Photography: Zaphs Zhang; Art direction: Sherli Chong

True story: Not too many moons ago, one of my girlfriends pulled me aside to ask if I could tone down on the illuminating powder; apparently, certain colleagues were sick of being literally outshone by my complexion. (And for the record, I wasn’t using any, thank you very much.)

This amusing anecdote got me thinking, though. I mean, I was all for stashing away these secret skincare staples of mine, but I suppose good things must share … Presenting my personal pick of multi-purpose moisturisers, for your perusal and purchasing consideration. Cheers to complexion that’s bouncy and buoyant like a firm fishball – and yes, you can thank me later!

Nars Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer, $85

Ah, Nars. ‘Nuff said, right? I’ve been topping up nightly with this thirst-quenching tincture and after sleeping on it, so to speak, for a meticulous month or so, I’m happy to report that my skin is pretty much as poreless, porcelain and perfect as it can possibly get. (Shameless, I know.)

This exquisite emulsion for oily-combi complexions has been engineered to offer both mattifying and brightening benefits, and by golly, they ain’t lying; a smidgen of the spectacularly smooth salve under sunscreen is plenty to sop up gunk and grease throughout the day. I’m crushin’ on its cool consistency, which is super sexy to the touch. I’d say an airy agar-agar is the closest approximation – perfect for patting on over your serums and such.

And while it isn’t tinted per se, the difference is noticeable: My skin looks like my own, only better. Put this right on top of your list of go-to unguents for no-makeup makeup days: Think Sunday champagne brunches, when you want to look presentable without being preternaturally polished. A light lotion that functions as an Instagram filter on standby? Yes, please!

For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Surge Cream, $95

This blue-bottled baby from one of the most criminally underrated Taiwanese brands around quenches parched skin like almost no other. Consistency-wise, I adore its intriguingly spongy springiness, which works like a dream over makeup: Dab a dollop over any dry patches or spots for an instant smoothening fix.

The moisturiser itself contains mystical malachite, a semi-precious stone cherished by crystal-gazers for its near-miraculous healing properties; as well as aquaphyline, a next-gen hydrating agent – the happiest marriage between spage-age tech and New Agey mysticism, if you ask me.

This gorgeous gel suffuses my skin with a subtle sheen that’s very fetching indeed; if you have a good canvas to begin with, this ought to be able to double up as a pretty primer. No complaints on the fragrance front, either: The crisp citrusy notes are energising and just evanescent enough not to overwhelm. Get this if you’re gunning for the delightfully delicate, lit-from-within luminescence Taiwanese thespians are touted for!

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer, $680

Seriously, this brightening booster is #DaBomb. The swishy Swiss brand’s newest and niftiest offering in its Skin Caviar age-preserving line, you get a cream with a consistency that’s sheerer than ever – perfect for a caftan-cloaked, champagne-clinking weekend at a sun-drenched tropical villa.

For this road test, I gave this a good four weeks to work its magic on my mien, and I’m pleased as punch to report that it’s quite the life-saver. My cheeks are supple and springier than ever, and I feel like it tacks on the appearance of a good eight hours of sleep to nights when I’m hardly getting any.

Then there’s the texture. Buttery beyond belief, the comforting concoction sinks straight in; no smearing or spreading required. No complaints whatsoever when it comes to packaging, either; the almost obscenely opulent cobalt-and-chrome carafe demands pride of place on your dresser. Big beauty bonus: The product more than passes the smell test; slapping on this subtly scented salve is ridiculously relaxing, especially when it’s hot as blazes outside.

Bottomline? I’ve torpedoed my way through two tubs and counting of this luxe lotion and won’t be letting up anytime soon. Because hey, anything that allows me to go  from lethargic and lacklustre to divine and dewy literally overnight is #DieDieMustBuy in my books.

Lancome Absolue Precious Cells White Aura Regenerating and Brightening Global Cream, $370

OMG, this addition to Lancome’s top-of-the-line Absolue range is absolue-ly amazing. For starters, it’s stuffed to the gills with the legendary Lancome rose, a fabulous fuchsia bloom said to boast phenomenal anti-ageing properties.

Armed with an arsenal of antioxidant actives, this richly restorative cream is said to soothe stress-induced inflammation, forge collagen fibres and mitigate melanin production – the sum result of which is skin that’s as pillowy as the rose petals themselves. Talk about flower power, eh. Then there’s the terrific texture, which straddles that sweet spot between watery emulsion and gloppy cold cream. The gorgeous glide also makes this potion perfect for priming purposes; pat it on under facepaint and you’ll find that your makeup pigments “grab” better.

Speaking of pigments, this ointment boasts fairly noticeable opalescent optics that may take some getting used to. Now, while I’m usually leery of light-reflecting particles when it comes to skincare – that sort of instant gratification is usually short-lived – I’ve scrutinised my naked face post-cleansing and can confirm that the new-found milkiness in my mien cannot be explained away by surface shimmer. #Hurrah!

And because this is Absolue we’re talking about, expect packaging that’s perfectly on point: This moisturiser comes in a reassuringly solid rose gold receptacle that befits its well, prodigious price. (Not going to lie, this is going to make quite the dent in your wallet, but what price beauty?)

Personal experience-slash-endorsement: I’m pathologically obsessive when it comes to the creases and crinkles on my face, so I can honestly say that a month of twice-daily use wiped out the wee wrinkles besides my mouth. Better than Botox? #SmirkingFaceEmoji

Shu Uemura Tsuya Skin Youthful Bouncy-fine Cream, $115

Try this teeny experiment: Look into a mirror and press a finger into the flesh of your face. If it springs straight back, congrats, you’re either a prepubescent schoolgirl or perfectly preserved. But if you’re left staring at a thumbprint smooshed into your skin, bad news, buddy: The cushion of collagen buttressing your youthful bounce is breaking down from sun, stress and such. #Sad.

The solution? Try Shu Uemura’s thrilling Tsuya Skin Youthful Bouncy-Fine Cream, which comes complete with chestnut and royal jelly, which promise to work in tandem to wick water into the deepest layers of your skin. Throw in an intriguing next-gen molecular ingredient (impress your Shu cabin staff by casually name-dropping “rhamnose”) that’s said to ramp your skin’s metabolism and you’ve got yourself a formidable face fighter that’s the one to beat this year.

As for the results proper, I must say that this juicy jelly has been an utter godsend in soothing spots, placating puffiness and shrinking pores – essentially any and every cosmetic concern. Slap this on at night and awaken to skin that’s zippy and zingy like the most kawaii handmade mochi (y’know, Shu being a Japanese brand and all.) Cheers!