I say “every girl” pretty loosely here, because we all have our favorites and go-tos; everyone’s collection of iconic make-up products differs because we’re all unique, individual ladies. Some covet Carmex like it’s their baby while others prefer Chapstick when it comes to a lip moisturizer. Regardless, we all have a lipstick tube, a shampoo brand or perfume that we keep coming back to again and again. Here are my top ten picks:
1. Ruby Woo by MAC, $16 at MAC
Before Ruby Woo, I boldly laughed in the face of anyone who suggested I tried a “bold lip.” Reds, purples, oranges, it didn’t matter. I couldn’t pull anything off. After reading approximately a hundred articles on the dark magic that is Ruby Woo, I decided to give it a go. I was at the mall, so I stopped at MAC and picked up a tube without even trying it on in the store. Gutsy. I tried it on in my car, and lo and behold, it looked pretty good on me! It was a miracle. Since then, I’ve sworn by Ruby Woo.
2. St. Ives Apricot Scrub, $3.29 at Target
I learned about this gritty paste when I was a kid. My mom kept a jar (it used to come in these salmon-colored jars from what I remember) of it in the bathroom, and I’d occasionally open it up to sniff its apricot scent. Then I grew up and in order to battle the Acne War, I bought all kind of products. But ultimately I was lead back to St. Ive’s. The most amazing exfoliating scrub known to the human race. It’s natural and it doesn’t dry out your skin. I still use St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub once a week to exfoliate dead skin cells (gross!). It leaves my face feeling fresh and soft!
3. 5th Ave by Essie Nail Polish, $8.50 at Essie
I have a bottle of 5th Ave from 7th grade that still has a $4.99 sticker on it and it makes me laugh and say to myself, “back when I was your age, Essie was only five dollars!” like a crazy person. Now, for almost 9 bucks a pop, you can own every shade of orange there is. 5th Ave is my favorite orange though, and no other brand seems to pull it off quite as well. It’s brighter than orange, almost red but not quite, and almost neon, but not quite either. It’s perfect.
Runner Up: Revlon created the classic red (actually, I’m not totally sure who exactly created the first red nail polish, but I know Revlon has been around since the ’30s) nail polish called Revlon Red and I’ve had a bottle since I was old enough to wear nail polish (my parents didn’t let me wear anything but clear until I was 8). I know there’s Big Apple Red by OPI and Russian Roulette by Essie, but Revlon Red will always have a special place in my heart. And on my nails! For $5, this polish lasts just as long as any other high-brow brand.
4. Daisy by Marc Jacobs, $75 at Sephora
Daisy is the new Chanel Number 5 of our generation, you guys. It has violet and jasmine notes with a touch of woodsy vanilla. It’s subtle enough to wear to any occasion, it’s classy, and it smells like youth. I always have a bottle (although I recently got Dot for the holidays, and it’s pretty darn good, too). I love you, Marc Jacobs. I love you.
5. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, $26 at Sephora
In college, I wouldn’t stop breaking out so for my birthday my mom took me to Clinique. The lab-coat wearing Clinique Lady gave me a skin test (I have combination skin –the worst!) and then piled a whole bunch of different kinds of products into a fancy plastic bag worth more than my outfit. I still use Clinique’s three-step skin care products because even though I’m 23, I have naturally crappy skin (hooray). Although the cleanser and toner can be switched out with other drug store brands, their moisturizer cannot be beat. It’s super light. It doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing lotion. You won’t ever break out because of it, and it’s fragrance-free so as to not irritate your skin. It’s incredible.
6. Carmex, $1.39 at Vitacost
Just the weird almost-vanilla-y smell of Carmex makes me nostalgic for the Midwest and simultaneously thankful I probably won’t have to brave through another harsh winter again. During those times, I always carried a Carmex on me because otherwise, my lips would start to crack and it would become painful to even talk. Never go through winter without a trusty lip balm. Carmex is for heavy duty dry weather, but it’s just an all-around amazing lip balm that hydrates your lips and leaves them all tingly.
7. John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Original Formula, $9.99 at Ulta
Before Moroccan Oil, there was John Frieda. One pump of the clear serum after a shower, and your hair became instantly manageable. Girls (and guys) with frizzy hair were relieved when their moms finally bought them this magic potion that made it okay to wear their hair down.
8. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, $19.50 at Sephora
I’m still not totally sure what the difference is between BB Cream and tinted moisturizer, but I know that my Smashbox BB Cream is all I use in the summer when I don’t feel like wearing too much makeup but still want to hide my blotchy skin from the rest of society. It’s light, you only need a pea-sized dollop to cover your face, and I’ve never known anyone to have issues with their skin tone selection.
9. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, $4.19 at Target
I always have a tube of this pink and green classic beauty in my purse. It’s not the best out there, but it’s certainly not the worst. And it’s always hanging in the check-out aisle for your convenience for four dollars!
Runner Up: Clinique High Impact Mascara
If you want to spend ten more bucks on a mascara that never clumps and gorgeously and evenly thickens your lashes, get Clinique High Impact Mascara. I swear by it. I hate wearing false eyelashes because I did once and it felt like my real lashes were being ripped out when I tried to take them off (okay, just putting false eyelashes on is such a hassle!), so I need a mascara that just naturally elongates. Which this stuff does.
10. Garnier Fructis Shampoo, about $4 at Target
“Wooo hoooooo!” I sing in the shower when I lather up my hair. Garnier Fructis may not be the most natural shampoo ever, but it’s certainly the juiciest. I honestly feel like I am showering in a blend of grapefruit and strawberry juice whenever I use Garnier. Yum.
11. Freeman Feeling Beautiful Avocado & Oatmeal Facial Mask, $3.99 at Drugstore.com
What’s the cheapest way to feel like you’re at the spa, you ask? Freeman Feeling Beautiful masks, which cost less than a bottle of water (at Disneyland) and last for months. There’s all different kinds for different areas of interest, like charcoal and black sugar to detoxify your skin and cucumber to hydrate it. My favorite is the avocado and oatmeal mask because it feels like my skin is being tightened and hydrated at the same time! And it feels super smooth afterward. Affordable luxury and relaxation here I come, just slice up some cucumbers, please.
12. Naked Palette by Urban Decay, $52 at Sephora
This slightly overpriced box of mystical powder is everything I ever wanted out of eyeshadow, so I haven’t bought any since our introduction. The Naked Palette contains every necessary tint you need, including champagne and the perfect gold that goes with any skin tone.
13. Victoria’s Secret Love Spell Body Spray, $10.20 at Complete Skin Care
So I’m half serious as I type this, but last weekend when I was at the mall I was seriously considering buying a bottle of Love Spell. It was every girl’s “signature scent” in 7th grade; every single day, the gym locker room smelled like a concentrated version of it, since we would spritz it on our way in and on our way out. I’m not sure why I want to associate myself with middle school because it was wretched, but I guess I kind of felt nostalgic for a time when body spray was perfume and Lip Smackers was lipstick.
Are there any products that you miss or swear by always?