Sure, new beauty product launches are always exciting, but have you ever wondered what are some beauty products that have been around for as long as you have, or even before you were born? The longevity of these products prove that its popularity has withstood the test of time – it only makes sense for beauty brands to keep them around if they are selling well.
We start off from a time not so far off in history, the 1990s, before we work our way back to the 1800s. Yes, there are beauty products still available on the market, which were first introduced before any one on the planet right now was alive.
Launched in the 1990s
1. Chanel Rouge Noir / Vamp
Age: 23 years old
Debuting at the 1994 Paris Fashion Week, Chanel Rouge Noir quickly became an overnight hit when it was debuted on the nails of models. The stunning deep red colour was so popular that people were lining up on the pavements on the day of its launch, and waiting lists stretched as long as six to 12 months.
It raked in USD 1 million in its first year alone, and things only got crazier after Uma Thurman wore it in the cult classic movie, Pulp Fiction, and Madonna wore it in her music video for Take A Bow. Chanel abruptly discontinued Rouge Noir in the 1990s, and it has since become almost a mystical and legendary product from the past.
In 2003, it returned to the USA under the new name ‘Vamp’. It was however a visibly different shade from the original Rouge Noir. There have been so many incarnations and differences in name with this polish that it’s even confusing for us. We just know that the shade has become one of the most coveted nail polish shades, and also the most copied by other polish brands.
2. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
Age: 26 years old
This highlighter pen was first introduced in the early 1990s and reportedly, one is sold every 10 seconds. Since then, YSL has introduced a foundation version, the Le Teint Touche Éclat.
It’s not just a highlighter! You can use it on your under-eye area, on top of your concealer, to further brighten up your face and make yourself look more awake (reviewers have said it was 8 hours of sleep in a pen). Alternatively, you can use a shade close to your skin tone and apply to your fine lines and wrinkles in order to give the illusion of a smoother face.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat retails for SGD 62 at Tangs and at YSL counters.
Launched from 1970s to 1980s
3. La Prairie Caviar Collection
Age: 30 years old
La Prairie launched Skin Caviar, the first product in its iconic Caviar collection, in 1987. It was marketed as a luxe moisturiser that also had the anti-ageing benefits of the caviar used in its production. The collection expanded over the years to include eye gels, foundations, sleeping masks and lifting serums.
This year, La Prairie celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Caviar collection by launching the Skin Caviar Absolute Filler (#9 in this article), utilising cutting edge technology to improve the process of distilling nutrients from caviar.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Absolute Filler will retail for SGD 960 (60 ml) at La Prairie counters from 1 September 2017.
4. Clarins Double Serum
Age: 32 years old
The vision of the Clarins Double Serum has always been to offer two serums in one, in order to achieve the best results possible for different visible signs of skin ageing. First formulated in 1985, the Clarins Double Serum has constantly been upgrading its formula in order to remain at the forefront of anti-ageing solutions.
In 2017, Clarins will be launching the 8th generation of the Double Serum, including turmeric extract, a new star ingredient for the product. Turmeric extract helps to protect skin from oxidative stress, and also to improve cellular communication. The new launch also sees an improved packaging, which allows you to adjust the amount of product to dispense, depending on your needs.
Clarins Double Serum (8th generation) will retail for SGD 125 for 30ml, and SGD 170 for 50ml at all Clarins counters and on Clarins online from 31 August 2017.
5. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Age: 35 years old
In 1982, Estee Lauder launched the Night Repair Cellular Recovery Complex, which claims to boost the renewal process of skin cells as you sleep. In 1991, almost a decade later, it evolved to Advanced Night Repair, which is the predecessor of the one that we know of today.
The iteration that is being sold on shelves today, the Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, was released in 2013, improving on previous formulas by harnessing a skin renewal process called catabolysis.
See the detailed timeline here.
The same technology has also been used in its range of eye care products.
6. Benefit Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain
Age: 40 – 41 years old
Bet you didn’t expect to see this one here! Benefit has done such a good job in keeping up with the times that you’d never have expected that Benetint has actually been around for 40 years now. It also has a pretty surprising origin story.
Benefit started off as a small shop run by sisters Jane and Jean Ford in the red light district of San Francisco, and the now-famous Benetint was originally created as a nipple dye for strippers around the area. Yup, we bet you didn’t see that one coming.
The Ford sisters steamed rose petals in their kitchen to create a rouge that was effective in staining skin, easy to blend and would last all night. It is now one of Benefit’s most beloved products, though probably not for the same purpose for which it was originally created. The product has also inspired the Cha Cha Tint, Posie Tint, and Lolli Tint.
