The Best Beauty Buys Of 2019 |
From the £4.28 mascara we now swear by to creamy, full-coverage foundations and revolutionary skincare, these are the 35 products that transformed our beauty regimes this 2019…
Favourites 23


Glossier Glitter Gelée, £12

Glossier’s sister brand Play launched earlier this year, bringing with it a stream of exciting, drool-worthy products. Naturally, we wanted everything, but if we could only pick one item that stood out? It would have to be the satisfying jelly glitters. We’re obsessed with the easy-to-use shades that you can build and mix at will. Start with a simple sweep across lids, then keep playing for maximum impact.

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Hourglass Lip Treatment Oils£45

These delicious lip oils launched earlier this year and quickly became one of the brand’s bestselling products. Available in wearable yet vibrant shades, they leave behind a soft, glossy finish that’s universally flattering. They’re also laced with vitamins and essential oils, so any dry patches and cracks are kept at bay. A huge hit in the SL office, converting some who would usually steer clear of lipstick.

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Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm, £42

One of the best bases we’ve tried this year, Kevyn Aucoin’s foundation balm really lives up to the hype. It claims to be matte and full coverage, but it’s got a skin-like quality we love – not to mention the semi-matte, velvety glow it leaves behind. Some reviews say it can be powdery, but ignore them – use the brush it comes with and you’ll get a seamless finish that looks dewy and lasts for hours. The only downside? It’s currently available in 20 shades, so we’re hoping to see an expansion in the near future.

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Chanel Les Beiges Water Fresh Tint, £48

Chanel added to its base range this year with this sheer foundation that uses the microfluidic technology found in its skincare to create a barely-there finish. Made up of 75% water, it melts into the skin upon contact, creating a subtle, radiant effect that lifts a dull complexion instantly, but still allows the skin’s natural beauty and texture to shine through. A must-have for those who like breathable coverage.

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Fenty Beauty Foundation, £27

Targeting those with dry skin, Fenty’s new foundation for 2019 delivers comfortable medium-to-full coverage that’s natural with a moisturising feel. Similar to its predecessor, it’s still sweat and humidity resistant and non-comedogenic (formulated to not block pores). The key difference is the inclusion of hydrating grapeseed oil and hyaluronic acid, which makes sure skin doesn’t flake or go patchy. And, of course, it’s still available in an impressive 50 shades.

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Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Natural Skin Perfector, £35

Laura Mercier’s original tinted moisturiser had a big makeover this autumn and it didn’t disappoint. Laura Mercier herself wanted to recreate the formula to cater to medium and darker skin tones, with a higher SPF level too. The base was also tweaked by the addition of moisturising oils, while both parabens and silicones were removed. The result? A hydrating, glossy finish that enhances the skin immediately with candlelit coverage. And it blends seamlessly so you can use a brush or your fingers to layer it on. Finally, the shades are exact, so whichever you choose, you can be sure it’ll be the perfect match.

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Blank Canvas F01 Quick Multi-Purpose Brush, £13

If you only have money for one staple brush, make it this do-it-all kabuki that launched in the summer. Its densely packed hairs blend liquids, powders and cream foundations seamlessly for a flawless finish.

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Catrice Eyeconista Mascara, £4.28

Germany’s bestselling make-up brand finally landed in the UK this year, bringing with it one of our favourite mascaras to date. Promising no clumps and 180% more volume, it delivers on its promise, and doesn’t smudge or flake. We were impressed by the jet-black formula that holds a curl and adds noticeable volume after just a few sweeps. It’s ophthalmologically tested, so those with sensitive eyes can still benefit from it.

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NARS Multi-Use Glosses£16 (was £20)

These dual-purpose glosses tied into summer’s wet-skin trend in an easy, flattering way. Providing a dewy, fresh glow, you can dab them onto your lids, cheeks or lips for a pretty sheen that catches the light beautifully. Laced with vitamin E and silky coconut oil, they have the added benefit of never feeling sticky or tacky.

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Roen Beauty Warm Eyeshadow Palette, £37

The brainchild of two industry pioneers – celebrity make-up artist Nikki DeRoest and renowned photographer David Roemer – Roen has just recently hit the UK market and fallen straight into our make-up bags. Loved by the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the brand is vegan and cruelty free but doesn’t compromise on effectiveness. Our favourite from the range is this opulent, pigment-packed shadow palette, which makes glitter for grown-ups easy and takes you seamlessly from day to night.

