The Best Beauty Buys Of 2020

From the £7 brow gel we now swear by, to creamy, full-coverage foundations and revolutionary skincare, these are the 50 products that transformed our beauty regimes in 2020.

Skincare

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler + Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £16.66

This hefty hydrator was previously only available in the US – where one sells every minute – but thankfully, this year, it launched in the UK, too. Loved by make-up artists and skincare specialists alike, the formula is loaded with two types of hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration. Use it both morning and night before your moisturiser and you’ll soon see the benefits. In fact, a test on 53 women found that after just two weeks of use, wrinkles were blurred by 47%, while 60% saw a reduction in fine lines over six weeks.

Available at Boots.com

1.

Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Cashmere Cream, £42

There’s a reason this has ‘cashmere’ in the name – the texture is incredibly smooth and velvet-y. Despite this, the formula sinks in fast, while the in-built vegan collagen booster gets to work plumping and boosting skin’s elasticity. With a 97% natural ingredient list, you can be confident that it’s kind, gentle and never irritating. Plus, the light basil and chamomile scent is so soothing. A winter skincare staple. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

2.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 20% Niacinamide Treatment, £45

Niacinamide is one of the most Googled skincare ingredients this year. Not only does it boost elasticity and shrink pores, it’s also incredibly gentle. If you’re keen to try it first-hand, we recommend this latest serum from Paula’s Choice. With a potency of 20%, even a small amount gets deep down into the skin fast, combating everything from stubborn bumps to excess oil and uneven tone. The best bit? The results are fast – you’ll start to see a difference within days. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

3.

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream, £46.40 (was £58)

Fans of the original will be pleased to hear Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream has had an update for 2020. Now available with three new ingredients, this hard-working formula is a must-try for those concerned with skin ageing. It includes vitamin A to gently exfoliate, in turn, reducing fine lines, and proxylane, which is known to improve firmness and elasticity. Finally, chaga mushroom helps keep sallowness and dullness at bay – 96% of testers said their skin was not only plumper, but smoother in texture, too. 

Available at Kiehls.co.uk

4.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum, £52

A first from Fresh, this oil-infused liquid serum is one of the best products we’ve tried this year. With just a few shakes, the two phases come together to deliver deep down hydration. Rose flower, camelina and squalane oils offer skin protection and nourishment simultaneously – just pat in with your fingers after cleansing, but before moisturiser. You’ll be surprised how quickly it sinks in, with zero greasy residue left behind. Expect to see a difference within days. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

5.

Augustinus Bader The Cream Cleansing Gel, £50

Adding to their eponymous line, Augustinus Bader have dropped this cream cleansing gel and it’s already received rave reviews. Powered by their signature ingredient (TFC8 – natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesised molecules found in the skin) it works gently to condition, clean and prepare the skin for the rest of your routine. It quickly transforms from a gel into a cleansing milk to dissolve all surface grime and dirt with zero fuss, too. Finally, added aloe vera leaf juice locks out any environmental aggressors, so skin gets an extra layer of protection. Your complexion will look visibly refreshed and smooth from the first use – trust us.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

6.

No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, £34

No7’s first clinically-proven advanced retinol launched this year, and it didn’t disappoint. Designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, it also refines pores, while increasing elasticity and improving collagen, too. But does it really work? A 12-week study says so, with results showing a significant improvement in the appearance of crow’s feet and hyperpigmentation. Other studies show the cream increases collagen by 55%. No wonder it has a 100k+ waitlist – sign yourself up, pronto.

Available at Boots.co.uk

7.

Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Cleansing Butter, £30

Elemis are known for their cleansing balms, and their latest launch is no exception. With a unique butter-to-milk formula, it dissolves all make-up and surface grime but is still gentle enough to use on the eyes, too. Pumpkin and acerola cherry (which are naturally rich in AHAs) offer a gentle exfoliation for brighter and more radiant complexion over time – a real treat for both your skin and senses.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

8.

