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A few weeks back, I asked you wonderful lot to vote on everything from your most overrated beauty brand of 2020 to the best affordable skincare on the market to your favourite influencers in the game, and today it's time to reveal the results and also to announce the giveaway winner, because there was a £40 Beauty Bay voucher up for grabs to one lucky participant. The people have spoken, keep reading to find out what they said...


The winner of the giveaway is Molly Siobhan Parker! Congratulations and enjoy your voucher (the winner has been contacted by email.)


You said: Fenty Beauty / Fenty Skin

By an absolute landslide you crowned Fenty as your favourite celebrity skincare brand of the year. Fenty Beauty launched around about three years ago now, famously with a huge range of foundations from the get go. They continued on with their winning streak over the following years, dropping setting powders, concealers, a hydrating foundation formula and cream cheek products more recently. 2020 saw the brand move into the skincare space, which was a pretty smart thing to do right now, and they launched a capsule collection for streamlined routine, which I reviewed here.

Image credit: kendobrands.com

I say...

I can't deny that 2020 has continued to be the year of Rihanna making waves! So, I'm going to agree with you but also say that I've been pretty impressed with the current crop of celebrity beauty brands; there are products I enjoy from Fenty, there are products I enjoy from Kora Organics (Miranda Kerr) and there are products I enjoy from Honest Beauty (Jessica Alba). I personally see the celebrity beauty brand space as a very different beast to what it was 10 years ago; by and large the days of cash grabs and slapping a famous name onto any old rubbish are gone. Rihanna, along with many of her peers, really does seem to have a vision for her brand, she appears to be very involved in the product development process and truly does have the passion for beauty. If she didn't, us total beauty junkies wouldn't smelled it a mile off and we wouldn't be buying up everything Fenty puts out several years down the line.


You said: glitter in skincare

I know skincare is meant to be fun, but it's one thing mixing together pretty benign ingredients in your kitchen to make a yoghurt, honey and avocado mask (sure; it's probably not hugely beneficial for the skin in this unrefined form, but you're not causing yourself harm, unless you start adding in lemon and apple cider vinegar...) and another to make a product with little or no benefit to the skin, that could actually be damaging and then charge a premium for it. GlamGlow charge £55 for this nonsense peel-off mask. £55!!! What for? To take a couple of selfies with before it ends up at the back of a cupboard somewhere because it isn't actually doing anything? Apparently it'll give you 'sexy skin'. I just don't know anyone other than teenagers on TikTok who would buy this. Sorry, that was very angry but I just think this is a silly trend; glitter has the potential to irritate your skin and I can't find any information regarding this on the GlamGlow mask but you can bet that none of the cheap imitations use biodegradable glitter. Nasty, wasteful, gimmicky nonsense! This one got me riled, so I can see why you voted for it by a landslide...

Image via: elle.com

I say...

I'm actually going to go with something a little more pervasive as my choice: 'clean' beauty. I won't repeat myself here, because I've already written an entire post on the topic. I just think that scaremongering over ingredients we know are safe in the way they are used within skincare formulation perpetuates misinformation. The 'clean' myth has really propagated this year, thanks to Sephora's 'clean promise' and I personally don't think you should buy a skincare product because the brand has scared you about someone else's formulations. It's a marketing tool and one based on fear. I am personally against all marketing that derives from negative emotions like shame, fear and disgust; chewing gum with adverts of a kiss ruined by someone's disgusting breath, hair removal adverts that try to make you feel horror at the fact you're a mammal... You get the idea; I'm just not into it and 'clean' beauty marketing has spread a lot of misinformation this year.


You said: science-driven skincare

This can be seen as the flip side of the 'clean beauty' trend; as many of us wake up to these tactics and start doing our own research on skincare ingredients, there's been a real growth in interest around skincare science. Of course, reading the ingredient list doesn't tell you everything you need to know about a product and we aren't all suddenly cosmetic formulators, but it's great that brands are so much more transparent these days about what's in their products. As much as skincare is about self care; sometimes you want to see those results and these brands put that power in our hands, no matter what our budget is. I really appreciate brands that have an educational approach towards this, in particular, so we can learn from them and ask whatever questions we might have.

Images via: cultbeauty.com

I say...

I totally agree with you all! But a close second in the vote that I thought was worth mentioning is sunscreen for all skin tones. So many of us have been raised to believe that thick, heavy, silvery-blue sunscreens are 'just the way it is' and I definitely felt the overarching assumption was that 'dark-skinned people don't need sunscreen anyway'. 2020 totally flipped that on its head and got us all talking about how important sunscreen is for everyone, all year round. With this came an obvious demand for sunscreens to be formulated so they work for everyone. I think in the mineral department we're still 'working on it' but there have been some fantastic options coming to market this year, including Fenty's formula. I look forward to seeing what 2021 holds in this regard.


