Every year I love looking back at my favorite beauty purchases of the year and whittling down the best of the best for this post. One of my favorite perks of wit & whimsy is the amount of beauty products I can test through the year. I try a lot and many never make it to the blog or my Instagram because they’re just OK. You know if I am sharing something it is GOOD. It is why I talk about the same products over and over again, too.
With more time spent at home in 2020 I dove into more testing than ever before. So behold: the best beauty products I tried in 2020.
In 2020 I was working towards a cleaner beauty routine so nearly all the products I tried fall into “clean beauty”. I was so pleasantly surprised by so many of the clean products I tried this year which made for a lot of fun discoveries last year. I particularly set out to fine the best clean alternatives to favorite traditional products I have used and loved for years. It meant a lot of testing but I made some major progress which was so exciting.
I also had more time to test and I began showing off the products in videos, too. In 2021 my hope is to further my beauty collection to be even cleaner and I plan to do a big clean out at some point in the coming weeks.
My Favorite Beauty Discoveries of 2020
1. Saie Super Glowy Gel
This stuff is amazing. A super lightweight primer that gives this amazing healthy glow with one small pump. I use shade Starglow and my favorite way to wear it is detailed here. I get compliments on my skin every time I wear this.
2. Saie Dew Balm
This is a gorgeous highlighter that is easy to apply and layers well. I use shade Rosy Gold.
3. Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint
The perfect tint for no-makeup makeup days. A little of this goes a long way and will even out skin tone, add just a hint of coverage and give you a great glow that makes it seem like you worked a lot longer on your makeup than you actually did. I wear shade 3 – Balos.
4. Ilia Essential Brow Volumizing Gel
I will never part with this product. I don’t have very fully brows but with a few swipes of this I suddenly have illusionist brows – they are fuller, fluffier and more filled in. If you want to see it in action – check out this video.
5. Lilah.B Virtuous Veil Concealer
This concealer is heaven-sent. The best clean dupe I have found for NARS Creamy Matte concealer. It blends in really well and provides excellent coverage. Just as I used to use my NARS concealer for – I use this under my eyes, around my nose, on my chin and to cover any blemishes. It stays put and a little goes a long way. This stuff is truly amazing – trust. I use shade b-vibrant-fair.
6. RMS Pressed Blush
Hands down a top 5 beauty discovery for me this year. The Lost Angel shade is a clean dupe for NARS Orgasm blush and truly is such a gorgeous peachy-pink with the slightest bit of iridescent to it. Your skin will look more awake and healthier with just one sweep per cheek. I love to layer it over the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush for a really gorgeous pink-y glow.
7. Kjaer Weis Highlighter
This is the cream highlighter of my dreams. It gives the prettiest ethereal glow and is so easy to apply. I use it on my cheekbones but also at my cupid’s bow and my brow bones for a lit-from-within look. It’s great over makeup but also adds a lot of warmth for days you either don’t want to wear makeup or you are just applying a skin tint or bb cream. I also love the chic packaging and the fact that it is refillable.
8. Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush
I had heard a lot of hype about this blush and I have to say – it lives up to it. The cream formula blends seamlessly on and makes your skin look healthy and awake. It doesn’t settle into lines and I absolutely love it layered with a pressed blush over it.
9. Westman Atelier Face Try Contour Stick
I am never going back from this contour stick. It has an amazing clean formula that blends so well and helps add dimension to my otherwise not very dimensional face. I love how seamlessly it blends with a brush and really has staying power. It is pricey but a little goes a long way. It finally just came back in stock so grab it while you can!
10. Kosas Wet Lip Gloss Oil
In 2020 I wore a lot less lipstick and instead tended to my dry lips throughout working from home and under mask wearing with this lip gloss oil. It makes lips look super healthy, feel better and glides on beautifully with no stickiness. I use the Jellyfish clear shade the most but also bought the shade DIP which I keep near my workspace and glide on before nearly all Zoom calls.
11. Kosas Big Clean Volumizing Mascara
For the last year I was looking for a mascara that was a cleaner formula than my beloved Stila HUGE mascara that I’ve been using for 6 years. It wasn’t until Kosas released this mascara that I found one that gave me the dark lashes with major length and volume I had come to expect and love from Stila. I have a more detailed review here.
