100 Iconic Products You Need to Check Off Your Beauty Bucket List
If you call yourself a beauty addict, you know that there are just certain products you need to try at least once in your lifetime. They're just that iconic. You also know that once you test them, your life is much easier — and way more fabulous. Snagging these cult products adds you to a long, prestigious list of fans. For example, owning
If you look at your own family, there's a chance that you've been using the same moisturizer that your great-grandmother has been using, but you're rocking a new lipstick that you hope your grandchildren will love as much as you do. That's the beauty of cult products. They're established, reputable, and completely worthy of their following. There are more than you realize, though! Read on to discover all the products you need to try, starting . . . now!
— Additional reporting by Lauren Levinson and Jessica Cruel
Lorac Front of the Line Pro Eyeliner
We were always frustrated by liquid liner until we met this one. Its precise but flexible brush tip deposits inky pigment that never skips or sheers out. We've been using the same one nearly every day for a year now, and we still haven't run out (really!) but are dreading the day we do.
Nivea is one of those products that you use because your mom (and your grandma) used it, too, and would never try anything else. Women of all skin types have enjoyed the rich, moisturizing cream since 1911! We especially like the one-ounce tin — it's easy to stash in a handbag.
Nivea Cream ($3)
CND Stickey Base Coat
Take a peek backstage at any fashion show, and you're likely to see jumbo sizes of this base coat being passed around. While it's not our first pick for supersheer shades, it's completely fabulous under matte, dark, or glittery polishes due to its adhesive-like quality — it grips the polish on top, leaving you with a shockingly long-lasting manicure.
Herbal Essences Smooth Collection Shampoo
Herbal Essences may have grabbed our attention with those sexy commercials in the 1990s, but we still have the pink bottle as part of our regular hair rotation. Strands feel smooth and silky without the use of silicones, and the freshly picked rose scent keeps us smelling our mane all day.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
While we didn't keep a lot from our grandmother's makeup routine (sorry!), this refreshing product made the cut. Oily skin and congested pores don't stand a chance against this minty clay mix. Even when our complexion is calm, we use it as part of our spa day routine, because we're addicted to the tingly feeling.
Our obsession with achieving whiter teeth verges practically on the insane. Crest Whitestrips have not only given us the results we've craved but have completely taken tooth sensitivity out of the equation, which (as bleaching addicts know) is a serious accomplishment. Even better, the advanced seal technology grips our pearly whites like a sticker, so we don't end up whitening our gumline. Plus, we can drink water with these on, meaning we're not totally parched by the time 30 minutes are up.
Goody Spin Pins
This is one of the few products we love so much, we've bought them for every purse. Though ladies blessed with thick tresses may need to use both pins at once, one pin is enough for most to control their coif — just create a ponytail, twist it into a bun, stab it with a spin pin, and you're good to go. It's an absolute essential if you're prone to a sweaty neck.
Goody Spin Pins ($5)
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
Unlike many on the market, this highlighter isn't overly sparkly — it provides a soft, natural-looking luminescence thanks to superfine, pearly-gold shimmer particles. Try rocking it on your collarbones like celebrity fan Gisele Bündchen does.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate
This beloved product is a hybrid of a classic face scrub and a fruit enzyme peel. After one use, dull skin looks bright and feels so soft, you won't be able to stop touching it. Our favorite part? It smells like pumpkin pie, so you'll smell as good as you look.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
This ubiquitous formula has been around for over 40 years — if you haven't owned or tried the pink-and-green tube, you definitely know someone who has. While the formula has both superfans and haters, everyone knows the product can create highly defined, glossy lashes in one stroke — and what's to hate about that?
Wet n Wild Color Icon Pencil
This was the first eyeliner we ever tried, and we still keep it in our stash today. It comes in a wide variety of shades, the price is completely unbeatable, and (with the help of a carefully placed flame) it can even be transformed into a gel formula.
Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer
Makeup artists and celebrities alike (Kim Kardashian included) count this maximum-coverage concealer as a staple, and for good reason: despite the heavy pigment load of the formula, it's creamy, not chalky, and it applies perfectly even. Just one application vanquishes dark circles so well, you'll question if they were ever there in the first place.
Wen Cleansing Conditioner
While co-washing is nothing new to the natural hair community, Wen's product put the concept on the map for many people. Each scent has a cult-like following, especially its limited-edition launches, but the Sweet Almond Mint will always be our favorite.