Tools

Garnier Micellar Reusable Eco Pads, £4.49

Incredibly soft and with a fluffy texture, Garnier’s new eco pads are larger than a regular single-use cotton pad, to fully sweep away dirt and grime. They’re gentle, too, so they never cause irritation or feel too abrasive. Each pad activates with water, but you can also combine it with your go-to cleanser or Garnier’s cult Micellar for a more thorough removal. The packaging is 100% recyclable, too – a great, eco-friendly addition to your cleansing regime. 

Available at Boots.com

9.

Lottie London Make-Up Brushes, From £5

If you’re looking for some new brushes on a budget, we can’t recommend Lottie London enough. Vegan and cruelty-free, the bristles are soft and synthetic, yet dense enough for seamless application. You’ll find everything from bronzer to smudger and highlighter brushes, as well as a handy sponge that’s a great dupe for the cult beautyblender. 

Available at Lottie.London

10.

Wet Brush Go Green Detangler, £14.99

When does a Wet Brush become more than just another Wet Brush? When it’s planet-friendly and completely biodegradable. Made from plant starch, it will break down in landfill within five years, so when you’re ready to replace it, you can do so guilt-free. It’s just as effective as the original, too – designed with the same sleek, shiny handle and fine flexible bristles that are ideal for eliminating knots and reinvigorating your scalp.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

11.

L’Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0, £235

Steam straighteners are nothing new, but L’Oréal’s recently upgraded 3.0 pod is better than the others we tried. Not only is it 78% kinder to your hair (compared to regular straighteners) it promises sleek results twice as fast with minimal breakage. Compact, the steam pod itself is built into the plates and doesn’t need constantly topping up, so you don’t have to refill it halfway through styling. Expect silky, lustrous effects with minimal snagging.

Available at LookFantastic.com

12.

SilkWorks London, Pack of 3 Skinny Scrunchies, £18

You can’t move for silk masks, pillowcases and hair ties these days, but not all are created equal. New lifestyle brand Silk Works London’s chic offering uses the highest grade 6A long fibre of mulberry silk – aka, the gentlest kind for skin and hair. Our favourite? These soft, stretchy hair ties eliminate ponytail kinks, reduce snagging and breakage, while also preventing split ends. Essential for anyone who likes to tie up their hair, they make for a great stocking filler, too. 

Available at SilkWorksLondon.com

13.

Face Halo X, £24

Face Halo are our go-to brand for reusable make-up removers, and now, they’ve taken things up a notch. Targeting the 51% of women who still use cotton pads to remove precise areas of make-up (think stubborn mascara and eyeliner), these cute finger towels are a great alternative. Reusable and easy to manoeuvre, they fit snugly into hard-to-reach areas, allowing you to remove any mistakes or dirt with optimum precision. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

14.

Make-Up

Rodial Banana Lowlighter, £38

This was one of the most talked-about beauty products of 2020, and for good reason. Part concealer, part highlighter, it’s been dubbed a ‘complexion enhancer’ and it’s incredibly versatile – wear it on its own, underneath your concealer or on top of your foundation. Whichever you choose, it’s guaranteed to lend a dewier finish to your skin. A must-try for those looking to boost dullness and even out skin tone. 

Available at HarveyNichols.com

15.

FLOWER Beauty Blush Bomb, £7.99

FLOWER Beauty is the brainchild of actress Drew Barrymore. And after its initial success, she’s now expanding the range with more quality, affordable make-up. Our favourite new find is this dewy blush. Easy to tap on with fingers or build up with a brush, the formula melts into the skin, leaving behind a plump, glossy sheen that looks beautiful and healthy. There are six shades available, all of which blend together well for a more impactful glow. 

Available at Superdrug.com

16.

