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Each month, the Stylist beauty team discovers a bevvy of brand new beauty launches. But which ones were good enough to gain a spot in their bathroom cabinets for the entire year? Find out below.
Wow. We’re finally at the end of 2021 – what a year it’s been. And, while it’s not ending the way we perhaps thought (or hoped) it would, we would be remiss not to look back at the myriad beauty and skincare launches that impressed us over the last 52 weeks.
From scalp serums to soothing ceramide creams and mood-changing fragrances, the beauty world hasn’t been short of innovation and ingenuity. Here are the 11 products we’ve been recommending and rebuying over and over again.
Shannon Peter, Beauty Director
The mood-boosting spray
This brilliant functional fragrance first launched in January 2021, and since then, I’ve worked my way through three or four bottles. It’s based on impressive MRI brain imaging research, using specific notes proven to instil a positive emotional response. Take ylang-ylang for instance. It was found to help curb stress responses and trigger the area of the brain associated with reward, meaning a quick spritz is enough to settle pre-deadline nerves.
Shop This Works Stress Check Mood Manager at This Works, £15
The gentle balm cleanser
I’m a long-term advocate of balm cleansers; nothing beats their ability to dissolve make-up, dirt and SPF in record time. But I know that some people (ie those with sensitive skin and eyes) struggle with the fragrant botanicals they often come laced with. Elemis fixed that problem back in January with the launch of its Naked Cleansing Balm – a super-buttery, powerful balm cleanser with not a single drop of scent.
Shop Elemis Pro-Collagen Naked Cleansing Balm at Elemis, £44
The soothing cica cream
In February, Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+ became (at long last) widely available in the UK, and my tight, dry, winter-worn skin couldn’t have been more pleased. Its hero product – Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Cream – is brilliant at pacifying eczema, particularly those sore patches that crop up around the eyes and mouth.
Shop Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Cream at Boots, £36
The updated toothpaste tablets
I’ve been using Parla’s original toothpaste tablets for months, but in June 2021, the brand released an update on the classic: Parla Pro. This supercharged formula not only includes the added addition of hydroxyapatite, a natural mineral that whitens teeth, it also contains vitamin E and B12, which manage to seep into your bloodstream through the mouth. Genius.
Shop Parla Pro Toothpaste Tablets at Parla, £14.40 for one month’s supply
The sustainable shower gel alternative
It’s not like I really went anywhere this summer, but for the few weekends I did venture out of London, I was sure to pack Plus’ body wash papers. All you do is add a little water in the shower, and the paper soon dissolves into a rich, sweet-smelling lather. Even the outer sachet dissolves down the drain too, leaving zero waste behind.
Shop Plus Body Wash in Waves at cleanwith.plus, £12 for 16 sheets
Morgan Fargo, Senior Beauty Writer
The faultless bronzer
Refy is one of the most hyped brands on social media, and for good reason. I’ve tried the entire gamut of Refy products and can safely say they’re some of the best in the biz. A standout (after the Brow Sculpt gel, obvs), is the cream bronzer. It’s buildable, naturally blends out to a perfectly diffused glow and never looks cakey. A true home run.
Shop Refy Cream Bronzer (available in Tan, Sand and Onyx), £18
The miraculous miracle balm
When legendary make-up artist Bobbi Brown launched Jones Road, I was excited. The MO – to create multi-purpose products with high-grade formulations – had been fulfilled and then some.
I’ve recommended the eyebrow pencil, blush stick and face brush to numerous friends (sorry, friends) and repeatedly admired the way each melts into my skin for a natural-but-better effect.
The Miracle Balm (a multi-use sheer shimmer for eyes, lips and cheek) has been the cherry on my beauty routine for a few months and, TBH, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Buy Jones Road Miracle Balm at Jones Road, £34
The scalp saviour
A treat for your scalp, celebrity skincare founder Dr Barbara Sturm’s Balancing Scalp Serum is a blend of natural ingredients including Japanese camellia, brown and green algae and lavender. Created to address irritation, redness, flaking and itching, pro-vitamin B5 repairs and protects the hair shaft, as well.
Use before or after your wash day routine by applying to a dry scalp and massaging. A heavenly hair experience.
Shop Dr. Barbara Sturm Balancing Hair and Scalp Serum at Selfridges, £80
The triple exfoliator
I’ve been a fan of Murad for a long time. The formulations are efficacious and luxurious, elevating skincare to real self-care. The Vita-C cleanser (a spurt of bright orange in your palm) is small but terrifically mighty. A triple-exfoliator, it smooths texture and brightens skin tone, polishing away dead skin cells to reveal glowing, rejuvenated skin. I have sensitive skin and use it once a week to get back to baseline, following up with a hydrating balm moisturiser.
Shop Murad Vita C Triple Exfoliating Facial at Murad, £67
The Regency-inspired eyeshadow palette
Pat McGrath is a beauty legend in her own right. The only thing that could make her even more fantastic would be a collaboration with the beloved show Bridgerton, of course. In 2021, she blessed us with exactly that.
Inspired by the reimagined Regency period, McGrath created a sparkling collection of velvet eyeshadows, iridescent blushers and shimmering gel-to-powder highlighters.
The Pat McGrath Labs x Bridgerton collaboration will be available to buy from December 26th, 2021.
The universally loved candle
August & Piers released the new ‘Darling’ candle in November and every single person who has come into my home since has complimented me on it. A heady, heartwarming fragrance blending rose with violet and cedarwood, it’s been a sumptuous addition to many self-care moments – long baths and Netflix sessions included.
Shop Darling Candle by August & Piers London, £45
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