40 of the Best Beauty Products of All Time That Should Be on Your Radar
Here are the make-up, nail, skin care and haircare products that reign supreme year after year (and decade after decade).
Best of Beauty: Nails
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in 18 Rouge Noir
You may know this glossy black-red nail polish as Vamp, which came out in 1994. Vamp was technically discontinued in 2020 (RIP) but this shade gives the same evil-chic feels with a brave new name.
Essie Ballet Slippers
The fact that this sheer pink shade manages to look pretty without being prissy has made it one of the most recognizable names
in nail polish history.
CND Vinylux in Field Fox
This glossy neutral polish in a longwear formula is the only shade you’ll need to flash those minimalist ’90s vibes.
OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
Another famous inky shade, this deep purple lacquer will help you show off all your best goth girl vibes.
OPI Big Apple Red
The most classic of the classic reds, this crisp candy-apple colour is always on point.
Best of Beauty: Face
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen
This shimmer-free highlighting concealer has been giving skin a natural glow since 1992. If you’re after light coverage or a hint of illumination, just click this iconic gold pen and paint away.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
A diverse range of foundation shades may seem like a given now, but (as with so many things) Rihanna got there first. In 2017—not so long ago!—she launched an inclusive line with a revolutionary 40 shades, which prompted other brands to expand. Rihanna has since added 10 more and released a dewier, hydrating formulation, too.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Protector
These days, there’s no shortage of super sheer foundations infused with skincare ingredients, but 20-plus years ago, Laura Mercier was the first brand to espouse the your-skin-but-better philosophy. The original formulation gives skin a soft glow, and there’s now an oil-free matte version, too.
Tarte Cosmetic Shape Tape Contour Concealer
Canadians couldn’t get our frozen little paws on Tarte’s bestselling concealer until this year, but now all 35 creamy, waterproof shades are ours to love.
Best of Beauty: Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara
This iconic curling, lengthening, lifting mascara does all the things. Plus, the specially-designed brush allows you to get at the itty-bitty lashes at the outer corners of your eyes, too.
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara
This classic drugstore buy has been bringing thick and fluffy lash realness
since 1991. It’s now available in a range of pop-y shades like cobalt blue, deep green and purple.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
TikTok lost its collective mind for this light-as-air formula when it launched in early 2021, and for good reason—this affordable lash lifter is worth the hype.
Dior Diorshow Mascara (Pictured: Iconic Overcurl)
This cult-favourite buy has been on best-of lists since its launch in 2002 thanks to its massive brush. The formula was updated in 2015 to deliver an even fluffier look and the shades expanded to navy blue and brown.
Best of Beauty: Lipstick
MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo Retro Matte Lipstick
This cherry red is so popular that MAC turned the O.G. Ruby Woo into Ruby’s Crew this year (get it?) with the addition of three new formulations—two liquids and a Powder Kiss version for a matte look with a velvety feel.
From $27, at maccosmetics.ca
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
The Tik Tok crowd discovered this old-school favourite last summer and the shade—which works for everyone because it basically amps up the colour of your own lips—went viral. So if you’re one of the many who have been wearing this sheer but comfortable berry look since 1989, good luck replacing it now!
$21, at clinique.ca
This famous shocking pink matte lippe is the signature shade of its namesake, iconic fashion designer and renowned boho aristocrat Elsa Schiaparelli.
Christian Dior 999
A classic blue-red lip never goes out of style. This hydrating shade is refillable now, too.
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Original Matte Revolution Lipstick
The lipstick that started makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s climb to the top of the beauty-brand universe is this creamy (but not smear-y) matte formula. Its colour is a perfect dusty rose that somehow looks good on all skin tones.
Best of Beauty: Cheeks
Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer
This award-winning powder bronzer comes in five shades and there’s a built-in mirror and brush—perfect for faking some glow on the go.
BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF15
Back in the day (1995, to be exact) when foundations often looked and felt pancake-y, this product changed the game with a clean formula that didn’t clog pores. The classic comes in a “radiant finish” but if you’re more of a matte girl, they have that, too!
