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PEOPLE staffers tried 164 (yes, that's right) makeup products — from primers to finishing sprays and everything in between — to find these 35 winners
The year was 2023 and the People and Today staffers needed glowing skin, lush lashes and gorgeous manicures, stat. Enter: 164 primers, foundations, blushes, brow gels, lipsticks and so much more that we methodically whittled down to this list of 35 makeup and nail products to meet every need — making them official PEOPLE Beauty Award winners this year.
Best Pore-Refining Primer: e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Poreless Putty Primer
This silky liquid creates a smooth canvas that grips makeup for a flawless all-day finish. The best part: “It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all,” one tester said.
Best Illuminating Primer: Dior Forever Glow Veil Primer
Testers called this hydrating hyaluronic-acid-infused formula “magic.” As one said, “After I put it on, I wondered if I even needed to wear makeup.”
Best Complexion Booster: Kosas Glow I.V. Skin Enhancer
“Sunshine in a tube,” is how one tester described this vitamin-infused liquid, which comes
in 10 shimmery shades that give skin a luminous look.
Best Undereye Corrector: Lottie London Bright Bounce
Stayed up way too late swiping through TikTok and have the dark circles to show for it? This color-correcting cream has you covered — literally — and for an amazing price.
Best Concealer: Smashbox Halo 4-In-1 Perfecting Pen Concealer
Housed in a travel-friendly pen, this buildable formula can be used to cover imperfections or to highlight, contour and correct. Either way, it won’t crease or fade for hours.
Best Radiant Finish Foundation: Saie Glowy Super Skin Lightweight Hydrobounce Serum Foundation
Testers were “obsessed” with the “your-skin-but-better” effect they got from this hydrating and brightening winner.
Best Matte Finish Foundation: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation
This matte formula got rave reviews for delivering the “perfect” amount of coverage that doesn’t budge until you take it off.
Best Setting Powder: Milani Cosmetics Conceal + Perfect Blur Out Powder
This finely milled powder creates a flattering filter-like effect on skin and gets rid of shine with
Best Setting Spray: Too Faced Makeup Insurance Setting Spray
Wearing makeup on hot, humid days? It’s no sweat, thanks to this alcohol-and-silicone-free mist
that locks makeup down for up to 18 hours and smells divine.
Best Matte Powder Blush: L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Blush
If you like your blush bold and bright, this richly pigmented one provides a fun pop of color.
Best Powder Blush: Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Color Fuse Blush
“A little goes a very long way,” a tester reported of this velvety formula that stays in place all day.
Best Cream Blush: Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Plumping Blush Veil
With its sheer texture, this blush practically melts into skin to create a natural-looking flush with a dewy finish.
Best Liquid Blush: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Beauty Blush Wand
“I would buy this again in a heartbeat,” raved one tester of this gel-like
formula that only requires a dab or two.
Best Cream Bronzer: Essence Makeup Baby Got Bronze
One tester called this $5 wonder, which comes in three tones and is a breeze to blend, an “absolute steal.”
Best Liquid Bronzer: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Glow Liquid Bronzer
“It’s the best bronzer I’ve ever used. I’m hooked,” one tester exclaimed of this standout which has the luxurious feel of a serum.
Best Powder Highlighter: Rare Beauty Silky Touch Highlighter
“Absolutely gorgeous” is how one tester described this shimmery winner from Selena
Gomez’s makeup brand, which delivers the perfect gleam.
Best Contour Palette: Physicians Formula Butter Glow Contour Palette
Even contour novices found this trio—which lets you bronze, sculpt and highlight—easy to use whether you blend with a brush or fingers.
Best Liquid Eyeshadow: ColourPop Chrome Liquid Shadow
This shadow coats lids with a pearlescent pigment that one tester reported lasted through a 90°day without creasing.
Best Cream Eyeshadow: Kulfi Zari Eyes Eyeshadow
“You get a lot of oomph out of a little of this formula,” said one tester of this shimmery find that glides across lids and looks vibrant for hours.
Best Eyeshadow Stick: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Dual-Ended Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick
“This is fun!” reported one tester playing with the two color options, while another raved about the “amazing” staying power.
Best Liquid Eyeliner: Danessa Myricks Beauty Linework
One tester and self-proclaimed eyeliner aficionado said this earned a spot in her makeup bag thanks to its “forgiving” paintbrush tip and ability to stay put through a boot camp class.
Best Pencil Eyeliner: Live Tinted Hueliner Longwearing Pencil Liner
Once this liner is applied, it’s not going anywhere until you wash it off, according to testers who also loved the inky-black color.
Best Lengthening Mascara: Maybelline New York The Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara
You could spend the time and money on lash extensions or you can just swipe on a few coats of this fiber-infused mascara.
Best Volumizing Mascara: CoverGirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Mascara
Environmentally friendly plant fibers help thicken lashes while nourishing aloe leaf extract and maracuja oil minimize fallout.
Best Defining Mascara: Winky Lux Detail Oriented Mascara
Perfect for sparse lashes and tricky spots, we’re filing this micro spoolie mascara under makeup we didn’t know we needed and now can’t live without.
Best Waterproof Mascara: Milk Makeup Rise Waterproof Mascara
One tester with “stubborn, straight” lashes said this kept them lifted and curled all day without clumping or smudging. “I give it 100/10!”
Best Tinted Brow Gel: Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Brow Styling Gel
One tester’s 79-year-old mom was so impressed with how great her brows looked from this gel that she bought one for herself.
Best Clear Brow Gel: GrandeBrow-Laminate Brow Styling Gel With Peptides
This is supposed to create a laminated look, and according to our testers, it does exactly that sans flaking.
Best Brow Pencil: Ilia Beauty In Full Micro-Tip Brow Pencil
With its precise tip, eight natural shades and spoolie for blending, this pencil was deemed “foolproof” by testers.
Best Cream Finish Lipstick: Estée Lauder Pure Color Creme Lipstick
Everything about this lipstick—from the gold case and embossed bullet to its buttery texture and rich shades — feels elegant.
Best Matte Finish Lipstick: Rouge Louboutin Velvet Matte on the Go Lipstick
Yes, it’s expensive. But if there was ever a lipstick worth every penny, it’s this weightless one with zero transfer. “Pure luxury,” said one tester. “It made me want to throw all my other lipsticks away,” exclaimed another.
Best Liquid Lipstick: Glossier G Suit
“It’s hard to find a formula that lasts this long and keeps lips so hydrated,” exclaimed one tester of this assortment of eight opaque colors.
Best Lip Oil: NYX Professional Makeup Fat Oil Lip Drip
From the chunky applicator to the nonsticky feel, testers raved about this under $10 find. As one said, “Where has this been all my life?”
Best Tinted Lip Balm: Wet n Wild Rose Comforting Lip Color
Not only does this hydrating formula give your lips tons of shine, but you also can’t beat the price.
Best Nail Polish: Chanel Le Vernis
“It’s the crème de la crème of polish,” said one enthusiastic tester of this lovely line which includes a range of stunning shades and “wears like iron.”
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