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CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream, £9 (was £12)

One of our most favourite launches of 2019, this rich cream (by the brand that dermatologists love) uses salicylic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate even the scaliest patches, while ceramides work to strengthen the barrier of the skin, locking in serious moisture at the same time. We noticed red bumps on the back of our arms faded within just two days of use, while the snaky texture on our shins also smoothed out. You can use it on your face too, or any areas that are suffering from flaking, dryness or irritation. 

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Crabtree & Evelyn Buff & Invigorate Body Bar£13.50

Crabtree & Evelyn had a huge brand redesign this year, and with it came a slew of hard-working new products. Our award winner is this buffing body bar, which uses bamboo stem, apple fibre and blackcurrant seed oil to exfoliate the skin and leave behind a soft, musky scent. Expect smoother, softer limbs straight away.

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Augustinus Bader The Body Cream, £130

Augustinus Bader launched its cult cream in 2018 and has now dropped a body moisturiser that utilises the same cell-stimulating formula. It comes highly recommended by both us and testers. In fact, clinical trials showed testers’ skin was firm and more toned after four weeks, with 98% agreeing their skin felt firmer and plumper. Impressive indeed.

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Le Labo Tonka 25 Body Wash£37

Expanding on its fragrance range, Le Labo dropped new body and bath washes this year. Our favourite? Tonka 25, which has a warm, woody, musky smell that lingers on the skin for days. Yes, it’s expensive, but each one has a high perfume concentration, so you could skip buying the EDP and just use this if you’re on a budget. It also contains moisturising vitamin E and aloe vera for smoother, softer limbs.

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Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’R Lip Balm£15

Fenty Beauty dipped into skincare this year and this silky gloss-like balm became a firm favourite of ours. Laced with shea and mango butters, it gives a soft, plush pout with a healthy, unbeatable sheen. You’ll also find it’s without petroleum jelly – an ingredient some experts claim makes lips drier over time.

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Tan Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum, £35

An innovative three-in-one treatment, Tan Luxe’s Self Tan Serum caused a real buzz this year. It works to saturate the face with hyaluronic acid and raspberry seed oil for a smoother, more refined skin tone, while simultaneously building a subtle sun-kissed glow. The addition of cocoa seed extract is a real bonus; it works as a shield to protect skin from daily aggressors – ideal for city slickers.

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Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Beta Glow Pads£34

We were hooked on the original exfoliating pads, so when they were updated with a tanning agent earlier this year, we knew we would want to stockpile them. They deliver a streak-free, customisable tan with the added benefit of exfoliation. Loaded with glycolic and gentle lactic acids, each wipe is thin, soft and damp, rather than overly saturated, delivering an impressive – yet believable – glow and softer, soother skin within minutes.

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Curel Moisture Facial Milk, £17.50

Japan’s number-one brand for sensitive skin finally landed in Boots this year. Each product is designed to reduce inflammation and boost hydration, with formulas that are free of fragrances and coloured pigments. Our favourite from the range is this gentle milk that’s jam-packed with ceramides to keep skin hydrated, plump and soft, while protecting its moisture barrier. It will leave your complexion feeling firmer and more refined – and at a price tag that’s actually affordable.

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The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £5.50

Squalane had a real moment in 2019. A first-class hydrator, its prime job is to prevent moisture loss while boosting elasticity and plumpness. The Ordinary’s affordable new cleanser is a good introduction. It dissolves make-up and daily grime without stripping the skin – and you can expect your pores to look tighter and cleaner too.

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Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser£29

Those wanting to try squalene on less of a budget should seek out Drunk Elephant’s latest cleanser. Using a blend of oil and milk, itmelts away all traces of dirt, debris and make-up in a satisfying swipe. It’s also rich in antioxidants, fruit extracts and ultra-fine charcoal, giving you a complexion that feels squeaky clean – in the best possible way.

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It’s Skin Serums£12

Coveted by make-up master Lisa Eldridge, these new Korean serums sell every seven seconds worldwide. It’s little wonder given their affordable price points. They give skin a hefty dose of nourishing vitamins, balancing it out while keeping moisture levels up. Each serum in the range targets specific concerns, from spots to pores and dryness. If you’re just after a general boost, try the VE (vitamin E) Effector for an instant hit of radiance.

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Avène Hydrance Aqua Gel£15 (was £20)

French pharmacy brand Avène is a staple for sensitive skin types and that’s exactly what its latest moisturiser became for us this year. Loaded with 75% thermal spring water, it’s a drink for parched complexions, while the unique CohedermTM complex restores elasticity and smoothness. The best bit? The gel-cream formula leaves no stickiness or residue, so you can wear make-up on top without any piling. It can also be used as an overnight mask – just be sure to use a thick layer.

