Best makeup and beauty products for 2020

Our pick of the best makeup and beauty products of 2021

12th February 2021 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

UPDATE: Below we’ve listed what we consider to be the best makeup products of 2021 but recently combined Google search data with sales from Boots and Cult Beauty to determine which are the most popular makeup products.

At the top of the list is our favourite, the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream closely followed by the NARS Blush, Benefit’s Hoola bronzer, and Precisely, My Brow Pencil. The Maybelline Fit Me concealer is in fifth place.

The rest of the most-searched-for makeup is shown in the image below. Or keep scrolling to see our recommendations based on real-world tests.

Original best makeup products guide continues below

Our mission here at mamabella is to help you find the best makeup, skincare, haircare and other beauty products that suit you – not makeup that costs hundreds of pounds, nor products that only suit 20-something influencers; products that have been tried and tested by people of different ages, hair lengths, skin tones and types.

As part of this mission, we’re going to be picking our favourite, must-have makeup, skincare, haircare and beauty products each month.

We’ve also handpicked our favourite products to create lists of what we consider to be the best foundation, conditioner, moisturiser, BB cream and so on.

READ NEXT: Perfect your skincare routine with these must-have facial products

Within each of these Best Buys lists, we highlight a Budget Buy, a Luxury Buy as well our absolute favourite – what we call Editor’s Picks. To help you navigate the often confusing and intimidating beauty world, we’ve put all of these leading products, from moisturisers to eyeshadow palettes and more, below. Here are the best makeup and beauty products we recommend you buy in 2020.

You can explore our full list of recommendations here and if you’re on a budget like us, we’ve also highlighted the best cheap makeup swaps that give you the same level of quality for less.

Best makeup

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashesBest eyeliner | Best setting powder | Best eyelash curlers

♥︎ Concealer: Glossier Stretch

£15 | Buy now from Glossier 

Glossier StretchGlossier

Why we love it: Glossier’s Stretch Concealer was awarded the Editor’s Pick in our best concealer list because it ticks all the boxes.

It provides natural coverage, is hypoallergenic, fragrance- and cruelty-free and suits even the most sensitive of skin types.

We also love the fact it’s buildable, flexible and nourishing, too, all while coming in at just £15.

There are 12 shades available and Glossier has a super useful guide on how to find the best shade to match your skin tone and foundation.

If you’re keen to know more about choosing a concealer shade or want to know the best way to apply it on mature skin, we’ve got you covered.

Buy now from Glossier

♥︎ Makeup brush: Morphe Pro Deluxe Buffer Blush makeup brush

£16 | Buy now from Morphe


Why we love it: Despite its fantastic range of eyeshadow palettes and makeup, Morphe’s real skill lies in its ability to make some of the best makeup brushes on the market.

As the name suggests, this Morphe Pro Deluxe Buffer Blush brush is fantastic for blending and buffing creams and liquids to create a streak-free finish as well as being dense yet soft enough to buff bronzer into your contours and blusher onto your cheeks.

READ NEXT: Makeup brushes 101: The ultimate guide

It’s also lightweight, easy to clean and the shorter handle make it very easy to control.

It’s not the cheapest brush but given its versatility, it’s great value for money which is why it was our Editor’s Pick in our list of the best makeup brushes.

Buy now from Morphe

♥︎ Primer and Foundation: It Cosmetics CC+ Cream

£28 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Best foundation from It CosmeticsWhy we love it: It Cosmetic’s CC+ cream is available in three different versions perfectly suited to 12 different skin tones and types. Technically not a foundation, this product is actually what’s known as a CC, or Colour Correcting, cream and as this name suggests, the formulation is great for correcting and balancing your skin tone.

READ NEXT: How to find your perfect foundation match

It can help cover blemishes and redness and brighten shadows and dark circles in one fell swoop. Unlike some other CC creams, the reason we’ve included this in our best foundation list is that it offers enough coverage for everyday wear – in our experience, a single pump is enough to cover our entire face – and it has incredible staying power, meaning your makeup will last all day. This also makes it great value for money, coupled with an SPF of 50+.

