It's Official—These Are the Best-Selling Beauty Products of 2021

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.

Most Popular Beauty Products: @emmahoareau

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@emmahoareau

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. 

NET-A-PORTER

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. 

Shop Net-a-Porter's most popular beauty products:

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.

La Mer's Moisturizing Cream was one of the most popular beauty products of 2020 across the board, and it seems we all kept going back for more in 2021. It's rich, sumptuous and undeniably luxe.

There's no doubt that the pride we take in our homes has only increased in recent years considering we're spending so much more time in them. This hand wash not only looks chic on the side of the sink but also smells absolutely divine.

It's hard to believe that a £2000 skincare gadget could be one of the bestselling beauty products of the year, but Net-a-Porter assures us it's true. Using powerful LED technology, this at-home 'laser' targets fine lines, pigmentation and scarring.

HARVEY NICHOLS

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.

Shop Harvey Nichols's most popular beauty products:

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.

This luxe fragrance is widely considered to be one of the most popular mens fragrance in the UK. It's fresh, a little bit woody and totally moreish. Sure, it's popular amongst men, but if you're asking us, it's a great option for all genders.

It would seem that La Mer's cult Moisturizing Cream is proving a favourite across the board. 

It's not just La Mer's cult classic cream that's proving a hit for the brand. The Treatment Lotion sits somewhere between a toner and an essence, helping to give skin a hit of glowing moisture straight after cleansing.

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.

HARRODS

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.

Shop Harrods' most popular beauty products:

This might look like a precious gem (and have the price tag of one), but we assure you it is actually a face cream. When used at night after cleansing, the cream promises to boost the skin's natural ability to repair and defend itself.

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.

This mascara was one of 2020's bestselling beauty products, and it has been just as popular in 2021, proving that its fans are loyal. If you're yet to try it, expect super-long, lifted lashes that stick around all day.

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.

This very special bottle of perfume was created by French perfume brand Ex Nihilo as an ode to Harrods itself (which sits on London's Brompton Road).

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.

Shop John Lewis & Partners' most popular beauty products:

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.

John Lewis & Partners has said that ingestible beauty is having a big moment for them, with sales of this collagen powder up 230% on the year.

Across Jo Malone London's Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir and Peony & Blush Suede, John Lewis & Partners has sold enough to fill 8067 champagne flutes.

No surprises here, John Lewis & Partners saw triple-digit growth of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540.

The beauty wellness boom isn't going anywhere. At John Lewis & Parnets, sales of Aveda Chakra™ 4 Balancing Mist increased by 350% year on year.

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector treatment, which is currently the number one product in John Lewis & Partners' entire hair care category, up 94% year on year, repairs damaged strands and reduces breakage.

LOOKFANTASTIC

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.

Shop Lookfantastic's most popular beauty products:

This shampoo and conditioner duo helps to restore bonds in damaged strands to make them stronger, healthier and more resilient. 

An age-old classic, Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation has been a mainstay in makeup bags for years, and 2021 was no exception.

If you haven't tried Olaplex No.3 and you have dry or damaged strands, what are you waiting for?

This foundation delivers a second-skin finish that oozes radiance and glow.

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.

ASOS

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.

Shop ASOS's most popular beauty products:

Is there an Olaplex product that didn't prove popular in 2021? This mask was a new launch for the year and gives hair serious shine and body.

Keep this mask in the freezer and place over your face to boost circulation (and therefore glow), take down puffiness and create a firmer, smoother looking complexion.

This mascara was big news in 2021 and for good reason. It delivers lightweight volume and lift that rivals just about any and every mascara out there.

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.

This green-tinted facial cream not only takes down irritation and soothes upset skin, but also blurs and perfects—taking away any desire to apply foundation.

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