The Fashion Journal editorial team’s standout beauty products of 2021

Simply the best.

At this point, it’s a tired cliche to say this but when you work in editorial – particularly in the realm of fashion and beauty – you really do get sent a lot of products. This is, of course, a brilliant perk of the job, but it also has the added bonus of making you incredibly tuned in to what you do and don’t like in a product and a brand.

So when something comes across your desk that really piques your interest, it’s only natural to want to squirrel it away in your bag to take home and try (provided no one else in the team also desperately wants it, in which case you better be incredibly persuasive and prepared to buy them a chocolate croissant).

We like nosy people. Don’t be shy, head to our Beauty section for more. 

If it also does something remarkable to your skin/hair/beauty routine, it’s only natural that you’ll end up wanting to shout about it from the rooftops. At Fashion Journal, our version of shouting something from the rooftops is writing about it for you, our readers (mainly because our office doesn’t have a rooftop and we aren’t very good at projecting). Below, as a little holiday treat, we’ve shared our tried and test standout beauty products of the year. Enjoy.

Cait, Fashion Journal’s Digital Editor

RMS Beauty Champagne Rose Luminizer

In our line of work, you try a lot of makeup and as someone who’s always seeking a glowier visage than I naturally possess, I’m particularly drawn to highlighters. I’ve tried powders, creams, sprays, sticks, pots and liquids, but none have made me look as naturally luminescent as RMS Beauty’s Champagne Rose Luminizer. This highlighter is the one true love of my life – I cannot stress this enough. I sometimes do my friends’ makeup, and without fail, they always enquire about the highlighter (and usually end up getting one for themselves). I’m not being hyperbolic, it really is that good.

Get it here.

Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum

Emma Lewisham is having a real moment lately. Earlier this year, the Kiwi-born skincare brand set a new benchmark in the beauty industry when it became the world’s first carbon-positive, fully circular beauty brand. I’ve been a raving fan for some time – its Supernatural Triple Vitamin A+ Face Oil was my star product of 2020 – and this year the Skin Reset Serum has become a firm favourite. It feels luxurious, is refillable and recyclable, and most significantly, it’s really helped minimise my hyperpigmentation and dark acne scars.

Get it here.

Egyptian Magic Cream

My fascination with Egyptian Magic Cream first began when an early 2000s fashion magazine informed me that Madonna was never without a jar of it. The article also claimed that it was the key to her youthful appearance, but I think we can all agree most celebrities are relying on more than a topical cream (no matter how magical it is) to combat the ageing process. Despite my fascination, I only got my hands on a tub of it earlier this year, when a Nourished Life PR package turned up in our office.

I’m now a full-blown fanatic – I use it on my elbows, as my eye cream and on my eyelids and cheeks for a natural gloss. It’s also great to use if you’re into slugging (don’t worry, it’s a beauty thing, not a garden thing). Basically, it’s the multi-purpose, budget-friendly version of cult favourite moisturiser La Mer – I guess Madonna was onto something.

Get it here.

Giulia, Fashion Journal’s Managing Editor

Nu Face Trinity Mini

If there’s a product (beauty or otherwise) that I’d recommend to anyone without reservation, it’s this. The Trinity Mini is a smaller (and cheaper) version of the Nu Face bestselling Trinity device, but with the same kick. It works by running a low-level electrical microcurrent through your facial muscles, stimulating them in what I like to think is their own mini workout session. The result is a ‘lifted’ look which, on me, mimics cheek filler, pops my cheekbones and smooths out my jowls.

The technology is similar to what’s used in the treatment of Bell’s Palsy, so it’s science-backed. Like going to the gym, consistency and frequency are important to see results, but there are most certainly and undeniably results – my facialist uses a Nu Face in her treatments and after my last visit, the facial recognition software on my phone stopped working.

Get it here.

