The beauty industry moves at breakneck speed these days. Brands are constantly pushing new palettes, new lipsticks, new creams and serums–you name it, they’ve got the latest thing for you that promises the perfect visage.
But just as quickly as they’re released, many products disappear. That’s where the cult classics come in.
Whether it’s dark, vampy nails, dewy-fresh skin, or a sheer wash of color on the lips, many of these products were innovators in their field for creating or perfecting new trends when they came out, while many others simply helped users look their best and continue doing so today.
Try some for yourself to see what all the continued hype is about and remember, you can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice, and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence
Shiseido is the oldest cosmetic company in the world, and the Eudermine essence is one of its longest running, most continuously successful products.
This classic skin-softening formula launched in 1897 and continues hydrating its loyal users’ faces now, more than 120 years later. It’s still packaged in a stunning ruby bottle meant to emulate the glamour of luxury perfumes, and it continues using atmospheric moisture to keep your skin’s moisture level constant.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Vamp
Legend has it the deep, reddish black shade Vamp came about in 1994 when then-head of Chanel Karl Lagerfeld desired a nail polish that would show up in black and white photo shoots and suggested to by Dominique Moncourtois, then in charge of the luxe brand’s cosmetics line, that they create it.
It was an instant hit and helped normalize the use of darker shades in daily polish. Uma Thurman wore it in Pulp Fiction, Madonna wore it in her “Take A Bow” video, and it was even declared “over” by vampire slayer extraordinaire Buffy (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) in an episode of the teen drama, but it continued out-selling the majority of its competition for years to come.
Vamp is still here, still stunning, and ready for you to glide on even in the heat of summer. It’s a little, okay a lot, more expensive than the original $15 price tag, but you’ll feel special treating yourself to a little piece of glamorous fashion history and have gorgeous hands to boot.
Pond's Cold Cream Make-up Remover Deep Cleanser - 6.1oz
Makeup is better than ever at staying put all day through sweat, tears, rain, and whatever else you may put it through during wear. That’s all the more reason to nab a jar of beloved Pond’s Cold Cream, the removing lotion that moisturizes and protects your skin’s balance while effortlessly sliding off layers of foundation and mascara. It’s hypoallergenic, gentle on sensitive skin, and won’t clog your pores.
Noxzema Classic Clean Moisturizing Cleansing Cream Moisturizing Cleansing
The cool, refreshing feeling of Noxzema is still around and useful as ever.
Created in 1914, Noxzema was originally created to help treat sunburns–a task it handles beautifully–but is most frequently used as a facial cleanser and makeup remover. Tubs of the stuff are cheap and come with abundant product, and ingredients like camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol make it smell and feel utterly delightful on the skin.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
As the story goes, Ms. Arden created this cream when her child fell and got a skinned knee upon which she applied this cream. “8 hours later,” it was better and voila, today we’re still using this multi-function miracle cream.
Aside from the fun backstory, this cream serves so many purposes:
-Use on your face to seal in moisture
-Rub into hands then wrap with a warm towel to soften
-Use on sunburnt or irritated skin to calm
-Massage into dry elbows or knees to alleviate scaly, flaky patches
-Apply to freshly shaven legs for incredible post-shower results
Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey
Full disclosure: Long before I was regularly writing articles such as this one for readers like you, I worked at a Clinique counter selling their skin-focused potions and serums, teaching customers how to apply subtly beautiful makeup like this, the Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. The only problem? We could not keep it in stock.
I learned quickly this lipstick had become a cult classic of the nineties and early oughts, and thus customers flocked to our small counter to snag every tube they could find. And they had good reason! This sheer, moisturizing formula looks nearly black in the tube but glides on smoothly to reveal a subtle shine and hint of color that looks perfect on a huge range of skin tones without being heavy or overwhelming.
Like I mentioned in this recent lip gloss article, lightweight looks are back in style, so now more than ever, Black Honey should be a staple in your makeup kit.
Dana Classic Fragrances Love's Baby Soft Cologne Mist 1.5 Fl. Oz
If you were a preteen flirt writing love notes to cute boys in hopes one would ask you to the dance, you probably have fond memories of Love’s Baby Soft. Soft, powdery, and light, the fragrance formula still hits the nose in the same, almost too-sweet way, but it’s nearly impossible to spray on too much. Try layering with something muskier for a more mature take on the retro scent.
Advanced Night Repair Serum Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
It’s practically a baby on this list consider it debuted in 1982, but Estee Lauder’s prestigious product Advanced Night Repair serum has been an anti-aging favorite ever since.
It is the top-rated serum in the United States according to The NPD Group, and it’s oil-free, prevents multiple signs of sagging, aging, and irregularity, uses hyaluronic acid to maintain skin hydration, and won’t clog pores, just to name a few perks. A small bottle lasts a long time, too, so trust the somewhat high cost will ensure great skin for months to come.
Lip Smacker Lip Balm Coca Cola Party Pack - 8pc/1.12oz
Cosmetics company Bonne Bell began in a caring dad’s basement in 1927 where Jesse Bell created various products on a hot plate and named them after his daughter. Nearly half a century later, the company started creating their signature product: Lip Smackers.
The flavored lip pomades were first marketed to skiers to combats chapped lips after long days on the slopes, but preteens and teens caught on and started collecting the little tubes of balm, many of us doing so before graduating to more grown-up opaque lip shades.
Now expanded well beyond the first original flavors (strawberry, green apple, and orange chocolate), the company makes dozens of iterations, including this cool set inspired by popular sodas. At just $10.99 for eight of them, you’ll have enough to put in every purse, pocket, car console, and nightstand you own so you’re never far from moisturizing your mouth.
Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder, Translucent
Coty has been creating beauty goods since 1904, so it’s not surprise their iconic Airspun Loose Powder is a decades-long favorite of grandmas, drag queens, and anyone else who wanted a long-lasting full beat thanks to its magical setting powers.
Airspun promises to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles by softening the skin, blurring imperfections with its light coverage whether used alone or on top of liquid foundation. Makeup artists in the reviews and elsewhere rave about its use as a baking powder (the makeup technique, not the birthday cake kind), so drop the $5 or so on this classic product and see how it works for you.