NARS Blush in Orgasm
While many blushes today promise a “just-got-some” flush, this saucy pink was the first when it launched in 1999.
Best of Beauty: Eyes
Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
The pigment is super-saturated but doesn’t smudge, while the micro- tip makes application easy (even for klutzes). It comes in six shades.
Glossier Boy Brow
This creamy wax pomade that comes in five shades has been giving everyone the bushy (but neat!) Cara Delevingne brows of their dreams ever since its launch in 2015.
$18 USD, glossier.com
Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette
While it seems like neutral eyeshadows are everywhere now, you just can’t go
wrong with this classic daytime palette of 12 shades in mattes, metallics and easy shimmers.
Best of Beauty: Skin Care
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution
This affordable French micellar cleansing water is an easy way to wash your face without leaving the couch and even works on waterproof makeup. It also comes in formulas for oily and dehydrated skin.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
A bestseller since it first launched in 1982, this beloved hyaluronic-infused serum was updated in 2020 with a secret complex that is said to have a direct line to a micro-signaling molecule in the skin that help repair aging skin.
From $104, esteelauder.ca
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50T
This exfoliating toner is famous for its ability to slough away dead skin for a major glow-up. It’s mostly sold at spas and dermatologists’ offices, but it’s worth the hunt.
From $33, one2onestudio.ca
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
Dermatologists are kind of obsessed with this vitamin C serum that’s a potent combo of 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This uber-gentle, soap-free cleanser has been around for a while—the original formula launched way back in 1947. The fragrance-free, ph-balanced wash means that its good for people with reactive skin.
Best of Beauty: Skin Care (Continued)
ROC SkincareRetinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream
This retinol cream is specially formulated for the extra sensitive eye area and helps smooth fine lines, reduce puffiness and brighten dark circles like a champ.
Crème de La Mer Moisturizing Cream
This ultra-rich cream, famously infused with its patented “Miracle Broth” (giant sea kelp, vitamins and minerals) and antioxidant lime tea, gives the thirstiest of dry skin an intense pampering.
Avène Eau Thermale Tolérance Extreme Cream
This hydrating hypoallergenic cream is a desert-island product for people with even the most sensitive skin.
$24, at shoppersdrugmart.ca
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
This milky cream is the ultimate multitasker and can be used as a light moisturizer and makeup primer, thanks to a juicy mix of shea butter, aloe vera, beeswax and soy proteins.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
If you’re a retinol virgin, or find other formulas too strong, this fragrance-free cream—a member of Sephora’s “Clean at Sephora” tribe—has only 1.0% retinol and is sure to be your new non-irritating overnight skin treatment.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Say “the moisturizer in the red jar” and plenty of people will immediately know which one you’re talking about. The niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in this creamy formula have been brightening and plumping faces since 2007, and it’s now available in a lighter “whipped” version, an ultra-rich one and a fragrance-free one, too.
(Related: How to Tell If You’re Exfoliating Too Much)
Best of Beauty: Haircare
Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk
Dry shampoos are great for freshening dirty hair or giving a little extra oomph to limp locks, but they can be itchy and overly perfume-y. That’s not the case with this classic soothing formula.
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Unscented Extra Strong Hold Hairspray
This supreme drugstore hairspray can be found in most hairstylists’s kits. L’Oréal has never changed the 1980s Glamour Shots-style image on the can
and we’re here for it.
Oribe Dry Texturing Spray
There are texturizing sprays, and then there’s the texturizing spray. Trust us—there are no good dupes for this pricey hair-pumping elixir. The yummy jasmine, bergamot and sandalwood scent only increases its appeal and helps justify its price tag.
This brand was one of the first to harness the nourishing properties of argan oil. They mixed it with fatty linseed extract and swish—decades of smooth, delicious-smelling hair were ours. It can be used for all hair types including curly and coily and now comes
in a lighter version.
Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 Repairing Treatment
If you, too, have coloured your hair so much it’s a desiccated husk of its former self, this treatment is for you. While it can be used on all hair types and shades, Olaplex’s bonding and moisturizing power is especially useful for repairing bleached-out locks.