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Drops

I’ve recently upped the retinol dosage in my skincare routine, which means my skin cells are turning over at a delightfully fast rate. While great for a from-within glow, it’s not ideal for facial fake tan and within a day or so, my application has already faded. I don’t wear makeup day-to-day, so typically rely on fake tan to stop me from looking ill. I only recently discovered the D Bronzi drops, and it’s easily my product of the year. I mix a couple of drops with my serum in the morning, and it gives me a healthy glow while protecting my skin.

Get it here.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

These wipes are the undoubted MVP of my skincare regime at the moment. I can’t remember how I first came across them (presumably a Beauty Loop sample) but I’ve purchased on repeat since. It’s essentially a two-step chemical peel split across dual wipes, the first for exfoliation and the second to neutralise whatever chemical wizardry is happening. As with all DDG products it’s not cheap, but I find a weekly peel is enough for a really natural, soft glow. I’ve also heard of some clever thrifty people cutting their wipes in half, essentially doubling the life span of their purchase.

Get it here.

Izzy, Fashion Journal’s Editorial Assistant

Paula’s Choice 2 per cent BHA Liquid Exfoliant

This is a product I’ve actually reviewed here on Fashion Journal before. After watching the Paula’s Choice 2 per cent BHA Liquid Exfoliant slowly take over my TikTok FYP, I was compelled to try it. I used this daily for two weeks and gave an initially positive review. But it wasn’t positive enough! After continuing to use this salicylic acid-based product for months, I saw a very real difference in my skin. While I still get the occasional spot, my glow (the final boss in skincare) has improved significantly.

Get it here.

Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion

I got a wolf cut/mullet hybrid this year (shocker!) and my generally straight-ish hair suddenly got some wicked waves. They were a cool change, but I had absolutely no idea how to tame them.
My beautiful curly-haired friend suggested I try the Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion. I’m really not a hair product gal (we’re talking strictly shampoo and conditioner) but this has converted me. Just scrunch into damp – not wet – hair and let air dry for frizzless, bouncy waves.

Get it here.

Nyx Professional Makeup Brow Glue Stick in clear

I almost want to gatekeep, girlboss, gaslight this one for myself because I will simply pass away if it sells out (not a hyperbole! Actual death!). After complaining endlessly about my severely unruly eyebrows, my friend caved and gave up her secret. The Nyx Professional Makeup Brow Glue Stick is $14 ($9.76 on sale) and is the only product able to keep my caterpillars in place. Trust and believe – the high-end gels have nothing on this eyebrow superglue. So good.

Get it here.

Ella, Fashion Journal’s Account Manager

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek Glow Quad

Those who know me well are aware of my tumultuous relationship with time management. Most mornings I leave the house looking like I’m heading off for a three-day hike with a coffee and toast in one hand and an assortment of bags and jackets in the other, so naturally, I’m drawn to any beauty product that makes me appear a little more put together than I actually am. I’ve been a big fan of RMS products for a while now, and my recent purchase of the Lip2Cheek Glow Quad is no exception. I use it with my fingers to create a natural, luminous finish and inject a little life back into my face.

Get it here.

Foreo Luna 3

The Foreo Luna 3 is by far my favourite lazy girl beauty tool. Despite owning ludicrous amounts of skincare that makes me look rather narcissistic (I swear I’m not), there’s nothing more I despise than flopping into bed after a night out and realising my crusty eyeshadow is still on my face. The Luna 3 has made this process a little less tedious, requiring minimal effort and making me squeaky clean in a matter of minutes.

Get it here.

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil

There’s a reason why the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil has been a cult favourite for years. After hopping around testing a few alternative pencils and gels in the past, I rediscovered my love for this sleek little magic worker this year. With a spoolie on one end and a waxy pencil on the other, I find it’s the perfect consistency for fluffy (and unruly) brows like mine. I use the colour Dark Brunette, which has one of the best cool undertones on the market.

Get it here.

For more on the standout beauty products of 2021, try this.