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The 2021 readers' edit: 52 things you truly loved this year
December 22nd 2021 / 0 comment
From serums to supplements, pillow sprays to pout-plumping lip buys, of all the products we recommended this year, these are the ones that got your vote
These products have been chosen by our editorial team based on what you, our readers, shopped most from our pages in 2021. If you buy something we recommend we may earn a small affiliate commission.
What a year it's been! From lockdowns, to freedom days and everything in between, 2021 has been quite the rollercoaster ride. But one constant throughout the last 12 months has been the stream of amazing new beauty and wellness buys, cheering us all up on dark days.
From makeup to homewares, bodycare to hair heroes, here are the 52 buys you treated yourselves to from the Get The Gloss pages this year. Buckle up!
For long-lasting lip colour: Revlon Colourstay Satin Ink in Partner in Crime, £6.69
This budget lip colour won editorial director Victoria's heart in August, when she included it in her favourite launches of the summer. You were obviously convinced by her review, because it was added to many-a virtual basket between then and now. The formula doesn't dry out your lips and manages to keep the satin sheen you'd normally associate with a bullet texture, making her lips look plump without the help of a needle.
The electric diffuser: The White Company Textured Ceramic Electronic Diffuser, £75
After developing a rather expensive scented candle habit while working from home, we decided electric diffusers were a much more economic option and set about trying them all out. This pretty White Company came out tops, offering settings for two, eight and 16 hours. it fills the room with scent in mere minutes and makes a gentle bubbling noise that's soothing to have next to you in your home office. Out of all of the electric diffusers in our edit, this is the one most of you snapped up. Excellent choice.
To soften and soothe lips: Esho Coat, £21.99
This little lip mask won the award for Best Targeted Skincare in our 2021 Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards, with judge Alicia Lartey saying: “This is a great lip and multipurpose product. It leaves you feeling really moisturised and not sticky." Shortly after we announced our winners earlier this month this became one of the most-purchased beauty buys on-site. We hope you love it as much as we do!
The speed moisturiser: Ameliorate Transforming Body Spray, £12.35
Our contributor Marie-Louise Pumfrey named this as one of her favourite beauty buys in November, thanks to how easy it is to spray your whole body without having to contort yourself like a pretzel. It's infused with zesty orange blossom, mandarin, jasmine and velvet musk for an indulgent scent, plus it contains lactic acid and AHAs to exfoliate the skin - if you have bumpy 'chicken' skin or keratosis pilaris, this is the body hero to try out. Indeed, many of you bought it!
The hair rebuilder: Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Shampoo and Conditioner Duo, £30.10
Many of us were bereft without our hairdressers at the start of 2021, so it makes sense that we started looking for at-home haircare than would rebuild our hair. The treatment step of this collection, Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-In Treatment, £21.50, won Silver in the Best Targered Haircare category of our awards, but it was the shampoo and conditioner set that you were most excited about, with many of you snapping it up to treat your tresses. Team GTG were big fans too, with digital writer Melanie chatting about it back in March:"Normally it's impossible to get a comb through my hair until its drenched in conditioner but I can run a comb through my lengths when only the shampoo is on it - a surefire sign of how nourishing it is."
The CBD sleep aid: Apothem Lights Out CBD Oil Drops, £75 for 10ml
We don't know anyone who hasn't struggled with sleep this year, so it comes as no surprise that these CBD sleep drops were among the most-purchased items of 2021. Not only are they effective in aiding deep sleep, they taste amazing too – like salted caramel rather than the earthy taste you normally get with CBD.
To plump-up damaged skin: SVR ABC Ampoule Hydra B3, £33
We put online skincare consultation service Renude to the test in November, to see if it could overhaul our skin before the end of the year and we were seriously impressed. The service prescribes a bespoke skincare regime tailored to your needs. Our tester wanted to tackle the lack of radiance and firmness in her skin and this niacinamide and hyaluronic acid serum was one of the products recommended to her. Her results must have wowed you, as the serum made its way into your baskets.
The eyeliner tool: Morphe’s Pro Flat Liner Definer Brush M432, £4.50
Ever on the quest for perfect eyeliner, we quizzed eight experts on their pro hacks, and MUA Lisa Caldognetto said she always keep this brush handy to clean up any liner mishaps. "Use a brush such as Morphe’s Pro Flat Liner Definer Brush M432, £4.50, to clean the line up with a dab of moisturiser, using a firm sharp strokes," she said. Determined to nail our liner application, we snapped this up and you apparently did the same! Perfect liner in 2022, here we come!