Diptyque Tuberose Scented Candle
Walk into any stylish home and you're bound to see a candle by French beauty brand Diptyque. Pick up this floral fragrance as a chic hostess gift or a way to make your at-home spa zone more sensual.
Ardell Duo Lash Adhesive in Dark
Before there were semipermanent lash extensions, women relied on falsies and glue. This drugstore steal will help you adhere your faux lash strip without leaving that telltale white-glue look thanks to its dark color.
Butter London Nail Foundation
Though Butter London is known for its striking lacquer colors, its base coat is also esteemed for leaving your nails with a satin finish. Expect it to hide bumps and ridges (read: the remnants of last week's glitter gel job) so that said color glides on smooth.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter
Packed with richly hydrating shea and cocoa butters, this formula gets our flake-plagued skin through Winter weather. It also makes us smell like a candy bar!
L'Oréal Voluminous Mascara
We've been known to apply layer upon layer (upon layer!) of mascara for the ultimate in lash drama. L'Oréal Voluminous Mascara somehow never flakes or clumps — it just gives us a fat, fluttery fringe without the hassle of falsies or glue.
Tatcha Polished: Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder
Gentle but effective, Tatcha's rice bran exfoliant buffs away dead, dull skin and leaves a luminous, touchable complexion behind. Plus, the fact that it's inspired by a geisha's beauty ritual makes the treatment feel superluxe.
Natura Bisse Sheer Cream
This SPF moisturizer checks all of our requirement boxes — sinks into skin, leaves skin dewy and nourished (without feeling heavy or greasy). Plus, the blend of essential oils provides a soothing dose of aromatherapy . . . and who doesn't need that on a Monday morning?
Avène Thermal Spring Water
Instead of a light mist, this facial spray truly saturates the skin with water, making it an essential step postmoisturizer. Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the celebrity fans of this product, which she uses to cool down on a hot day and set her makeup. We like to keep a bottle at the desk for a midday pick-me-up — it wakes us up without any extra caffeine.
Mio Boob Tube
Mama Mio originally created this for mommies-to-be, but the breast sagging- and stretch mark-eliminating product accrued many nonmom fans. As a result, the company rebranded Boob Tube, making it for anyone who wanted a firmer bust.
The Original Beautyblender
Take a peek backstage at any fashion show or magazine shoot and you're guaranteed to spot a lot of these hot pink sponges in makeup artist kits. The pointed end helps get in the creases around the nose, and the rounded side buffs out any rough foundation edges — so you can look as airbrushed as a Kardashian.
L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
According to L'Occitane, one of these babies is sold every three seconds around the world! The 20 percent shea butter formula makes it indispensable, especially in the Winter months, and the cream absorbs quickly so you don't have to wait around before slipping into a pair of gloves.
Kiehl's Since 1851 Creme de Corps
Fans of this nourishing lotion say they can't live without it — try it once, and you'll be addicted, too. Even the tightest, driest skin will feel hydrated for 24 hours after applying, and since the formula is practically fragrance-free, both men and women can enjoy it.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This cleanser is a standby for a reason: it removes all traces of makeup without stripping sensitive skin. You can even use it as a hand or body wash. It's so good, dermatologists have been recommending it for years in lieu of more expensive or prescription formulas.
Regardless of your hair type, you'll find a use for this wonder product. We've tried it as a conditioner, finishing treatment, detangler, you name it — and it's provided us with glossy, healthy, deliciously scented strands every time.
Moroccanoil Treatment ($15)
Philosophy Amazing Grace Fragrance
Though we may find ourselves in torrid love affairs with Philosophy's assorted baked goods-scented products, we always return to Amazing Grace. It's clean, floral, and musky without coming on too strong, and it gets us tons of compliments with every wear.
Dr. Jart+ BB Bounce Beauty Balm
Dr. Jart helped put BB creams on the map in the United States, and this cushion compact takes that expertise to a whole new level. Somewhere between the coverage of a BB cream and a foundation, this formula covers everything from under-eye circles to acne scarring without looking or feeling heavy.
Perricone MD Cold Plasma
Thanks to a concentrated blend of peptides, phospholipids, glycolic acid, and other active ingredients, regular application of this cream slays sagging jowls, forehead creases, and dull texture. One Sephora reviewer loves Cold Plasma so much that she would "rather buy this than buy food!"
