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Being loyal to a specific beauty product can be tough when glowing online reviews are tempting us at every turn. Want anti-aging serums that reduce wrinkles in 24 hours, glossy lipsticks that hydrate and styling creams that eliminate frizz? There are too many to chose from.
The options are endless and often overwhelming which is why we reached out to some pros — beauty editors who tested hundreds of products — to ask them for the one item they have stayed devoted to for over a decade. Their collective reasoning for long-term loyalty? Products that actually work!
Check out their beloved finds below.
“This formula is the sensible sedan of mascaras. It delivers longer-looking lashes without a single clump every single time you apply it. Sure, there are newer, sexier models out there, but I always come back to the one that gets my lashes from point A to point B without ever breaking down on the job.” – Andrea Lavinthal, Style & Beauty Director at People
“I smelled this face wash before I ever saw or felt it on my skin during my first Mario Badescu facial in the earlier aughts. The aesthetician began lathering it up on her hands and the crisp smell of fresh, clean greens hit my nose. From there, it removed every last trace of makeup (separate remover, unnecessary!). Once it was rinsed, I had to know what it was: and there, in its unassuming bottle, sat the cleanser I would use for years to come. It’s made for all skin types, so worked for me through hormonal ups and downs (hello, pregnancy). Plus, it lightly exfoliates with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids.” - Leah Wyar, Vice President/General Manager at Byrdie
“Having such acne-prone skin throughout my teens and twenties made me apprehensive about using serums and hydrators on my face for fear they would break me out. But finding this oil-free moisturizer was a game changer: It made my skin soft and supple without aggravating it. I still use the sensitive version to this day! It’s truly a staple in my kit.” – Angelique Serrano, Beauty Director at InStyle
“I remember the moment I became a rose person — the moment I smelled this cologne. I always dismissed the flower as fusty and old-fashioned, but this version—sheer, dewy, and feminine—made me a total convert. Nearly every time I wear it, I get compliments.” – Jessica Matlin, Beauty Director at Harper’s Bazaar.
“There are few things I love more than a big, chunky lip balm, and nothing can beat this stick, especially for the price! It’s made with effective skin softening ingredients like cocoa butter, sunflower oil, and vitamin E, and I love slathering it all over my lips, especially before bed to keep them hydrated overnight. The stick lasts forever and is also great for on-the-go softening of spots like cuticles or even your face during a flight to prevent skin dehydration. And it smells like chocolate! What could be better?” – April Franzino, Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Prevention
“It hasn’t been quite ten years but it must be close. I am really religious about wearing sunscreen daily, so always trying new ones to keep up with innovation. This serum has the most perfect texture and melts into my skin without leaving any white residue or slip. Plus, there’s a glowy effect that’s almost like wearing a really natural highlighter but it doesn’t have that sort of velvety texture some sunscreens have that I really dislike. The most amazing thing is that it won’t pill over cream or under makeup. That’s remarkable, honestly, as it’s so rare to find an SPF that plays nicely with other products.” - Katie Becker, Beauty and Health Director at ELLE
“I can’t live without this moisture beauty bar: it washes, it moisturizes, I shave my legs with it, it makes my skin smell good. I buy it in bulk.” - Jennifer Goldstein, Beauty & Health Director/Features Editor at Marie Claire
Stuff We Love
“In the annals of skincare stuff that actually works, retinol is a perennial player. Why? It’s basically the best multitasker you’ll find, brightening, firming, clarifying, refining, and tightening skin so it looks its absolute healthiest. For that reason, I’ve smeared it on nightly for a long, loooooong time. This is the product I keep going back to again and again (and I’ve tried a lot of retinol products). But it should be used with some care as it has a high concentration of the active ingredient, so start with a pea-sized tab (tap it from the palm of your hand onto your forehead, both cheeks, and chin and blend it out from there), twice a week to minimize irritation. Then gradually work your way up to nightly use. All good things really do come to those who wait—it may take up to 8 weeks to notice a difference—but once you do, you just can’t go back to a retinol-less existence.” – Brian Underwood, Beauty Director, Oprah
“Like most beauty editors, I'm constantly rotating products in and out of my regimen. That said, the one product I've been completely loyal to over the last decade is this sunscreen. I discovered it shortly after having my first kid and it's been my family's go-to sunscreen year-round ever since. Neither of my pale, sensitive-skinned kids has ever suffered a burn. (I wish my own childhood had been so sun-safe!) For daily use, we love the mineral formulas, which contain 10% zinc oxide and 5% titanium dioxide. If we're spending time at the beach or pool, we use the Sport, which combines zinc with a safe chemical filter, making it a bit more water resistant. The straight mineral block can go on a bit white, but on days when I can't have that, I just mix in a drop of tinted moisturizer to make it more blend-able.” – Jolene Edger, Senior Contributing Editor at RealSelf
