I Tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Bestsellers & Here’s What’s Worth The Hype

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For beauty lovers, few names elicit such awe and rapture as Charlotte Tilbury. Since launching her eponymous brand in 2013, the celebrity makeup artist has held us under her spell. We're often bewitched by her perfectly pink-nude pouts (shout out to the OG Pillow Talk lipstick), silver screen-worthy eyeshadow palettes and glowing, glasslike skin, for example.
However, when a brand is as popular as Charlotte Tilbury (no, really — it goes viral every other week thanks to new product launches and long waiting lists), it’s hard to know whether the hype is justified. Especially considering prices range from £11 for the travel sized Goddess Skin Clay Mask to £318 for the Supersized Magic Skin Duo. When you’re spending a pretty penny, you want to make sure it's worth it; and not just because TikTok is telling you that this highlighter/cream contour/serum is the next best thing since sliced bread.
With that in mind, I put 18 of the brand’s most iconic bestsellers to the test, ranging from skin care to makeup, trying them out over several months (some — the ones that truly impressed me — even for years after repurchasing). Read on for my honest thoughts on formulas, performance, packaging and more, plus some cheaper ‘dupes’ that are just as impressive.
Before we start though, I first must acknowledge the tricky nature of ‘dupes’ (cheaper products that bear a resemblance to those from other, more established brands — typically designer or luxury brands). On one hand, some believe that dupe products take imitation to a new level; likening it to ‘stealing’ the credit for another’s work. On the other, many believe that dupes help democratise beauty, especially for those who cannot afford luxury price points. Either way, with costs on a seemingly continuous rise, it’s important to not judge which beauty products someone might choose to spend their money on.

Charlotte Tilbury skincare bestsellers reviews

Is this the most indulgent skin-care product that I've ever used? Yes. Is it as rich, creamy and luxurious as it promises to be? Also yes — it literally has micro-particles of gold in the formula (which apparently make it more stable), plus vitamin C and  intensely hydrating peptides and polyglutamic acid; a polypeptide that holds four times more moisture than hyaluronic acid. My dry skin laps this up like no one's business, and I truly have noticed the difference since using it. My skin is glowing thanks to the brightening vitamin C. It also visibly looks and feels plumper and more hydrated (which is saying something because, along with my skin’s tendency to dryness, I’m usually bypassing a healthy chug of water for yet another cup of tea or coffee. If my mum is reading this, I know, I know).
But, is it also expensive? Yes. Does the packaging frustrate me? Yes! The pipette style dropper barely picks up enough product, which means you have to dip it in several times to get enough serum out, so it easily gets slippery. The amount of times I've dropped it and thereby almost knocked over the bottle is laughable. (I'm known to be extra clumsy first thing in the morning, so my AM skincare routine can be a bit treacherous). I have often been tempted by similar products with cleverer packaging — most recently Emma Lewisham’s Skin Reset Serum, £85, which uses a nifty push-pump and is refillable.
Saying all this, I think that Charlotte Tilbury's skincare — though not as flashy as the makeup — is the brand's true strength. It's where the quality you’re shelling out for shines through, largely because many of Tilbury’s OG skincare bestsellers started their life as her own secret weapons to revive and prep models’ skin in between fashion shows. Her Magic Cream, for example, was her own mixture that swiftly became a backstage hit.
And so, because my skin loves this serum so much, and because I really do notice a difference when I stop using it, I’ve repurchased it several times; making it part of my everyday routine, especially in the winter when my skin is at its most dehydrated. When I go on holiday and I’m strapped for space, I just pack this and the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream as a reliable, do-it-all duo. The last time I brought it, I treated myself to the 100ml bottle (which retails at an eye-watering £140) back in March 2023 and it is still going, with just over a quarter left (luckily for my bank account, a little goes a long way!).
If you’re curious about the Magic Serum Crystal Serum but (understandably) put off by the price, a popular ‘dupe’ that I’ve also tried and liked is Makeup Revolution's Pro Miracle Serum, £7.50. According to Skinsort, it has a 63% match, and, like Charlotte Tilbury’s, also contains vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid (plus niacinamide). Makeup Revolution’s offering is heavily fragranced though with a rose scent which can be off putting.
The Multi Miracle Glow is positioned as a three-in-one wonder product: an ultra-light, gel-like cream that can be used as a cleanser, mask and balm. It’s packed with hydrating oils, brightening vitamin C, moisturising vitamin E and regenerating vitamin A. Glycerin, which is an amazing humectant (it draws moisture into the skin) is actually the first ingredient listed in Multi Miracle Glow’s formula, and so rather than using this as a cleanser, I've been using it as an overnight mask (at £48 a pot, there’s no way I’m putting this stuff on for just a few moments, only to wash it right off!).