Perricone MD Cold Plasma ($90)
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
One beauty secret we learned from top models and industry professionals is vitamin C serum. This Ole Henriksen staple eliminates dark spots and acne scars by increasing cell turnover. The ingredient list includes powerful exfoliating fruit extracts and skin-nourishing antioxidants.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Peels
This chemical peel will change your life — and your skin! Step one exfoliates away dull, dry texture, and step two nourishes the fresh complexion underneath for instantly luminous skin. Believe it or not, this nonirritating yet effective peel tackles every skin concern from wrinkles to breakouts.
Tom Ford Black Orchid Fragrance
This is the downright sexiest fragrance in our collection. With notes of patchouli, chocolate, and (of course!) orchid, it's best worn with a very revealing gown and a serious dose of confidence.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
This is the foundation primer rockstars like Madonna rely on to keep makeup in place on stage, so you know it can hold up to any sweaty situation you find yourself in (like Spin class). One layer will erase pores and mattify shine.
Bristols Six Nippies
There's no reason to fear nipples poking through even the thinnest tops. These skin-tone nipple covers have thin outer edges for a smooth look, and they're so comfortable and long-lasting that you'll forget you're wearing them. What's even better? They're reusable! After each wear, a little soap and water keeps them sticky for next time.
Bristols Six Nippies ($24)
Glamglow SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment
You can see and feel this mask as it's working: as the formula dries, you'll see darker areas where it sucked up extra oil, and it'll leave your face feeling tingly (in a good way!).
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
Summer in a bottle! Salt sprays may be all the rage now, but Bumble and Bumble's was one of the first to ever hit shelves. Spritz this on to damp or dry hair to get sexy, tousled mermaid hair without ever stepping foot on a beach.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Fine lines, wrinkles, and a dull complexion don't stand a chance against the powerful cocktail of hyaluronic acid, peptides, and probiotics — and your skin will be so soft upon waking, you'll be touching it all day.
Guerlain Meteorites Perles d'Etoile
These iconic pearls look just as good on the complexion as they do on a vanity — finely milled powders with light-diffusing qualities make your skin look airbrushed. Each pearl is made by hand to ensure perfection.
Tarte Cheek Stain
Tarte's cheek stains are the cornerstone of the brand — and were originally made by hand in a tiny New York City apartment. They're completely foolproof to use thanks to their sheer, buildable, and blendable formulas, and the fruity, Jello-like scent is a nice bonus.
Tarte Cheek Stain ($30)
Alexa Chung Lash Enhancing Eye Do Eyeliner
Eyeko is one British makeup brand that has become a favorite among celebrities. In fact, street style star Alexa Chung created an entire line of products with her seal of approval including this eyeliner. Using this felt-tip pen to create winged looks is like having training wheels on your first bike. The thick marker makes it easy to get in the tight crevices around the eye with a liquid-like finish.
Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights
When a company resurrects a discontinued product because it was selling for more than $100 on eBay, you know it has to be good. This highlighter's gleam is subtle enough for everyday glam and available in four hues for a variety of skin tones.
Klorane Dry Shampoo
We have one of these in our desk, in our home, and at our boyfriend's place — it's that good. The scent is light and refreshing, while the powder formula absorbs extra oil (without leaving behind awkward clumps!) and adds texture to flat, next-day hair.
Klorane Dry Shampoo ($20)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel
Before the eyebrows on fleek trend was even a twinkle in someone's eye, arch guru Anastasia Soare was ensuring that celebrities and real girls alike had envious brows. Skip waiting for an appointment with Anastasia and get the next best thing — her tinted brow gel, which tames unruly hairs and makes sparse arches look amped up.
CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara
When it comes to mascara, we want it all: volume, length, and definition. The rubber bristles of CoverGirl's LashBlast wand ensure that each lash is coated from root to tip, giving our fringe fluttery, clump-free drama.
OPI in I'm Not Really a Waitress
It's hard to pick a favorite from OPI's wide range of shades, but this bestselling cherry hue has earned a permanent spot in our pedicure rotation because of its ability to flatter all skin tones. The microfine shimmer gives it a little boost of bling, helping to make it one of the brand's biggest hits.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
If you've ever had trouble fitting an eyelash curler to your eye, you should try reaching for Shu Uemura's tool. The rubber pad was specially created for almond-shaped eyes and gets superclose to your lash line for a doe-y, wide-eyed look.
Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser
Chances are your grandma is still using Pond's to remove her makeup at night. Cold cream was the most popular water-free cleansing method before wipes became cool, and it's still popular because it's the most moisturizing way to get rid of mascara.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Practically every celebrity hairstylist touts this texturizing spray and lists it among their top three products. Not only does it brilliantly double as a dry shampoo, but it adds extreme volume to fine, flat hair without making it look dull or dusty.
Sarah Potempa Beachwaver
Most of the time we use the #IWokeUpLikeThis hashtag just because we're too lazy to do our hair. But this curling iron features a rotating barrel with a button that switches the direction from clockwise to counterclockwise, making our hair look naturally wavy and flawless with minimal effort.
When we want a bold, inky-black fringe, we apply layer upon layer of DiorShow. It's a top pick of makeup artists everywhere for a reason — its larger-than-life brush reaches every lash, creating a falsies effect in one stroke.
Dior's Diorshow Mascara ($29)
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
Supposedly one of these gorgeous pens is sold every second, and if you've used one, you know why: the natural-looking highlighter comes in a variety of shades and adds subtle lift to wherever it's applied. Try it on the Cupid's bow to make your lips look curvier.
Lancôme Bi-Facial Makeup Remover
Waterproof makeup doesn't stand a chance against Lancôme's formula. Unlike many powerful makeup removers, this one just feels refreshing and natural, instead of stinging eyes or greasing up skin.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate
Backstage at Fashion Week, there is one skin care brand you will hear repeated again and again — Embryolisse. The models use it to keep their skin moisturized between runways, while makeup artists rely on the thick, unscented cream to prep the face for foundation.
MAC Lipstick in Russian Red and Ruby Woo
There will never be a red lipstick more revered and well-known than these two shades from MAC. We can honestly say both shades work for all skin tones. Most makeup aficionados can spot the hue from a mile away.
Chi Ceramic Flat Iron
Chi is the gold standard when it comes to flat irons. It gets hot enough to smooth out the kinkiest of hair textures. The one-inch iron is our favorite because it can also create flawless curls and waves with a flick of the wrist.
Chi 1" Ceramic Flat Iron ($130)
Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve
Rosebud lip salve is so much more than a lip balm. You can use this product everywhere from chapped lips and peeling cuticles to ashy knees. We even like to mix the wax with blush to get a subtle, dewy finish.
NARS Bronzer Blush Duo
We've been sculpting our cheekbones with Nars Cosmetics' Orgasm and Laguna long before contouring became cool. The iconic blush provides the perfect sexy flush while the bronzer always makes skin look sun-kissed — never muddy.
NARS Bronzer Blush Duo ($57)
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer
We started using this famous yellow lotion when we were teens, and we still use it today. The easily absorbed formula delivers serious hydration to dry, sensitive skin without causing any breakouts — a moisturizer must then and now.
La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
This is the Manolo Blahnik of face creams. The superluxe moisturizer was created by an aerospace scientist looking for the perfect treatment for his chemical burns. He developed this formula using biofermentation, a four-month process that allows the ingredients to grow stronger for more potent results. The cream melts into skin, leaving you glow-y, not greasy.
Any other set of tweezers is totally incomparable to a pair by Tweezerman. Not only do these tweezers stay perfectly precise for years, the brand will sharpen them for you free of charge any time they seem to lose their luster — so they practically pay for themselves.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
We hate to break it to you, but there is no way you can completely erase your pores, but this Smashbox primer comes pretty close. It acts like an Instagram filter that will blur all your fine lines prefoundation.
Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream
Before cream makeup was cool, makeup artists were mixing mediums with Eight-Hour Cream. The hydrating salve creates a fabulous base for lip gloss and eye shadow, but it originally gained its popularity as a celebrity skin care favorite.
Urban Decay Naked Palette
The Naked palette was one of the first palettes to cause a true shopping frenzy in the beauty community. It's a great option for beauty junkies and newbies alike, featuring 12 flattering takes on nude in shimmer, glitter, and matte formulas as well as a double-ended shadow brush. This one palette spawned a whole Naked series by Urban Decay, and it's still our favorite of the assortment — the warm and cool shades flatter all skin tones.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment
Lip balm addicts have one of these in every purse — it's moisturizing without being greasy or waxy, it provides SPF 15 (essential all year-round!), and its sugary citrus scent makes us want to eat a lemon square. This lip treatment's cult status inspired 10 pigmented versions of the product, but this clear unisex balm remains our favorite.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
This sheet mask is the supermodel secret to looking fresh after taking a red-eye flight. The thin cotton cloth seals in the antioxidants and vitamins for up to 30 minutes, revealing a brighter complexion. It's a postflight, posthangover beauty essential, and we keep ours in the fridge for an extracooling effect.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
At least once a month, we wake up to a red-alert pimple emergency. But this spot treatment will minimize a breakout in 24 hours or less (we promise). It's doubly effective if you exfoliate with a chemical peel right before applying at bedtime.
