Cult beauty products that continue to sell out in record time

cult beauty products
(Image credit: IMAXtree)

There are some beauty products that stand the test of time, that continue to sell incredibly well year after year, with no signs of stopping. They're the cult beauty products that are passed down through generations, from your grandmother to your mother and onwards, like the best moisturiser you've ever used, a hair mask that goes that extra mile or a serum so good you recommend it to everyone you meet. Alexia Inge even started a company, Cult Beauty, based on this very idea. Inge says a cult beauty product must elicit squeals of delight, 'and exceed all our expectations (and often shift the goalposts altogether). These are the products you will. not. be. parted from – the jars you dutifully decant, the tubes you scissor open and the bottles your store upside down to ensure you don’t waste a single drop. Firm fixtures of make up artists’ kits, you’ll find these formulas jealously guarded backstage at fashion weeks and photoshoots, and also in the bathrooms of the AAA-List who choose these products for love (not money). Staggeringly efficacious, these do ‘what they say on the tin’ and then some… the only thing they will not do is disappoint.'

You know that they can be trusted, because millions of people can't be wrong. These products amass enormous waiting lists and have staggering sales figures that will knock your socks off. The numbers just don't lie. These are the industry's best cult beauty buys...

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, £20 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products embryolisse

You will find one of these moisturisers in pretty much every make-up artist's kit. It's perfectly light, unscented and as gentle as they come. It's so popular in fact that one of them sells every 23 seconds in the UK.

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Avène Thermal Water, £4.50 for 50ml Look Fantastic

cult beauty products avene

A summer essential - super cooling when you're on the beach, in the park or even on your hot commute. 50 bottles of this face mist are sold per minute around the world.

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Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, £55 Fabled

cult beauty products ANR

If you've never tried Estée Lauder's ANR, follow the crowd and give it a bash. It was the first skincare product to use hyaluronic acid, it's super nourishing and its popularity doesn't seem to ever wane. Over 10 bottles of ANR are sold every minute around the world. 

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Bioderma Sensibio H2O Make-up Removing Micelle Solution, £10.80 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products bioderma micellar water

You've definitely seen or tried this micellar water. Designed for sensitive skin, but works wonders on all skin types to remove the day's make-up. One bottle of Sensibio H20 is sold every 2 seconds worldwide.

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Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, £27 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products 8 hour cream

This thick and gooey gel is perfect for banishing dry and flaky skin and it seems that the whole world is obsessed with it. One tube is sold every 30 seconds worldwide.

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L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, £2.39 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products elnett

The original hair spray, this is definitely one that you spotted in your mother's bathroom cabinet that you now use religiously. Incredibly, 15 cans of Elnett are sold every second, and that's just the in the UK.

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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum, £5 Cult Beauty

cult beauty products the ordinary

There are so many bestselling products from The Ordinary; remember when they announced that their foundation was on its way and it gathered a wait list of over 25,00?! Well none of it compares to this blemish-beating serum. One of these serums sells every 6 seconds around the world.

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Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, £24.50 

cult beauty products kiehls ultra facial cream

If you want a reliable moisturiser that's super hydrating then you really needn't look any further than Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. It seems that lots of people agree. 10 pots of Ultra Facial Cream are sold per minute around the globe. It's by far their bestselling product.

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Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £15.50 Fabled

cult beauty products cleanse and polish

You can thank Cleanse & Polish for introducing so many people to the idea of double cleansing. This is the ideal second step to remove any last scrapes of make-up and dirt. One Cleanse & Polish is sold every 15 seconds worldwide.

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Weleda Skin Food, £12.95 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products weleda skin food

There are some people who use this rich cream on their face, whilst others coat their limbs in it. Whichever camp you fall into, you'll know that it's exactly what it says on the tin - it's food for you skin. 1 tube is sold every 23 seconds in the UK.

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Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, £19.50 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products trilogy rosehip oil

Why is this so popular? Well it's probably because it's been clinically tested to show that it minimises the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, smoothes skin and boosts moisture levels. It must be that, because one is sold every 20 seconds around the world.

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Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush, £9.35 Look Fantastic

cult beauty products tangle teezer

What the hell did we do before the Tangle Teezer?! It really needs no introduction. 15 Tangle Teezer hairbrushes are purchased per minute around the world.

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Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, £19 Cult Beauty

cult beauty products elasticizer

This hair mask was the world's first pre-shampoo treatment created for Audrey Hepburn to give her bounce and shine after her hair had been over-styled on shoots. If it was good enough for Hepburn, it's definitely good enough for the rest of us... Two tubs of this intense hair mask are sold every minute.

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GHD The Original IV Styler, £88.25 Fabled

cult beauty products ghds

Ask anyone 'what's the best hair straightener?' And you'll be told GHDs straight out. They're just that good. Four stylers are sold every minute across the globe and over 2 million are sold every year.

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How many of the above are in your arsenal?

Any of them that you haven't tried? Get shopping...

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.