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There are some products which, simply by using, you’ll feel you’re taking part in a small aspect of beauty history. Products which have been around for a long time, or whose origin stories are something of legend for beauty maniacs such as myself. The question is: are such “cult” products actually any good? And, as always, the answer is not so black and white. Some, though, most definitely are.

Perhaps the cultiest of all is the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. It’s basically the defining serum, or “the serum to end all serums” if you will. What’s particularly great about this is it basically suits all skins. If you’re oily or blemished it’ll help rebalance and heal, and if you’re drier it’ll hydrate and plump. And while it’s pricey, in the grand scheme of high end serums it’s actually pretty reasonable.

Another fantastic skincare item is the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment. Of all the eye creams I’ve tried to no avail, this is the only one I’ve ever felt a deep, emotional connection to. It’s no particularly active or high-tech – but what it does deliver is the most potent and protective hydration I’ve ever encountered. It’s thick, but melts into under-eyes, leaving things plumped, smoothed and soothed.

A fairly new addition to the skincare hall of fame is the Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. You may know it as one of the most expensive oils on the market. I know it as my skin’s best friend. Unlike basically all other facial oils, this is made from freshly pressed ingredients – in layman’s terms, it’s the fresh food equivalent to other oils’s frozen. Around three drops suffices for my entire face, and the results (and reviews) truly do speak for themselves.

Onto makeup, and the one foundation which literally everyone loves: the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. The only word I can use to describe this is perfect. It blends seamlessly in seconds, looks imperceptible on skin even in the most unflattering lighting, comes in a shade range suitable for all, lasts all day and makes skin look fresh from a facial. Get a sample, that’s really all else I can say.

MAC Strobe Cream is an oldie but a goodie. In a world of thousands of liquid highlighters, the OG still stands up. I totally love this for a “no makeup” glowy look, either dabbed over tinted moisturiser or under your base as a sheen-boosting primer. Although it used to only come in translucent white, they’ve recently expanded the shade range making it actually accessible to everyone, which is a bonus.

A makeup item born of legend is Benefit’s Benetint. Originally designed to add a sexy flush of pink to strippers’ nipples (I’m seriously not kidding) this is now better known the most universally gorgeous blush shade. Plus, it lasts all day and looks gorgeously natural. I personally love this as a wash of colour on the eyelids and lips, too.

In terms of makeup icons, the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are hard to beat. Oft imitated, these stripy pans of complimentary glowy pigment are yet to be beaten. The shade range is also totally fantastic – Pink Quartz is a perfect blush-bronze-highlight for paler ladies like me, while Beige is a universally flattering highlighter and Bronze a darker and warmer vibe. All are practically perfect, in every way.

Another oft-imitated yet never beaten product is Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. This is not a particularly exciting or glamorous product, but for hard-living chicks it’s a total workhorse. A spritz of this over a finished face means everything will stay put until you choose to remove it. Ingenious.

My only hair based contender is the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray. This product is again a pricey little number, but nothing else comes close if you want to achieve hot girl hair. It also has the signature Oribe floral-musk fragrance which is as nice as any expensive perfume, making it basically a two-in-one, and thus a bargain. Right?


Images: Estée Lauder

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