Clarisonic Skincare Mia Skincare Brush Kit
Every beauty editor will tell you that the secret to her flawless skin is the Clarisonic. The oscillating brush head gets deep into pores to clear even the thickest layers of makeup and gently slough away dead skin.
Erno Laszlo Deep Cleansing Bar
This is so much more than your ordinary soap. Erno Laszlo's facial-in-a-bar is made with mud from the Dead Sea and exfoliates, moisturizes, and detoxifies skin for a radiant complexion. The brand dates back to 1927 and counts Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Audrey Hepburn among its celebrity fans.
L'Oréal Elnett Hair Spray
This hair spray was banned for nearly 30 years due to the formula's ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons, causing stylists everywhere to smuggle it back from France in their suitcases. Once it came stateside in 2008, we became obsessed. It locks down any look but keeps strands totally touchable, not shellacked or crispy.
Thousands of bottles of Bioderma go through customs during Fashion Month each year . . . OK, we totally made that up, but it is the most used makeup remover backstage. Although the French pharmacy staple is a cult favorite, you can rarely find it stateside. The simple solution can wipe away the most stubborn waterproof eye makeup without drying out the skin.
Bioderma Cleanser ($10)
Harry Josh Pro Dryer
Harry Josh is one of the most sought-after stylists in the world and has worked with celebrities like Gisele Bündchen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Christy Turlington, to name a few. While this hair dryer may cost a pretty penny, it's basically guaranteed to give you nothing but good hair days. The tool is lightweight, has an ultrawide nozzle to blast more hair at once, and features eight different settings for professional-quality results.
Harry Josh Pro Dryer ($199)
Bath & Body Works Body Lotion in Warm Vanilla Sugar
It's hard to find a dimensional vanilla fragrance that's cuddly, comforting, and sweet without being sickly, but Bath & Body Works nailed it. The notes feature three different vanillas, tonka bean, and florals for a warm and sexy scent. It's best enjoyed in body-lotion form, so you can cover yourself with it like a delicious olfactory blanket.
Lush Bath Bomb
Lush has created an international cult following with its natural, handmade launches, including this sexy, effervescent bath bomb. Add it to your next bath, and let the bomb's essential oils and relaxing properties take over. Just be sure to enjoy it by its expiration date — these products are that fresh!
Lush Bath Bomb ($8)
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash
Purpose's highly gentle formula soothes skin as it washes away impurities, leaving a soft, hydrated complexion behind. This drugstore staple is recommended by dermatologists for problem complexions — it's hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic so it won't cause flare-ups or irritation.
Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil
Editor and stylist Linda Rodin was in her 60s when she created this potion because she couldn't find a product that quite fit the bill. The formula features 11 essential oils and extracts and leaves skin nourished, soft, and radiant.
Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil ($170)
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation
The first advertisement for this product featured an unphotoshopped model with a perfect complexion. While this may not sound groundbreaking, it was because you could still see the model's freckles and smile lines, but you couldn't see any makeup on her skin. You can build this foundation up to full coverage to cover any imperfections, and it blends seamlessly into skin without looking heavy or cakey.
Rita Hazan Root Concealer
Concealing those pesky grays with this product is impossibly easy — just act like you're a graffiti artist spraying over your strands. The formula won't budge until you wash it out, so you don't need to be paranoid about getting streaks on hats, scarves, or hands.
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
Though you may be daunted by a foam self tanner, St. Tropez's formula features a guide color to ensure you don't miss a spot. The proprietary blend includes a bit of green mixed in with the bronze hue, meaning you'll always look bronze and sun-kissed, never Oompa Loompa orange.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
While you may be tempted to shake the bottle of this spot treatment, don't! It's designed for you to dip a cotton swab into the sediment, then dab it on your pimple. Even those sore, lurking blemishes are blasted away overnight.
Sultra The Bombshell Rod Curling Iron
This is one of the first curling wands to ever hit the market, and it's been a cult favorite ever since: instead of using a clamp that can create creases in your fresh curls, you use your fingers to hold sections of your strands on this iron for natural, voluminous texture that will turn heads.