9 Vintage Makeup Ads That Will Make You Smile ...

Tracy

While looking through the vintage makeup ads, I couldn’t help but smile at some of the looks that were considered flattering. Blue all-over eyeshadow, and pink frosted lips, make me cringe, while bright red rouge slapped on cheeks without any attempt at blending is downright scary. What I find very interesting is how all of the makeup and the tools that were used, have evolved into something as fabulous as what we have available today. These vintage makeup ads make me glad it’s 2014!

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1

Magic Mascara

Magic Mascara I found this treasure among hundreds of vintage makeup ads. Revlon was actually the first company to use a spiral brush in their mascara tubes in 1958, followed shortly by Maybelline and everyone else. Prior to that, mascara in a tube came with a round rod with no spooley at the tip.

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The Revlon Magic Mascara ad depicted a glamorized image of the time—svelte fonts, bold visuals, and a promise of lashes voluminous enough to flutter hearts. It's a classic reminder of when makeup not only enhanced beauty but also served as a tool for innovation. Soon, the spiral brush became synonymous with the perfect lash application, a legacy that lives on in the twists and turns of modern mascara wands. Who knew the secret to those captivating 1950s eyes lay in a clever design still cherished today?

2

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue It’s hard to imagine women once wore blue eyeshadow in this way. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the model has brown eyes, and sky blue would never be the right choice for her. Primarily sold in Europe today, and owned by L’Oreal, Helena Rubenstein cosmetics once shared the top spot in the U.S., along with her bitter rival, Elizabeth Arden.

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The picture embodies a beauty trend that today, seems almost whimsical. Who would have thought that brown-eyed belles were once encouraged to dabble in such a frigid palette? These hues, though trendy in times past, clash rather ironically with the warmth brown eyes naturally exude. Helena Rubenstein's line, while less prevalent stateside, still provides a nostalgic glimpse into the bold and sometimes baffling style choices of yesteryear. It's a testament to how beauty standards have evolved, and a comforting thought that today's makeup embraces a more complementary approach to individual features.

3

Slick Little Flicks

Slick Little Flicks The Year: 1966. The Place: Your lips and fingertips. The Crime: Iridescence. The Result: Millions of women found guilty of painting their mouth and fingers with the Frosterinos, by Max Factor. If you look for it, you can find 2014's version of frosted cosmetics, referred to as ’pearlized,’ and quite a bit more subtle than their 60's counterpart.

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In 1966, the sensational trend was all about a shimmering pout paired with glinting nails—a nod to the era’s fascination with space-age radiance. These bold choices reflected a burgeoning confidence among women who embraced vibrancy and stood out from the demure past. Frosterinos were the go-to for that effervescent shine. Today's pearlized sheens, although more muted, still owe their lineage to that first wave of sparkle seekers. They allow modern makeup enthusiasts to dip their beauty brushes into the legacy of the past, while painting a fresh, contemporary face.

4

Patent Leather Eyeliner

Patent Leather Eyeliner In 1967, Max Factor came out with Shiny Eye-Liner and it came with its very own fine, fine sable brush. When you were ready to remove it, it would peel off. Sometimes in one whole strip, others in little pieces. If you over-applied, the eyeliner would feel tight and have a tendency to crack.

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This glossy innovation added a touch of futuristic glam to the eyes, offering a bold, vinyl-like shine that commanded attention. The Max Factor Shiny Eye-Liner was ahead of its time, allowing for a high-fashion look that could transition seamlessly from a daytime shimmer to an all-out evening spectacle. Imagine the fun of flaunting such a statement look, only to playfully peel it away once the night concluded. However, caution was the key; a steady hand was necessary to avoid the discomfort of eyeliner that felt like a second skin!

5

The Birth of the Palette

The Birth of the Palette Max Factor revealed the ‘Petite Boutique,’ a lipstick and eye shadow paintbox, in 1965. This might well be the first makeup palette sold. It contained four shades of eyeshadow, four shades of lipstick and two brushes. The precursor to the wonderful Urban Decay ‘Naked’ palettes!

