Choosing the right products for your personal beauty regimen can take a lot out of a woman!
It can be a stressful, time consuming, and expensive process! Thank goodness for Allure because they have taken the work out it for us. If you find yourself lost in a sea of trends and “miracle products” that your favorite celebrities swear by, start here. From your nails to your hair, skin, and teeth, this article has you covered from head to toe. Literally!
Like what you see? Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the article to shop the products!
Catherine Q. O’Neill for Allure
You won’t find a movie buff who hasn’t seen Casablanca—or a baseball fan who couldn’t tell you when the Red Sox last won the World Series.
The same adventurous, enthusiastic attitude can go for beauty, too. Here, in no particular order, the 50 beauty breakthroughs, drugstore finds, and unreal splurges you have to sniff, lather, or apply at least once in your lifetime.
Chanel No. 5. Eau De Toilette
Coco Chanel made this floral-aldehyde fragrance exclusive, intending to share only 100 bottles with her best clients. Marilyn Monroe made it sexy (she wore it to bed with nothing else). Millions of women have made it the number-one-selling fragrance worldwide today.
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray
Before this hair spray became widely available in the United States in 2008, hairstylists used to smuggle entire cases of it home from Paris. “It gives the ultimate light finish to the hair,” says stylist Nathaniel Hawkins, who brings it to every shoot.
La Mer Crème De La Mer
Created by Max Huber, an aerospace physicist whose face was scarred from a chemical experiment gone awry, Crème de La Mer now has a cult following for its soothing, healing, and restorative properties (not to mention the $1,900 price tag). As Blake Lively once told Allure, “It’s extravagant, but it’s the best.”
Nars Blush in Orgasm
François Nars swore to us that this shimmery peachy-pink blush looks good on “practically everybody.” More proof this is true: It’s won 11 consecutive AllureReaders’ Choice Awards. The subtle gold undertones in the formula impart a warm, sexy glow that, well, explains how it got its name.
Dove White Beauty Bar
When this white, creamy cleansing bar was first introduced, in 1957, it changed the way we viewed soap forever. Now, 14 of them are sold every second in the United States. It’s gentle enough to use on your body and your face, and it leaves skin softer than the typical bar soap.
Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
If an A-list celebrity is toting around a $5 tube in her $5,000 Fendi bag, you know it’s something special. Beloved by Beyoncé, Anne Hathaway, and Kim Kardashian, this petrolatum-based ointment soothes dry, irritated skin—and it’s especially great on lips.
Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
Before these self-adhesive strips came along, in 2001, we had to either a) fork over $400 at the dentist or b) make a mess with trays and gooey gels. Now, all it takes for a white smile is applying self-adhesive strips for 30 minutes a day.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche ÉClat
Touche Éclat (its name means “touch of radiance”) gets a lot of clicks—and we’re not just talking about the 30 it takes to activate it. In the U.S. alone, the product generates 350 Google searches a day, making it the number-one luxury concealer—though given how it brightens undereyes like no other, we think it deserves a category all its own.
Chanel Le Vernis in Black Satin
Talk about high demand: This supershiny black nail polish was the first Chanel product to ever have a wait list and inspired Internet bidding wars when it was released, in 2006. (At one point, a single bottle reached $140 on eBay.) It was one of the hottest trends of that year, thanks to celebrity megafan Victoria Beckham.
Beachwaver by Sarah Potempa
It might be only a year old, but the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver is already the best thing that ever happened to our morning routine. This rotating curling rod twists our hair into perfect Gisele waves in half the time it takes to use a typical iron.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +
If you were to take all the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotions that were sold in the last year and pour them out in a thin line, you’d wrap the globe twice. This hydrating lotion that works on every skin type and layers under makeup like a dream.
M.A.C. Lipstick in Russian Red
Madonna wore this deep, matte shade during her Blonde Ambition World Tour, causing lipsticks to fly off the shelves almost as quickly as her albums. More than 20 years later, it’s still one of M.A.C.’s top-selling reds, thanks to how great it looks on light, medium, and dark skin.
Makeup artist Rea Ann Silva was working on the set of the television show Girlfriends when high definition was introduced. Challenged to create flawless complexions, she cut hundreds of sponges into triangles before realizing she could create one perfect sponge for applying makeup. The Beautyblender was born and quickly became a staple among makeup artists, celebrities, and beauty editors. Its unique shape allows you to reach into the corners of the eyes and nose for seamless foundation application.