Alternatively, you can use it as a primer which is also why it made our Editor’s Pick in our best primer makeup guide.

If you find this original IT Cosmetics foundation to be a bit heavier, the brand recently released the Your Skin But Better Foundation+Skincare. It doesn’t have the SPF of the original, but it is lighter and promises to improve your skin over a matter of weeks.

It’s one of a growing number of multipurpose makeup and skincare products. You can read more in our IT Cosmetics foundation review or our Skincare makeup: The best beauty products that are good for your complexion while saving you time and money guides.

FURTHER READING: Spotlight on…IT Cosmetics, the science-led skincare and makeup brand developed with plastic surgeons

Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ Foundation for dark skin tones: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

£33.50 Buy now from Feelunique 

Why we love it: Narsissist’s Sheer Glow foundation is an all-round fantastic foundation, not only does it top our list of the best foundation for dark skin, it’s also a great foundation generally – whatever you base tone.

Not only does it have a huge colour choice terms – there are more than 40 tones to choose from – but its formulation is great for mattifying oily skin as well as helping to balance uneven skin tones.

READ NEXT: How to apply foundation like a pro

Elsewhere, this foundation has a fantastic consistency that makes it easy to apply and this lets you build your coverage to suit your mood or occasion.

If it’s good enough for Naomi Campbell then who are we to say otherwise?!

FURTHER READING: What’s really in your foundation? The chemicals you need to look out for

Buy now from Feelunique

♥︎ Foundation brush: It Cosmetics’ Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush 

£36 | Buy now from Cult Beauty 

Why we love it: Dual-ended brushes are great makeup brushes to either get started with or as a must-have addition to your collection.

As you’d expect, they do more than just the one thing and not only does this mean you don’t have to chop and change brush mid routine (saving you time and confusion), it also saves money.

This Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection brush is one of the softest and gentlest dual-ended brushes on the market and it’s ideal for applying foundation and concealer.

READ NEXT: Vegan vs cruelty-free: What’s the difference?

Use the larger, dense brush to apply an even coverage of foundation and then use the smaller brush to apply and buff concealer beneath your eyes and in harder to reach places.

Because both ends are soft and dense, you only need to use a small amount of product – using too much will mean the brushes get clogged quite quickly (if this happens, read our How to clean your makeup brushes guide).

Elsewhere, the brush is cruelty-free, 100% vegan and uses synthetic bristles to make sure your application is worry-free.

FURTHER READING: Vegan beauty products: The best affordable vegan makeup and skincare brands in the UK

Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ Contour kit: Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Series 

£42 | Buy now from Beauty Bay 

Why we love it: As our resident makeup artist Victoria Howe explains in our How to contour guide, face contouring is as much about light as it is shade and there are few contour kits that help you achieve this than the Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Series.

It comes with a six-pan palette of cream and powder contour, available in different shades to complement all complexions, whether you’re fair or dark.

The mix of cream and powder also mean the range can be used by people with both dry and oily skin.

For this price, you also get pigmented colour and all-day staying power.

FURTHER READING: How to contour: A beginner’s guide to face contouring from a leading MUA

Buy now from Beauty Bay

♥︎ Mascara: Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express 

£6.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Why we love it: Proving that you really don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best makeup, Maybelline’s full range of mascaras offer something for everyone and its Colossal Volum’ Express is a classic.

That’s because Maybelline is widely credited as being the inventor of mascara, so it knows a thing or two about what works best.

For just £6.99, the pigmentation and wand shape in the Colossal Volm’ Express means you only need one, at a push two coats, to get fantastic lift and separation and the formula won’t leave your lashes feeling crunchy or clumped.