“Like most everyone in the 90s and early 2000’s, I tweezed my brows—some years I tweezed a LOT of my brows—but I used whatever random tweezers I’d found (most likely pilfered from my mother’s medicine cabinet). In 2004, I landed a job as a beauty assistant and every makeup artist and brow specialist I interviewed said they used these tweezers. Every. Single. One. So, naturally, I got my hands on some—and then immediately tossed all of my others. These tweezers are sharp enough and angled in a way that they grab even the tiniest regrowth without pinching or poking your skin. I probably still have my first (you can get them sharpened for free when they do eventually dull), but my collection has grown: there’s a camo pair in my pencil canister at work, a zebra version in my travel bag, a mini in my purse, and a rose gold one in my car (aka my absolute favorite spot to tweeze!).” – Kate Sandoval Box, Beauty Director of Shape, Parents, and Parents Latina
“The original. I have used this since it launched in, maybe, the Eighties? I know that something like lip balm is REALLY subjective, which is probably why I've never found one to lure me away from it. Its texture is, to quote Goldilocks, just right—not too soft, not too hard, not too shiny or gloppy, and it feels just a wee bit tingly on my lips when I apply it, which is about every half hour or so. I know. I'm pretty much mildly addicted, or as addicted as one can be to a beauty product. I'd venture to wager that I’ve had upwards of 100 of them throughout my life — in every purse, pants pocket, and coat. If I find myself out without my trusty yellow tube, I’ll head back home to grab one. And I don't care if that makes me late to wherever I'm going.” – Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Editor at Large at The Cut
“I am addicted to red lipstick and have tried every kind of formula, shade, and finish. Nothing beats Ruby Woo. It’s a matte, but doesn’t dry out your lips because of its creamy consistency and is long-lasting. The shade is the perfect true red that stands out against my tan skin and makes my teeth look whiter. Whenever I need to quickly refresh my daytime office makeup before going out for the evening, a swipe of Ruby Woo is all I need to instantly feel more dressed up.” - Kristina Rodulfo, Beauty Director at Women’s Health
“I have tried just about every high-end finishing cream in the book, and none of them compare to this drugstore find—which I have been using since middle school. Nothing smooths frizz and flyaways better, without making my hair greasy, shiny, sticky, or too slicked-down. I rub a pea-size amount between my hands and smooth it over the top of my hair and through my curls for a polished look. If they ever discontinue it, I will run to CVS and hoard as many bottles as I can.” – Cat Quinn, Beauty Director, Refinery29
"There’s no doubt in my mind that everyone needs a Mason Pearson brush. There’s a reason it’s in every top hairstylist’s kit: it reliably gives you sleek, detangled, glossy strands in a few sweeps—plus a mesmerizing scalp massage. I don't know if it's the firm-but-flexible boar bristles, weighty parabolic handle, or mysterious air-filled rubber base—the British manufacturer is notoriously secretive about its patents, but it's never been duplicated by copycats. My mom bought me my first when I was 9, and it came with me to sleep-away camp, college dorms, vacations, my honeymoon, and the hospital delivery room. It's a simple utilitarian product, but you use it daily and it makes a big difference. Try not to balk at the price. If you buy two Mason Pearsons in a lifetime (which is 81 years on average for women, according to the CDC), that comes out to $6.15 a year. Sure, it’s an investment purchase but my first one lasted 29 years."- Polly Blitzer, Beauty Expert & Founder of BeautyBlitz.com
“Honestly, I haven't used any product for the past 10+ years because I’m always changing up my routine. But, I have been using this CC Cream since it came out several years ago. It's the only foundation/CC Cream that gives me amazing coverage yet doesn't look cakey, and doesn't break me out. I've also probably sold a ton of units since I always get compliments on my skin whenever I wear it. It's definitely worth the $39 price tag.” – Carly Cardellino, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan CoverGirl
“I’m a huge mascara snob (seriously, the producers of Hoarders have seen nothing like my stash), but very few compare to this OG. I started using it in college, when I could barely afford Ramen, therefore greatly appreciating it only cost me $7, but its results stand the test of time. Not only does it give you that "I-could-be-wearing-falsies" effect, it’s also one of the few formulas that doesn’t smudge under my eyes by end of day.” - Kelsey Castañon, Senior Beauty Editor at PopSugar