Saie Glowy Super Gel, £22

We’ve had our eye on this brand for a while and it finally launched in the UK this year. Known for their glow-giving formulas, the products are sheer, buildable and provide a wet-look finish that’s so on-trend right now. This Glowy Super Gel is our favourite – a primer-highlighter hybrid, this can be worked into the skin pre-foundation, or mixed in with your base make-up for a light-reflecting luminosity. It has very minimal shimmer inside, just a pearly gleam that’s unbeatable. We recommend checking out their mascara, too, which is great for a non-clumpy finish. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

17.

Nudestix Nudefix Cream Concealer, £24

This cream-to-powder concealer is a must-have for those looking for great coverage. Rich in pigment, it takes down any blemishes, darkness or uneven tone immediately, while  added vitamin E and B5 keep skin hydrated and smooth. The clever super gel technology is a bonus, as it allows for the product to glide seamlessly without ever drying or settling into fine lines. A little goes a long way, so expect this to last for months. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

18.

Typology Teint Tinted Serum, £24.80

Looking for a lightweight and dewy base? This make-up and skincare hybrid is not to be missed. It’s sheer and can be layered up easily depending on your preference. Each shade has also been formulated using the Fitzpatrick Scale. This takes into consideration your sun exposure and skin tone to find you a perfect match. If you’re unsure, the website offers free samples for testing, too. We love the added vitamin C, squalane and aloe vera – all of which hydrate, brighten and protect. 

Available at Uk.Typology.com

19.

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara, £29 

Created especially for those who love the look of fanned-out extensions, Hourglass’ latest mascara is an SL favourite. It doesn’t take long to build both length and definition, while the thin wand allows you to reach every single lash (even the ones in the corners) for seamless coverage. The formula glides through with zero clumping, while lightweight fibres lock the colour in place for hours. It even gives the appearance of tight lining on the upper lash line, for an impressive eye-opening effect. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

20.

Chanel Sheer Healthy Glow Highlighting Fluid, £38

Providing a glossy, tinted shine, Chanel’s Healthy Glow Fluid lends skin an iridescent, bronzed finish that looks healthy and fresh. Unlike other formulas, it has minimal shimmer, so it never looks theatrical or too pigmented. It’s versatile, too: use it on your cheekbones, brow bone, over your décolletage and on limbs for a natural tone that looks great on everyone.

Available at Boots.com

21.

Maybelline Color Strike Cream-To-Powder Eyeshadow Pens, £7.99

Eyeshadow novices should look no further than Maybelline’s new Cream-To-Powder Pens. Simply roll your chosen shade over your lids for an easy, foolproof smokey eye that sets quickly and lasts for hours. Before it dries, layer the creamy texture using the sponge applicator, or your ring finger if you want to sheer it out. We love the shade ‘Hustle’.

Available at Superdrug.com

22.

BECCA Light Gleam Primer & Topper Liquid Eyeshadow, £21

If you’ve wanted to try wet-look lids, check out BECCA’s latest launch. Double-ended, each one houses a primer at one end and a high-shine shimmer on the other. You can wear them solo, but there’s no doubt the base helps the glitter adhere better. We love Golden Hour for a suits-all tone, as well as the way it reflects the light. 

Available at LookFantastic.com

23.

Morphe 2 Brow Crush Tinted Brow Gel, £7

We’re big fans of this bushy brow gel. With a small brush head, it lets you build bulk and density while mimicking the appearance of thicker brow hairs. A must-try for those who love the ‘boy brow’ effect. Just be sure to wipe the wand against the tube to take off any excess pigment so you don’t deposit too much at once.

Available at Uk.Morphe.com

24.

iT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare, £32

Following in the footsteps of their cult CC cream, iT Cosmetic’s new foundation truly lives up to the hype. The formula is dewy, yet still offers medium coverage that’s buildable and breathable. You’ll notice your complexion looks more even, refined and fresh, while the addition of aloe vera, vitamins E, B5 and hyaluronic acid lend skin extra hydration, too. Plus, it’s available in 40 shades, so you’re guaranteed to find a perfect match. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

25.

