The Best Beauty Buys Of 2021

The Best Beauty Buys Of 2021

As ever, it’s been a busy 12 months in beauty. Whether you’re looking to update your make-up routine or are just after some reliable recommendations, we’ve rounded up our favourite launches of 2021. From the £17 anti-ageing serum we swear by to skin tints that flatter and boost your natural tone, these are the products that transformed our beauty regimes this year.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.


Brow Cheat, £22 | Charlotte Tilbury

If you have thin, sparse brows, you’ll benefit hugely from this clever brow pencil. It comes with a superfine nib that allows you to create defined, natural-looking strokes – just be sure you apply it lightly and focus on the sparsest areas first to prevent your brows from looking overdrawn. Use feather-like strokes in the direction of your hair growth, towards the tail of your brows. Smudge-proof, waterproof and sweat resistant, it sets fast, but emollients like carnauba wax keep it creamy, so you have time to play and get the results you’re after. Bonus points for the added vitamin E, which works to nourish wayward hairs. Available here

Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer, £25 | Lancôme

Not everyone craves a full-face of foundation, and if you fall into that camp, we recommend trying this newly launched concealer. Designed to be used all over the face – either in lieu of foundation or alongside it – this multi-tasking formula offers medium coverage, but with a lightweight texture that blends in immediately. The soft, luminous effect it gives is second to none, disguising everything from dark spots to redness and dullness. Even better, the large, doe-foot applicator covers a big surface area in one go. It’s great for sensitivities, too, thanks to nourishing ingredients like glycerin and sunflower seed oil which keep hydration locked in. Available here

Just A Sec Bright Eyes Eyeshadows, £24 | Jones Road

Jones Road was one of our favourite beauty launches in 2021. Everything in the concise range has a real purpose, with these creamy eyeshadows being no exception. With an innovative, cushiony texture, they are completely weightless and apply easily with just your finger. They have beautiful shimmer levels that enhance your eyes and give a brightening, youthful effect. We love ‘Golden Peach’ for its luminous qualities, while ‘Linen’ is ideal for those looking to create a fresher effect over their lids. Available here

Vanish Blush Stick, £45 | Hourglass

New to the Hourglass line-up this 2021, these Vanish Blush Sticks are worth every penny. With a velvety, buildable texture, they have a cream-to-powder finish that blends easily and really goes the distance. Easy to apply with fingers or a brush, the colour has a blurred effect we love – think of it as a light stain. Meanwhile, added emollients and protective antioxidants keep skin in check, too, with a hydrating finish that’s both smooth and silky. Try ‘Adore’ if you have darker skin and ‘Wonder’ – a soft peach – if you’re lighter in tone.  Available here

Rouge Allure Laque, £31 | Chanel

Chanel created the impossible with these new lip launches. They combine a plumping shine and expensive-looking gloss that lasts, but dries down fast, so they stay budge-proof all day long. We love the antioxidant oils inside which maintain hydration and a smooth, velvety finish that's second to none. As for the pigment, they're rich and intense but sheer enough to be built upon – the options are endless, with shades that suit all. Available here

Micro Liner Inks, £20 | Shiseido

If you enjoy the effects of eyeliner but want something that’s subtly impactful rather than heavy or OTT, these are worth trying. With a super fine tip, they deposit colour exactly where you want it. Available in ten colours, the beautiful brown, navy and plum options will provide depth but are less ageing than black. Easy to manoeuvre and incredibly precise, they’re simple to use and allow you to discreetly open up your eyes with a neat, thin line. Use your finger or a brush to smudge it in if you want a finish that’s even softer – just be quick, once these set, they will stay in place until you remove them. Available here 

Phyto-Teint Nude Foundation, £68 | Sisley

Those after fuller coverage, without a heavy or greasy feel, should try this new base from Sisley. Lightweight and sheer, it glides on nicely, concealing darkness and uneven tone while providing a speedy hit of luminosity. It’s ideal if you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing anything but are craving a flawlessly-even canvas without any visible dark spots. Available in numerous shades, there’s one for everyone, while the new classification of undertones makes it easier than ever to shop for your own skin colouring.  Available here