You said: Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant has been skating on thin ice for quite some time now, but their tone-deaf response to the Black Lives Matter movement was perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back. Initially, there was their focus on avoiding the 'suspicious six' which plays into that 'clean beauty' narrative. Personally, I don't avoid all brands that position themselves in this way, but I do make it clear that not formulating with these ingredients doesn't make them superior to everyone else or safer for your skin. The next thing they did was be really quite rude to any customer experiencing any issue with their products; telling them they were wrong or doing something incorrectly, instead of using that feedback to inform their formulations and ultimately become better. Then some stuff emerged around them removing influencers from their PR list, some of whom had been their biggest champions, because they spoke negatively about, like, one product out of the past 10 they'd sent out. Petty much?

Image via: allure.com

I say...

I have to agree; it takes a lot for me to say 'f*** this brand', but congrats, Drunk Elephant: you achieved it! For me; they're just tone deaf. As an influencer and as a consumer, I appreciate being listened to. Whether that's 'hey, please can you provide a better contribution towards the conversation on this issue?' or 'when I used this product, I experienced some irritation - please could you look into this?' They just don't care, they don't want to listen, they're always right and I just find it so off-putting. In my experience; their products are good and I'll use up what I have from them but I won't be purchasing from them or talking about their products on my channels unless we see some growth from them. It's kind of hard to grow when you're always right, though...


You said: the Ordinary

This category has changed slightly (it was previously 'favourite skincare brand') but the Ordinary fought off competition from the Inkey List to take the crown for the 3rd year running. It's not difficult to see why this affordable Deciem brand has endured in popularity. A cleanser for a fiver? Yes please! Exfoliating treatments for under a tenner? I'll take one of each! I think there are many within the beauty community who almost take the Ordinary for granted; you might prefer another brand these days (though many obviously don't, based on the poll), and that's ok, but none of the brands that came afterwards could've existed if the Ordinary hadn't carved out that path.

Image via: cultbeauty.com

I say...

Because this is about 2020 in beauty; I'm actually going to give my vote to the Inkey List. I personally only got into their products about this time last year, whereas I've been using the Ordinary since their initial launch, so I guess they've just made a bigger impact on my skincare routine this year (if you're interested, I did a full Ordinary vs. Inkey post a couple of months back). There's some overlap between the brands, but I honestly do enjoy them for different reasons. I find that the Inkey List has a smaller product range but I do have a higher success rate with them, so it's really swings and roundabouts, but I find Inkey's formulas to be effective and to have great formulations that are pleasant to use.


You said: Fenty Skin

I definitely wasn't surprised to see Fenty crowned your favourite skincare brand of 2020; whatever Rihanna does is big so of course the launch of Fenty Skin was one of the most anticipated launches of the year. And, it seems like the end products delivered for you all, given the number of votes it secured. 

Image via: fentybeauty.com

I say...

There were a number of really fantastic brands that launched towards the end of 2019 and during 2020, though most of them were a little more under-the-radar than Fenty! My personal favourite new launch was PSA Skin, which I reviewed here. This is the more affordable sister brand of Allies of Skin, whose average product price is around £85, so you're getting a lot of similar ingredients and the same 'capsule' concept with PSA. They're creating fantastic formulas at a mid-range price that have made a real, visible difference to my skin and I honestly can't sing their praises enough.


You said: niacinamide

I really do think 2020 was the year of niacinamide, it feels like, so I'm not surprised it was the landslide winner in the 'favourite skincare ingredient discovery' category. Niacinamide is something that work for just about any skin type; if you're more dry and sensitive, it can help repair the skin barrier and improve water retention in the skin, as well as reducing redness and inflammation, however it also has the ability to regulate oil production in the skin and (as a long-term part of your skincare routine) really help with spot-prone skin. You can check out reviews I've done of products containing niacinamide here.

Image via: harpersbazaar.com

I say...

I've been using niacinamide for years, so it wasn't a new discovery for me in 2020. However, PHAs really turned my head this year. Polyhydroxy acids are a gentle, hydrating alternatives to BHAs and AHAs that still really smooth the skin. They cause me zero irritation, even when my skin is dry and sensitive. They work primarily on a surface level, but as someone more prone to dryness than to oiliness; that suits me! They also play really well with other active skincare you might want to use in your routine. Check out my reviews of products containing PHAs here.


