The Best Beauty Buys of 2021

From affordable serums to full-coverage foundations and revolutionary tools, these are the top products that transformed our beauty regimes in 2021.
All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

BODY CARE

Vinofresh Natural Stick Deodorant, £13 | Caudalie

We’re always on the hunt for a good natural deodorant and Caudalie’s exceeded all our expectations. Completely translucent, the glossy stick leaves zero stickiness or white cast behind, while the prebiotic-rich formula hydrates and soothes skin, so it’s great for those prone to sensitivity. We love the fresh, eucalyptus scent, which lingers on the skin, leaving you feeling clean and fresh all day. A brilliant switch to make if you want to avoid aluminium or synthetic fragrances.
 
Available at SpaceNK.com

Warm-Up Massage Body Balm, £42 | Elemis

Even if you don’t have a bathtub, you can still reap the muscle-soothing benefits by using a good balm. Elemis’s Massage formula contains fatty acids and vitamin E to strengthen the skin, while menthol generates a warm, tingly feeling as you massage it in. Use your fingers to it into the skin, from your ankles upwards, focusing on any tired or achy joints. Your limbs will feel instantly lighter, and your senses lifted.
  
Available at FeelUnique.com

Baie 19 Shower Gel, £38 | Le Labo

 

Le Labo’s Baie 19 is one of our favourite fragrances of all time, so we were thrilled to see the brand has launched it as a body wash. Notes of patchouli, juniper berries and musk combine for quite a masculine scent that’s heady, rich and a little bit peppery. Like all their shower gels, the fragrance lingers on the skin for days, so if you can’t afford the full fragrance, it’s a great way to try it out at a fraction of the price. 
 
Available at HarveyNichols.com

The Shoreditch, £10 | Shoreditch Nail Polish

Not only are the bottles cool, these nail colours are eco-friendly, cruelty-free and made using 85% bio-sourced ingredients. The gentle formulas never strip the nail or cause brittleness and the colours are fun – from soft pinks to coral oranges, deep blues to vivid greens, there’s something for everyone. Starting from just £10, they’re affordable compared to other conscious nail brands on the market. 
 
Available at ShoreditchNailPolish.com

Charcoal Smoothie Jelly Scrub, £32 | Sunday Riley 

This Jelly Body Scrub is one of the best products we discovered in lockdown earlier this year. Satisfyingly gritty, the black, charcoal beads work in tandem with salicylic acid and zinc to break down under-the-skin bumps, keratosis pilaris and acne. Try rubbing it in dry to boost circulation and lymphatic drainage, before stepping into the shower – or bath – to slough everything off. Finally, coconut water and jojoba seed oil add back some much-needed moisture.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Verso Enzyme Peel, £60 | Verso Skincare 

Are you prone to body breakouts? General redness? Ingrown hairs? If so, this Verso peel is for you. Full of exfoliating acids, the grainy texture quickly buffs away dead skin cells, while glycolic sucks out anything trapped in your pores for a smoother, more even appearance. Ideal for areas prone to acne – like the back and chest – it makes light work of spots. It’s also great for reducing inflammation caused by ingrown hairs, while the soft, uplifting scent makes the whole process feel less mechanical and a bit more luxurious. It’s expensive, but worth it if you’re serious about good body care.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

FRAGRANCE

Christmas Beauty Sleep Candle, £30 | Balance Me

These candles provide instant calm and clear the mind. Made with soy wax, they’re brimming with essential oils – including lavender and cedarwood – to deliver instant, on-the-spot grounding. It’s great to have one by your bed, too. Light it when you want to relax and unwind before going to sleep – the scent is so potent, it only needs to be lit for an hour or so to fill the room.
 
Avaiable at BalanceMe.com

 

Molecule 01 + Patchouli, £95 | Escentric

Fans of Escentric Molecule are guaranteed to love the latest addition to its cult range. A combination of musk and patchouli offers a warm, yet feminine floral scent. The musk soon dries down into a fresh, lightweight layer that lasts on the skin for hours – it’s so unique.
 
