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Elizabeth Arden's Swiss Army Knife

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One of beauty’s most mentioned products is actually a big fat lie: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is not a cream. Which isn’t to say it isn’t great (because we’re telling you, it is). But on the scale of straight up petroleum jelly to literal whipped cream, this would fall somewhere in the balm region—apricot tinted, viscous, and so ridiculously useful it doesn’t matter what you call it, just buy some already.

It certainly has a nostalgic hold on our hearts—for so many of us, including Annabelle Dexter-Jones, was among our first beauty-product memories. For the history buffs, a quick narrative: Ms. Arden (her name was actually Florence Nightingale Graham, which is also awesome) developed the petrolatum, beta-hydroxy, and vitamin E cocktail in the 1930s, and was known, on occasion, to dab some of the ointment on her horses' bruises. Legend has it, the “eight hour' title comes from one happy customer’s experience healing her son’s scraped knee with a smear of the stuff in that exact window of time.

In addition to said healing properties, glossy gel has a definite beautifying effect, whether applied to tame eyebrows or gloss lids—use it anywhere you would use Touche Éclat, illuminator, or lip gloss. But again, don’t take our word for it:

Many live the words so aptly put by Bibi Cornejo Borthwick grandmother: “If there’s ever anything wrong on your body, just put that on.” Notably, Tabitha Simmons for sunburns and subsequent peels; Swedish beauty Helena Carlberg for dry skin; Danish jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe for cuticles; and makeup artist-slash-beauty editor Isamaya Ffrench for everything else. It feels more relevant now than ever applied as a devil-may-care eye shadow with a dewy sheen. (Jessica Stam agrees.) Be forewarned: as Vogue's Kelly Connor says, Eight Hour Cream is “seriously addicting”—you'll use it anywhere and everywhere. And if you've discovered other uses than those mentioned here, please, do tell.

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.