My Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020.

By: Jen Shoop

UPDATE: I have to publish a correction to this post after initially published: this Gehwol foot cream (mentioned below) is actually quite good when used religiously, every night, for several weeks. I suppose I was expecting the near-instant results the LRP foot cream (RIP) delivered, but this stuff is very effective — just takes longer. Strongly endorse.

I did a lot of beauty product testing this year, and I wanted to share a quick hits list of my favorite beauty finds this year. I put the full weight of my reputation behind each of these items — they are exceptional and I have yet to receive any disappointed messages from loved ones whom I have coerced into trying them, with the exception of the Revlon One-Step. A small few have said that it just does not work for their fine hair or that they find it too bulky/heavy to use — and it is heavy! I use two hands since I no longer need to also manage a round brush so I find it works out fine for me.

At any rate, these have earned “lifer” status for me — doubt I’ll need to buy any other brands in these categories…








Outside of 2020, a few of my die-hard favorite beauty products (the products that I automatically, reflexively re-order when running low): Armani mascara, Belif moisturizer, La Roche Posay fluid sunscreen, Tata Harper regenerating cleanser, Guerlain bronzer, Mason Pearson brush (as of time of writing this, still a few left on sale!) and Cle de Peau concealer.

One devastating loss this year has been the discontinuation of La Roche Posay’s EXCELLENT foot cream. I am still not over it, in no small part owing to the fact that I have not had a pedicure since the beginning of the pandemic and therefore really have to take care of my tootsies! I have been using Gehwol’s Lipidro foot cream and it’s good but not great — not as thick and effective. It doesn’t hold a candle to LRP. I think I will try LRP’s baume next to see if it’s somewhat similar to their foot cream unless any of you have found a secret source…[ED. NOTE AFTER ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: A Magpie reader has written in to say that LRP baume is more of a lightweight face/body lotion and would probably not be thick enough for foot cream. Will continue to search! Stay tuned.]

Finally, two questions for you: what hyped beauty products are you intrigued by/eyeing? And, what are your beauty standouts from this year? (I love how many of you are highly-informed about skincare — just read the helpful comments on easing into a retinoid regimen here.)

P.S. A full rundown of my daily beauty/skincare regimen.

P.P.S. Stunning everyday jewelry!

P.P.P.S. What is your bedtime routine?

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23 thoughts on “My Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020.

  1. Oooh, thank you for posting these all in one place! Isn’t it awful that I always forget I bought the Revlon One-Step? I should try using it again this week for a Christmas pick-me-up!

    I’m with Mia on the Dior Lip Glow … I really love it. I’m quite minimal when it comes to beauty products but this year, three that I have discovered and loved (and re-bought, or plan to) are:

    – Glossier Priming Moisturizer Balance (my skin is fairly oily and this has made it much less so!)
    – Ilia mascara (had been looking for a clean option & I like this one, though if you prefer a dramatic lash, this may not be the one for you)
    – Nécessaire Body Exfoliator in Eucalyptus (I had been looking for a body exfoliator and bought this from Barneys when they were closing — RIP — and love it)


    1. I keep hearing good things about the Ilia mascara — I am in a committed relationship with Armani’s mascara but have to admit I am tempted!! xx

    2. IIRC, you prefer a bold statement with mascara, correct? The Ilia is really nice (and feels good to know it’s devoid of harsh ingredients) but it’s DEFINITELY on the more minimal/subtle side. Just a caveat for you! xx

  2. Sad about LRP’s foot cream too… but, prior to that I was a devotee of Aveda’s foot relief cream. It’s pricier than LRP, but works well. I re-purchased during their Black Friday sale and I think it was 20% or 25% off, so I’d keep an eye out for the next sale.

    Things I’m about to try…I had been using Biossance phyto-retinol serum (which uses a plant-based retinol) this year, but I was curious to try an actual retinol to build into my routine maybe 1-2x/week… just ordered Shani Darden retinol reform (supposedly a gentle retinol, I’m a bit fearful of the purging phase) during the recent Sephora $20 off promo. Fingers crossed! Meanwhile I’ll hop on to that retinol/retinoid discussion on your earlier post!

    Also, Dior Lip Glow (currently marked down at Nordstrom!). I had been using the coral shade in the spring/summer, and the berry shade in the fall/winter, but I just ordered one in “rosewood”, which might be a newer addition. It’s en route to me now so I haven’t tried it, but it looks like a mauve-y pink.

    I may be in the minority, but I will admit that I am not a fan of the Mason Pearson brush. I don’t know if it’s just my hair (medium in texture I think, but a LOT of it)… I much prefer The Body Shop’s brush with the bamboo “bristles”. I get such a good scalp massage each time I use it! One of the best $10 I spent. I got the Mason Pearson heavily discounted a few years ago for something like $60 for the smaller (junior?) size, so I have buyer’s remorse for that one as brushes are not really something I could pass on to a friend.