Available at Escentric.com

Goudh, £40 | Fugazzi Fragrances

More than just pretty packaging, Fugazzi Fragrances combine the kind of notes you wouldn’t traditionally experience together. Not only does this make the fragrances unique, it’s also hard to choose a favourite as they’re also so addictive. If we had to pick, Saint Remy contains notes of pink peppercorn, juniper berries and sandalwood. One of our favourite finds this year.
 
Avalable at CultBeauty.co.uk

Pomelo, £75 | Jo Loves

Jo Loves makes some of our favourite fragrances and Pink Vetiver is our latest obsession. Made with notes of pink peppercorn, ginger, cumin and cardamom, it’s incredibly warming – ideal for the cooler months ahead. Cosy and comforting, the musky quality is particularly addictive, especially if you prefer your scents on the unisex side. Despite its evening feel, it’s fresh enough to wear throughout the day– plus, it’s now available in a body cream should you want to layer things up at night.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Musc Invisible Eau De Parfum, £85 | Juliette Has A Gun

If you were (or are) a fan of The Body Shop’s cult White Musk scent, you’ll love this release from niche fragrance brand Juliette Has A Gun. While similar, this version has more depth and longevity – it’ll last on the skin well into the following day. It’s rich, creamy and warm with a unisex quality – plus, you can order a sample first before taking the plunge. 
 
Available at Selfridges.com

Neroli Sun Eau De Parfum, £90 | Sunspel

Even if citrus fragrances aren’t typically your thing, you’ll love this one from Sunspel. Patchouli, sea moss, vetiver and rosemary come together to create something entirely different to the norm. It’s sharp, zesty, but also musky – with a masculine quality we can’t get enough of. The best bit? It really goes the distance – you’ll notice this is still on your skin long after you’ve spritzed it first thing. 
 
Available at Sunspel.com

Soleil Brûlant Eau de Parfum, £240 | Tom Ford

If you love Tom Ford’s Soleil fragrances, you’ll love this latest interpretation. With pink peppercorn, orange, black honey accord and notes of amber, it’s incredibly warm and almost gourmand-y, but with a floral twist to make it feel feminine and fresh.
 
Available at Selfridges.com

HAIRCARE

Cold Processed Scalp Renew, £28 | Act + Acre 

Scalp treatments and exfoliators have been big news in 2021 and our favourite is this one from Act + Acre. Gel-based, it deeply exfoliates the scalp and balances out excessive oiliness for lighter, bouncier hair. Regular use will also stimulate blood flow to promote better hair growth, as well as relieve dry and inflamed scalps. Added salicylic acid removes product build-up, while peppermint adds to the luxury feel, complete with a satisfying tingle.
 
Available at NET-A-PORTER.com

Cordless Hot Brush, £180 | Babyliss

In our opinion, Babyliss makes some of the best affordable heat stylers on the market, and its Hot Brush is no exception. Cord free (it runs on a rechargeable battery) it’s easy to use on the go to create sleek, smooth styles, as well as beachy, bouncy waves. Rigid yet snag-free bristles will work on all hair textures, while the lightweight handle isn’t too hard to manoeuvre. A great deskside staple. 

