Makeup Your Mind

These 2021 Makeup Winners Will Make You Look Good And Feel Even Better

The best new eyeshadow winner? Unmatched.

No one could’ve expected how drastically our approach to makeup, once a widespread daily ritual, would change as a result of a pandemic. Some dropped off the makeup train, reserving it for the one-off times they’d actually see other people (albeit under masks or through a pixelated square). Others doubled down with makeup as their armor, a daily shield of normalcy to block out multiplying tragedies. Beauty brands and the makeup industry as a whole took note, evolving their own developments with the times. For Elite Daily’s 2021 Glow Beauty Awards, our editors put hundreds of 2021’s best new makeup products to the test, reviewing these products for innovation, accessibility, and efficacy. In the end, we crowned the 10 best new makeup products of 2021 across multiple categories. And these winners are certainly a reflection of that seismic shift.

Still, the fact that so many abandoned their usual makeup routines begged a pressing question: During a fraught time that forced the world to take a collective, discerning look at what’s necessary versus unnecessary, is something like makeup unnecessary or superficial at its core? After reflecting on the last year, to me, the answer is a resounding no. Rather, it’s an indication that, regardless of the frequency, wearing makeup is so intertwined with the experiences many of us know, love, and desperately missed during the pandemic. Concealing dark under-eye circles before school or work is more than a mindless routine; it’s a brief moment to yourself before the chaos of the day sets in. Testing out graphic eyeliner looks with friends before going out isn’t meaningless; it’s a bonding experience that’s often more fun than the night itself. Taking selfies when your highlighter looks bomb isn’t vanity; it’s confidence. It’s self-love. What’s more meaningful than that?

The majority of 2021’s makeup launches have hinged less on aesthetics than they have on how they make you feel. For example, Glow Beauty Awards’ best new foundation of 2021 was lauded by testers for its weightlessness and how beautifully it works with your skin. The best eyebrow makeup product wasn’t even makeup as much as a tool that helps you feel a bit more put-together. Filled with even more innovations that have rewritten what makeup looks like post-pandemic, Elite Daily’s best new makeup award winners will help you look good, but feel even better. And we hope they bring as much joy to your makeup routine as your routine brings to you.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Elite Daily's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

01

Best New Foundation:

Sephora Collection Best Skin Ever Foundation
Sephora Collection Best Skin Ever Foundation
Sephora

A clear favorite among Elite Daily’s Glow Beauty Awards testers, Sephora Collection’s $20 Best Skin Ever Foundation ($20, Sephora) edged out its stiff competition with its lightweight, natural coverage and color match. Post-application, the feeling of foundation sitting on your face is nonexistent, and you’re left with your skin looking the way you love it: bright and even-toned.

$20
02

Best New Concealer:

Tarte Shape Tape™ Ultra Creamy Concealer
Shape Tape™ Ultra Creamy Concealer
Tarte

Beauty lovers were understandably skeptical when news of an additional Tarte Shape Tape Concealer formula surfaced. Why fix something that isn’t broken? To that, Tarte said, “Hold my drink.” The brand’s Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer ($29, Tarte) allows folks with dry skin (present!) to reap all the benefits of the OG formula — full, even coverage; all-day wear; subtle brightening — minus the matte finish. In its place, you get a softer finish and 24 hours of hydration that minimizes any cakiness, which all of our testers absolutely loved.

$29
03

Best New Lip Product:

M.A.C Cosmetics Love Me Liquid Lipcolour
04

Best New Mascara:

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara
Sephora

As a lifelong Bad Gal Bang Mascara devotee, I was just as surprised as anyone when Benefit’s They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara ($27, Sephora) made me retire my old faithful for good. The innovative wand’s magnetically-charged core pulls the mineral-infused formula up and out to add noticeable length to your lashes. After just a few coats, my normally straight lashes reached toward my brow bone, and I’ve never looked back since trying it.

$27
05

Best New Eyeshadow:

Danessa Myricks Beauty Twin Flames
Twin Flames
Danessa Myricks Beauty

All of Elite Daily’s Glow Beauty Awards eyeshadow testers named Danessa Myricks Beauty’s Twin Flames ($26, Danessa Myricks Beauty) the unanimous winner of the category, leaving myriad praises. “The multichromatic colors complemented my brown complexion beautifully and reduced my routine time since I didn't have to use multiple shadows to create a look,” one tester said. “[Twin Flames’] lasting power is unmatched.” Another said the “versatile” shadows “totally changed my summer makeup routine.” Consider this your sign to ditch your towering stack of eyeshadow palettes and find your perfect Twin Flames.

$26
06

Best New Eyeliner:

Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner
Underlined Kajal Eyeliner
Kulfi Beauty

Kulfi Beauty Founder Priyanka Ganjoo burst onto the scene with the intention of uplifting South Asian beauty lovers, who are so often overlooked and underserved in the cosmetics industry. The brand launched with its Underlined Eyeliners ($20, Kulfi Beauty) — a quick favorite among beauty professionals and among our testers — available in five deep, universally complementary shades. What solidified Underlined’s spot as a winning eyeliner among our testers is its impeccably smooth, glide-on application and its smudge-proof, waterproof formula.

$20
07

Best New Bronzer:

Patrick Ta Beauty Major Sculpt Créme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
Patrick Ta Beauty Major Sculpt Créme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
Sephora

Yet another clear favorite among our bronzer testers, Patrick Ta Beauty’s Bronzer Duo ($38, Sephora) bridges the divide between a more heavily contoured, chiseled look and soft-sculpted shadows. While most powder bronzers veer a little too warm, the Bronzer Duo’s cream bronzers use slightly cooler tones to deliver a more natural-looking contour. The accompanying powder then allows you to achieve your desired level of warmth and sets the cream formula in the process.

$38
08

Best New Blush:

Drunk Elephant O-Bloos Rosi Drops
O-Bloos Rosi Drops
Drunk Elephant

With the O-Bloos Rosi Drops ($36, Drunk Elephant), Drunk Elephant has ventured into color cosmetics while keeping true to its promise of formulations with only good-for-your-skin ingredients. The brand’s first blush formula delivers a natural, blendable, glowy flush, while omega fatty acids, virgin marula oil, and vitamin E fortify the skin’s overall texture, hydration, and protection from free radicals. The subtle pigment is enough to draw in both rouge devotees and blush naysayers alike.

$36
09

Best New Eyebrow Makeup:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze
Brow Freeze
Anastasia Beverly Hills

It’s clear from the overwhelming number of 2016 makeup vs. 2021 makeup videos on TikTok that Instagram brows are all but dead and buried at the center of the Earth. The brushed-up, soap brow look now has a firm hold on beauty lovers, and Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Freeze ($23, Anastasia Beverly Hills) makes it easier than ever to achieve. Rather than requiring water to activate like soaps or waxes, the thick formula is application-ready. Simply drag a spoolie across the top of the formula, brush your brows to your desired shape, and let ‘em set for the instant results our testers loved. If you need to, you can fill in any sparse areas with small brow pencil strokes.

$23
10

Best New Highlighter:

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter
Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter
Pat McGrath Labs

Holy Pat McGrath, Mother of Makeup, pray for everyone around us, because they will be both mesmerized and blinded by this highlight. Part of Pat McGrath’s Divine Rose II Collection, the Ultra Glow Highlighter ($48, Pat McGrath) features a highly reflective, rosy hue with a wet finish that blends with a variety of skin tones. The end result is a multi-toned prismatic highlight that somehow feels both natural and other-worldly. Unsurprisingly, it was a glow our testers had no choice but to stan.

$48