I've made no secret of the fact that I will try basically anything once when it comes to beauty—not only because it's part of the job but because I'm genuinely interested to see if trending ingredients or raved-about facials can actually live up to the hype. That means that on any given week, I can be trialling a potent form of vitamin C (the mouthful that is ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, FYI), giving a £300 hair dryer a test run or grabbing coffee with VB's brow lady to chat about the latest eyebrow trends.
Yet the beauty industry is notoriously fickle, and while some products last beyond the initial buzz, over the course of a year, it's common to see the popularity of more unusual products like egg cleansers and pineapple serums rise and fall. So which are the products that manage to transcend the trends and stand the test of time?
Ahead, I've created a pretty comprehensive list of the best makeup, skincare and hair products that I always come back to. Why? Because they always deliver, work for pretty much everyone and have a host of celebrities, makeup artists and beauty editors who will testify to their greatness. Keep scrolling to see and shop the 18 classic beauty products that have never let me down.
Hyaluronic acid is a common skincare ingredient these days thanks to its impressive hydration capabilities, but this iconic formulation from Estée Lauder is the first-ever HA serum created—seriously groundbreaking. While I am a bit fanatical about serums and love trying new ones, I always return to this when I'm stripping my routine back to basics and want to use something gentle that will still have my skin looking brighter and plumper by morning.
This French pharmacy staple was something of an insider secret for many years, with makeup artists swearing by it for removing makeup without irritation on models backstage. Now, it's readily available in the UK (hurrah!), and it's still one of my favourite micellar waters. It's gentle, removes every scrap of makeup from your face without any elbow grease required and I always have one of these enormous half-liter bottles on the go.
It might look basic, but trust me when I say that French girls, makeup artists and celebrities adore this cult moisturiser (as do I!). It's a bit of a jack of all trades. You can use it to cleanse, remove makeup or even as a repairing mask, but I reach for it when I want a simple, nourishing moisturiser when my skin is feeling particularly irritable.
First created in 1930, this multipurpose balm is now almost 90 years old, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a makeup artist or beauty editor who doesn't have a tube knocking around. In fact, one of these sells every 30 seconds around the world. This is one of my travel essentials thanks to its versatility. You can use it as a lip balm, hand cream, intensive moisturiser, to soothe cuts or dry cuticles… basically whatever you want.
A modern classic beauty product, these under-eye patches have been used by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Bella Hadid to prep tired eyes backstage. Yes, they're a little pricey at £12 a pop, but these hardworking eye masks are drenched in a retinol-rich formula that genuinely helps to disguise fine lines and boost radiance in minutes. I swear by them during party season in particular.
Since the '80s, Elemis has been serving up hardworking, scientific skincare solutions that are grounded in nature. Despite sometimes being perceived as a brand that's targeted toward more mature skin, I've been using its products since my early 20s, and this deep-cleansing cream was the first luxury cleanse that I tried. It's brilliant as a first cleanse at night thanks to the way it effortlessly dissolves makeup and grime. Plus, the combo of the scent and a hot cloth makes you feel like you're at a spa.
Leading the way when it comes to skin illumination since 1992 is YSL's beloved Touche Éclat. Celebs like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoë Kravitz swear by it for brightening skin—and I can see why. A cross between a concealer and a highlighter, this product basically gives lacklustre skin a new dose of life. I like to use it under my eyes to brighten dark circles and on the tops of my cheekbones for a subtle, everyday glow.
This is Meghan Markle's favorite blush. Need I say more? First launched in 1999, this 20-year-old powder blusher has been brightening the complexions of basically everyone for the last two decades. It's a flattering peach-pink shade with a hint of golden shimmer that genuinely looks good on every skin tone, and it's the blush that I always reach for on days when I'm not experimenting with something new.
This has a cult following when it comes to bridal makeup in particular. In fact, every makeup artist I asked recommended this Giorgio Armani foundation for my wedding day—and even Meghan Markle loves it. On occasions when you might be looking for a little extra coverage and for a foundation that will last all day, you really can't go wrong with this. It looks natural on the skin, glowy without looking overly dewy, and I love it.
This has consistently been one of the best-selling mascaras in the UK since it launched back in 2011. (And when it's not, you can pretty much bet that one of Benefit's other mascaras is in the top spot.) Pati Dubroff, Margot Robbie's makeup artist, swears by the formula for delivering a long-lasting lash look, and it has a real cult following thanks to its ability to lengthen, volumise and lift even the shortest of lashes. Plus, trust me when I say this stuff stays put all day.
Starting as a bit of a backstage secret for makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, the now-iconic Pillow Talk lip liner has proved so popular that you can now find everything from a lipstick to an eye shadow palette inspired by the dusky-nude shade. Everyone from Amal Clooney to Alexa Chung has worn it, and it's the only nude lip liner in my makeup collection because it really is that flattering.
I remember being absolutely desperate to get my hands on this brow pencil when stateside celebrities and beauty editors were raving about it. Thankfully, Anastasia Beverly Hills—the makeup brand from the lady behind VB's eyebrows—is now readily available in the UK, and this cult product really does live up to the hype. There's an ultra-fine pencil at one end that allows you to draw precise, hairlike strokes, and a spoolie at the other so you can brush through your brows for a natural finish. The shade range is brilliant too.
I'm a dry shampoo obsessive, and when a new one lands on my desk, I will always take it home to test out. Batiste, however, will always be a firm favourite—and I'm not the only one who thinks so. It's been the UK's number one dry shampoo brand for over 30 years. Why? Well, it's incredibly affordable, it actually soaks up oil to refresh your hair when it's looking a little greasy, and it comes in a range of formulas from volumising to coloured.
Fun fact: Philip Kingsley actually created this hair product for Audrey Hepburn in the '70s after the Hollywood star requested a treatment that would restore the damage done to her hair through all of the styling and colouring on set. Honestly, it's the best hair treatment I've ever tried. You apply it to damp hair before you shampoo, and it delivers a boost of moisture and elasticity to even the most frazzled of strands.
Possibly the most classic beauty tool brand of all time, GHD totally changed the at-home hairstyling game when it launched in the UK in 2001. The brand now makes everything from hair dryers to styling wands, but it's the classic stylers that I use every single week to style my hair. Of course, they now come in multiple colours and designs (like this beautiful rose-gold version for Christmas 2019), but the principle remains the same—versatile styling at 185º for the sleekest strands you can get at home.
I can't lie. There's something incredibly nostalgic about this product—from my nan to my mum, my earliest beauty memories are of seeing a can of this hair spray on the dressing tables of the women in my life. These days, I still spot it backstage at fashion week, so you can trust that it is very much holding hairstyles in place as well today as it did in the '60s. I don't use hair spray that often, but when I do, it's this one.
Argan oil is a bit of a classic ingredient in its own right, but Moroccanoil really put it on the beauty map when it launched with this product a decade ago. Celebs like Kelly Rowland and Nicole Richie adore it for the way that it leaves hair silky and shiny without any greasy residue. I find myself reaching for it more in winter when central heating and harsh winds leave the ends of my hair feeling dry and fragile.
One of my ultimate throwback beauty products, this classic serum might not be the coolest, but heck, it works. My hair is basically always dry, prone to flyaways and knotty, and this is the only serum that genuinely makes a difference—and lasts from when I apply it to my next hair wash.