I find it amazing that some lipsticks are still in production; the oldest example I can think of dates from the 1940s. They’re also a much cheaper way of injecting glamour into an outfit than a new dress. That’s right – hold tight all you broke ladies, because I got your back. However, I will spare you from my usual waffling style and list a few of my favourites.
This is only a guide.*The first place you should go to? Revlon. No joke – that brand is essentially the vintage emporium of the high street. And as a proud - and sometimes regretful - owner of 45+ lipsticks, I can safely say that these really are the best. Unfortunately the collection of lipsticks sold in the UK are actually pretty limited, but you can get your hands on ‘Fire and Ice’ (a bright red) and ‘Cherries in the Snow’ (a red-pink) in most Revlon stockists. These shades initially came into production in the early 1950s, and had some killer ad campaigns to boot. If you are from the US, ‘Persian Melon’ (a bright pink) is also one of my favourites, and came about in the late 1950s.
The formulations of these lipsticks are great, and are easily comparable to those of higher-priced brands. Another brand I’d also recommend is No 7. I also think that their lipsticks are great, although I prefer the colour selection that Revlon offers. In particular, I recommend ‘Gay Geranium’ – which was launched in 1935! It is a super bright, and a borderline neon orange. I adore it to bits, and think it’s fantastic for those who are a little braver with their make-up choices. It was actually discontinued for a few years (apparently it was a little too bright ) but brought back due to huge protests (okay, maybe I exaggerate). Another shade I would recommend is ‘Classic Rose’, which is a universally flattering pink and is in fact my all-time favourite. I actually don’t know the history (if any) behind this one, but it really does seem as if it dates from the 1950s – and is totally reminiscent of some Mad Men-esque glamour. Unlike Revlon, these lipsticks are a little bit more expensive but worth the money as they are relatively long-lasting.
Last but not least, one other shade I’d recommend is MAC’s Ruby Woo. Yes it isn’t as old as your grandma, but it is an authentic, blue-toned red. I am actually older than MAC itself so these shades are babies compared to the ones listed above, but I do remember hearing that a lot of research went into this shade. I haven’t seen anyone who doesn’t look anything less than amazing with this on.And that it is! A little bite-sized guide to vintage lipsticks, all of which are timeless.
*If you want more, I might make a video of me wearing these shades and screaming along to Aaliyah. It will probably make you regret even thinking about purchasing them. And that’s before I go into a terrible Missy Elliot rap interlude. Sorry.