Multi Miracle Glow is often overlooked for Charlotte’s Magic Cream, and I can understand why — in my opinion, when used in this way, there’s not really anything that the Miracle Glow does or offers that’s notably different from Magic Cream. Both are thick, ultra-hydrating creams; Multi Miracle Glow feels lighter and more water-like on the skin, and so I can understand that those with oilier skin might gravitate towards it more or that this would fare better in the summer months. Especially as Magic Cream is thicker, like an old-school cold cream (more on this later). Plus, Multi Miracle Glow has a very distinct, sweet floral scent (like geraniums). It hasn’t irritated my skin yet, but I would caution others who dislike heavily fragranced skincare. If you do want a similar cream cleanser (especially for double cleansing), I would recommend Facetheory’s Vitamin C Cream Cleanser C1, £13, which is available in a mandarin-scented option or unscented.
For alternative masks (light and refreshing but intensely moisturising gel creams), I’ve been loving Alpha-H’s High Tide Water Cream, £44.99, whereas our Deputy Beauty Director Jackie has been raving about Wildsmith’s Super Hydrating Overnight Mask, £68. A cheaper option is Kiehl's Ultra Facial Gel-Cream, £25.60, which is an ultra-lightweight, oil-free moisturiser.
This is my holy grail Charlotte Tilbury product — the one that I would choose if, at gunpoint, I had to forgo everything else from the brand, or take to a deserted island (along with some SPF, of course). As soon as the clocks go back and the winter chill sets in, I tend to develop dry scaliness around my nose and mouth. This happens year after year, usually accompanied by redness and a dull complexion. However, after introducing Charlotte's Magic Cream to my skincare routine over a year ago (I’ve been using it since December 2022), the change has been noticeable.
It has a really thick, whipped texture — one that I’ve struggled to find comparatively on the market. Apparently, Tilbury developed this very thick, almost greasy cream as an instant hydrator for models' tired, dull skin when they were rushing between runway shows. It's a powerful concoction of hydrating hyaluronic acid, skin-strengthening peptides, moisturising oils, vitamins C and E, soothing aloe vera and smoothing shea butter to revive skin. Despite the texture, you don’t need to work it hard into the skin. It melts so easily and offers the instant gratification of glowy, dewy skin that is the perfect base for my makeup, slightly tacky, not sticky, for other products to stick to all day. In the pot it smells more like a sunscreen, but the scent doesn’t linger too strongly on the skin ( I don't think it would be as irritating for fragrance haters as the Multi Miracle Glow).
This has been one of my biggest disappointments. I really wanted to like it — applied to the skin, the gel-cream consistency feels really refreshing for my tired, just-woken-up, puffy under eyes. However, not long after I started using it (only a week or so), I developed milia (firm white bumps made of keratin protein that become trapped under the skin with no place to go) under my eyes. This is because Magic Eye Rescue was too thick for me and clogged my pores, even though I used the recommended light tap of the product. The greasy texture also was an issue for applying makeup on top — creating a slip-and-slide situation for my concealer. Because of this I stopped using Magic Eye Rescue quickly and, following the advice of other Charlotte Tilbury customers that experienced the same thing, switched to an exfoliating eye cream (Murad Resurgence Retinol Serum, £48). After just a few weeks with Murad, the size and hardness of the milia has reduced dramatically.
I have no idea what crystal was used for this or how it was infused, but I’m not convinced that it’s earned the name ‘magic’. Sure, it feels really nice on — a light, nourishing oil that leaves the lips supple  — but I’ve had better success for my flaky lips with CeraVe’s £11 Advanced Repair Ointment (which has become a favourite across the R29 team). In comparison, Charlotte’s Magic Lip Oil is more akin to Dior’s Lip Oil: more of an aesthetic product that smooths and glosses but does little long term. As such, I’ve been using my Crystal Elixir more like a lip gloss over the top of drying, matte lipsticks.

Charlotte Tilbury makeup bestsellers reviews

I’ve been using this for even longer than the other products on this list because I bought into the hype back in 2021, after seeing it used in pretty much every TikTok beauty tutorial (it was my first Charlotte Tilbury purchase). Though subtle, this illuminating primer is worth it. Worn underneath foundation, it really does give that Hollywood-starlet, lit-from-within glow. As someone who doesn’t really like a lot of foundation, I wear this alone to amp up a natural-looking dewiness. It's best concentrated on natural high points like the cheekbones, temples, nose bridge and the tip of the nose.
