Every magazine has its own “cult favorite' list. Great Lash, Nars Orgasm, La Mer—the usual suspects. One has to wonder, after years and years of these lists, if we've got a chicken-or-the-egg situation on our hands. Are the products popular because they work or do we all just have them because they're popular?
Regardless of how you answer that question, it's hard to deny that every so often, the planets align and people make the same discovery independently, no magazine list necessary. It's happened all through history, like with language. And fire. And Bioderma.
Looking through the last four years’ worth of Top Shelves, there's distinct handful of products we've come to rely on, some of which may have otherwise stayed under the beauty radar. Many are salves and balms—unsurprisingly, since they can be used and loved by nearly everyone (maybe as opposed to, say, a lizard-green eyeshadow). And the actual makeup that keeps popping up follows the same theme of near-universality— luminizer, concealer, highlighter, and MAC Ruby Woo, which is the closest thing yet to that waking dream of lipstick that looks great on just about everyone.
Then there are the general trends of arrangement and setting. The makeup tray has emerged as favorite desktop organizer—it’s not unusual to see a bathroom spotted with silver platters filled with a perfect arrangement of absurdly photogenic pieces. If you’ve got the space, you might end up with a silver archipelago mapped across your vanity. And a simple, delicate flower on a bathroom sink (or if your thumb isn’t so green, a hearty aloe plant) brings the destination-spa to you, except instead of prepping for a massage, you’re prepping for your commute.
And then there's very specific, very eco-friendly tendency to store makeup brushes and other instruments in used-up Diptyque candles. So, the initial investment in the perfect candle continues to pay off after the wax is finished.
Now, when you’ve got this kind of wide adoration, a little artistic devotion is in order. These products have been photographed so many times that the aboriginal tribe in Zoolander might think they no longer have any soul, so we’re giving them a break from the flash, and commissioned a little sketching instead. Because numbers don't lie. And neither does art.