Bonne Bell Cosmetics was the first sponsor of the U.S. women’s Olympic ski team—and for good reason. Founder Jesse Bell created Lip Smackers as an alternative to the medicinal balms he was used to wearing while skiing. Now, 20 flavors are launched each year (though we’ll always be partial to the sheer berry tint of Dr. Pepper).
Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System
It was Oprah who really launched this oscillating facial cleanser into popularity. “It’s a miracle massage for your face!” she said. Everyone in the audience got one—and Lady Gaga, Demi Moore, and Justin Timberlake followed suit. The brush removes six times as much makeup and dirt as your hands alone, which not only clears pores but also makes skin-care products more effective.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads
When New York City–based dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross came out with a facial self-tanner that hydrated skin, reduced wrinkles, and shrank breakouts, we only had one question: Can we get one for our whole body? You bet. And he’ll even throw some vitamin D into the formula as well, just in case you were tempted to spend any time in the sun.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
Elizabeth Arden used this calming, apricot-colored balm to soothe her thoroughbred horses’ legs. Now, fans of the product (including Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow) use it to moisturize dry skin, lips, and even their legs.
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush
Thanks to silicone elastomers, this gel blush marries the lightness of a powder with the blendability of cream. Not to mention the consistency (yes, it’s actually bouncy) is just plain fun to use.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
A combination of red, blue, orange, and yellow pigments makes this color truly beautiful on every skin tone. “It enhances what you’ve already got,” says makeup artist Quinn Murphy.
Mason Pearson Hair Brush
Before we met the Mason Pearson, we never knew the full potential of a hairbrush. Its boar bristles detangle and smooth for perfect, shiny, shampoo-commercial hair (with zero static). Even hairstylists guard theirs backstage. “I don’t leave my Mason Pearson unattended,” says Hawkins. “There’s magic in it.”
Dior Diorshow Buildable Volume Mascara
This mascara, which now has a glamorous celeb following, was inspired by a…toothbrush. After makeup artist Pat McGrath used one to apply mascara to models’ lashes backstage, Dior responded by designing an oversized, dense wand that creates lush, dramatic lashes.
Guerlain Meteorites Pearls
Guerlain spent years engineering a machine that could create perfectly shaped spheres, whose compact shape allowed a woman to pick up just enough product with her brush. The green, pink, white, and gold illuminating balls were so popular in their first year (thanks to the subtle glow they impart on skin), they were rationed at the Paris boutique. Americans, on the other hand, blew through their entire stock in a matter of weeks.
Nars Lipstick in Schiap
This pink, named for designer Elsa Schiaparelli, isn’t messing around. “I haven’t found another lipstick with the same punchy, shocking, ‘wow’ color,” says Murphy. Pair it with one swipe of mascara and it speaks for itself.
Shu Uemura False Lashes in Farfallina
False lashes can look cheap because typically, they are. These strips cost about $20 per pair, but they look as natural as your real lashes. “These are really great because of the elastic band,” Murphy says. “It won’t change the shape of your eye like other strip lashes can.”
By Terry Baume De Rose SPF 15
A mainstay on beauty editors’ desks, this sheer balm drenches lips in a pretty pink color and even heals cracked cuticles.
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Most palettes contain at least one dud, a throwaway shade you’ll never touch. Not this one. Its perfect mix of neutral, matte, and shimmery shades look good on every skin tone—which is probably why one is sold every minute globally, and why beauty editors and bloggers alike use every last bit of the shadows.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Makeup artists rely on this velvety-smooth foundation for movies and red-carpet events because of its natural, buildable coverage and smart shade range. “They look like real skin tones—there’s nothing too orangey or pink or ashy,” says Murphy.
Kevyn Aucoin the Eyelash Curler
We usually can’t stand red tape—unless it keeps us from pinching our lashes in our eyelash curler. “Thanks to the red band, you can really make sure every lash is included before you squeeze,” says Murphy.
We wouldn’t recommend making gel manicures a regular habit: Removing them can damage nails over time. But for special events, they’re a total lifesaver. CND’s supershiny shades stay chip-free for more than a week, making them perfect for honeymoons, weekend trips, or back-to-back job interviews.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Lincoln Park After Dark
Whenever we want to feel like a rock star, we turn to this midnight-purple polish. And we’re in good company: Rihanna, Fergie, and Taylor Swift have all been spotted wearing the sexy, dark shade.
SK-II Signs Eye Mask
You know those women who come off an airplane looking better than when they boarded it? We have two theories: 1. They’re superhuman; 2. They packed a pair of these in their carry-on. The sake-based gel strips instantly de-puff and moisturize for brighter eyes, even after red-eyes.
