Elevate Your Beauty Game: Your Guide to Essential Beauty Products in 2021
With 2020 out of the picture, it’s time to take advantage of 2021 by adding a new product to your skin care routine, changing up your usual hairstyle or makeup look, or practicing new self-care rituals to recuperate from last year’s debacle. Fortunately, there is a wide array of beauty must-haves that range in price to fit your budget. We’ve created a one-stop-shop to save you the time and effort from hunting for great beauty deals.
Not sure where to start? If you’re confused about whether one product might be better for you than another, keep Dr. Michele Green’s advice in mind. “There are no bad products necessarily, but sometimes people with different skin types use the wrong product for their type of skin," she said in a Real Simple article. With your skin type in mind, here’s a list of everything you might want to add to your cart, from reliable and stylish hair tools to soothing essential oils.
Best Skin Care Products
Wide Eyed and Bushy Tailed
Clinique All About Eyes, $34 at Macy's
Waking up with dark circles and puffy eyes? Clinique’s All About Eyes diminishes the appearance of these as well as fine lines. The formula is a cream-gel combination and can be used both in the morning and night under the eyes and on the lids as well. Thankfully, the ingredients are free of phthalates, parabens, oil, sulfates, and more.
Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask, $38 at Kiehl's
If your skin care routine includes everything from toner to moisturizer but lacks a deep-cleansing face mask, look no further than Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask. Made for all skin types, including sensitive skin, this mask detoxifies and purifies the skin while minimizing pores with its Amazonian White Clay. It can even reduce the skin’s surface oil by up to 46.7 percent.
Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum, $70 at Kiehl's
Upgrade your skin care products to the next level with Vitamin C, an integral source of keeping your skin radiant. Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum will do just that and more as it’s also made with hyaluronic acid. In just two weeks, you’ll see that your fine lines and wrinkles have been minimized as well as your pores. Overtime, it will help keep your skin firm and smooth.
Custom Facial Serum, $49.99 at Function of Beauty
While there are a lot of amazing skin care products out there, there’s nothing quite like having a product that’s fully customized to your skin. Function of Beauty’s Customized Facial Serum lets you take a quiz to customize a serum made just for you. Use the serum between your cleanser and moisturizer for the best results. The serum is also dermatologist-approved and works on sensitive skin as well.
All About the Neck
Replenix Neckletage, $92 at Dermstore
Not only is it important to take care of the skin on your face, but your neck as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of products to rejuvenate the skin on your neck, including Replenix’s Neckletage skin tightening cream for your neck and chest. The cream helps support collagen and elastin production, which ultimately keeps your skin smooth and tight. It’s also gluten free and helps treat hyperpigmentation and crepey skin.
Fur Fur Oil, $46 at Dermstore
There’s nothing worse than constantly having to deal with ingrown hairs—on your armpits, face, legs, or elsewhere. Not only are they painful, but if they’re in a visible area, they can also be irritating and embarrassing to deal with. Thankfully, Fur created an oil that softens hairs and removes ingrowns, keratosis pilaris, razor bumps, and even itchy skin. The formula is made with essential oils and is free of sulfates and parabens.
In the Buff
Body Buff, $52 at Moroccanoil
While you may have a facial exfoliant that you love, don’t neglect the rest of your body’s skin. Moroccanoil’s Body Buff comes in three different scents so you can pick your favorite one. The Fleur D’Oranger is made with orange peel, which is a natural exfoliant, as well as argan oil and is paraben free. Simply massage the product in a circular motion on either wet or dry skin, rinse off, and enjoy the smooth results.
Drink It In
After-Sun Milk, $28 at Moroccanoil
After you’ve soaked up the sun—hopefully with plenty of SPF on—you’ll want to make sure to treat your skin. Moroccanoil’s After-Sun Milk helps nourish your skin with vitamin E, aloe, and argan oil as well as prolong the length of your tan. Rub the milk into your skin after you’ve been in the sun and it will quickly absorb, leaving you with a lightly moisturized feeling.
All About the Prep
Infused Facial Water, $55 at Diptyque
Get your skin prepped and ready for your usual skin care regimen with Diptyque’s Infused Facial Water. Before you start applying your serums, gels, and lotions, indulge in this moisturizing water complete with rose hydrosol that helps cleanse and soften your skin. The water is rich with trace elements and vitamins, so you’ll have a nice base to layer your favorite products on.
Supergoop! Poof Part Powder, $34 at Nordstrom
You may be an avid sunscreen user—which if you’re not, you should start now—but have you ever experienced a sunburn on your scalp from being in the sun all day? Gone are the days of dealing with greasy hair from trying to meticulously place sunscreen on your scalp thanks to Supergoop! and their Poof Part Powder with SPF 45. This hair powder is essentially like a dry shampoo that protects the skin on your head from UV damage. It’s non-greasy and translucent as well.
