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To Refresh Your Memory: These Were Last Year’s Beauty Election Winners

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo Beauty Election Winners 2023 Thumbnail 16x9

Words by Christie Sinclair & Ruby Devlin

Originally published on | May 9

On the eve of our Super Bowl – aka the 2024 MECCA Beauty Election – we’re taking a quick trip down memory lane to recap last year's winners (and strategise our voting tactics for this year!).

From the transformational serum you used to the very last drop, to the game-changing makeup you didn’t know you needed (until you couldn’t live without it), here is 2023’s most loved beauty, as voted by you…

Best Complexion winner
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

This is the foundation that always has your back (and base); and with two Beauty Election wins in a row, as well as more than 3,000 five-star reviews, we couldn’t agree more!

The near-universal obsession comes down to its finish: skin looks like your skin, only more luminous, hydrated and polished. (And there’s the fact that it’s failproof: apply it with hands, brush or sponge – it’ll glide on seamlessly, leaving the ‘sheen-y’ coverage we’re always searching for).

Best Mascara winner
ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara

IYKYK – and if you don’t, you will once you try it! It curls, lengthens, thickens and separates, while the addition of shea butter simultaneously nourishes and hydrates your lashes.

This means you can achieve serious length and volume sans dryness, flaking and clumping. The clever dual-sided blush allows you to easily create your desired effect, from a flattering flutter to a dreamy doe-eye.

Best Concealer winner
Kosas Revealer Concealer

It’s made its way onto the ever-glowing faces of Hailey Bieber and Gwyneth Paltrow, in addition to the makeup collections of just about every #BeautyTok fan. But why all the hype for a concealer?

It comes down to the way the buttery formula (packed with hydrating peptides and hyaluronic acid) somehow covers, neutralises and brightens dark circles, redness and blemishes – without it looking like you’re trying to hide anything at all. Plus, it never cakes or settles into creases. Sheer wizardry, in our opinion!

Mastering a matte lip is no easy feat; they have a knack for sucking the moisture from your pout quicker than you can snap up a bottle of Hollywood Flawless Filter.

Charlotte Tilbury, however, has cracked the matte-to-moisturising ratio in this fan-favourite formula that needs to be applied to be believed. It’s infused with 3D glowing pigments that give the illusion of velvety soft, voluminous lips – and it will not budge, flake, crack or smudge. Take your pick from 25 flattering shades. Our favourite? ‘Pillow Talk’, of course!

Best Blush winner
NARS Blush

It’s the blush that started a peachy-pink renaissance in the ’90s and has since had every beauty lover across the globe in a chokehold.

Versatile, flattering and easy to build without feeling heavy, the 19 shades (none more famous than ‘Orgasm’) deliver the perfect natural-looking flush for every skin tone, whether you’re after a subtle wash of sheer colour or a high-intensity flush. Collect them all!

A second win for this petite palette – but don’t be fooled by the size: it packs a pigmented punch! Available in 11 colour-coded combos, what we love most about these quads is they make applying a full eye look a breeze, even if you’re a beginner; each shade is numbered so you know the order of application, and the buttery formulas blend like a dream.

Unruly brows, no more! Obsessed doesn’t come close to our love for this clever clear gel that defines and sets arches like nothing else we’ve used, and our community couldn’t agree more: “I have continuously bought this for the last year and cannot get enough of it!” says one reviewer.

“Best eyebrow gel at MECCA!” declares another. If you want your brows to stay lifted and frozen for an entire day (and then some) this is for you!

Yet another repeat winner, this is both a social media and Beauty Election sensation. In 2021, this Glow Recipe favourite was catapulted to cult status care of TikTok – and it’s maintained its sturdy position at the very top of your shelves ever since.

The hydrating trio of niacinamide, watermelon and hyaluronic acid make this perfect for using as a highlighter, makeup primer or on its own as a moisture-locking serum with an instant glossy finish.

This petite pot from Origins is your overachiever in the eye care category. Like an espresso shot for your face, caffeine and panax ginseng work in tandem to instantly depuff and help fight the visible signs of fatigue (read: dullness, dark circles and dehydration).

There’s also brightening vitamin C and niacinamide in the mix. Fans rave about the instantly ‘awake-looking’ effects – and they showed it by voting!

Proving our skincare fans are indeed a loyal bunch, it was the second year in a row that you declared this luscious whipped pot of six cold-pressed African oils and ceramides the cream of the crop.

