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Taking a look back 10 years ago, the beauty landscape was vastly different than it is today. Glossier products hadn't yet surfaced, Kylie Jenner's famously over-lined lips that later launched an empire hadn't even made their debut, and preventative skincare wasn't remotely as prevalent a beauty topic as we currently view it. Trends have ebbed and flowed, vacillating between maximalist beauty (like Instagram brows and heavy contouring) and pared-down dewy skin and feathered arches. It's the nature of the subject: Science is evolving, niche brands are emerging in droves, and the desire to experiment and reinvent our "signature look" is ever present.
But as we've navigated the past decade's evolving world of beauty with feverish excitement, we've also carried with us the mainstay products that have stood the test of time (and as far as we're concerned, we're still carrying them into 2021). Below, Team Byrdie shares the products that made the biggest impact this past decade.
"I began waving my fine (but full) hair with a curling wand religiously several years ago, but given the fact I was on a post-college, student loan-payback budget, I opted for drugstore versions that got the job done well enough. But once I became a beauty editor and was introduced to the Rolls Royce of curling irons, the ghd Curve, I've never looked back. It heats to one temperature of 365 degrees (which, in all honesty, may not be suitable for all hair types), but is done in such a way that is perfectly even, meaning no hot spots. It's also got a smooth ceramic finish so you can count on zero snagging. I can curl my entire head of hair in about six to eight minutes, and in low humidity, the curls last all day without hairspray." — Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"I naturally gravitate toward cream highlighters as they tend to read more natural and fresh on my skin than a powder iteration. I've found several winning formulas over the years, but the one that stands out the most is this stick from Revlon. It's got a soft-focus, diffused finish that can't be confused with oiliness (some highlighters are just too dewy, you know?) and the shade Gold Light is the perfect warm, opalescent tone (read: not metallic). I switched off of it for a while to give a few other brands the spotlight, but after recently going back, I can't believe I ever strayed." — Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"I'm naturally very fair-skinned, so in the summertime when I'm showing off my limbs, I like to have a bit of a bronze glow. I've tried countless sunless formulas, many of which immediately rinse off after one shower or leave traces of blotchiness, but after hearing fellow editors rave about the natural-looking, long-lasting powers of Isle of Paradise, I've found a new mainstay.
"It's 'cleaner' than most sunless tanners and features natural ingredients like eucalyptus leaf oil, avocado oil, and chia seed oil. It's also got color-correcting actives (peach, green, and purple) to counteract blue undertones, redness, and yellow undertones, respectively. To apply, I spritz the formulas onto a mitt, buff in circular motions, let dry for 30 seconds to a minute, and slip on some dark, loose pajamas. It's actually shocking how long it lasts and how real it looks—no product I've tested (and I've tested a lot) holds a candle." — Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"The ancient Italians were said to be buried with the items they valued most—in which, I'll probably be buried with of ring of these highlighters around my head, like a halo. I first discovered Rituel de Fille years ago in LA, and have since fallen in love with every new product launch from the witchy line. The product I sing the most praises for is the highlighter, which comes in a variety of holographic-tinged shades that give your skin an angelic, ethereal glow. It's just so damn pretty, both in the pot and once applied, and I'll probably use it for the next decade and beyond." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I first started using Baby Lips in the beginning of the decade, and still consider it one of the best lip balms ever in terms of hydration and shine. The balms feel buttery-soft when you apply, without being overly greasy or shiny. The clear one also doubles as a highlighter (or what I like to refer to as a dew-giver) when tapped onto the high points of your face (or on your eyelid). I used to hoard every new Baby Lips launch—yes, even the limited edition colors—and it still holds a special place in my heart." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I try hundreds of new skincare products a year because of my job, but somehow always end up going back to this one when I need a good-skin guarantee. I've waxed poetic about this peel many, many times before, so I'll keep it short: It smells nice, feels nice, and makes your skin look noticeably brighter and more luminous after just one use." — Faith Xue, editorial direcor
"I’ve never really enjoyed taking vitamins. It’s one of those things I did because I was told I should, but not necessarily because it was fun or particularly exciting. Swallowing big, clunky pills makes me nervous (like racing heart, sweaty palms-level nervous) and a lot of the gummies leave behind a sugary aftertaste.
