Australian makeup artist Rob Povey shares the best beauty releases of 2020



Recommendations from someone who really knows their products.

2020 has undoubtedly changed the landscape for most industries, and the beauty business is no different. As a working makeup artist myself, the pandemic has in many ways altered how I’ll have to approach my profession going forward – and for much of the year, it prevented me from performing my job altogether, as I literally touch people’s faces for a living!

For general consumers and makeup users, however, the market has also changed. In the wake of wearing masks for so much of the past year (and likely still for a good portion of the foreseeable future), many people began ditching the maquillage and opting for a more fuss-free visage.

I firmly believe this mass movement towards a more natural and carefree look will create a huge push over the coming year for a more minimal approach overall, with less emphasis on the heavy and dated Instagram-filtered style of makeup and a greater focus on a ‘skin-first’ beauty philosophy with subtler adornments for accents of impact.

As many were significantly impacted by the recession, I think we’ll also be a lot more discerning about where we direct our dollars. So with the holiday and gift-giving season approaching, as well as just a general desire to treat ourselves for surviving a tumultuous year, here’s a succinct guide of when to justify the splurges and where to direct your precious dollars from a professional makeup artist – and a fellow dedicated beauty aficionado!

Mac Fix+ Magic Radiance

RRP: $44
Where to get it: Mac Cosmetics, Mecca Maxima, David Jones and Myer

Ask literally any makeup artist and they will tell you this stuff is holy water (and has been for over a decade). This year we got a revamp with a new formulation added to the Fix+ line, inspired by the backstage concocting done by MAC Artists at fashion week. Mist the spray to hydrate and soothe skin while prepping the base, saturate your beauty blender with it to help foundation apply even more seamlessly and set and refresh makeup throughout the day while imparting a dewy glow thanks to hyaluronic acid and essential oils. You can even use it to intensify and activate loose colour pigments for high-impact eye looks – I honestly use it in every makeup I do.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner


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RRP: $54
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica and Maxima

2020 has taken a toll on us all mentally, but it’s also given many of us some thoroughly mediocre skin. Whether it was the lack of routine, less considered dietary choices, general displacement, or even the dreaded maskne, our faces reflect so much of what is going on on the inside. Thankfully, Glow Recipe is here to exfoliate and decongest our complexions with this fabulously gentle toner, packed with effective acids (a natural BHA + PHA) to unclog the pores, while the hyaluronic acid, cactus water and watermelon extract deliver deep hydration and nourish the skin.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Multi-Recovery Complex


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RRP: $110
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica and Maxima, Sephora, David Jones and Myer

A staple of the Estee Lauder skincare stable for years, this year saw the launch of a next-generation take on the classic Advanced Night Repair Complex. The fast-penetrating serum works to fight environmental aggressors and free radicals while its patented complex helps increase the skin’s natural ability to self-repair and boosts its natural production of collagen. The oil-free formula delivers long-lasting hydration, improves skin tone and texture, and leaves skin looking radiant while plumping, firming and nourishing overnight.

Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF50+


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RRP: $45
Where to get it: Sephora and Adore Beauty

All that time indoors in 2020 might have made you lax on the sunscreening, but with increased relaxing of restrictions – and those intense Australian summer rays just around the corner – now is not the time to drop the ball on SPF. The latest addition to Ultra Violette’s already exemplary sun protection portfolio, Lean Screen SPF50+, won’t leave skin feeling sticky or heavy and the subtlest of tints ensures no white cast is left behind. Zinc oxide protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays while also working as a soothing anti-inflammatory to easily-irritated and sensitive skin types and leaves a subtle matte finish in its wake. It’s perfect for those that favour a fragrance-free, physical mineral sunscreen.

Giorgio Armani Neo Nude Foundation


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RRP: $68
Where to get it: David Jones and Myer

As a staunch stan of the ‘no-makeup’ makeup aesthetic, I am always on the market for the next ‘your-skin-but-better’ holy grail. Giorgio Armani, already synonymous with sensational skin courtesy of its legendary Luminous Silk Foundation, has come to the table with a new offering, the Neo Nude Foundation, an ultra-lightweight liquid that imparts a healthy-looking natural glow in 24 well-edited shades. Infused with hyaluronic acid and glycerine, the innovative hybrid formulation captures water droplets suspended in an oil emulsion which combine on application to provide intense hydration benefits throughout the day, with a watery sensorial feel and breathable texture.

Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer


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RRP: $45
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica

One of my favourite discoveries of the year and a new personal kit essential, this buildable medium to full coverage Kosas Concealer beautifully balances the delicate act of offering up solid coverage whilst still looking like real skin. Peptides and hyaluronic acid plump up the skin and lock in hydration while caffeine helps to brighten the complexion and impart a glowing finish in this vegan-friendly formulation. True to its name, this super-creamy formula is so blendable that it works well either seamlessly spot-concealing into bare skin or layered over a foundation base. Most importantly, the stellar 16-shade edit encompasses a nicely global spectrum from super fair to very deep.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer

RRP: $50
Where to get it: Sephora

Ever the bastions of diverse representation, Fenty Beauty nailed its Cream Bronzer collection with all complexions covered. After a year of spending little time outside, most of us could do with a bit of a golden glow boost as the summer season kicks off and this lightweight, silky-smooth, sweat-resistant formula is just the ticket. The seven sheer but buildable shades flawlessly mimic a real tan by melting into the skin and delivering a believable bronze tint. As an added bonus, the shade Amber (carried over from the brands existing Match Stix line, but now available as a cream) is the most perfect cool-toned taupe contouring shade you will ever encounter.

