And the award goes to...
As we near the end of the year, it's natural to look back at the past 12 months. And I am in awe of the beauty industry. I have seen innovative formulas and ground-breaking launches from both new emerging brands, as well as favourite more established ones. It has been almost overwhelming the number of brilliant products that have landed on my desk this year. So as we bid farewell to another year, here's my roundup of the best beauty products of 2021.
1. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo - £23 | Lookfantastic
Gosh, I hate washing my hair. It's really long and I have lots of it. It takes ages to dry naturally, it takes ages to blow dry it (even with the best hair dryers.) So any of the best dry shampoos that can keep my hair looking cleaner for longer is a winner for me. The original Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo is already excellent - it absorbs oil, sweat, and odor - but this one also adds shine and softness, so it looks freshly washed.
2. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer - £25 | Lookfantastic
I am particularly fussy about my concealers - my dark circles are tenacious and it takes a really good one to make it into my kit. This is one of those. I love it so much that after leaving behind in the loos of a wedding, I was on the phone to the venue the very next day trying to get it back. It's had just the right amount of coverage to mask all manner of blemishes, but light enough that you can't feel it on the skin. It's called an 'All Over Concealer' and I understand why, I use to touch up my entire face when I don't want to use a heavier base.
3. OLAPLEX No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
OLAPLEX No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask - £24.87 | Amazon
I hope I don't need to convince you of the wonder that is the Olaplex treatment regime? I do hope that you are already familiar with its hair repairing and colour-protecting powers. This year saw the launch of the Treatment Mask - how there wasn't one already is beyond me. The beauty of this product is that when you can't be bothered to do all the other steps, you can pop this on your lengths and hair is softer, shinier, and more manageable in just 10 minutes.
4. Shane Cooper Oxygenation Mask
Shane Cooper Oxygenation Mask - £90
This is one of my most exciting discoveries of the year. Shane has been giving some of the UK's biggest celebrities facials for years and he recently announced his residency at The London Edition hotel. I cannot wait to book in, because this Oxgentation Mask has turned me into a total convert to Shane's methods. I am plagued by dry skin and like to do regular face masks to keep on top of things. This Oxygenation Mask boosts hydration levels and leaves me with a beautiful glow straight away.
5. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment - £58
I have been known to use my Overnight Facial on my hands, arms and décolletage. Now, I won't have to do that anymore, because the brand have rereleased the body version due to popular demand. For some reason, it is a limited edition again, so I plan to stock up. It does pretty much the same as the original face oil - it brightens, firms, moisturises and strengthens. I use it every night and the skin on my body is very thankful.
6. CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum -
was £17, now £12.75 | Amazon
It's not every day that a product takes the entire beauty industry by storm. And yet, earlier this year, this little affordable tube of joy did just that. I promise you that if you did a quick poll of every beauty editor in the UK, the majority of them would have this in their routine. The reason everyone loves it so much is that it's effective, works on all skin types, and is super purse-friendly. I now recommend it to all of my friends as their first serum, ahead of their treatment (e.g their best vitamin C serums).
7. Hermès Les Mains
Hermès Les Mains Enamel Base Coat - £42 | John Lewis
I was completely devoted to the gel manicures and pedicures at Townhouse (the best nail salon in London in my humble opinion) before the pandemic hit. I didn't even keep any nail polishes in the house. But then of course I wasn't able to get there and had to take matters into my own hands (sorry, no pun intended). It's really only been the Hermès Les Mains collection that has helped me fall back in love with at-home manis. The shade range is extensive and it has everything you need to get that professional look - base coat, top coat, cuticle oil and hand cream. Plus the bottles are very beautiful.
8. Gloved Moisture-Replenish Hand Sanitiser
Gloved Moisture-Replenish Hand Sanitiser - £26
Hand sanitisers became integral to everybody's daily routines last year and 2021 was no different. I now have the best hand sanitiser in my car, every handbag I own and on the table right by the front door. That one is the Gloved Moisture-Replenish Hand Sanitiser and it's beautiful. Both in scent and appearance. Housed in a beautiful matte green glass bottle, it looks smart (rather than unappealing like the plastic ones) and it smells of sophisticated cedarwood. I encourage everyone to use it as they come in and out and no one ever objects.
9. Vieve Eye Wands
Vieve Eye Wands - £21 each | Cult Beauty
Jamie Genevieve, founder of Vieve, has created a cracker of a product with these Eye Wands. They are so versatile - can be used anywhere on the eye to create different looks depending on your mood - and are really long-wearing. These matte beauties are always in my make-up kit, I just wished they did them shimmer versions... Oh wait, that's exactly what she launched last week. Now the collection is complete.
10. Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Butter
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Butter - £14.95 | Cult Beauty
Just when I thought I couldn't fall in love with this brand more, they launch this. The gradual tanning body butter, which delivers the most incredible tan in just two applications. I am naturally a very pale woman, but this makes it look like I spent six months of the year in Cape Town. Obsessed.
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Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.
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