2021 Makeup Favorites

I get frequently asked for makeup and skincare recommendations for a full routine, 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. Like last year, I’ll be splitting out the makeup and skincare lists so these posts don’t get too long. I would love see your favorites and recommendations for 2021 in the comments! And, of course, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts.

Primer: Glossier Future Dew – This continues to be one of my favorite products, and is one of the only things I consistently use every day in my makeup routine. It provides such an amazing glossy, hydrating base that makes me look like I drank enough water (and if you know me, you know I have never had enough water). It works beautifully with any foundation, concealer, and powder combo I put on top of it and makes them look way better on my skin – no dry patches, no clinging, no flatness. I got another back-up during Glossier’s 20% off sale recently so I always have another bottle on hand.

Foundation: Typology Skin Tint and Fenty Eaze Drops

When I think through all my base products, these two really rise to the top of my list for the ones I would keep if I only got to keep my HGs. The Typology is my go-to for when I’m having a really dry skin day or want something light coverage (which is most days). It’s incredibly smoothing and lightweight while being able to build to medium coverage. It wears incredibly well for how moisturizing it feels (it wears in without wearing off), and it plays well with every bronzer, blush, highlighter, and powder I’ve used with it. It also contains lots of great skincare ingredients, and my skin definitely feels way less dry at the end of the day than with other base products.

I gravitate towards the Fenty Eaze Drops when I need something more long wearing and loved using it in the summer when it was super hot. The formula is almost entirely mask proof and sweat proof, but doesn’t look heavy at all. It has a natural finish that I can easily add dew too with something like Glossier Future Dew without effecting how long it lasts. Even walking around or working out when it’s incredibly hot, it holds up super well all day. I love that I can blend it in super quickly with my fingers, and it looks flawless – during the summer, I want things that are quick and easy, and this definitely checks all the right boxes. You can hopefully see from these swatches the difference in texture between the Typology and the Fenty but check out my full review for more details.

From left to right: Typology Tinted Serum in 001, Glossier Skin Tint in G11, Fenty Eaze Drop in 2, Charlotte Tibury Light Wonder in 2, Typology Tinted Serum in 002

Concealer: Ulta Under Eye Brightener – I have super dark undereye and can’t get away without a corrector, and I’m so happy to have discovered this one. It’s about $10 and a very effective dupe of my beloved Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector. Just like the Becca one, 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 without any heaviness. It blends like a dream and the color is perfect for me. And it’s in stick form which is so much easier to use than the pot!

As last year (like 2019), the search continues for the perfect concealer to go over top of it, although I did love the Kosas Revealer Concealer (heavier coverage) and Glossier Stretch (lighter coverage) concealers that I reviewed this year. Stay tuned for more concealer reviews in 2022 (I have three new ones going to share information on in the new year)!

Powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder – This one is the same as last year, and 2019, 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 really also love the Kosas Cloud Set powder, especially for a “brighten up my look at the end” but I find myself going back to the Hourglass more often.

Contour: Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick – This was my favorite in this category last year, and nothing beat it out this year. 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 favorites for this year and it’s the same as last 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 or leave fairly sheer. 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 paired with one of their highlighters to replicate the duo.

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate cream bronzer and highlight duo in Shade 0.5 (but this could just as well be Salt New York in Light and Beige)

Blush: Kjaer Weis Blushes – I own over 50 blushes, so it was almost impossible to pick a favorite from this year. I have to go with the Kajer Weis blushes though because it has the perfect balance between blendable and long-wearing. It’s so easy to work with, create impact, and stays all day. The first time I used one of these, I was shocked to find that it was still on my cheeks after wearing makeup for over 15 hours. I love that I can just buy a refill without the extra packaging and put it in my Salt New York empty palette, and that it’s still around $30 even for a luxury product. Because I own so many cream blushes, I tried to get shades I didn’t have already and chose Sun Touched, Inner Glow, Blushing, and Blossoming. All four shades are beautifully unique, and I get a ton of use out of them.

Highlight: Auric Glow Lust – I wrote about the Auric Glow Lust many times this year, and I’m still in love with it. It gives both a super smooth and glowy effect to the skin, whether I use it as foundation, a primer, a mixer, or a highlighter. Of all of my glowy, liquid products, this is definitely my favorite of the bunch. The packaging is also amazing, especially the pump – it’s so much easier to use than something like the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. It feels like much more of a luxury experience, from the packaging to the formula. I have the shades Selenite and Morganite, and I love using Selenite all over as foundation or a primer and Morganite as a true “high points of the skin” highlighter. I have a full review here if you’d like to see more comparisons between the two. I also have since gotten the Lisa Eldridge Elevated Glow Highlighter, Glossier Haloscope, and Beauty Pie Triple Luminizing Wand and am happy to do a full comparison post – let me know in the comments below!

Eyeshadow: 75° Warm , 11:11, and 52° Cool Roen Quads, Vesca Moonlit Dream Cream Eyeshadow in Lyra, and Urban Decay 24/7 Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy

I couldn’t just pick one eyeshadow product because I had so many favorites this year, but I narrowed it down to three. First it’s all the Roen quads – each shade is a perfect one-and-done on it’s own, and they are so easy and quick to use. I’m so happy I have all of them but my favorite is the 11:11 quad (the middle four in the swatches), especially the most sparkly shade which is just the prettiest eyeshadow I own. The formula is also super versatile so I find myself reaching for them all the time when I don’t want to have to work at an eye look. With a finger, the shades go on incredibly pigmented and intense, but with a brush, you can create a very sophisticated wash of color.