"I’ll never forget the day my mother took me to the Clinique counter at the mall and I had my first skincare consultation. I felt fancy, important and beautiful. We walked away with an entire regimen, which obviously included this moisturizing lotion. From that moment until now—22 years later—this product has never let me (or my skin) down. Its light formula hydrates and smooths the texture of my skin without making it greasy or irritated. While I use a variety of skincare products because of my job, I know that I can always depend on this lotion. It’s truly iconic." - Julee Wilson, Global Beauty Director, Essence
“This lash curler stands the test of time. I’ve had the same one for 10+ year and it works as perfectly as it did on day one: easy to use, never pinches the skin, delivers a long-lasting curl, and it’s still somehow gentle. (I do replace the pads every once in a while). I’ve tried a bunch of others but I find they’re pressing mechanisms aren’t as smooth, so it feels like you might accidentally rip out a lash, or I have to press harder to get the same curl, or the shape/size of the opening is off and I have to be more careful about not pinching my skin. There’s something sublime about the Shu design that gets it all right. To make my eyes look more awake, I curl my lashes whether I’m wearing makeup or not. It’s the best no-makeup beauty trick in my book.” – Erica Metzger, Beauty and Fashion Director at Better Homes & Gardens
“No matter how many concealers I try, I always come back to this one. I’ve been using it since high school to brighten my undereye area. Nothing is quite as easy to use (I love the foam applicator) or blends in seamlessly, whether I’m wearing foundation or not. I just dap it on and blend with my fingers or a damp beauty sponge.” - Erin Reimel, Beauty & Wellness Editor at Shape
“I’ve been buying this lip gloss for at least 10 years and discovered it the way any high school senior discovers makeup—wandering the aisles at Ulta. I still swear by it because it makes my lips look juicy and wet without being sticky or glittery, lasts a long time for a gloss, and my lips still feel hydrated as it wears off. There’s a range of shades (and I own a lot of them) but Dolly, a cool-toned mauve, is my favorite. The slight minty tingle and plumping effect is an added bonus.”Shannon M. Bauer, Associate Beauty Editor at Parents, and Parents Latina
“I'll be the first to tell you that I'm a little spoiled—OK, OK, very spoiled—when it comes to skincare...chalk it up to the perks of the gig. Although I've been privileged to try the best triple digit-priced moisturizers, body serums, and oils that money can buy, nothing beats this body oil. It's emollient without being too heavy or greasy, layers well underneath lotion, and makes my skin look and feel like 104 bucks.” – Khalea Underwood, Beauty Director at Bustle
“Part of the fun of beauty for me is trying all of the new products that come out and discovering things that I like as much as my favorites. My bathroom is literally overflowing! But one product I remain loyal to is this sunscreen. It doesn’t make my skin look chalky, it’s a solid SPF 50, and is made with 100% physical filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.” – Jenny B. Fine, Executive Editor, Beauty at WWD
“I’ve been using this sunscreen since around 2005; I was turned on to it by some pro surfers when I worked at Fitness Magazine. We did a cover story on the Roxy women’s team and all of the girls, including gorgeous Kassia Meador and Lisa Andersen, used this particular formula. As a fair-skinned redhead who loves the beach and standup paddleboarding, I need big guns when it comes to suncare—if this formula worked for women who spent their lives in the water, it was good enough for me! Indeed, it glides on to an invisible finish, doesn’t feel heavy, sticky or—my personal pet peeve with sport sunscreen lotions—itchy, and it lasts longer than anything else, especially in the water. Bonus: the packaging is super chic!” – Gwen Flamberg, Beauty Director at US
“I have very pale skin, and for the first several years of my makeup-wearing life, I assumed that meant I had to choose pale-colored blushes. Turns out, that's not the case. Years ago, I was interviewing a makeup artist who told me that a super bright pink blush can actually do wonders for fair skin. And he was right! He suggested I try this color, a hot pink that honestly looks neon-pink in the compact. I was scared. But it works! A dusting on the apples of my cheeks adds a pretty, romantic hit of color that instantly brightens my entire face, but somehow still looks natural.” – Alyssa Hertzig, Contributing Beauty Editor, Rachael Ray
“The only thing I've used for 10 years is my fast-drying hair towel. I shower after every. single. workout—no dry shampoo for me! And I exercise before work so the gym-to-office transition needs to be efficient. The towel gets my hair dry enough to blow or air-dry so I can get to work on time(ish). It also reduces frizz so it’s a win-win!” – Liz Narins, Editorial Director at Weight Watchers
For more stories like this, check out:
- Dr. Pimple Popper lives by a $14 healing ointment for banishing dry skin
- The bestselling natural deodorant at Target actually works and smells delightful
- 10 drugstore anti-aging products celebrity experts swear by
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