This week it's nostalgia time again - the cosmetics of our youth!
What was the first item of make-up you ever bought? Like most little girls I started off trying on my mother's lipstick (Coty, in a gold case) when I was a child, but the first item of make-up I actually owned was a sparkly brown eyeshadow - Miners, I think - from Boots, in 1970 or 71. My next was a similar one, in violet. How lovely I must have looked....
I used to get those Biba lipsticks, in the black cases, too - oh my my poor little fresh 16 year old face with awful dark make-up - you won't be told at that age, though, will you? It probably looked all right at the time, but over the years I find I wear less and less; I seem to remember, when I was about 34, a boyfriend taking me to one side and advising me, kindly, about the sixties style liquid black eyeliner liner on the upper lid that I had been wearing for about 15 years.... I'd look like a pantomime dame if I wore now what I did then :)
Remember when Rimmel nail polishes looked like this? I had one called Black Tulip (really dark plum sort of colour) and a horrible see-through pink.... The ones in the top right hand picture were the posher frosty ones I could never afford!
I remember, with my friends Ruth and Pam, sitting on the steps of The Odeon cinema, Northampton, on a Saturday afternoon in 1973, painting our nails sparkly blue and green from the Miners 'irridescent' range.... (ps, and who the hell has school friends called Ruth and Pam these days??!)
We used to believe all this stuff about what would make us beautiful, too. Advice like adding an egg to our shampoo, or using egg whites as face-packs ... and did lemon juice really make your hair go lighter? The one that I find the most amusing, looking back, was the shampoo Protein 21, which was supposed to mend split ends, complete with a TV advert showing them kind of glueing themselves back together, and a picture of actress Jane Seymour saying that she used it - yeah, sure she did...! Another product was something I couldn't find a picture for, though I think it might still be for sale, albeit with less outrageous claims: Helancyl. Maybe they had to re-name it, without the H, in order to re-market....
It was quite expensive; the kit came with this mitt thing (the one I bought, in 1979, was a lot more clumsy looking than the one in the picture above); this you filled with this magic Helancyl potion, which was released through holes in the mitt. In the bath or shower you massaged your fat bits with it, and it was supposed to break down the fat cells. Even at the time, I thought, nah, that can't be right...!
I loved skin care products, as did my sister; I remember her telling me once that she had her priorities right because she had £1.50 left in the world and spent it on a bottle of Vichy skin toning lotion. I'm so glad that my mother always instilled into us the importance of moisturising - it really does pay off. As a life-long drinker and smoker, I am sure my skin would be a lot worse if I hadn't slapped on the old Astral/Cream E45/Nivea/Estee Lauder every night. Okay, you might have to wait 20 years to see the rewards, but please, if you're a 25 year old soap and water girl, start now!! (and psst - remember when Oil of Olay was called Oil of Ulay?)
Do you remember Anne French cleansing milk, Inecto beer shampoo, Cream Silk and Breck conditioner, Ponds Cold cream - what were your teenage beauty products?
Well, if it was good enough for a Charlie's Angel...
Nothing takes you back to times past more instantly than a smell, does it? My first perfume experience was a range of colognes made by Rimmel in the 1960s; I remember there being lily of the valley and muguet, but I couldn't find any pictures of them. I have to thank Alex Johnson, @oxfordnovelist on Twitter, for reminding me of my next attempt at smelling like a glamorous grown up lady - Aqua Manda by Goya, which I believe is being re-launched...
Didn't it smell like oranges? It reminds me of the time I got a sachet of fake tan free in a magazine. I was about 15. I put it all over my face before going out to some disco, and thought, hmm, I don't look any different, so I slapped the whole lot on. I didn't know that it took several hours to show.... I looked at my face in the mirror at about 9.30 that evening, and, I kid you not, it was as orange as the orange on the Aqua Manda bottle! Thank goodness it was dark, but I don't think I pulled that night!
In 1975, of course, there was Charlie..... to my great disappointment, when they re-launched it a few years ago it didn't smell the same :(
When I was 17 I wore Yardley's Je Suis...
.....moving on to the more sexy Fidji by Guy Laroche when I was about 19.....
And do you remember Tramp by Lentheric, Azuree by Estee Lauder, Gingham - and Babe??!!
For me, though, the perfume that just screams the late 1970s was this one: Vu by Ted Lapidus - just look at the packaging. It comes straight out of the film 'The Stud', doesn't it? You can just see it being squirted on by Fontaine Khaled (aka Joan Collins!), and the girls in Legs & Co, can't you?!
Many smells later, I've finally settled on Guerlain's L'heure Bleue ~ itself one that's been around for years; it was first made in 1912
(I found this really good site about vintage perfumes, HERE - you might find your favourite!)
Oh, and going back to the "they must think we were born yesterday" school of marketing, does anyone remember Ayds, those bits of fudge you were supposed to eat to stop yourself being hungry - which were swiftly withdrawn from the market in the early 1980s - wonder why??? (Carol Hedges, this is for you!)
I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of nostalgia, and I'd just like to leave you with this - how many of these chocolate bars do you remember?
...... and not forgetting Caramac, and, right back to the 1960s - lucky bags! A boiled sweet, a toffee, a joke, a bit of plastic - can anyone remember what else was in them? I can't!
I'd love to hear about anyone else's memories - make-up, perfume, sweets, or whatever ~ ~ ~ ~