10 Beauty Classics You Can Always Rely On
These 10 beauty classics have stood the test of time with tried-and-true formulations that work
Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum, $140 (100 ml)
What other scent has been honoured by MoMA and depicted by Warhol? This hyperfeminine, floral fragrance was created in 1921 by then-perfumer-to-the-stars Ernest Beaux, who was asked by Coco Chanel to create a “woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent.” After being inspired by the fresh smell of the northern lakes in the Arctic Circle, Beaux created an innovative blend of more than 80 ingredients, including May rose, orange blossom, Haitian vetiver, jasmine, sandalwood, tonka beans, ylang-ylang and neroli. He also included never-before-used synthetic aldehydes, which added a complexity to the scent and a unique touch of freshness. Since perfumes of the time were mainly composed of a sole floral note and usually given highly sentimental names, Chanel No. 5 quickly became a standout with its complex scent structure, minimalist graphic bottle (said to be inspired by the geometry of Paris’s Place Vendôme) and straightforward numeric name, all of which have gone on to contribute to its status as the world’s bestselling scent of all time.
Nivea Creme, $13
After being introduced to the public in 1911 as the first stable skin cream based on a water-in-oil emulsion, this nostalgic formula soon became a go-to for drugstore visits and the world’s number one skincare cream. Deeply hydrating and nourishing, this thick, feel-good cream can be used to soothe face and body and is especially effective for hard-working areas, like your hands and feet. The iconic blue tin was introduced later in 1925 and still appears as the original to fans around the world, who purchase more than 100 million tins in 200 countries around the world every single year.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, $32
This universally loved moisturizer was developed to protect all skin types from the challenges of everyday life, including stress, environmental aggressors, processed foods, climate change, travel and lack of sleep. Inspired by repeat issues being seen in their patients, the formula was originally created by Drs. David and Catherine Orentreich, the son and daughter of the same dermatologist, Dr. Norman Orentreich, who worked with magazine editor Carol Phillips and the Lauder family to develop the entire Clinique brand in the late 1960s. Since being rejuvenated in 2013 (it took more than 100 new samples to get it just right), the lotion now contains ingredients that are essential to protecting the skin’s natural moisture barrier, including cucumber extract, urea, glycerine and hyaluronic acid.
Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner, $18 each
This insanely refreshing shampoo and conditioner duo is a beauty classic for its high-quality, organic botanicals and soothing scent. But its gentle, naturally cleansing properties make it especially ideal for those who just can’t stop washing their hair every day. Since the formula is free of harsh chemicals and detergents, you can lather safely with this addictive twosome without stripping your strands or causing buildup, dryness or static. Ingredients like certified-organic aloe vera, jojoba oil and palm nut oil help soothe and hydrate your scalp, lavender and marjoram have calming effects, and peppermint cools and invigorates. Antioxidants like rosemary and vitamins A and E help protect your hair and leave it looking healthy and full of body.
Benefit Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain, $39
This rose-hued stain is the type of multi-tasker that should be in every woman’s beauty bag. Its effortless, transparent colour gives a natural glow to lips and cheeks that lasts for hours without having to be reapplied. Its rosy flush is very natural-looking – in fact, it was originally created in the 1970s, by Benefit Cosmetics founders Jean and Jane Ford, as a nipple tint by request of an exotic dancer in their local San Francisco ‘hood. The original bottle, then dubbed Rose Tint (the sisters whipped up that first batch in their kitchen with the help of a blender and steamed rose petals), can be seen on display in their NYC SoHo store. Now appropriately thought of as “the sexiest flush you can get from a bottle,” the stain has since been named by many celebs, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker as one of their ultimate must-have beauty tricks.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, $108
This little brown jar has been spotted in medicine cabinets since 1982, when it was one of the first pharmacist-inspired formulas with a thin, serum-like texture and eye dropper applicator. The serum, which works to take advantage of cellular renewal and purification while you sleep, contains plumping hyaluronic acid and multiple technologies to support your skin cells, repair daily damage and protect against environmental pollution. The combination helps significantly reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and provides a smoother, more even-looking skin tone, creating an especially powerful treatment when layered under your favourite night cream. After the formula was revamped in 2013, it snagged 25 patents (including some that are still pending) for its trademark technology.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $74
A cult favourite among beauty insiders and skincare pros, this ultra-gentle exfoliant from Dermalogica is the secret weapon behind many so-called lit-from-within complexions and, as a result, is the brand’s top-selling item around the globe. Rice bran, licorice, grapefruit extract, papaya enzymes and salicylic acid combine to create this unique powder formula, which can be used to treat even the most sensitive skin, including the area around your eyes and lips. When combined with water in the palms of your hands, the powder creates a smooth, bubbly paste that can be used daily to gently slough off dry skin cells while simultaneously smoothing and brightening your skin. Suffice to say, we can’t get enough.
Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar, $8
Originally introduced in the mid-’50s, this classic, hypoallergenic facial bar contains eight percent glycerine and zero detergents, dyes and preservatives. The lack of additives and high moisture content has made the humble bar a go-to in households for decades, ensuring clean skin while maintaining its natural pH level and nixing any irritation or feelings of “tight” skin. The original soap was created by Belgian cosmetic chemist Dr. Edmond Fromont and imported to the United States by Emanuel Stolaroff, who discovered it while visiting Europe and was thrilled with its uniquely transparent formula and zero soap residue. The amber bar was such a hit that, in 1962, Dr. Fromont’s company changed its previous name from Natone to represent the original brand of the much-loved soap.
Dior Diorshow Mascara, $34
When Dior first launched its Diorshow mascara 15 years ago, it was meant to mimic the techniques used by makeup artists on models at the label’s runway shows. The jumbo applicator was inspired by the large brushes used by the pros backstage (who were sometimes known to use toothbrushes to achieve larger-than-life lashes in a hurry) to get the elusive combo of mega-volume and length at home with endless coats of product. Since then, this top-selling mascara has seen many incarnations of special effects and colours, the latter being considered a legacy of the brand that first launched beige and gold mascaras in 1979, followed by the first electric blue mascara one year later.
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer, $88
A winner of countless beauty awards, this luxe concealer formula is an editor’s and makeup artist’s favourite thanks to its rich and creamy texture and hydrating ingredients, including green tea, wild rose extract and hyaluronic acid. Its dense stick form ensures that your application lasts all day yet still appears natural, without leaving the dreaded cakey-looking finish or telltale creases. Flawless skin in a tube, this concealer certainly carries a hefty price tag, but since a little goes a long way to cover spots, dark circles and blemishes, its per-use cost guarantees a good return on your investment.