The It Factor
Growth Factor Serum, $148 at ZO Skin Health
Just once glance at the reviews for ZO Skin Health’s Growth Factor Serum will have you hitting “Add to Cart." This lightweight gel helps you look younger in just 12 weeks. In fact, 93 percent of users saw fewer fine lines and wrinkles in that amount of time. Trust us, you’ll want to see the before and after pictures. Not only will it improve your skin’s appearance now, but it will also protect against future signs of aging.
Lift and Tone
NuFACE Trinity, $325 at NuFACE
If you’re looking for a similar effect as a face lift without going under the knife—the NuFACE Trinity is for you. This product is a nifty little device you can use at home for just a few minutes each day to tone, lift, and even contour your face and neck. It can also be used as a preventative for people who haven’t quite experienced signs of aging. What’s more it can help get rid of fine lines and wrinkles and is FDA approved.
Must-Have Hair Products
At-Home Blow Out
Drybar Double Shot Dryer Brush, $150 at Macy's
You may be longing for the days of hitting the salon for a fresh blow out. Fortunately, Drybar’s Double Shot Dryer Brush lets you blow your hair out in the comfort of your home. This two-in-one brush dries your hair while smoothing it into a fresh, volumized look like you just stepped out of the salon.
Dryness Be Gone
Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, $28 at Sephora
If dying, heat styling and winter has done a number on your hair, now is the time for some serious damage control. Olaplex's No. 3 Hair Perfector will do just the trick for giving life back to your dry, damaged hair. Olaplex's patented bond-building technology will not only moisturize your strands, but it will also strengthen them by relinking broken disulfide bonds so your hair looks nice and healthy, all while avoiding future damage.
Set It and Forget It
Leave-In Conditioner, $19.99 at Function of Beauty
Do you find that leave-in conditioners either make your hair too greasy or don’t offer enough moisture? Take the quiz on Function of Beauty to get a customized leave-in conditioner treatment. It’s ultra-lightweight and helps smooth, hydrate, and protect your hair from future damage. It’s also sustainable, vegan, and free of sulfates and parabens.
Custom Purple Shampoo, $29.99 - $39.99 at Function of Beauty
After dyeing your hair, it’s common to see a bit of brassiness between appointments. To keep the discoloration at bay, Function of Beauty offers a customizable purple shampoo that tones out any unwanted color. It also extends the color’s lifetime and keeps your hair shiny. Options include an 8-ounce or 16-ounce bottle.
HairMax LaserBand 82, $799 at Dermstore
2020 took a toll on all of us, and that stress can show up as a breakout or even hair loss. If you’ve been dealing with hair loss for a while now and want to take back some control, HairMax’s LaserBand 82 stimulates hair growth, increases hair fullness, and even reverses the hair thinning process. Between 12 to 16 weeks, you should start to see results and each treatment is only 90 seconds long.
Just Add Oil
Moroccanoil Treatment Original, $44 at Moroccanoil
You may have heard of Moroccanoil’s popular Treatment Original, but unless you’ve tried it, you’re missing out on your hair’s full potential. Not only does it smell great, but the oil will also leave your hair silky and shiny. Depending on hair length and thickness, simply add one or two pumps to your damp hair and let it air dry or blow dry it. You can also add a few drops to one of Moroccanoil’s hair masks for an extra hydrating boost.
Wrap It Up
Dyson Airwrap, $549.99 at Sephora
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Dyson comes out with the Airwrap. Whether you’re looking to straight, curl, or blow dry, this magic wand does it all. With six detachable barrels, brushes, and a dryer, the Airwrap uses air to attract and wrap your hair around the wand without the use of extreme heat. It also comes with a storage case and a two-year warranty, which is a steal since this piece is on the pricier side.
Essential Makeup Staples
Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara, $25 at Macy's
Finding mascara that volumizes, lifts, separates, curls, and lengthens your lashes can be challenging. Luckily, Benefit Cosmetics’ They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara does all five. If you’ve been loyal to the same mascara for a while now, it may be time to try something new and see if this works for you—and we’re confident this particular tube won’t leave you disappointed.
Blend It Out
Vanity Planet Blend Party Oval Brush Set, $39.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond
If you’re the type who loves to contour but can’t find the right tools, Vanity Planet’s brush set will assist you in your makeup routine. The rounded handles give you full control, and with 10 different brushes, you’ll be able to hit each and every angle of your face. The brushes are washable too, so you use them for the next few years. Not to mention they’re vegan-friendly and cruelty-free!
As Good As It Sounds
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, $26 at Macy's
Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara is exactly what it sounds like—maybe even better. If you love a mascara that really thickens your lashes, this is the one for you. Just one coat and you’ll have noticeably thicker lashes, or layer it on for the full effect. The black pigment really stands out and gives you intense, stand-out eyes, perfect for a night out or everyday use. You can opt for the waterproof version as well.
Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette, $54 at Sephora
Make your eyes pop with Urban Decay’s Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette. This palette features an array of golden hues and lets you play up your eyes in a variety of combinations. Whether you’re going for a smokey look using the darker options or a more day-time look that you can wear to work, this palette gives you the freedom to experiment and let your creativity take the wheel. If you're more into a matte-look, the Naked2 Basics Palette is a steal for only $29 at Sephora.
