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I'm a beauty expert, here's why M&S's skincare products are seriously underrated

Marks & Spencer's own-brand beauty products are affordable, effective and luxurious without the price tag.

These are the best skincare products from M&S' own brands. (Marks & Spencer/Yahoo Life UK)

Marks & Spencer is one of the best places to shop for clothes and food, but I've always loved the retailer for its underrated beauty ranges. Not only does M&S now stock some of the biggest beauty brands in the UK, including Clinique, Murad, and Ren, but it's also home to a very impressive range of own-brands.

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In recent years, M&S's fragrance range, Apothecary, which offers budget-friendly candles, diffusers, and perfumes, has gained a legion of loyal fans for its expensive scents at affordable prices. M&S also has its own popular skincare line called Formula and a bodycare range named Burst, both of which I think are very underrated - and as a beauty journalist I've tried hundreds of skincare products in my time.

I tested a huge amount of M&S beauty products for three weeks and these are the ones I think are worth buying. (Marks & Spencer)
I tested a huge amount of M&S beauty products for three weeks and these are the ones I think are worth buying. (Marks & Spencer)

Shop M&S's Formula skincare range Shop M&S's Burst bodycare range Shop M&S's Apothecary fragrance range

I've spent the last six weeks testing a vast array of Formula and Burst products, ranging from its best-selling Sleep Cream moisturiser to lesser known items, such as its Soothing Hot Cloth Cleanser.

Combined, there's more than 50 products in the Formula and Burst family, but I've whittled it down to the top five that deserve a spot in your bathroom cabinet.

🛍️ Products reviewed: M&S Formula skincare range and Burst Bodycare
Tested for: Six weeks
Rating: 5/5
💸 Reasons to buy: Affordable, effective and luxurious without the price tag
Reasons to avoid: None at all - each product is well worth the money.
💰 Best deal we've found: M&S offers a handful of gift sets containing minis and money saving bundles to snap up so you can try multiple products before committing to the full sizes

This creamy, smoothing, buttery soft moisturiser has fast become my go-to, and I've tested hundreds of products over the years a beauty journalist. It's the perfect balance between creamy and nourishing but not too heavy, rich or greasy for my combination skin. It takes seconds to massage in, doesn't leave any unwanted shine and left my skin hydrated. If you try anything from the Formula range, make it this, there's a reason it's a bestseller.

While I tried the newer Light Sleep Cream, if you have a drier skin type, the original version (Sleep and Replenish Ultimate Sleep Cream, £22.50) would most probably be the best fit for you. 

  • Perfect for combination skin
  • Smoothes texture
  • Is fragranced
£23 at Marks & Spencer

If you struggle with dry skin then you need to try this face oil. Not only does it smell fantastic, it takes just days to see results from daily use. I typically get patches of dryness around my nostrils and on my cheeks and I found a couple drops of this every evening made them go away. It's brilliant for improving texture and adding suppleness.

I also love how well the pipette bottle picks up product, without it leaking or dripping down the side.

  • Lightweight, fluid texture
  • Nourishes dry patches
  • Has a lovely fresh scent
  • Better suited to non oily skin types
£20 at Marks & Spencer

While I'm the first to say an eye cream isn't essential, I really enjoyed using this pot from the Formula line. It both soothed my tired under eyes first thing in the morning, but also was a lovely, hydrating base to apply make-up on top off, especially concealer. It's a very lightweight, creamy texture that doesn't leave your skin feeling weighed down, no matter how much I applied. Thanks to a formula rich in shea butter and marula oil, it would be perfect if you have dry under eyes, too. 

  • Fast-absorbing and lightweight
  • Perfect for priming skin before make-up
  • Not essential for your skincare routine
£18 at Marks & Spencer

This is a cream-based cleanser that can be used first thing in the morning on bare skin, or to remove make-up before bed. I loved how it was equally efficient at both, leaving skin super soft and smooth after every use. 

The formula is rich in squalane, marula oil and a retinol complex, which combined, work together to soothe dryness and ageing. While I can't speak to the latter after only a few weeks of use, I did see a big improvement immediately in texture around my nose and on my cheeks. For £15, this definitely feels much more luxurious - I've used cleansers from pricer brands that weren't as good as both cleansing skin and removing make-up in one go. 

  • Removes make-up easily
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Feels luxurious for a reasonable price
  • Using it to take off mascara takes a little longer
£15 at Marks & Spencer

I love a body scrub. It's a great addition to your shower routine because it keeps ingrown hairs on your legs at bay, is the quickest way to smoother skin and get off dead skin cells. However, I'm a firm believer that a body scrub shouldn't cost a fortune. 

This cherry scented scrub ticks every box. It's less than a tenner, is a decent size tub that fits on the side of my bath without falling off, smells delicious and leaves skin silky soft. For £8, you can't go wrong. 

  • Instantly leaves skin smooth
  • Smells fantastic but isn't overpowering
  • Fragrance may not be suitable for very sensitive skin
£8 at Marks & Spencer

If you're thinking of doing a big M&S beauty haul then don't miss M&S's covted Summer Beauty Bag that is back for another year and filled with a huge £170 worth of products for just £30. We'd go as far as to say this is one of the best M&S beauty bags we've ever seen in terms of the excellent value, high-end brands included and the variety of products. One shopper said "I’ve already found a couple of new favourites in this collection which I will be replacing when they’re finished."

In order to bag the £170 bag for just £30, you have to spend £35 on full-price clothing, home or beauty in-store or online. But let's be honest, hitting that spend cap won't take long. In order to get the discount simply add the bag to your basket along with the other additional items and the money will come off at the checkout.

Marks & Spencer

Filled with a range of sought-after brands like Clinique, REN, L’Occitane and more, this lavish beauty bag, complete with a reusable cosmetic bag, can be yours for £30 when you spend £35 on clothing, home or beauty in-store or online.

£30 at Marks & Spencer