12. Dior Addict Stellar Shine Lipstick
I discovered this balm like lip color during a summer collaboration with Nordstrom and became hooked. I wear the shade Mirage which enhances my natural lip color beautifully and makes my lips look healthier. Better yet? It’s ideal for wearing under face masks. It’s the perfect wearable every day lip color.
13. Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer
I love this balm-like lip color. It’s the perfect sheer wash of color when you want to add a bit of liveliness to your face without a more pigmented lipstick. I wear the shade Datura.
14. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal Shampoo
This product totally healed my scalp issues brought on by stress in 2020. I have a full review coming early this year on it – I love it that much. I’ve already re-purchased it after two weeks not using it proved I really need it in my life.
15. Elemis Peptide Overnight Radiance Peel
My skin really loves being exfoliated so I try all sorts of exfoliators throughout the year. This was the best one I tried by far. My skin felt crazy smooth after just one use.
16. Elemis Pro Collage Cleansing Balm
I finally tried this product with a cult following and it stood up to its reputation. It really does feel like a spa experience to use thanks to its heavenly smell and texture. Makeup truly melts right off and skin feels super nourished after use.
17. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Serum
This serum is like a natural retinol and it works amazingly well when paired with the cream from the same line. (See below)
18. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Crème
This creme is gorgeous. It applies and soaks in beautifully and goes to work to help minimize aging. My skin absolutely GLOWED after using this for one month straight in conjunction with the serum.
19. Caudalie Vinopure Pore Minimizing Serum
When I started breaking out from masks I needed to add new products to my routine and I reached for the Caudalie Vinopure line. In less than two weeks of using this serum + the line’s toner my maskne was totally resolved and hasn’t come back. If I ever feel a breakout coming on or that my skin is congested, I reach for this and use it until the problem is resolved. I have a full review here.
20. Caudalie Vinopure Pore Minimizing Toner
This toner is amazing. It was a top seller this year for good reason because it helped myself + the community of wit & whimsy clear up our maskne and other hormonal breakouts all year. I have a full review here.
21. Glamcor Riki Mirror
This was the purchase that inspired and ignited all my beauty videos on IGTV in 2020! It makes putting on makeup so.much.easier. And fun! If you’re a content creator I can’t recommend one of these enough. The mirror holds your phone for easy filming and the lights on it give a great picture for application.
A few other great beauty products I tried this year:
RMS Pressed Luminizing Powder
This powder was the best clean sub I found for the BECCA Champagne Pop pressed highlighter I used to swear by. I love layering it over the Kjaer Weiss cream highlighter (above) for major wattage.
Want to level up your shower experience? I got a scalp brush this year and man does it feel amazing! It’s like a DIY scalp massage at the salon. Just use it to better distribute your shampoo and you’ll feel energized and relaxed – trust.
Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara
This clean mascara is pricey but it is so great for every day wear. You get good volume and length and staying power but it’s not *too* much. I really like how easy it is to apply and of course the chic gold packaging doesn’t hurt either to make you feel a bit more glam during application.
L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Eye Serum
The area around my eyes was TIRED this year. I got darker circles and more fine lines and this serum really helped to minimize these effects. I applied it overnight and definitely noticed an improvement in the morning when I would go to apply makeup.
. . .
I used a lot of these products in my videos on IGTV this year if you’d like to see them in action. And don’t miss 2020’s beauty blog posts which can be found here.
Interested to know what products were bestsellers on wit & whimsy last year? Here are the most sold items I talked about in 2020. And here are 2019’s best beauty products I discovered.
Did you have a favorite beauty product you discovered in 2020?
p.s. my everyday makeup and how to start a skincare routine. And don’t miss my other favorite 2020 purchases!
Just popped into Sephora and literally pulled up this post to get the Ilia super serum tint and brow gel. I’m glad you posted about the color appearing light upon initial application because otherwise I might have snagged the wrong shade! I’m loving the tint so far and need to place a Saie order soon! Xoxo
So glad to hear you’re happy with it! Can’t wait to hear what you think about Saie!