20 Beauty Products I Actually Finished in 2020
Hitting pan is the greatest compliment a beauty editor can give.
Beauty editors test an unprecedented amount of products. Not that we’re complaining, mind you, but with offices still closed due to the pandemic, the majority of us have moved our beauty closets into our apartments. That means we’ve got towers of products within arm’s reach on any given day. With such a surplus of options at our disposal, when you manage to actually finish an entire bottle, jar, or tube of formula, that means it’s *really* good.
I know that I’ve had my favorites from the last 12 months, spanning skin, hair, and body care, as well as cosmetics, fragrance, and nails. And while it’s my job to swatch and sample as many products as I can (and relay the best new launches to all of you), there will always be the standouts that I can’t wait to use over and over again until I hit pan. So, in the spirit of closing out the year with a well-curated beauty shelf, here are 20 products I actually finished in 2020.
Caudalie VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil
I’ve sung this oil’s praises for years, and 2020 has been no different. It’s a dry oil, which means it's lighter and sinks into your skin a little easier than heavier occlusives. The grape seed oil helps to restore and nourish your skin, which is why I always add a few drops after my nightly serums and before my moisturizer. It just locks everything in and helps my skin stay hydrated until morning. It’s also one of the few products with essential oils that doesn’t irritate my skin.
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
All my friends and family will attest that I have one of these lip balms in my bag at all times. It delivers the prettiest flush of color (helpful when you look deathly sallow like me in the winter) while also moisturizing your chapped lips like a dream. Plus, it costs less than a large latte from my corner coffee shop. Buy it in bulk and don’t look back.
Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil
Newsflash—we all wake up looking like a puffer fish in the morning. That’s why I love giving myself a face massage first thing, and this oil has the most delicious texture to help glide my face cups, rollers, and hands around my eyes and cheekbones. It’s a clean formula but never compromises on quality and smells absolutely divine. I need to replace my second bottle stat.
Saie Mascara 101
Truth be told, I was convinced that no beauty brand would be able to create a clean mascara that could compete with traditional formulas. That all changed when I tried Saie’s version, which delivers the perfect doe-like effect for your lashes without any clumping (my preferred eyelash look). If you’re trying to green up your makeup routine, this mascara should be your first purchase.
Nécessaire The Body Wash
Who knew that body care would be the runaway winner for 2020? The category has exploded with new options over the last year, and Nécessaire makes some of my favorites for simple, effective formulas and expertly designed packaging. The body wash is always in my shower, and given that my partner is also obsessed, we fly through our bottle in just a few weeks.
Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel
This mask is what I call “the big gun” of my skin-care routine, aka, when my complexion is looking particularly dull and congested. The blend of AHA, BHA, and enzymes sloughs off any and all dead skin while also lightening discoloration and smoothing my face until it’s baby-bottom soft.
Amika Fadeblock Pre-shampoo Color Seal
I’m extremely particular about my blond hair color, and since my dad is a redhead, it can turn brassy very quickly. That’s why I use this pre-shampoo treatment to help seal the hair cuticle and balance the pH to minimize any color fading. I coat my hair from root to tip, which means I go through this bottle exceptionally fast, but my hair is staying brighter and more buttery since incorporating it into my shower routine.
Augustinus Bader The Hand Treatment
I know, I know, $50 for a hand cream seems excessive, but hear me out: Every winter I get crazy eczema patches on my hands and wrists, which I usually need to treat with a prescription steroid. I’ve since started using this formula, which contains founder Dr. Bader’s signature TFC8 molecule to heal and repair, and even my angriest spots are soothed and itch free. If you’re dealing with a similar eczema breakout, this might be a wise investment.
Ellis Brooklyn Salt Eau de Parfum
I am *obsessed* with fragrance (seriously, my collection is a little out of control these days), but Ellis Brooklyn’s Salt is at the top of my list. It captures that mineral tang of a day at the beach, while also balancing bright notes of ylang ylang, warm Tahitian tiare, and earthy ambergris. Since I’m a Leo, I need to have reminders of summertime close by all year long, which is why my current bottle is on the last few drops.
