We test a ton of products. These are the 25 that stand out.

By Erin Lukas
Apr 27, 2021 @ 9:40 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.
Advertisement
Best Beauty Buys: Editor's Picks
Credit: Courtesy; Illustrations by Jenna Brillhart.

As beauty editors, we try a lot of products throughout the year — like, a lot. Swatching lipsticks, slathering on sunscreens, and testing hair masks every week is a necessary occupational hazard.

While we come across a lot good products, there are a select few that are so extraordinary, we use every last drop. So yes, we're willing to scoop every last bit out of the jar or cut open the tube to make sure nothing goes to waste.

That's why InStyle's beauty team has chosen these game-changing finds as our Editors' Picks in the 26th annual Best Beauty Buys awards.

In the market for a brightening vitamin C serum? Concealer that doesn't crease or get cakey? A co-wash that hydrates curls? Find all of the above and so much more right here.

Ahead, the 25 makeup, haircare, skincare, and body care products InStyle beauty editors can't live without this year.

VIDEO: Beauty Now: Face Gym

Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"The formula has impressive coverage, and it doesn't get cakey because it's infused with calming, hydrating ingredients borrowed from skincare products," beauty editor Erin Lukas says of Kosas' buildable concealer.

To shop: $28; sephora.com

Clarins Total Eye Lift

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Even when my eyes are at their most dry and tired, the caffeine in this cream perks them right up and tones down puffiness," says InStyle magazine beauty director Maya Allen. "A punch of potent plant-based ingredients help lift the skin, erase sleepy undereye bags, and smooth fine lines."

To shop: $89; sephora.com

OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair +Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"This is one of the few drugstore options that actually works on all textures. It guarantees silky-smooth hair that's ready for a deep treatment or styling," says senior beauty editor Kayla Greaves.

To shop: $7; amazon.com

Dr.Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Bid adieu to redness and blotchiness with my holy grail," says beauty assistant Adelaide Giesey. "If you add a layer of hydration beforehand, the soft veil of coverage can replace your foundation."

To shop: $52; sephora.com

Mented Cosmetics Semi-Matte Lipstick in Dope Taupe

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Black-owned brands are changing the conversation around nudes," says Allen. "This hue has brown and pink undertones that complement my complexion."

To shop: $17; mentedcosmetics.com

Shani Darden Retinol Reform

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"This celebrity-favored serum improves the texture of my skin without irritating it, thanks to the addition of soothing aloe leaf and apple extracts," says Lukas.

To shop: $88; sephora.com

Genaissance de la Mer The Concentrated Night Balm

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"If your skin has gone rogue from the stale air due to spending more time indoors, this balm is going to be your saving grace," says Greaves.

To shop: $650; cremedelamer.com

Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Shampoo

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"My hair is always in need of more moisture. So I came for the coconut oil and stayed for the cocoa butter," says Allen. "And I love that the ingredients are sustainably sourced from East and West Africa."

To shop: $7; amazon.com

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"One step I never skip in my morning routine is adding a few of these antioxidant-rich drops to my moisturizer," says Giesey. "It gives me that post-vacation glow I long for."

To shop: $36; sephora.com

BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"I'm terrible at drinking enough water during the day, but at least this lightweight moistur- izer keeps my skin hydrated," says Lukas. "It absorbs into my skin almost instantly, keeping it soft and smooth."

To shop: $50; nordstrom.com

Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"I always opt for multitasking products," says Giesey. "The dual ends both sculpt and highlight, and the buttery base is almost addictive to apply."

To shop: $40; nordstrom.com

Pantene Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash with Argan Oil

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"The formula cleanses like a shampoo but moisturizes like a conditioner," says Greaves.

To shop: $10; amazon.com

Chantecaille Purifying and Exfoliating Phytoactive Solution

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Sometimes stubborn pores need some extra attention," says Giesey. This toning treatment helps restore a natural and seamless glow.

To shop: $88; chantecaille.com

Alpyn Beauty Wild Huckleberry 8-Acid Polishing Peel

2021 Best Beauty Buys

"The plant-derived chemical and physical exfoliants are potent but gentle enough not to sting," says Lukas. "My skin instantly looks brighter and clearer after every use."

To shop: $56; sephora.com

Revitalash Eyelash Conditioner

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"At one point, I was addicted to eyelash extensions. This strengthening serum was the solution to bringing my brittle lashes back to life," says Allen. "I didn't skip a night, and the nourishing ingredients revived them."

To shop: $98; sephora.com

Bloomeffects Tulip Dew Drops

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"If you're looking to start your day with a dewy glow, you'll need this. The formula, which features niacinamide and vitamin C, will also help to even out skin tone over time," says Greaves.

To shop: $55; credobeauty.com

Dr. Barbara Sturm The Good C Vitamin Serum

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"You will reap all the glow-boosting benefits," says Allen. "Filled with three different forms of vitamin C, this diminishes dark spots and stimulates collagen."

To shop: $145; drsturm.com

Merle Norman Cosmetics Ultra Rich Hand Cream

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

After relentless washing and harsh sanitizers, a good hand cream is a nonnegotiable. We are fans of this formula's creamy texture.

To shop: $26; merlenorman.com

Renée Rouleau Skin Care AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

Sick of stubborn bumps? This beauty editor- approved cleanser features salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids, along with jojoba beads to scrub away impurities.

To shop: $36; reneerouleau.com

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

With just three ingredients in its formula, this refreshing mist soothes and calms red, irritated skin.

To shop: $28; sephora.com

OLEHENRIKSEN C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Need a moisturizer that's number one in the radiance department? Thanks to this brightening cream, I've been forgoing foundation and letting my skin breathe," says Allen.

To shop: $46; sephora.com

Authentic Beauty Concept Glow Cleanser & Conditioner

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"With in-salon coloring sessions few and far between due to COVID, I've relied on color-protection shampoo and conditioner to keep my color cool and fresh," says Lukas. "This set is my go-to because in addition to protecting my color, it makes my hair ridiculously soft and shiny."

To shop: $28 each; ulta.com

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"Maskne scars are no match for this treatment. Apply the niacinamide and kojic acid-rich formula to skin morning and night. You'll start seeing substantial results in four to 12 weeks," says Greaves.

To shop: $88; sephora.com

Maui Moisture Lightly Hydrating + Pineapple Papaya Body Gelée

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

"This gel-based moisturizer smells like my favorite margarita and never feels too heavy," says Allen. "I love how the tropical combo of pineapple and papaya feels on my skin."

To shop: $8; amazon.com

RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Cleanser

Best Beauty Buys 2021
Credit: Courtesy

If you're looking for a new way to get your vitamin C fix, this face wash does not disappoint. The mix of glycolic acid and fruit extracts brightens and smooths skin texture, giving your complexion a subtle shine.

To shop: $12; amazon.com

For our 26th annual Best Beauty Buys, the InStyle team worked with leading dermatologists, makeup artists, hairstylists, wellness experts, fragrance connoisseurs, and manicurists to find out which products they can't get enough of. Now, the votes are in — and you'll want to get ahold of these 229 beauty game-changers.