You said: Dr. Barbara Sturm

This brand seems to get everyone's blood boiling every year! Dr. Barbara Sturm is a favourite of celebrities and a regular feature on those Harper's Bazaar Go to Bed with Me routines, but celebrities experience a very different reality to us muggles. I'm sure that if a product works for them and is widely recommended, they use it and they like it; they're going to buy it regardless of the price. For the rest of us; there's not really anything about these products that makes them worth the money. I don't care how refined the molecules are, I don't care about which opera singer sang to the algae in a face cream as it grew, I don't care how many supermodels use it; you can get excellent skincare, even luxury skincare for a lot less than this.

Image via: cultbeauty.com

I say...

On the whole, I am inclined to agree. I've tried the sunscreen from this brand and it's fantastic, and I'll use it up, but I have tried products just as good and just as effective for 1/10th of the price. I just don't think that on any level Dr. Barbara Sturm could be worth the price for me. Another brand that secured a fair few votes and I'm on the fence about is Allies of Skin; their products are also very expensive, so set your expectations at a high level from the get-go. I actually won a number of their products in a giveaway, so I'll update you with my final opinion once I've given them a good go.


You said: Caroline Hirons

Come on, who else was it going to be?! Caroline Hirons, HRH of Skincare, honestly helped me through the first lockdown with her Instagram Lives, she also launched her fantastic book Skincare in 2020. She makes us laugh, she says it how it is and she gives fantastic skincare advice. She's one of those people whose authenticity truly comes through in every aspect of her skincare reviews and advice, so she really has the trust of the community. It's worth noting that Lisa Eldridge and James Welsh also got a high number of votes (with Hyram and Dr Dray following them) but Caroline by a landslide (thanks, as always, to those who nominated me!)

Image via: image.ie

I say...

I have to agree with you; it's so hard to know who you can trust in the skincare world, but Caroline has been around for ages now and she hasn't let us down yet! Another creator who really stood out to me this year and imparted some incredible knowledge to us all is Lab Muffin Beauty Science; I've been so much more into the science of skincare this year and Michelle really breaks it down in a way any of us can understand!


To round things off, I thought we'd take a look back at what I predicted would happen in 2020 this time last year (check out the post here).

1. Even more budget active skincare

I definitely feel this came true! The Ordinary has only gone from strength to strength over the past year so we've really seen everyone getting on the bandwagon including Boots and Superdrug. 

2. Simple and easy products

I think multitaskers and capsule skincare lines have been at the forefront of new skincare brands like Fenty Skin by Rihanna and Humanrace by Pharrell Williams. I also touched on makeup-skincare hybrids in my predictions for 2021 and some of the complexion product releases we've seen this year really fit in with that idea.

3. Sustainable packaging

As I discussed in my 2021 predictions, I feel like this has gone more down the re-fillable route with brands like Fenty Skin and Humanrace offering these options. The innovation hasn't really happened as quickly as I'd expected, but perhaps it will leap forwards in the forthcoming year.

4. Pay to play

This was a prediction that subscription services like Beauty Pie would start cropping up everywhere and that hasn't really happened. The subscription model has gone more down the route of 'subscribe and save', which is offered on many beauty products and for personalised beauty available on subscription (primarily for hair but I do see some skincare options out there now).

5. Inclusivity beyond foundation

I intended this more in the space of makeup, but I actually think we've seen it more in the skincare sphere with products specifically formulated for skin of colour, sunscreens with no white cast and so on.

6. A move away from the big players

I can't actually think of many 'big' brands that have really dominated in 2020 besides Fenty, so I guess this has come true! We've not seen MAC, Urban Decay or any of those big, conglomerates make a comeback in 2020. It's primarily been the year of indie brands.

7. Globalisation

This was a prediction that borders would continue to become less of an issue when it comes to getting beauty products and I think it has; Fenty Skin just launched in Boots and Harvey Nichols and through Shopify most brands ship internationally now. Even the famous Drunk Elephant Baby Facial is coming to Cult Beauty soon!

8. The downfall of traditional drugstore brands

I don't feel we've heard a lot from the drugstore brands this year and their in-store model hasn't helped in their success during a global pandemic. I guess I just don't see a lot of exciting new stuff from these brands or innovation that puts them ahead of a brand like ColourPop, which can offer affordable products that are high-quality and on-trend.

Thank you so much to everyone who took part in this vote! Let me know your thoughts on the vote; did any of these winners surprise you?

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Read more posts from this series here


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