    Other standouts:
    – Laneige lip sleeping mask. A tiny bit goes a long way, and so effective. I once had an allergic reaction to something I ate and the edges of my lips/skin around it were red and inflamed, and this was the only thing that soothed it and made the redness go away. Contrary to the label “sleeping mask”, I do use it during the day too — why not, if it works? It even healed some dryness I had around my cuticles!

    – Dior Nail Glow (marked down at Nordstrom!). I never get professional manicures, even pre-COVID, but this does the trick for me.

    – Luv Scrub!!! I bought several this year for Christmas gifts for my friends. I bought them from the Luv Scrub site when they were marked down after Thanksgiving (plus they ship free and can handwrite a note for the recipient, which is a sweet personal touch), but I just saw that Nordstrom carries it too.

    1. Oo thank you for all of these tips/product suggestions, and for sharing your experience with the Mason Pearson brush! I actually just ordered the LuvScrub based on your rec from a few months back and can’t wait to test it out 🙂


  3. Ok last one I’m the worst ha…. it seems that all of the sudden in the past year my hair has started thinning like crazy. I did a lot of research in the past few days on shampoo and conditioner, that’s in my price range…and settled on Andalou Naturals for thinning hair. In just a few days it’s made a HUGE difference, for myself and my fiance! I joked to him that 4 days ago my hair made me look like a newborn chicken (ha!) and now it’s smoother, feels thicker, and is much more shiny…his too!! And it’s just $10 per bottle. That said, any other products or tips in this arena are highly welcome! xo

    1. Not the worst — I love all of these notes, especially the caveat on the LRP baume! Going to update this post with a note to correct this. Thank you so much!!

  4. Oh and! I tried, and really liked Tatcha’s The Deep Cleanse travel size….but! the packaging is awful….you have to shake it to come out, and almost always WAY too much comes out. So wasteful, so that alone means I won’t buy again. I splurged on the Westman foundation stick… I was on the fence and after reading your review I pulled the trigger! To bring this back to my previous comment, I wear LRP Baume under it (and sunscreen under that), so that might give you an idea of how light it is compared to a foot cream.
    AND as a very fun footnote….was made up in all those when I got engaged….and wearing the Le Specs you recommended to boot!!! xoxo

  5. IMO, I would NOT use LRP Cicaplast Baume for your feet… I use it and LOVE it for my face as a no frills lotion, but I cannot imagine it being effective for your feet :(. My only personal rec for foot cream is Burt’s Bees… I’ve used it for ages and love it. Smells wonderful, as well!

  6. So my favorite find of the year has been the Chantecaille lip chic, which I tried after reading about it on your blog! I love how hydrating it is, but doesn’t get everywhere like other glosses. Pricey but worth it!

  7. Wholeheartedly agree with the endorsement on Hourglass brow gel. I’m quickly becoming a loyal devotee of the brand. Their new Unlocked Lengthening Mascara is the only mascara I’ve ever used that doesn’t smudge or transfer. It washes off in tubes(?) and makes your lashes LONG!! And their Airbrush Concealer is also amazing, great Lindsey Regan Thorne rec.

    Love your blog and recs!!

    1. Thank you so much, Madeline! I’m very intrigued by the Hourglass concealer — I LOVE Cle de Peau but wouldn’t hate having something less expensive to alternate with. I think I’ll give this a try. Merci merci!


  8. I tried Tatcha this fall and didn’t love it. I took their skincare quiz and bought the recommended products but ended up returning them a little over a month later. Far too expensive (for me) to see little to no skin improvement. I was rather disappointed as everyone seems to love Tatcha! I’ve asked for several skincare holiday sets for stocking stuffers, hoping to utilize the low price and mini sizes to find a new-to-me brand that works wonders!

    1. So funny – I’ve had a similar experience with some of their products. Good but not great. Please report back if you find any home runs in your skincare sample sets!!


  9. Olay Regenerist face cream. I use it at night. Now that my skin is turning more dry (I’m a faithful rX retinol user) in the winter months, this does the trick. I’ve tried alll the expensive night creams and this is what I’ll stick with. I gave it a go after hear Grace Atwood express her confidence in Olay products. My skin wakes up feeling moisturized and soft. I’m a convert on this one.

    1. Oo – this is good to know. Thanks for sharing! I love having a drugstore brand option on offer when in a pinch.


    2. I agree Christina! I tried everything under the sun, from La Mer to “clean” products etc. I am a huge fan of Olay Regenerist — started using it in July and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on my skin since then. Even my hubby noticed and now uses it as well! Ha

  10. It’s not a sexy combo, but I have been loving my Amope battery powered foot file and O’Keefe’s foot lotion. The Amope has been amazing for months on months of being barefoot indoors and running outdoors. One battery charge lasts a long time. O’Keefe’s soaks in quickly and work well, especially for the price!

    1. I’d never even heard of this Amope thing but just ordered one. I’m desperate! Ha! Thanks for the tip. I’ve also heard good things about O’Keefe’s. Will try that if LRP doesn’t cut it for me.

      Thank you, friend!


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