A chance conversation with my friend Emma led to this post. These make up items belonged to her grandmother-in-law; at least the Lancome lipsticks did. They’re the little silver ones and they’re tiny! We think the concept of ‘mini’ make up is new, but clearly not – I’ve managed to date them to the 1940s.
Bearing in mind their age, they’ve withstood the test of time beautifully. The shade is Rose Jaune and in a complete opposite of the name, they’re bright orange.
The lipsticks belonged to Gladys, a seamstress from Coventry, born in 1908. They survived the Coventry blitz in the second world war, as did their owner who stalwartly refused to leave her house for a shelter. The same, apparently, can’t be said for her crockery. The larger lipstick is by Cutex, and I’ve dated it to the 1960s. It’s shade Fashion Orchid in the Stayfast formula. We aren’t sure whether it belonged to Gladys or her daughter Joan.
The consistency is, by now, interesting! It’s like those face paint crayons you can buy – rather waxy and dry (although that could be age) but still vivid with colour.
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It’s astonishing really that they’re still so full of pigment. The silver cases, by the way, have the Lancome rose emblem etched on the top. The colour no longer exists in the Lancome inventory and Cutex don’t make lipsticks now, only nail products. I love this piece of social history and it was so exciting to get up close to them – they’re safely back with Emma now, wrapped in a lace hanky and wonderful memories.
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