Best of Beauty 2020

2020 was a crazy year. Despite spending almost 10 months of the year quarantined alone at home, I somehow managed to still shop at Sephora on 58 separate occasions. I am nothing if not consistent, I guess?

Without further ado, here are my favorite makeup products of 2020

PRIMER

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Hydrating Makeup Primer – $42

My skin has changed a little in the past year and I have been dealing with dry skin for the first time in my life. This stuff gives you a really healthy, beautiful glow. Primers can be hit or miss, but this sits well underneath all my other products, and seems to also increase the longevity of my makeup. The other downside is that you’re paying $42 for 1 fluid ounce.

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer – $30

If you want your makeup to last forever, this is the product for you. Apply to clean, dry skin and wait a minute or two before going in with any other makeup products. In that time, the product is activated and actually becomes tacky. Not only does this stuff grip to your makeup all day, but it makes products go on very smoothly. It took me some time to get used to, but I love this stuff.

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas: Featherweight Protective Primer – $52

This a weightless, oil free liquid primer that helps your makeup go on better and last longer. It’s expensive but it lasts a long time, truly works and is great for any skin type.

FOUNDATION

Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation – $39

This foundation quickly became one of my favorites because it’s just so good. It has great coverage, a beautiful finish and stays put all day. The shade range is amazing (51 shades!!). Despite the fact that I am a very boring shade of beige, not super pale, not super deep, I have a difficult time finding a foundation that matches my undertone without giving me a stark line of demarkation between my face and neck. This is the best shade match I have found, hands down. Bonus: Uoma Beauty is a black, woman owned business.

Dior Airflash Spray Foundation – $62

I know, I know. This is crazy expensive but I love it. I tried it this year on a whim and it’s so good. I only use it for special occasions though, like trips to the grocery store or maybe an invasive vaginal examine at the gynecologist (the second part is a joke, but leaving the house at all is a special occasion in 2020, let’s be real). I spray it on a brush vs. directly on my face and the finish is just *chefs kiss.*

beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation – $40

GAH, I see this is half off on Sephora’s website which makes me wonder if it’s being discontinued. This is one of my ride or die foundations. The shade range is great, transfer proof, long wearing, great coverage. This won’t let you down—it’s going to look great every time I use it. BRB, stocking up.

CONCEALER

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer – $32

This somehow only has 3 stars on the Sephora website which is absolutely blasphemy. I would die for this concealer. I have used it religiously since I first purchased it and have repurchased it at least four times. Dark circles? We don’t know her!

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer – $30

If you have anything on your face you want to disappear—blemishes, scars, veins, etc.,—this concealer is a God send. I have lots of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation on my face (like, a lot) and you would never know it because this concealer works wonders. It’s a little too dry for underneath the eyes, but anywhere else on the face it’s amazing. Will cover all your sins. I am never without it.

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Face and Under Eye Concealer – $38

I bought this on a whim one of the first times I was back in Sephora post-shelter in place. I spent a ton of money that day because it felt so good to be back inside the store, seeing makeup in person (although not touching or swatching it, since that is a relic of times past). I really enjoy this concealer. It does a good job of hiding dark circles under my eyes but doesn’t crease or look bad. Still comes in second place to my beloved Charlotte Tilbury, though.

POWDER

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder – $45

This is the best product on the market. Mattifies (but not too much), blurs pores, makes you look like you’ve been FaceTuned in real life (but a good amount, not like into oblivion). Throw away all your other powders, this is the only one you’ll need from here on out.

Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Blurring Under Eye Setting Powder – $30

Let’s be honest—this is not as good as the CT powder. Especially for the price per ounce. But I like it for setting my undereye concealer. It’s lightweight, blurring, doesn’t crease. I have used it virtually every time I have worn makeup in 2020 and I have not hit pan yet. However, if you were going to buy one powder buy the Charlotte Tilbury.

BRONZER

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer – $52

I remember the first time I bought this bronzer. I was in college, working at MSU IPF, and I snuck away on my lunch break for my yearly pilgrimage to Sephora for the holiday sale to score some things I otherwise couldn’t afford while they were 20% off. I have continued to repurchase it ever since. I use the shade Luminous Bronze and find that it works best with my skin tone. There are lighter shimmer shades veining through the bronzer that give the skin the prettiest sheen without looking glittery or sparkly.

