It’s a tough game to whittle down the best beauty products of 2020: The past 12 months alone saw a staggering number of launches in the multibillion-dollar market, between the palettes, peels, and primers; the lip liners, plumpers, and kits—not to mention the celebrity lines: Venus! Selena! Pharrell!
Of course, such a wealth of options means there’s something special for everyone (seriously, everyone: Thanks to the rise of bespoke beauty offerings like Pure Culture and Function of Beauty’s personalized skin-care sets, customers can actually create their own tailor-made formulas), but it also means that separating the good from the great, the better from the best, is harder than ever.
With this in mind, Vogue turned to fashion’s top coiffeurs, makeup whizzes, and facialists—those who lend their deft hands to the making of runway and red carpet moments alike—to sound off on the year’s most game-changing masks, highlighters, and more. From a natural pigment made in Sweden to a display-worthy hair comb crafted from recycled plastic, a look at the best beauty products of 2020 below.
It was love at first sight for this bright fuchsia multipurpose makeup. This specific shade goes on sheer, but is greatly pigmented and can brighten up any skin tone. Just looking at the little pot of color brings me sheer joy! Created using natural and wild-harvested ingredients, this cream is full of nourishing elements like sweet almond oil, shea butter, and apricot oil.
This is the ultimate secret sauce for a sheer, sun-kissed, real glow! The texture is super light and somewhat mousse-y. It is great for the body, but I personally love to use it for the face. Pro tip: Skip foundation and buff it lightly onto the face. The warmth alone will even out the skin tone, no coverage needed! Instead of spraying it on directly, I prefer to apply it by using a brush.
Chanel’s delicious, slightly rosy highlighter is great either mixed in with foundation or used as a highlighter on its own. I prefer the rose tint to a champagne or gold hue. I think it brings more energy and light to the skin. I love to use it on my brow bone, chin, and cheekbones to bring some life back to my face, especially in the winter!
Every single color in this collection is sheer perfection. They are tinted lipsticks with an emphasis on “tint.” Rich and saturated, in easily wearable shades that feel balmy and are ultra comfortable.
With many of us adopting a “buy less, buy better” approach and gaining more awareness around packaging waste and overconsumption, products that I have adopted this year are multifunctional. The Oribe Gold Lust All Over Oil fits perfectly for this new direction we are moving toward. It replenishes and restores with 17 natural oils that nourish and protect our hair, face, and body, and is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Re=Comb’s beautiful combs made from recycled plastic have also been a huge success to launch this year.
Full confession: I use this Drunk Elephant mask as a moisturizer. I have extremely sensitive and dry skin and it does a very good job keeping my skin hydrated without any irritation. The formula contains my favorite skin-barrier warrior, niacinamide, along with five different ceramides and a long list of other ingredients that help support your skin barrier. If you have sensitive skin, this is a great product to have in your arsenal.
During the two confinements in Paris, I have been masking more often as a way to pamper myself. This mask is deeply hydrating, practically odorless, and leaves your skin plump for at least 24 hours. I don’t use it with the serum as the brand recommends, but I may consider it soon. It only has 13 ingredients and the mask comes in two parts, which makes it much easier to apply. I prefer hydrogel masks since they seem to help the serum penetrate deeper (as they don’t dry on the skin so quickly). I leave the mask on for at least 30 minutes.
Augustinus Bader’s The Body Cream is my special treat to myself: It’s very luxurious and very moisturizing. It’s odorless and non-greasy, and takes some time to rub in, but afterward your skin feels super protected. I use this mainly on my eczema-prone areas, and it’s perfect for dry skin.
The skin around my eyes suffers from allergies nearly all year round. Paris is full of pollution and pollen. As a result, most eye creams irritate my already fragile eye region. Jordan Samuel’s eye gel is very light, odorless, and helps de-puff my eyes. It contains green tea, caffeine, and some peptides. I like the gel texture because it doesn’t weigh heavy on your skin while still keeping that area hydrated.
The Christophe Robin Color Shield Hair Mask and Shampoo was an instant Suite Caroline favorite. The shampoo is incredible, as it combines Christophe Robin’s top shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair into one formula. This duo is our aftercare best friend, locking in and preserving the radiance of our nuanced and vibrant color techniques.
A versatile product created by one of our very own Suite Caroline artists, Hair Party works well for all hair types, from straight to coily and from medium to coarse in texture. This is a product to get creative and have some fun with. Try transforming it into an oil for use on dry hair to create lived-in, je ne sais quoi texture, or use it as a pomade to shape brows. Not to mention, it has an amazing scent, which includes natural notes of vetiver, white fir, sage, and rosewood, among others.
Daphne Javitch, The Holistic Nutritionist
If you’re going to hoard toilet paper à la 2020, make it nontoxic and earth-conscious Plant Paper! One roll of conventional-tree toilet paper requires 37 gallons of water and one gallon of chemicals to produce. Plant Paper is made from fast-growing bamboo, it’s toxin free, ecological, and affordable. Definitely one of the most exciting products of 2020 for someone who drinks as much water as me!
This year (cosmically timed for my second baby), Mary Ruth Organics released a Prenatal + Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin. I’m a huge fan of her products, which are mostly liquid or gummy and easier to take and more bioavailable than pills—especially when pregnant and nauseous! This multivitamin can be taken for a year preconception, throughout pregnancy, and for a year postpartum. And it comes in a glass jar.
Emi Kudo, The Manicurist
Essie never stops improving and innovating its line to be more user-friendly and to accommodate the modern life of women. The Expressie nail polishes answer most of users’ needs nowadays. They are seven free and are super fast and easy to apply thanks to a big, fat round brush. Seize the Minute is the perfect fall and winter red.
Happy Dance is Kristen Bell’s new collaboration with the upscale CBD brand Lord Jones. I am in love with how this butter nourishes and melts on dried cuticles (and on the whole body). It also has an amazing, yummy smell.