Think about how different makeup looked in the 1990s. Yeah the styles were different, but the products themselves looked like they were from another universe. The design has received a bit of a renaissance now, but who could forget the glitter, bright colors, and over-the-top fonts that littered every label, from Lancôme Juicy Tubes to L.A. Looks Styling Gel? We're all still kind of feeling betrayed by the inconceivably harsh formulas of Sea Breeze and Sun In. The 90s were certainly a different time.
If beauty formulas and packaging were that different 20 years ago, consider how they must have changed over the past century. Or actually, in some cases, how much they've stayed the same? What were the Juicy Tubes of 1925? It piqued out curiosity, so we went on a research bender to find the following makeup products, which date as far back as the 1800s.
This light, powdery blush formula was invented by Alexandre Napoléon Bourjois in the 1860s, and the product is made almost the exact same way today. Early on, the tins were cardboard and finished with galuchat to create the look of leather. The hand-painted packaging is a thing of wonder.
Wooden Lipstick Tube
A hundred years ago, French beauty brand Molinard crafted its lipstick tubes out of wood. This bright cherry-red color was all the rage during the flapper era.
Gold Blush Tin
In the 1920s and 1930s, blush (although it was called rouge,) came in these stunning gold-colored, refillable compacts, which contained puffs, not brushes. This stunning, bubblegum pink shade is called Framboise—"raspberry."
Eighty years ago, this enamel compact contained powder, blush, and a cigarette holder, which meant it was certainly great for multitasking.
Era: 1920s, 30s, and 40s
"Cake" mascara was the first-ever formula that women used, long before the tubed liquids we know now. (You can actually still buy cake mascara here.) The solid product was painted on lashes and brows with a tiny brush, creating the ultra-pigmented, clump-free look we find on Marilyn Monroe and other film stars from the era.
Cake mascaras are still available today—check out this vintage-inspired pick from Bésame Cosmetics ($25).
Feathered Powder Puff
Era: 1930s and 40s
This compact rivals any luxury brand's packaging. The painfully pretty silver and enamel case contains a powder puff so much fancier than the no-frills sponges we see today.
Gold Lipstick Holder
It takes a lot of personality to displaying your favorite lipstick tubes in such luxurious fashion. This ornate gold case from midcentury New York looks like something out of Versailles.
Kohl Eye Shadow Tins
These intricate brass bottles, called surmadani, have been used in the Middle East for centuries. They are meant to hold black kohl eye makeup, which some cultures believe protects children from the evil eye.
Pond's Face Powder
Era: 1960s and 70s
Pond's has been a tried-and-true skincare brand for decades. Its packaging, however, has undergone a major evolution since this delicate pink powder compact from the 1960s. (Look at how they package their powder now.)
If you're old enough, these geometric blue Dior lipsticks will remind you of your childhood (or teen years, or adulthood). You might even remember that distinctive, powdery scent that came along with them.
Want more throwback beauty? Don't miss these bizarre images of vintage beauty devices.