It’s been quite a year to say the least. My makeup habits and tastes have changed throughout the year and I thought this would be a good way to see how everything faired. In this post I’ll be sharing the best products I used this year by category and some honorable mentions. Note: not everything I’m going to list came out this year.
Best Primer: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
Honorable Mention: Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
Milk’s Hydro Grip Primer has helped my makeup to not rub off on my mask. In addition to it being hydrating, it hasn’t broken me out. The Fenty primer is my go to when I need a little help keeping my t-zone in check.
Best Foundation: Cover FX Power Play in N90
Honorable Mentions: Nyx Born to Glow Naturally Radiant in Mahogany and Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear in 460 Suede W
All 3 shades listed here are some of the best shade matches I’ve ever tried and work well with multiple concealers I’ve tried. Power Play takes the top spot because I ran out and loved it enough to buy a second bottle, despite having other foundations in my collection. Plus the formula works very well for my combo-oily skin. The Nyx foundation is good on it’s own but I have to use it sparingly because I can look greasy real quick. Teint Idole Ultra Wear is a beautiful match and formula but it doesn’t last on my face as long as Power Play.
Best Concealer: Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum in 14 Toffee
Honorable mention: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Amande
I wasn’t even looking for this concealer the first time I bought it. A Sephora rep recommended it to me and I’ve been hooked since trying it the first time. It applies smoothly and gives good coverage without being cakey, dry, or heavy. The NARS Radiant Creamy has been the concealer I reach for when I want to do a no makeup-makeup look. It’s perfect for covering my dark spots and under eyes while still looking like skin.
Best Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Honey
Honorable mention: Glossier Wowder in G4
I know I wasn’t the only one rejoicing when Laura Mercier finally came out with this shade. I only use Translucent Honey under my eyes and find that I only need the tiniest amount to keep my concealer in place all day with no caking. Wowder is really an awesome powder (read my review here) and would’ve gotten the number one spot if it hadn’t been for the packaging.
Best Pressed Powder: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation in Y455 & Y505
Honorable mention: Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Powder Foundation in 40 Tan
When I first saw the MUFE powders being used to setting the face, I ran out to get one. Honestly they’re good to use as a powder foundation too. I ended up purchasing a second shade (with plans to get 2 more) to fit my complexion better since I haven’t been going out much this year. As long as I use a light hand, it looks like skin and lasts on my face all day. The MicroSmooth powder is my boo and I still use it to set my foundation when I need to.
Best Bronzer: Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Mahogany
Honorable mention: None
The ABH bronzer in Mahogany is the perfect color for me so I haven’t even desired to try another one. Seriously. In 2021 I may open up and try a different brand but this one works well.
Best Contour: Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette in Medium to Dark
Honorable mention: None
This is another product where I only have one. Contour is not typically something I reach for every day but I like the results I get when using this one. It also plays nice when paired with the bronzer in the palette.
Best Blush: Elf Cosmetics Primer-Infused Blush in Always Rosy
Honorable mention: Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Drama Cla$$ & Bikini Martini
This Elf blush is my go to when I don’t want to think about what to wear. It works whether I’m doing a no makeup-makeup look or wear a full face. A great shade on my deep skin despite it looking super light in the pan. If someone would’ve told me last year that I would love cream blush with my combo-oily skin, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Fenty cream blushes last on my face for the entire work day with no fading. They blend out to a beautiful shade with a sponge or a brush and don’t lift the product that I applied underneath.
Best Highlighter: NARS Tied Up, Deep Down & Drift in the Overlust Cheek Palette
Honorable mention: Rare Beauty Transcend & Reflect
This year I’ve been gravitating towards more natural finishes and the highlighters in this NARS palette definitely give me a ‘lit from within’ look. It doesn’t look like I applied any product at all, especially when I apply it with my fingers. The Rare Beauty liquid highlighters get an honorable mention only because I haven’t been using them as long but I have a feeling they might be tied for the #1 spot come next year.
