Happy New Year Everyone!! I hope everyone is well, and despite the world remaining a huge dumpster fire as we begin 2021, I hope that this post will offer a little escapism for all you beauty lovers out there.
Today we’re talking about my 2020 beauty favourites!
I will mainly focus on makeup favourites, but I also have some brushes and skincare faves to talk about.
All products I mention were new to me in 2020, but are not necessarily new releases from 2020. I don’t have a product from every category, I simply picked the things which stood out to me.
And if you make it to the end you’ll find some fails from this year. Hoorah!
So let’s get started!
Absolutely hands-down my favourite purchase of the year and favourite Product in my entire makeup collection is the Natasha Denona 28 pan Green-Brown Eye Palette. It’s a hefty £205 but worth every penny IMO (as insane as that sounds). I don’t have a huge Natasha Denona collection (in comparison to a lot of beauty Youtubers at least), but since I have this big palette with my favourite eyeshadow colours (brown and green with some silver and cooler golds) and one of the best eyeshadow formulas on the market (I reserve a special place in my heart for Tom Ford’s wet & dry formula), I feel very little need to purchase any more ND eyeshadows (still eyeing the gold palette…). Despite the lack of mattes and not having much variety in texture, the shimmer shades are amazing and some work very well in the crease!
Couldn’t be a yearly favourites list without some Tom Ford eyeshadows! The First Frost Eye Quad was a stunning new release, and my purple eyeshadow obsession influenced me to purchase the Daydream quad as well as the Shade & Illuminate Moonlit Violet Palette. The Highlighter in the face and eye palette is gorgeous and smooth, and the bronzer is buildable so works surprisingly well for fair skin tones.
Here are some comparisons between this (2020) year’s First Frost quad, the OG Nude Dip, and last (2019) winter’s Soleil D’Hiver.
Some powder eyeshadows that were new to me this year:
- Nars Single Eyeshadows in Kashmir (shimmer), Kingston (matte), and Bali (matte) I created my perfect everyday eye palette with these singles. The most perfect cool-toned neutral brown shades with a stunning cool taupe shimmer, amazing for people with fair skin and a cool-tone preference!
- Victoria Beckham Smoky Eye Brick in Tuxedo grey without turning a jarring icy colour, the brown undertones make this perfect for day or night. I’ve been obsessed with grey eyeshadow this year (as well as green and pastel purple) so this purchase was a no brainer. Beautiful, blendable matte formula with the faintest undetectable shimmer to prevent it from looking flat. I have a smoky eye palette post coming soon so watch out for that if you share my love for grey!
- Burberry Gold No. 25 Complete Eye Palette for more of a subtle, satin formula (no high shine), but gives such a beautiful yet effortless effect on the eyes. Perfect colour story for summer!
Onto the single eyeshadow category, including liquid and cream formulas.
The Armani eye tints have long been on my wishlist and this year I finally bit the bullet. Very subtle and everyday friendly, yet still scratches my itch for shiny things. This formula does not do any weird crusty cracking after drying (I’ll get onto a liquid eyeshadow that does this later).
The Danessa Myricks ColorFix 24-hour cream colours have been raved about all over Youtube in 2020, and for very good reason. This is my first purchase from this brand, but certainly won’t be the last! I bought the metallic formula in the shade Muse, and it’s my favourite gold colour (no warm/yellow tones!). The formula sets down to a bulletproof finish and it gives a lovely sparkly glitter effect without too much texture. I heard people saying they do dry out fairly fast (probably the tradeoff for such an epic long-wearing formula), hence why I only bought one for now, but it’s currently 6 months old and still going strong!
So I already mentioned my love for purple eyeshadow, particularly light or pastel lilac and lavender shades. I purchased this Fenty Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Duo in 7 Day Wknd/Poolside to use as eyeshadow after seeing Lisa Eldridge use it in this way. It’s very pigmented for a highlighter so works great on the eyes as a shimmer shade. I mix the two sides to create my perfect shade of purple.
The Huda Beauty Matte & Metal Melted Shadows contain an amazing cream matte eyeshadow formula. They have lots of bright pastel shades which work a lot better than matte pastel powder eyeshadow formulas. I love the shade French Lace for a base to a lilac eye look (or just on its own). Apply on the lid and buff into the crease, just make sure you work quickly before it sets down (do one eye at a time). No patchiness and a super long-wearing formula. The shimmer side is meh, but it’s worth it for the matte side alone.
