Welcome to our annual skincare awards, guys! It was a lengthy, at-times difficult process, but we managed to whittle all the best skincare products we’ve been using this year down year to five. These are the true desert-island skincare products. The ones we keep re-purchasing, find ourselves gushing to our best friends about, and wouldn’t be afraid to take back home to meet the parents.

Living in the city definitely has its perks. There are generally at least six different quality cafés within walking distance of your house. A glass of nice wine with a nice friend at a nice bar is a simple FB message away. Indulging your cultural side comes with relative ease thanks to endless gallery openings, museums, and live music. If you have the cash to do so, shopping is a fun, easily-accessible hobby.

But, as any savvy gal living in the big smoke knows, there are certain pitfalls to it, too. It can be stressful. There’s a certain pressure to always be doing something. Saving is close to impossible, thanks to the allure of smashed avo brunch and the high costs involved when paying off the mortgage on a baby boomer’s investment property. Outside of social pressures, there’s also the issue of city-centric pollution, which fills our pores with tiny bits of trash, causing uneven skin tone, accelerated ageing, and even skin cancer. Much, much less than ideal, right? DW though, because Elizabeth Arden’s PREVAGE City Smart Hydrating Shield is here to assist you in outsmarting both the sun and pollution with a DNA enzyme complex that strengthens skin. Groovy!

Nothing tastes as good as outsmarting evil feels, and I’m feeling on top of the world after a month of using the Hydrating Shield as part of my daily ritual. I apply it evenly to my face and neck as the last step in my skincare ritual, after my serum and moisturiser. It’s super lightweight, so comes with none of that annoying white residue synonymous with most SPF 50+ sunscreens, and is formulated with powerful antioxidants to bid adieu to sky garbage. It can easily be worn under makeup, although I didn’t really see a need to wear any seeing as it helped my skin tone so much. The only concern I’ll voice is that I’m worried I’m going to start looking a little too young. Jokes — there’s no such thing in beauty! If you too want to look young and feel great, I suggest you bathe your face in this. It’s liquid gold. Buy it here.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Blair Gauld.