Celebrating Vintage Beauty Products


Posted on October 28 2013

I often find myself using Google to find beauty ads from my youth. There is just something about seeing an ad from CoverGirl in the early 90's that was in a magazine I would read (YM, Seventeen, Sassy/Jane, etc.). It makes me feel nostalgic and I find myself wishing for simpler times. Everything seems simpler in retrospect, doesn't it? That is especially true with beauty trends.

While classic and vintage looks seem simple, in reality they are notoriously difficult to create. I mean, when I use jet black liquid eyeliner to try to replicate the perfect cat eye, I end up looking like a total disaster (photographic evidence of this will not be shared because it's too embarrassing). Vintage beauty ain't easy, but it's so worth it.

Case in point - this vintage mascara from Maybelline.

This cake mascara, circa 1930, is how ladies would try to get the look of film stars of the era, like Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Beauty took dedication.

While the toothbrush applicator may look frightening and unwieldy, at least it won't smart your eyes (let's be real - it totally did. How could it not?!).

Do you feel that beauty ads now are a little fantastical in their wording? Promising things that you know in your heart of hearts they just can't deliver? Vintage beauty ads were no different. Beauty ads have always promised women that we can achieve the perfect pout with a few swipes of lipstick - and that said lipstick will never smudge off.

With today's dizzying array of colours to choose from, it's kind of nice to think about only four "intriguing, sultry" shades being available.

Now we're really jumping ahead in time - by about three decades. Max Factor, the originator of the term "make-up" (as in, to make up one's face), started out making cosmetics that were used by film stars of the silent era. Max Factor's make-up - or "greasepaint", as it was called back then - was highly sought after by women who wanted to look just like their favourite actresses. The trend continues to this day, as actresses and singers are constantly hired by cosmetic brands to sell us the latest and greatest innovations.

In the above ad, a stewardess from TWA shows us that her Max Factor Creme Puff is the only thing she needs to look flawless in the air. The 1960's are considered by some to be the "golden age" of flying - so achieving the stewardess beauty look was something many women of the time aspired to.

Finally, Maybelline returns to our vintage beauty review with more innovations that would not look out of place today. Each cosmetic manufacturer around wants to come out with the latest and greatest technology that keeps them ahead of the curve, and it was no different back in the day. A self-sharpening eyeliner and eyebrow pencil? Jackpot! Heck, I would buy this product today if it was available.

Shabby Apple's Wildberry Pie Apron

You can complement any vintage beauty look with the right accessories. Personally, I am really into aprons that hearken back to the days when these beauty products would be seen on the vanities of many women. Shabby Apple's Strawberry Shortcake Half Apron gives me so much life and would be the right thing to wear over a dress whilst I am baking and applying my mascara with a toothbrush (Okay, maybe not that last part). If a full apron with a halter look is more your style, Shabby's Apple's Carrot Cake Apron fits the bill perfectly. Just promise you'll send me some of that carrot cake.

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