Available at Babyliss.co.uk

Heart Of Glass Sheer Glaze, £22.50 | Davines

Designed to hydrate, smooth and protect, hair glazes are one way to keep hair looking good in between salon visit. The one from Davines is particularly effective on blonde hair. Using botanical oils to improve strength and elasticity, the glassy sheen naturally lightens hair to leave it looking brighter and healthier. Apply roughly seven to ten drops onto towel dried hair, combing it through before styling for best results. The recyclable, plastic packaging is a bonus.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Super Strength Treatment Roots-To-Ends Balm, £24 | Fekkai 

Celebrity hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai has channelled his talent and expertise into a new conscious range. Using plant-derived ingredients, each product is free from parabens, sulfates, silicones and phthalates. Our favourite is this nourishing masque, which harnesses keratin, vitamin B5 and rice protein to protect, encourage growth and seal cuticles. You only need a small amount run through from the roots to the ends – just leave it on for four or five minutes, before rinsing it off. You’ll notice how much softer your hair feels almost immediately.
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

Nourishing Miracle Treatment Mask, £14.50 | Hair Gain

From a brand known for its hair-growth vitamins comes this nourishing, softening mask. Containing organic pea shoots and harnessing patented ‘AnaGain’ technology, it works to strengthen strands, while making them visibly more vibrant and shiny. Don’t be put off by the green texture – as you massage it in, it absorbs fast and won’t interfere with your existing colour. Leave it on for ten minutes, then wash it out as you would a normal conditioner. Over time, regular use will help to keep the effects of humidity at bay, as well as split ends and colour fade. Even better, the squeezy tube is completely recyclable. 
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Satin Sleep Cap, £11 | My Kitsch

Satin sleep caps can be prohibitively expensive. Not this one from Kitsch, which uses a soft, silky satin to minimise friction and prevent snags. Simply pop it on before hitting the hay to let the fabric evenly distribute your natural oils throughout your hair as you toss and turn. It sounds like an indulgence, but it’s brilliant for maintaining styles between hair washes, as well as minimising breakage and frizz. Think of it like a silk pillowcase, just at half the price.
 
Available at MyKitsch.com

Moondust Hair Wash, £7.70 | Susteau

New brand Susteau isn’t to be missed. Designed with the ‘waterless’ trend in mind, the formulas are innovative powder-to-lather textures that cleanse deeply, while also giving back to the environment. This clever shampoo activates on contact with water, working up to a rich, velvety foam that gets rid of all dirt, debris and product build-up. You’ll be amazed how good your hair feels afterwards. Extra points go to the subtle ylang ylang, geranium, blackcurrant and clove scent.  
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Zhoosh Foam, £12 | Hershesons

Hair pro Luke Hersheson dropped his much hyped Zhoosh Foam earlier in the year and it didn’t disappoint. Merging the benefits of a volumiser, mousse and hairspray in one, it’s designed to give your hair a bit of grit and effortless texture. You can trust it works – it’s been tried and tested on Luke’s regular clients including Victoria Beckham, Dua Lipa and Keira Knightley. Expect a shaving foam texture that quickly absorbs into the hair without leaving behind any stickiness or crispiness. Then, layer it up and scrunch it in to create a variety of looks. Apply it to dry hair to let the thickening agents get to work enhancing lank, limp strands. You can also use it at the roots of wet hair pre-blow-dry for extra volume.
 
Available at Hershesons.com

MAKE-UP

Shade No. 4, £44 | Liza Eldridge 

Available in 40 shades, Lisa Eldridge’s intelligently formulated, skin-friendly foundation offers a customisable medium coverage that can be dialled up or down. Self-setting, it creates a soft-focus effect, thanks to a formula that contains a natural, mesh-like ingredient that completely fuses with the skin once blended. The final finish is neither dewy nor matte, but something in between the two. Easily our favourite foundation of 2021.
 
Available at LisaEldridge.com

Brow Freeze, £24 | Anastasia Beverly Hills

There are endless brow products out there promising the ‘laminated effect’ but this is easily one of the best to have launched in 2021. Unlike other gels, it’s malleable and easy to apply without any residual stickiness left behind. Simply dab a spoolie into it before running the formula through your brow in upward strokes. You’ll notice a difference immediately – not just to wayward hairs but to the overall appearance of your brows. Expect a glossy finish that looks groomed and on-trend. Either apply it to clean brows, or on top of other products for extra definition. 
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Hyaluronic Hydra-Concealer, £35 | By Terry

By Terry’s latest concealer really lives up to the hype. With hyaluronic acid and chestnut seed extract, it de-puffs, hydrates and brightens – just like an eye serum would. As for the coverage, it’s lightweight, smooth and dewy, working to conceal imperfections without ever suffocating the skin. It’s a dream to apply, with a creamy texture that lasts – no need to top it up come 4pm.
 
