Our team of editors and beauty pros tested hundreds of products to find the year’s best in beauty. Here are their top picks.

By Deanna Pai Erica Metzger Samantha Driscoll and Kachet Jackson-Henderson
September 11, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

When it comes to makeup, more is more. Literally: It seems like there’s no end to the exciting, innovative newbies that come through year after year. (Lip oil! Brow crayons! And that’s just for starters.) But quantity does not equal quality—which is why it can be increasingly tough to pin down what, from the packed arena, actually deserves a place in your makeup bag. That’s where we come in, blending and swatching to determine what stands out.  This year, our judges had high standards, and it shows. We took ease and affordability into account, not to mention how well each makeup product suited a variety of skin tones and concerns. Because the best makeup out there should (and, we found, does!) work for all, enhancing eyes, cheeks, and lips for each and every person.

Courtesy of Laura Geller

Primers, which typically smooth skin and help makeup stay put, are often considered nice to have, but not a necessity. That’s not the case with this formula, which has a subtle, brightening tint and makes makeup application easy. One tester even swapped it in for her usual foundation.

Buy It: Laura Geller Anti-Aging Skin Perfecting Primer ($34, Laura Geller)

Courtesy of Sephora

Dark circles and blemishes are no match for this concealer, which offers full coverage with a weightless feel. It’s easy to blend in with a finger or brush, outlasts sweat and oil, and is also available in 36 shades—covering a comprehensive range of skin tones to offer the right shade for all.

Buy It: Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Concealer ($32, Sephora)

Courtesy of Ulta

Skincare meets makeup in this hardworking foundation. The lightweight liquid formula contains a hydrating serum for all-day hydration, vitamin B3 to brighten skin, and even SPF 50 to defend skin against sunlight. Another bonus: It won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles during the day.

Buy It: L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Foundation ($16, Ulta)

Courtesy of Ulta

Neutral is a relative term, so Clinique factors in your foundation shade to determine three lip colors to flatter your skin tone.

Buy It: Even Better Pop Lip Colour Foundation ($20, Ulta)

Courtesy of Target

Testers raved about this multitasking balm with hydration, color, and sunscreen. This formula contains plant oils, shea butter, and mineral SPF.

Buy It: ChapStick Complete Care Total Hydration Moisture & Tint & SPF 15 ($7, Target)

Courtesy of Mary Kay

Mary Kay's lip gloss delivers tons of shine and moisture without a sticky finish. Plus, it comes in 14 shades.

Buy It: Mary Kay Unlimited Lip Gloss ($16, Mary Kay)

Courtesy of Sephora

This isn’t your average lip shine. This clean-beauty upgrade is made with hyaluronic acid and avocado oil to hydrate and soften lips throughout the day. It delivers shine without being sticky, and its long-wearing tint means you don’t have to worry about touching up the color.

Buy It: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss ($27, Sephora)

Courtesy of Target

This bold drugstore blush doesn’t skimp on pigment. A swipe on the apples of your cheeks deposits long-lasting color. It comes in three shades.

Buy It: CoverGirl TruBlend So Flushed Blush ($8, Target)

Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

This curler can quickly and painlessly curls lashes, thanks to thoughtful design details like the thick, angled bumper pad.

Buy It: Jenny Patinkin Lazy Perfection Lash Curler ($24, Saks Fifth Avenue)

Courtesy of Target

Like a brow pencil but even easier to wield, this chunky crayon allows you to sketch on tiny “hairs” quickly and with ample control. It even packs tiny fibers that add subtle fullness, while the color delivers instant definition and color to fill in any sparse patches.

Buy It: Maybelline New York Brow Extensions Crayon ($8, Target)

Courtesy of Macy's

This mascara from BareMinerals is infused with a plant-based serum for full, lush lashes. Testers loved the paddle brush applicator.

Buy It: BareMinerals Strength & Length Mascara ($22, Macy's)

Courtesy of Ulta

This choice is a shimmery liner that can be smudged out as an eye shadow. It's available in three versatile shades.

Buy It: Flower Beauty Blendable Liquid Kajal ($10, Ulta)

Courtesy of Ulta

Experimenting with an eye look should be fun, not expensive. These affordable, mini palettes come in eight colorful combos with matte and shimmer options.

Buy It: e.l.f. Bite-Size Eyeshadow ($3, Ulta)

Courtesy of Sephora

Testers called it a game-changer for keeping makeup in place and leaving skin super hydrated. Spritz on bare skin to prep, after makeup to set or as an instant refresher mist throughout the day.

Buy It: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Setting Spray ($28, Sephora)

Courtesy of Target

If you’re not a DIY manicure convert, you might become one with this extra convenient formula. All you need are two coats—so, no topcoat or base—and just a minute for it to dry. The angled brush makes application comfortable and easy, and one tester reported that her manicure went nine days without chipping.

Buy It: Essie Expressie Nail Polish ($9, Target)

Courtesy of Target

Natural nail polishes have gone mainstream with Sally Hansen’s vegan, plant-based collection. It’s free of 16 questionable chemicals yet doesn’t sacrifice results: It offers impressive coverage and respectable wear time for a clean formula. And in a range of 30 colors, it’s guaranteed that you’ll find a shade you like.

Buy It: Sally Hansen Good Kind Pure ($7, Target)


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