It’s safe to say that the past year has turned the beauty industry on its head. Throughout my time as a beauty editor, I have written countless product round-ups, advising people what beauty products are worth their time and money, but never has that job been harder than it has been in 2020. The reality is that the past 12 months or so have dramatically changed our beauty habits.
At surface level, we have changed the sorts of products we’re buying (it’s definitely been a year of self-care), but beyond that, we’re also keen to make sure our money is being put to good use. We have waved goodbye to frivolous spending on products that don’t live up to their promises and instead are on the hunt for products that actually work. And this has been a particularly difficult moral to stick to as of late, considering the sheer mass of new products hitting the shelves.
With lots of the launches originally scheduled for the first half of the year having been pushed back, it’s understandable if you have felt overwhelmed by the number of new products dropping over the last six months. With what felt like hundreds of new launches all coming out at once, all promising to do the same thing, there’s no doubt that 2020 has been a particularly tough year to navigate the ever-confusing world of beauty.
However, in a bid to cut through the noise, I have tried, tested, and reviewed just about every new launch that came out this year in order to compile a list of the very best beauty products of 2020. So whether you’re looking for the ultimate cleanser or a new mascara, keep scrolling for the new products that were so good I’d buy them again.
When I say I recommend this product to literally everyone I meet, I'm not exaggerating. It has been my holy-grail beauty product for years. However, this summer, Estée Lauder updated the formula, and now, it has even more impressive anti-ageing effects. If you're looking for a hydrating, plumping, soothing, no-fuss serum and haven't tried Advanced Night Repair before, I urge you to give this stuff a go. It's essentially the perfect recipe for healthy-looking skin.
It's safe to say that this year has been a tough one for our strands. With salons closed for months at a time, I've been turning to at-home strengthening treatments wherever possible, and this one took the top spot for me. Not only does it smell absolutely incredible, but it also manages to transform my frazzled, bleached lengths into a shiny, smooth mane. I'm on my second tube already.
Another reformulation, L'Oréal's Lash Paradise has been my go-to mascara for years. It delivers long, full lashes in just one application. Earlier this year, when I first heard that the brand had plans to reformulate it, I was totally heartbroken and was scared it would ruin something great. Oh, but how wrong I was. The new formulation contains castor oil to nourish lashes as well as cornflower water to soothe sensitive eyes (something I never knew I needed until I tried this stuff), and honestly? It gives mascaras three times its price a serious run for their money.
I'm not sure if it's because I have spent a lot of the year cooped up inside with the heating on or if its a result of going in too heavy with at-home skin treatments (likely both), but the skin around my eyes has been flaring up a lot recently. Usually, I steer clear of eye creams, as I'm prone to congestion and milia in that area, but the fine-line situation has been real, so I needed to try something. I didn't have high hopes for this (or any eye cream for that matter), but it's managed to restore hydration and moisture without even a hint of fuss.
Milky almond bath soak… Need I say more? It smells like marzipan and fresh soap all rolled into one and leaves skin silky soft. Is it an essential? Absolutely not. Will I continue to buy this for the rest of eternity to remind myself that I'm worth the indulgence? Yes.
Scented cleansers aren't usually my thing unless they're in a balm format, and for the first few days I tried this, I was nonplussed. It felt luxe and nice and definitely gave my skin a deep cleanse, but I didn't have much else to say. However, after a few weeks of using it every single day, I noticed that my skin looked radiant, glowing, and full of life. It contains a trio of acids that keep oiliness and breakouts at bay, too. I highly, highly recommend this for those with normal/oily skin. It's fast becoming one of my favourite products.
Oh, Victoria Beckham Beauty Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum, how I love you so. When this launched, I really didn't want to like it (£180?!), but I just can't bring myself to lie to you: This stuff is unbelievably good. It's not too dissimilar to Advanced Night Repair, but it's lighter on the skin and contains the cult Augustinus Bader TFC8 complex to repair and restore skin for a super-glowing, radiant finish. It's top of my Christmas list this year.
If you've never given vitamin C a whirl before and would like to, this mask is the perfect place to start. It's thick and sumptuous and leaves skin hydrated and dewy. I've already polished off my tube and have another one in my basket.
Powder people, listen up. This pressed powder is, without a doubt, the best I have ever used. In fact, before this, I really hated powder. It's infused with hyaluronic acid, so you don't get that matte, cake finish. It simply takes down any shininess but still leaves you looking radiant and lit from within. Now, I carry it everywhere with me at all times.
It will come as no surprise that I haven't managed to squeeze a blow-dry in at any point this year. However, it seems whenever I used this shampoo, people would compliment me on my "blow-dry." I didn't have the guts to tell them that my equivalent of a blow-dry was hanging my head upside down and blasting my hairdryer on the hottest setting, but I'm saying it now. To anyone who has complimented me on my hair this year, it was this stuff. Deeply cleansing but nourishing and volumising at the same time, it's liquid gold.
Like lime, fresh mint, and sweet mango, this perfume was the scent of my summer, and I polished off every last drop. Quite honestly, I don't want another summer to go by without it, so I'll definitely be restocking.
If you're looking for an antioxidant serum that feels almost undetectable on the skin, look no further. Not only does this serum offer up hydration and antioxidant protection, but I also found it soothed and kept my sensitivity in check.
Soapsmith takes the trophy for being my favourite beauty find of the year. This bath soak smells like delicate roses and peonies and is the perfect way to unwind after a long day. I'm ready to try every other scent the brand has to offer.
Without a doubt my most-used makeup product of the year, these multi-use sticks from Byredo are a lazy girl's dream. Just scribble over lids and onto cheeks and dab onto lips for a full face in a matter of seconds.
It's another pricey one that I really didn't want to love (I mean, who actually wants to fall in love with a £160 moisturiser?!), but sadly, I can't get enough. I don't have particularly dry skin, so I was concerned this would be far too heavy for me. While it's the perfect slurp of hydration, it also just leaves skin looking exceptionally bright and lit from within. The best bit is it acts as a serum and moisturiser in one, so I just slap it on and go (plus SPF in the morning, of course).
These nail stickers have totally revolutionised my nail game this year. They come in lots of different styles and shapes, so you just stick them over your polish and seal with a topcoat for at-home nail art with a salon finish.
Dry lips can be a pain at the best of times, but throwing a mask into the mix makes things a whole lot worse. This lip oil is lightweight but delivers intense moisture while leaving behind a high-gloss finish without even a hint of stickiness. I'm currently on tube number three.
While Jo Loves Mango Thai Lime was my perfume choice for summer, this super-luxe spritz has been my reach-for in the colder months. It smells equally as pretty as it looks—warm and floral without being too heady. I actually purchased a bottle for my mum for Christmas but decided to keep it for myself. (Sorry, Mum.)
Created in collaboration with Jo Malone, this candle collection from Zara will continue to be a favourite for me for the foreseeable future. They smell really expensive but only cost £10. My favourite? Amalfi Sunray smells like Italian summers, lemon trees, and suncream.