Retro Corner: Maybelline’s Shine Free Line

26 09 2009

By Taryn

Back in the late 80s, early 90s, Maybelline had a line called Shine Free cosmetics, and my gosh, how I loved that brand.  They had dozens of little lipsticks packaged in the cutest pink tubes with the best scent (well, it was that phony lipstick scent, but I still liked it back then).  They also had eye shadow singles, powders, foundations and mascara, and the line had a very colorful ad campaign.  One of my favorite ads is the one below:


That was 1988 for you – full of bright, tropical makeup looks and colorful packaging.  I fondly remember slathering on their frosty pink lipsticks and neon blue mascara.

Anyone else out there remember Shine Free?


Retro Corner: Max Factor

19 09 2009

While looking over the Painted Ladies pages, the Retro Corner sparked a familiar feeling.  I have been collecting vintage compacts since 1997, with the oldest piece from 1918.  Excitedly, I asked Sheila if Painted Ladies needed any additional submissions to the Retro Corner. So here I am.  Enjoy!

After much deliberation, I decided to begin this topic with the history of compacts and beauty products, and then end with a piece from my collection to honor and bid farewell to a MAJOR cosmetic company that is now stopping all distribution in the U.S.

Dating back to the ancient civilizations of the world, cosmetics and its containers were used to adorn and decorate both men and women.  The oldest known surviving powder was originally made by pulverizing flowers and fragrant leaves. Of the many different origins and types of cosmetics used, kohl (then in a loose mineral powder form in a small pot, nowadays called eye kohl pencil) was used by the Egyptians in the eighteenth century to embellish the lashes and lids on the eye, and to protect from insects and shield from the desert’s sun.  

Egyptian kohl pots

Egyptian kohl pots

Cosmetics were used throughout the middle ages, and in Renaissance periods.  In the late eighteenth century, the use of cosmetics was so widespread that Parliament passed a law that made the use of cosmetics part of a seduction, which to them meant witchcraft.  From that law being passed, women that used cosmetics were basically called “ladies of the night”.

In the late nineteenth century, cosmetics went through a revival in parts of Europe.  The lipstick cases and compacts were adorned with gems, ornately painted landscapes and the like.  In America, during the Victorian era and before World War I, the artificial use of beauty aids was frowned upon still and considered immoral.  The opinion of society was, “to improve on nature, all women needed was proper diet, fresh air, and exercise”.  You should all remember the scene from “Little Women” when they pinch their cheeks to look healthy, fresh and get that natural rosy glow.  Now you know why!

In 1923, Dorothy Grey introduced The Face Patter, to stimulate circulation and make the cheeks naturally pink!  From then on, attitudes regarding cosmetics changed dramatically in the beginning of the twentieth century.  The use of makeup during the day was finally accepted and looked upon with respect.  We have the silver screen’s trend setting film stars to thank for that!

The Face Patter

The Face Patter

The word “make-up” was actually coined by Max Factor, beauty consultant to the stars.  Women began to see that they could achieve a “modern” image with cosmetics, and then recognized the importance of personal beauty.  As women became liberated and entered the business world, the cosmetic compacts and carryalls were a necessity.

Excerpts and information from Vintage Ladies’ Compacts Identification & Value Guide, 1996

The piece I am showing you was purchased in Fargo, North Dakota.  I was there for my best friend’s wedding and my flight was delayed as I was heading home to the west. Having some time to kill, I found the nearest antique shop and below you’ll see just one of the gems I found!  I was sad the package was a bit thrashed, when I found it, but you can make out the stamping on the dry rouge itself!  Gasp, they just don’t make rouge like that today! 

Max Factor was a true founding forefather in the world of cosmetics!  My inspiration continues with all the prized antiques in the beauty world. There will be more to come, and I hope it inspires you as well!

Max Factor Dry Rouge

Max Factor Dry Rouge

Underside of Dry Rouge

Underside of Dry Rouge

Max Factor Pressed Dry Rouge, in Rasberry from 1938.  I found a Max Factor Pressed Powder with the same packaging in 1996 ed. Collector’s Encyclopedia of Compacts, Carryalls & Face Powder Boxes.

Retro Corner: Astringents

10 09 2009

By Taryn

I think most of us with teen acne probably experimented with astringents, those evil cousins of today’s milder toners.

My dad introduced me to Sea Breeze, which could probably strip the grease off a mechanic’s hands.  After all, that cooling sensation was a sign that it was working, doggone it! Indeed, no other clean did feel quite like Sea Breeze.  Who wouldn’t love pimply skin that was so dry and tight that it felt like a plaster mask when you smiled?

Sea Breeze never did do anything for my acne, and quite frankly their marketing wasn’t up to par with Propa pH, the other big astringent of the 90s.  Somehow the cheap Picasso rip-off art on the Sea Breeze ad just wasn’t cutting it.  Propa pH, on the other hand, picked out the most all-American looking model they could find with perfect peaches ‘n cream skin for their campaign that ran in ‘Teen, YM and Seventeen magazines.  I remember first laying eyes on that blonde’s skin and feeling like I discovered the answer to my acne issues.  I scurried home with a shiny bottle in my hands, full of hope.

Propa pH sadly failed to live up to expectations, but it still is a memorable ad for me, 18 years later.


Retro Corner: Kissing Koolers

2 09 2009

By Taryn

Once in awhile I thought I’d do a little feature on products from our past, ones that we fondly remember that dropped off the face of the earth.

Today’s entry is about Maybelline’s Kissing Koolers, those neat little marbleized lip glosses that came in flavors like Peppermint Twist, Tutti Frutti, Watermelon, Strawberry Fizz and Cherry Cola. My good friend E and I were crazy for the things and E would slather so much Tutti Frutti on that her lips turned purple. I, on the other hand, would apply Watermelon and wind up with gray lips that had me looking like I was ready for a showing at the local funeral parlor.

Still, the scents were amazing, and the little domed tubes adorable.

I happen to have some stashed away that I refuse to part with just for nostalgia’s sake. The picture below shows them all, which I had at one point, but I pruned my collection and now only have three left. Still, they all smell as they always did, so Maybelline must have pickled these things.

Ah, the 80s and early 90s sure were fun times…