Allure Editors' 30 Favorite Beauty Products of All Time

Sarah Kinonen
·8 min read

It's Allure's 30th anniversary, which means we've been slathering, swatching, and swiping in the name of beauty for more than a quarter of a century. You see, as beauty editors, it's our job to test products at a dizzying rate. Take, for example, our annual Best of Beauty Awards: Each year, we review over tens of thousands of products before narrowing down the hopeful nominees to 300-plus winners.

Now, imagine that number (remember: somewhere in the tens of thousands) and multiply it by 30 years. What do you get? Well, we're no mathematicians (we're beauty editors, remember?), but it's safe to say we've probably slathered, swatched, and swiped at least a million or so moisturizers, mascaras, and much, much more.

In honor of our milestone birthday, we're doing the damn-near impossible: We're cutting that coveted list down to — wait for it — 29 all-star products. If these products were a basketball team, they'd be the '90s Chicago Bulls. But instead of championship rings, they've been decorated with Best of Beauty Awards, earned permanent spots in pros' kits, and transformed our beauty routines.

Ahead, you'll see picks from drugstore darlings Maybelline New York and L'Oréal Paris, as well as dermatologist favorites from SkinCeuticals and SkinMedica. Oh, and, of course, we can't forget the revolutionaries: Beautyblender and Dyson. Now, without further adieu, meet some of our favorite MVPS (most valuable products) of the past 30 years.

SKINCARE

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution (1995)

The French import that launched many imitations is a pro favorite for removing waterproof makeup –no rinsing or rubbing required.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

$15.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Proactiv Solution Three Step Acne Treatment System (1995)

Acne is complicated, but this lineup simplifies things: Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria, witch hazel helps refine pores, and aloe can soothe.

Proactiv Solution Three Step Acne Treatment System

$33.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Bioré Pore Strips (1997)

Satisfying to peel off and, if we’re being honest, to inspect. Who knew a product for blackheads could be such a guilty pleasure?

Bioré Pore Strips

$14.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (2001)

The matte finish is appreciated by T-zones everywhere, and the breakthrough complex Helioplex (launched in 2006) keeps UV filters stable and effective in direct sunshine.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen

$8.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex (2001)

This pioneering growth factor-powered serum is no frills. Just serious line-smoothing science.

SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex

$281.00, Lovely Skin

BUY NOW

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (2005)

There's a reason this self-tanner had a nearly 40,000 person waitlist: The glycerin-packed lotion contains about an eighth of the DHA found in traditional formulas, allowing you to apply it liberally and never look orange or streaky.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

$8.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (2005)

This potent, dermatologist-beloved vitamin C serum has become the gold standard against which all antioxidant serums are measured.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

$166.00, SkinCeuticals

BUY NOW

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask (2006)

We had never seen anything like this serum-soaked cotton, which became the blueprint for sheet masks of the future. It's still a makeup-artist staple for making skin glow in 10 minutes flat.

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

$95.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream (2007)

Before niacinamide and hyaluronic acid were buzzworthy, they quietly did their brightening, plumping, skin-perfecting thing in this classic red jar. Twenty are still sold every minute.

Olay Regenerist Micro- Sculpting Cream

$47.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ (2013)

The yellow lotion and rectangular bottle are skin-care icons. The ingredients inside have been updated to include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and urea for even more hydration.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+

$41.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Baby Facial (2017)

Powerful alpha and beta hydroxy acids plus soothing matcha tea equals a sensitive-skin-safe beauty phenomenon.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Baby Facial

$80.00, Sephora

BUY NOW

HAIR CARE

Tangle Teezer (2007)

Plastic, palm-size, and handle-less, this detangling hairbrush's unique design prevents tugging, while its flexible teeth glide through gnarls.

Tangle Teezer

$12.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (2010)

Part hairspray, part dry shampoo, this mist became a body-building, wave-sculpting hit as soon as it launched. It also happens to smell amazing (with jasmine, bergamot, and sandalwood — in 2014 it was bottled as a perfume).

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

$48.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer (2016)

$71 million and four years of research went into developing this powerful tool. It dries hair six times faster (on average) and is quieter than other blow-dryers.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

$399.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots (2019)

It's something Brazilian women have known for a decade: These lipid-rich masks make hair as smooth as a salon treatment, for a fraction of the cost (under $5), in just 60 seconds.

Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots

$3.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

MAKEUP

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara (1991)

When people say mascara is their desert-island beauty product, chances are they are referring to this lash-lifter.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

$6.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat (1992)

Before "highlighter" existed in our beauty vernacular, there was this luminizing liquid. The gold click-pen is an illuminating legend.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat

$38.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Chanel Le Vernis in Vamp (1994)

The year it launched, stores had to ration their bottles of this blackened-red nail polish. It’s since been renamed Rouge Noir, but our love for the inky shade is unchanged. And it’s not just us: This is a nail polish with its own Wikipedia page.

Chanel Le Vernis in Vamp

$28.00, Chanel

BUY NOW

BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation (1995)

Back when foundations were often spackly, this mineral powder was the breath of fresh air our skin needed. The five-ingredient formula remains America’s number one prestige mineral base.

BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation

$32.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (1996)

"It's very French to let your skin show through your [base]," makeup artist Laura Mercier has told Allure. That's exactly what her tinted moisturizer offers, and for that we all say, merci!

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

$47.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo (1999)

This cool-toned cherry lipstick broke the code for the perfect universal red lip color—it was love at first swipe.

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo

$19.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Nars Blush in Orgasm (1999)

If its name doesn't make you blush, a swirl of this peachy-pink powder on your cheeks certainly will.

Nars Blush in Orgasm

$30.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (2000)

Even 20 years in, 1,000 bottles were sold daily. That’s because “it makes your skin look like you’re walking around under [photographer] Michael Thompson’s lighting,” as makeup artist Troy Surratt once told Allure.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

$64.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Lancôme Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss (2000)

The gateway beauty product for teens in the early aughts, it wasn't a question of whether or not to get one, but rather which fruity flavor to buy. Lemon and cherry were best sellers.

Lancôme Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss

$20.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Dior Diorshow Mascara (2002)

More magic wand than mascara, the supersize bristles create lashes so thick they could cast shadows. We still use it today for its air-tight wiper system that keeps the formula fresh, so it won't start clumping over time.

Dior Diorshow Mascara

$30.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Beautyblender (2003)

A very good egg, the pink sponge was developed for seamless foundation application as TV pivoted to high-definition — and we have appreciated its streak-free results on- and off-camera ever since.

Beautyblender

$20.00, Nordstrom

BUY NOW

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (2008)

Thin and retractable, this pencil achieves hair-like strokes that make the puniest brows look believably fuller.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

$23.00, Anastasia Beverly Hills

BUY NOW

Maybelline New York Baby Lips (2011)

It was the candy-colored packaging that caught our attention, but it's the all-day hydration that keeps us coming back for a new tube again and again.

Maybelline New York Baby Lips

$4.00, Amazon

BUY NOW

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (2017)

Forty bottles of foundation shook the beauty industry when Rihanna’s inclusive shade range sparked a national conversation about representation.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

$36.00, Fenty Beauty

BUY NOW

FRAGRANCE

CK One by Calvin Klein (1994)

This eau de toilette popularized unisex fragrances in the U.S. and made clean-smelling skin a category in its own right.

CK One by Calvin Klein

$65.00, Sephora

BUY NOW

Read more special stories on Allure's 30th anniversary:

Now, see what's in this month's Allure Beauty Box:

Watch Now: Allure Video.

Follow Sarah on Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things beauty.

Originally Appeared on Allure