If there is something I love consuming in January, it’s beauty favourites of the year videos on YouTube. This year I thought it was time to finally do my own version of these videos, because I love a juicy beauty roundup! However, I’m giving it my own little spin by writing about the makeup products I bought this year – whether they were good, bad or damn right ugly.
I tried not to go too bananas in 2021 with buying new makeup – not just because I didn’t get out much (can you hear that sad little violin playing?), but mainly because I want to work through and enjoy what’s already in my makeup stash. So, I think this is pretty much everything I bought… I may have missed a few bits and bobs here, as well as a few lipsticks – although overall I did manage to reel in my lipstick obsession last year. I’m not including my Lisa Eldridge lipstick simply because I wrote about it here, and if I did miss any others that’s probably because I haven’t obsessed over them (my favourite lipsticks of 2020 post still stands). Also, there will be a second part to this because I did treat myself to a very lovely set last year that I think deserves its own post… But, to begin with, these were my main beauty buys (in makeup) in 2021…
1. Complexion Goodies
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in G7
What’s the gist? The first time I talked about Glossier on the blog was in 2017, when the beauty powerhouse had a popup in London for just a few days. Fast forward to the end of 2019, and Glossier opened up another popup in London – this time bigger, better and in Covent Garden, with plans for it to be there a few months. We all know how that story ended – but luckily I did manage to go there (either in December 2019 or January 2020) and get myself a bottle of this baby. It ended up being my most used face base of 2020 – I couldn’t get enough of it. I know, hard to believe considering what a year 2020 was – but this was my lockdown-video-calls and post-lockdown go-to foundation (if you can call it that). Despite the coverage being minimal, it genuinely made me feel good in my own skin.
So, this was a repeat beauty buy. This time around however, I’m feeling different about it. I’m not finding it as flattering as I did over the past two years. This could be due to many reasons, such as a) my skin simply ageing or maybe not looking great as of late, b) the fact that it’s winter and I’m lacking that summer glow, or c) I have also been using over fuller coverage foundations on a semi-regular basis – and it’s always a bit of a shock when switching from full coverage to a very, very natural finish. Also, maybe the shade isn’t quite right?
Would I buy it again? There’s a good chance I will, BUT: I might just have to accept that it’s better for the warmer months, when my overall confidence goes up. And, I might even consider a different shade – maybe it’s time to explore the brand’s now permanent London shop? Shop it here.
Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm & Brush in Medium FB 06
What’s the gist? Well peeps, this was my first time buying foundation online – and it’ll be my last. What an epic fail. This was a classic ‘YouTube Made Me Buy It’ moment – specifically all those super soothing makeup / GRWM vlogs made by Suzie Bonaldi, who looked divine when applying this balm (and made the application itself look divine). Well I can say I looked and felt far from divine when applying it. Firstly, I got the shade so damn wrong – I think I should have gone a little darker (and believe me kiddos, I tried to get it right). But would getting that right have helped me like the foundation more? Well, let’s just say I would probably hate it a little less.
Because the main issue I have with this foundation is its texture. I loathe it. I find it extremely odd. I struggle to get it on my face without looking like a cakey mess. And the brush? Useless. I’ve stopped using it altogether. Oh yes, I’m still using this foundation – I hope to finish it one day and get on with my life. I’ll give it some credit – I think it kind of oxidises after a while. I know that’s not meant to be a good thing but in this instance, it works for me. Its overall staying power isn’t that bad either. And I discovered that, when applied with a Beautyblender, it looks a million times better. But the good points really don’t outweigh the bad points.
Would I buy it again? Hell no. Which is sad, because I adore Kevyn Aucoin. It’s one of my all-time favourite brands for nostalgic reasons – I remember looking at magazines while I was growing up and Kevyn Aucoin being one of the most talked-about (and venerated) makeup artists. I love other products from this brand – but this balm-foundation hybrid is a hard no. Shop it here (at your own risk).
Glossier Stretch Concealer in G7
What’s the gist? For years, I’d watch a ton of beauty vloggers rave about this concealer, listing it amongst their favourites. I’d sceptically roll my eyes, thinking “Yeah right, you’re in your twenties, have pretty amazing skin and barely any dark circles or spots – no wonder you love it”. So I don’t really know what came over me to take the plunge and give it a go – I think it was a true “F*ck it” moment. And boy, I’m so glad I did – what an unexpected, pleasant surprise.