Best Eyebrow Products: CoverGirl Ultrafine Brow Pencil in Soft Brown & ColourPop Brow Boss Gel in Light Brown
Honorable mention: Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil in 4.5
Brows are super important to me and can really make or break my look. The CoverGirl brow pencil makes it easy to have good brows. I don’t have to spend 10 minutes doing them; just do a quick fill-in and I’m done. Finish them with the ColourPop brow gel and I’m moving to the next step in 5 minutes. In combination to remaining my winter shade all year and dying my hair a medium brown, the Benefit pencil in 4.5 became too dark. It’s a good pencil to use when my hair is not colored.
Best Eyeshadow Primer: Milani Eyeshadow Primer
Honorable mention: Makeup by Mario Master Eye Prep & Set in Deep
The Milani eyeshadow primer just works. No matter which shadow I’m using, this primer helps to make the shades last all day. I’ve only been using the Makeup by Mario set for a few weeks but I’m liking it so far. The concealers are the perfect shades for my complexion and the powder makes it easy for me to blend shades over it. If Mario wants to come out with a pressed powder for the under eye that’s like the one in this set, I may be inclined to try it.
Best Eyeshadow Palettes:
6 shades or less: Elf Bite Size Eyeshadow in Truffle, Viseart Theory III Chroma, Natasha Denona Mini Star
The formulas in all of these palettes are easy to work with. I can reach for any of these palettes and not have to think about what will look good. Plus they’re all small enough that I can throw them in my bag when I’m traveling for a quick weekend trip. Read my review on the Elf palettes here.
8 -12 shades: Viseart Neutral Mattes Milieu & Paris Edit, Melt Cosmetics Rust & She’s in Parties, Pat McGrath Labs Mothership VIII Divine Rose II, Sydney Grace Enduring Love, Huda Beauty Nude Rich, NARS Skin Deep
The formulas in these palettes are among my fave in all of my collection. I can do a chill all matte look or dress it up with some shimmers and will be pleased using any of these palettes.
14+ shades: Natasha Denona Love Palette & Glam Palette, Anastasia Beverly Hills x Jackie Aina
Again, I don’t have to think about what look to do with these palettes. The Jackie Aina palette is a special one because the transition shades are perfect for my skin tone. Read my ABH x Jackie Aina review here and my Natasha Denona Love palette review here.
Best Eyeliner: Nyx Retractable Eye Liner in Brown
Honorable mention: Wet n Wild Kohl Crayon in Baby’s Got Black
Brown liner is the way to go for me especially when I’m going to work. This one by Nyx works well and is inexpensive. The Wet n Wild kohl liner is an honorable mention because I only use it in my waterline on occasion; it’s definitely not an every day type of product for me.
Best Mascara: L’Oreal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara in Blackest Black
Honorable mention: Elf Lash Extending Mascara in Black
Listen, I discovered tubing mascara and have a hard time going back. Double Extend was my first tubing mascara and was such a breeze to remove. There was no leftover mascara on my lashes the next day because it all came off the first time. I purchased the Elf mascara one day on my lunch break because I forgot to apply it before leaving the house. It’s simple, inexpensive, and my lashes look good. Sounds like a win to me.
Revlon Super Lustruous Lipstick in 671 Mink, Sephora Collection Lipstories in But First Coffee, Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink in Caramel Collector & Mocha Inventor, Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Malt, KKW Beauty in Nude 5, Mac Ruby Woo
I love a matte lip. And having to wear masks most of the year, the matte lipsticks listed here look good and don’t rub off on my mask. I can wear most of them alone or paired with the liners I talked about here.
Best Lip Glosses: Maybelline Lifter Gloss in 003 Moon and Nyx Butter Gloss in Gingersnap & Praline
Honorable mentions: Nyx Butter Gloss in Madeline, Pat McGrath Labs Lust: Gloss in Faux Real
The Maybelline Lifter Gloss was surprisingly good and is so good that it lives in my purse along with Gingersnap & Praline. The honorable mentions are nice as well but I don’t wear them as often and tend to use them to tone down a lipstick. All of these lip glosses look good on their own or over lipstick and are not sticky.
Best Setting Spray: Morphe Continuous Setting Mist
Honorable mention: Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray 24-Hour Wear
Morphe’s setting spray is my problematic fave simply because it melts my powder beautifully. The Cover FX spray is what I use when I’m going out after work and need my makeup to last just a bit longer than normal. Both sprays are unscented.
That’s my list. What are your favorite products from 2020? Let’s chat below.