"Long story short: Multivitamins and I have historically been at odds—that is, until Ritual vitamins came into my life. I take the Essential for Women multivitamins which are formulated with nine essential nutrients, including folate, vitamins D3, B12, E, and K2, omega-3, iron, and more. The pill itself is clear and free of any nasties like colorants or synthetic fillers, easy to swallow, vegan, and gluten- and allergy-free. Another perk? The capsules are infused with pure peppermint oil, which leaves behind a fresh scent and taste when swallowed, almost as if you just popped a breath mint. I started taking them in 2019—they officially launched in 2016—so while I was fashionably late to the party (yes, most everyone loves them), the important thing is that I’m here now and I’m here to stay." — Jessica Mahgerefteh, commerce beauty director
"Glossier calls this a ‘cult-favorite, do-everything lip balm’ and I’d have to wholeheartedly agree. While I use it mostly as a moisturizing lip balm to quell chapped lips, I have tried Original as a cuticle cream, hand cream, and moisturizer when I’m in a pinch (yes, it’s always in my purse) and it works just as well. There’s something about the creamy texture and moisturizing properties—credit a combo of castor oil, beeswax, and lanolin for that—that I love. It also doesn’t hurt that the flavors (some newer than others) are all fabulous. Recently, I’ve been using Cherry as a subtle red cheek tint, further proof that this salve really can do it all." — Jessica Mahgerefteh, commerce beauty director
"Savage x Fenty may have killed the VS Fashion Show, but it was this 2017 launch—with its revolutionary 40 foundation shades (and now, 50)—that was dubbed the Fenty Effect. Rihanna's inclusive palette pushed the industry, which had historically fallen short on representation, to be better. And thanks to its success, proved to the world that 40-or-more isn't just an expectation...it has to be a reality." — Leah Wyar, GM/VP
"Not sure what I did without it, but I will never go without it again. This pocket-size skin saver is my must day or night: in the a.m., it de-puffs with coffee oil and caffeine, fills in lines with hyaluronic acid, and brightens shadows with light-refracting minerals. At night, I use it as the last step of my skincare routine, coating it around my eyes like a mask so I wake up looking fresh." — Leah Wyar, GM/VP
"I cringe at this today, but I used to remove my makeup with hand soap—or whatever my parents had in the bathroom. I never had acne as a teen (I'm lucky enough to have it now as an adult, though), so I didn't think I needed to use real skincare products. Then Garnier's Micellar Water changed everything for me. It was my skincare gateway, removing stubborn eye makeup in one pass and cleansing my skin at the same time. And while other amazing, more modern micellars have since launched (It Cosmetics Miracle Water is one of my favorites that comes to mind), this OG. is still a staple in my skincare routine. I use it instead of traditional cleanser in the morning to help support my skincare barrier and give my skin a break from the benzoyl peroxide-based cleanser I use at night to curb my adult acne." —Holly Rhue, editor
"One of my biggest pet peeves is when beauty brands fail to consider how a consumer will actually want to use a product (like launching a foundation that looks amazing on a high-definition camera but super caky in office lighting). And if any of the 2010s beauty launches put the consumer at the core of its production, it's the original beautyblender. It's easy to use (just dampen your sponge, dip into your product, and bounce it where you want to blend). There's no fancy material that only a makeup artist would need, no bizarre or gimmicky claims—just a really great makeup sponge that's reusable, doesn't absorb all of your product, and blends your liquid and cream makeup to a flawless finish." — Holly Rhue, editor
"Before the Beachwaver became famous enough to be called by its own name, I used to describe it as a 'curling iron for dummies.' The description still stands—before I knew how to work a curling iron on my own, this tool was a literal miracle. It rotates for you, creating that perfect, effortless wave (instead of the tight ringlets I would get from trying to use a wand). Think of it like training wheels if you're still learning to curl your hair." —Holly Rhue, editor
"At this point, I have no words left to describe P50—I've used them all up. Looking back on a decade worth of skincare, it's impossible for me to ignore the effect the exfoliating toner has had on my skin (and my life). I first had the tingly, vinegar-scented formula applied to my face during a facial at Toska European Spa, where its dark spot-erasing, pore-shrinking, and complexion-balancing results left my jaw dragging along the treatment room floor. That was about three years ago. Since then, I've used it every single day and watched my skin transform. In the office we've been talking a lot about 'Zamboni skin' (you know how shiny and perfect the ice looks after the big, noisy machine glides over it?), and that's what years of P50 use have yielded. Glass-like, glowy, even, exfoliated skin. See, my skin is combination, so I deal with a lot of congestion along my nose and chin and dryness everywhere else. P50 is perfect for that, as its formula offers skin-nourishing botanicals as well as a whole slew of acids. It's possible to go overboard (I've done it—be careful), but when used properly, this product is pure gold." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"Those who use Sturm's products practically worship at her alter—and for good reason. I've made three or four of her formulas regulars in my routine. But the most special, to me at least, is her Calming Serum. It's a mix of echium, sunflower seed, and sweet almond oils, cardiospermum and purslane extracts, vitamin E, and panthenol. It's so soothing, milky, and comforting. It's wonderful for sensitive skin, but it's also amazing post-treatment or to follow up a strong peel or exfoliant. It calms any and all redness or irritation (especially during the winter months) and works wonders on beard burn (we've all been there). I use it religiously and I thank Dr. Barbara Sturm for existing daily." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I've been using a cleansing balm as part of my skincare routine for years, constantly vacillating back and forth between various options whenever I ran out. Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm is the one formula I finally committed to. And for good reason: It's a soap-free, deeply cleansing mix of moringa seed oil, vitamin E, and wild sea fennel to balances and purify your skin, as well as moisturize and protect it. It's made without mineral oils (a feat, I've realized) and instead offers rosehip oils blended together with orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine, and rose. Applying it each morning and night is an experience—offering up scents and cushion-y goodness as well as real results. I remove it with a muslin cloth, which adds light exfoliation, and make sure every last drop of dirt, makeup, and debris is removed from my face. Le sigh. It's so good." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I wasn't ever particularly picky about body washes, until Necessaire launched. I love their body lotion too (it's easy, non-greasy, and full of vitamins), but if I'm ranking stand-outs of the entire decade, the Body Wash in Eucalyptus takes the cake. The scent is so, so good—not at all overpowering, fresh, and herbacious—and the bottle looks so lovely sitting in my shower. It foams up beautifully but doesn't strip your skin courtesy of three luxe oils, marula, cacay, and meadowfoam, which helps to nourish and soften as you wash." — Hallie Gould, senior editor