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It’s a tough game to whittle down the best beauty products of 2021: 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 brand debuts: Naomi Osaka! Jennifer Lopez! Harry Styles!
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 Prose and Function of Beauty’s personalized cosmetics 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, mascaras, and more. From a natural energy-boosting supplement to a skin-care device that targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation, here’s a look at the best beauty products of 2021:
From: Fara Homidi, The Makeup Artist
Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash Mascara
I have honestly never experienced a mascara that stays put quite like this one—fluttery, glossy, and buildable, it never smudges or flakes! Pro trick: If you desire more oomph, use it as a sealing layer on top of your favorite volumizing formula.
Hermès Rose Hermès Rosy Lip Enhancer
This moisturizing but slightly matte Hermès lip stain is a universal pick-me-up. It adds a touch of life to any lip, and its sheer finish offers mistake-proof wearability. It’s always in my handbag, day or night!
Gucci Beauté des Yeux Floral Eyeshadow Palette
A beautiful mixture of muted satins and metallics, these Gucci shadows are so delicious and soft—no matter what combination is chosen, it creates the ultimate sense of sophistication. The soft blue shade is a definite standout and is reason alone to covet this gorgeous palette.
Opte Precision Skincare System
The Opte device scans the face to intuitively find any hyperpigmentation, depositing makeup only on the areas that need coverage! The result is an ultra-natural, even complexion. On top of that, it targets dark spots with spot-fading ingredients, such as niacinamide and vitamin C, and lightens them over time. It is a pricey two-in-one device, but I always think it’s wise to invest in the face as it’s the first thing people see.
From: James Pecis, The Hairstylist
Oribe Très Set Structure Spray
Oribe’s Très Set has been my staple must-have as a foundation for most of my work [this year]. It is a spray mousse that I blow-dry into the hair to create looks with memory, fullness, and shine. It’s the ultimate backstage product.
PureGLO Natural Beech Princess Hair Brush Without Handle
I am a big fan of what PureGLO is doing with brushes and combs. My favorite is the handle-free Natural Beech Princess Hair Brush. This is a must for anyone with children, fine hair, or a sensitive scalp. I love it for the quick detangling without breakage, and, most importantly, it’s not made out of plastic.
In Fiore Fleur Vibrante Serum Cerate
I have a love/hate relationship with oils—sometimes they feel great, and other times they just feel too messy and greasy. This hybrid balm/oil has the most amazing smell and a vibrant yellow color, thanks to sea buckthorn oil, which contains all the omega fatty acids that you want in an oil. It also contains carrot oil and calendula to protect skin against the environment and UV rays, so it’s basically a force field for your face. I love that it is in a tiny tube—you can bring it with you everywhere, and you only need a little bit. I use it as the last step in my routine, but it can be used as a serum as well.
Jordan Samuel Skin The Matinee Cream Cleanser
This has become my go-to cleanser; I use it in the morning and as a second cleanser at night. Sometimes, if I am feeling a bit lazy, I use it twice at night. It has a great texture, never leaves my face stripped, and is unscented. It has silt in it, which gives it a little extra punch that some other cream cleansers don’t have. I really adore this line because [Jordan Samuel’s] products are always consistent, and the price point is reasonable. I often recommend his cleansers to my clients.
Augustinus Bader The Scalp Treatment
I suffer from eczema and sometimes get an itchy and dry scalp. I started using this treatment and, I have to say, my scalp is much happier. The serum contains Bader’s patented TFC8, which helps tissue repair via stem cell technology. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we try to look at the root cause of problems, and this serum treats hair and scalp issues literally at the root. It also contains botanical extracts of maca root, hazel leaf, watercress, and Indian cress—the latter two support keratin production. It isn’t greasy, it’s very easy to use after washing your hair, and it’s unscented—a big plus. Additionally, the brand has committed to sustainable and FSC-certified packaging, which I really appreciate.
From: Lena Ott, The Colorist
K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
Everyone should be hair masking. It is so important, like giving your hair a much-needed and highly tailored facial. A favorite here in the salon is the science-driven K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask, which uses the brand’s revolutionary patented K18Peptide. It’s great for keeping hair healthy and strong. I specifically recommend this mask to those who bleach or color their hair or use frequent heat. You only have to leave it in for four minutes to get dramatic softness and smoothness.
R+Co BLEU Sleep Masque Night Repair
The luxurious Sleep Masque Night Repair is one of my top products of 2021, and I’m certain it will be popping off and gaining cult status in 2022. It’s a standout from the R+Co BLEU couture-level capsule collection, consulted on by top industry hair artists to achieve the perfect innovative and sustainable formulations. The Sleep Masque Night Repair is the first bottle you should grab. Healthy hair gives colorists a solid foundation to work with for the best possible end-result color, and this masque leaves hair strong and shiny thanks to innovative ingredients like green caviar.
Blonde Solutions Liquid Toner
The Blonde Solutions Liquid Toner semi-permanent conditioning toning mask is a fun new product that is easy to try at home. You can pick which shade you want to boost your blonde color between salon visits, or you can even mix shades to experiment with non-permanent colors and tones.
From: Daphne Javitch, The Holistic Nutritionist
Moon Juice Ting Supplement
When it comes to supplements, I’m targeted and minimal, but Ting makes the cut! I love this new energy enhancer (Vitamin B complex and ginseng) from Moon Juice. Plus, I appreciate that it encourages people to start their day with a tall glass of water since it’s a powder that mixes [with liquid].
Chanel Le Vernis in 911 Terre Brûlée
Chanel’s highly pigmented auburn polish has the perfect balance of rich red hues and brown undertones with depth and sophistication.
Doublemoss Arte Primero Brush Set
Chic and durable, these are the first nail art brushes made from solid brass, which not only resists corrosion from the use of [acetone and alcohol], but also adds the perfect weight for optimal stability and precision. The screw-on caps protect the high-quality vegan bristles, which are safe to be used with both regular and gel polish.
From: Anna Zahn, The Body Whisperer
Costa Brazil Sol Sunlight Body Oil
Normally I don’t gravitate toward sparkle and shimmer products, but this oil won me over with its subtle, sensual smell that leaves skin with a hydrated, sophisticated glow. Applying after a shower while in gloomier climates transports me back to the sun and the feeling of vacation. I travel with this everywhere, as it serves as both a sensual perfume and luminizing skin moisturizer.
Natureofthings Scalp & Body Polish
I love this body and scalp polish for creating an at-home hammam scrub. Invigorating cinnamon oil and Moroccan lava clay combined with olive and argan oils exfoliate without stripping or drying out the skin—and Nature of Things products never cease to impress me with their olfactory design. I like to use the scrub with a Keesa mitt on myself in the shower, but to really make it feel like a hammam, it’s better if you invite someone to join.
Prepare for some initial sticker shock, but before writing this device off based on the price tag, know that it will save you in the long run. The Lyma Laser is the world’s first clinic-grade laser made universally safe and accessible through patented lens technology. It’s deeply effective while being extremely safe for all skin types and tones. Lyma’s proprietary technology is 100 times more powerful than popular LED at-home devices. While most in-clinic IPL and laser treatments (which I still love) can run up quite a tab and include downtime, you can use this device head to toe without the need for hiding out. Plus, it’s easy to handle and is compact for travel.