Tuesday, March 28, 2006

While I'm on the Subject of Magazines...

From time to time, sandwiched in between dermatologists' advice that 30-year-old women "probably only need a little Botox" and pictures of Sienna Miller with bandannas wrapped around her ankle, Allure will do something really fun: they'll talk about old, discontinued beauty products. Some of them were great and should never have been discontinued, and some of them, in retrospect, were surprisingly ridiculous.

I'm not sure why, exactly--perhaps it appeals to my fondness of kitsch--but I LOVE this.

In this same spirit, I have compiled a list of products that I remember from when I was a teenager.

1. Halsa hair products:
(Picture an umlaut over the first a; I STILL can't figure out how to type it.)

Though I found the claim that their products "uncover your highlights" to be dubious at best, these were the most beautiful-smelling hair products I've ever tried. Using them made me feel like a busty, hennaed hippie traipsing through fields of wildflowers in Scandinavia while wearing a gauzy dress, and not a disgruntled suburban teenager trying to grow out a bad haircut to cover her acne.

2. Maybelline Dial-a-Lash mascara:
This was an incredibly fat and funnel-shaped tube of mascara with a dial at the bottom, so that you could crank your lashes up from 1 to 10 as you desired. 1 was ostensibly doe-eyed, innocent Disney character living in some humble cottage in the woods; 10 was full-on Vegas showgirl moonlighting as an occasional hooker.

They all looked the same to me.

3. Debbie Gibson Electric Youth perfume:
Long before Britney Spears had a Fantasy, Debbie Gibson had her own fragrance. My bottle, the smaller-sized version, was a slender tube full of light pink liquid, with a hot-pink coil in the center designed, I supposed, to simulate the "look" of electricity. This was my favorite perfume for a while; I still remember exactly the way it smelled. Sweet and teenager-y. Sexier than Love's Baby Soft, but softer than the red-tinged, liquid-sex Guess? fragrance. Kind of like jeans with strategic tears...at the knees. With a happy face drawn on the flesh.

Here is the part where you all reminisce with me and list your own.


Blogger Mignon said...

My favorite was Sun-In. I never used it, but it made several members of our high school dance team look like they had Mustard Head.

My high school perfume was Calyx by Prescriptives. It was fruity and citrusy, which I found out later in life is supposed to be for outdoorsy, active people. Who knew? I don't know if it's still made or not. It would probably remind me of Homecoming and banana clips.

I used to work at a drugstore, and the smell of Electric Youth will forever remind me of incorrectly making keys with the key machine.

10:27 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

I remember "Love's Baby Soft". Yardley also made a Lemon scented cologne...can't remember the name. Mary Quant also had eyeshadow that came in sticks, but it was so waxy that it was just like wearing lipstick on your eyelids.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Ooooh, this is good.

I remember the commercial for Dial-a-Lash; my best friend and I would act out the tagline: "But we'll both have beautiful lashes!" The characters were sisters: one older and professional, the other younger, with a blonde short bob, the "wild child."

I loved the perfume LouLou when I was 17 (and you can still get it). It had a blue bottle with red accents, and the smallest bottle had a little atomizer and was tres chic.

I also loved a Clinique lipstick called "Different Grape," which I think has gone the way of the dinosaur.

My very favorite cosmetics were Revlon Streetwear, which were meant to appeal to the punk goddess in you. Their stuff was multi-purpose; use it on your lips, your eyes, smudge it onto your cheeks, whatever. They had great color names like "Fabu," "Nothing," and my personal favorite, "Schmutz." Once my then-9-year-old niece asked me why I was wearing lipstick the color of dog poop when I had that on.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Oh my god, MeanGirl! I wore LouLou when I was 17 as well. I loved that perfume so much. It will always remind me of my first real boyfriend.

When I was in junior high, I loved Jordache perfume. I would totally still wear it, if it existed.

Also, I was a huge fan of Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper lip gloss in the big fat stick and Anais Anais perfume by Cacharel.

11:11 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

When I was a teenager, PHisoderm was all the rage. It came in a big lime green bottle and the song in the commercials was "Do a little dance...make a little love...get down tonight..."

