With an ever-expanding beauty market and social media bombarding us with new products, it can be hard to find the right formulas to cherish for years to come.
To rekindle our passion for beauty, the Daily Vanity team took a walk down memory lane and reminisced about the beloved products we adored as teenagers – the very ones that introduced us to the world of beauty and ignited our fascination.
As you read on, you may find yourself nodding in agreement with some of our memories associated with these nostalgic treasures, and you may even come across a couple of great modern replacements for these beloved classics!
Beauty trends and products of the past versus today’s
Over the past decade, the beauty industry has undergone a remarkable transformation, particularly when comparing the beauty products of the past to the vast array of options available today.
“Back in 2008 and 2009, there weren’t many foundations and concealers that catered to different skin tones, types, and concerns, whereas now it’s just overflowing with a plethora of options in stores and online,” Jade explained.
Diversity and inclusivity were not a priority for beauty companies back then, and the limited selection failed to cater to diverse skin tones, undertones, types, and concerns.
Fast forward to today, improvements in beauty products go beyond colour inclusivity. Technology advancements have resulted in products with superior formulation, packaging, and every aspect of your consumer experience with the product is thoroughly considered.
That’s not to say, however, that our beloved past beauty products no longer have a place in today’s modern society.
As Jadee pointed out, “While formulas have definitely improved with R&D from brands, I’ll always appreciate the nostalgia these products give me, especially because some of them have been discontinued or are no longer in stores.”
With that, let’s dive into the team’s favourite beauty products as teenagers.
Team Daily Vanity’s nostalgic beauty products
Kristen, editorial director, 38
Blotting papers are your best friend in Singapore’s hot and humid weather, especially for teenagers with oily skin, so it’s no surprise that Kristen mentioned Clean & Clear® Oil Absorbing Sheets as her most nostalgic beauty product.
Clean & Clear® Oil Absorbing Sheets is a cult classic that absorbs oil like magic without smudging your makeup or leaving any residue behind, leaving you with a shine-free, fresh complexion all day.
“The blue Clean & Clear blotting paper was a must-have in everyone’s school bag and it was very gross when they’re left on tables or on the floor after the school day. We used to have “competitions” to see who can soak the entire piece of paper with oil, and it’s quite gratifying to see all the oil on the paper,” Kristen recounted.
“OXY pimple cream and Clean & Clear cleanser were also my favourites back when I was a teenager,” Kristen added.
Clean & Clear® Oil Absorbing Sheets (60 sheets) retails for S$5.20 and is available at Amazon. A discount is offered at the time of writing. Tap in to see updated price.
Clean & Clear Active Clear Acne Clearing Cleanser (For Acne Prone Skin) (100g) retails for S$6.40 and is available at Watsons.
OXY 10 Lotion (25g) retails for S$9.30 and is available at Watsons. A discount is offered at the time of writing. Tap in to see updated price.
Jade, associate editor, 31
While Sephora was already in Singapore back in 2008, it was hardly the go-to place for teenagers due to its steep prices. Instead, drugstores like Watsons were the preferred destination for teens seeking their beauty fix.
“I was (and still am) a drugstore fiend, so my ride-or-die product when I was in my late teens was the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. I had acne that was much worse back in the day, and I wanted a formula with medium-buildable coverage and a natural-looking finish, so the Bourjois fit the bill at the time,” Jade commented.
With its fresh, creamy texture, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation Anti Fatigue Foundation is a familiar product to many. It is also enriched with vitamins C, B5, and E, to give your face a radiant glow.
“The foundation’s scent is one I’ll never forget. It’s slightly fruity fragrance brings back memories of my Polytechnic days,” Jade shared.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation Anti Fatigue Foundation (30ml) retails for S$30.90 and is available at Shopee. A discount is offered at the time of writing. Tap in to see updated price.
Cleo, writer, 25
“During my teenage years, I was more interested in makeup, and I was first introduced to the abundance of skincare and makeup products during my family trip to Korea. I didn’t even realise I wanted or needed these things back then,” recounted Cleo.
Her favourites included the iconic Innisfree Automatic Eyebrow Pencil, Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation, and ColorPop Lippie Stix, which could be found in the beauty pouches of most teenagers at the time.
“I remember swatching ColourPop Lippie Stix in the shade Who Run This, and that was probably my first experience finding makeup that was a perfect shade for my skin tone and overall style. It became my favourite lipstick for any occasion and I’d feel extra happy or confident whenever I used it,” Cleo said.
A highly pigmented, velvety lipstick with medium coverage that leaves your lips with a soft focus finish, the Lippie Stix is a fan favourite in ColourPop, a brand that received unprecedented hype back in the 2010s.
It is infused with the goodness of vitamin E, mango, avocado, shea butter, and the shade Who Runs This is a stunning rusty red colour that is ready to make a statement!
Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation (30ml) retails for S$19.90 at Maybelline e-shop, and S$24.50 at Watsons. A discount is offered at Watsons at the time of writing. Tap in to see updated price.
Ridzvaani, writer, 29
Many of us have our first encounters with beauty products through our mom’s beauty pouch, filled with charming little items and brands we can’t quite recall, because all we cared about was looking as pretty as our mom.
“I remember stealing eyeliners, compact powders, and lipsticks from my mother’s makeup stash and hiding in my room, attempting to make myself look as pretty as her (which didn’t turn out well at all) while she was busy,” relates Ridzvaani fondly.
Jadee, writer, 24
Back in the day, YouTube was the go-to platform for staying updated on all the latest beauty trends, with renowned beauty gurus like Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Zoella having us anticipating their product reviews and hauls of the newest collection and products.
Jadee nostalgically reminisces, “I used to be obsessed with whatever the western YouTubers were raving about. Drugstore brand launches were particularly exciting for everyone, and I remember eagerly waiting for youtube reviews and hauls before checking out the products in stores.
“EOS lip balm was a massive craze during that time,” Jadee recalled, “Owning one felt more like an accessory than just having an amazing lip balm. On a trip to the USA in 2012, I bought 10 of them and returned home feeling like the coolest kid ever, same as with Maybelline Baby Lips.”
EOS Organic 100% Natural Shea Lip Balm provide all-day moisture for sensitive, thanks to a blend of 100% natural shea butter and oil that locks in hydration, lightweight coconut oil for nourishment, calming jojoba oil for soothing irritated lips, and a protective antioxidant blend.
Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm, on the other hand, offers clinical care for achieving baby-soft lips, providing moisture and protection for a full eight hours.
EOS Organic 100% Natural Shea Lip Balm (7g) retails for S$7.11 and is available at iHerb.
The Berry Delicious collection by Etude House will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the one that ignited my passion for the beauty industry.
Collections with cute themes like this were not as common back then as they are now. All my favourite Korean YouTubers at that time were gushing about this super cute collection, leaving me wide-eyed and eager to try it myself.
When the collection arrived in Singapore, I rushed to the store to swatch everything, and the Berry Delicious Liquid Lip Tint in OR210 quickly became my favourite.
I thought the colour was perfect for my skin tone and was completely smitten by the strawberry-themed packaging.
I was also blown away by the lip tint’s candy-like scent and non-drying formula, and I remember wanting to be a part of the team that creates adorable makeup products like this strawberry collection when I grew up!
Etude House Berry Delicious Liquid Lip Tint was part of Etude House’s limited edition collection, hence is no longer available for purchase.
Zachary, editorial intern
Back in the day, the Korean wave was just getting started, with second-generation K-pop icons like SNSD releasing hit after hit.
This was also the year that K-beauty became popular, with everyone flocking to Etude House and The Face Shop for beauty products to recreate the ulzzang (good-looking) makeup seen on Tumblr and We Heart It.
The gradient lips were one of the most iconic ulzzang makeup looks. Instead of the natural seamless gradient blend we know today, it involved using a bright-coloured lip tint dotted on the inside of the lips, then pressing the lips together to spread the watery tint outward.
The Etude House Dear Darling Water Gel Tint was unquestionably the most popular tint for this look.
Zachary fondly recalled, “Etude House Dear Darling Water Gel Tint was my very first beauty product, making it quite special to me. I saved every bit of pocket money I had to buy a bottle after being influenced by my Korean peers in school.
Since wearing makeup was prohibited in school, my friends and I would huddle under the desk to apply the tint secretly. We also insisted it was our natural lip colours every time the teachers questioned us, even though our lips were literally blood red!”
Etude House Dear Darling Water Gel Tint (5g) retails for S$9.90 and is available at Watsons.
Team Daily Vanity‘s current favourite products
Kristen, editorial director
“Instead of the Oxy Pimple Cream, I’ve switched to a salicylic acid treatment, and my go-to now is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion,” shared Kristen.
Because of its salicylic acid, which reduces redness, this spot solution is a game changer, effectively drying up blemishes overnight. It’s a quick-acting and effective spot treatment with added sulphur to unclog pores and zinc oxide to absorb excess oil.
“As for the Clean & Clear cleanser, it’s too drying for my non-teenage skin now. I’ve found my new favourite cleanser in the DIOR La Mousse Off/On Foaming Cleanser,” she continued.
This creamy-textured cleanser, infused with purifying water lily and soothing Cornflower Floral Water, easily removes makeup residue, UV filters, and pollution, revealing pure skin.
“The Clean & Clear blotting paper, however, is still a staple in my routine to this day!” Kristen enthusiastically added.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (29ml) retails for S$36 and is available at Sephora.