Body Care

Rewild Calming Body Wash, £14 | Space NK

Space NK has launched its own body care range this year. Not only is it affordable, it’s also eco-friendly, so you can feel good about having these products in your bathroom. Available in sets in time for Christmas, we recommend trying the Rewild Calming Body Wash first. With notes of black pepper, juniper and tonka bean, it’s definitely on the unisex side. As for the formula, centella asiatica is known for its soothing properties, while the clean, fresh scent lingers on your skin all day long. Available here 

Self-Tanning Mist, £7.50 (was £15) | Vita Liberata

If you’re nervous of self-tan but still want to reap the benefits, we recommend this new mist from popular tan-brand, Vita Liberata. Organic and vegan, it uses hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and liquorice to hydrate skin that’s already dry and lacking any glow. Designed to be used on the face and body, it gives a believable colour that never looks OTT. Expect a radiant glow after four to six hours, with no tell-tale streaks. Available here 

Warm-Up Massage Balm, £42 | Elemis

Not got a bathtub? You can still reap the muscle soothing benefits by using a good balm. Cue Elemis’ newest launch, which uses fatty acids and vitamin E to strengthen the skin, while menthol gives a warm, tingly feel as you massage it in. Use your fingers to rub this into the skin deeply, from your ankles up, focusing on achy, tired joints. Your limbs will feel instantly lighter, while your senses will be boosted, too.  Available here

Retinol Smoothing Body Lotion, £9.99 | The Solution

We love this affordable brand here at SheerLuxe. The Retinol Smoothing Body Lotion has been a huge hit since it launched and it’s easy to see why. Combining retinol, arbutin and shea butter, it softens, evens out skin tone and provides serious hydration from the first application. Our favourite thing about it is how quickly you see results – if you apply it daily, you’ll start to see a difference to your skin within a week. Our only tip is to really work it in – it’s slightly tackier than similar formulas, but the results are worth it. The formula is also vegan friendly, while the tube is 100% recyclable. Available here

Breathe In Bath & Shower Oil, £42 | Verdant Alchemy

A must-try for weary souls, this luxurious oil can be used in both the bath and shower. It’s full of essential oils – think eucalyptus, lemon and bergamot – resulting in a soft scent that will remedy stuffy minds and provide some on-the-spot grounding. It does more than wake up your senses, too – it also locks in vitamins K and E to strengthen skin, while omega 6 fatty acids visibly hydrate from the first use. A must-try year-round, but especially when you’re feeling under the weather, or in need of some ‘me-time’. Available here 


01 + Patchouli, £95 | Escentric Molecule

Escentric Molecules is one of the best fragrance brands on the market. Designed to work in tandem with your skin, each one of their perfumes adapts to your natural pheromones for a scent unique to you. Patchouli was their newest addition for 2021 – rich and heady, it’s not for the fainthearted, but definitely for those craving warmth and sophistication. Despite its deeper notes, it still has a heady freshness to it that’s highly addictive, thanks to notes of camphor. A great evening fragrance. Available here

Soleil Brûlant Eau de Parfum, From £228 | Tom Ford

If you love Tom Ford’s iconic Soleil fragrances, you’ll love its latest iteration for 2021. With pink peppercorn, orange, black honey accord and notes of amber, it’s incredibly warm but with a floral twist that feels feminine and fresh. Available here

Musc Invisible, £84.50 | Juliette Has A Gun

If you were (or are) a fan of The Body Shop’s White Musk, you’ll love this new release from niche perfume brand Juliette Has A Gun. While similar, this version has more depth and longevity – lasting on the skin well into the following day once applied. It’s rich, creamy and warm with a unisex quality. Plus, you can order a sample first to get a feel for it properly before taking the plunge.  Available here

Pink Vetiver, From £75 | Jo Loves

Jo Loves is home to some of our favourite fragrances, and Pink Vetiver is no exception. Made with notes of pink peppercorn, ginger, cumin and cardamom, it’s incredibly warming – ideal for the cooler months ahead. It feels cosy and comforting, with a musky quality that’s addictive, especially if you prefer your scents on the unisex side. Despite its night-time feel, it’s fresh enough to spritz on throughout the day and is now available in a body cream for even more intensity, should you want to layer things up. Available here