Tower 28 Beauty – Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer – $20

I talked about my affinity for Tower 28 Beauty way back in the beginning of 2020 and, I have to say, they are probably my favorite brand of the year. This illuminating bronzer is unlike anything I had ever tried. It’s a balm that blends very seamlessly into your skin and provides a very natural sun-kissed sheen. I always set with powder as it does stay a little tacky, but a super innovative product that I reached for time and time again throughout 2020.

Gucci Poudre de Beaute Eclat Soleil Bronzing Powder – $62

I bought this because I really liked the packaging, let’s be real. At $62, thank God the product itself wasn’t bad either. I actually really like this bronzer. The brand claims that the product is designed to “deliver a luminous finish and a natural glow” and it does exactly that.

CONTOUR

Huda Beauty Tantour Contour and Bronzer Cream – $30

I feel like I’ve been using this product for years but in actuality, I purchased this on March 2, 2020. (I checked my Sephora order history, to be sure). I love this product. I use the lighter of the two shades and it gives the perfect cool-toned contour shade without looking muddy. It is insanely pigmented and looks very intense at first, but blends out like a dream. Huda Beauty is very hit or miss for me, but I absolutely love this product.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Contour Powder – $44

This matte, powder formula was created Kevyn Aucoin himself—the man, the myth, the legend. It combines brown, red, and gray pigments that work together to recreate natural shading and dimension on the face. The formula mimics the look of natural shadows, is crease-proof, and won’t settle into fine lines or pores. This is one thing that I have to have at my disposal at all times.

HIGHLIGHT

NUDESTIX Nudies All Over Face Color Bronze + Glow – $32

This was arguably my most-used highlighter all year. I thought for sure that if I rubbed this on my face all the product would lift off, but it didn’t. It’s super easy to use, very easy to blend out and gives a really beautiful, natural looking glow to the face. Highly recommend.

BLUSH

MAC Glow Play Blush – $30

The Glow Play blushes came out earlier this year (around summer, I want to say?). These blushes are unlike anything else I have tried. They have a really unique spongy texture, that almost feels like a hybrid between a gel and a powder. They go on beautifully and have a very natural finish with sheer-to-buildable color.

Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush – $20

I wrote an entire blog post about Rare Beauty—how I was, at first, entirely uninterested in even trying it and how I was, subsequently, really impressed by the quality and performance of everything I tried. The two products that stood out to me the most were the blushes and the lip products. Coming in at only $20 this is a pretty good deal (all things considered), too.

Tower 28 Beach Please Tinted Lip+Cheek Balm – $20

This is such a great cream blush. I got it in the shade Magic Hour and it’s such a gorgeous sun-kissed rosy nude. It’s buildable, very creamy and blends seamlessly into the skin.

BROWS

Benefit Precisely, My Brow – $24

This is a pretty straightforward, run-of-the-mill eyebrow pencil. They have a good shade range, have a very fine point that makes it easy to draw hairlike strokes and is long-lasting and smudge-proof. The exaggerated cap shape is annoying as it takes up extra space in a travel bag, but who is traveling right now anyway?

Got2Be Glued – $4.99

This is not technically an eyebrow product, but I’ve been using it on my eyebrows all the same. This like soap brows on steroids. Your eyebrow hair isn’t going anywhere with this shit. I am obsessed.

EYESHADOW

Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette – $48

The other two palettes that I chose as my 2020 favorites are very specific to my taste because I love a warm, bronze eyeshadow look. This, however, is a palette that I think that every makeup enthusiast could stand to have in their arsenal. It has 12 universal matte shades that can be used to create any look on any skin tone. In fact, Mario said that this was inspired my human skin tones from light to deep. The formula is great, creamy and long lasting with very minimal fallout and amazing blendability.

Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette – $65

I love a good bronze-y eyeshadow palette and I couldn’t resist buying this one when it came out over the summer. I used this almost exclusively for months on end. It has everything you need for a casual everyday look —but can also create some very intense night time looks, too. It’s smaller than most ND palettes, but also around half the price.

