Every now and then, someone will ask me how I came into this line of work . . . makeup. For those people who’ve known me for any length of time, they will attest to the fact that I’ve been a product junkie as long as they could remember. It doesn’t matter if it’s makeup or hairspray or shampoo or lotions. I’ve always had an affinity for all things cosmetic.
But today, I really started thinking back to the roots of it. My earliest cosmetic memory was when I was three. I was standing in the bathroom with my mother, watching her get ready to go out with my dad, and studying her routine. Curlers, hair pins, hairspray, powder, red lipstick. I was fascinated with the lips. She sat down and I crawled onto her lap, and I have a very sensory memory of taking my little finger, wiping it across her lips, and transferring some of her red lipstick onto my lips. For some reason, that tickled her and that’s where my love affair with makeup began.
Then there are my memories of my grandmothers’ cosmetics. Mostly, for them, they were perfumes and hair products. Small bottles with scripty writing like “Lanvin” or anything Avon (To a Wild Rose, Topaz). There were aerosol cans of hair lacquer, Final Net, jars of Dippity-Do, and a stray compact or two. Their lips were usually a taupe or plum color. They had reached an age where they felt they were past their “red lip days.” They’d leave that to my mother.
Speaking of Avon, what an icon that was. Growing up in rural Georgia, the Avon Lady calling was a BFD (big freakin’ deal)! They were the first to cater to people my age. . .the ‘tweeners. Who remembers the solid perfumes that came on a lapel pin (ginger bread man or ice cream cone)? What about those tiny tubes of lipstick samples that were inherited from our moms? Sweet Honesty was one of the first perfumes targeted directly to teenagers in love! I wasn’t quite a teenager, but I sure wanted to be. . . and I definitely wanted to be IN LOVE. Great advertising. All from the Avon catalog and a couple of well-placed television commercials. One of my all-time Avon faves were a couple of kitschy lip glosses. . . the pair of Red Lips (go figure;) and the hamburger. . .both you opened to reveal a duo of frosty and shiny glosses. And the smells were divine.
The Avon days gave way to the Maybelline days. . . specifically the Kissing Potion days. Those clear, roll-on lip glosses were a hot commodity. If you had one (or two!) of those, you had Street Cred. I can remember waiting for my bus to pick me up at school and people passing around the Kissing Potions (now, I shudder to think we were all sharing so freely). Cola and Cherry were my favorites, but there was every flavor imaginable. We had the shiniest, wettest lips ever!
As memory serves, after the Kissing Potion days waned, Bonne Bell made an appearance on the lip scene with their Lip Smackers. Who remembers those gigantic lip balms in every soft drink flavor there was? Dr. Pepper ruled. About this time, the roller skating craze was taking hold and any well-presented young lady at a skating rink wouldn’t be caught dead without her Lip Smacker and large comb for her Jordache jeans back pocket. I digress. . . fashion is a whole ‘nother story.
Can I get a shout out for Love’s Baby Soft cologne? How about Gee, Your Hair Smells Terriffic! or Body on Tap or Faberge (And So On, And So On. . .) shampoos?
Gosh, I’m only up to about 8th grade. But I’ll save some other old-school talk for later. In the immortal words of Led Zep, I could “Ramble On” about this stuff forever.