TAO Clean Sonic Makeup Brush Cleaner, $96.53 at Amazon
Have you noticed your skin breaking out after you’ve neglected to wash your makeup brushes for a while? If you haven’t washed your brushes before, this is a reminder that you should. TAO’s Clean Sonic Makeup Brush Cleaner quickly and easily cleans up to six brushes in only two minutes. All you have to do is press a button, and shortly after, you’ll have makeup brushes that are as good as new. It’s also safe for sensitive skin.
Better Brow-lieve It
Benefit 24-Hour Brow Setter Gel, $24 at Sephora
Your brows are like the cherry on top of your makeup routine. Benefit Cosmetics’ 24-Hour Brow Setter grabs each individual hair and sets it exactly the way you want, giving your brows a fuller appearance. With two sides on the wand, you’ll have full control over the placement of your brows and the formula won’t flake so you can fill them in without worrying about any leftover product.
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Lip Gloss, $22 at Sephora
If there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s an overly sticky lipgloss. Fortunately, Charlotte Tilbury felt the same way and created the Lip Lustre Lip Gloss as part of her popular Pillow Talk collection. This lip gloss will leave your lips looking fuller and, better yet, they won’t feel sticky. The formula features antioxidants and promises at least six hours of lasting color without transfer.
Best Self-Care Products
Indulge in Aromatherapy
Vitacost Essential Oils 100% Pure Lavender, $16.42 at Vitacost
Nothing compares to unwinding after a stressful day. If you’re a longtime fan of essential oils or are curious about the benefits, try out Vitacost’s 100% Pure Lavender. Put a couple drops in a diffuser to release the scent of this relaxing and soothing oil into your home. It can also be used by diluting it with jojoba oil for a massage.
ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, at Amazon for $25.99
If you’ve been sleeping with a cotton pillowcase for most of your life, you might want to consider swapping it out for a ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase. Silk pillowcases slow down wrinkle formation, promote healthy hair, and help your skin stay moisturized. Not only can it improve your beauty sleep, but it’ll also regulate temperature.
SmileDirectClub Bright On Premium Teeth Whitening Kit, $59.98 at Sam's Club
Let’s be honest—whitening toothpaste can only do so much to remove stains and help maintain truly white teeth. The SmileDirectClub Bright On Premium Teeth Whitening Kit comes with everything you need to keep your smile white for a year. Yes, a full year. Within just one week, your smile will be nine shades whiter. You’ll receive eight whitening pens, a touch-up pen, and a 20-LED accelerator light.
Sharper Image Deep Tissue Massage Gun, $179.99 at Kohl's
If you’re an avid runner, love to get a good exercise in, or experience aches and pains from stress, The Sharper Image Powerboost Percussion Deep Tissue Massage Gun is here to help. Unwind and take some time to really focus on your trouble areas and loosen them up. This massage gun comes with five node attachments so you can choose which one feels most comfortable for the area you’re targeting.
Conair Reflections LED Makeup Mirror, $49.99 at Kohl's
If you’ve never done your makeup, plucked your brows, or applied skincare in an LED mirror, you’re missing out. The Conair Reflections LED Rose Gold Makeup Mirror not only looks great, but is also clear enough to help you apply your makeup with precision. It’s also magnified so you can get a closer look and carefully remove any blemishes or hairs that you may not be able to see in your regular bathroom mirror.
Asutra Eye Mask Kit, $20 at Kohl's
Do you love sleeping with an eye mask to drown out any light coming through your window? The Asutra Eye Mask Kit is not only made of silk, but it’s also weighted for acupressure. It’s filled with flax seeds and lavender and features cooling gel as well. This mask is great if you love to travel and prefer to use an eye mask to lull you to sleep on a plane. With non-toxic ingredients, free of parabens, and cruelty-free, you can sleep well knowing you purchased a clean and ethical product.
Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel, $25 at HSN
Smooth, soft feet after a pedicure is one of the best feelings. Baby Foot’s Exfoliation Foot Peel may sound unconventional, but it will leave you with the softest feet you’ve had in a while. Place your feet in the provided booties for one hour and then wash them after. In three days to a week, your skin will start to peel, revealing the incredible results that we know you’ll love.
Exfoliating Hand Rinse, $62 at Diptyque
If we’re going to wash our hands frequently, we should at least upgrade to a hand soap that’ll leave our skin soft and moisturized. While known for their candles, Diptyque’s Exfoliating Hand Rinse works like magic. The ground olive stones in this glass bottle not only leaves your hands feeling smooth, but cleansed as well. The bottle is also refillable, so you’ll be doing your part for the environment.
All Balmed Up
Nourishing Lip Balm, $26 at Diptyque
The dry winter months can really do a number on your lips, so it’s important to protect them from any damage. Enter Diptyque’s Nourishing Lip Balm. This balm helps soften and nourishes your lips while enriched with rose, violet, poppy flower waxes, and sweet almond oils. Just put a little bit of product on your finger and massage into your lips as needed to reap the benefits.