What I find with Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup is that it's easier to imitate and more popular to do so because products like Hollywood Flawless Filter kickstarted bigger beauty trends; for dewy, ultra-illuminated skin, for example. And so, there’s quite a few cheaper alternatives out there. The best by far is the e.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter, £15, which rivals Charlotte Tilbury in performance (it evens skin tone and adds a dewy, illuminated glow) and in shade range (both have 12 shades on offer).
Like the Hollywood Flawless Filter, the Wonderglow Instant Soft Focus Face Primer is a light, blendable, shimmery liquid that gives your complexion a lit-from-within glow and that can be worn alone for ‘no-makeup makeup’ days or layered under foundation. In this sense, it’s less of a primer which your makeup can grip on to and thus last longer, and more of a complexion brightener.
In comparison to Hollywood Flawless Filter, it does not have any pigment and is only available in one shade: a light golden colour. As such, the Hollywood Flawless Filter — which has more of an opalescent pigment and is available in 12 different shades — wins out. Not to mention, the Hollywood Flawless Filter is more versatile (it can be used on top of makeup as a highlighter, not just underneath).
As I mentioned, I’m not really a foundation person (I prefer tinted moisturisers, which don’t cover my freckles and let my skin’s natural dewiness shine through). And so, it takes a lot to win me over and the Airbrush Flawless Foundation is almost, almost there, but only because I’ve learnt by trial and error how best to apply it.
This foundation has a matte finish and is on the thicker side in terms of formula. Honestly, you only need a tiny amount to even out your skin. Too much and I find my freckles disappearing and my face looking too 'fake' and 'makeup-ed up'. I’ve found that properly preparing my skin first with skincare (using my Magic Serum and Magic Cream) and using a glowy skin primer (the Hollywood Flawless Filter) helps a lot as does using less product than you think and blending first with my fingers, before finishing with a dense foundation brush (I like this one from Real Techniques). If you’re spot correcting then a small, fluffy concealer brush like this one from Real Techniques is your best bet. 
Once on and layered/blended correctly, you’re left with really nice lightweight coverage that settles on the skin nicely and looks more natural as the day goes on. Overall, it doesn't budge much or transfer — I've worn this on and off for a year now, testing daily for sweaty commutes on London's packed Tubes, out for dancing at concerts and for all-day, non-stop work events. So far, I’ve only found myself needing to touch up in the spots that I expect to (under my eyes where makeup creases more naturally and around my mouth and nose which I’ve wiped throughout the day). Setting this foundation with Charlotte Tilbury's own setting powder has been key though — I think because the power is just so good.
I was disappointed with this concealer. It just didn’t pass the crease test for me — like everyone I have lines under my eyes and they get more puffy the less sleep I've had, so I expect some creasing, just not so much and so quickly after application. I think that this is partly due to the formula. It’s very thick and creamy, and so felt like it was sitting on top of my skin, rather than blending seamlessly, and also it features a slight shimmer to diffuse dark circles and pigmented patches. The result is definitely brightening, but the glitter was just too noticeable for me (almost like an eyeshadow fall-out). I will note that using Charlotte Tilbury's own setting powder, the Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder, helped considerably but I think this is more testament to the powder.
Having tried it a few times, I found myself switching back to my tried-and-true favourite that's great for dry skin: ILIA's Skin Serum Concealer, £30.
Besides being packaged beautifully (I really do feel like a 1920s starlet when I open this on the Tube for a quick check-up), this powder is one of the best I’ve ever used, contending with my usual from Laura Mercier. It’s finely milled, which means that it doesn’t settle in your pores or fine lines as visibly as other powders. The blurring effect is a dream for my creasy under-eyes! Again, this is another win for dry skin, infused with rose wax and almond oil to hydrate as it sets makeup. The super-fine, light-reflecting pigments also help stop any cakeiness or dullness without looking overly shimmery like the concealer). I’ve since repurchased several refill pans — I love that I can keep and reuse the outer packaging rather than having to throw it away and, because it's a pressed powder, I can easily slip it into my bag for on-the-go touch ups.
On this point, I find that I don’t necessarily need to touch up unless it’s the end of the working day and I’m getting ready for a post-works dinner; and in these cases it’s just a few pats of powder around my nose, chin and under eyes (with a powder puff, I like this one from Trigwell Cosmetics). I’m unsure though whether this would be the same for someone with oilier skin though.
