13 February 2012

Products which have stood the test of time

We British women share an unwavering love for beauty classics.  These are often products which may not get many column inches in magazines - and often leave a lot to be desired on the looks front - but which have survived (and in many cases thrived) for years in an increasingly cut-throat market, because they always deliver what they promise.  
Some classics are pioneers because they changed our approach to an aspect of beauty or simplified our lives by doing several jobs at once very well.  
And all are superior beauty products.  They're above and beyond the usual competitive scrum and will always be an integral part of Britain's beauty culture.

1  Atrixo Intensive Protection Hand Cream came out in 1958 and is ever- popular despite its scary packaging.  No fancy stuff, just glycerine and silicone, workhorses which enhance slip, absorption and moisture retention.

2  Badedas Essence Bath Gelee is so much part of our beauty culture that no-one is even sure how old this herbal gel is.  Everyone over 35 remembers the ad campaign though, and even if nothing does happen after a soak in it, it's still a cheap way to feel relaxed and indulged.

3  Black and White Hair Wax first appeared in the 1960s and yet to be toppled from its position as the best styling wax for Afro-Caribbean hair. Fans love it for its distinctive sweet smell - coconut oil - and polishing properties.

4  Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is clever name, with an even cleverer ground-breaking formula, which inspired a generation of firming primers: when applied it behaves like egg white, subtly tightening skin so it looks firmer and more beautiful.

5  Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser, a simple yellow moisturising fluid with the perfect pre-make-up consistency for all skins from fair to dark; it is the best selling face cream in Britain with one being bought every three seconds.

6 Chanel Rouge Noir Nail Enamel single-handedly revived the passion for nail varnish in 1999, when it appeared on Uma Thurman's fingernails in Pulp Fiction.  Although dark, the colour suits every skin tone and every outfit from jeans to evening dress, and flatters every nail and finger shape.

7  Corn Silk Loose Face Powder, seemingly unprepossessing but massively popular due to its performance.  It keeps shine down but doesn't make your skin look dusty and old because it contains such finely milled particles.

8  Dove Cream Bar, despite its claims to cleanse skin without making it dry (which no face soap should do anyway) because of its added emollients, soap fans love it and 54 million bars of this 50-year-old soap are sold every year in Britain.

9  Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, lots of people swear by the reparative powers of this 75 year old balm. Miss Arden used to put it on her racehorses' hooves to  make them shine, but it has 101 uses for humans too, including softening dry skin, lips, cuticles and setting eyebrows in place.

10  Elnett Hairspray was the first lacquer-free hairspray, which means it can set hair without making it look too rigid and stiff.  Although it's more than 40 years old, nothing else on the market matches it performance.

11 Estee Lauder Youth Dew revolutionised the perfume industry when it came out in 1953 because it was the first commercial scent, you can wear it or put it in the bath, and it's still thriving in the most ruthless sector of the beauty business.

12  Eve Lom Cleansing Cream,  the original (and still the best) despite impersonators.  No other cleanser feels or does the job as well.  It revolutionised cleansing (massage it into the skin and remove with a hot muslin cloth) when it was launched in 1983, and proved that proper cleansing is key to good skin.

13  Guerlain Terracotte Teint Dore was one of the first ever bronzers.  This watery, wash-off skin tint was developed during the Second World War to create the illusion of stockings.  It was then adapted for the face, and it is so loved that there is an uproar whenever Guerlain tries to take it off the market.

14  Head & Shoulders Hydrating Smoothy & Silky Shampoo, love it or loathe it, this shampoo has been going strong for 40 years, with 19 million bottles being sold every year.  It zaps dandruff by exfoliating the scalp, and some colourists swear by its ability to fade just-dyed too-dark hair as well.

15  MAC Spice Lip Pencil transcends fashion because it's such a good match for all skin tones, from dark to fair, that it looks natural on everyone - so fixes lipstick without showing - and is such an easy colour it can be worn on its own.

16 MAC Studio Fix Foundation, the MAC founder Frank Toscani pioneered yellow-tinted bases because he realised that they are more flattering for pale skins than pink ones.  This bestselling base is so foolproof you can apply it with your eyes shut, which is why it's a staple of professionals and ordinary customers alike.

17  Mason Pearson Classic Hairbrush, the brush you see sticking out of all the best hairstylists' back pockets in salons and behind the catwalk.  It has a cushioned oval head with natural boar bristles.

18  Max Factor Creme Puff, the original all-in-one foundation powder, developed in 1950 by the Hollywood make-up artist when it was fashionable to wear 'cake' foundation.  Still hugely popular, the formula hasn't changed over the years, but its fans have learnt how to apply it more subtly.

19  Maybelline Great Lash Mascara is the most famous mascara in the world, with its eye-catching green and pink tube.  It's 30-years old and used by 200 million women across the world.  Its enduring appeal? The sassy user image and a genuine ability to beef-up lashes.

20   Nivea Creme is another brilliant multi-tasker.  We have been using this rich buttery cream in its distinctive blue pot to sooth dry skin, sunburn and shaving rash since 1922 and the formula has yet to be tweaked.

21  Oil of Olay Classic Beauty Fluid is the model mother-daughter face cream, Olay (now 50) has achieved what all skincare brands dream of: a cream that transcends age barriers.  The key to its success is its light texture as it feeds skin without overloading it - and feminine pink colour.

22  Revlon One Perfect Coral Super Lustrous Lipstick. Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, came up with the idea of matching lipstick to nail colour 60 years ago whilst dining at the Connaught hotel and wrote the proposal on a napkin.  The original colour is still Revlon's best seller.

23  Tweezerman Slant Tip Tweezers as nothing comes close to these for efficiency. Their slanted tip allows them to grip hairs and whip them out more easily than any other tweezers, and the points are not overly sharp.

24  Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly is the poor man's Eight Hour Cream, this is petroleum jelly at its +most basic and owes its classic status to its flexibility as it can be applied anywhere: face, lips, nails, dry patches and even nappy rash.

and finally:
25  Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat is one of beauty (and YSL's) biggest successes.  Its stylo-style applicator inspired countless copies, and one sells somewhere in the world every few minutes.  No one minds admitting to owning this concealer.

Excerpts from 'Beauty Scoop' by Julia Carling and Kate Shapland (Collins).

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