Certain beauty products — think NARS blush in Orgasm or Clinique's Black Honey lipstick — are so good, they're practically famous and have devoted, loyal followings. While we love many of these, we've been wondering why others have been quietly flying under the radar. With that in mind, meet our series, Cult Classics, in which we'll introduce you to the products you should really, truly know about (and try, like, right now). They're not brand-new, but trust us: They've got staying power.
Before I started working at Refinery29, I somehow missed the memo about eyebrows being an important part of your face. I had a rural upbringing — both in high school and college — and it literally never occurred to me that brows could define your whole look or that there might be a solution to patchiness and rogue shapes. By the time I found out, I was so desperate to catch up with the trend that I was buying products I didn’t know how to use. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t cute. While I eventually experimented using brow pencils — with mild success — I never really understood how naturally amazing my eyebrows could look until I tried Lancôme’s Sourcils Gel.
When I first opened the pot, I remember being wary of the texture and formula. I had never used gel before and it seemed inevitably goopy. That was made only more intimidating by my lack of experience with the brush I'd need to apply it. But I figured it couldn’t hurt, so I lightly dabbed the bristles of my Real Techniques brow brush on the product’s surface and swept it outwards, across my eyebrows. My immediate response was surprise. It looked so natural and only took about a minute to refine! As long as I stayed on the inside of my natural brow shape — that is, didn’t try to fill in around the edges — my eyebrows looked full, dark, and legitimately awesome. I went over them a second time to darken sparse spots and then spent the rest of the day finding excuses to look in the mirror, so that I could admire my own handiwork. I finally understood the meaning of “power brows.” The real test came when I went home to Connecticut and family members couldn’t place exactly why I looked so bright-eyed and put-together. My sisters — two of the most beautiful women I know — were visibly impressed. Bonus? I fell asleep with my makeup on that night and the color didn’t smudge all over my fiancé’s pillow. It was a win for me when I had to rush out of the house to catch the train the next morning — looking polished though otherwise makeup-free — and it was a win for him, since he’s pretty sick of my lazy ass getting makeup all over his sheets. [Ed. note: Don’t do what I do. Wash your face at night!] Needless to say, this baby has earned its place as a permanent staple in my routine. I’m barely a tenth of the way through the jar — did I mention it lasts forever? — and consider it a legitimate bargain for its staying power, versatility, super-flattering shades, and ease of use. My only regret is not having it all those years ago in middle school — you know, when I really could have used the extra confidence. Lancôme Sourcils Gel Waterproof Eyebrow Gel-Cream, $24, available at Sephora.