I get frequently asked for makeup and skincare recommendations, and I’m super excited to put them all in one place – again! I did this last year, and it’s been really fun to look back and see what’s still a favorite (turns out, a lot of things) and what was newly discovered this year. There’s a lot more in the skincare category since 2020 was…let’s just say a good year for staying inside and self-care, so I’ll be doing a separate skincare post so this doesn’t get too long. I would love see your favorites and recommendations for 2021 in the comments!
Some quick notes before I get into it – I have super dry skin, and I tend towards a very glowy, natural look. I will be mostly focused on cream products this year (even though I still love the powder products I used last year!) since I was inside all the time with dry air due to…2020.
Primer: Glossier Futuredew
Like last year, I tried a bunch of different primers this year and something finally overtook my long time favorite which was the Too Faced Hangover Primer. Futuredew is the most amazing glossy, hydrating base for any foundation. I also used it on no makeup days (which I had a lot of this year) just to make my skin look more hydrated and glowy. I already bought a backup because I love it so much.
Foundation: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation and Glossier Skin Tint
Luminous Silk is still a favorite — it has just the right amount of coverage (medium), looks glowy but not oily, and lasts all day. For me, it is definitely worth the splurge. I didn’t have a lot of days when I needed that much coverage though, so I generally stuck to the Glossier Skin Tint for that perfect “my skin but better” look.
Concealer: Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector
This continues be the game changing product for me and is one of the only products I actually panned in 2020. This corrector works so well for correcting my super dark circles and helps hydrate my super dry under eyes for whatever concealer goes on top.
As last year, the search continues for the perfect concealer to go over top of it, although I still love the Hourglass Vanish Concealer (heavier coverage) and Glossier Stretch (lighter coverage) concealers that I reviewed this year. Stay tuned for more concealer reviews in 2021!
Powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
This one is the same as last year, and I’m not surprised! This is the perfect powder for dry skin, and the full size does last forever. It looks like I’ve barely used it even though I bought it in 2019. If you don’t want to splurge for the full size and don’t use a lot of powder, you can totally get away with using the travel size for over a year in my experience. I don’t see myself finding a better powder in 2021 and am glad to have found such a staple product.
Contour: Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick
This product is one of my standout discoveries in 2020. It is the perfect color and texture for a natural looking contour. I also love the packaging – it feels super luxe with the magnetic closure, and I really appreciate having a stick for a quick makeup look. If I had to start my collection over, this would definitely be one of the first things I replace.
Bronzer: Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate and Salt New York Crème Tint Pro
Two new favorites for this year – both are cream products that give a super natural look in about 2 seconds. They are super blendable and easy to build up to the opacity I want. I actually think the colors and formulas are pretty similar so if you want to not spend way too much on the Tom Ford, I would definitely recommend getting the Salt New York.
Highlight: Daniel Sandler Watercolor Liquid Highlighter and Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
I couldn’t resist getting this set after watching Kackie Reviews Beauty rave about it, and while I love all four products, the highlighter is definitely a stand out. I can’t even really explain it, but it gives this ethereal, natural, glowing effect while actually drying down. It takes a little bit of work to get used to how liquidy it is, but it’s so worth it.
The HFF is still one of the most amazing products I’ve ever tried. I mix it into my primer or foundation for an all-over glow, put it under my eyes under my corrector/concealer if I need more brightening and coverage there, and use it on as a liquid highlighter. It works well in every way I’ve tried, and I get tons of compliments every time I use it.
Blush: Salt New York Crème Tint Pro
This was the year of blushes for me – I got 16 new ones this year, even though we all know I already had way too many before 2020 started. That said, I have no regrets and love all the blushes I got this year. My favorite ones are the Salt New York Crème Tint Pro of course, but especially the new shade in Spice, which is the perfect color, and I don’t know how Kiki keeps making the perfect colors. I have all of the shades of the blush and love to mix and match colors to make my perfect shade for that day.
As I reviewed this year, I am also obsessed with the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Petal for the perfect quick “I promise I am getting sleep” look and the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Blush in Petal Poppin and Rose Latte for the “I have totally been outside this year” look, even though we all know both of those things are a lie.
Eyeshadow: Natasha Denona Biba Palette
The Biba Palette is still my favorite palette of all time, and as last year, I absolutely would buy it again. I’m going to copy over what I said last year because it’s all still true. It is the perfect mix of warm, neutral, and cool tones with the right amount of shimmers. The formula is amazing, and if I could only have one palette, it would be this one.
A new discovery for this year that I love but haven’t used enough to call a favorite is the Pat McGrath Divine Rose Palette. I love that the colors are neutral but still interesting, the special shades are incredible, and the formula is amazing. I love that I can use the top shade as a topper for any other shadow and make it look super special.
Brows: Glossier Boy Brow
This is the best brow gel of all time. It deposits color, but not too much, defines the brow hairs, but not too much, and has staying power, but not too much. It’s just perfect and another thing I already have a back up of.
Mascara: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara
This is hands down the best mascara I’ve ever used, and I’m actually upset I didn’t get it sooner. It makes my lashes look amazing, doesn’t smudge, and actually holds a curl. The best part is that it washes off so easily and quickly. I’m never going back to a non-tubing mascara again and bought enough of these to last me until 2022.
Lip liner: Thrive Causemetics Lip Filler Long-Wearing + Plumping Lip Liner in Kackie
One of my other favorite discoveries for 2020 was this lip liner. I don’t know how Kackie did it, but this is the most perfect shade for me. I can put any gloss or lipstick over top of it, and it looks great. The formula also manages to be creamy, not drying, and have great staying power. I’m not sure any lip liner will ever beat this one for a favorite in the future.
Lip gloss: Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion in Magic Hour
I still love the Em Cosmetics lip glosses, but their lip cushion totally knocked it out of the park this year. The Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion in Magic Hour is so easy to swipe on and completely brightens up my face. It’s also super moisturizing and hands down the best tinted lip balm I’ve ever tried. I love keeping it on my desk to have it handy at all times, and if we had anywhere to go, this would 100% be my purse lip product.
Lipstick: Bite Beauty Lip Lap Custom Lipsticks
While I am still obsessed with the Lisa Eldridge Velvet Mattes, my pick has to be my Bite custom lipsticks again. I got two more this year (sheer versions of shades I got for my wedding), and they are such a great formula. I love how easy it is to throw them on and brighten up my whole face, which isn’t surprising because I made sure they were the perfect colors for me.
Setting spray: Cover FX Dewy Finish Setting Spray
The Cover FX spray is still my top setting spray spot for keeping my makeup looking great all day without drying out my skin. It’s alcohol-free, and I find that has helped a ton with my skin feeling less dry throughout the day. I am likely just going to keep rebuying this unless something incredible comes out that I end up trying.
I’m looking forward to seeing how different my 2021 favorites are from my 2020 list and hoping I get more use out of everything by actually getting to go places in 2021!