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Farmacy Bright On Vitamin C Mask, £36

A two-in-one formula, this vitamin C clay mask works to brighten and detox the skin at the same time with a blend of antioxidants and AHAs. Use it once or twice a week and you’ll soon notice the removal of build-up and impurities from the skin. Thanks to the comforting, creamy texture, your complexion won’t ever feel stripped or red – just smooth, refined and glowy. 

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SuperFacialist Retinol Booster£13.33 (was £20)

Retinol is hard to come by on a budget, which is why we were thrilled by SuperFacialist’s latest launch. Using vitamin E and almond oil to soften the retinol, add this booster to your moisturiser or serum to help plump, smooth and hydrate skin. After a few weeks, you’ll feel your skin’s texture change and you will start to enjoy a comforting glow.

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Le Labo Baie 19 Perfume

Le Labo expanded its cult fragrance portfolio this year with Baie 19. The inspiration behind this newest scent was a desire to replicate fresh rain. Tt doesn’t disappoint: at first spritz, it’s quite green and heady (thanks to juniper berry, green leaves and patchouli); once it sinks into the skin, you start to get an uplifting musk that is warm, cosy and reminiscent of a really sexy man. That being said, the fresher notes still maintain a feminine edge that we love. It’s the ultimate evening perfume – just don’t be surprised if your partner wants to share it.

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Replica Maison Margiela Coffee Break, £96

The name is a giveaway as to how this one smells, but it’s actually creamier than you may think. Top notes of lemon, milk mousse and red apple give it a clean, fresh twist, but the coffee and sandalwood come together when it dries down for a masculine element that’s hard to miss. Guaranteed to leave you sniffing at your wrists all day long.

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Tom Ford Métallique, £98

An SL favourite, Tom Ford’s new perfume is a musky floral that’s fresh yet deeply creamy – and never sickly. Instead, it gives you the heady scent of cherry, lavender and pink peppercorn. The result is something that feels quite sexy. Prepare to be addicted.

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Bamford Gray Eau De Parfum, £95

Warm top notes of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli are balanced beautifully by citrus-y orange for a rich, floral freshness that lingers on the skin all day long. The simple bottle is really chic, with a weightiness that feels incredibly luxe.

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Malin & Goetz Synthesized Musk, £40

For those who love a musky scent, look no further than Malin & Goetz’s new rollerball. It’s a perfect mix of zesty lemons with soft jasmine, warm suede and musk that manages to be light without disappearing on the skin. Set to be a new handbag staple, it’s an oil, so it’ll really go distance – you only need a little dabbed onto the pulse points each time.

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Olaplex Bonding Oil, £26

The latest step in the Olaplex product system, this clever oil has been designed to repair, strengthen and hydrate all hair types, while providing impressive heat protection. If that wasn’t enough, it visibly increases shine (even on blondes) and softness, and enhances colour. The lightweight formula makes it non-greasy, so you can apply it generously without the fear of your strands looking lank or weighed down. A must-have for anyone with parched, thirsty hair.

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GHD Glide, £139

There was a real buzz around hot brushes this year, especially GHD’s, which promises to switch up your hair routine. Yes, it’s expensive, but for good reason. It gives you the silky, lustrous effects of a blowout in ten minutes (no longer, we promise) and has the added benefit of reducing frizziness thanks to its anti-static ioniser and a pearl ceramic coating which prevents snagging. We trialled it and found thicker hair got slightly better results than fine; nonetheless, both hair types will still get enviable sleekness.

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Amika Perk Me Up Dry Shampoo, £20

We rarely deviate from our usual dry shampoos, but when this bold, colourful bottle landed on our desks this year we wanted to give it a go. Lightweight and talc free, it gives an extra day between washes, while adding volume throughout the lengths and at the root with no stickiness. Mist it into the hair and wait three minutes before you shake or brush it through. This will ensure oils are absorbed, texture is maximised and that tell-tale powdery feel is banished.

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Kristin Ess Shampoo & Conditioner, £11

These blush-pink bottles had us at hello. Designed to work on every hair type, they’re formulated with Zip-Up Repair Technology (a strengthening complex) that targets weak areas of hair while smoothing damaged cuticles and protecting from colour fade. We’ve noticed our strands look shinier and feel healthier with fewer flyaways than before. The brand is now available in Boots, so it’s accessible too.

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Chāmpo Volumising Shampoo & Conditioner, £20

The other new haircare brand on the block this year was Chāmpo. Founded on ancient Ayurvedic principles, it uses active botanicals instead of harsh chemicals to keep hair in its best condition. The volumising formula gives limp hair instant fullness and body while strengthening and protecting strands from breakage. We’ve used up countless bottles since it launched and plan to go big on our next order so we don’t run out so fast.

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