If you’re anything like me you love trying new beauty products (and you also probably have a drawer full of products that completely missed the mark). But of the years, some of the best, most consistent products I’ve used have been around for a long time and for good reason. A few of these are drugstore items, some are designer, but all of them are worth keeping on hand.
From left to right, top to bottom:
1. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps is a very rich, luxurious body lotion that you skin will just drink right in. A little goes a long way, so while it’s somewhat pricey, it will las you a while. It also comes in a thicker, cream version, available in a tub, which is great for deep moisturizing for hands, feet, knees, and elbows. The bottle pictured is the original Creme de Corps, but the product has now grown into a product line including a moisturizing creme (in a jar) and new scents.
2. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Also a very rich cream, this product from Elizabeth Arden is glycerin-based, so it’s more like vaseline, and works wonders with very dry skin. You can use it on your face (though I would be very sparing–just a dab will do), hands, and lips. It’s great if you ever moisturize your hand and feet overnight with gloves and socks.
3. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque This is a great drugstore classic. (They have updated the packaging design though, and I’m not a huge fan of the retro styling; which is odd, because normally I like retro looks.) It actually does smell a bit minty and it certainly is very green, but most of all it does wonders to clear blackheads, and shrink pores. You’re just a few dollars away from clear pores and fresher skin. (I have also been known to use it as an overnight spot treatment for blemishes if I don’t have my regular treatments on hand and found it to work well in that capacity, too.)
4. Mario Badescu Cucumber Cleansing Lotion Mario Badescu was the first place I ever went to have a facial as a teenager in New York and the first “grown-up” skin care products I ever used. I like the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion because it is refreshing and cooling on the skin–and though it’s a rather gentle cleanser, it’s a very effective one as well. These days I use more potent, anti-aging cleansers, but I like to keep some of this on hand for days when I want to take it easy on my skin.
5. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion You may have seen similar products to Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, but this is the original, real deal. The key to using this is simple–Do Not Shake! The type on the label is terribly small, so I would’t blame you if you skipped it, but this product is not meant to be shaken. Using a cotton swab to dip into the bottom, you then just dot it onto blemishes overnight (or when you’re not leaving the house). I will caution you to be careful of getting carried away and dotting every tiny blemish you see; it is after all a drying product and you don’t want to trade a blemish for dry skin. Not to mention you don’t want to go to bed looking like constellations in the night sky.
6. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion This moisturizer from Clinique is a staple. It’s lightweight and gentle, works well for all skin types, and is perfect for summer/warm weather use. Clinique has since added a richer, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream, which would be better for very dry skin, or in winter/cold weather.
7. Elizabeth Arden Millenium Eye Renewal Cream I love this eye cream. It’s rich and balm-y, but not too rich to be too heavy for the sensitive skin around our eyes. Best of all, it really does improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles around.
8. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lipcare Stick The Eight Hour line expanded to include this lip care stick, and I love keeping this in my purse for an extra dose of moisture. The line also includes a small pot of Eight Hour Lip Balm which is great, but sometimes a lipstick is easier.
9. Rosebud Lip Salve Keep one in your car, one in your purse, and one on your bedside table. This salve will keep your lips soft and smooth–and give you a just the subtlest tint of rose.
10. Benefit Benetint I am a big fan of liquid makeup and Benetint is perfect for adding a rosy glow to your skin. As light as water, you won’t even feel like you’re wearing makeup. It’s great anytime–and you can easily use it with makeup–but alone it’s just right for active days, outdoors or in.
11. Benefit Lemon Aid If you’re like me–you have very translucent skin around your eyes and you don’t like to wear eye makeup daily–then this product is a must-have. Used alone, this lemon-colored cream spreads smoothly over your eyelid and instantly brightening your eyes and hiding any natural shadows and darkness. Alternately, used under eye makeup it provides a beautiful base for long-lasting color.
12. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara I don’t even think this one needs an explanation. It was likely your first mascara and it’s still one of the best.
13. Givenchy Kajal Eyeliner This smooth black liner is perfect for a smokey eye or for my favorite look, a simple swipe along the upper lashes for a winged “cat eye” look.
16. Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum The classic of classics, there’s really nothing I can say about Chanel No. 5 that hasn’t been said in the nearly one hundred years since its release. It’s definitely not for everyone, but everyone should be familiar with this legendary scent.
17. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm Pretty much the first-ever “BB” cream, this beautiful cream give a perfect dewey glow to your skin. Sound counterintuitive, but use just a tiny bit over your makeup.
18. Benefit High Beam Far and away my favorite highlighter, the pink tone reflects light beautifully. A great year-round addition to your beauty routine, it works when your pale or have that just-back-from-vacation color. This liquid is applied with a nail polish-sized brush so it’s easily applied and blended. You can apply it as a final touch over your makeup, or alone if you’re going makeup-free.
19. Guerlain Meteorites These little round light-reflecting beads have been around for a long time–so you may have memories of your mom using them. They provide a powder finish and highlighting in one. Over the years they’ve been refined and now come in several shades to compliment your skin, as well as a bronzing shade.
20. Essie “Ballet Slippers” Nail Polish When I first started getting manicures this was my go-to color. Pale, but not white; pink, but not too girly, it gives a natural but elegant look for day-to-night wear.
21. Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum I discovered the original Lolita Lempicka fragrance in the duty-free shop in at Pearson Airport in Toronto and I have loved it now for well over a decade. Created with elegant floral notes of Ivy, Aniseed, and Violet; complimented by aromas of Cherry, Vanilla, Praline, and Tonka Bean; and finished with Iris and Musk, this floral scent is a classic. Lolita Lempicka has expanded its fragrance collection over the years, so if the original scent is not your style, you’ll likely find another to suit your tastes.