Jade, associate editor
“As I entered my early 20s, I began searching for fragrance-free foundations due to my acne-prone, sensitive skin. That’s when I switched to the NARS Light Reflecting Foundation due to its silicone-free formula, which prevents clogged pores,” Jade enthusiastically recommended.
What’s more, the NARS Light Reflecting Foundation contains powerful skincare ingredients that protect your skin from environmental aggressors and blue light and also improve your skin’s clarity by strengthening the barrier and retaining moisture levels.
This foundation also provides medium, buildable coverage, ensuring a natural, breathable finish that lasts all day while concealing any skin concerns.
“The products I used as a teenager were mostly from drugstores, but now that I have a higher purchasing power, I don’t limit myself much when I find a highly raved product,” Cleo shared.
She explained that she now prefers makeup products that offer skincare benefits or serve multiple functions, saving time while working wonders for her skin, which is why her go-to base makeup is IT Cosmetics’ CC+ Creams with SPF 50.
This multitasking colour-correcting cream contains skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin E, and it effectively conceals skin concerns while leaving a natural, smooth finish.
“For my brows, I adore the feathered, natural-looking trend. That’s why I use the Benefit’s 24-Hr Brow Setter Invisible Brow Gel,” she added.
Benefit Cosmetics 24-Hr Brow Setter Invisible Brow Gel is a clear brow gel that shapes and tames brows for up to 24 hours. The custom-moulded wand coats hairs from root to tip, and the formula’s flexible, flake-free formula applies and dries quickly, making the fluffy brow look oh-so-simple to achieve.
“Whether I wear any other makeup products or not, lipstick and eyeliner are a must for me. Lipsticks make me feel bold and strong, which I love. Over the years, I’ve had many lipsticks, but currently, I’m using MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Russian Red,” Ridzvaani shared.
MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Russian Red is a rich, deep red that complements a variety of skin tones, and it’s appropriate for both everyday wear and special occasions. This long-lasting lipstick adds a splash of colour to any outfit, and its smooth, creamy texture makes application a total breeze!
She continued, “I also love how wearing an eyeliner makes my eyes pop, and my current favourite is the KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner Liquid Eyeliner. The thin pen makes it effortless to create a winged eye look, and the fact that it’s waterproof is a fantastic bonus!”
Inspired by tattoo artistry, the KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner Liquid Eyeliner is known for its high-pigment vegan formula that is smudge-resistant and waterproof. The flexible tip enables precise application, allowing you to achieve everything from iconic winged liners to bold graphic looks.
“I use Burt’s Bees Moisturising Lip Balm now because, even though the packaging isn’t anything fancy, it’s still the best formula I’ve ever tried!” Jadee exclaimed.
Burt’s Bees Moisturising Lip Balms are made with non-toxic ingredients and natural, responsibly sourced beeswax. Each balm is made with 100% natural ingredients and comes in a variety of flavours to provide deep moisture and nourishment for your lips.
When I was in my teens, the Etude House Berry Delicious Liquid Lip Tint seemed like a decent choice, but I’ve since realised it was too warm for my skin tone. As a limited edition product, it’s also no longer available in new batches, making repurchasing impossible.
Compared to the 2010s, Korean makeup companies have revolutionised the beauty industry, continuously releasing adorable collections. And while I still fall for their marketing charm occasionally, I’ve become wiser and less easily swayed to purchase every cute makeup product in sight.
My current favourite is the Rom&nd Glasting Melting Balm in 09 Peonies, as its light pink colour complements my cool skin tone.
Though the colour doesn’t last after meals (as expected from a balm), I actually prefer it that way as re-application is a lot easier, and I adore the plump, moisturised look it gives my lips without needing to apply lip balm!
Rom&nd Glasting Melting Balm in 09 Peonies (3.5g) retails for S$18.36 and is available at Shopee. A discount is offered at Shopee at the time of writing. Tap in to see updated price.
Zachary, editorial intern
“I don’t like buying makeup online; I prefer testing products in physical stores. That’s why I no longer get my lip tint from Etude House, as they don’t have physical stores in Singapore anymore,” Zachary explained.
“Now that I’m older and earning my own money, I find myself drawn to luxurious products with superior formulas like the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Amplified and Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer,” he added.
Shu Uemura rouge unlimited amplified is a luxurious satin lipstick with intense coverage and rich, creamy colour. Its infusion of Japanese Tsubaki oil from hand-picked precious camellia provides immediate moisture and comfort to the lips.
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer is the ultimate lip gloss, with an irresistible shine and feel that is non-sticky at all. Its XXL wand delivers a full swipe of conditioning shea butter, instantly making lips look fuller and smoother.
shu uemura rouge unlimited amplified retails for S$50 and is available at Shu Uemura e-shop.