And Exclamation! perfume was really big when I was in like, grade 8. Man, that shit smelled awful.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

CK1 the unisex perfume (that only chicks wore) was huge when I was growing up. There was also colored mascara. I remember having gold, blue, purple and green lashes.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous c.s. said...

exlcamation! i remember the bottle: white with the black exclamation point...and there was pink in it, right? arabella - i wore electric youth AND i used halsa something-or-other too! i don't remember the umlaut. but here's a handy chart to display those characters:

11:58 AM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Oh, I just saw one of the "Ye Olde but Goode" products at Target! Primo "designer imposter" fragrance! I could not believe anyone still buys this.

Also, what about Charlie cologne? There's another perfume my mom used to use, and now I'm driving myself crazy trying to remember it. Also, I used to use the perfume that came in a little exclamation mark bottle, but I can't recall the name. Maybe it was simply called "Exclamation."

12:48 PM  
Blogger Liberty Belle said...

Arabella...I've been reading your blog for a few weeks, and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy your thought processes. It was the "Electric Youth" comment that stirred me to finally speak up. I still have some of that perfume! (Hmm, does perfume have an expiration date??) Remember clear mascara? Ah, yes, reading about these products takes me back. (I may even have some "Exclamation!" too...we're packrats, you see.) Come to think of it, I think I may still have some "Love's Baby Soft", too! Wow, do I ever throw anything away? Geez. I'm now motivated for Spring Cleaning (Clean Sweep style)!

Anyway, thanks for the great reads; keep it up! It's refreshing to read something well written instead of prose a la abbreviations ad nauseum.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Oh, Exclamation! The bane of drugstore perfume cases everwhere.
The print ads had a sexy-yet-wholesome chick on a big picture hat, wearing a brief dress that matched the bottle, black, white, and yes, hot pink (with, I want to say, polka dots), and like, walking an unruly purse dog or something.

You can still get some of the designer impostors at Dollar Tree. I myself bought the impostor version of J. Lo Glow there some years back (I know, but it smelled really good!).

And I still love Anais Anais.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Re. Ex-cla-ma-tion: "Make a statement without saying a word!"

I remember those ads like they were around YESTERDAY.

And I saw Malibu Musk (from Parfums de Coeur, the maker of Designer Impostors) on Amazon just a little while ago. I can't believe it's still around!

These are really fun.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I was hoping I could find a scanned print ad, but all I found was product shots. Still, enjoy this trip down memory lane: http://www.imaginationperfumery.com/images/50/item_274.jpg

3:25 PM  
Blogger robey said...

I can bring home the bacon

Fry it up in a pan

And never, never, never let you forget you're a man

Cause I'm a woman


4:52 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Robey, that made me laugh so hard! I never knew what the product name was, and at the end of the jingle I would sing "Rah-Joe-Ree!!!" Like, hooray for Joree!

Yep, and now I'm singing it over and over in my head.

6:07 PM  
Blogger ptg said...

Ält keys are what you need. Hold the Alt key down as you enter 0196 on the numeric keypad. The result should be Ä.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Does anyone remember Jovan musk oil?

How about the Maybelline roll-on lip gloss in a clear bottle?

Remember aerosol deoderants?

I remember the first blow dryers that came out, in the 1970s. I think they were called Maxis. They had brush and comb attachments that slid onto the end.

I remember when disposable razors were invented. Bics were the first.

I also remember when Maxipads came out and banished forever the horrible sanitary pads that had to be hooked to a garter type belt. Whenever I see a woman's thong peeking above her hip huggers I think of the bad old days of sanitary belts and pads.

Now y'all know the truth--I'm one OLD chick.

9:25 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

All the rich girls used to wear Lauren perfume by Ralph Lauren. I hate to buy the fake stuff. Also, rabbit fur coats were all the rage.

I still love Bonne Bell lip gloss!!

1:17 PM  
Anonymous kate said...

Ohh the memories.

Clear Mascara
Bonne Belle Lipgloss

I used to wear Beautiful, Victoria by Victorias Secret, Electric Youth, and something from Avon, the name escapes me.

There used to be a razor that even I could use- it was roundish, and was easy to hold- bigger than a bic, but you could replace the blades. I loved that thing.

Aussie Scrunch Spray was something that was very important to all of us girls, as well as our butane curling irons. Scary when you mix aerosol hair spray and a hot butane curling iron.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kate - those razors are still around... Flicker, I think it's called. Loved Electric Youth, too, but never had a bottle - used to steal a spritz when I was visiting a friend's house because her sister had it!

8:44 PM  

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