They’re the bottles and jars you grew up seeing on your mama’s dresser or in your family bathroom cabinet. The products that don’t get buzz about being new, now, or next – because they’ve always been there. The staples. The stand bys. The classics. Although I might incorporate new hot products with more PC ingredients into my arsenal, I always find myself going back to these.

Nivea Creme.

That navy blue jar has been a popular staple on mother’s dresser for the past century – literally. This year Nivea is celebrating 100 years of skincare, and the brand has expanded to include all sorts of amazing bath and lip products recently…but you can still buy that trademark navy blue jar for your dresser, and keep your skin moisturized like millions around the world have for the past 100 years.

Johnson’s Baby Oil .

Many of us with natural hair are like, mineral oil BAD. I will admit to having a bit of a double standard when it comes to mineral oil. I do my absolute best to avoid using it on my hair. But when it comes to using it on my body, I can’t deny that it’s worked for me for a very long time. I know I’m not alone. How many of you use baby oil on your skin, but wouldn’t dare use mineral oil on your hair?

My skin loves baby oil. We’ve got a history that goes way back. One whiff of Johnson’s Baby Oil and I’m remembering brown legs in the sun and days of innocence. Recently I was sent a package of classic Johnson and Johnson’s products and invited to find challenging new ways to use them. The package included Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil Cocoa and Shea Butter, which makes my skin touchably soft when I use it immediately post-shower. And Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel with Shea and Cocoa Butter gives my legs that signature shine for spring into summer skirt and minidress season. Here’s a tip – mix a teeny sprinkle of your favorite golden shimmery eyeshadow or bronzer with your baby oil to give your legs a sexy South Beach caliber look!


While I’m on the topic of beauty products with ingredients that come into question…how many of us have an older relative or grandparent who swore by Vaseline as their beauty secret? There’s a reason it’s been around forever and a day. That’s because Vaseline is the ultimate multi use beauty product. If you need ideas, check out TheGloss for a list of 50 Beautiful Things You Can Do with Vaseline. Just this weekend, an amazing nail tech who was giving me a pedicure, extolled the value of wearing Vaseline on her feet with socks on for an overnight foot softening treatment. I’m all about it.

Ponds Cold Cream.

Forms of cold cream have been used in cosmetics for 2,000 years, and Pond’s Cold Cream has been popular since the 1910’s. Memories of my mom cleaning her face with Pond’s at night led me to buy myself some as I grew older, and it’s become a go-to favorite for me even to this day. I keep a jar in my bedside table drawer, for those nights when I’m too tired to wash my makeup off before bed.

Those are the tried, tested and true moisturizing products I’ve had in my life as far back as I can remember.

What are your thoughts? Do you shun any of these products because of their antiquated ingredients, or do they stay in your rotation too? Did I leave any of your old school, tried and true favorites off the list?

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CurlyKye says:
May 9, 2011, 9:02 am
Johnson's Baby Oil Gel (either #1 choice the Shea & cocoa butter or #2 choice the Aloe one) + a squirt of a Bath & Body Works or Victoria's Secret scented body lotion has been my go-to for at least the past 10-15 years. Always gives me the moisture I need plus I can smell like my favorite body scent all day without having to reapply. Moisture for DAYS.
Neems says:
May 9, 2011, 9:08 am
Nivea and I are best friends!!! By the way,I clicked on the link for description of the history of cold creams and saw this "Another common ingredient in modern cold cream is borax, which is also responsible for the whiteness of cold cream." Isn't borax a household cleanser? I guess there's a reason why Ponds always got the side eye from me.
Diva says:
May 9, 2011, 9:09 am
Johnson's Baby Oil gel is a must for me. I use it fresh out the shower and my skin is ash-free all day. I'm glad you reminded me, I'm almost out! Vaseline + socks overnight = fab feet.
Michelle says:
May 9, 2011, 9:11 am
I am a 29 year old woman and I use all four of these products! My mother used them, I use them - there is a reason why. They are amazing products at an affordable price and they WORK! Love this article!
milaxx says:
May 9, 2011, 9:11 am
I swear I must be part alligator. Seriously after trying every lotion, potion & body butter on the planet I keep coming back to the only 2 things that keep me from being and ashy, itchy mess; vaseline and Johnson's baby oil (gel). I buy the cocoa butter formula of both products. I especially love the scent of the baby oil gel.
Paula says:
May 9, 2011, 9:25 am
Always grew up with Mom having Nivea on the nightstand. Just FYI, most of the Nivea jars/tins are made in Mexico - so, if you come across a batch from Germany, buy all of them! :)
pets says:
May 9, 2011, 12:17 pm
Right now I use Ponds (face and neck) and Vaseline (on my lips and sometimes on my heels). I know the Aunts use both also. These are great products with a reputation for high quality and high performance.
Mo says:
May 10, 2011, 11:44 pm
In cosmetics, borax is commonly used as an emulsifier and preservative.
Mo says:
May 10, 2011, 11:45 pm
Here's a quick write up on borax. says:
May 12, 2011, 9:10 am
It's funny, I totally forgot about these products. I have been struggling with dry skin since I got back in the states about a year ago, and I was wondering why. This article age me my "Aha!" moment. Thanks. I love the Johnson's baby oil gel. I usually would put it on underneath my favorite lotion to give that extra shine. I'm so excited. im picking this up today! Thanks again!
candiew says:
May 13, 2011, 2:58 pm
I'm trying to stay away from products that have parabens in them, which is a preservative that has been linked to certain cancers. Parabens are in everything and really are unnecessary, so that wipes out mostly all of the mainstream brands for me. A lot brands like Aveda and the Body Shop are starting to phase out products with parabens and are being banned in Europe and Japan. But, Vaseline is the only thing I can use for my lips. No lip balm works (and I've tried them all) better than good ole' Vaseline.
kisha says:
May 18, 2011, 6:00 am
baby oil/gel under lotion is the magic potion for me!!! Vaseline for feet awesome. i love Nivea always have. Pond's was my Granny's staple she had no wrinkles.
blkgurlrocs says:
January 21, 2012, 4:02 am
This is also my regimen, and I use both brands BBW & VS but, Vickies scent last longer.
blkgurlrocs says:
January 21, 2012, 4:04 am
I love their products, 1 of my fave websites.
Beth Bishop says:
May 13, 2017, 11:45 pm
One of the prettiest luxuries available to a beauty editor is the ability to try almost any product on (and off) the market firsthand. So when we find ourselves reverting back to a product we’ve already tested, finished, and yes, repurchased, well that’s a sign of a real winner. Here, 23 products we—and our vanities—can't get enough of.