After seven intensive months of trialling, testing, spritzing and smearing, the results of Stylist’s annual beauty awards – the biggest in the industry – are here. With more beauty products launching daily than ever before, it has never been harder to navigate your way towards what really works. So we created Best Beauty by Stylist to bring you the ultimate shopping list of the most effective skincare, must-have make-up, finest fragrances and helpful hair products.
In what was an impressively efficient, spreadsheet-driven operation, back in December the Stylist beauty team filtered 3,485 entries down to a shortlist of 630. We then sent 4,410 products out to 50 of the industry’s most esteemed experts and 500 members of the Stylist Beauty Council to be put through their paces. When the results came back in April, we combed through the extensive feedback and collated the winners – all 113 of them.
But we weren’t done yet. It was time to decide on the best of the best. After myriad office deodorant debates, weekend WhatsApp conversations about what makes the perfect eyeliner and a semi-serious argument over shampoo, the beauty team selected their 10 Beauty Heroes. These are the 10 products that should be in the bathroom cabinet of every woman, such is their sheer brilliance. Once you’ve tried them, we’re sure you’ll agree...
Best Nail Product
The names of OPI polishes are always ‘LOL’ and we’re told that they’re dreamt up in a boardroom with a giant bowl of M&Ms for inspiration. Each and every collection is a treat for the eyes and colour lovers hail OPI as the go-to brand for a bold statement at the end of your fingertips. If there’s one colour you wear this summer just be sure it’s ‘Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet’– a hot shot of glowing yellow.
Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet, RRP £12.50, OPI Bright Collection, buy it here
Best Complexion Enhancer
Containing prismatic particles to reflect light and create the illusion of radiance, this make-up artist-approved formula turns from a silky powder to a light liquid feel on contact with skin and offers long-lasting sheen. Sweep all over in light strokes to build up deeper layers of golden colour on the high planes of your face.
Extra Dimension Skinfinish Powder in Doublegleam, RRP £24.50, Mac, buy it here
Best Lip Product
If you’re searching for the perfect liquid red then allow us to point you in the direction of the shade Beso. Totally smudge and budge-proof, this award-winning bestseller offers six hours of continuous cheery colour in a high-impact, full-coverage formula that still feels weightless and soft on lips. A must-try in our book.
Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, RRP £16, Stila, buy it here
We’ll admit we were a little cynical when we first tried this – after all, it comes in a jar and you have to apply it with your fingers – but happily we were proved wrong. Formulated by a brand that extols the virtues of probiotics, this aluminium-free deo uses antimicrobial botanicals to absorb sweat, encourage dryness and inhibit bacteria. The lavender and bergamot scent goes a long way to helping you feel fresh all day, too.
Botanical Cream Deodorant, RRP £18, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, buy it here
Best Base Product
Rich, creamy and ultra blendable, this excellent concealer is the best antidote we know to late nights and one too many Negronis. To banish even the darkest of dark circles, copy the pros and simply sweep under eyes in an inverted triangle, then blend, blend, blend. You can thank us later.
Radiant Creamy Concealer, RRP £23, Nars, buy it here
Best Face Mask
When you think of younger skin, you picture smoother, plumper, firmer, brighter and that’s exactly what this mega mask was designed to do. Alkekengi calyx stimulates the synthesis of collagen, padina pavonica boosts skin’s water content and vitamin E acetate builds up the defensive barrier. Then there’s the addition of red vine leaf for luminosity, vitamin-rich chlorella to get skin cells behaving young again and shea butter for suppleness.
Black Rose Cream Mask, RRP £99, Sisley, buy it here
This is after-dark seduction bottled! The latest addition to the Modern Muse family is bursting with rum accord, jasmine absolute, sandalwood, musk and amber. If you are a beginner when it comes to owning an Oriental fragrance, go for this as its floral accords really soften the deeper, punchier notes. The midnight blue and gold bottle is as glamorous as the contents.
Modern Muse Nuit, from RRP £52 for 30ml, Estee Lauder, buy it here
Best Eye Product
Kat Von D’s vegan make-up range is a serious sell-out, so get your hands on this liner pen while you can. The teeny-tiny tip consists of 325 bristles that form to a tight point to make wings, fine lines and details super easy to achieve. The 24-hour formula is highly pigmented, waterproof and transfer-resistant so you don’t have to worry about it slipping and sliding.
Tattoo Liner, £16, Kat Von D, buy it here
Best Hair Product
When you’re after glamorous hair, bigger is most definitely better and we want both root lift and more body. Containing a blend of filloxane and softening polymers, this mega-shampoo plumps up the volume to make hair look thicker from root to tip for a ‘big hair don’t care’ kinda feel.
High Rise Volume Shampoo, £14.50, Redken, buy it here
Best Hair Tool
As well as being devotees of their straighteners, we’ve got a soft spot for these brilliant tongs too. Using clever tri-zone technology, which ensures an optimum heating temperature of 185°C all the way along the barrel, curls stay fully formed and healthy-looking throughout the length of your hair. Oh, and the protective cool tip means no more burnt fingers when holding the wand in place – genius.
Curve Soft Curl Tong, RRP, £120, GHD, buy it here