Cult beauty classics: what you need to know

I have a friend who’s a real, live beauty editor and at times I quiz her on the issues of real importance. Like, does it really matter if you put your serum and moisturiser on in the wrong order? And what should I be buying next if I don’t want to look a complete and utter numpty? She always laughs at things like this. Come on! It’s not like you’ll get arrested by the Beauty Police! And obviously, it’s a great relief to know that I won’t. But still, if I get it wrong, I’m likely to feel that little bit more personally responsible for the fact that I don’t look like Lily Cole. So I think it’s important to be as informed as you can be. Hence I’ve done my own research.

Basically, there are some products you have to have. And by that I don’t mean “must-have” products (cos let’s face it, that’s pretty much everything the fashion and beauty industry produces at one time or another). I’m talking about “cult beauty classics”, so called to suggest that you’ll only be aware they exist if you’re really, really in the know. Because it’s not like you can spot them in Boots or Superdrug (apart from, say, all the time). And it’s not like you’ve ever been told before that YOU NEED THESE THINGS. NOW.

Anyhow, here’s the list. No need to thank me (no, really).

  1. Elizabeth Arden Eight-hour Cream. It moisturises! It hydrates! It does other stuff that essentially involves adding moisture to things! It probably even saves small children from burning buildings! But alas, I don’t know because I find the whole multi-functional marketing message so confusing that I’ve never bought it.
  2. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Cream. It is like normal moisturiser, only it is custard yellow. Which is, obviously, a dramatic difference.
  3. No. 7 Protect and Perfect Serum. A proper scientist did some experiments on a proper science programme and came to the conclusion that this serum could actually do some of what it claimed to do. Women went mad buying it, which just goes to show that when we normally buy beauty products, we’re under no illusions about them actually working.
  4. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. A so-so mascara in garish pink and green packaging that gets bought somewhere in the world every nanosecond by a woman who’s just read on the garish packaging that it gets bought somewhere in the world every nanosecond.
  5. Benefit Benetint. I have one bottle of this and it’s lasted me over ten years. Largely because it makes me look like a clown so I tend not to use it.
  6. L’Oréal Elnett hairspray. You can spray it on and then brush it out. Which to my mind kind of defeats the object.
  7. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. See Eight-Hour Cream. Apparently amazing, but impossible to pin down what it actually does.
  8. Lancôme Juicy Tubes. Like lip gloss, but more likely to make your hair / jumper / breakfast get stuck to your lips. Never, ever wear this if you’re also wearing mittens.
  9. YSL Touche Éclat. A pen containing foundation (sorry, “illuminator”), which you draw on your face to no apparent effect. Makes you feel a total loser for not noticing the difference. But as pens go, it’s gold and shiney, with a nice clicky bit at the end, so it’s not all bad.
  10. Bio Oil. Expensive orange oil, often used by the pregnant to try and avoid stretch marks. Give it up, ladies. It’s just genes and luck (I don’t actually have stretch marks on my stomach but I’m not letting them take the credit. Particularly when I got stretch marks on my tits instead, and I slapped that stuff on everywhere. If it was only going to work in one place, it could have at least asked me for a preference).

So there it is. Haven’t a bloody clue how much all of this might cost, but I guess that’s pretty irrelevant. Sell your house. Sell your kids. YOU NEED TO BUY THIS STUFF. NOW.