Category Archives: vintage beauty products

The Boys in the Band (2020)

Lots of things happen at the birthday party that Michael organises for Harold: for example, the fight between Emory (Robin de Jesús) and Alan ends up with a split lip. Bernard (Michael Benjamin Washington) takes his friend to the toilet, where they check the wound.

On a shelf in Michael’s bathroom there are four products.

The glass bottle on the left is Listerine mouthwash.

The cardboard shaker contains Spicy perfumed talc by Avon.

Next there’s Lucky Tiger hair tonic with oil.

On the far right side of the shelf there’s a glass jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly.

To the Stars (2019)

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Soon after Iris (Kara Hayward) meets the newcomer Maggie (Liana Liberato), they become friends. Maggie decides to give Iris a makeover, so they go shopping for cosmetics. The beauty counter at the department store they go to displays make-up and skincare products.

Cashmere Bouquet 1950 1950s USA makeup make-up face powder puffs applying

On the far left in the screencap above there’s a cardboard table display containing several tin boxes of Palmolive Cashmere Bouquet face powder.

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More products can be seen thanks to a close-up.

The two jars with pink lids contain Woodbury skin cream.

There are three boxes of Coty Airspun loose face powder: the classic version has the yellow box, while the peach box contains a perfumed version (the scent in this case is L’Aimant).

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The lipsticks with the striped cases are Yardley Slicker.

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The white compacts with pink lid contain Beauté-Salon face powder.

On the right side of the counter there’s also a table display of Pond’s lipsticks.

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Another shot shows us the far left side of the counter, where there’s another table display. This time the product is Woodbury lanolin-rich hand cream.

Hollywood E01 (Hooray for Hollywood)

hollywood_e01_bornunicorn (3)Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone) is a former silent movie actress who has left her glory days behind but she’s still at the centre of the public life in Hollywood: her husband *is* one of the most important movie studios in town, as she explains to young Frank Castello, the aspiring actor she’s having a rendez-vous with.

hollywood_e01_bornunicorn (1)hollywood_e01_bornunicorn (4)Avis is all about Old Hollywood glamour, as shown by the elegant black lace lingerie and the satin robe with feathered accents she’s wearing. But make-up has its part, too.

besamecosmetics_victoryredlipstick_bornunicornThe lipstick she’s wearing is by Bésame Cosmetics [1]: the shade is Victory Red, deep red with a neutral base, inspired to Montezuma Red and Victory Red, two popular shades created by Elizabeth Arden in 1941.

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TEAR SHEET. Connie Ford Victory Red Lipstick advertisement.Those were the years of WWII and Arden was asked to make a lipstick for women who served in the U.S. army; the success of Montezuma Red brought to Victory Red [2], which could be worn by all those who wanted to show their patriotism in those dark times.

[1] After extensively appearing in American Horror Story: Freakshow and Feud, it was only natural to see Bésame Cosmetics featured in Hollywood, too, for an extra touch of authenticity.

[2] The face of Victory Red was Constance Ford, who would later become a famous movie and TV show actress.

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988)

womenonthevergeofanervousbreakdownThe retro-style opening credits of the film (designed by Juan Gatti) contain, quite surprisingly, a real advert of a real make-up item.

dubarryglissandolipstick_bornunicornIt’s the marbled lipstick Glissando, launched in 1964 by the American brand Du Barry.

dubarryglissandolipsticks_bornunicornAvailable in six shades (“from light-struck pinks to muted ambers to rich reds”), it was housed in an elegant silver and gold metal case.

It’s true the brand started its decline in the 1970s and eventually died [1], but I still wonder what happened here. Did the title designer get away with reproducing an advert of a defunct brand? Or did they just paid what was due to whatever multinational company owned the Du Barry name in the 1980s?

[1] This is not entirely accurate: the brand was relaunched in 2002. But I guess that was the end of it.

American Horror Story S04E06 (Bullseye)

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When Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) announces she will move to Hollywood for a fresh start, her “freaks” give her a precious gift: a set of Westmores of Hollywood beauty products.

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The set is made of three golden bottles and a round box. The gold bottle on the left surely contains body powder, while the box contains face powder. The three bottles look like factices, while the box is emblazoned with the Westmore logo.

Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) explains these products are “the best” and she’s right. The brand was founded in 1917 by George Westmore, an English wigmaker who established Hollywood’s first make-up department; he became the forefather of a dynasty of make-up artists who left an indelible mark in the history of cinema.

Indiscreet (1958)

indiscreet1_bornunicornThere are several perfumes and toiletries on Anna Kalman’s dressing table.

vintagerevlonnailpolish_bornunicornFirst, two bottles of Revlon nail polish, in the signature bottle with super-long cap handle.

jeanpatou_joy_bornunicornNow let’s focus on the perfume bottles. At the centre of the table there’s Jean Patou Joy, “the world’s most expensive perfume” created in 1930 by Henri Alméras.

dioramphorabottle_bornunicornNext to it, a beautiful amphora bottle by Christian Dior. Hard to tell what perfume it contained here: designed in 1947 by Fernand Guéry-Colas and produced by Baccarat, it was first used for Miss Dior, but later used for all the other perfumes of the French house – Diorissimo, Diorling, Diorella and Diorama. If we consider the film was released in 1958, the amphora could contain Miss Dior, Diorama (launched in 1948) or Diorissimo (launched in 1956).

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guerlainflaconmontre_bornunicornLast but not least, there’s a Guerlain flacon montre. Again, it’s impossible to say what eau de cologne it contained, but we can make some assumptions. It could be Shalimar or Cachet Jaune (blood orange and yellow stickers, respectively; both launched in 1937), L’Heure Bleue (pale blue sticker; launched in 1945), Ode (purple sticker; the eau de cologne was launched in 1950s, but I don’t know the exact date), Fleur de Feu (hot pink sticker; the perfume was released in 1948, so probably the eau de cologne was on the market by the time Indiscreet was shot), Mitsouko (teal sticker; launched in 1937), Jicky (deep purple sticker; launched in 1945), Chypre 53 (light green sticker; the perfume was released in 1953, so it’s possible the cologne already existed in 1958) or Liu (black sticker; launched in 1956).

Picture source.

Gli amici di Milano (1963)

Franca Valeri is one of the most popular and talented Italian actresses. I’ve always loved her irony, her poised glamour and nonconformity. Imagine my delight when I found this clip from a 1963 tv documentary: the camera goes along the famous via Montenapoleone in Milan, and Franca (born in Milan) comments. The windows of a perfume shop are filmed, showing an array of Guerlain and Rochas perfumes.

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guerlain_vintagemitsouko_bornunicornFlacons montres and bouchon coeur flacons with their parquet boxes can be seen.

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madamerochasrefillableatomiser_bornunicornIn the second window there are three versions of Rochas Madame Rochas: the Eau de Toilette (with the metal stopper), the Eau de Cologne (with the white plastic stopper) and the refillable atomiser.