Juvias Place The Warrior Eyeshadow Palette – $20

This is honestly one of my favorite eyeshadow palettes that I have ever owned. Juvia’s Place pumps out extremely high quality, high performing products at an insanely low price point. This palette is full of beautiful rich, earthy, warm tones in a variety of finishes ranging from matte to shimmer. I used this throughout 2019 and 2020 and it shows. I finally hit pan on my favorite shade (these pan sizes are enormous, by the way).

LIP LINER

Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip Definer 02 – $26

Posh was my favorite Spice Girl and when I found out that Posh herself had a makeup line I couldn’t not try it out. Her lip looks defined an entire generation, okay? I got this lip definer in #2 which is one of those “my lips but better” shades but every-so-slightly more brown than my actual lip color. These go on so smoothy—absolutely no tugging—and enhance your lips in the most beautiful, delicate way. Amazing pigmentation. I cannot say enough good things about this lip liner.

em cosmetics Soft Blur Velvet Lip Liners – $22

I wrote an entire blog (née love letter) about my unwavering devotion and admiration to and for these lip liners and for good reason. They are so. good. I got two shades—Fawn and Kitten—and both go on smooth, no pulling or tugging, stay put all day (even under a mask!) and it matches my natural lip color. It’s truly everything you could ask for. The formula is definitely creamier than the VB liners. I can’t decide which I prefer.

LIPSTICK

Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint in Cherie – $36

This is arguably the best lip product of 2020. It’s a gorgeous, subtle rosy tint that enhances your natural lip shade and stays put all day long. Seriously. For hours and hours and hours—even with a mask on. It’s a gorgeous and very interesting geleé formula unlike anything else I’ve tried. On top of being beautiful and lovely to wear, it’s made of hyaluronic acid squalane which plump your lips and leave them better than they were before you put it on. 12/10. Well done, Posh.

Rare Beauty Lip Souffle Matte Cream Lipstick – $20

As I wrote in my dedicated blog about Rare Beauty, this lipstick formula kind of blew me away. My liquid lipstick days are long gone and I much prefer wearing lip products that don’t give me insanely dry lips or make my mouth look like a butthole (if you’ve ever worn liquid lipstick, you know exactly what I’m talking about). This dries matte but is not drying in the least. I wore this to dinner with a friend one night and, despite the fact I wore the brightest red known to man, it’s so lightweight that I actually forgot that I had it on. It doesn’t flake off, doesn’t leave you with the dreaded ring and stays on for hours on end.

Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Divinyl – $36

I got the shade Nude Venus and I love it. One of my favorite lipstick purchases of all time, honestly. It’s a light beige color but it deposits just the right amount of pigment. It has an extremely glossy, nearly glassy finish. It’s very sexy, IMO. I keep it in my purse at all times for the day when masks are no longer required and everyone can appreciate my beautiful lips (yes, they are beautiful. And they should be, I paid enough for them LOL).

LIP GLOSS

Tower 28 ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss – $14

Hands down the best lip gloss of the year. I have this lip gloss in nearly every shade that Tower 28 makes. Chill (clear) and Fire (orange) are my favorites, by far. This is never sticky, extremely high shine and actually leaves your lips feeling moisturized. I am so obsessed.

Kosas Wet Oil Lip Gloss – $27

This comes in a close second. It’s an oil, so it truly has some moisturizing properties. I got it in the shade Jellyfish (clear). It also is extremely high shine and never sticky. But it costs twice as much as the Tower 28, so there’s a clear winner here and it isn’t Kosas 😦

LIP TREATMENT

Lucas’ PawPaw Ointment Lip Balm – $8.95

This is the best chapstick on the market, hands down. I use this every single night and every morning when I wake up my lips are so soft and supple. I cannot say enough good things about this and I will never be without it!

TL;DR

2020 was a wild ride. Was spending money on makeup super “responsible” to do? Probably not. But it made me feel momentarily better to try something new, to spend time on myself, doing something that I really love—and that makes it worth it to me. What were your favorite products of 2020?

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