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These are the 10 most Googled skincare ingredients of 2020
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Forget the never-ending emails, if there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s learning about the latest and greatest in skincare and the key ingredients within each lotion and potion. The ones we’ve most been Googling so far this year? The top ten are here on this very page, thanks to some stealth data research courtesy of online beauty emporium Cult Beauty. From the ingredients you’re already au fait with to those you might not know, here find British Vogue’s synopsis of what they are, what they do and, crucially, the latest and greatest products to find them in.

Vitamin C

A potent antioxidant (that defends skin against external aggressors, like pollution), Vitamin C also helps boost collagen production, brightens and evens and smoothes out skin tone. Apply it morning and night after cleansing the skin.

Try: Kora Organics Vitamin C Serum; Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster; Neemli Naturals Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Brightening Serum


From softening fine lines and tightening pores to reducing acne and improving texture, retinol (or Vitamin A) prompts cell turnover and collagen production and is your go-to ingredient if you want to see a big difference in your skin. Start with a low percentage and build up to a higher one as skin can initially find it difficult to tolerate; apply at night and wear an SPF every day to protect your skin.

Try: Dot & Key Collagen Restorative Time Reverse Retinol Serum; Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3

Castor oil

Rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E, castor oil is said to take down inflammation, moisturise and promote hair growth. It is used in skincare but it’s best avoided by anyone with problem skin; meanwhile, all hair types will benefit from it.

Try: WOW Skin Science Castor Oil; Briogeo B.Well Organic + Cold-Pressed 100% Castor Oil

Hyaluronic acid

A molecule that’s able to hold 1,000 times its own weight in moisture, hyaluronic acid is your best friend for hydrating and plumping. Nowadays it’s in many of the skincare products on the market but a dedicated serum is always a good idea and can be applied as much as you like for a healthy glow.

Try: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel; Dr Sheth's Haldi & Hyaluronic Acid Sleeping Mask; The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5


An emollient which helps to lock moisture into skin, squalane is another ingredient regularly used in skincare formulations—and it’s an antioxidant too.

Try: Caudalie Reservatrol Lift Instant Firming Serum; Summer Fridays CC Me Serum

Salicylic acid

Acne-prone? Salicylic acid is your best friend. A beta-hydroxy acid, it penetrates pores and exfoliates the skin, dissolving pore-clogging dead skin cells and taking down everything from blackheads to the more angry inflamed spots.

Try: Innisfree Bija Trouble Mask; Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel; Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser

Benzoyl peroxide

Another one for those who are prone to spots, benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic ingredient that kills the acne-causing bacteria that live on the skin. It can lead to drying, redness, and peeling so ensure your skincare regime contains a moisturiser.

Try: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo; mostly available on prescription

Witch hazel

A plant extract which is both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, witch hazel has long been used in products like toners to tighten pores and take down redness. However, it is an astringent meaning it can be overtly drying, so tread carefully and listen to your skin.

Try: Murad Clarifying Toner; belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner


There are few faces that won’t love niacinamide; it helps to shrink pores, hydrate, protect, and improve skin discolouration—and generally contributes to the workings of healthy skin.

Try: Wishful Honey Balm Jelly Moisturiser; Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir; Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum


To reinforce your skin’s barrier (and keep hydration in and dirt, pollution, and bacteria out), incorporate ceramides into your routine. They help smooth, firm, and plump while imparting a healthy luminosity to skin.

Try: Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream; The Face Shop Rice & Ceramide Moisturising Cream; CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion


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Rahul C

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