Pretty much every single concealer I try creases under my eyes within seconds of applying it. Not this one. Sometimes I can even get away without applying setting powder. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
Would I buy it again? There’s a good chance I would, yes – if you find a concealer that doesn’t make you look like sh*t, hold on to it. However, much like its matching skin tint, I would consider trying a different shade and going lighter – because these dark circles need all the help they can get. Shop it here.
What’s the gist? I know, I know, I’m like a decade late to the party – but better late than never, right? This was not my first rodeo with a Beautyblender – I first tried one years ago and was really, really unimpressed. Now, I don’t know if my foundation-applying skills have gotten better (or worse?) but I decided to give it another go – and this time around I am loving it! Maybe it’s because it’s salvaged the mess that is the Kevyn Aucoin foundation-balm – whatever it is, this expensive sponge has got me feeling like a YouTuber, or at least like someone who kind of knows what they’re doing with their makeup…
Would I buy it again? I’m not going to lie – it hurts my soul to spend this much on a little sponge. Luckily, I was able to get a discount on it – and if I were able to get it again at a discounted price, I probably would. Shop it here.
What’s the gist? I guess it’s fair to say that I had a bit of a Glossier moment in 2021. I’d been wanting to try this product for yonks and finally did a little Glossier haul when the Black Friday madness hit. I wasn’t even sure whether to include this in my makeup roundup – is it a skincare product? A serum? A face oil? Products like these have very much set off the makeup-skincare fusion trend – which I think will be huge in 2022. Anyway, I decided to include it in this roundup because I’m not treating it as a skincare product – call it what you want Glossier, but for me it’s simply a primer, and a lovely primer at that. I much prefer Future Dew over the Nimya Where It All Starts cream (you’ll see below), which sort of reminds me of this (but in a ‘failing’ way).
It’s interesting, because I recently watched a favourites video from Anna Newton/The Anna Edit, who straight up said this product is not for you if you have oily skin. But I love it? I love the dewy finish that it leaves, and while, of course, it works wonderfully under Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint, it’s also fine under other foundations. I sometimes just wear it on its own too, as I feel like it makes some kind of difference for the better (and Glossier does categorise it as a skincare product).
Would I buy it again? Maybe! But I have a thing for primers and love trying new ones – so I don’t think I’m quite ready to be faithful to this oil-serum-primer-hybrid just yet. Shop it here.
Nimya Where It All Starts Cream
What’s the gist? Let me just start off by saying that I love YouTuber Nikkie de Jager/NikkieTutorials – she’s just so funny and positive! I love her energy, her laugh, her overall aura… and I genuinely really liked the concept behind her own beauty brand, Nimya (a beauty line made for prepping and setting makeup). I was curious about trying a few of the products, and, because I love a do-it-all primer, decided to get Where It All Starts, this moisturiser-primer hybrid. Let me start off by saying that I am OBSESSED with the smell – every time I open it I feel like I’m opening a little box from heaven. It’s DIVINE – I pray that she brings out a perfume or body lotion with this exact smell. But that’s pretty much where my love for this cream ends. I’ve found myself really disliking the sticky texture of it, and how it very much ‘sits’ on my face. It leaves a shiny sheen as promised, but it sits on my skin in such a way that I feel like I can’t forget it’s there. It’s almost like a layer I just want to peel off. In fact, it does peel off throughout the day, which is a shame. I just can’t feel the moisturising aspect of it if that makes sense? I will say however that I can totally see other people loving this product. I have ‘difficult’ skin (oily but also dry – so annoying), so maybe it’s a case of “It’s not you, it’s me…”
Would I buy it again? It’s a no from me – but I’m waiting for that body lotion and perfume… Shop it here.
Mac Strobe Cream
What’s the gist? There’s a small chance I might have actually bought this little highlighter in 2020, but to be honest 2020 and 2021 are one very big blur, soooooo… same same, right? Kidding – I genuinely can’t remember when it came into my life, but let’s just go with it being a 2021 buy because I think I deserve a big pat on the back for buying just one highlighter last year, as it’s still one of my all-time favourite makeup products. This highlighter is lovely, nothing groundbreaking or life-changing, but lovely, nevertheless. And I love the size of it – perfect for my almost non-existent travels and sleepovers. Is it a little too subtle for me, as I’m still partial to a glazed doughnut glow? Possibly…
Would I buy it again? Probably not, as it’s nothing to write home about… but also because I have enough highlighters to last me a lifetime. But I have very much enjoyed using it and will definitely ‘hit pan’ with it. Shop it here.
