Even in a pandemic, one thing has remained constant: the beauty industry continues to delight consumers with innovative products, from skincare to makeup to fragrances, that enrich one’s self-care routine. In 2021, brands did not stop introducing new and improved formulas, with the goal to satisfy the diverse and previously unmet beauty needs of individuals around the world.
This year’s HYPEBAE Best highlights not only bestsellers from popular celebrity makeup lines such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, but also products from a number of beauty startups that truly deserve a shout-out: a nourishing scalp serum by BREAD, a pair of reusable eye masks by Dieux, an exfoliating bar for the body by Soft Services and even a universally flattering nail color by GELCARE.
Read on for 20 of the best beauty products of the year, according to our editors.
Redness be damned: This moisturizing face cream from Dr.Jart+‘s signature Cicapair range helps soothe inflamed and sensitive skin, thanks to its hero ingredient tiger grass (aka cica) that aids in skin recovery.
To show your under-eye area some love, look no further than KNC Beauty‘s latest Leaf Eye Mask. Formulated with skin-rejuvenating ingredients such as cactus extract, cucumber and green tea leaf, the masks not only help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes, but also make for a cute selfie.
A favorite product among beauty TikTokers, the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a gentle, leave-on salicylic acid facial exfoliator that helps unclog pores and improve skin texture.
From the Philippines-based beauty brand Sunnies Face, the Lip Treat is a shea butter and collagen-infused balm that plumps the lips while also giving them a sheer wash of color.
Made with all skin types in mind, this lightweight, 100% mineral sunscreen by Supergoop! offers SPF 30 protection. It even promises to shield skin from blue light emitted by electronics.
A variant of the original Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, this creamy formula delivers pure, shimmer-free color as well as a shiny glow.
Montréal brand GELCARE has created the perfect neutral nail polish that complements all skin tones. The gel formula, designed for easy at-home application, features an ivory hue that enhances the look of natural nails.
The sister to Glossier’s matte lipstick, Generation G, Ultralip offers something different for those who appreciate a shinier lip. The moisturizing formula allows you to achieve a lip gloss-like sheen, while its color — available in nine shades — is easily buildable.
If you are looking for a reason to get glammed up, Pat McGrath‘s Mothership IX: Huetopian Dream might just help. The 10-pan eyeshadow palette features a mélange of mesmerizing iridescent and metallic shades, as well as velvety matte hues made for blending.
For a natural flush of cheek color, look to Rare Beauty‘s Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush. Made for foolproof application, the cream formula can be applied with a brush, or simply fingertips, to give the face a soft, sheer tint.
The BREAD Scalp-Serum joins the brand’s Hair-Oil as a new HYPEBAE favorite. Suitable for all hair types, the chemical exfoliant helps gently buff the scalp, removing product buildup to promote better hair growth.
Néccesaire now makes hair products, and they are just as chic and enjoyable to use as the brand’s fan-favorite body washes. Described as “skincare for the scalp,” the Shampoo in particular is a liquid gel formulated without hair- and skin-drying sulfates.
Ben Gorham and Jen Atkin‘s brands, Byredo and OUAI, joined forces earlier this year to launch a leave-in conditioner that helps detangle and hydrate hair, combat frizz and offer heat protection. Of course, the product smells incredible — more specifically like Byredo’s Mojave Ghost scent, which boasts warm, woody, musky notes.
From Alicia Keys’ eponymous skincare and wellness company, the Keys Soulcare Sacred Body Oil is a lightweight formula that moisturizes and firms skin, thanks to ingredients like marula oil and sea buckthorn.
Founded by two Glossier alums, Annie Kreighbaum and Rebecca Zhou, Soft Services makes purposeful products that target oft-neglected body skin issues. One of the brand’s hero products, the Buffing Bar is an exfoliating brick that helps remove dead skin to reveal the soft new skin beneath it.
Packed with skin-soothing ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, rosehip oil, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, Summer Fridays‘ body lotion offers hydration without giving the skin a greasy, tacky feeling.
If you ever wondered what Rihanna smells like, now you know. This year, the Barbadian singer-slash-entrepreneur introduced her namesake scent Fenty, a captivating fragrance that combines magnolia, musk, tangerine and blueberry with hints of Bulgarian rose absolute, geranium and patchouli.
The shower accessory we didn’t know we needed. Ceremonia‘s Scalp Masajeador is a handy tool that helps exfoliate scalp, while encouraging blood flow to the scalp to promote healthy hair.
A more sustainable alternative to single-use sheet masks, Dieux‘s silicone eye masks can be reused to help maximize absorption of your favorite skincare products, whether it be an eye serum or cream.
Upgrade your skincare routine with FOREO‘s beloved face masking device. Boasting features such as LED light therapy, the super sleek UFO 2 brings the spa experience to your home by enhancing the efficacy of masks and serums.