For Christmas indulgence: Aromatherapy Associates Moments to Treasure, £225
In our Christmas wish list feature, where our editors shared what we're hoping to find under the tree this Christmas, GTG contributor Hattie shouted this box of aromatherapy heaven. This Christmas pamper parcel is filled to the brim with 20 of Aromatherapy Associates' most delicious wellbeing heroes. A vast range of therapeutic essential oil blends infused into bath and shower oils, a body butter, a candle, a deep muscle gel, and their relaxing sleep mist.
The Adele lookalike liner: Rimmel Lasting Finish 8hr Lip Liner in Spice, £3.99
When Adele's Vogue cover hit the newsstands (and Instagram grids) in the autumn we couldn't stop thinking about her makeup. Luckily, MUA Pat McGrath shared exactly how she created the look. Not so luckily, it cost £357 to buy all the makeup used to create. We set about finding dupes for all the products and this budget-friendly lip liner excited you the most, becoming the most-purchased product from the feature.
The foundation/concealer hybrid: Monika Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover, £45
Our social media and design manager Jemma has been telling anyone who'll listen how much she loves this concealer/ foundation hybrid since it launched in the UK in summer, and when the celebrity MUA behind the collection, Monika Blunder, showed us how to do a full face of makeup in seven minutes, using the wonder product, it flew off the shelves. (again – it also sold out on launch) and won Gold in the 'Best Base' category of our Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards 2021, impressing judge and MUA Ruby Hammer.
"It has a very natural, second-skin-like finish and can be used as a sheer foundation or as a concealer in areas that need a little more coverage. It stays in place all day and never looks cakey," says Jemma.
The cult lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Catwalking, £25
It seems you're as obsessed with singer Lizzo as we are, because when we name-checked this subtle peach bullet as the lipstick her MUA uses on her, you bought it in your droves. It suits any occasion, so is worthwhile purchase if you ask us.
The budget haircare: Monday Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, £5.50 each
We're ever on the lookout for affordable, high-performing haircare and this ticked both those boxes when it launched in October. Our beauty assistant Amy was a big fan, writing about it in our edit of the latest launches that month, pleased with how hydrated, thick, and shiny it made her mane. With such an accessible price point we can see why so many of you decide to give it a go too. It was also another Gold winner in our 2021 Beauty and Wellness Awards.
The viral kitchenware: The Our Place Always Pan, £125
This ultra-Instagrammable pan was everywhere on social media this year and GTG's social media and graphic design manager added it to her Christmas wishlist. Fingers crossed her boyfriend was one of the people who bought it on her recommendation...
For wet-look makeup: Morphe 2 Gloss Pop Face and Eye Gloss, £12
Eye glosses became our go-to for a wet look, fresh and youthful makeup vibe. From our edit of the best, GTG readers were taken with Morphe 2's offering; it's non-sticky and adds a dewy look wherever you apply it.
For bespoke red lips: Westman Atelier Lip Suede in Les Rouges, £78
We quizzed MUAs and beauty experts on the best lipsticks of all time, and of our edit, this is the one you bought the most. You've obviously got expensive taste! The four plumping lip shades can be combined to create a bespoke shade just for you and the formula is packed with antioxidants and collagen-boosting peptides.
The budget blush: Elf Putty Blush, £6
Back in February of this year, GTG's editorial director Victoria sang the praises of this easy-to-blend cream to powder blush, available in five shades including deep purple, light brown and pinks to suit all skin tones and undertones. It gives a sheer wash when dabbed on or can be built up for a stronger pop of colour. MUA Dominic Skinner placed it in hip top five when he judged the Colour Cosmetics category of Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards 2021.
The pigmentation-busting buy: Alpha H Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum, £70
Another favourite of Victoria's, this was included in her January empties thanks to the ingredients list of granactive retinoid, antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, peptides and nourishing vitamin E and jojoba extract, all coming together for a hydrating, pigmentation-busting formula. She obviously convinced you it was worth buying too because it shot into our most-purchased in Feb.
The plumping moisturiser: Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer, £39
This ultralight gel moisturiser was one of 2021's most-hyped skincare launches when it dropped in January, and with good reason. It has three types of hyaluronic acid, ceramides and pineapple enzymes to drench the skin and improve tone and texture, all the while feeling cooling to wake up morning skin.
