10 Cult-Classic Beauty Products We Swear By
These are the products that we keep coming back to.
In the 1980s, way before K-beauty and multi-step cleansing regimens, there was soap. And at my house, the stuff my mom liked to suds up with was always the same: a delightfully simple bar with the etching of a little bird on top. Today, it takes just one whiff of a classic Dove Beauty Bar and I’m instantly reminded of my mom, who I’ve been missing for five years now, and transported back to the bath nights of my childhood.
In particular, I remember steamy soaks on Sunday nights, right after dinner and right before The Wonderful World of Disney started on TV, which left just enough time to slip into a fresh pair of PJs before landing on the living room couch. Things were fairly no-frills back then. I certainly never received handmade bath bombs, artisanal bath salts or the organic bubble baths my kids are treated to on the regular. But every so often, I remember my mom handing me a little cardboard box on my way into the tub. Inside would be a fresh bar just for me. On even rarer occasions, it would be something other than white (sometimes even soft pink!) and, as she sat next to me on the edge of the tub, I’d be in washing heaven.
I grew up with exactly two bars of the same soap in the bathroom at any given time — one by the sink and the other on the edge of the bath. Fast-forward 30-something years and there are six different types of face wash lined up on my bathroom counter, from a rich crème exfoliating scrub to a no-rinse cleansing water. And that’s just facial cleansing; there’s a whole other lineup of body washes in the shower. While my mom might have been a cleansing minimalist, it would be safe to say that my style is maximalist — to the max. But I have to admit that only a few of these products have the staying power to hang around in my fickle skincare regimen for the long run, not to mention my memories or my heart. (Related: Find out if you’re benefiting from your skin care regimen.)
Read on for 10 of the biggest cult-classic beauty and grooming products that we all know and love.
Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion
American scientists Sidney and Albert Musher were experimenting with raw cereals in 1945 when they discovered that a more finely milled colloidal oatmeal bath could be an effective treatment for eczema. In the decades since then, the brand has conducted dozens of studies on colloidal oatmeal, and it has remained the core ingredient in their famed dry skin products. “We believe in the efficacy and consumer appeal of the Daily Moisturizing Lotion formulation so much that it hasn’t changed in decades,” says Dr. Menas Kizoulis, global scientific engagement leader for skincare R&D at Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno’s parent company. What has evolved is their understanding of this age-old remedy. “More recently, we discovered that the prebiotic properties of oats promote a balanced skin microbiome, which is fundamental for vibrant, healthy-looking skin,” says Dr. Kizoulis.
Why we’re fans: If you have a serious skin condition like eczema, this lotion simply works. We bet you’d be hard pressed to find a woman — especially one with dry skin — who has never tried it at some point in her skincare journey. Even celeb spokesperson Jennifer Aniston says that she has been using Aveeno lotion since she was 15 years old. (Related: Check out these other home remedies for dry skin.)
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $12.50, shoppersdrugmart.ca
CoverGirl Cheekers Blush
This cheekbone enhancer is currently available in 15 shades that can be lightly swept on for a natural pop of colour or used to try a trending technique like draping (think contouring but with blush) to create a standout look. “I love how CoverGirl has been able to experiment with new blushes and follow trends while staying true to classic offerings,” says Erika Woods, vice-president of CoverGirl.
Why we’re fans: With so many shades, ranging from Peach Gilt to Pink Candy, there’s one to suit every skin tone. Deep Plum is the longest-running, still-available, bestselling colour — and some Cheekers Blush loyalists have been wearing it for decades. (Related: Learn how to choose the most flattering blush for your skin tone.)
CoverGirl Cheekers Blush, $8, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Essie Nail Polish
Essie Weingarten, the brand’s founder and namesake, launched the first 12 colours of nail polish in 1981. Over nearly four decades, Essie has released thousands of shades and introduced helpful polish innovations, including a long-wear gel couture and, most recently, Expressie quick-dry polish. “Essie is truly for everyone, for special days and every day,” says Carolyn Holba, general manager for Essie. “It’s an amazing honour to lead a brand that helps bring a little bit of joy and fun to people around the world.”
Why we’re fans: The witty names and nuanced, on-trend colours have garnered a serious following of “obsessies” (us included!) who are loyal to the nail colour brand, whether they’re getting a pedi at a salon or having a DIY mani at home. (Related: Here are some expert tricks for a DIY pedicure at home.)
