Above image by IMAXTREE.com

A classic beauty product is not necessarily something your mother used or deemed one of her beauty essentials. It’s the one that delivers the goods every time – the
best clump-free mascara, the fastest route to clear skin and a perfect, universally wearable lip colour. Something you didn’t know you needed and then wonder ‘
how did I ever live without it?’ . We round up the best of the best beauty essentials when it comes to delivering their promises time and time again.


Classic beauty product: The Anti-frizz serum

In 1991, long before keratin straightening treatments and argan oil from Morocco, there was only John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum ($10.49). The silicone-based formula was more effective at
calming unruly hair than anything available at the time, even for the most tragically frizz-afflicted. “It was a game changer,” says hairstylist Jacquie Gideon. “It gives hair polish and control and has spawned many (imitators) over the years.” Two decades on, it is still the number one serum in Canada.


Classic beauty product: The highlighter

“Most women don’t realize it’s a highlighter, not a concealer,” says Diana Carreiro of YSL’s Touche Éclat ($50), which chalks up annual global sales of 3 million units. Its shimmering microparticles go beyond mere concealing. Beloved for its light-reflecting superpowers, it obliterates darkness and shadow, virtually erases naso-labial folds (those cruel lines running from the outer edge of the nose to the corners of the mouth) and “gives the face a lift” adds Carreiro, when strategically placed on cheekbones or inner corners of the eye.


Classic beauty product: The perfect lip

The 90s wasn’t all matte mouths lined in brown pencil. Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick ($18), launched in 1989, was the glossy supermodel must-have (Elle McPherson was an early fan). Dark in the tube but light on the lips, its blend of red, blue, orange and yellow pigments in a sheer base looked just a little different, but flattering, on virtually every skin tone. Plus, it predates the current craze for gloss balms by twenty years and is still going strong (one is sold somewhere in the world every two minutes.)


Classic beauty product: The nail shade

Introduced little more than three years ago, OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques ($10.95) was not your average attention-getting polish. It wasn’t overtly sexy like a black-cherry red or dangerous like a dark midnight blue, but its moody, muddy tone was just different enough to be arresting. LA-based celebrity manicurist Carla Kay observes that “it blends with every skin type and goes with most colors in your wardrobe. ” Maybe that’s why it rocketed from trendy oddity to classic in no time at all, selling 1.4 million bottles along the way.

More beauty essentials on the next page…

Classic beauty product: The strips

Bioré Pore Strips ($10) were originally created for oily-nosed teens and twenty-somethings, but they’re a
beauty bag staple now, for anyone who has ever fallen down on their exfoliation routine and has (ugh) blackheads. The secret “cationic combination” on each pore strip magically sticks to dirt, oil and blackheads, but not to skin. Plus, the gross-out factor (slash) satisfaction of seeing the spiky, black results never gets old. Maybe that’s why we’ve bought enough Bioré pore strips to wrap around the world.


Classic beauty product: The moisturizing lotion

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, staring at a drugstore shelf full of products and promises (Plumping! Anti-aging! Firming!). So it makes sense that Olay Classic Moisturizing lotion ($10, drug and mass retailers) is still so popular, (every second, somewhere in the world, two women purchase an Olay product.) Quickly absorbed, Olay Classic moisturizes and soothes dry skin without feeling greasy, just as chemist Graham Wulff intended when he created the original formula in the early 1950s.


Classic beauty product: The mascara

Why is Maybelline Great Lash mascara still beloved 40 years after its birth? In Canada someone snatches up one of the iconic pink and green tubes every 1.7 seconds. Its water-based formula makes it easy to work with, even for amateurs. Makeup artists love it too. “It’s buildable, goof-proof, has a great brush, is inexpensive and most importantly, stays put,” says makeup artists Diana Carreiro. “You could spend twice the price on a ‘fancy’ mascara only to find it flakes and clumps. Why take the chance?” And at only $6.49, it’s painless to replace after the recommended 3 months.

Read more:

Beauty tips: In-flight beauty essentials

The best exfoliators and scrubs

The best winter face moisturizers

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