After working in the beauty industry for over 14 years, I’ve noticed that this year’s gifting trend is all about the classics. Cult-status and timeless products will only suffice, so I’ve handpicked 6 of the best beauty icons to inspire your gifting or your wishlist – I’m not judging.
I’ve delved into the history of some of the most famous skincare and fragrance heroes to show you the real reasons behind their long-standing legacies. Scroll to revamp your beauty collection or reconnect with an old favourite…
1. YSL Black Opium
First, there was the controversial Opium (1977), then over 3 decades later, its wild child, Black Opium came on the scene in 2014. The fragrance took 4 years to make, and the world has seen thousands of copycat scents ever since. Still, nothing compares to the original.
This fragrance has become a worldwide icon. According to The Zoe Report, YSL sells over 887 bottles of Black Opium a day across the globe; the story of addiction reigns true in every element.
The scent is based around a contrast of good and bad; light and dark. The coffee note is the standout. It was the first time a female fragrance used such a high dosage of this complex note. Still, it worked, thanks to the expertise of the perfumers who balanced the intensity of coffee with airy white florals to create this uniquely special scent.
2. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
Ultra Facial Cream launched back in 2006 and became an instant bestseller. 14 years and countless 5-star reviews later, this hydrating day cream has taken the top spot as Kiehl’s number one product.
If you’ve tried it, you’ll know why it’s a best-seller. But if you haven’t, Ultra Facial Cream works wonders for most skin types. Its perfectly dense texture keeps skin soft for up to 24 hours – and it’s a great base for anyone who wears makeup.
The story behind Ultra Facial makes me fall in love with the range even more. If you didn’t know, skin dehydration gets worse in the winter. But Kiehl’s have made sure the ingredients inside were tested in extreme conditions to withstand temperature changes all year round. Ultra Facial Cream was used to protect the team of explorers who embarked upon the first-ever ascent of Greenland’s ice-covered peaks.
3. Lancome La Vie Est Belle
Just like the face herself (Julia Roberts), La Vie Est Belle is a fragrance that gets better with age. Since it launched in 2012, the sweet-smelling fragrance has taken the top spot in the global fragrance charts, and it doesn’t show any signs of coming back down.
La Vie Est Belle took 3 years and 5000 variations to perfect. Lancome sourced 63 exquisite natural ingredients and developed the Tasty Iris note, which deemed La Vie Est Belle the first-ever female iris fragrance. Now, it’s a signature scent for millions of people all over the world!
The message of the fragrance – life is beautiful (La Vie Est Belle) – is poignant year after year. But this year particularly, La Vie Est Belle reminds us to keep positive and cherish what we have, making it the perfect present to remind someone how you feel about them.
4. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Tried, tested and loved by bloggers and makeup mavens, All Nighter is essential for everyone and anyone who wears makeup, especially now we have to wear masks!
YouTubers set this product on fire a few years back with their Summer Solstice challenge. Influencers had to go through rigorous activity to test its worth, and the results were incredible; it quickly became one of the best-selling products in the entire Urban Decay range and the UK’s number one premium setting spray.
Added temperature control is a huge bonus to stop makeup melting off in the sun, or disappearing during the winter. But, what makes this setting spray different is its skincare benefits. All Nighter was developed with the experts, Skinindiva; it’s free from oil or parabens so it won’t cause you to break out either.
5. Giorgio Armani Si
Armani Si is timeless. Even though it launched back in 2013, it’s just won the Allure 2020 Best of Beauty Award in the Floral Fragrance category, which goes to show this is a scent that’s classic and contemporary.
Si means saying yes to life, but there’s a not-so-well-known story behind the Si fragrance that’s pretty special; it was actually inspired by a scent Armani’s mother herself used to wear, so you know it’s a composition that’s close to Giorgio’s heart.
The aroma is unique. You know Si when you smell it; it’s fierce and pared-back all at once. The elegant combination of sharp blackcurrant, rich rose and glowing amber is genius. This is a fragrance that will continue to stay on wishlists and bedroom dressers for years to come.
6. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Dew
Flowerbomb launched back in 2005, and it was a standout. This floral sensation took over 3 years to make as Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren didn’t go with the market; they wanted to be disruptive. 450 versions later, this explosion of pretty petals was born as an icon. 15 years later, Flowerbomb Dew has taken centre stage, and it’s perfect timing. It’s designed with the mission to make the world a better place (its sleek elegance makes you forget it’s actually shaped like a grenade).
The main difference? Dew is lighter, and less intense than the original; Dew focuses on rose rather than peony – the floral burst of freshness is a welcomed twist for anyone who loves the original, or likewise, anyone who wants to try something new!