I’ll be the first to say, not much could have primed us for 2020. But as we cleanse away madness, peel away the layers of stress, wear masks (both over our faces and on them), and lay the foundation for what we can only hope will be a calmer 2021, in the name of self-care, we’re looking back on the best Sephora beauty and skin-care products that we tested this year.
Throughout 2020, we’ve continued our SPF standing ovations (and even made a few TikToks about our faves), experimented with new tools, and even tried out some fun, new makeup looks while being “bored in the house, bored in the house, bored.” With everyone spending more time online shopping rather than perusing aisle after aisle at the mall, we’re here to help. We’ve read the reviews, put them to the test, and sung their praises all year, and these are our absolute favorite beauty and skin-care products that we got at Sephora in 2020…though not all of them actually launched in 2020, mind you. Keep scrolling for the haul.
1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration, $14
Dry skin is no match for this thick moisturizer, which is made with colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin—a triple-threat of soothing and skin-barrier enhancing ingredients. Winter-thirsty complexions will be eternally grateful for the way it is immediately absorbed, making it great for those with dry skin, psoriasis, eczema.
2. Josie Maran Pineapple Enzyme Pore Clearing Cleanser, $28
According to Josie Maran herself, this exfoliating cleanser is a one-two punch that uses pineapple enzymes to clear away toxins while also nourishing the skin to create a brighter-looking complexion that looks and feels healthy. Here, pineapple serves as more than just a scent that sparks summer nostalgia: Its enzymes work to break down dead skin cells that gather in and around pores, which is a vital step in getting the most bang for your buck while exfoliating and cleansing.
3. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension, $7
Speaking of “bang for your buck,” this vitamin C serum works to visibly target uneven skin tone, dullness, textural irregularities, and signs of aging all for $7. Unlike many vitamin C serums, which have a watery or oily texture, this formula is water-free, which makes for super-smooth makeup application on top of it.
4. Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer, $20
Unlike the usual sticks and powders, this bronzer has a creamy texture that makes it easy to apply to your cheeks, nose, forehead, eyelids, and lips. It comes in two shades (“Best Coast” and “West Coast”) and is easy to apply with your fingers for a dash of color on the go.
5. Dior Airflash Spray Foundation, $62
This lightweight, full-coverage spray foundation, is the perfect balance of tint and texture. Versatile enough to work for normal, dry, oily, or combination skin, its water-resistant formula is buildable to give you any type of coverage you want, and will leave you feeling airbrushed for up to 12 hours.
6. KVD Epic Curl Vegan Lash Primer, $24
The key to XL lashes is a good primer, and this pick is an ultimate fan fave. According to celebrity makeup artist, Daniel Chinchilla, “it curls and lifts even the straightest lashes without having to use an eyelash curler, and coats every lash to prep them for the mascara.”
7. Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, $28
If you’re a micellar water fanatic, Drunk Elephant’s gentle, milky take on the product does everything you’d expect and more. It removes makeup, pollution, and all other debris from the surface of your skin while also nourishing your complexion with ceramides and fatty acid-rich wild melon seed oil.
8. Charlotte Tilbury Mini Pillow Talk Lipstick & Liner Set, $25
Pillow Talk, the shade made famous by celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, has gone mini, making it perfect to grab on the go. It’s universally flattering, subtle, and a gorgeous shade of muted pink, so it’s no wonder this duo is flying off the shelves.
9. Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar, $195
Jennifer Aniston swears by this 24-karat gold, vibrating skin-care gadget, and we do too. Though on the pricier side, this gold sculpting bar tones and lifts the skin in one use.
10. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, $88
Derms and editors can’t get enough of these exfoliating peel pads, which are lauded as some of the best of the best on the market. The jumbo size comes with 60 treatments, and considering you only need to use them three days a week (or fewer, depending on your skin type), one box will go a long way.