2020, and the global pandemic that shaped it, affected every possible industry in different ways. For beauty, while skincare and wellness products saw a serious uptick, questions about when — if ever — we'd wear a full face of makeup again began to swirl almost immediately. Thanks to masks, wearing lipstick has been seemingly unnecessary; wearing makeup in general to go nowhere and do nothing has felt the same.
On the flip side, however, millions of people have used this time to simply recalibrate their relationship with beauty — whether that meant leaning into the space and its products as an escape and new artful hobby, or trying the latest launches to help streamline their own routine. Whatever it is, the industry delivered, welcoming hundreds upon hundreds of new products that added both fantasy and ease into routines anywhere.
From second-skin tinted moisturizers and dewy cream bronzer to Byredo's whimsical color cosmetics debut and the Glossier equivalent of of eyelash extensions, this year's biggest makeup launches defined the many moments, feelings, and phases that beauty lovers went through in 2020.
Ahead, check out the NYLON beauty team's favorite makeup releases.
We only include products that have been independently selected by NYLON's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Saie Slip Tint
As someone who wants the payoff and blur of a foundation without actually having to put something heavy, drippy, and/or sticky all over my face, Saie's Slip Tint is one of the best options on the market today. It delivers that dewy, your skin but better even coverage, without drying out the skin or transferring easily to my clothes. — Tanisha Pina, Beauty Editor.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Kosas The Big Clean Mascara
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Juvia's Place Lip Reflect Gloss
Chocolate brown lips have been the nude go-to look all year if you ask me, and Juvia’s Place latest gloss formula gives the right amount of color—that’ll show on even the darkest skin tones, with all of the juiciness of a lip gloss. — Jacquelyn Greenfield, Beauty Writer.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: The Lip Bar Caffeine Concealer
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Fenty Beauty Brow MVP Wax Pencil & Styler
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Haus Labs Eye-Dentify Gel Pencil Eyeliner
Finally achieve your dreams of the perfect lined look with these creamy, gel pencils. Unlike other cream-based liners, this formula is super soft and blendable on the eye, making it easy to create looks without making mistakes or smudging. — Lauren Rearick, Beauty Writer.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Tower28 Bronzino
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Loveseen Eyelashes
*The* Jenna Lyons reintroduced herself in the style space this year with her debut beauty brand, Loveseen, which launched with the hope of simplifying and reimagining the false eyelash category. With her co-creator, makeup artist Troi Ollivierre, Lyons managed to do just that, offering a different story and aesthetic options for consumers, from natural-looking styles to an easier, mess-free application process.Tanisha Pina, Beauty Editor.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Supergoop! CC Screen CC Cream
This could work as a skincare product but this was my go-to “foundation” for the summer and even now from time to time. The color correcting properties with apple extract helped conceal the bit of hyperpigmentation on my face while doing what was most important—protecting my skin from UV rays. — Jacquelyn Greenfield, Beauty Writer.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Rare Beauty Lip Souffle Matte Cream Lipstick
A product featured in the debut of Selena Gomez’s makeup line, this pigment-packed color goes on super easy and comes with staying power. While matte formulas can sometimes feel heavy or dry out the lips, this particular variation is soft and feels weightless. — Lauren Rearick, Beauty Writer.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Colourpop x Sailor Moon Palette
Unfortunately, the Sailor Scouts appear to be full up with members, but this palette, in all its colorful and glittery glory, can get you a bit closer to a Sailor Moon-approved look. The color and glitter come without too much powder kickback, and when applied, the color sticks around, and looks great combined with other shades in the palette. — Lauren Rearick, Beauty Writer.
BEST MAKEUP LAUNCHES OF 2020: Byredo Colour Stick
A standout in Byredo’s cosmetics debut, the multi-use colour stick offers the ability for anyone — with any skill level — to add an easy, quick dose of magic and glitter to their look. It comes in over 15 cool, metallic, and buildable shades that can be used quite literally all over your face, from the eyes, lips, cheeks, and even as a highlight. — Tanisha Pina, Beauty Editor.