Haircare

COLOR Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray, £25  

If your hair is prone to frizziness or damage from too much bleach, this clever spray is for you. Silicone-free, it’s a gentle mist that coats the hair with a veil of sleek protection. As a result, strands look smoother, glossier and more hydrated – all without any traces of greasiness. Apply it to your hair when it’s damp, then blow-dry as normal. You’ll find your hair is easier to comb through, too, with almost zero flyaways. No wonder stylists swear by it.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

26.

Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Leave-In Treatment, £9

Promising protection against heat up to 230°C, this intensive treatment is ideal for those that like to style or blow-dry their hair. It’s also a treat for anyone wanting some extra moisture, shine and control, thanks to the smooth, creamy texture that binds moisture to each strand. Apply through damp hair post-wash, leaving it in for silky-soft results. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

27.

Babyliss Curl Styler Luxe 2112U, £47.99

Babyliss launched a selection of new tools for 2020, but this is by far our favourite. Easy to use, it allows you to wrap your hair around the wand, then glide the device through the hair to release a full, bouncy wave. The best bit? It has in-built cool-air technology that runs down the barrel to set your curl in place – it works, too, with no need for copious amounts of hairspray. Unlike other curlers, these are also affordable and lightweight – for speedy results and great manageability. Brilliant for all hair types. 
 
Available at Amazon.co.uk

28.

Azure by Planet Friendly Beauty, From £14.99

New to Boots this year, Azure’s conscious and sustainable haircare range is a must-try. Formulated with 90% naturally-sourced ingredients, the products are gentle, with the line offering something for everyone – from boosted volume, to frizz control. A standout is the Volumising Shampoo, which adds visible bulk and density from the first use. What’s more, the packaging is made from sugarcane and is completely recyclable, so you’ll have zero throwaway guilt when you move onto your next bottle. 

Available at PlanetFriendlyBeauty.com

29.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Goji 3-in-1 Hair Mask For Coloured Hair, £6.99

Dry, tangled hair? Try Garnier’s intensive 3-in-1 mask, which became a firm favourite of ours throughout lockdown 1.0. Formulated with goji and soy, it gets to work fast, softening and adding shine simultaneously. Use it as a speedy conditioner or a leave-in treatment overnight. It’s incredibly lightweight, so you won’t have that tell-tale heavy feel – just lustrous, smooth results that last. 

Available at LookFantastic.com
 

30.

Redken Extreme Length Shampoo, £11.35

A first of its kind, Redken’s latest shampoo promises to promote hair growth, thanks to its biotin and castor oil-infused formula. Proven to strengthen and fortify strands by up to 81%, it also works to prevent breakage, giving hair the chance to grow and recuperate. It may sound too good to be true, but the reviews say otherwise. We’ve started trialling it and have already noticed a smoother, more weightless finish – with far more shine. 

Available at LookFantastic.com

31.

The Inkey List Peptide Volumising Hair Treatment, £9.99

The Inkey List broadened their cult range this year with haircare, and our favourite has to be this volumising treatment, which builds visible body and weight. Harnessing the benefits of keranutri and betaine, the lightweight serum boosts density, while conditioning simultaneously to prevent further breakage or dryness. Use it twice a week for best results, running a few pumps through wet or dry hair. 

Available at LookFantastic.com

32.

Fragrance

Sana Jardin Nubian Musk, £95

The name alone should give you a sense of how warming this fragrance is. Created with musk essential oil and sweet vanilla, it’s wholesome and cosy. Plus, the scent lingers on the skin for hours – even after you’ve showered. What’s more, any floral waste made in the creation of this product is sold on and upcycled, so it’s kinder to the environment, too. 

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

33.

Boy Smells, £36

This niche candle brand has been on our radar for some time, and now it’s expanded its range with a new fragrance – Rhubarb Smoke. Designed to embrace masculine and feminine scents simultaneously, expect to sample unique notes across their vast offering – from tomato vine to honeysuckle, smoke and rose. We love the impressive burn time, too, as well as how long the fragrance lingers in any room long after the flame has gone out. A great gift for Christmas – for you, or a loved one. 

