused blog, so I was expecting a 'natural', 'easy' makeup brand to be popular with those that engage with my content, and this launch won by a significant margin. The products are high quality, though I do think they could do with knocking 15-20% off the price, or just running more regular discount codes. That aside; the formulas deliver on what they advertise; quick, easy and natural makeup that subtly enhances whilst leaving your skin looking like skin.
Honestly, I have to agree with you all again! There were a few good foundation releases this year, but I do have to put Merit in the tip spot, due to the sheer number of products from them that have made it into my everyday makeup lineup. And, I don't think any of those standalone launches can top this entire brand that's right up my street launching in the UK after I've coveted these products for so long.
YOUR FAVOURITE NEW SKINCARE LAUNCH OF 2023 WAS... NATURIUM BODY CARE (IN THE UK)
Image via: naturium.com
There's a little bit of a theme here; clearly, the products we've had to wait for here in the UK have a bit of an advantage in voting because they've been so anticipated. But also, it means they've delivered on the hype. You chose the Naturium body care line as your favourite new launch of 2023 and - unless you're new around here - I'm sure you know I'm a massive fan of this range. It brings the ingredients you look out for in your facial skincare to the body care world, at a really great price-point; whether that's skin barrier boosting body creams, salicylic acid washes to fight acne on the body or glycolic acid washes to reduce the appearance of KP and other dry skin issues. I loved this launch and I'm glad you did too!
I actually have to say that for me it was a tie between the Naturium body care and the Ultra Violette Fave Fluid Ultra Light Skin Screen SPF 50+*, so let's talk about that formula too! It's an almost water-light sunscreen with a high level of broad spectrum protection. It vanishes so effortlessly into the skin, with no greasy finish. It's so easy to apply and reapply throughout the day, which is really what's important in a sunscreen; you kind of want it to be as quick and easy as possible and so light you could forget you're wearing anything. And this sunscreen is one of the best examples of that kind of formula on the market right now.
YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTY TREND OF 2023 WAS... HYBRID SKINCARE-MAKEUP PRODUCTS
Image via: beautybay.com
Your favourite trend of the year was the rise in beauty products that fuse together skincare and makeup, which is funny because I am working on a post featuring my favourites in this category, which I'll link below once it's live. But, I love this trend too; if we can get skincare benefits out of our makeup, that's a great added extra, and hybrid products make your routine quicker and easier by bringing separate steps into one. And, I think it also ties into the fact that people who are into skincare tend to go for lighter makeup, so a tinted skincare product covers both bases. Long may skincare-makeup hybrids continue!
I think my personal favourite (which also garnered a fair few votes) has to be the boom in body care. I pretty much had a body care routine right out of the womb! I had eczema as a child, and even as I grew out of it, I always had very dry skin that would need daily moisturising. And from KP to body acne, there are all sorts of skin concerns we can have with our bodies; back in the day you'd just have to buy a facial product and commit to the fact you'd get through a bottle every couple of weeks. However, now there are a range of formulas available, specifically made for the hardier skin on our bodies and with textures that better suit body skin. And I love that! And I love how many affordable brands are in on this movement, so you don't have to pay a premium to take care of the skin on your body.
YOUR FAVOURITE ESTABLISHED SKINCARE BRAND OF 2023 WAS... LA ROCHE-POSAY
Image via: womenshealthmag.com
I switched up this category a little for 2023 to find out what your 'unsung hero' beauty brands were, and you chose French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay as your favourite established beauty brand of year, which you've continued repurchasing from! This isn't a surprise to me because there are a number of products from La Roche-Posay that I have been purchasing at least annually since 2014, so I guess you lot feels similarly; there are a number of formulas that no one else can seem to get close to. Although there have been many price increases over the years, the products do still represent very good value for money, and La Roche-Posay continue to update and improve their classic formulas to bring us the latest technology without altering the things we loved about these products.
I honestly don't think I've been all that brand loyal this year, but if I had to pick, I'd say Medik8 products have tended to dominate my routine. They do my favourite retinal formula of all time, great sunscreens and basics like moisturisers and cleansers, plus other proven active ingredients. I don't think I've ever met a Medik8 product I didn't get on with, to be honest! For results-driven skincare, there are few other brands on the market who share my philosophy and deliver so consistently.
YOUR MOST OVERRATED OR OVERPRICED BEAUTY BRAND OF 2023 WAS... LA MER / DR BARBARA STURM (TIE)
Images via: lamer.eu and amazon.com
Dr Barbara Sturm seems to win this dud award every year! Whilst I rarely see content creators touting these overpriced products (£200+ for a hyaluronic acid serum...), this brand is always featured in celebrity skincare routines, which is why it feels so ubiquitous. And from their perspective; they probably go to clinics that use their products, they like them, they buy them, they talk about them; it doesn't really matter for them whether they can get something virtually identical for £45, they have the money and they're getting the product they like. For the rest of us, a higher price = higher expectations and having tried a couple of products from this brand, you can get just as nice formulas for 30-40% of the price. There's just a plateau of quality / efficacy / results vs. price and this stuff is definitely not 2-3 times as a £30-50 equivalent product from a solid brand.
La Mer is a brand that just doesn't appeal to me, in all honesty. I'm sure they're also nice formulas, but (like many of you, it seems!) the only reason to really buy these products over similar stuff that's half the price (unless you're fabulously wealthy) is if you like the idea of having a luxurious brand and having something like this on your shelf. That doesn't do it for me, personally (I really don't even like visible branding on my clothes, bags etc.) so this brand doesn't really have a 'point'. If I want to spend big money, there are formulas out there that provide a complex multi-active solution to give me amazing, visible results. If I just want a moisturiser that feels luxurious and has pretty packaging, I can get this in a standard-sized 50ml tub for £70 with ingredients that are actually proven (Creme de La Mer retails at £155 for 30ml or £265 for 60ml). Then spend the rest of the money I saved to buy a return flight to somewhere hot and beautiful, because that's just how stupidly expensive this product is! So, I completely agree with both of these choices. I did have cheaper brands like CeraVe on this list, as some people think their formulas are too hyped on TikTok, but I think we'd probably all rather spend a tenner on a moisturiser and not be blown away than £155 with the expectations that come with this kind of price tag...
YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTY CONTENT CREATOR OF 2023 WAS... CAROLINE HIRONS
For the third year running, you've voted Caroline Hirons as your favourite content creator! It's definitely not a surprise to me, because I feel like we've moved away from that c.2020 skincare explosion and a lot of the creators that appeared or blew up during that period aren't really around any more or seem to be getting a lot less traffic, and the voices we trusted before that spike are the ones we still support now. And Caroline has been one of the most consistent people on the internet talking about skincare; translating expert knowledge into accessible bite-sized tips and recommendations that everyone from beginners to fanatics can understand and implement into their daily routines. Plus, her brand Skin Rocks is really coming into its own; I'm pretty sure that this time last year it had just launched with the retinoid serums, but now we have cleansers, moisturiser options, a facial oil etc., which has fleshed out the offering of everyday must-have products (nice and slowly, so the formulas are spot on before they're launched, rather than being rushed out). And, this brand is definitely one of the few that's on my radar for 2024 to see what they'll launch next, because I know anything they bring out will be well-considered and full of proven ingredients my skin loves!
What do you think of this year's winners (and losers)? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below or under my Instagram post!