The viral mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, £9.95
If you haven't heard of this mascara, we'll have to assume you've been living under a rock for 2021. Almost every beauty editor has sung the praises of this lengthening, non-flaking budget mascara. We tested it on four different lash types and were all impressed by its prowess and concluded it's absolutely worth all the hype it's been getting. Buy quickly, before it goes out of stock again.
The purse-friendly sleep-aid: Feather and Down Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray, £7
This pillow was the talk of the town in early February thanks to over 1,539 positive reviews on Amazon. We included it in our round-up of the best pillow mists and are inclined to agree. It's soothing without being overly lavender-y and lulled us into a dreamy sleep.
The fast conditioner: Wonder Water by L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Hair Treatment, £4.99
Another 2021 launch that got the beauty industry all abuzz is this hair water which leaves hair silky soft with zero heaviness. Plus it works in just eight seconds for those rushed mornings which are somehow still a thing even though we're all working from home.
The impressive dupe: No7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serum, £9.97
When No7's new vitamin C serum landed in January we couldn't help but draw comparisons to a much more expensive serum by Murad. This 15 per cent serum promises to reveal radiant skin after just one use. It has a citrus scent (no surprise) and a light, gel texture thanks to hydrating hyaluronic acid and castor oil.
The essential vitamin: BetterYou DLux3000 Vitamin D Daily Oral Spray, £5.35
A study in June 2020 by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence revealed that Covid sufferers are more likely to die if they lack vitamin D and the vitamin has been a bestseller since then. In our edit of the best vitamin D supplements from January this year, this was the most purchased, with nutritionist Rob Hobson explaining the benefits of spray supplement: “As we get older, our absorption in the gut slows down so sprays are good from middle age onwards as they are absorbed through the lining of mouth into the bloodstream.”
With Covid surging again right now, we recommend adding this to your basket, along with the other immune-supporting supplements we recommend here.
For repairing damaged hair: Undone by George Northwood Undamaged Shampoo, £12
February saw the arrival of celebrity stylist George Northwood's debut haircare collection, which he said he created in response to real women's hair woes he saw every day in his salon. The Undamaged Shampoo was formulated to revive colour and heat damaged hair to help reduce breakage and encourage hair strength.
The at-home beauty tool: Newa Anti-Ageing Skincare Device, £251
In our May round-up of the best at-home radiofrequency devices this tool, which is loved by both aesthetician Dr Sophie Shotter and facialist Joanne Evans, was the most purchased. It targets three main areas of the face eyes, cheeks and jawline for firmer skin all over.
The suits-everyone retinol: Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol, £30
Glossier's first-ever retinol landed at the end of August to much excitement from the beauty world. It's made with a plant-based complex of 0.5 per cent retinyl sunflowerate (a mixture of retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids), a new player in the retinol game that is found to be less irritating than traditional retinol, making it suitable for more sensitive skin. Our editors loved the creamy, bouncy texture of this retinol and it quickly made its way into our nighttime routines. We hope everyone who bought it on our recommendation is enjoying it too.
The supermodel-approved makeup: Rose Inc Soft Light Luminous Hydrating Concealer, £23
The end of summer also saw the launch of supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's clean beauty brand Rose Inc, which includes everything from toner to brow gel, but it was this brightening concealer that piqued your interest the most. We don't blame you; available in 20 shades, this blurs imperfections and has skincare ingredients squalane and vitamin E to conditions as it conceals.
The speedy lip colour: 19/99 Beauty Precision Colour Pencil, £19
You were obviously as impressed as we were when makeup pro Caroline Barnes used this in her #GetTheGlossin7, seven-minute makeup challenge in May, colouring in her lids in seconds for a hand-painted yet impossibly chic look in next to no time.
The new sheet mask: 111Skin Concentrates, £125
Beauty editor Jane Druker fell so hard for these little tubes in May that she declared ampoules the new sheet mask, praising them for deeply nourishing her skin and undoing the effects of pollution, sunlight and stress. She told her that the results were so spectacular that her sister thought she'd had work done!
