One moisturiser is five times as expensive, but which one is best?

There aren’t many better faces to advertise a product than Victoria Beckham’s, and few beauty brands enjoy as much hype as her eponymous label, so when Posh Spice took to Instagram to share the golden, glowing, oh-so-summery effects of her new “cell rejuvenating priming moisturiser”, we – like thousands of others – had to try it.

We love a multi-use product, and have tried plenty in the quest for perfect dewy skin, so anything that promises multiple benefits – priming, moisturising, highlighting – as well as a golden glow has our interest.

The new priming moisturiser in the shade “golden” is a bronze-tinted version of the brand’s original moisturiser and is formulated in partnership with skincare legend and stem cell scientist Augustinus Bader, so it offers more than just short-term, cosmetic benefits for your skin. This science-led formula does come at a price, however, with the latest offering costing an eye-watering £140 for 50ml.

Victoria Beckham Beauty (VBB) isn’t the first brand to produce a brilliant all-round glow-giver. Mac’s strobe cream, another skincare-cum-make-up, multi-use product, was way ahead of its time when it launched in 2000, and is still a favourite today for creating an illuminated, dewy complexion. It’s also miles cheaper, costing £26 for the same weight.

We’ve put both products through their paces, looking at packaging, skincare claims (and actual results), application, shades and light-reflecting impact on the skin, to see which of these heavy-hitters is worth your purchase.

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Victoria Beckham Beauty cell rejuvenating priming moisturiser in golden: £140 for 50ml, Victoria Beckham Beauty

This is a brand that’s well known for its luxury packaging, and this product is no different. It’s an elegant, weighty black bottle with gold lettering and a tortoiseshell-effect cap. The pump applicator gives very good control over how much you dispense, so there’s no wastage. This is a bottle that very proudly sits on our dressing table.

The formula is somehow both light and nourishing, and it feels creamy and hydrating massaged into skin. It feels wet on first application, but dries down to a weightless, silky finish very quickly. The glow it gives is completely beautiful: warm and gold in tone, and shimmers in the light without having any visible glitter particles, which means you can wear it in daylight without looking like a disco ball. We found the shade slightly bronzing on our pale skin and would say the single shade will adapt well to a range of skin tones.

We love wearing it under foundation or as a tinted moisturiser across the whole face, as the hydrating, light-reflecting primer diffuses light to blur imperfections and helps keep skin plump and moisturised throughout the day. We’ve also used it dotted over the high points of the face as a highlighter to give a glowy boost over the top of make-up throughout the day, and even on eyelids and lips for a glassy effect.

As for skincare credentials, it doesn’t get much better than Augustinus Bader, a world-leading stem cell and biomedical scientist whose work is all about harnessing the body’s natural regenerative powers, and the man behind the super-luxe skincare brand of the same name.

This product is one of a few collaborations between Bader and Beckham, and is crafted using Bader’s signature skincare formula, which has evolved from a wound gel that he created to treat burns in children. It contains vitamins, amino acids and synthesised molecules that are naturally found in the skin, which boost cell regeneration and rejuvenation.

The product page doesn’t list the ingredients aside from that, so we can’t get as detailed as we’d like in assessing its formulation, aside from the results we’ve seen. It keeps skin feeling plumped and hydrated throughout the day, even under foundation.

There was also visible improvement in the condition of skin with repeated use, and on days when we weren’t wearing it, we didn’t experience the dryness on the forehead and cheeks as the day wore on that we usually would, which is a testament to its formula.

Our main problem with skincare-make-up hybrids, however, is that we usually don’t use the same products consistently enough to see the benefits to skin condition over weeks; you will have to commit to using this every day as if it’s skincare, rather than make-up, to see longer-term benefits.

You do pay for this level of luxury, and this definitely isn’t a mid-price product, but there is a smaller size (30ml) available for the slightly cheaper £92, if you want to try it without committing to the full size.

Mac strobe cream in goldlite: £26 for 50ml, Mac Cosmetics

While VBB’s latest launch has been much-hyped, Mac’s illuminating strobe cream is an old-faithful in many make-up bags and was the original product of its kind. In terms of packaging, the difference in price is definitely reflected, but it’s a very functional squeezy bottle with Mac’s signature matte black cap.

On application this light cream doesn’t absorb into the skin quite as quickly as the VBB, so it takes a little longer to massage in, but this also means the product goes further. When applying it across our whole face, we use around a third less product than Beckham x Bader’s offering. It remains slightly tacky after application, but in a way that leaves skin feeling moisturised rather than greasy, and gives good slip for applying foundation on top. The finish is luminous and dewy, also with no visible particles of glitter.

Shade-wise, we’ve compared VBB’s “golden” with Mac’s “goldlite”, as the closest match, but strobe cream also comes in “pinklite” (the original shade), “silverlite” and “peachlite”, all of which have a subtle tone difference. Goldlite is definitely much whiter than the golden shade of VBB’s moisturiser, with a yellow-neutral, warm undertone rather than a bronzing effect. For this reason, we’d recommend it for very pale skin tones over the cell rejuvenating priming moisturiser.

It works equally well as a multi-use product, either worn alone to give a dewy, bright complexion, under foundation as a luminous base, or dabbed on the high points of the face as a highlighter. It’s an easy top-up throughout the day that instantly brightens the face when it’s looking flat or dull.

In terms of skincare benefits, this isn’t backed by the big-name science, but it does give a light, moisturised and silky-smooth finish. We wouldn’t apply it without moisturiser first, whereas Victoria Beckham Beauty’s can be used on bare skin. It does, however, list its full ingredients, where you’ll find nourishing jojoba seed oil, antioxidant-rich green tea leaf extract which protects skin from environmental damage, calming and brightening mulberry root extract, and smoothing apple fruit extract.

Despite its modest price, Mac’s strobe cream offers more than just a simple highlighter. We didn’t notice any change to the skin’s texture with repeated use, but all these ingredients will help with its day-to-day appearance, boosting its artificial light-reflecting properties and giving a your-skin-but-better look.

The verdict: Victoria Beckham Beauty vs Mac Cosmetics

This is a tough call as we love both products, and both are used regularly in our kit. For its indulgent, nourishing feel, its tangible effect on skin elasticity and hydration, its summery sun-kissed glow and, of course, its gorgeous luxury packaging, Victoria Beckham’s cell rejuvenating priming moisturiser comes out on top.

Its prize may well be prohibitive, however, and if that’s the case for you, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mac’s classic strobe cream, which gives a beautiful glowy, non-glittery finish to skin and will be well-suited to those with pale skin, or who want to choose the shade that best suits them rather than VBB’s one-size-fits-all approach.

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.

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