20 Cult Beauty Buys

cosmetic beauty products on white

In my job I see, touch and smell new beauty products every week. Beauty is a big business and the brands behind the business – whether they are big or small – are always looking for new ways to excite us enough to make a purchase or to switch from a product we may have been using for years.

I know, I know, we are often at the behest of marketers. And I’m guilty as charged for being lured into a new purchase based on hype… and pretty packaging.

But it’s the products that stand tall above any new hype that I want to talk about today. These are beauty products which have been in our bathroom cabinets for as long as we can remember – or perhaps they were even on your mum or grandmother’s vanity.

These are the products that have either stood the test of time and still hold their own with any newcomers that might swing on past or they’re recent additions to the beauty product hall of fame. Additions that are here to stay.

Either way, they have a cult following for a very good reason. Each product delivers on what it promises and keeps us coming back to re-purchase again and again.

1. ghd stylers. The term ghd is so ingrained in our vocab that we now use it as a verb. We don’t straighten our hair, we ghd it.


2. Moroccanoil Original Oil treatment. This was the first brand to mainstream the use of Argan oil in hair treatments.


3. Cedel hairspray. I remember this on my Nan’s dressing table. It held her “set” in place like nobody’s business.


4. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Great value and recommended by dermatologists.


5. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. Fast becoming the cleansing method of choice for beautiful girls in the know.


6. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Thanks to the discovery of beautiful skin on sake makers we now have products based on Pitera – the liquid produced during the fermentation process of certain yeasts.


7. Olay Total Effects. When this product launched and promised to cut our skin regime into one easy product, we rejoiced and continue to do so.


8. NIVEA Crème. It’s been updated many times but the essence of this moisturizer is the same as it was 102 years ago.


9. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser. I still remember the Clinique “computer” which was actually not a computer telling me this moisturizer would be perfect for my then combination skin. And it was … from 18-30 years.


10. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. This is a much-loved product for hydration and use in treatment of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles.


11. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. This do-everything product was created by Elizabeth Arden in 1930. Its formula remains relatively unchanged but there are other products now available, including lip balms.


12. Lanolips 101 Ointment. It’s only been around a few years but already its cult status is sealed. It’s another do-everything balm and my lips don’t survive winter without it.


13. Garnier BB Cream. This was the first BB Cream to launch in Australia in 2011 (now there’s a tonne of them!) and it’s still favoured by most – for its price point and effectiveness.


14. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat. My love of an under-eye illuminator started here and has continued unabated.


15. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. The formula and the brushwork hand in hand to make lashes look their best for less.



16. Benefit Benetint. The original lip and cheek stain that came about because an exotic dancer in the 1970s needed to have her nipple colour “enhanced”.


17. Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Crème Lip Colour in Mademoiselle. The soft, creamy texture of this lipstick is a winner but it’s this shade that is a classic on anybody’s lips.


18. MAC Strobe Cream. This is a pick-me-up for under makeup or on exposed shoulders or décolletage and a makeup artist favourite from way back.


19. Nars Blush in Orgasm. Sex does sell but this colour really is a winner on most skin tones.


20. Chanel No. 5 fragrance. If you ignore the Brad Pitt posters and think old-school glamour, then this is the classic fragrance for you.



Even as I finished this list, I could think of other worthy mentions and I’m sure you can too.

What’s your pick for cult beauty products?

What have you been buying for years and can’t live without?


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