The light moisturiser: Skin Proud Sorbet Skin Everyday Jelly Moisturiser, £13.99
Back in July you were getting into the summer skincare mood, swerving rich creams in favour of light, gel moisturisers such as this budget buy from Skin Proud which sinks in like a dream and quenches even the thirstiest of skin. It's no surprise so many of you treated yourselves to it, we're big fans too.
The CBD sleep hero: Kloris 1000mg CBD Oil Drops, £64
Digital writer Melanie included these drops in her empties in May, praising them for sending her off into the land of nod – fingers crossed they worked for you too, as many of you purchased them following the feature.
The glow-giver: Vieve Skin Dew, £19
It seems you're all as big fans of MUA Jamie Genvieve as we are; we shouted this out as one of the new makeup launches we were most excited about in May and you bought it in droves, ready for the wet-look shine we were all after when the weather was warmer.
The hair supplement: Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair, £27.25 for 30
GTG's editorial director Victoria loves these vitamin gummies which contain biotin (essential for strong hair) and B12 (for energy) and folic acid, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. Her glowing review obviously swayed you as they were one of the most-purchased items in May.
The cooling skin buy: Skin Proud Frozen Over Gel to Ice Hydrator, £16.95
GTG's Jemma loves this for a cooling hit of hydration. You can use it as either a gel for an instant hit of moisture or straight from the freezer (which we highly recommend) for an icy antidote for puffy eyes and skin. When frozen it has a very satisfying slushy texture that instantly melts in the skin and feels incredible.
The celeb-approved supplement: Bare Biology Skinful Pure Marine Collagen Powder, £35
When we interviewed ex-Pussycat Doll and radio presenter Ashley Roberts she told us this collagen powder is her favourite way to boost her skin, adding a spoonful to her smoothies. We've long admired Ashley's flawless skin and you obviously feel the same, having stocked up on this since reading the piece and Bare Biology is a high-quality trusted brand whose supplements, especially the omega 3 fish oils and vegan alternatives are often recommended by nutritionists.
The best face tan: Amanda Harrington Face Illuminating Bronzing Mist, £28
We reviewed eight face tanning mists (on camera) in May to see which gave the most natural glow. It seems you were most convinced by the tan that this lightweight mist gave, as it was the most purchased of all the ones we reviewed. Victoria loved it too, because after using it you're tanned from the get-go and can choose the depth of your colour. It’s completely natural, non-drying and the tan it gave lasted two days. Although not the cheapest, one bottle will see you through the entire summer.
The tidy essential: Yiezi Makeup Organiser 360 Degree Rotating Cosmetic Display Stand, £22.99
There must be some organisation fans among you, because this handy storage device for your lotions and potions was one of the items you bought most of after reading our guide to the best makeup storage devices.
The easy-to-use bronzer: Glossier Solar Paint, £17
July finally saw the launch of a Glossier bronzer, and you were obviously as over the moon about it as us, adding it to your basket pronto. Solar Paint makes your skin look like it was kissed by the sun, in four creamy, not shimmery formulas that suit all skin tones.
The lightweight base: Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint, £36
GTG's commercial projects manager Catherine called this "an ideal foundation for a naturally flawless-looking appearance throughout the spring/summer season" when she reviewed it in Glossy Picks, our weekly edit of new launches, in June. Containing hyaluronic acid, the Stripped Nude Skin Tint hydrates whilst smoothing the appearance of blemishes and enhancing the natural beauty of the skin. Available in ten shades, this tint is suitable for all skin types.
The hair softener: Philip Kingsley Vitamin C Jelly Detoxing Treatment, £22.40
Philip Kinglsey is best known for the Elasticizer pre-shampoo treatment, but we feel like this might become just as popular, if your interest in is anything to go by! It's a jelly that cleanses the scalp, removes, build-up, and adds a dose of high-strength antioxidant vitamin C to protect the scalp from oxidative stress. You mix one of the four sachets of powder with water in the reusable bottle and shake it for 30 seconds until it turns to pink jelly. You then apply to dampened hair and scalp for five minutes before shampooing. "My hair felt so baby soft afterwards, I kept touching it. This once-a-fortnight fix is a future classic," GTG's editorial director Victoria said when she reviewed it.