Hydra-Boost Ampoules, £155 | MZ Skin

Single-dose skincare had a big moment in 2021 – and with good reason. Encapsulating buzz-worthy ingredients, ampoules are incredibly potent, offering optimum and speedy results. These ones from MZ are a must-try if you’re looking to reset your skin. Full of vitamin C, lactic and glycolic acid, they gently exfoliate your skin to ramp up radiance, while added hyaluronic acid hydrates and keeps irritation at bay. Quite the powerhouse, they work as a five-day course to give you smoothing, anti-ageing results fast – you won’t be disappointed. Available here


Skincare Resurfacing Serum, £44.75 (was £64) | Aurelia

This lightweight serum uses bakuchiol – the plant-friendly alternative to retinol – to gently get rid of dead skin cells and balance out uneven tone. It’s also brimming with niacinamide, which is known for its anti-redness capabilities. But that’s not all – the silky texture goes a long way, with a dewy finish that looks luminous underneath make-up. With regular use, you’ll find your skin tone evens out, while the clever formula battles rough texture and dryness, too. A skincare staple for sensitive and mature skin. Available here

Sun Drops SPF50, £110 | Dr Barbara Sturm

Barbara Sturm’s anti-ageing Sun Drops were an instant hit when they launched this year. Designed to be customisable, you can use them alone, five minutes after applying your regular cream, or mix them in with your chosen cream – the options are endless. The important thing is to make sure you reapply these drops regularly. As well as high levels of protection, vitamin E and beta-glucan also work to rebuild damaged skin cells for better glow. An investment, but worth it. Available here 

Pure Retinol Night Cream, £34.95 | No7

One of our favourite retinol creams of 2021, this has a satisfying rich texture, making it the ideal last step in your night-time skincare routine. As well as vitamin A, it contains collagen-boosting peptides and hydrating glycerin to nourish your skin’s barrier for an overall healthier-looking complexion. It also helps skin to retain more moisture over time and doesn’t flake, itch or cause your complexion to look angry, despite the use of vitamin A. Always follow up with SPF the next day, because retinol can cause your skin to become much more sensitive and prone to damage from UV. As with any vitamin A creams, start off slowly and gradually increase frequency of use over time.  Available here

Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £12.75 (was £17) | CeraVe

If a lack of hydration is your bugbear, this serum is for you. A bestseller in 2021, it combines the lightweight texture of a serum with the hydrating benefits of a cream. The result? It works double-time to protect your skin’s natural barrier and, in turn boost smoothness and softer texture – ideal for post-menopause when your complexion naturally lacks moisture. As well as hyaluronic acid, it also contains vitamin B5 and glycerin to draw moisture in and keep it there for hours. Gentle, everyone can give this a go – you might want to buy two as you’ll find it runs out so quickly. Available here

Paris Age Perfect Cell Renew Midnight Serum, £19.99 (was £29.99) | L’Oréal

L’Oréal’s skincare never disappoints. Not only is it affordable, but it also often delivers results quickly. This year,  they launched their Age Perfect Cell Renew range, using some of the best science-backed ingredients to target wrinkles, dryness and slackness. Our pick is this silky serum. Brimming with antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and skin-softening squalene, it helps to boost skin cell renewal – over time this will reveal brighter, more luminous-looking skin. It’s thin in consistency too, so won’t cause the rest of your skincare to go sticky or peel off. Extra points for the recyclable bottle. Available here


LED Mirror, £45 | Oxygen Boutique

For £45, this newly launched LED mirror is a steal in comparison to other versions on the market. Designed with a simple stand, it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to fold away and pack into luggage. The lighting is easy to adjust, too. Simply hold down the button to up the brightness or dim things down. You’ll be amazed how it illuminates your complexion and mimics the effect of natural light to ensure a well-blended make-up look.   Available here

Hydro Fusion Hot Hair Styler, £39.99 (was £59.99) | Babyliss

Babyliss is always ahead of the curve when it comes to affordable, yet effective, hair tools and its hot brush launch this year was no exception. It takes a while to get used to it, but once you’ve mastered the technique, the results are amazing. Flick the switch (I is for fine hair, II is for thicker hair), allow it to warm up, then start by rolling your hair in sections around the hot brush. You can use the arrows to suction your hair upwards or outwards, depending on your preference. It also has a cool shot, which is useful for setting everything in place, without the need for hairspray. Brilliant for those wanting bounce and volume or an easy at home blow-dry. Available here