Available at ByTerry.com

Hyaluronic Lip Balm, £25 | Charlotte Tilbury 

In the age of the face mask, we’re all after a low-maintenance alternative to lipstick. Cue Charlotte Tilbury’s balms which launched earlier this year. Full of moisture, some have a glossy – not sticky – dry down that really goes the distance, offering the same pigment as a lipstick, but without the drying effect. You’ll want every colour in the range.
 
Available at CharlotteTilbury.com

Paradise Shine Eye Sequins, £28 | Dear Dahlia

 If you love Stila’s liquid glitter shadows, you’ll go mad for these ones from Dear Dahlia. With intense shimmer and more of a wet-look finish, they were one of our favourite summer finds. The chunky applicator makes them easy to work with, while the colour always comes out even. There’s a vast number of shades available – we love ‘Angel Tears’, a pearly pink that catches the light beautifully. 
 
Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

Liquid Gel Blush, £22 | KVD Beauty

One of our favourite finds of 2021, this blush melts into skin. As you start to buff it in – we recommend doing so with a brush – you’ll see the texture starts to sheer out, turning the colour into more of a wash. We love the glossy dry down – it’s luminous, pretty and easy to wear. You can even tap it onto the highest points of your face for some subtle sculpting.
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

Lash Idole Mascara Black, £23.50 | Lancôme

Mascaras are a dime a dozen these days, but this one from Lancôme has to be the best we’ve tried in a while. The jet-black formula is rich and glossy, while the curved wand allows you to work right into the lash line for better definition. Meanwhile, the pointed tip catches all those smaller lashes. Despite being completely budge-proof during the day, it’s not impossible to take off with a decent eye make-up remover.
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

Eye Wand, £21 | Vieve

Velvety and smooth, these soft kohl liners are ideal for smokey eye novices wanting to create party-ready looks at speed. Simply scribble them on – no need for precision here – and buff them into the lid with either your fingers or a soft, fluffy brush. Because they blend and glide so seamlessly, they’re easy to layer with other shades. Use them all over your lids, in your lash line, or the waterline – there are plenty of shades available, but ‘Mahogany’ is our new alternative to black.
 
Available at Vieve.co.uk

Puff Paint, £24 | Natasha Denona

This silky serum-like blush gives skin a hefty dose of moisture, while leaving skin with a healthy flush of colour. Rich in pigment, the intensity is impressive, as is the longevity – you’ll find it really goes the distance, even in sweaty weather. Apply them with your fingers, or use a brush to sculpt and add more dimension to the face. The creamy texture is so easy to work with. 
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

Super Gloss SPF30, £27.90 | Tan Luxe

 Probably one of our favourite launches from Tan-Luxe, these Illuminating Drops have a serum-like consistency and are full of skin-loving hyaluronic acid and thirst-quenching squalane. Moisture-boosting benefits aside, it’s the bronze tone which makes them ideal for this time of year. Designed to be applied straight to the skin, simply buff the formula into your face or body – with your hands or a make-up brush – for an instant vacation-like glow. The best bit? The drops are buildable, so you can amp it up and go darker – simply use the bare minimum for a healthy-looking, natural finish. That’s not all – added SPF 30 protects against UV rays, as well as the blue light emitted from your digital devices. Just wash it off when you’re ready to get rid of the colour.
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

SKINCARE

Orange Cleansing Sherbet, £18.04 (was £23) | Aromatica

Struggle to remove stubborn mascara at the end of the day? This cleanser will remove impurities and all traces of make-up. Containing orange peel extract (to balance oil production), canola oil and organic babassu seed oil, the thick sherbet-like texture leaves skin feeling deeply cleansed, moisturised and soft.
 
