The beauty heroes that helped YOU put on a brave face in 2020: Face masks made mascara matter more than lipstick and at-home gadgets saved us from the salon ban
- Thousands of votes for annual awards show it was no ordinary year for make-up
- Answering Zoom calls during lockdown has been ‘a beauty reckoning’ for many
- Triggered whole set of new‑found insecurities around ageing and appearance
Should anyone ask me to sum up this past year in a book title, it would have to be Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Nothing quite encapsulates the feeling I get when I answer a Zoom or FaceTime call without having composed my face at the correct angle. In a word: ‘Aaaargh!’
For those of us who grew up without selfies, this year has been a bit of a beauty reckoning, to say the least. For many women — and, indeed, men — the experience of seeing themselves regularly on-screen has been the trigger for a whole set of new‑found insecurities around ageing and appearance in general.
These are the beauty heroes that helped you put on a brave face in 2020 after thousands of votes for annual awards show it was no ordinary year for make-up
Ruby Hammer MBE
Global make-up artist
There are a fair few old favourites here and I think that’s because sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason. The award winners show how discerning we’ve been this year: we have been looking at products and deciding if the price is reasonable for the value it delivers. When we’re prepared to spend the money, it’s not about a splurge, it’s an investment — a long-term, feel-good buy we can trust.
Award-winning beauty expert
The products that won not only tell you what they do on the packet — energy, radiance, volumising — they deliver, too. Readers want products that give definitive results: that, when it comes to make-up, don’t need touching up (so they can keep their hands away from their face); and, in skincare, are fixes that really work.
Inspire’s beauty editor
It’s lovely to see inexpensive and accessible products, such as Nivea night cream, being recognised in this year’s awards. I think that’s a reflection of people being careful about how they’re spending their money, but also that for many shielding at home, their supermarket deliveries were the way that they were buying beauty products this year.
Millie Kendall MBE
CEO at the British Beauty Council
The winners this year are products that place an emphasis on wellness and self-care. If you look at the names, the words that describe the products are so uplifting: there’s nothing that plays on our insecurities or suggests we need to fix ourselves. Everything looks to me as if it has that feelgood factor to it, which is what we’ve needed this year.
Founder of charity Beauty Banks
The award results were fascinating — a reflection of the fact that when it comes to our favourites, we go for brands we trust and can afford. It was great to see some of my favourite products in there, but also some I hadn’t come across. I love the sound of L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Creams, so they’re on my list.
Little wonder this has given rise to a ‘Zoom boom’ in requests for cosmetic surgery and ‘tweakments’, with some surgeries seeing a five-fold rise in enquiries this year.
One of the first calls I made after the initial lockdown lifted was to Dr Wassim Taktouk for some ’emergency’ repairs to the old mug. No one wields a needle with such elegance and artistry as Dr Wassim.
And how many of us appreciated quite how much we loved our hairdressers (and, in my case, the lady who tames my eyebrows) before lockdown forced us back into the grooming Dark Ages?
My hairdresser, Lucinda Ellery, who treats women with hair loss, had some clients who were in tears at the state of their tresses. And George Northwood, snipper to stars such as Claudia Winkleman, Alexa Chung and the Duchess of Cambridge, saw his salon mobbed at the end of lockdown.
But then, there is not a business or person on this planet who has not been, in some way, affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In every sector there have been winners and losers — and the beauty industry has been no exception.
Lipstick sales, for example, have tanked thanks to the wearing of face masks. It’s not just that there’s not much point, it’s also that there is something unsavoury about leaving lipstick marks on the inside of your face covering. Which explains why it was the stay-put matte rather than gloss Mac lipsticks which won your vote in the Daily Mail Inspire Beauty Awards 2020.
The perfume market, too, has declined — hence the lack of a Best Perfume category for 2020 — thanks in large part to people working from home. Seems we don’t much care about smelling nice when there’s no one but the dog to notice.
Indeed, going-out grooming has suffered across the board, with Unilever (which owns a host of household brands including Radox and Lynx) reporting a notable slump in sales of hair and shaving products. Even deodorant sales have slowed.
One area that’s seen significant growth, though, is skincare — in particular line-fillers and serums.
Even with the now mythical ‘touch up my appearance’ function on Zoom permanently set to ‘on’, many people find the camera on their computer or smartphone distressingly hi-res. No wonder the Korres White Pine Meno-Reverse Deep Wrinkle Plumping + Age Spot Concentrate, which works miracles on menopausal fine lines, got your vote.
All those blemishes suddenly demand action, and with so much more time at home in the evenings, complex skincare routines and treatments that previously would have got in the way of a normal social life now seem like a worthwhile way to while away the hours. After all, what else is there to do other than pop on a Liz Earle mask while you’re watching Escape To The Chateau and drinking quarantinis?
Indeed, the whole Instagram aesthetic of flawless skin coupled with perfect camera angles seems to have brought us all out in a fit of the Kardashians, with contour tools, brushes, foundations and concealers doing a roaring trade. The lightweight Clinique Even Better All-Over Concealer + Eraser, which is humidity-resistant, is one of your favourites; while the super-moisturising L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Cream scooped Best foundation.
And with influencer e-brands such as Il Makiage (which has an almost freakishly accurate algorithm for determining the exact match to your skin tone) stepping up its game, we’re no longer as shy about purchasing cosmetics online as we were even a year ago.
At-home beauty tools have done well, too, from massage wands to hair removal gadgets. Inexpensive and effective, the £8.95 Hollywood Browzer, which gives a sharp trimmed look to brows and gets rid of excess hair on your chin or upper lip, proved a hit.
Top of every woman’s Christmas list was Urban Decay’s Naked Heat eyeshadow palette (pictured far right)
Thanks to face masks, eyes have taken on an extra dimension, with women looking to ‘intensify’ their gaze with long lashes and standout colours.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Volume On Demand Waterproof Mascara won Best Mascara in our awards, while crease-free eyeshadows flew off the shelves.
And top of every woman’s Christmas list? Urban Decay’s Naked Heat eyeshadow palette.
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