Casting our minds back to the start of the year, it seems almost impossible to believe that we spent the first few months of 2021 in strict lockdowns. We were living exclusively in ultrasoft loungewear, had at-home coffee making off to a fine art and, of course, were busy throwing every skincare product at our faces that we possibly could.
But since then, times have changed. As the world started to open up, our beauty priorities shifted once more. Sure, we're still not entirely sold on daily makeup application and gave up on at-home manicures the minute salons reopened, but that's not to say we left our beauty obsessions behind. In fact, 2021 has been the year we really found our beauty sweet spot, caring more than ever before about the products that line our bathroom cabinets.
You see, many of us, the Who What Wear UK team included, utilised our time spent indoors to experiment with new makeup, skincare, and haircare. And after many months of being able to live our lives a little more freely, it begs the question: which products did we remain loyal to? With our interest piqued, we set about finding out.
From John Lewis & Partners and Harrods to Net-a-Porter and Lookfantastic, we asked some of beauty’s top retailers to tell us which beauty products are most in demand. Keep scrolling to discover the most popular beauty products of 2021, and see how many you can tick off your bucket list.
At Net-a-Porter, super-luxe skincare reigned supreme. We're talking everything from multi-hyphenate, all-in-one creams to high-tech skincare gadgets.
Something tells us that this won't be the first time an Augustinus Bader product features on this list. It was one of the bestselling products of 2020, and its popularity didn't waver in 2021. Deeply nourishing (meaning it's not ideal for oily skin), glow-boosting and zero fuss, this cream is basically healthy skin in a bottle.
We know, £235 for a hyaluronic acid serum is truly ridiculous money, however that hasn't stopped this little guy from being one of Net-a-Porter's most in demand skincare products of the year. While we would never condone spending this amount of money on a hyaluronic acid, we can confirm that it is a really great product thanks to its plumping, glow-boosting abilities. We're big fans of Dr. Barbara Sturm here at Who What Wear.
Harvey Nichols has also seen customers lap up luxury beauty products en masse, only this time around it's perfume that leads the way. Notably, heritage brands such as Creed and La Mer came out on top.
This perfume has been around for years and has been a particular favourite amongst beauty and fashion insiders. However, this year, it really took off on TikTok, causing it to sell out far and wide. It's floral, woody, creamy, and unlike anything you have ever smelled before.
Our first makeup item on the list comes courtesy of YSL's All Hours Foundation. While shopping for foundation online is notoriously difficult, lockdowns had us turning to the internet to stock up on our old favourites. This one, it seems, has proved quite the hit.
We must admit, it feels really good to see this special perfume hit bestsellers lists once more. If you haven't had the joy of smelling Molecule 01 before, it smells unlike anything else out there: a little bit fresh, very velvety and somewhat soapy. We urge you to give it a go.
When it comes to Harrods' bestselling beauty products of the year, there is a pretty even spread of skincare, makeup and fragrance. And while some are expected classics, a few definitely surprised us.
It's no secret that we're big fans of Estée Lauder's little brown bottle, but this particular version of Advanced Night Repair isn't so little. In fact, it houses a whopping 115ml of the brand's cult glow-boosting, skin firming juice.
We must admit, we're a little surprised to see this nestled amongst £500 face creams and classic serums. However, the allure of Kylie Skin clearly cannot be disputed. This lip oil promises to condition dry lips and give the finish of a gloss, without the tackiness.
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS
John Lewis & Partners' beauty offering is as bountiful as they come, so we were particularly interested to see which products its customers buy in bulk. At the end of the year, John Lewis & Partners write up a beauty report on the trends they have seen emerge in our buying habits, and it makes for a fascinating read. To sum up some of the most interesting bits, we've pulled out key products and stats below.
In the three weeks following John Lewis stores reopening on 12th April, mascara sales rocketed by 113%, with Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Push Up Lashes Mascara proving the best selling product across all sectors including fashion, beauty and home.
Over at Lookfantastic, the brand saw two key brands lead the way for them in 2021: Olaplex and Estée Lauder. For the retailer, it's clear that haircare and foundation really reigned supreme.
Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum is one of the most-loved skincare products across the globe, so it's really no surprise it has shown up on this list more than once.
Sadly, ASOS wasn't so keen to share its definitive bestsellers list with us, however, what they could share was a list of products they have seen a whole bunch of interest in over the past year—mostly off the back of TikTok and social media fame.
This hair treatment took TikTok by storm thanks to its transformative powers. If your hair is long, damaged and prone to knotting, this affordable conditioner is bound to help.