Dr. Brandt Microderm- Abrasion
Unlike harsh scrubs, this citrus-scented, chamomile-spiked scrub won’t leave your skin feeling rubbed raw. With a combination of physical and chemical exfoliants (aluminum oxide crystals and lactic acid), it gently buffs away dead skin, helping any treatment creams penetrate better, too.
Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil
The swimsuit models on the cover of Sports Illustrated are genetically blessed, true. But they also owe their dewy complexions to this facial oil, which revitalizes even the most tired complexions. “A lot of the girls are traveling, so they come with not-so-great skin. I rub this on their face in the morning and it’s the best,” says makeup artist Tracy Murphy.
Scott Barnes Body Bling
True story: While shooting a scene for MTV’s Fashionably Loud in Mexico in the middle of winter, makeup artist Scott Barnes needed to make the models look tan fast. He ran back to his hotel room, dumped a bunch of brown pigments, shimmer, and moisturizers into a blender, and came up with this believable bronze cream. Two weeks later he met Jennifer Lopez, and the J. Lo glow, not entirely her own, became her signature red-carpet look.
Kiehl’s Creme De Corps
This superhydrating cream lives on the vanities of numerous celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway, who depend on it to hydrate and nourish dry, tired skin.
Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish
This scrub originated in Russia, where the grandmothers of founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg used sugar to heal cuts and wounds. When mixed with essential oils, it’s the perfect exfoliant for dry, scaly skin. “Sugar is supergentle, but it gets the job done,” Barnes once told us.
Inspired by the liberation of France following World War II, French couturier Robert Piquet wanted to create a fragrance that represented Paris’s freedom and femininity. He commissioned perfumer Germaine Cellier to create this intoxicating scent. “When a woman wears it, the tuberose mingles with the skin, so it’s impossible to tell where her natural scent ends and the perfume begins—that is the definition of a sexy fragrance,” says perfumer Frédéric Malle.
Tigi Bed Head Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray
If you’re looking for serious volume, you can’t get much better than the stuff used by Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. This thickening spray pumps up strands while conditioning and moisturizing the hair.
Jouer Luminizing Moisturize Tint
These tinted moisturizers always disappear fast from the Allure beauty closet, and for good reason. The lightweight cream comes in six radiant shades, giving skin a lit-from-within appearance.
Tweezerman Slant Tweezer
These precision-slant tweezers never lose their edge. Since 1985, the company has provided unlimited sharpening to customers—meaning they’ll last you a lifetime.
Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips
Women can finally achieve at-home nail art without a toothpick or a steady hand. These peel-off stickers (shown here in Wild Child) mold perfectly with your natural nails and last for days without chipping.
Chanel Le Crayon Sourcils Precision Brow Definer
This powder pencil can make even the sparsest brows look as full and thick as Brooke Shields’s. The believable colors and lightweight formula blend in with your natural brows so they never look drawn-on or fake. And the brush at the other end keeps them in place all day.
Elure Advanced Skin Lightening Lotion
This powerful skin-brightening cream dissolves melanin on the surface of the skin for faster, quicker brightening results. “My patients are seeing their hyperpigmentation fade within four weeks,” says dermatologist Leslie Baumann, who served on Elure’s advisory board.
Olay Complete All Day Uv Moisturizer SPF 15 Normal
This moisturizer hydrates and protects our skin like a fancy cream—but at a fraction of the price. Wear it alone or under makeup; it won’t flake like other lotions.
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
Not only does this not smell like self-tanner (thanks to Aromaguard technology), it doesn’t look like self-tanner, either. The easy-to-apply mousse delivers the most natural, believable tan with zero orange streaks.
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
This cleanser is formulated with feverfew, an ingredient that’s been proven to reduce redness and irritation. Added bonus: It washes away makeup along with dirt and oil.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry
Very few makeup products actually live up to their name, but this juicy shade is the exact color of a just-bitten black cherry. Swipe on one coat for a wash of berry color. Dab on two for an intense brownish-red that would make Kate Moss proud.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15
Packed with retinol, the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients, this cream has been proven to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and age spots while moisturizing the skin. And while you could spend more than ten times as much on a cream, this one only costs about $15.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
This concealer duo contains two shades: one designed to match your skin’s color, another to match its undertones. Together, they truly cover up blemishes. “When you have a monster pimple and need a bulletproof concealer, this won’t move,” says Quinn Murphy.
Nars the Multiple in Copacabana
Season after season, we catch makeup artists using this backstage at fashion shows. The shimmery, pearly shade contours cheek- and brow bones and creates an ethereal glow.