As our friends at Dictionary.com share, “Most of the uses of this term are informal and figurative…the reference implies a greatly desired and sought-after objective,” which is exactly how people use it to describe their favorite beauty products, as in, “This mascara is my holy grail!”
Out of curiosity, I just did a Google search for “holy grail beauty products” and it yielded “about 9,440,000 results.” Among those results are countless listicles and Reddit threads dedicated to purportedly game-changing serums and foundations. Cosmopolitan even has a “Holy Grail Beauty Awards,” which features the “190 best products and treatments out there right now.”
9,440,000 results! 190 products! At those numbers, the superlative feels diluted, no?
In the early Internet days, there were a handful of products that were given “Holy Grail” status, like MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick and Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. But in 2023, there are as many HG products as there are Teslas on the freeways of California. And though I appreciate the efficiency of using simple keywords like “holy grail” to distinguish one product from the thousands of others out there, I think it might be more helpful to call something out for what it actually does rather than just give it a made-up label.