These Images of Vintage Makeup Products Will Blow Your Mind

Updated 02/14/17

Think about how different makeup looked in the 1990s. Certainly the styles were very different (pencil-thin brows, body glitter, etc.), but thinking back, the products themselves also looked like they were from another universe. Remember the glitter, bright colors, and over-the-top fonts that littered every label, from Lancôme Juicy Tubes to L.A. Looks Styling Gel? What about the inconceivably harsh formulas of Sea Breeze and Sun In? The '90s were a special time.

If beauty formulas and packaging were that different 20 years ago, imagine how much they must have changed over the past century. What were the Juicy Tubes of 1925? Our curiosity peaked, so we went on a research bender to find the following makeup products, which date as far back as the 1800s. Curious to see what lipstick and mascara looked like 100 years ago? Keep scrolling to see 10 riveting images of vintage makeup products.


Handcrafted Rouge

Era: 1880s

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. How gorgeous is this hand-painted packaging?


Wooden Lipstick Tube

Era: 1920s

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.

We Believe in Style

Gold Blush Tin

Era: 1920s

In the 1920s and 1930s, blush (or "rouge" as it was called) came in these darling, gold-colored, refillable compacts, which contained puffs, not brushes. This stunning, saturated shade is called Framboise, or "raspberry" in French.

Powder-Meets-Cigarette Case

La Mode 1930s Compact $99

Era: 1930s

Eighty years ago, this amazing enamel compact contained powder, blush, and a cigarette holder, bringing new meaning to the phrase "multitasking makeup."

(This precise antique is actually available on Etsy right now, so snag it quickly!)

Eating Lipstick

Cake Mascara

Era: 1920s, 30s, and 40s

"Cake" mascara was the first-ever mascara formula that women used, long before the tubed liquids we know now. 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

Vintage 30s Compact $975

Era: 1930s and 40s

Why were powder compacts so much more intricate 80 years ago? This painfully pretty silver and enamel case contains a powder puff so much fancier than the no-frills sponges we see today.

(This very antique piece is also available for purchase on Etsy right now—if you have a spare $975 to spend on vintage makeup, that is.)


Gold Lipstick Holder

Era: 1950s

Can you imagine displaying your favorite lipstick tubes in such luxury? This ornate gold case from midcentury New York looks like something out of Versailles.


Kohl Eye Shadow Tins

Era: Unknown

These intricate brass bottles, called surmadani, have been used in the Middle East for centuries. Traditionally, 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 has gone through a major evolution since this delicate pink powder compact from the 1960s. (Look at how Pond's packages its powder now.)

Bella Chique

Geometric Dior

Era: 1980s

If you're old enough, these geometric blue Dior lipsticks will remind you of your childhood (or teen years, or adulthood). Who remembers that distinctive, powdery scent?

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