Yet more stunning packaging! From now on, unless my makeup products make me feel glamorous and mysterious at 8.30 am on the Northern line, I don’t want them. Again, like the Airbrush Setting Powder, this one is refillable which is a major selling point for me. It’s also a fine-milled, matte powder that doesn’t look or feel heavy and is easily buildable so it looks very natural when swirled over your high points (cheeks, nose, forehead) with a large, fluffy brush.
A big sticking point with Charlotte Tilbury makeup is the lack of shade variation on offer: For example, with the Airbrush Bronzer, there’s only four shade options to its name — Fair, Medium, Tan and Deep — which doesn’t take into account the difference in undertones. For example, the Fair shade, which I opted for is on the cool side, which is great for me right now mid-winter, but come summer, I’m already anticipating switching to a warmer-based shade.
This is a lesson in doing your research first. When I opened this massive compact (seriously, it’s bigger than my hand — there’s a lot of product for your buck!), I thought: great, a cream bronzer. It’s best applied with my fingers, right? Wrong. The Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Bronzer is actually a cream-to-powder product, designed to be used all over your body as well as your face, so it dries down a lot quicker than a typical cream bronzer. It’s highly pigmented, so you end up struggling to blend it out and end up looking patchy.
This was my mistake when first trying this bronzer out. After consulting the experts (aka watching several TikTok videos), I realised that I needed a large, densely bristled brush to blend it in; using a mixture of a stippling motion and a round swirl to buff it into the skin (a little goes a long way!). Once on, it blended out into a really beautiful flush of natural looking colour that warmed my skin up beautifully and worked brilliantly as a subtle contour (a much nicer contour than Charlotte Tilbury’s Contour Wand, imo). In fact, after using it for a few weeks, I think I prefer it even to the OG powder Airbrush Bronzer but, again, there’s only four shades available (come on CT, do better!).
Technically speaking, you might want to avoid putting cream products over powder (especially those you swipe on) for fear of dislodging the powder or creating a messy, paste-like mixture. But so far I’ve had no problems adding Lip & Cheek Glow over the top of the Airbrush Setting Powder and Bronzer.
I think the application is key here. Use your fingers. The warmth of your hands makes the cream easier to apply, and rather than wiping it on, tap it onto the apples of your cheeks (and up your temples if you want a lifted look). Lip & Cheek Glow has a really unique consistency. In the pot, it's an oily, greasy cream (thanks to a nourishing mix of beeswax and vitamin E) but once tapped into the skin, it settles into a light, natural-looking glow of colour that lasts well. It also makes a nice lip tint without any stickiness, but it doesn’t last as long on the lips.
I just wish there were more shade options. There’s only two available for the Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow (this rosebud pink shade, Colour of Dreams, and a berry-pink, Colour of Passion). In fact, across the wider Charlotte Tilbury blush range, the predominant shade is pink (the deepest is probably this berry pink/champagne powder combination or this berry-bronze cream stick). It makes sense; Pillow Talk, a super-popular nude-pink shade, has become a brand signature. However, compared to brands like Fenty Beauty, Rare Beauty and Saie which are delving into new and exciting colour territory (deep plum purples, bright oranges, terracotta reds and tawny bronzes), Charlotte Tilbury and her world of pinks feels a little dated.
These highlighter-meets-blush and contour wands have single handedly dominated TikTok, racking up impressive numbers (currently over 43m views for the Beauty Light Wands and over 145m views for the contour). After finally working out how to 'unlock' the product (you need to twist the base of the doe foot from 'closed' to 'open'), I find it super-easy to dispense.
I see why they’re so popular — at least the highlighter Beauty Light Wands (available in champagne, gold and light bronze shades. Again, the shade options are lacking). They’re light, dewy, glowy and buildable. I’ve found that the best way to apply it is to use as little as possible and a fluffy brush (like the same brush I use for my bronzer or blush) or my fingers, as it really helps all the products to blend and melt together well on my face (building up slowly). The result is a lot more natural than a harsh, controlled line of highlighter on the cheekbone. (Because all Charlotte Tilbury products are soft and super blendable, they lend themselves well to the natural glowy look.)
I’m just in two minds as to whether I want my blush and contour also to be as shimmery as this though — I know it's the Charlotte Tilbury way, but one shimmery, dewy skin product layered upon the next can give an almost greasy, human disco ball vibe. Also, I find the shimmer in the contour wand can end up making it look muddy.