2. Lip Services
Live Tinted Huestick in Found
What’s the gist? OK, I could have listed this stick under complexion because it’s meant for both cheeks and lips, but I feel like I like it best on my lips. I have a feeling this may have been another case of ‘YouTube Made Me Buy It’ – specifically Kaushal. In fact, I think this was on my radar for years and I finally treated myself to it last summer. Firstly, I can’t not talk about this product without talking about the brand’s ethos. Founded by Deepica Mutyala, Live Tinted is a super inclusive beauty brand that caters for all women, but especially women of colour. A beauty brand like this is so necessary and wonderful – and it was mostly this mantra what made me want to try it out. I’ve also always loved the idea of one product that can do it all – this stick can be used for your cheeks, lips and eyes! How amazing is that? Unfortunately, I don’t think this product is for me at this moment in my life. I’ve always loved the idea of being one of these cool girls who just put a smudge of colour on their faces – maybe at home, in a cafe or even on public transport – and look effortlessly lovely. But alas, I’m not there yet. If I’m having a work-from-home day with video calls and want a little bit of colour on my face, this is great. But, on days when I just feel like I need an extra coverup, I’ll reach for something else.
Would I buy it again? I don’t think so – I haven’t quite mastered how to apply it on my cheeks, and ultimately for my lips I like a little more texture and pigment. But I still see it as a good product and will use it up. Shop it here.
Makeup Revolution X Soph Lip Set in Toffee Drizzle
What’s the gist? Oh God, I’m embarrassed to admit that this was another Under The YouTube Influence buy. In a recent video from beauty vlogger Soph, she was wearing one of the lip kit sets she’d made in collaboration with Makeup Revolution – it looked so beautifully pigmented and basically perfect on her that I couldn’t stop myself from ending up in a checkout lane. Well, what you see on YouTube is not always what you get – I know it’s a lip balm, but I found it a bit ‘meh’? It’s just not pigmented or ‘wow’ enough for me (it’s a nice browny-red shade, but I NEED MORE COLOUR). It’s also not that hydrating, and the staying power is very whatever. The lip liner is pretty good though? It’s not a bad duo at all, just not quite right for a maximum-impact-and-saturation-liquid-lipstick lover like me…
Would I buy it again? Nope – I just have to accept that I like a lip product that’s dense and defined. A lippy that packs a punch. Maybe I’m deluded, but I genuinely believe that a ‘full-on’ lip suits me more than a lightweight formula. Shop it here.
Hourglass Velvet Story Lip Cream in Indulge
What’s the gist? My first ever lipstick from Hourglass! Well, lip cream. You probably can’t tell from these pictures but it’s a teensy bit on the light side for me – my lips, but slightly better. Nothing that a lip liner can’t fix though – maybe I could pair it with the Soph lip liner?
Would I buy it again? No, at least not in this shade. The matte (although not really drying, I’ll give it that) formula doesn’t really blow me away either, so… onto bigger and brighter things. Shop it here.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Dazed
What’s the gist? Last but certainly not least! Back in 2016 I fell madly in love with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ liquid lipsticks. Kathryn, to this day, still remains as one of my favourite ever lippies. However, there was one major fault that led this love story to its demise – the formula back then aged quickly and terribly, looking pretty f*cking terrible on the lips. It broke my heart, but I moved on. Sort of. I never got over my love for Kathryn, and maybe 2021 was a year of second chances… well, I didn’t go back to Kathryn, and discovered Dazed, a little edgier, darker, less pink… but just as alluring. I only bought her in December, so it’s early days… but so far, so good.
Would I buy it again? Well, I’m hoping ABH’s liquid lipstick formula has changed and grown for the better – but only time will tell. If I don’t go back to Dazed, there’s a good chance Kathryn will come back in full force. Shop it here.
So there you have it, lots of misses and a few hits – much like the year 2021 (sob). I’m curious to see what will join my makeup bag in 2022, although like last year, I’m planning to ‘shop my stash’ and not go too wild. 10 days into 2022 though and I’ve already bought a few lipsticks – so let’s see how the next 12 months pan out for my beauty wardrobe!