Essie Nail Polish (in Blanc), $9, well.ca
Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick
Mrs. Estée (a variation on her nickname, Esty, which is short for Esther) Lauder started her company in 1946 with four skincare products and her strong belief that every woman can be beautiful. Over the years, she has expanded to makeup, including lipstick, which quickly earned cult status. Early lip colour hits included a strong red called Duchess Crimson and a soft pink called All Day Rose. Apparently, Lauder knew the power of a great name, even back then. “Honest, lucid, graphic descriptions — that’s what I was after,” she once said of her lipsticks. It seems that she also understood the power of packaging: Each bullet was loaded in a striking golden metal case, similar to what the signature lipsticks still come in today.
Why we’re fans: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick creates definition, doesn’t dry out and saturates lips with high-intensity colour. It comes in 47 shades, with the bestselling shade worldwide being Rebellious Rose.
Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick, $42, sephora.com
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream
When it launched in 1926, Weleda Skin Food was formulated with some of the best plants found in nature, known for their soothing and hydrating properties, including chamomile and pansy. In fact, in 94 years, there have only been two minor changes to the formulation: Sunflower oil replaced peanut oil in a 2006 innovation, and the product and emulsifiers have been updated over time for improved performance.
Why we’re fans: This cream has been a reliable go-to complexion saver for decades, rightfully hailed by beauty editors, celebrities, makeup artists and virtually everyone in between. It may have been designed for people “working with their hands,” but its uses extend well beyond that of a simple hand salve. Skin Food fans slather it on dry skin from their faces to their feet, and some makeup pros even tap it across the cheekbones to act as a highlighter. (Related: Read up on these vital skin care practices for every age.)
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream, $25, well.ca
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation
Foundation has long been a core product for Maybelline New York, a beauty brand that has been around for 107 years. Its portfolio of products covers extreme long wear to natural finishes, checking off all the trends, from BB to CC, along the way. Fit Me made history as the first-ever diverse and inclusive range, with 40 shades in two finishes, for a foundation that’s guaranteed to work for every woman, making it an instant classic.
Why we’re fans: This foundation continues to be a go-to because it consistently delivers great coverage and lasting wear. And when you finally find your just-right shade, why mess with that?
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation, $11, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap
In 1968, Clinique was born from the vision of a Vogue beauty editor and an esteemed dermatologist who wanted to create accessible skincare that really worked. The now-legendary 3-Step Skin Care system — including Liquid Facial Soap — was the cornerstone of the brand five decades ago, and it continues to be a bestseller today. (Related: Make sure to ask your dermatologist these questions at your next appointment.)
Why we’re fans: Here’s a case where it’s actually not crazy to wash with the same cleanser you used as a teenager. Clinique Liquid Facial Soap still creates a full, satisfying lather, banishes oil and dirt and leaves skin feeling soft all these years later. Now, it’s just a matter of whether you need the extra-mild, mild or oily skin version in a bar, liquid or tube or even the foaming sonic version, designed to work with your cleansing brush. It’s the same but different — like you.
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap, $39, clinique.ca
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara
This beloved lash builder is just one of many iconic products from the world’s number one beauty brand. Voluminous Original Mascara launched in 1992 in a single Carbon Black option, but over the years, the brand has answered the call for more Voluminous magic, with a curved brush option, waterproof formulas and more colours, including blue and green.
Why we’re fans: This mascara delivers on volume, with a buildable formula that truly doesn’t clump. Even Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, has name-dropped Voluminous Original many times in interviews over the years. Plus, we all know that his star client requires big, bold everything, including lashes.
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, $10.50, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo
In the 1940s, Swiss doctors were using a new Pro-Vitamin B5 cure to heal serious skin injuries when they noticed that hair grew stronger and thicker on treated areas. This surprise discovery inspired the original Pantene hair tonic, which soon became a luxe must-have hair care purchase at top European department stores. In the decades since then, hundreds of millions of women around the globe have made it the world’s most popular hair care brand.
Why we’re fans: This classic ticks all the boxes because it’s a versatile multitasker, helping women get healthy, hydrated hair without breaking the bank to do so. Its product range extends way past shampoos, of course, to everything from hair masks to restoring serums. Plus, the brand is always on top of the latest ingredient trends (hello, charcoal; goodbye, sulfates).
Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo, $6, walmart.ca
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
The Olay Regenerist line launched in 2003 to rave reviews. The Micro-Sculpting Cream joined the lineup in 2007 and earned a fan following of women who wanted an anti-aging formula that could perform like a prestige product at a fraction of the price.
Why we’re fans: This cream consistently delivers serious hydration, and it’s loaded with anti-aging powerhouses like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. “While the product is incredibly effective and has been shown to provide noticeable results in just 28 days, it is also delightful to use,” says Dr. Frauke Neuser, principal scientist at Olay. “It turns a simple skincare step into a pampering experience.” No wonder Olay sells 20 jars of Micro-Sculpting Cream every minute!
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $39, shoppersdrugmart.ca
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