Available at SpaceNK.com

34.

Anine Bing Pure Noir Eau de Parfum, €169

Scandi designer Anine Bing always gets it right when it comes to fashion, and now, she’s expanding her skillset with a cult new fragrance. Pure Noir delivers all the warmth and sensuality you’d expect. Created to embody the ‘modern woman’, it balances notes of black rose with nutmeg and black pepper – sophisticated, feminine and every bit as cool as Anine herself. 

Available at AnineBing.com

35.

Diptyque The Wall Diffuser, £90

Diffusers don’t come much more stylish than this. Designed to sit on the wall, Diptyque’s new launch is simple and sophisticated, allowing you to scent a large space with their bestselling fragrances. Just slot in one of their clever inserts – which contain beads saturated with scent. It makes for a beautiful gift, too – for yourself or a friend. 

Available at Selfridges.com

36.

Tom Ford Bitter Peach Eau De Parfum, £228

Bitter Peach may not sound all that synonymous with winter, but the fruity notes are tempered slightly by blood orange and rum-infused oils. Meanwhile, patchouli adds a hint more musk, too. At first spritz, it feels light and citrus-y, but as it dries down, you’ll soon see how it develops into something much cosier. Different to other Tom Ford perfumes, we predict this will be a huge hit. 

Available at HarveyNichols.com

37.

Jo Malone London Car Diffuser, £73

Car diffusers just got a whole lot chicer again – this time, thanks to Jo Malone. The clever design of their car diffuser allows you to attach them to your air vent, and comes filled with one of the brand’s three signature fragrances – Lime, Basil & Mandarin, Peony & Blush Suede or Wood Sage & Sea Salt. The scent is potent, too, so you get proper bang for your buck, without it being too overpowering. A great gift for anyone this Christmas.

Available at JoMalone.co.uk
 

38.

Body Care

Bare by Vogue Tanning Mists, £13.50

When it comes to self-tanning, our motto is 'the easier the better', which explains why we’re loving Vogue Williams mists. Available in light, medium and dark, the pump makes it easy to ramp up your tan without worrying about overdoing it. Simply spray over your face for a light, gradual glow that builds up over a few hours. Added oatmeal and chamomile means skin gets a hydrating boost, too, while antioxidants combat redness caused by pollution or UV. 

Available at BareByVogue.com

39.

Girl Smells Deodorant Aluminium-Free, €22

We found this niche deodorant brand this year via wholesale marketplace site Curate Beauty and have been huge fans ever since. Aluminium-free and antibacterial, each one is made with a crisp, fresh scent that belies any stigma surrounding natural formulas. Unlike others on the market, they don’t wear off quickly and there’s zero powdery residue left behind. We love the chic packaging, too. 
 
Available at GirlSmellsBeauty.com

40.

Nuxe Organic Replenishing Nourishing Body Oil, £31

Hydrating body oils don’t get much better than this. Luxurious and thick in texture, it glides over the skin with a moisture-rich formula. Cold-pressed hazelnut oil (which is rich in fatty acids) and organic botanical oils keep dryness and irritation at bay, while ensuring limbs stay supple and velvety-soft. Despite its unguent consistency, it sinks in fast, with zero greasy residue left behind. The orange blossom scent adds an uplifting feel, too.

Available at LookFantastic.com

41.

Estrid Razor, £7.95

It can be hard to get excited about something like a razor, but we love cool brand Estrid. It works as a monthly subscription that starts from £7.95, however, you can choose how often you want new blades, so you’re never forced to overspend. Available in four Instagram-worthy shades, each razor uses aloe vera and vitamin E to nourish and moisturise, while the weighted steel handle has a rubber underside for a steady grip. What’s more, for every razor you buy, Estrid donates a portion to Kvinna till Kvinna – a Swedish organisation supporting women’s rights in more than 20 conflict-ridden countries.

Available at Estrid.com

42.

