These Are the Best Makeup Launches That Launched in 2021
Each year, beauty brands outdo themselves when it comes to makeup launches, and 2021 was no different.
Even though the first half of the year (when we were still under national lockdown) didn’t give us many opportunities to wear makeup (and for those of you who still wore a full face of makeup everyday to WFH, cheers to you … seriously!), we’re now madking up for it in the latter half of 2021, with some of the new launches becoming an integral part of our makeup bags (looking at you Nars Air Matte Blush).
Read on to get more details on the best makeup launches of 2021.
Monika Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover
When celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder launched her first product in the US – a foundation/concealer cheekily named Blunder Cover – it caused a buzz in the beauty world.
The Monika Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover ($89.10) is pretty much the perfect cover-up if you prefer a “no-makeup makeup” vibe. A hybrid between a foundation and a concealer, Blunder created it because she wanted a complexion product that would be sheer enough to allow the skin’s natural texture and luminosity to shine through, but pigmented and grippy enough to cover imperfections and be layered to provide more opaque coverage if necessary. Creamier than your average foundation or concealer, that creaminess is what leaves your complexion looking incredible – your skin appears hydrated and gorgeous, and not like you’re wearing a stitch of makeup.
Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Tint
Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Tint ($66) is the newest addition to the brand’s Synchro Skin range and its first tinted moisturiser launch in a while. The formula itself is pretty innovative. In addition to being made up of 70 percent skin-care ingredients, it also features something that the brand calls “ActiveForce technology”, which is a proprietary complex that resists heat, humidity, oil, and motion while you wear it. This is on top of the brand’s proprietary Responsive Sensory Technology (featured in all of the Synchro Skin products), which responds to your skin’s condition and protects against oxidation and pollution. Those two complexes together ensure the skin tint stays looking fresh and crease-proof for up to 12 hours. Powders in the formula (including one with light-reflecting particles) also do the seemingly impossible job of keeping your skin looking glowy (but not shiny) while preventing your skin’s natural oils from breaking the skin tint down.
Glowish by Huda Beauty Multidew Skin Tint
Lightweight and buildable, the Glowish by Huda Beauty Multidew Skin Tint ($57) is the first product from Huda Kattan’s new range of makeup that is geared at those who prefer a more no-makeup makeup look. The Skin Tint is available in 13 shades and contains skin-care ingredients like red bell pepper extract and rose oil to help moisturiser and protect the skin. It’s also incredibly long-lasting, with a 12-hour wear claim (we’ve found it lasts around 7 or 8, or the entire work day).
“Most tinted moisturisers are just moisturisers with pigments, and some of them do have added polymers, which is what makes them last a little bit longer,” Kattan explained of the formula over Zoom. “We added a lot of polymers in Multidew, and avoided some of the ingredients that can make tinted moisturisers a little bit more fluid and interact with the staying power, things like SPF.” Because of that, you should make sure to apply your sunscreen before you put on the Multidew Skin Tint.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream
With ingredients like collagen, peptides, and niacinamide in the formula, the E.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream ($35) sounds more like skin care than makeup, but we’re not complaining. As if that wasn’t enough, it delivers natural-looking full coverage and SPF 30 protection and is available in 20 shades.
The Ordinary Concealer
Four years after launching the brand’s hugely successful foundation, The Ordinary was back with another base product in 2021, and this time it’s a concealer. The concealer promises, “high-spreadability [through its] suspension system, which offers very high, yet buildable coverage with a real skin finish.” The Ordinary Concealer ($10.80) launched with 36 shades following the same undertone format as the foundation. The concealer is lightweight and gives an ultranatural finish that doesn’t crease or sit in fine lines.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brighten & Correct Duo
Laura Mercier created the iconic Secret Camouflage in 1996, before the days of Photoshop, because she needed a product that could conceal and even out the skin in photos without looking like makeup. Twenty-five years later, in 2021, the brand has introduced a new version of Secret Camouflage, inspired by the original, that promises to be more user friendly for us non makeup artists out there (don’t worry, though, the OG compact isn’t going anywhere).
Like the original, the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brighten & Correct Duo ($46) includes two shades – one for brightening and one for correcting – but instead of coming in a pan, this new version is a dual-ended pen, “which makes it a lot easier for consumers to use,” makeup artist Hung Vanngo said about the product in a masterclass for the brand. Not only that, but the formula is creamier and contains more moisturising ingredients so you can use it all over your face, whether you want to brighten up undereye circles, cover up spots or pigmentation, or even out any differences in texture.
E.l.f. Flawless Brightening Concealer
We are seriously impressed by the E.l.f. Flawless Brightening Concealer ($10), because it’s as creamy and blendable as some formulas with price tags nearly triple that. It’s not a full-coverage concealer (it’s not promising to be), but rather meant for brightening under and around the eye area, which is why the lightweight liquid formula has a healthy dose of shimmer-free luminosity to it and has a second-skin effect when it sets. Available in 12 shades, the clickable concealer pen features a brush tip that makes it easy and fast to apply under your eyes and along the sides of your nose.
Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30
When Milk Makeup launched its Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 ($64) in 2016, American beauty editors went wild for the sheer, oil-based foundation that made skin not just glow, but literally radiate light. And while the handy click pen allowed the original formula to be preservative free, the brand wanted to upgrade the fan favourite product to be even cleaner, as well as more sustainable. For instance, the broad spectrum SPF 30 is coral reef-safe, the click pen is bigger but also now refillable, cutting down on 66% of plastic waste, and it comes in a paper box instead of a plastic tube.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
The Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara ($12.47) may be a new launch for 2021 (it launched in January), but our editors are already in love with the formula. It’s pretty much a lash extension in a bottle.
Benefit They're Real! Magnet Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics, the brand behind a multitude of mascaras you already know and love, is responsible for the latest (and exciting!) development in the product category. The new Benefit They’re Real! Magnet Mascara ($46) features an innovative formula that boasts extreme lengthening abilities thanks to a magnetically charged core in the brush and a magnetic mineral-enriched formula (hence the name). Basically, the magnetic brush attracts and pulls the magnetic formula up the length of your eyelashes and then extends it past your natural lash to make them longer. The core in the brush is also good for picking up the perfect amount of product, which keeps your lashes from getting clumpy and weighed down with excess formula, while the zig-zagged bristles evenly distribute the jet-black pigment onto your lashes.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze
When the queen of brows launches a new brow product, it’s time to get very excited. In January, Anastasia Soare introduced Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze ($39), a clear brow wax that is meant to mimic soap brows, minus the bar of soap.
When opening up the jar it’s a bit shocking. You may not be able to tell in the photo but that the a wax is crystal clear. So clear, in fact, that you can make out every word on the label on the bottom of the packaging. This is a good thing because it doesn’t add colour to your brows, it just lifts, sculpts, and holds every hair in place, allowing you to create either a feathered look, or simply slick your brow hairs down. It also doesn’t disturb any makeup underneath it, which means you can fill in your brows with a pencil or powder before and it will stay put.
It’s also very easy to use: You’ll need a spoolie brush to use it, and then all you do is dip the wand into the wax, pick up a little pit, warm it up on the back of your hand (or the cap), and then brush it through your brows and you’re good to go.
Makeup by Mario Master Metallics Eyeshadow Palette
Back in 2020, makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic known for his long-term working relationship with Kim Kardashian and many other high-profile celebrities, as well as his legacy as a top educator, launched his own makeup brand after fans practically begged him to. He chose the date as a way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his venture into beauty as a makeup artist at Sephora, whilst the brand itself encapsulates the artistry and signature style that he’s become renowned for. “Everything in the brand is inspired by my techniques and by the style that I’ve worked on over the years,” Dedivanovic said.
One of the first things you should nab is the Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette ($74) , which is not only a favourite of nearly every professional makeup artist who can get their hands on it, but also Dedivanovic himself. “It’s inspired by human skin tones and is very universal,” he explained. His inspiration comes from his very specific eye makeup technique, which he’s perfected over the years. “When I do makeup on the eyes, I tend to use complexion products like concealers and foundations, and also deeper tones to smoke the eyes first almost like a primer, then I go in with shadows. So, I’ve created my eyeshadow palettes based off that technique,” he added.
Spectrum x Katie Jane Hughes The Brush Set
The Spectrum x Katie Jane Hughes The Brush Set ($166.95) was quite possibly the most anticipated beauty launch of the year, so it’s no surprise that the comprehensive makeup brush set sold out in just two hours when it first went on sale. It contains 25 cruelty-free brushes housed in a travel case that, when opened up, becomes two brush holders that you can place on your vanity. It also comes with a microfibre towel, which you can use to wipe off your brushes as you’re doing your makeup to remove pigment from the bristles without having to wash them entirely (one of KJH’s great hacks).
“It is absolutely a makeup-artist-worthy brush kit in my opinion, as a working makeup artist, but I also wanted it to be something that if you’re not a makeup artist and you just want to have a beautiful brush set, it’s absolutely sufficient and fits that bill as well,” Hughes said of the set during an Instagram Live.
Hourglass Cosmetics Curator Custom Palette
We’re incredibly excited over this next 2021 launch, which allows you to customise your own eyeshadow palette to ensure no pan goes untouched. The Hourglass Cosmetics Curator Custom Palette ($23) gives you the option of creating a 5-pan shadow palette, choosing from a range of 40 newly formulated press powder shades that come in four different finishes – matte, satin, metallic, and shimmer (you can also purchase an individual shadow if you find a colour you really love). The palettes themselves are made from tin and postconsumer recycled (PCR) plastic, whilst the individual shadow pans are made from fully recyclable aluminium. And like the rest of Hourglass’s products, the powders are vegan and cruelty-free.
MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots
In April, MAC expanded the number of shades of its MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots ($39, a formula loved by professional makeup artists for its versatility. Originally only in three neutral tones, the cream-to-powder eye shadow is now available in 24 colours that range from basics like black and white to shimmers and holographic shades, as well as some fun ’70s-inspired matte hues like robin’s egg blue and soft peach.
Hermès Beauty Silky Blush
The Rose Hermès collection launched in May 2021 and included eight pretty shades of powder blush, including the Hermès Beauty Silky Blush in Rose Pomette ($110), shown here, which is a gorgeous, cool-toned medium pink that promises to perk up your complexion in one sweep.
Nars Air Matte Blush
Available in 8 shades, the new Nars Air Matte Blush ($43) is a sheer, matte cream blush with an innovative mousse texture. Inspired by the brand’s Air Matte Lip Colour, the blushers offer the same soft-focus, diffused finish on your cheeks for a flush that looks like it’s coming from within, versus caked on by makeup.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer
The standout product in ABH’s summer collection is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer ($50), which is available in seven shades – from Sun Kissed (for fair to light skin tones) to Cool Brown (for very complexions) to ensure that the range is inclusive of as many skin tones as possible. The creamy, lightweight formula gives skin a natural-looking sun-kissed effect, but can also double as a contouring product.
Hourglass Vanish Blush Stick
Housed in this incredibly chic tube is the new Hourglass Vanish Blush Stick ($65), a cream-to-powder blush formula that has a soft, diffused finish. The pigment is buildable, which means you can layer it from a light stain to a full on flush, and is available in six shades: Adore (berry), Devoted (dusty rose), Loyal (a rosy mauve), Revel (warm-toned red), Scared (coral), and Wonder (soft peach, which is shown here).
Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge Drama Ink
The Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Drama Ink ($59) formula is quite possibly the thinnest liquid lipstick we’ve ever tried. But don’t mistake thin for lack of quality. The lipstick, which is a water-in-oil emulsion with a semi-matte finish, packs tons of pigment so you get just as much opacity and coverage as any other liquid lipstick; the only difference is Rouge Drama Ink feels completely weightless, to the point that you forget it’s even on your lips. Available in 15 shades all in a red, pink, and neutral palette.
Bobbi Brown Crushed Shine Jelly Stick
For those makeup fans who aren’t feeling a full-pigmented lipstick right now, may we suggest the new Bobbi Brown Crushed Shine Jelly Stick ($47), which launches 7 Jan. We’re obsessed with this limited-edition lip colour, not only because the dome-shaped bullet looks adorable, but also for how quickly and easily it perks up our lips – you can basically swipe one on without a mirror and it looks perfect. The formula is almost like a tinted balm, although with a bit more pigment and not as moisturising. That’s not to say it isn’t hydrating – it certainly is, they’re just not as thick and slippery as a balm, which ultimately means the colours wear longer. Available in six mood-boosting shades (shown here in Cranberry), we’re keeping a tube on our at-home desks from now on for when unexpected video chats get popped on our diary.
Christian Dior Rouge Dior Couture Finishes Lipstick
Dior decided to give its iconic lipstick formula a bit of a makeover in 2021 , simultaneously improving the formula and making the product a touch more sustainable. Echoing the very first lipstick created by Christian Dior, the Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick ($59) cases are now refillable, and feature an updated design. The formula now includes floral extracts to help not only improve wear, texture, and pigmentation of the lipstick, but also make sure it’s kind to your lips underneath. And finally, Peter Philips – creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup – gave the shade range a zhuzh. In addition to creating two new fabric-inspired textures, adding velvet (which is ultra-matte) and metallic to the two existing textures of matte and satin; he also readjusted the shade range: tweaking colours, adding colours, and rendering classic colours – like the iconic Rouge 999 – in different finishes.
Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss
It’s a lipstick! It’s a lip balm! It’s Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss ($49)! We’re obsessed with this new lip formula because it feels like a lip balm, offers the shine of a lip gloss, and has the pigment of a lipstick – no really, it’s fully opaque on first swipe. Incredibly hydrating and comfortable to wear, we envision we’ll have a tube of Happikiss in our purse wherever we go – you know, whenever we can go out again. Available in 10 shades (including the classic Pillow Talk), we only hope she adds more vibrant hues in the future.
Disney Cruella Collection by MAC
To celebrate the release of the live-action film Cruella, which hit theatres on 28 May, MAC teamed up on a makeup collection inspired by the iconic 101 Dalmatians villain. There are so many amazing pieces in the range, but the one we’ll be investing in is the the MAC Matte Lipstick in De Vil in the Details ($33), inspired by Cruella’s signature lip shade (which matches her gloves and lining of her coat, of course).