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++
Say it with me, now—daily sunscreen is non-negotiable! I promise, if you’re not incorporating SPF into your routine, the rest of your anti-aging skin-care products are essentially worthless. That’s why I will always have my go-to formula in my cabinet. It has a unique silky texture that blends without any white cast (even though it’s a physical formula) and helps protect against the pesky melasma patches that creep up on my cheeks and forehead.
Chanel Baume Essentiel Multi-use Glow Stick
Sure, makeup has not been a regular feature of my daily routine in 2020, but I’ll always throw on a bit of highlight to help my skin reach maximum glow levels. This CHANEL stick is perfection—your skin looks dewy but never greasy and catches the light beautifully. I’ve had many conversations with makeup artists about how fantastic it is, which is why I need a replacement ASAP.
Protocol Vitamin C Superserum
Vitamin C is one of the most buzzy ingredients in the skin-care world, which means I need a lot of data and clinical testing to actually impress me. This particular formula is batched and bottled in a facility that’s also used by NASA in order to keep the active ingredient as potent as possible and ensure that it stays shelf stable for as long as possible. Plus, I actually see a tangible brightening effect in my skin.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps
If I was stranded on a desert island with only one product available to me, it would 100 percent be body lotion. For real, how can you get out of the shower and not slather yourself in moisturizer? This Kiehl’s formula is a classic and makes my skin feel marshmallow soft—I fly through a bottle or ten each year.
Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
I’ve waxed poetic about this alpha hydroxy acid deodorant before, and I’ll say it again—if you’re trying to wean yourself off traditional antiperspirants and deodorants, try giving an acid-based formula a try. It kills off the bacteria that causes BO in your sweat without clogging your pores with aluminum. Sure, you may still sweat, but your body will be detoxed from any and all harmful materials to plug your pores and block odor.
Royal Fern Phytoactive Cleansing Balm
I’m always on the search for gentle cleansers that don’t leave my skin feeling stripped or dry, but I always come back to this gel-balm formula. It’s a clean formula that’s packed with hyaluronic acid and soothing green tea extract that I’ll happily use morning and night until the end of time.
Glossier Boy Brow
I’ve tested dozens of brow gels, and while there are other quality options on the market, I always come back to Glossier’s when I need a foolproof formula that’s easy to apply. I’ll swap back and forth between brown and blond depending on how light my hair is that season, but this guy will always have a spot in my makeup collection.
TPH by Taraji Ultra Chill Energising and Cooling Serum
Scalp care is a top priority these days—you can’t have healthy hair without paying attention to the skin on your scalp. Taraji P. Henson’s hair-care collection includes this cleansing serum (with a convenient applicator tip) to help remove oil and buildup and is packed with aromatherapy oils for a calming experience. It also has the faintest tingle when you use it, which is ideal if your scalp is feeling itchy or irritated.
Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
Two years ago I traveled to Korea to experience the first samples of this toner, and I still love slathering my skin in it to this day. After cleansing in the morning, I use a generous handful and pat it all over my face, neck, and décolletage to hydrate, plump, and prime for the rest of my skin-care products.
On & On Frankincense Hand & Body Wash
Obviously, hand wash is a 2020 staple, and my absolute favorite is this frankincense formula. It actually feels like a treat when I wash my hands throughout the day, and the added organic oils keep my skin from feeling dry or scaly afterward. I just finished my third bottle and desperately need to reorder.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream
Your eyes are one of the first areas to show signs of aging (think dark circles, fine lines, and bags), which is why I’ll always prioritize good eye cream. The whole process of using this formula feels like a luxury in and of itself, but I do notice a difference in my under-eye area after consistent use—brighter, firmer, and a little less tired-looking. That’s worth the price tag, in my book.
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