I actually had some mascara favourites in 2020! Neither are new mascaras, and they certainly aren’t ‘trendy’ formulas. The Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes waterproof mascara and the Chanel Inimitable waterproof mascara are favourites because of their super long-wearing waterproof formulas and ability to hold a curl and keep my lashes lifted all day. They don’t do much in terms of volume or length, they just look fairly natural and separated, which I personally prefer for everyday.
These have both passed the test of some serious crying sessions. Crying over job losses? CHECK. Pandemic related sobs? (mainly happy tears for this gremlin) CHECK. Even two viewings of The Haunting of Bly Manor?? ABSOLUTELY!
Seriously though Mike Flanagan has serious talent and that ending just tugs on all my heart strings. (Any Mike Flanagan fans out there??)
I FINALLY tried Glossier Boy Brow. I use the clear version and it reminds me somewhat of the Surratt Brow Pomade formula. This one is more travel and handbag friendly – two things that are very unimportant right now.
My 2019 favourites blog post featured some shades of the Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Liner from the brand’s launch, and I was ecstatic to see the shade range expanded to feature a rich chocolaty brown shade called Cocoa. Perfectly smooth eye pencil for smudging, but sets down and lasts very well throughout the day.
I currently own an abundance of foundation so I held back on purchasing more in 2020. Powders and concealers were a weakness for me though.
The Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Blurring Under-eye Powder in shade Light is my new favourite under-eye setting powder. Amazing blurring powers and doesn’t darken my concealer whatsoever. It also works nicely on the rest of the face. The packaging isn’t very luxe and the mirror is laughably small and pointless, but the small and light compact will be perfect for travel, whenever that becomes an option again.
If I require a powder with brightening properties without detectable shimmer, the By Terry Hyaluronic Tinted Hydra-Powder in shade N1 Rosy Light is perfect. The fair shade looked too yellow for my liking so I purchased this shade instead and couldn’t be happier! I know I’m late to the bandwagon on this powder, but I can confirm it is worth the hype.
The Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Concealer in shade L2 – best concealer release this year. It has medium coverage on my dark circles, so doesn’t replace shape tape for me, but does offer a nice alternative when I’m going for a light-medium base coverage. It is self setting and doesn’t crease much if you choose to skip the powder!
I can’t believe it took me so long to try the Armani High Precision Retouch Concealer after hearing Karima McKimmie raving about it for so many years. This is hands down the best highlighty-touche-eclat-style concealer on the market. Amazing brightening abilities and a nice touch of coverage at the same time!
Blusher – my favourite (?) makeup product and step in my routine. I am not new to the Nars formula, but expanded my collection with these gorgeous shades. The wanted palette is from a few years back but was still in stock on the Nars website earlier in 2020. I surprisingly also like the highlighter – it’s subtle but pretty for everyday.
The Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blusher in the shade First Love has dethroned the Marc Jacobs Air Blush in Flesh and Fantasy as my favourite nude blusher. Slightly lighter and more peachy than the MJ one, making it perfect for my fair skin.
The Clinique cheek pop blushers are one of the best glowy blush formulas I have tried. Plus the packaging is glittery and pastel purple.
Finally, the Givenchy Prisme Blush in the shade 02 Love deserves a mention. It has a satin finish and builds and blends perfectly. I have many similar cool pink blushers in my collection, but no regrets in adding this to the mix.
Blush is clearly my cheek product weakness, but I also have a bronzer and a highlighter favourite from 2020.
The Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter in No. 01 White is the most beautiful high-shine highlighter. It blends out well and doesn’t look overly white or ashy on me, more of a shiny wet-look on the cheek bones. I have wanted one of these for a long time, mainly because the lace imprint is so pretty, and I finally grabbed this on sale.
One of the best releases from 2020, the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer. I have a whole post on this here for more info. The fair shade is perfect for my skintone and allows me to build up the bronzer with a big fluffy brush without turning orange.
Lisa Eldridge did it again! No one is surprised.
I have been collecting her lip products since they first launched a couple of years back and I am shocked and appalled that this is the first time speaking about them on my blog. Her velvet matte lipstick formula is intense and works beautifully as a blotted lip stain. They are also lovely applied straight from the bullet for a super opaque coverage. The standout of her lip products has to be the colour selection though – Lisa Eldridge is an absolute pro when it comes to colour theory.
This year she launched the Gloss Embrace lip glosses along with some matching lip pencils in her lip kits (hopefully they will be available to purchase separately in the near future).