We totally get why it’s a mainstay in your routines – it’s the thick, creamy texture, the way it deeply hydrates without leaving skin greasy, and the oh-so satisfying pump applicator. We. Can’t. Stop.

Best Cleanser winner
Tatcha The Rice Wash

Tatcha can do no wrong in our eyes (and on our skin, obviously) – and apparently, yours too, with a back-to-back win for this beloved cleanser!

Hadasei-3™ – the brand’s fermented, antioxidant-rich Japanese superfood blend – is the hero ingredient that sets this cushiony cream cleanser apart from the rest. Impressively, it lifts impurities without stripping, leaving skin feeling clean, smooth and hydrated.

Thankfully, science has progressed to the point that sunscreen could almost be mistaken for skincare – evident in this lovely lightweight SPF50+. It couldn’t be further from the thick, slippery formulas of old!

Pumped up with a hydrating blend of vitamin E and 4 percent aloe vera, this leaves a healthy-looking lustre all over that’s never oily and, conveniently, also water resistant.

With an ingredient list that reads much like something you’d slather on your face, it’s no wonder this skin-plumping Sol de Janeiro wonder has become a beloved bathroom staple.

It’s rich and deeply moisturising, with the added benefits of cacay oil – a gentle retinol alternative – and a plant-based collagen to help improve the appearance of crepiness and sagging all over. Did we mention the scent? The jasmine, pink dragonfruit and vanilla concoction is your ticket to instant ‘Brazilian holiday’ mode.

Now here’s a life-changing hair hack! If you’re on TikTok, you’ll have seen a lot of love for this scalp massager on your For You Page.

It’s a key player in any scalp care routine, helping to effectively exfoliate at the roots, break down build-up and lather your shampoo for a deeper cleanse and shinier, flake-free locks! Not to mention, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a salon-style head massage at home.

Best Personal Fragrance winner
Le Labo AnOther 13 EDP

Addictive doesn’t begin to describe this heady concoction, which first hit our noses in 2010 when AnOther magazine commissioned Le Labo to create an exclusive scent.

Unconventional in its composition, top notes of pear and citrus combine with a synthetic musk and earthy moss, and a distinct warmth its loyal wearers liken to fresh, clean skin or just-out-of-the-dryer laundry. No matter what it smells like to you, there’s something about this scent that keeps pulling you back for another whiff.

Those who find delight in jumping into crisp, freshly laundered sheets will understand the magnetic pull of this Maison Margiela burner (honestly, is there anything better?).

Clean, uplifting and comforting, light and let it fill your space with the delicate scent of white florals and plump, ripe pear for 40 glorious hours.

Best Indulgence winner
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

How to describe La Mer’s newly reformulated Soft Cream (already a staple of A-list celebrity skin prep)? Put simply, it’s so silky, it feels like swaddling your face in a velvet cloak!

Plus, it’s been revamped with a new formula that delivers the brand’s mysterious fermented elixir, Miracle Broth™, deeper into the skin to restore and rejuvenate. Truly divine.

These peel pads. These incredible, un-dupe-able peel pads! Who knew we could achieve so much in as little as two minutes? Apparently, you.

Bringing Dr Gross’ professional-grade, skin-smoothing formula from his Manhattan clinic to your bathroom, this is a winner for first-time peelers looking to restore their glow or combat breakouts, discolouration, dry patches and fine lines – without any downtime.

NARS dominated the complexion categories in the 2023 Beauty Election, and it’s clear why. Reaching cult status overnight, the brand’s most recent foundation launch is, as the name suggests, like good lighting in a bottle! The breathable, second-skin formula cleverly pulls focus on your best angles, blurs imperfections and, thanks to the addition of advanced skincare ingredients, improves the look of skin over time. What’s not to love?

Best Self-Care winner
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps

Loved by Zendaya, Alexa Chung and Oprah, this lush body cream with shea butter, avocado oil and beta-carotene is every bit as rich, indulgent and hydrating as it claims to be – without a hint of oiliness. For best results, Nancy Ilaya, Kiehl’s Scientific Director, recommends applying it immediately after your shower to help seal in hydration and prevent moisture loss. Could this be the best lotion of all time? It’s definitely up there…

The 2024 MECCA Beauty Election kicks off on Tuesday May 14, come back then to find out the nominees!

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