The self-care must-have: Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat, £70
Loved for their abilities to promote better sleep and deeper relaxation, BON mats are a long-term best-seller on Cult Beauty and that looks set to continue, with many of our readers deciding to buy one after reading our experts sing their praises in July this year
The little-known moisturiser: Spectacle Skincare Performance Creme, £76
GTG's editorial director Victoria called this 'beauty sleep in a bottle' in July thanks to its smooth, primer-like texture that made her skin look like someone had set a lightbulb under it. It received a silver badge in our 2021 Beauty and Wellness Awards too, so you know it's good! Spectacle is an under-the-radar brand, so you could be forgiven for being reluctant to part with over £70 for it, but many of you did. It's age-proofing, hydrating, calming, protecting and a perfect base for makeup. It's a day and night cream, serum, eye cream and primer in one, that works on sensitive skins too. That's a lot of bang for your buck!
The skincare bible: Great Skin - Secrets the Beauty Industry Doesn't Tell You by Ingeborg Van Lotringen, £10.19
There's not a lot that beauty director Ingeborg Van Lotringen doesn't know about skincare, so when she published this book in September, sharing her wisdom, we were first in the queue to buy a copy. From how to tell if your skincare is worth the money to easy to understand intel on which ingredients go together, Inge covers it all in this book. When we published an extract from it you obviously wanted more from the oracle as many of you added this book to your Amazon hauls.
The sleep-well oil: Tisserand Aromatherapy Sleep Better Diffuser Oil, £7.81
From our August edit of the best electric diffusers and the oils to buy with them, this essential oil blend was most popular. Tisserand is an expert in aromatherapy (the brand’s pulse point rollerballs are ideal for sending you to sleep) so the pure essential oils are potent and powerful and the bedtime cocktail is ideal for sending you to the land of nod.
The skin-brightener: Beauty Pie Superdrops Brightening Niacinamide 10%, typical price £50, members pay £13.36
Victoria included this in her edit of the best new launches in September, praising it for its skin-barrier building powers. It has a watery texture but has a lasting hydration kick that makes the skin feel supple. It has an ingredient in too which makes your pores look smaller as well as antioxidants. Use the code GTGSENTME to get £10 off an annual membership and first orders.
The complexion-enhancer: Sculpted by Aimee Tint and Glow Enhancer, £23
September saw makeup artist Aimee Connolly take on our seven-minute makeup challenge, using products exclusively from her range, which is quickly becoming cult in the glow-giving stakes. She created a speedy luminous look, using this as her base rather than a foundation, which gives a tinted moisturiser coverage with luminosity through it. GTG's digital writer Melanie is a fan of this too, using it when she wants to feel ultra-glam without being overly made up.
The life-balancing book: A book for life by Jo Bowlby, £12.62
Trinny Woodall told us in September that this book keeps her feeling balanced, explaining that the author Jo Bowlby is the shaman who introduced her to meditation without making it feel too ‘woo woo.' "It helps you get balance in your life," Trinny says. You obviously wanted a slice of the balanced pie, with countless copies of this ordered.
The blue-light SPF: Medik8 Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF 50+, £59
We got to thinking about blue light damage in September, and wondered how much we should be worrying about it. Quite a lot, it turns out. As well as limiting screen time, there are other ways to protect yourself from digital-ageing caused by blue light and this is one of them. Launched in July 2021 this SPF comes out of the tube fairly thick, with a slightly yellow tint but quickly melts into the skin and is undetectable, leaving a dewy finish in its wake. There's no surprise it's a little heavier than other SPFs; it offers UVA, UVB and advanced blue light protection too, as well as a pollution shield and infrared light protection too.
The retinol alternative: Revolution Skincare 1% Bakuchiol Serum, £8.95
For fuller hair: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair, £15.80
Earlier this month we discovered that peptides have as many hair-helping benefits as they do skin-supporting ones. Who knew? Like filler for your hair, they can make your barnet look bouncier and fuller and this product, which won Gold in our Bet Targeted Hair Treatment category in our 2021 Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards, was the one you were most interested in. We can't blame you after our judge George Northwood said: "This is the best product for hair that doesn’t feel thick or dense enough, great for people who struggle with stress hair loss over the last few years. Very affordable too!’
The luxury vitamin C: Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum, £28 for 8ml
Our contributor Ophelia Froud, who has very luxe taste in skincare, praised this way back in January of this year and it's remained a constant in your baskets ever since. Unlike many thin vitamin C serums, this is a honey-like balm that feels nourishing on dried-out winter skin, making it a pleasure to use, and it made Ophelia's skin plump, glowy and supercharged. Just what you want!