The gloss embrace formula is like wearing a lip mask. So so so nourishing, wears really well and without the sticky gloss texture (feels more balmy than a usual lip gloss). Ribbon isn’t easy to wear in this formula but I adore all the other shades. The go lightly shade is perfection, and I prefer this colour in the gloss formula as I find the lipstick looks quite neon on me and the white base means it catches on dry patches.
I find the Muse lip gloss to be closer to Velvet Fawn than Velvet Muse, which I prefer anyway.
I purchased three lip kits so I have three shades of her lip pencil: Beauty, Blush, and Ribbon. a perfect lipliner formula that goes on creamy yet sets down well. I will be purchasing more shades if and when they become available individually.
Three of my favourite shades in her lip collection are Decade, Myth, and Jazz. I love Velvet Decade as a lip stain. I almost skipped this shade as I thought it wouldn’t be my vibe, but I’m so glad I got it in a set as it’s one of my favourite lipsticks. The Kevyn Aucoin lip pencil in shade minimal has been a great pairing to this colour. Velvet Myth is my perfect winter berry shade, either as a stain or full opacity. I love Velvet Jazz applied straight from the bullet for an evening look.
Another amazing lip product formula released in 2020 is the Victoria Beckham Posh lipstick. I bought shades girl and pout when they first launched (recently added sway to my collection) and pout is my top pick. It’s a light pinky coral, perfect for spring! The packaging gets five stars from me. The formula is shiny without being too glossy and is surprisingly pigmented and long-wearing for this type of lip product. The only downside is that there is a perfume scent, though it isn’t overpowering and doesn’t linger after application.
I picked up one of the Chantecaille lip chic lipsticks (confusingly packaged in the lip veil shaped packaging) from their limited edition hummingbird collection in the spring. The formula is so moisturising and the shade is the perfect my-lips-but-better. Please make this shade permanent!!
Finally, I discovered the Burbery liquid lip velvet at the beginning of 2020 (before face masks were a thing). I love Oxblood as a bold yet wearable moody fall/winter shade. It also blots down nicely for wearing under a face mask 😉
Although all of my japanese Fude brushes are technically my favourites, I picked a couple of awesome releases from 2020.
Sonia G gave us a smaller version of her Face One buffing brush and we are eternally grateful. The handle is the same as her sky brushes and this smaller shape works better with the hourglass face palettes (and just smaller compacts in general).
Best powder buffing brushes to ever exist. Change my mind.
My first brush with a Maki-e lacquer design on the handle. The cute little rat and teeny weeny flowers, ahhhh I just couldn’t resist! I was not born in the year of the rat, but also I do not care.
I have a disappointingly small collection of powder brushes for a Fude fanatic, but I’m hoping to expand it in the near future. Chikuhodo Z1, Kazan squirrel, silver fox hair, P-8 from the premium line, I’m coming for you.
A long-time favourite blush brush of Sonia G. Ignore the name “highlight brush”, its the perfect pom-pom blusher brush shape. For some reason I didn’t expect the GSN brushes to be that soft, but it is so so soft and fluffy. medium in size and density with squirrel hair fibres, its a fantastic all-rounder versatile brush.
Technically new in December 2019, but whatever. Rephr brushes are a great Fude option that is fairly easily available and at a reasonable price point. Very similar to the Hakuhodo J-series brushes, both in terms of shapes and quality. All of my Rephr brushes have the pro handles since this option was given to those purchasing via Kickstarter when the brand first launched. I recommend them all, just choose the shapes most suited to you! I have photographs and some comparisons of my personal favourites below.
The Rephr 05 is slightly smaller than the WG 11, but shapes (oval/pinched ferule) and densities are similar (Rephr is slightly more dense).
I far prefer the Rephr 18 as my Wayne Goss 10 brush is unevenly bundled and it bugs the hell out of me. The Rephr brush is also a bit smaller and more tapered.
The Rephr 17 brush is a little on the small side for foundation, but it does funtion well for base products and cream cheek products alike!
I have a soft spot for angled cheek brushes – I love them for a sculpted brontour application. This is on the smaller side but works great with my small face!
Their eye brushes are an absolute must have. Very similar to the Hakuhodo eye brushes, but I think the sizes of the Rephr ones are even more perfect!
Finally, I have to include this adorable little Koyudo pencil/eyeliner brush. I love it for applying powder eyeshadow close to my lashes as liner. It holds its shape extremely well – no splaying out!
I’m trying to stick to a more consistent skincare routine, so only have a few new favourites.
The Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance serum is so moisturising in the winter. Great as an extra layer for dry skin types and doesn’t irritate me at all.