Brushes, From £8 | EDY

Everyone needs a good set of brushes – especially mature skin so that product never settles into fine lines. These fun brushes from EDY caught our eye this year. Founded by celebrity make-up artist Edyta Kurowska, they’re incredibly soft, with densely-packed synthetic bristles for seamless application. Slick and aesthetically pleasing, the handles are made from purpose-grown wood, which is easy to grip. From brush sets to contour, highlight and powder brushes, there’s something for everyone and at affordable prices, too – the range starts from just £9.99.  Available here 

The Atomiser, £120 | Aromatherapy Associates

Diffusers are a quickfire way to boost your mood and your surroundings – especially throughout the cooler months when you crave a cosy atmosphere. Few do them better than Aromatherapy Associates and their new Atomiser for 2021 has been a huge hit. Dispersing natural oils into the air – think notes of lavender, eucalyptus and soothing chamomile – it’s waterless, portable and rechargeable, so doesn’t even require cleaning. A great gift for a loved one, or for yourself, it’s a worthy investment for all. Extra points go to the lightweight build, which makes it easy to take with you on the go. Available here

It’s Lit LED Gua Sha Facial Massager, $85 | Solaris Laboratories NY

This clever device consistently earns five-star ratings with good reason. A three-in-one tool, it has the added benefits of pulsing vibration, heat mode and red LED light. Apply a serum first for extra slip, then sweep it around the skin focusing on the cheekbones, around the eyes and jaw to release tension and boost lymphatic drainage. You won’t see results immediately but, with regular use, you’ll notice your skin looks more lifted and radiant. It’s also great for de-stressing, as the warm temperature works to relax knotted muscles and de-puff. Available here


Heart of Glass Sheer Glaze, £22.50 |  Davines

Hair glazes have become hugely popular over the past year. Designed to hydrate, smooth and protect, they’re great for the in-between salon periods. Cue Davines latest launch, which is particularly effective on grey or light hair. It uses botanical oils to boost strength and elasticity, while the glassy sheen naturally lightens hair to leave it looking brighter. Use seven to ten drops on towel dried hair, combing it through before styling properly for best results. The recyclable plastic packaging is a bonus, too.  Available here

24/7 Vivace Everyday Hair & Body Shampoo, £19 | Rossano Ferretti

Volumising shampoos may not physically promote regrowth, but they do provide short-term body. This one from Rossano Ferretti is a new favourite. Brimming with vitamins and minerals, it strengthens hair from the root while copper, magnesium and iron will slightly open up your cuticles for that appearance of fullness and density most of us crave. There’s also caffeine inside to stimulate blood circulation around your scalp for healthier hair overall. It’s an investment for a shampoo, but worth it if you’re serious about maintaining strong, soft and shiny strands. Available here

Satin Sleep Cap, £9.80 (was £14) | Kitsch

Satin sleep caps are all the rage right now, but they can be prohibitively expensive. Cue this one from Kitsch, which use a soft, silky satin to minimise friction on your hair and prevent snags. Simply pop it on before hitting the hay to let the fabric distribute your natural oils evenly throughout your hair as you sleep. It sounds like an unnecessary step, but it’s brilliant for protecting hair from both breakage and frizz. Think of it like a silk pillowcase, just at half the price. Available here

Zhoosh Foam, £12 | Hershsesons

Hair expert Luke Hersheson has finally launched his much hyped Zhoosh Foam and it doesn’t disappoint. By merging the benefits of a volumiser, mousse and hairspray into one product, it can give your hair better density and fullness. You can count on it for results – it’s been tried and tested on Luke’s regular A-list clients, including Victoria Beckham. Expect a shaving foam texture that quickly absorbs into the hair without any stickiness or crispiness. It can be layered up and scrunched in for a variety of looks. Apply it to dry hair and the thickening agents inside will quickly get to work enhancing lifeless strands. You can also use it at the root of wet hair before you blow-dry it for extra volume. Available here

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