Here Are the Winners of the Real Simple Smart Beauty Awards 2021

We tested hundreds of products—brand new and tried-and-true—to find these 30 winners.

Photo: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

In Your Purse

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick

Treat your lips to this stay-put formula that's so good, it brought longtime gloss wearers over to Team Lipstick. Created by British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, its square tip mimics the shape of a lip brush, so you can apply with precision even if you don't have a steady hand. It comes in more than 30 stunning shades (our favorites are the berry rose, cherry red, pink coral, and taupe) and delivers lasting color without drying, flaking, or feathering. The chef's kiss: Luminous pigments give the illusion of a fuller (but not fake) pout. ($34,

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer Spray

Yes, it kills 99.9 percent of most common germs, but we really love how its fresh, herbal smell transports us to a day at the spa. With eucalyptus oil to clear our mind and spearmint oil to soothe and uplift our mood, this lightweight spray leaves hands feeling clean, soft, and fragranced. Perfect for your bag, center console...or anywhere really. ($6.50, Bath & Body Works)

Clairol Root Touch Up Temporary Root Powder

Clairol Root Touch Up Temporary Root Powder

Picture it: It's photo day at work and you find a touch of gray on top, but it's days (or weeks) away from your next appointment. No worries, because you have Clairol Temporary Root Touch-Up Concealing Powder in your purse. Select one of four shades to cover gray on the go. It blends in quickly and washes out with shampoo. Say "cheese"! ($10,

In the Shower

joy razor

Joy Razor

Shaving doesn't have to be a drag. This razor's nonslip silicone handle makes playing pick-up sticks on the shower floor a thing of the past. The lubricated rubber head has five blades that glide over armpits and the backs of knees with ease, leaving them free of burns and bumps. Not great at replacing your blades? Schedule a subscription based on how often you shave. Our tester finally stopped stealing her husband's razor. You're welcome, Mister. ($9,

dove bodywash

Dove Instant Foaming Body Wash

With a whopping 250 pumps per bottle (talk about family-friendly!), this cloud-like foam gets rid of gunk and makes skin silky soft. Since it comes out frothy, there's no need to work up a lather with a pouf or loofah—your own two palms are perfect. It rinses away cleanly and quickly, with no residue or film. And in a pinch, it doubles as shaving foam. The lipids and moisturizers work so well that even on days we skipped body lotion, our skin didn't feel tight. ($7,

herbal essences hair mask

Herbal Essences Argan Oil & Aloe Vera Sulfate-Free Hair Mask

This tropical-scented hair mask transports us on a nano-vacation to Hawaii (flower crown not included). But the perks go beyond aromatherapy: The sustainably sourced aloe and other botanicals deep-condition parched strands, and argan oil helps reverse hair sins (Hi, flatiron. We see you, bleach.) It made one tester's semi-fried strands look and feel more lifelike. Even more impressive, it didn't weigh down another tester's fine hair. ($7,

curel moisturizer

Curél Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer

The beef with body lotion is waiting for it to dry before getting dressed or hopping into bed. Not so with this pick, which lives in the shower. After normal sudsing, turn off the water and then massage the cream all over your skin while enjoying your warm, steamy bathroom. Wet skin absorbs moisture best, so your skin is already winning. Ceramides, shea butter, and eucalyptus leaf extract sink in with no greasy residue, so you can jump into jeans without a fight. Towel off (it doesn't stain), and go through your day with baby-soft, slightly sheeny skin. ($11,

ogx biotin shampoo and conditioner

OGX Extra Strength Biotin & Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner

Consider these bottles as personal trainers for your tresses: With hydrolyzed wheat proteins to help strengthen, they add volume to even the skinniest strands. After one wash, a tester described her hair as noticeably fuller. Another tester, who was experiencing postpartum thinning, said it amped up her crown as well as her confidence, just when she needed it most. ($10,

In the Medicine Cabinet

Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer with Vitamin B3, Fragrance Free

Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Moisturizer

Collagen is a superstar at smoothing, plumping, and firming. Unfortunately, most topical treatments contain molecules too large to penetrate skin. This jar, however, packs peptides that permeate the skin's surface to trigger natural collagen production. Its luscious formula is rounded out with vitamin B3, glycerin, and snow mushroom extract. After just a month, our tester was no longer distraught about her Botox wearing off. ($35,