Natasha Denona Chromium Liquid Eyeshadow

RRP: $48
Where to get it: Sephora

With masks becoming a part of our daily lives this year, it’s understandable that lipstick took a backseat in 2020 beauty. If a simple eyeliner/mascara combo isn’t doing it for you anymore, these new Natasha Denona Liquid Eyeshadows offer up a metallic multi-chrome look that is quick and easy to apply but with maximal effect. The jelly/mousse formula is so foolproof it can be swept over the lid directly with the doe-foot applicator then blended out with either a fluffy eye brush or even just patting your finger over. To amp up the impact, apply the product instead with a point-tip brush for a unique colour-shifting liquid liner.

Shiseido ArchLiner Ink Stylo Eyeliner Ink


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RRP: $38
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica and Maxima

This ingeniously designed Shiseido Eyeliner pen takes the guesswork out of liquid liner and makes application a dream. Formulated with pure black pigment for an intensely rich, ink-like consistency, it also dries down quickly to deliver a waterproof and smudge-proof finish. The micro-fine arched tip is angled in such a way as to offer the user greater control and eliminate the stress of eyeliner application. For a fine line, hold the angled tip down. For a thicker liner, hold the angled tip sideways against the lash line. And for a foolproof cat eye, press the tip against the outer corner of the eye to map out the perfect wing.

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

RRP: $46
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica and Maxima

Designed for drama, the Hourglass Unlocked Mascara is formulated with a film-forming technology that coats each lash with lightweight polymers for unreal volume, length and definition. The vegan-friendly formula stays smudge-proof all day but the tubular microfiber film slides off effortlessly when warm water is applied for an easy, gentle removal process. As a philanthropic added incentive, 5 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of all Unlocked products in the Hourglass line up go to the Non-Human Rights Project to help secure civil rights for wild animals in captivity.

Dior Lip Glow Oil


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RRP: $52
Where to get it: Dior, Sephora, David Jones and Myer

While statement lipstick may have fallen by the wayside this year due to being hidden underneath masks, the environmental elements are still at play and lip hydration is still paramount. Mercifully, the Dior Lip Glow Oils perfectly address the need for moisture by offering intense lip care thanks to the enriching cherry oil that saturates the lips with nutrients and creates a protective film against stress factors and drying. The colour reviver technology reacts directly with the moisture level in the wearer’s lips to create a custom colour and a beautiful translucent tint for a fresh summery feel.

OPI Nail Lacquer Shine Bright Holiday Collection


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RRP: $23
Where to get it: David Jones and Myer

With hairdressers, beauty therapists and nail salons all closed for extended periods throughout the year, I think it’s fair to say a great many of us took to home treatments to remedy our beauty upkeep deprivation during lockdown. And while nail salons are thankfully trading again, for those who crave a quick fix of colour change at home, OPI continues to be the leading nail lacquer on the market and has delivered yet another flawless trend forecast with the shades in the Shine Bright holiday collection, specifically Red-y For The Holidays, a classic cherry cream one-coater that’s perfect for both the festive season and year-round glamour.

Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener


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RRP: $699
Where to get it: Dyson, Sephora, David Jones and Myer

Like all Dyson products, this one is a return on investment. But for those willing to drop the coin, the Corrale truly is the new gold standard of hair straighteners, with three precise heat settings tailored to suit hair type and length and flexing plates to both gather and ensure less damage to the hair while straightening, for more shine, less frizz and fewer flyaways. The device is ergonomically engineered for better balance with weight centred in the hand to give maximum control while in use. But the pièce de résistance is the cord-free feature, delivering up to 30 minutes of cord-free styling with the same thermal performance of a corded straightener, whilst still facilitating a traditional corded usage for looks that require further styling time.

Eleven Australia Dry Finish Texture Spray

RRP: $25
Where to get it: Adore Beauty

Effortless, lived-in hair is quintessentially Australian and Eleven Australia’s products make the task of achieving it even easier. Almost like a hybrid of dry shampoo and flexible hairspray, this new Dry Finish Spray builds volume when sprayed directly onto the roots as well as second-day texture when worked in the mid-lengths and ends, removing excess oil and giving lightweight hold along the way. Used as a foundation product to prep the hair for heat styling, it also gives the hair grit and hold to offer better control while using hot tools, but easily brushes out and remains malleable to perfectly coif the hairstyle.

Tom Ford Bitter Peach Eau De Parfum


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RRP: $480
Where to get it: Mecca Cosmetica, David Jones and Myer

Okay, at almost $500 a pop, I’ll admit the Tom Ford Private Blends are an E-X-T-R-A-V-A-G-A-N-C-E with a capital Extra! But as a diligent disciple of these eau de parfums for over a decade (hello, Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Oud Wood, Neroli Portofino, Soleil Blanc – all icon status), I can firmly assure you that these exquisite bottles of sublimely sensory scents are worth every single cent, if you’re prepared to make the commitment. The brand’s latest addition is no different, with Bitter Peach being an explicitly sweet and darkly sensual fragrance capturing the essence of pêche de vigne and blood orange oil, spiked with a touch of patchouli and cardamom oil for spiciness. As TF puts it himself, “Like the (namesake) fruit at its ripest, the scent is erotic by nature.” Consider me sold!

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