Available at Tonic15.com

Probiotic Skincare Resurfacing Serum, £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 skin tone. It’s brimming with niacinamide, which is known for its anti-redness capabilities. But that’s not all – the silky texture lends a dewy finish to skins that looks especially luminous underneath make-up. With regular use, you’ll find skin tone evens out, while the clever formula battles large pores and acne breakouts by regulating sebum levels. A skincare staple. 
 
Available at SpaceNK.com

Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £12.75 | CeraVe

It’s no secret we’re huge fans of CeraVe here at SheerLuxe. After landing in the UK with a concise line of affordable, effective products, CeraVe launched an HA serum this year. Already a bestseller, the jelly-esque texture isn’t just satisfying, it’s also hugely hydrating. Sinking in fast, ceramides (the brand’s cult ingredient) work hard to lock everything in. A moisturiser-serum hybrid, it suits all skin types.
 
Available at Boots.com

The One That's Got It All - Sun Primer SPF 50, £20 | Hello Sunday

New brand Hello Sunday should be on your radar. Our favourite product from the line-up is this does-it-all primer. Protecting skin against sun, pollution and blue light, it ticks all the boxes, while the featherlight texture preps your complexion for make-up. With added hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, skin looks supple and luminous, while the fragrance-free SPF50 formula never irritates. A must-try.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Water Sleeping Mask, £26 | Laneige

If you suffer with dry, tight skin, this gel-like mask will help. An intensive moisturising treatment, it delivers hunza apricot, moisture wrap technology and hyaluronic acid deep into the skin to purge clogged pores and improve absorption of key ingredients. Meanwhile, vitamin C brightens dull, sluggish skin and the lavender fragrance instantly calms frazzled minds. 
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Glow Boost Ampoules, £155 | MZ Skin

Single-dose skincare had a huge moment in 2021. Encapsulating a number of buzz-worthy ingredients, ampoules are incredibly potent, and offer optimum results at speed. These from MZ are a must-try if you’re looking to reset your skin after a few too many late nights. Full of vitamin C, lactic and glycolic acid, they gently exfoliate to ramp up radiance, while added hyaluronic acid hydrates and keeps irritation at bay. Quite the powerhouse, expect to see results in just five days.
 
Available at HarveyNichols.com

Tropique Enzymatic Exfoliant, £16.80 | Plenaire

Here at SL, we love fully recyclable brand Plenaire, whose products are made in small batches in Norfolk. Its skincare range is second to none, and the products offer seriously impressive results. Adding to the small but concise range, this exfoliant is not to be missed. Full of natural fruit acids, it gently sloughs away dead skin cells for noticeably brighter and evenly toned skin. Salicylic acid is ideal for blemish-prone skin, as it quickly gets rid of dirt and smooths under-the-skin bumps. A must-try if you suffer with dullness, breakouts or enlarged pores, use it three to five times a week after cleansing, sweeping it over both your face and neck.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Queen Screen Lightweight Skinscreen SPF50+, £36 | Ultra Violette

Having finally dropped in the UK this year, Aussie brand Ultra Violette doesn’t disappoint – in fact, we’d say the sunscreen products are worth every bit of hype. Designed to be lightweight, they absorb into the skin fast and never cause piling with other textures or your make-up. Brimming with vitamin C, they brighten the skin to give it a bouncy, fresher look too – just don’t apply them with any retinol-based creams, as the two ingredients could cause inflammation when used in tandem. Apply it solo or wear it underneath make-up for extra glow and protection.
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Calm-Essentiel Soothing Emulsion, £40 | Clarins

With a serum-like consistency, this soothing emulsion can be applied both morning and night after cleansing. Working fast to take down feelings of discomfort – think dryness and tightness – while melting into the skin seamlessly for a hefty dose of hydration, you’ll see a difference pretty quickly – specifically more even tone, less inflammation and a softer texture that isn’t hyper-sensitive. You’ll love the soft luminosity it lends skin, too.