Honestly, I could leave this one. It’s a very pretty shade — again, we have Charlotte Tilbury’s OG Pillow Talk colour in all its not-too-pink, not-too-berry-red, not-too-nude, not-too-coral-orange glory. This time though, it's in a shimmery powder form combined with a separate, lighter, even more sparkly highlighter powder. You can swirl the two together for an especially glowy complexion, or apply separately. Both I found were lacking in pigment. It does mean that you can build up your colour gradually and opt for a more subtle look (though I’m not sure why you would choose a glittery powder if subtle was your aim). If you’re after a buildable, natural peach-pink blush with just the right amount of shimmer to give you a believable glow (rather than disco ball shine), let me put you onto NARS’ iconic Orgasm Blush, £24.40.
I have to admit, I needed to read our Deputy Beauty Director Jackie’s review of Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! to learn how to apply this properly. It has a strange brush (or, at least, a brush unlike any I’ve experienced before). It has a distinctive 'paddle' shape, featuring a flat area designed to layer the product onto the lashes. On the other side, tiny plastic bristles comb the product through. The trick with this, I’ve learned, is that you don’t just comb the product through as you would any other mascara. You need to rotate the brush at the same time to dispense it equally and coat all your lashes.
My very first impression of Push Up Lashes! is that this really is the blackest of black mascaras, aided by its thick, almost-greasy formula. I’m not blessed in the lash department and accidentally trimmed a few lashes off the last time I trimmed my fringe (note to self: invest in proper bathroom lighting!). This mascara makes my thin, sparse lashes look full, thick and like I’m wearing a set of fluttery falsies.
Put to the wear test, though, it’s not fully water- and sweat-proof. In fact, just after a few hours of wearing, it smudges easily (I've tried not applying any mascara to my bottom lashes to see if this would help — it doesn't). Also, it does take longer than other mascaras to dry, which is especially annoying for glasses-wearers. It's also difficult to take this off: I’ve had to do double and sometimes triple cleanses (CeraVe Micellar Water and Hydrating Cleanser). A bit of a 'mare, especially after a night out.
This is one of my most exciting, recent discoveries amongst the Charlotte Tilbury line up and has quickly become my brow go-to. It has one of the smallest, thinnest brushes I’ve ever seen on a brow gel which means you can catch every hair without overdoing it at one end and then accidentally smudging it when trying to fix the mistake. The formula grabs onto the hair quickly and effortlessly, filling sparse areas, adding colour and volume for a natural-looking fluffy-yet-groomed look that doesn’t ever feel stiff or dry and flaky; and that still lasts all day.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Kit (includes Matte Revolution Lipstick & Lip Cheat Lip Liner), £43

This is a soft, warm, tawny nude-pink that is designed to suit everyone (there’s also Pillow Talk Medium for olive skin tones and Pillow Talk Intense, which enhances darker tones). In fact, it pretty much matches my natural lips and so it offers a 'my lips, just better' look: fuller, plumper and more pillowy. This is also largely because of its consistency. Pillow Talk lipstick is super creamy, soft and buildable, and it doesn’t dry out my lips (though needs a touch up of balm here and there, especially during the winter months and when the cold/central heating dries my skin out the most). For the best and longest-lasting lip look, I’ve found that you need to line and completely fill in your lips first with the liner (which is waterproof and gel-like). The lipstick grabs onto this tacky surface much longer than your natural lip.
If you’re looking for a comfortable glossy, highly pigmented liquid lipstick that doesn’t totally dry out your lips, you’re in the right place. Though the staying power isn’t quite to match, I still think this is the best Charlotte Tilbury lip product that I’ve tested.  Just like all the brand’s lipsticks (including the bullet lipsticks), the Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur is super creamy and almost buttery. This means you have to be extra careful when applying because that extra slip and slide can cause easy mistakes and smudges. However, it also means that your lips don’t ever have that tight, drying feeling or overly sticky sensation that liquid lipsticks often leave. In fact, I would rather have a product like this which feels really comfortable to wear, and have to reapply every few hours, than contend with crusty lips!
I’ve enjoyed buffing this on for an extra blurred out wash of colour and then tapping the excess colour on my cheeks as a liquid blush.
Often, I’m disappointed by moisturising lipsticks or tinted balms. They’re either not moisturising enough to warrant replacing my normal lip balm with, or they’re not pigmented enough to justify as a lipstick. That’s not the case here. Superstar Lips are super soft, creamy, balm-based lipstick that has plenty of pigment, feels nourishing on the lips and has a light glossy finish that’s not sticky. This is in contention with my tried and true Clinique Black Cherry — I will report back once a winner emerges.
In all honesty, I haven't noticed much of a difference in staying power between this and my other trusty setting spray, Urban Decay All Nighter, £27. However this feels so much nicer and more luxurious to use, largely because of the packaging but also because it leaves a light, hydrated glow upon first spray before drying down to a matte finish.

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