There's nothing I enjoy more than being asked for a product recommendation. Whether it's a glow-seeking colleague asking for tips on the best brightening face masks or a tired mum friend seeking an eye cream that will actually work on dark circles, I have always loved offering up advice on the best beauty products. But how do I determine what's worth recommending? Well, I'm lucky in my job as a beauty editor to be sent a huge number of products to test, which means that my beauty stash is in near-constant rotation. Some products make their way in and out pretty sharpish, while others might stick around for a little while before making their way into my donation pile. There is no greater seal of approval, however, than when I finish up an entire product. Trust me—as a beauty editor, that is the sign of a truly brilliant product. And this year I finished 44 of them.
Yes, in 2020, I made it my mission to keep track of every single product that I used up so that I could enter the new year with a list of brilliant beauty-editor recommendations that I could truly swear by. Of course, a year involving a lot of sitting at home means that my list is light on makeup and heavy on skincare, and we can put my apparent obsession with vitamin C down to the fact that I had a new baby in the mix and was desperately seeking products that would help me look less tired. There are some seriously good beauty products here that I would repurchase time and again.
Ahead, keep scrolling for my ultimate beauty-editor recommendations…
Generally, I'm not fussed about mists, which is why there's only one on this list. But I genuinely loved using this. Not only does it smell incredible and deliver an instant hit of hydration, but I also genuinely think it made my skin look healthier and brighter on the days I used it.
Beauty editors always rave about this serum, but I have to say that I used to find it a little too potent to use on its own. However, a couple of drops mixed with the following products provided me with some much-needed glow on mornings that I looked particularly exhausted, which meant that this bottle lasted me a good part of the year.
I've lost count of the number of bottles of this cult acid treatment that I've gone through. I always reach for it when I'm going through a period of particularly bad breakouts, and I know that within just a few days my skin will look calmer and clearer.
I was fanatic about retinol before I got pregnant, but sadly for my skin, you can't touch the good stuff while you're with child or breastfeeding. This was my first foray back into retinol serums—it's a great starting point, as it contains just 0.5% retinol alongside a whole host of other soothing ingredients, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to dip their toe into the world of retinols.
Trust me—this sheet mask is good. If we're ever allowed on a night out dancing with our friends again, then this is the product I'd reach for thanks to its ability to instantly brighten and revive your complexion. During lockdown, it was the closest I could get to the results of a facial since I couldn't make it to a salon.
This is coined as a mask, but as an oily-skinned person, I used this in place of my evening moisturiser rather than on top of it. It is dreamy. It feels cool when applied, smells amazing, and helped my skin to look more refreshed than it would otherwise come morning.
Is it embarrassing to admit that I went through three of these last year? Twenty-twenty was the year of dry shampoo—not only because I barely left the house but also because a new baby is not conducive to regular hair washing. This is the best dry shampoo on the market because it actually cleans your hair by soaking up oil and odour.
For about three months after having my baby, I was blessed with the kind of clear skin that I had only ever dreamed of, and during that time, this slightly tinted, glowy serum was all I needed to wear. Sadly, the good skin days didn't last, but I still layered this beneath a tinted moisturiser or foundation to even out skin tone and add luminosity.
This is my favourite tinted moisturiser of all time. It's non-comedogenic, so it doesn't clog pores, and it has enough coverage to disguise redness and scarring left from old breakouts. It's my go-to for days when I can't be bothered with a full face of makeup but want to feel a little more pulled-together.
Traditional liquid foundations weren't on my radar at all last year, but this mineral stick from BareMinerals was my compromise between a tinted moisturiser and a full-coverage face. It's deeply moisturising, has a natural-looking finish, and can be scribbled on and blended in with fingers.
I can honestly say that I use this product every single day—that's how good it is. Even on no-makeup days, I'll pop a bit of this on for some extra glow, but it works equally well as a radiance-boosting primer beneath foundation or patted over makeup as a highlighter.
I've had this little pot of cream eyeshadow for longer than I'd care to remember, but I finally finished it up in 2020. While eyeshadow wasn't on my radar at all last year, this taupe-y shade was brilliant at evening out discolouration on my eyelids and helping me to look as if I'd made a little more effort with my eye makeup than I really had.
Twenty-twenty was the year of the bath, and I made sure to take advantage. This one from Goop is specially designed to soothe tired muscles (and a tired mind), and while I can't say it was as transformative as Gwyneth Paltrow might have promised, it definitely made for a relaxing soak.
I know that a lot of people think body oils are a faff, but I love using them. This one comes in a spray bottle so you can spritz it on and rub it in. It really keeps skin hydrated until your next shower. Be warned though—put a towel down before you spray, as it can cause bathroom floors to get seriously slippy.