2020 Year in Review: Best Beauty Products…and the worst

On October 27th, in between folding laundry, chatting with friends in a group text and listening to a podcast, I received a pretty uncool email. To summarize, it read:

Hello Ivy Boyd,
You have tested POSITIVE for COVID-19. Please follow these recommendations.

The days that followed, were not physically miserable, thankfully, but mentally, very hard. I am already someone prone to guilt and I have never felt more guilt than I did between October 27th and November 7th.

Because of me, because I thought I had an annoying cold, seasonal allergies, many, many people had to quarantine, get tested, panic, worry, miss work perhaps. Because of me.

So that was the worst moment of 2020, no question.

What about the best?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in 2020, I got to do makeup for a real housewife, 2 presidential candidates and a national beauty brand.

I would be ungrateful if I didn’t mention that I was finally able to get a studio space to do makeup at, after 8.5+ years of doing makeup.

I would be mistaken if I didn’t mention that I got to watch Joe Biden become president.

My husband, mom and brother didn’t get Covid. That alone, is more than I could have asked for.

We can joke about how 2020 was the worst, because yeah, it was, but I can’t ignore all the good that happened too. I’m grateful for the good, I’m grateful to have survived the bad.

The love and gratefulness I feel cannot be contained in a single blog post. I mean it when I say that I couldn’t have made it to the end of 2020 without you. Even when I couldn’t do makeup for a few months, I still felt your support. 

Thank you for sticking with me and by me, for asking me questions and keeping my beauty brain alive. I am very confident that 2021 holds many good things for all of us.

Now, I present to you, the best beauty products, and also the very worst, that I tried in 2020, hosted by the incomparable David Rose.


Glossier Futuredew

Not only do I think this is a great product, one of the skincare experts I trust most, Caroline Hirons, agrees. She even included it in her 2020 book release, Skin Care, which I also recommend.

I love the naturally dewy look Futuredew gives the skin, without a sticky, greasy or heavy sensation. I love it under makeup and usually use a little on every client lately.

Essence Lash Princess Mascara

I am so glad I finally tried this mega affordable mascara with a cult following. It really does give you mega long lashes, easily and on the cheap. The only thing I don’t love is that it can smudge, so I prefer using this on the top lashes, and a more smudge resistant one on bottom lashes.

If you want to see an impressive before and after shot, head to THIS POST.

e.l.f. Ride or Die lip balm

This is such a wonderfully hydrating, thick balm that is amazing for dry, chapped lips or as an overnight sleeping mask. I like the mint version best but Tough Cookie is a beautiful tinted one, especially over a lip liner. If you want something like the Laneige Sleep Mask or Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, get this and save yourself some money.

Trader Joe’s Cleansing Oil

This product changed my shower game in 2020. I love oil cleansing for my face, but had never used a body oil cleanser. Well, consider me sold because this is heavenly. Not only is it just so lovely and hydrating, the scent is light, luxurious and subtle.

I’ve been stockpiling this because I will not survive another Iowa winter without it and I’m deathly afraid they’ll stop making it.

True + Luscious Angel Eyes Primer

I have used Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden for most of my makeup career. I have always said that no other eyeshadow primer will compare to it, until now. I find the Angel Eyes Primer to be so similar, nearly identical, and more cost effective. I can’t believe this day has come.

I love that it comes in 3 shades. I use Light on myself and Medium on clients with a lot of blue/brown tones in their lids. As long as you just use a teeny tiny amount, it’s an all around great eyeshadow primer.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm Red Dahlia

Admittedly, I discovered this from TikTok. A makeup artist said it looks good on every client she puts it on. I tried it on myself and clients and I’m a believer. It’s not pink or berry, but rather a beautifully subtle reddish-brown. It is so sheer that even the most lip color-shy will love it.


Urban Decay Stoned Vibes Palette

This Urban Decay palette could win an award for packaging design, because it’s truly a work of art, but the contents just ain’t it, sis. The eyeshadows aren’t horrible, just disappointing and not what I expected them to look like.

The crystallized shadows actually have a very pretty, almost wet finish, however, the color is irrelevant as you will see very little color payoff in the end. I would have preferred they sub out 4 of the crystal shadows for more mattes or traditional shimmers, and keep crystal shadows as more neutral metallics like silver, gold, copper and rose gold to act as top coats.

If you’d like to watch me experience the Stoned Vibes palette for the first time, check out my first impressions video.

Urban Decay Lash Freak Mascara

Second Urban Decay product in a row. You ok girl?? I honestly felt that way this year. They launched too many products, and none of them were impressive and it just felt like that cat standing up meme, dafuq y’all doin over thur?

As soon as I saw the wand style, I knew this was a failure in the making. There is no way that alligator head shaped wand, with those one-sided, short spikes was going to do anything but dump excessive product onto the lashes, overwhelming and clumping them together. That’s exactly what it does.

I may try another brush style in it, just to see if the formula itself is decent, but for $25, you should be able to use the wand it comes with. I honestly can’t think of who this would work well for.

Glossier Body Hero soap

I love a bar soap, always have. They reduce plastic waste and they’re easy. My husband and I use the Raw Sugar bars. I was excited to see Glossier launch a bar soap…until I smelled it.

The best way I can describe the scent is an offensively floral air freshener in a grandmother’s bathroom. I simply could not get past it and most definitely didn’t want my body smelling like it.

The smell was so strong that it filled my makeup room and I gave it away to someone on Twitter.

Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub

While I enjoy many Derma E products, this certainly wasn’t one. Physical scrubs are very iffy in general. This uses alumina, a fine ceramic, and pumice for the scrubbing action, combined with multiple citrus oils high in the ingredient list. This all makes for a very harsh skincare product.

It irritated my skin to the point I got rash-like red bumps. I tried it on my body, after seeing it was far too aggressive for my face and the same thing happened there. I wouldn’t recommend anyone use it, but especially someone with sensitive skin.

Thank you for seeing this through with me-this post, this past year. You’re simply the best.

Post contains affiliate links. By purchasing via links, I will make a small commission. The price does not change for the shopper. Thank you if you choose to shop via my links as it enables me to continue to create content.


  1. Coeli Nartey

    01/05/2021 at 2:47 PM

    You’re simply the best! 💕

    1. Ivy Boyd

      01/05/2021 at 2:55 PM

      Aw love you mom 😘

  2. Jamie Elrod

    01/05/2021 at 8:22 PM

    I was gifted Skin Care by Caroline Hirons for Christmas and I LOVE it! I’m excited to read through more of your reviews as I make it through more of her book! 😊

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    12/26/2021 at 8:44 PM

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