Secret essential oils

Secret Essential Oil Deodorant

Of course, you want a product that keeps underarms dry and smelling fresh—and this one does that, for an impressive 48 hours (without leaving streaks on black tanks or bras). It also elevates the mundane morning ritual of swiping on a stick: One tester described it as a "spa in my pits," thanks to the gentle fragrance that complemented, rather than competed with, her perfume. ($8,

clarins eye lift

Clarins Total Eye Lift

Apply this silky, sheer formula with a few gentle taps of your ring finger and your skin will look brighter, and you'll look like you actually got some sleep. Brow-raising bonuses: The balm doesn't pill under makeup, and the 94-percent plant-based ingredients and recycle-ready glass jar are as easy on the earth as they are on your eyes. ($89,

living proof curl moisturizing shine oil

Living Proof Curl Moisturizing Shine Oil

Our testers had various curl types (from 2A to 4C), but they agreed this citrus-scented dry oil is the ticket to better hair days. This silicone-free blend mimics natural oils, so it absorbs into your hair shaft rather than just sitting on top of it. It smoothed, softened, and increased shine—all without weighing down spirals. Use it on wet hair before styling, on dry hair as a finisher, or (our fave) as a five-minute pre-shampoo treatment. ($30,

estee lauder advanced night repair

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Multi Recovery Complex

When it comes to skin-care steps, we like to skip (that is, curate and streamline) as many as possible. That's why this one-and-done serum is such a worthy splurge. It brightens tone, evens texture, smooths lines, hydrates parched patches, and even revs up radiance. You can wear it at night (as the name suggests), but it also works as a daytime staple, protecting your complexion from blue light, pollution, and dust particles. Our adult acne-prone tester was thrilled to find a lightweight, non-greasy anti-ager that reduced lines without triggering zits. ($79,

ouai finishing creme

Ouai Finishing Crème

The first thing to catch our attention was the sexy, sophisticated fragrance of violet, gardenia, ylang-ylang, and white musk. But this hair cream's versatility—it replaced four bottles in our bathroom—made it a true winner. We used it to prevent singeing before blow-drying (thanks to hydrolyzed keratin and vegetable protein), add shine on air-dry days, nix flyaways and static, and, in heavier helpings, put zing in curls. Oh, also? It prolongs color by sealing in dye and blocking UV rays. It's basically a Swiss army knife for your strands. ($24,

supergoop sunscreen

Supergoop Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40

This cute, sunshine-hued bottle combines two of the most important products for youthful-looking skin: sunscreen, to ward off lines and dark spots, and vitamin C (an impressive 14 percent), to smooth and brighten existing imperfections. Our testers loved the supple texture, fresh aroma, and clever airless pump that minimizes waste. ($46,

On Your Vanity

Lawless Beauty The Little One Eyeshadow Palette

Lawless Beauty The Little One Eyes Shadow Palette

This palette proves that basic neutrals are anything but boring. Its velvety matte and metallic shadows pack impressive pigment, don't crease (even after a full day on oily lids), and can be mixed and matched for endless options. Use them as primers or liners, apply dry for a smudgy look or wet for a precise one…we could keep the ideas going all day! The short course: It's the most practical palette on the planet. ($25,


It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare

It's a rare occasion when all three of our beauty editors (of varying ages and skin types) agree on the best foundation, and this was a clean sweep. The liquid covers dark circles, redness, zits, and sunspots like a second skin, without looking cakey. And the 40 shades mean you won't stress about having a ring around your neck (bless). Its nourishing skin-care ingredients—hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and aloe vera—made our skin look smoother even after we washed off the foundation. ($44,

air volume mascara

L'Oréal Paris Air Volume Mega Mascara

Most volumizing mascaras make lashes stand up. The problem: Lashes don't stay up, since they tend to droop under the weight of the product. So cosmetic chemists crafted this airy formula that boosts lashes and keeps the flutter flyin' high (until you want to lower it—it washes off easily and completely). Get this: One tester was asked if she was wearing lash extensions. ($15,


Maybelline New York Brow Precise Micro Pencil

Powders, gels, pomades, tinting, and even microblading—we've spent all the money and tried all the buzziest brow treatments on our quest for golden arches. And maybe the joke is on us, because the best results came from the simplest tool: this pencil with an itty-bitty tip (1.5 millimeters) and a spoolie to blend and fluff. In seven shades, it lets you mimic realistic hair strokes. Whether you need a little or a lot of filling in, your brows look like yours—only better. ($9,

rare beauty

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer

Arguably our desert island product, this hydrating liquid concealer (in 48 shades) covers those subterranean hormonal chin zits and sleep-deprivation raccoon eyes like a champ. One tester loved how the angled doefoot applicator reached tricky areas, like her blue-tinged inner eye corners. We've spent years spackling on thick putties, but it turns out creamy liquids are the secret to looking fresh and well rested—no ring light required. ($19,

fenty beauty

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush

Give your skin a lit-from-within glow with the most believable, blendable blush to ever grace our cheeks. It's pigmented enough not to disappear by lunch, yet soft enough to never look clownish. And unlike powders, which can settle into fine lines, this bouncy cream melts into skin for a dewy, watercolor-like wash. Pick from 10 hues (one or two for every skin tone), ditch the brush, and just use your fingers. One tester put the leftover on her lids and lips for a full face in a flash. ($22,