Available here

TOOLS

The Atomiser, £90 | Aromatherapy Associates

Aromatherapy Associates diffusers are the epitome of luxury and this latest launch is both waterless and portable. Using essential oils to create an uplifting, scented aroma that lingers for hours, a lack of water means the oils retain maximum potency and therapeutic benefits. Extra points go to the slick design, which looks great on your bathroom shelf. 
 
Available at AromatherapyAssociates.com

Tongue Scraper, £3.99 | Brushd

Brushd is determined to eliminate plastic from oral hygiene products. With most brushes and floss sticks ending up in landfill, the team set out to create a range that was kind to the environment and totally recyclable. There’s plenty to love here – from toothpaste tablets to biodegradable floss – but this tongue scraper is our latest go-to. It’s great for getting rid of bacteria, and seeing as it’s made from stainless steel, it’s impossible for germs to harbour (providing you rinse it with water after every use). 
 
Availilable at Brushd.co.uk

 
 

Small Domed Blush Brush, £11.99 | Edy

These fun brushes caught our eye over the summer. Created by celebrity make-up artist, Edyta Kurowska, they’re incredibly soft, with densely packed synthetic bristles for seamless application. Plus, 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 – the range starts from just £9.99. 
 
Available at Shop.Edy.London

Razor, £8 | Flamingo

More than a million women use Harry’s razors, which is why Allie Melnick launched a sister brand this year – one that’s inclusive, but predominantly caters to women, giving them a smoother, more hydrating shave. Flamingo’s razor is lightweight, with a bended head that gets into all grooves and curves of your body, so you never miss a single hair. It’s not just razors – you’ll also find waxing pads and hair removal foam as part of the line – no wonder the brand sells one of its product every 15 seconds. Just like Harry’s, you can order products on subscription or pay in one-off instalments – whatever suits.
 
Available at Boots.com

Shower Filter, £60 | Hello Klean

This is one of those products you didn’t know you needed. Designed to attach seamlessly to your shower head, it softens hard water, which is known to prevent your shampoo from lathering up properly and prevent it from removing any product build-up on your scalp. This clever head captures minerals that can dry your skin out, and also filters out bacteria, impurities and chlorine so you see smoother, softer hair – as well as skin. The design also balances out your shower water’s pH levels, keeping mould and odours at bay. 
 
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

HoliFace Massage Ball, £23 | Holidermie

Developed by yoga teachers, sport coaches and facial therapists, this pressure ball is designed to be used all over the face in gentle, circular motions to sculpt the cheeks and cheekbones. Great for easing tension – especially between your eyebrows – and stimulating sluggish skin, use it on its own, or with serums and moisturisers for extra slip. You won’t see results overnight, but providing you’re consistent, you will within a few weeks. 
 
Available at Smallable.com

LED Mirror One Size, £45 | Oxygen Boutique

For £45, this LED mirror is a steal compared to other versions on the market. Designed with a simple stand, it’s easy to fold away and pack in your luggage – not to mention the fact it’s incredibly lightweight. The lighting is easy to adjust – simply hold down the button to up the brightness or dim it. You’ll be amazed how well it illuminates your complexion and mimics the effect of natural light.
 
Available at FeelUnique.com

Cryocicles Pink Facial Ice Globes, £59.99 | Skin Gym

No doubt you’ve seen these ice tools everywhere, but they’re often hard to find at an affordable price. These are the perfect size and can fit into the smaller areas of your face. Keep them in the freezer before rolling them around your skin in the morning to wake it up. The results might be temporary, but they’re incredibly satisfying. 
 
Available at HouseOfFraser.co.uk

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