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Max Factor's innovation preempted the modern multi-hue collections we adore today. Ladies could mix, match, and tote their iconic '60s looks with ease, thanks to this compact treasure. Imagine the flutter of excitement as those first makeup enthusiasts experimented with shades, blending their own unique style. The Petite Boutique wasn't just a product, it was a bold statement of independence, allowing women to carry their beauty essentials in one chic case. This marked a colorful leap in cosmetic convenience, setting the standard for future glamour on-the-go.

6

How to Apply Makeup like a Clown

How to Apply Makeup like a Clown I think they got it right with the company name: “Savage.” So, here’s a new kind of dry rouge that stays on all day (I don’t doubt it), or ALL NIGHT, emphasis, theirs, to imply you’re doing all sorts of nasty things, but don’t worry, your rouge won’t budge. Interesting smoky eye makeup. Circa 1930.

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Having a blast from the past with these makeup antics is nothing short of delightful. Savage, indeed, for conjuring up the enduring visage of a vivacious vixen or perhaps a vaudeville virtuoso with its stick-it-out rouge. And that smoky eye? Utterly groundbreaking for the 1930’s scene, setting stages and hearts ablaze. Fast forward to today, and these looks are still stealing the show at costume parties and on Halloween. Whether you're aiming for fright or delight, the boldness of that bygone era can make for one unforgettable transformation.

7

The Whites of Their Eyes

The Whites of Their Eyes Mary Quant was all that and a bag of chips in the late 60s, but this eyeshadow, called eye gloss, looks like you painted your lids with Bic’s Wite Out. It looks like the translucent pearl went on the lid, and perhaps grape everywhere else. Wear this look with top and bottom lashes, as shown!

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Mary Quant, the iconic designer known for her influence on mod fashion and her role in popularizing the mini skirt, also made waves in the beauty world. The eye gloss showcased in the ad could have you mistaken for a mod muse straight out of a time machine. While today's trends lean towards matte and natural shades, this blast from the past suggests that there's room for bold statement looks any time. Pair this with a monochromatic outfit, and you'd be the epitome of vintage chic. Just remember, fashion is cyclical—today's faux pas could be tomorrow's must-have!

8

Collect Them All

Collect Them All You have to love this oily roll-on lip gloss by Maybelline. The 70s version featured a real glass bottle, while today’s version comes in plastic and tends to leak. If you’re dying to try one of these fruity flavors, you can find the reformulated stuff online, but don’t expect a thank you from Richie, Fred, David or Bob.

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Maybelline's roll-on lip gloss was a popular makeup item in the 1970s, featuring a glass bottle and fruity flavors. Today, the product has been reformulated and is now sold in plastic bottles, though it has been known to leak. The vintage ads for this product feature popular names from that era, such as Richie, Fred, David, and Bob. While the original glass bottle version can still be found online, it is no longer in production. Despite this, many vintage makeup enthusiasts still seek out these nostalgic lip glosses.

9

Voila

Voila This is a lovely 1940 French ad from Lancôme. My two concerns are the model’s hand looks almost childlike and rather strangely placed. I recently broke my little finger and it kind of drifted off to the side like this one does. The rouge is downright scary. Other than that, I think it’s a very pretty piece of vintage cosmetic advertising.

I love looking at vintage advertising for most any product, and makeup is especially fun. I still marvel at the blue eyeshadow and the frosted lip we once embraced. What did you think when you saw these vintage ads?

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

My big sis had the lipgloss and would let me wear some occasionally... I remember it felt similar to what I imagine cooking oil on the lips would feel like. Love this article!

@Jenna Lynn, you are correct, it wouldn't smudge, but it had other issues. The inner corner would lift if you over applied even a little bit, and you'd be patting it down all day or just give up and clip off that little piece and look ridiculous!

We copied Bridget Bardot quite a bit! Helena Rubinstein made some lovely stuff and Mary Quant's range was surprisingly good and wearable.

@Sandra, yes but sweeter!

Love this! I had all the flavours of the roll-on lip gloss and, yes, they were definitely oily!

I wish I had that leather eyeliner, the clean up sounds easy and I feel like it wouldn't smudge on the creases of my eye. On the other hand I feel like I would constantly be over applying.

woah one dollar for mascara , id buy the shit outta that

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