Reader's Choice 2021

The Best Makeup Products of 2021, According to InStyle Readers

We asked our readers’ to decide the best products of 2021 and the results are in! Meet the 61 winners of our annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
By Maya Allen and Adelaide Giesey
Sep 13, 2021 @ 9:00 am
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.

It goes without saying that this year we all had a slightly different relationship with beauty. But whether it was battling maskne, getting glammed up for a Zoom, or giving the latest TikTok viral products a try, we were all in it together.

For the fifth consecutive year, InStyle editors sorted through the most notable launches across the industry and left it up to you, our readers, to coin the champions. The list spans across everything from exfoliating serums to heavenly perfumes, giving you the perfect excuse to revamp your personal product stash.

But while 2021 was a year like no other, one thing no one was ready to give up was makeup. The simple act of sweeping on some mascara or your favorite red lipstick is second to none. Luckily, we still had many excuses to do at-home glam and clearly so did our readers'. So without further ado, let us start sharing the best of the best in beauty for 2021. 

Here are our readers' selects of the products that kept their complexions glowing and spirits high over the past year.  

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Best Lipstick: Pat McGrath Labs LiquiLUST: Legendary Wear Matte Lipstick

Reader's Choice 2021
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The Dame of Makeup, Pat McGrath, conjured up a velvety-matte texture that coats your lips in a bold color without drying them out. This liquid pigment comes in a decadent spectrum of shades that won't smudge or feather.

To buy: $30; patmcgrath.com

Best Lip Product: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Cream Color Drip Lip Cream

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You'd better believe a lip gloss dreamed up by Bad Gal RiRi is going to turn heads. Made with vitamin A for maximum moisture and a supersize wand for a seamless application, this will quickly become a new staple.

To buy: $19; fentybeauty.com

Best Blush: Glossier Cloud Paint in Spark

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Fake a flushed fresh-from-a-workout look with this vibrant red hue. After it's dispensed from the tube, it transforms from a bright cherry shade into a sheer, buildable color that blends well on all skin tones.

To buy: $18; glossier.com

Best Eyeshadow: Charlotte Tilbury Look of Love Instant Look in a Palette

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Create a quick and cohesive look with these complementary colors that will cover all your eye, cheek, and contour needs.

Best Mascara: Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

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Yes, we've seen this flood our TikTok feeds. And yes, it is that good. Coat your lashes with a few layers of this lifting formula to get that coveted high-volume result.

To buy: $11; ulta.com

Best Foundation: Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

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On those minimal makeup days, grab this complexion booster for less-is-more coverage. If you like a barely-there finish that blurs imperfections but still lets your skin shine through, this is for you.

To buy: $30; fentybeauty.com

Best Concealer: Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

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Everyone's cult-favorite concealer just got an upgrade. The rich consistency doubles up on moisture, thanks to the formula's integrated eye cream, which erases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

To buy: $29; tartecosmetics.com

Best Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Dual- Ended Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

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Not skilled with a felt tip? Try this two-in-one, which is equipped with smaller and larger points on the ends, to easily achieve clean, precise lines.

To buy: $28; amazon.com

Best Brow Product: Benefit Cosmetics Brow Microfilling Pen

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Identical brows don't exist, but that doesn't mean you can't create them. Grab this wand designed to mimic a microblading effect and seamlessly draw hair-like strokes to fill and define where you see fit.

To buy: $25; sephora.com

Best Bronzer: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream

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To get a natural glow-up, simply dip your buffing brush into this golden pot, packed with light-reflecting pigments, and tap the high points of your face.

To buy: $50; chanel.com

Best Highlighter: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette — Volume II

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Chasing that golden- hour glow? All you need is this trio of highlighting and contour powders. They're made with a photoluminescent technology that provides a flawless filtered effect in the light so you can get your selfie game on.

To buy: $64; amazon.com

Viral Makeup Product: E.L.F. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer

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This uniquely textured primer is one of the most talked-about products on the Internet for a reason. It instantly hides pores and blemishes while creating a smooth, soft base that amplifies the look of products as you layer them on.

To buy: $9; elfcosmetics.com

Editor's Pick: Laneige Lip Treatment Balm

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"I've been searching for a balm that does a bit more than the average," says beauty director Maya Allen. "Then I found this peptide-packed, shimmery salve that not only hydrates because it's made with coconut oil, but also firms and plumps my lips to perfection."

To buy: $25; sephora.com

Editor's Pick: Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Shine Sheer Shine Lipstick

Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Shine Sheer Shine Lipstick
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"My idea of a power lip can change daily," says beauty assistant Adelaide Giesey. "When all I want is a subtle wash of color, I pick up one of these tinted balms. They're full of hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, to keep my lips soft throughout the day."

To buy: $33; esteelauder.com

Editor's Pick: Chantecaille Luminescent Eye Shade in Zebra

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You can never go wrong with a shimmery rose gold shadow. The brand, which has always made efforts to support environmental issues, has these proceeds going toward endangered wildlife in Africa.

To buy: $52; chantecaille.com

Editor's Pick: RevitaLash Cosmetics RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner & Serum

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"I'm admittedly obsessed with my lashes, which means daily maintenance is a must in my routine," says Allen. "I swear by this strengthening serum to keep them looking as full and healthy as ever."

To buy: $150; revitalash.com

Editor's Pick: Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint

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"Lately I've been letting my skin breathe — flaws and all — and this silky finish fits the effortless vibe that I'm going for," says Allen. "It feels like a light-as-air moisturizer with just enough coverage to get the job done."

To buy: $32; amicole.com