The Sisley Velvet Sleeping Mask is fairly new to their line. I found their rose cream mask to be a little underwhelming, but this one gives me the results I was expecting! Really great as an overnight layer for dry skin, it’s sufficiently emollient and hydrating at the same time.
I purchased the Paula’s Choice Enriched Calming Toner on a whim and haven’t looked back! It’s quite meaty for a toner (but still a liquid!). Great all year round for dry skin, just slap it on whenever your face comes into contact with water and follow with your skincare routine! It really helps to stop that after-shower tightness.
After falling in love with Victoria Beckham’s matte eyeshadow formula I couldn’t wait to try her shimmer formula. Unfortunately the silk eye brick fell flat for me. The shine of the eyeshadows disappears within 5 minutes of applying and the resulting effect is kinda meh. I was hoping the white gold would be great to use alongside my other eye bricks, but unfortunately it looks very yellow on my skin. All-in-all I would not recommend, and if you like the colour story, opt for the Tom Ford Suspicion eye quad instead!
I really enjoy the Huda Beauty formula in my coral obsessions palette, so I was really keen to add the lilac version to my collection. Sadly the shimmer shades are a really underwhelming topper formula rather than the standard smooth shimmers in her earlier palettes. The marbled shade is a bit dirty looking and the lilacs are not my favourite tones. Stick with the matte and metal liquid shadows and give this palette a skip!
Soooo many people raved about Pat’s new mascara, so I bought it alongside the Divine Rose Palette. WOW I don’t think I’ve ever hated a mascara so much. I used this for days on end while photographing some smoky eye looks (post coming soon!), so hopefully you’ll soon see what I mean in those photos, but this flaked incredibly badly from the minute I applied it. Flakes coming straight off the wand and onto my lashes, and flakes falling all over my face within minutes. Did I get a bad batch or something? Because I really do not understand the hype with this one.
Finally, don’t let the pretty, smooth swatch mislead you! The Chanel liquid eyeshadows were released at the start of 2020. I only picked up one shade – 22 Rayon – so I can only speak to this particular one, but I did not like this at all. On the contrary to the Armani eye tints, this was difficult to blend and build and would go patchy, lift up on itself, and finally crack when dried down leaving a displeasing texture on my eyes. Safe to say it has exited my collection.
Ready for a hot take?
This one hurts a little as it was my first Pat McGrath mothership palette. It was a toss-up between this and the mothership I subliminal palette (which I received for Christmas and absolutely love), and I went with the hyped-up Divine Rose palette. Unfortunately the mauve shades (velouria and love lace) look quite muddy on me, and most of the other shades aren’t ideal for me for everyday. I’m not a fan of iridescent pink 003, the gold shade is ok but I have similar shades from mother Pat. VR Rose Venus and Astral Solstice are the two stand out shades for me, and may prevent me from reselling this palette.
After the absolute banger of the 28-pan green-brown palette, I’m sad to say I felt a little underwhelmed by the new Natasha Denona Glam palette. The formula is great (the mattes don’t swatch well but work well applied to the eyes), but it’s just missing that je ne sais quoi that the green-brown palette gives. As a cool-tone lover, it feels more neutral to me, with some shades even leaning a bit warm. There are a lot of similar champagne shimmers in the glam palette, none of which are my most ideal lid shade. It does create some great neutral glam looks, I’ll admit, but it’s not as everyday friendly as I was hoping. It’s difficult to see why from the swatches, but on my eyes the yellow-gold champagne shades as well as the first three sparkly shimmers are not something I gravitate towards on the daily.
And that’s it!
Sorry it’s so late for a yearly favouries, I have been busy with moving home but honestly it’s no excuse as I had ample opportunity to write this post in January. I blame procrastination.
I’m on no-buys and low-buys throughout the whole of 2021 (no purchases as of yet this year, woohoo!). Not only do I want to remove some bad habits around shopping, but I have a lot of makeup and really want to enjoy what I have and rediscover old favourites. Next year’s favourites post will be based on my existing collection, so you will learn what products really are the best of the best!
In other news, I am trying to be more active on my instagram account Please do follow me over there for (hopefully) more regular content, such as weekly looks, monthly favourites, and even some panning content!
I plan on continuing to post longer, more in-depth content here on my blog, so keep an eye out for future posts! I have a smoky eye quad looks and comparisons post coming soonish, and then some concealer and tinted lip balm smackdowns. Plus lots more.
Until next time! xx
This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned in this post have been purchased by me.