On Your Nightstand

neutrogena rapid wrinkle repair

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil

Ask any dermatologist for their top anti-aging recommendation (after sunscreen), and they'll shout "Retinol!" until the cows come home. But to reap its wrinkle-releasing benefits, you have to deal with some downers (redness, peeling, and stinging), which made our seasoned beauty director steer clear of it for years—until now. This hero packs 0.3-percent retinol complex in a lightweight, nourishing oil to help mitigate those annoying side effects. Massage a few drops into clean skin morning and night, then top it with moisturizer. If you want to bypass needles, this is your best bet. ($42,

tph overnight mask

TPH by Taraji After Dark Overnight Mask

We know Taraji P. Henson as an actor (Empire, anyone?), but during college, she made a name for herself doing wet roller sets on her classmates. Her passion for hair didn't stop there—she's launched a line of 18 products, including this mask enriched with grapeseed oil, mango seed butter, and horsetail extract. A tester raked it through clean, damp hair before bed, and then wore a bonnet to protect her pillowcase. After shampooing in the a.m., she reported happier, more hydrated hair. Not into night care? Apply it just as you would a regular hair mask for a quick rehab. TPH, ILY! ($15,

sally hansen nail mask

Sally Hansen Spa Collection Peel-Off Nail Mask in Hydrate

Sanitizing and handwashing take a toll on our tips. (Show us your spirit fingers for ragged cuticles and gnarly nail beds!) This sponge-tipped tube comes to the rescue, softening and smoothing with hyaluronic acid. Squeeze a dab onto each nail and massage in, and then multitask for 15 minutes—unlike with bulky spa gloves, you can still do things. (Go ahead, text and type!) Peel off as you would a face mask, and rinse to reveal a nail makeover. A tester who used it on bare nails and polished ones said it spiffed them right up, making her feel pleasingly pampering. ($8,

summer fridays lip butter

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Lip balms are a dime a dozen, but we consider ourselves connoisseurs. With shea and murumuru seed butters, vegan waxes, and a natural vanilla flavor, this balm-mask hybrid is our new go-to. It acts as a plumping gloss, but there's no buzzkill tingle. One tester slathered it on before bed and, even in the dead of winter, woke to a pillowy pout. Another used it throughout the day for a healthy sheen: It's not sticky or goopy, she noted, and her lips felt supple for hours. ($23,

renee rouleau anti-bump

Renée Rouleau Anti Bump Solution

Oh, pimples, how we loathe you. While there's no magic wand for clear skin, this bottle makes the bumps in the road—and on your face—more manageable, whether your breakouts are bacterial or hormonal (or a bit of both). This potent serum reduces the look of surface blemishes, and activates under the skin for those oh-so painful cystic honkers. Lactic acid cleans pores and citric acid reduces inflammation, but the key ingredient is methyl gluceth, which gently exfoliates to prevent discoloration and scarring—because acne aftermath is often worse than the bump itself. Our tester loved that it doesn't dry-out skin. Plus, it's clear and colorless, so you can wear it under makeup. ($49.50,

Beside the Sink

in beauty

InnBeauty Project Down to Tone Exfoliating Toner

Boy, have toners gotten a glow-up since those burning, 200-proof astringents of our adolescence. This alcohol-free liquid has six acids to dissolve blackheads, sugarcane and bilberry extract to brighten, and niacinamide to hydrate. The results rival those of a professional peel. Before bed, pat on a loaded cotton round, and then follow with moisturizer. Our tester reported no scent, a subtle tingle, and reduced acne in under a month. ($25,

Oral B iO Series 9 Electric Toothbrush

Oral B iO Series 9 Electric Toothbrush

This splurge feels like bringing the dentist to your doorstep. Seven years in the making, it combines gentle vibrations with a dentist-inspired oscillating round brush, so you feel like you're getting a pro cleaning every day. Our overly enthusiastic (Virgo) tester especially liked the pressure sensor, which prevents you from brushing too hard, and the brush-coaching app that alerts you to neglected areas. ($300,

hello toothpaste

Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Made with zesty peppermint to freshen, tea tree oil to tame bad breath, and coconut oil to moisturize your mouth, this fluoride formula strengthens enamel and brightens your smile. It has the American Dental Association seal of approval—and doesn't have sulfates, peroxide, triclosan, or dyes. Our tester said that of the tons of all-natural pastes she's tried, this one gave her the cleanest feeling. Her dentist said this was his fave, too. ($14,

Labor Day editor's picks

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

Most cleansers are good at getting rid of dirt, but finding one that does so without disrupting the skin barrier—the secret to healthy skin—is a high hurdle. That's why CeraVe's mild, simple washes have become so popular. This fragrance-free foam uses ceramides, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid to protect the barrier and reduce water loss. Our tester was pleasantly surprised when it removed a full face of makeup, mascara included, yet left her skin soft. She compared it to a double cleanse in one step. ($16.50,

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