In our best mascara list, this model beat off competition from designer brands such as Dior and Lancome which cost four times as much, proving that it is possible to get that false-lash look on a budget.

We’ve highlighted the Volum’ Express but any of the Maybelline mascaras in the Colossal collection are a fantastic addition to your makeup bag.

FURTHER READING: We’ve reviewed and ranked every Benefit mascara to finally reveal which is the best

Buy now from Amazon

♥︎ Lip gloss: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

£17 | Buy now from Harvey Nichols 

Why we love it: Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty range has quickly become the go-to brand for makeup aficionados, and particularly people of colour because every item in the collection has been designed to be inclusive.

True to form, this fantastic lip gloss does just that. As its name suggests, despite the range only coming in three shades, this lip gloss is universal because there is a colour to suit every shade.

It has a one-size-fits-all formula and we love that it’s not too thick or sticky.

READ NEXT: From Fenty Beauty to Thrive Causmetics, here are the makeup and skincare brands making beauty more inclusive

The colour pictured here is Fenty Glow, but there is also a pink-based lip gloss called Diamond Milk and a clear version called Fu$$y.

This really is a handbag staple and while it’s not cheap, it’s far from the most expensive lip gloss on the market and offers far more versatility.

FURTHER READING: Best lip gloss: Our favourite lip glosses from Fenty, NYX, Glossier and more

Buy now from Harvey Nichols

♥︎ Lip pencil: MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil

£15 Buy from MAC Cosmetics

Mac lip linerMAC

Why we love it: This MAC lip liner pencil is one of the most-searched-for lip products and it’s not hard to see why.

Designed for shaping, lining or filling the lip, this pencil has a smooth, creamy texture that gives the lips a matte effect.

For those who are pushed for time, this pencil applies quickly and precisely, meaning it’s also perfect for beginners who might not be experienced with lip liners. We’ve found when applying to our lips that it’s hard to go wrong and can be used to create a number of different lip effects.

The pencil also comes in a wide selection of colours, which not only work well with their aligning lipstick shades but with many different shades as well.

While we’d recommend to beginners, we appreciate the price tag is a little scary for any first-time users.

FURTHER READING: How to make your lips bigger naturally and apply lipstick like a pro – no fillers required

Buy now from MAC Cosmetics

♥︎ Setting powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

£32 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Why we love it: This is an absolute OG in the setting powder world.

This Translucent Setting Powder from Laura Mercier keeps your skin shine-free, and your makeup in place, for up to 12 hours. It’s extremely lightweight which makes it easy to apply, and won’t make your face feel cakey. This is largely due to the micro-refined silica.

It also diffuses light so leaves your face looking radiant!

Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ Eyeshadow palette: New Nude from Huda Beauty

£56 | Buy now from Cult Beauty 

Best eyeshadow palette Huda BeautyHuda Beauty

Why we love it: Making all of the other best eyeshadow palettes pale in comparison, the New Nude palette from Huda Beauty offers 18 shades of mattes, duo-chromes and glitters in neutral, pink tones that suit every skin tone.

There really is something for everyone and something for every occasion from going for drinks after work to dates and weddings.

What’s more, the colours can double up as contour and blush powders and we’d happily throw away every other makeup palette we own if it meant losing this beauty. We cannot recommend it enough, despite its high price tag.

If it is out of your budget, we recently found an amazing alternative from the Wilko Body Collection range. Its called the large eyeshadow palette in the shade Glamour (£6) and it’s near-on identical to Huda Beauty’s New Nude palette, even down to the location of matching shades within the palette itself.


Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ Eyelash curler: Kevin Aucoin The Eye Lash Curler

£17 | Buy now from Beauty Bay

Why we love it: This fantastic eyelash curler creates feminine flicks with no nips and twinges. It’s easy to grip and the red rubber pad makes it easier for us to see our eyelashes when clamping down. You can read more about how to use eyelash curlers in our best eyelash curler guide. 

Buy now from Beauty Bay


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