Do you remember the first time you were allowed to wear makeup? For many people (myself included), it was such an exciting time that inspired a very “grown-up” feeling. I got to start off slow in my preteen years with lip gloss and a lot of body glitter. When I turned 13, I got the green light to go all out with my makeup (to a certain extent).
When it was time for the big day—i.e., the day I got to buy makeup—I remember being so excited to head to the mall makeup counter and try every single thing. Since my mom was paying, she took me straight to the Clinique counter, a brand that she used, and still uses, exclusively.
The salespeople at the counter were so enthusiastic and excited for my first makeup foray. I tried everything from concealers and foundations to eye shadows and lipsticks. After almost two hours, I left with a bag full of makeup and a pep in my step.
They say you never forget your first, and although that can refer to something that doesn’t have anything to do with makeup whatsoever, I’m still going to apply it in this story. I never forgot my first makeup brand, and I’m still wearing it at 32 years old. So I guess you can say I’ve been a Clinique stan for almost 20 years, which makes me feel like I’m still 13 and like I’m a grown-up woman at the same time.
What do I love so much about Clinique? I always know exactly what I’m getting. My skin is normal but is also prone to sensitivity and dryness, and I’ve never experienced any irritation with the products. Everything is well-made, long-lasting, and long wearing. It may not be as buzzy or trendy as some of the flashier makeup brands out there, but it’s always made me look and feel glam on days when I really want to step things up in the makeup department and look and feel natural and effortless during everyday moments. It’s just nice to know that you can depend on something, right?
While my initial teenage makeup haul was strictly Clinique, I did have a couple of trendy items that all teens in the early aughts had to have—Urban Decay eye shadows, MAC’s Lipglass, and Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes, for example. The same can be said for my present-day makeup inventory.
Some trends have come and gone for me, but I’ve been going back to the same Clinique products ever since. The products and brands are much more varied now, and I do have new favorites and holy-grail products, but I still always keep my Clinique go-tos in my rotation.
So as an ode to Clinique, my first makeup love, here are my favorites.
Clinique was not only my first makeup brand, but it was also my first skincare brand. My mom has been a loyal Clinique skincare user for what seems like pretty much my whole life, and she’s turned me on to a lot of the products. These are the ones I’ve been using for years.