Swatches of the 75° Warm , 11:11, and 52° Cool Roen Quads

I’ve written about how much I love the Vesca Moonlit Dream Cream Eyeshadows, especially the shade Lyra. This formula is still the easiest cream shadow I’ve ever worked with. They stay blendable for long enough to get your look just right, and then they dry down and don’t crease all day. I’m also still in love with the packaging – it’s super easy to only get what you need, and I don’t have to worry about them drying out. The color Lyra is described as a champagne rose with an iridescent reflect, and it’s the perfect coppery, rose, shiny, glittery, works for day and night color for me.

Urban Decay 24/7 Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy – I own a ton of single glittery/topper type eyeshadows and love them all, but I think my absolute favorite is this one. I’ve used it on top of my eyeshadow almost every single time I’ve used my eyeshadow since I bought it, and I’m so happy with the effect it has. It’s a sheer shimmery eyeshadow that adds a wet look to any shadow without really adding any color or changing the color of the look underneath. It’s also incredibly reflective and glossy, doesn’t have any fallout, and is so easy to apply with a brush or fingers (and doesn’t require any glitter glue).

Brows: Kosas AirBrow and Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil 

Something finally unseated Glossier Boy Brow as my HG brow gel, and it’s the Kosas AirBrow gel. It tints and fills in the brows so quickly and easily without overdoing it or over applying the gel. It doesn’t get crunchy or hard and stays in place all day. I prefer it to the Boy Brow because it’s a bit thicker so it lasts longer and keeps my brows exactly where I want them all day. After trying so many eyebrow pencils over the years, I finally have found my favorite, and it’s the Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil. I use it for a sparse area I have in one of my brows, and it goes on so quickly and naturally. Unlike other pencils, it stays all day, so I don’t end up with a hole in my brow by the end of the day.

Mascara: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara
This is hands down the best mascara I’ve ever used and continues to be what I go back to even after trying others. 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 through next year just like I did last year.

Lip Liner: Soft Blur Velvet Lip Liners from Em Cosmetics – Out of all my lip liners, I definitely reached for these the most often. The formula blends so easily so you can get a soft, blurred, and diffused look. I find that creates a much more natural look that still defines my lips and helps prevent any feathering of the lipstick I use on top. Even with how soft and lightweight they are, they are very long lasting. I have the shades Kitten, a neutral rose, and Mink, a cool brown, which both work really well with my lip color and the with my favorite lipsticks and glosses.

From left to right: Em Cosmetics Lip Liners in Kitten and Mink

Lip gloss: Fitglow Beauty Serums – I now have 5 full sizes of the tinted serums, 7 minis, and 5 night lip serums because of how obsessed I am with this formula (and I don’t like to use that word unless I really mean it). The formula is incredibly nourishing, thick, hydrating, and long-lasting, and I just can’t stop using them. The Night Lip Serum is the best night time lip treatment I’ve ever tried, and I wake up consistently to hydrated and nourished lips. The swatches below are from the first four I got, but all the colored serums are beautiful and I can always find one to match my look. Let me know in the comments if you’d like more swatches of more shades!

Fitglow Lip Serums in Night Lip Serum, Beach Glow, Gospel, and Root

Lipstick: Lisa Eldridge Velvet Matte Lipsticks and Glossier Ultralip

I have been loving all of the shades I got – you can see more swatches and comparisons of all of them here. The Ultralips are a pretty pigmented tinted lip balm that has a touch more glossiness than your average balm. I love how moisturizing it is and how long lasting it is (for a lip balm texture). You can also build up the color without anything weird happening like pilling or patching. I love using these during the day on work calls when I want more color like a traditional lipstick, don’t mind having to reapply, and can take advantage of how moisturizing these are.

Glossier Ultralip in Portrait, Villa, Trench, and Cachet

When I’m looking for something more long-wearing, especially under a mask, I always reach for one of my Lisa Eldridge Velvet Matte Lipsticks. The formula is the most comfortable matte lipstick I’ve tried – they’re not drying at all, have the staying power I expect from a matte lipstick, and looks velvety smooth on the lips. They’re highly pigmented and blurring and cover the lips in one swipe. I have the shades Velvet Fawn, Velvet Muse, Velvet Petal, Velvet Affair, Velvet Midnight, and Velvet Dragon. My most used are definitely the first four lighter shades, but I love dabbing on Velvet Midnight or Velvet Dragon as more of a stain.

Setting spray: ABH Dewy Set Setting Spray
The Cover FX Dewy Finish Setting Spray has been my favorite for years, but I like this even better. It does just the right amount of dewiness and sets my makeup while still leaving everything skin-like and flexible. I love how this makes my makeup look after everything is said and done and how it provides great lasting power without drying out my skin (in fact, I think it adds another layer of hydration). It’s also less expensive than similar options, like the Hourglass Setting Spray, so I’m very excited this has come into my makeup routine.

What were your favorites this year? Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see here on LiftBakeLove, and thanks for reading! As always, some links may be affiliate links that support the blog, but all reviews/opinions are completely my own and unsponsored.

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