Biossance Squalane Oil, £27

Promising effective results without compromising the environment, Biossance is completely recyclable, cruelty-free and uses 100% plant-based ingredients. Our favourite from the range is this does-it-all oil which can be used on the body, the face and even as a soothing shave oil. Formulated with squalane, just a few drops massaged into the skin will encourage speedier cell turnover, boost elasticity and add extra moisture. It’s lightweight too, so it works well when blended with a foundation for a dewy finish.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

43.

Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub, £39

Cult brand Sol de Janeiro have added to their body care line with this heavy-duty scrub. Brimming with sugar and salt, it feels like rubbing sand onto your skin, but in the most satisfying way. Making light work of dead skin cells, dry patches and red bumps, it quickly lends a softening, silky boost, while cupuaçu butters help to firm skin over time. Plus, the signature summer scent is guaranteed to transport you to the nearest beach.

Available at LookFantastic.com

44.

Sun Bum SPF 50 Spray, £25.02

We love this new SPF brand, which has made its way over from California. Aiming to create formulas that are safe for everyone to use – especially children – the products are full of vitamin E to strengthen and protect, while the creams, sprays and blocks cover all individual protection needs. This spray is our favourite – by covering a wide surface area, it offers optimum protection. What’s more, the whole range is reef friendly, meaning they don’t bleach the corals. Plus, the coconut, banana scent is heaven.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

45.

Rituals The Ritual of Jing Foaming Shower Gel, £8.50

Foaming shower gels are everywhere right now, and this one from Rituals is our favourite of 2020. On first pump, the formula dispenses as a milky oil, but soon foams up into a satisfying lather. Not only is the scent divine, it also works to deeply hydrate and nourish parched limbs with botanical extracts. Use it with your razor for a snag-free shave.

Available at LookFantastic.com

46.

The Solution Salicylic Acid Clear Skin Body Gel, £9.99

New brand, The Solution, dropped at Superdrug this year and it’s seriously good. Affordable and efficacious, we can’t get enough of their Salicylic Acid (SA) Body Gel, which uses salicylic to gently exfoliate and buff away dead, dry patches of skin. Ideal for those suffering with bumps or under-the-skin spots, it quickly softens limbs while absorbing fast with zero sticky residue. Added niacinamide counteracts any harsh effects, too, keeping inflammation to a minimum. 
 
Available at Amazon.co.uk

47.

Glossier Exfoliating Body Bar, £12

Ergonomically designed, this no-mess body scrub has been designed to fit comfortably in your hand for a gentle, but effective exfoliation. Packed with finely milled biodegradable bamboo powder to buff dead skin cells with ease, it leaves behind a softer surface area immediately. Keep one in the shower and by the bath so you’re never without. We simply can’t get enough of the aesthetically pleasing pink bar and the cult ‘Glossier’ embossing – brilliant for those seeking eco-friendly body care alternatives, too. 

Available at Glossier.com

48.

CeraVe SA Renewing Foot Cream, £8.50

We’ve mentioned our love for fuss-free, efficacious skincare brand CeraVe before, and now, they’re adding a rich foot cream to their cult line. Just like everything else the brand has launched, it’s brimming with nourishing ceramides to keep dryness at bay, while salicylic acid removes bumps and stubborn dry skin without irritation. For best results, use a generous amount before bed, popping on some lightweight socks to lock in the formula overnight. You’ll notice how conditioned and soft they feel in the morning, thanks to a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid.

Available at LookFantastic.com

49.

Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived Body Mousse, £6.66

Created for those who prefer a gradual tan, Dove’s Body Mousse works over a few days to build realistic-looking colour that lasts. With a stain-free formula, apply it and sleep in it – you still won’t see any remnants of dark, orange streaks on your bedding. The best bit is you can completely control the colour: apply a few pumps for just a hint of tan or layer it up over a couple of days for a deeper, vacation-like glow. Ideal for tanning novices.

Available at Boots.com

50.

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