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The Panel: Best moisturisers on test

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Pictured, from left: Kiehl's Skin Rescuer; This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture; Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Cream; Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 in Very Dry to Dry Combination; Shiseido Future Solution LX SPF 15 Total Protective Emulsion

Pictured, from left: Kiehl's Skin Rescuer; This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture; Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Cream; Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 in Very Dry to Dry Combination; Shiseido Future Solution LX SPF 15 Total Protective Emulsion

Pictured, from left: Kiehl's Skin Rescuer; This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture; Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Cream; Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 in Very Dry to Dry Combination; Shiseido Future Solution LX SPF 15 Total Protective Emulsion

Having offered a variety of cleanse-and-tone recommendations in the past couple of weeks, the moment has come to moisturise. There are those who say you can scrimp on the first two steps, but, when it comes to moisturiser, most of the advice says that this is where you can spend the few quid saved elsewhere.

In our experience, one person's Holy Grail unguent brings the next person out in a rash, so, when you are shopping around for face creams, try your best to wheedle samples out of the beauty counters, particularly if you are spending big.

Also, the best advice is to buy according to your age and your skin requirements, and not to get ahead of yourself in this department. Which is to say that, if you're in your 20s, you don't need heavy-duty, anti-ageing treatments and, if you're in your 30s, you need first-wrinkle remedies and not the industrial-strength stuff. That said, once you hit the following decades, reach for the retinol and the peptides, or even just the richer creams.

And, at all ages, indulge your desire to chop and change, as research shows that your skin gets weary of the same old thing, year in, year out.

BEST OVERALL

Kiehl's Skin Rescuer, €35, 35 Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts

This moisturiser is about more than its balmy, skin-insulating texture, and it includes soothing rosa gallica and mannose, which is a newly popular skincare ingredient that claims to reinforce the moisture barrier. If that barrier is boosted, the skin loses less water and, as a result, looks plumper. "The texture is very thick, which I found off-putting initially, but it sinks in very swiftly and leaves a matt, but moisturised finish," said one panellist.

BEST NIGHT TIME

This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture, €58, Arnotts; selected pharmacies nationwide

This Works is a company that blends technology with nature, and both are very much in evidence in this night cream, which is best advised for older skin. It has a dose of retinol, which is a proven ingredient in boosting skin-cell turnover and smoothing skin texture, but it's the deep scent of lavender that wins us over. "A night cream that smells like a night cream and, I've noticed, actually does some work on my skin overnight," said one panellist.

BEST NICE TO NECKS

Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Cream, €59, Clarins counters nationwide

According to the late writer, Norah Ephron, who famously felt bad about her neck, it all starts going turkey-ish around 43. And, worse, she said that there is no fixing it. This gel cream is no miracle worker, but it did more for neck-skin texture than anything else we've ever tried. "This doesn't feel slimy or sweaty – yes, I know I'm weird – on my neck, but, instead, it makes the skin there feel all fresh and soft," said a panellist, "which is an improvement."

BEST PROTECTOR

Clinique Superdefense SPF 20, €35, Clinique counters nationwide

With antioxidants, anti-ageing ingredients, and a high level of protection from both UVA and UVB rays, this is an all-encompassing moisturiser. We are unsure if any cream can really deal with 'emotional stress', as this cream claims to do, but its blandness means that it won't annoy you, either. "I used the Very Dry to Dry option and found it fantastic," said one panellist. "Initial thick creaminess gives way to a youth-bestowing dewiness."

BEST AGE-BUSTING LOTION

Shiseido Future Solution LX SPF 15 Total Protective Emulsion, €290, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; Debenhams; selected pharmacies nationwide

If your skin is too old and dry for the lotions of your youth, but you find that you still can't abide the heavier moisturisers, then this could be an option for you – if you are prepared to splash out. In its favour, one pump of this emulsion will cover your skin all the way from your forehead to your cleavage, so the bottle will last. "I'm a skin-care cynic, but I believe that this made a real difference to my mid-40s skin," said a panellist. "The texture feels too lotion-y to make any real impact on lines and wrinkles, but mine did seem softer."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

Irish Independent