I am instantly turned off by anything overly popular. Green smoothies? Check. Harry Potter? Check. Craft beer, bicycles, and white sneakers? Check, check, check. It’s a bad habit, but a deep rooted one. For every five people who say it’s cool, I’m ten percent less likely to try it. (Or something.) While I often overcome it eventually – hello, trendy chokers and pumpkin spice lattes – my disdain for the recommended is high. I always assume it’s being over hyped.
Let me assure you, these 12 beauty products are not. These 12 deserve every bit of praise.
Shop the items below or keep reading to find out why I love them.
IT’S A 10 MIRACLE LEAVE-IN PRODUCT | I have used this product every day since August 7, 2012. Weird that I know the date? I scrolled back through my Instagram. (Thanks, social media!) Here’s the backstory: In 2012, I was a senior in college and coloring/trimming my own hair to save some cash. Then one day it looked all sad and perpetually tangled and dry like this, so I tagged along while my then-boyfriend/now-husband went to class so I could stop by the nearby Ulta for a cheap fix. At the time, Ulta didn’t have an enforceable policy about hair color prices going up due to the use of extra dye, so since my hair was so long it was the cheapest pro option. The stylist was pretty vocal on her shock for the state of my mane and nearly demanded I start using It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. I have been hooked ever since.
Of all the items on this list, It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product is my absolute favorite and the one I have recommended to the most people. It literally changed the texture of my hair. Bow down to the purple bottle.
SMITH’S ROSEBUD SALVE | I read about this as a teenager in some article about what beauty editors keep in their purse, so when I later saw it at a Sephora I bought it because I felt in the know. Tubes are about $6 and they last forever, offering a lot of shine and even more hydration. I keep multiple tubes of Smith’s Rosebud Salve around my house and have stocked up when I’ve found it at Saks Off Fifth for a few bucks cheaper. Pro tip: Go with the tube. This also comes in a canister but then you’re getting it all over your finger and under your nail which is super icky.
CLINIQUE ALMOST LIPSTICK IN BLACK HONEY | In my experience, Black Honey wearers are in this rad beauty cult where if we see another in the wild we want to talk about it. Okay, maybe this isn’t everyone, but damn it I have had a lot of fellow followers in the Church of Almost Lipstick spurt something like “OMG ME TOO” upon seeing me remove a tube from my purse. I go through two Almost Lipsticks a year and don’t plan on ever stopping. This product is sheer enough to apply without a mirror but dark enough to make an impact.
ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS DIPBROW | My friend Maggie turned me on to this product and I love it. Want your brows to stay on all day? Try Dipbrow. This product is wonderful is you’re filling in patchy brows or, I assume, drawing on non-existent brows. My eyebrows are missing a few parts (thanks, acne scars) and this is my favorite product to fix them. Plus, a jar lasts me six to eight months.
BENEFIT BOI-ING INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH CONCEALER | This is likely the first “high-end” beauty product I began consistently buying, and over the course of several years I’ve only needed three. I use this concealer to cover pimples and act as the occasional eye shadow base. Two thumbs up.
BENEFIT THE PORE-FESSIONAL PRIMER | Ah, Benefit. What an amazing brand. I’ve tried way too many pore-reducing primers and this one always comes out on top. The consistency is fantastic and it stays put all day even with mega oily skin.
SALLY HANSEN INSTA-DRI ANTI-CHIP TOP COAT | Do other top coats even exist? For the price and the quality, this one is my winner. Who doesn’t want their nail polish to dry faster?
TARTE SHAPE TAPE CONTOUR CONCEALER | Pardon my French, but upon applying this to my face I actually said into a mirror “Wait, what the fuck?” It CHANGES THE SHAPE OF YOUR FACE THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT SHAPE TAPE OMG. I use this under my eyes, down my nose, on my forehead, and on my chin. It is the perfect highlighting concealer and it makes my face look bright and sculpted. So much yes.
REDKEN SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER | Even when I go bananas for budgeting, I always figure out a way to buy Redken shampoo and conditioner. It has such a great lather and leaves hair with a faint, but lovely scent. I rotate between the clarifying and color protecting versions, and I add in the dandruff option once a week during the winter. Shop during Ulta’s liter sale to get the best deal.
LIVING PROOF PRIME STYLE EXTENDER | I’ve traded in so many Sephora points for more samples of this stuff. My hair holds a curl fairly well, but with a pea-sized amount of Living Proof Style Extender those ringlets last all day. Bonus points: it feels and smells amazing.
JERGENS WET SKIN MOISTURIZER | I always have great intentions about putting on lotion, but terrible execution. It just takes too long! I love the Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer because it takes merely seconds and doesn’t feel too greasy. I’ve been using my bottle for months and it is just now starting to run out. Instant lotion right after shaving your legs is amazing – try it once and you’ll be hooked.
DERMALOGIA STRESS POSITIVE EYE LIFT | I’m pretty new to using this, but after one use it was clear it actually provided some serious lift. I only used it on one eye and the immediate results were staggering. Now I understand the price tag! (Okay, this one might not be cult status yet, but I think it’s just a matter of time.)
What cult-classic products am I forgetting? Tell me in the comments!