Choosing the best skincare products for women in their 20s and 30s is quite the mammoth tasks.

Long gone are the days when washing your face was simply a case of splashing some cold water on your face and maybe adding a squirt of moisturiser.

Hell, it’s not even as simple as cleansing and toning.

Today’s skincare consists of a labyrinthine of words most people have never heard of: retinol, glycolic acid, more acids. It’s a little overwhelming.

Then there are the litany of brands and what they specialise in. Some are organic, others anti-ageing and a handful, anti-pollution.

So where to begin? We’ve kept things fairly straightforward with our roundup. The below list consists of hero products and cult classics.

There’s cleansers, toners and moisturisers with the odd speciality product thrown in for when you feel like giving your skin a boost. But don’t worry, you’ll understand almost everything we recommend here.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers , but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Liz Earle cleanse and polish hot cloth cleanser: £17, Liz Earle

It’s not hard to see why this cult product has won copious awards. Liz Earle’s hot cloth cleanser contains exclusively natural ingredients, such as rosemary, chamomile and cocoa butter. Using it with the warm cloth gently exfoliates the skin and leaves it feeling incredibly clean afterwards. It also happens to be suitable for a wide range of skin types, which is rare in the world of skincare. It’s not even that expensive, another rarity. Once you start using it, you’ll be hooked.

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Charlotte Tilbury's magic cream: £70, Charlotte Tilbury

This award-winning moisturiser is an ideal product for summer, given that it contains a high SPF of 25. But considered that we’re told to wear SPF even on the cloudiest of days, you should wear it all year round for optimum protection. It’s quite a heavy cream, so might not be best for those with sensitive skin, but when used sparingly (you’ll want to do this anyway considering the price), it really does leave your complexion looking bright and dewy. It also comes in a lovely hexagonal pot with a rose gold lid that you can keep to store your earrings in once it’s run out.

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Pai kukui and jojoba skin brightening exfoliator: £28, Look Fantastic

Exfoliators are a tough one. The affordable options in supermarkets and pharmacies might look decent, but they could also scrub your skin to smithereens. It’s important to exfoliate though to eradicate any dead skin and prevent blackheads from developing. This one from organic British brand Pai is perfect for those looking for something natural and gentle that still does the job. Use it once or twice a week for a quick exfoliation job, or leave it on for a few minutes while you soak in the bath and enjoy its citrus scent.

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By Terry lip balm: £40, By Terry

Lip balms don’t get better than this. By Terry has become one of the most sought after luxury beauty brands on the market thanks to its signature rose scent that fills the nostrils with a gardenia so joyous, you’ll want to eat almost every product. With this lip balm, you might just get lucky. Its rich texture might feel a little thick when you lather onto your lips – it’s certainly not one to wear underneath lipstick – but it leaves them feeling baby skin soft and also stains your pout with a pale pink hue.

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111 Skin rose gold brightening facial treatment mask: £85, Net-a-porter

Sheet masks have become increasingly popular as we look for quick-fix skin treatments that won’t leave our hands smothered in muck. This one from cult brand 111 Skin feels deeply opulent, and not just because of its rose gold sheen. It’s a little slimey and slippery to apply, but once you do, you can feel its benefits soaking into your skin. After just 15 minutes, you can remove it and see instant glowing results. Just be sure to rub in any excess moisture as opposed to washing the goodness away immediately after removing the mask.

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Sisley clay mask: £85, Net-a-porter

It’s not easy to choose one product from Sisley’s infallible skincare range, but its clay mask takes the winning spot thanks to its silky smooth texture that doesn’t feel anywhere near as clogged-up as some other clay masks. It also doesn’t harden the skin when it’s drying, which can happen a lot with cheaper variations. Easy to wash off with just a flannel and warm water, this is the only clay mask you should be investing in.

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Sunday Riley C+E micro dissolve cleansing oil: £35, Space NK

This gentle cleansing oil is the best makeup remover on the market, stripping away even the most robust of mascaras in just one swipe with a cotton pad. You really don’t need to use a lot to get the full effect, meaning it’s worth the high price tag. Plus, the oil itself contains vitamin C and turmeric, both of which have been proven to offer plenty of benefits to the skin.

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Glossier balm dotcom: £10, Glossier

This lip balm is a best seller from the famously Instagrammable American brand founded by Emily Weiss. It’s deeply moisturising but also comes in various tints, so it acts as both a lip shade and a balm. It’s strangely addictive, so be warned that your product – which comes in a paint style tube – might run out quite quickly. We liked the purple shade, not only because it tinted our lips with a pleasant shade of berry, but because it happened to leave them tasting fruity and delicious too.

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Burts Bees orange cleanser: £7.29, Amazon

This cleanser is worth purchasing for the scent alone. The orange smell is immediately palette cleansing when washed all over your face. It’s also good at removing any blusher or bronzer you might’ve been wearing that day, though you might need something stronger to remove eye makeup. Burts Bees prides itself on quality and natural ingredients, so you know everything you’re rubbing into your complexion is providing a heady dose of key nutrients. This is a particularly good product for oily skin.

Khiels tumeric scrub: £36, Space NK

This bright orange face mask truly invigorates any complexion and feels delightful and refreshing when applied. It contains extracts of cranberry seed and turmeric, but thankfully doesn’t leave your skin tainted yellow like the spice would. Instead, it simply has a brightening effect that will make you want to use it again and again. Though we suggest using it just once a week.

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Estée Lauder advanced night repair: £58, Estée Lauder

This is a favoured product among celebrities and models, and for good reason. Estée Lauder has sold heaps of its famous night oil for years, it is the definition of a cult product. Why? Because you only need a single drop applied before you moisturiser to see transformative effects on your skin. If you’re suffering from a breakout, you’ll almost always see an improvement the next day having gone to sleep with this product on your skin. We couldn’t recommend it more highly.

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The verdict: Skincare for women in their 20s and 30s

It has to be Liz Earle. While there are admirable products included in this list, cleanse and polish is the one that will stand the test of time and keep you coming back for more when you run out. It’s affordable, all-natural and easy-to-use and genuinely leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.