Benefit Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain retails for SGD 54 for 10ml at Sephora, and at Benefit counters.
7. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
Age: 46 years old
We all know that Maybelline almost never disappoints with mascaras, but did you know that the brand was one of the first mascara producers in the world? A chemist by the name of T. L. Williams, together with his sister Mabel, mixed coal dust with Vaseline to form a thick black mixture that was used to coat her eyelashes and make them appear longer and more voluminous. The concoction was marketed and sold, and eventually evolved into the brand Maybelline (a combination of Mabel and Vaseline).
In the 1960s, Maybelline introduced the Ultra Lash Mascara, before introducing the Great Lash Mascara in 1971. This is one of Maybelline’s oldest product that is still on shelves today, and is reportedly still one of the brand’s bestselling mascaras.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara is not available in Singapore, though it is sold in USA. You may ask for help buying it on websites like Airfrov.
Launched from 1950s to 1960s
8. shu uemura cleansing oil
Age: 50 years old
Brand founder Shu Uemura discovered the magic of cleansing oils in Hollywood in the 1950s, and developed the formula of the very first cleansing oil to be sold in Japan, the shu uemura unmask, which has since achieved legendary cult status in the Japanese beauty industry.
Half a century later, shu uemura continues to lead the game of cleansing oils. The shu uemura ultime8∞ cleansing oil, released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the brand’s line of cleansing oils, is formulated with 98% natural-origin ingredients, and eight precious oils from Asian life-energising plants.
shu uemura cleansing oils retails between SGD 55 to SGD 165 at all shu uemura counters.
9. Sulwhasoo ABC Ginseng Cream
Age: 51 years old
Sulwhasoo marked its origins from its iconic ABC Ginseng Cream, an anti-ageing cream infused with the traditional Korean ingredient of ginseng, released in 1966. Ginseng has been prized in the Korean culture for centuries for its almost mystical age-defying properties, so it is no wonder that a ginseng-based anti-ageing cream should have fuelled the birth of a beauty brand like Sulwhasoo.
Late last year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sulwhasoo’s ginseng cosmetic legacy, they released the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX, an evolved iteration of their original beauty bestseller. It’s not merely just a repackaging of the original, however. Sulwhasoo has been constantly upgrading its Ginsenomics by improving technology in order to improve the vitality of the ginseng used.
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX retails for SGD 298 and is available at the Sulwhasoo Boutique (Capitol Piazza) and all Sulwhasoo counters.
10. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
Age: 50++ years old
Kiehl’s has been around since 1851 – to give you a sense of time, the brand first opened its doors when people still wore corsets and went around on horseback. It was in the 1960s that they first released their now-iconic bestseller, the Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner.
Calendula has mild properties to reduce irritation to the skin and is ideal for oily or sensitive skin. To make the toner, Calendula flower petals are inserted by hand, and it works synergistically with other natural, gentle ingredients like the Great Burdock Root to cleanse and soothe the skin at the same time.
Launched from 1900s to 1950s
11. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Age: 70 years old
In 1947, a pharmacist invented the formula for Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, which has since become the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser that we know of today. Although it was only available in selected pharmacies at first, it quickly gained steam as more dermatologists and healthcare professionals began recommending it to patients with sensitive skin.
Though the name has changed, the original 1947 formula hasn’t, and what you get in the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is what had launched the brand to fame in those early days.
12. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Age: 87 years old
The Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream was created in 1930 by Miss Elizabeth Arden herself, and was the first product to bear her name as its brand. It consists of petrolatum, salicylic acid, and vitamin E as an antioxidant.
Why is it called an eight hour cream? A customer had reportedly went to Miss Arden to tell her how the cream had healed her son’s scraped knees in just eight hours after application. Today, it is used as an anti-ageing cream and moisturiser the world over.
13. Guerlain Shalimar
Age: 92 years old
The name of this iconic fragrance should give you a hint of its inspiration. Guerlain was inspired by the love story between an emperor and an Indian princess, Shalimar, meaning “temple of love” in Sanskrit. The bottle was designed by Raymond Guerlain himself in 1925.
Its top notes include flowers and bergamot for a hint of freshness, its heart consists of iris, jasmine, and rose, and its base uses vanilla, tonka bean and other balmy scents.
Guerlain Shalimar is available for SGD 128.30 onwards for 90 ml at Guerlain counters and boutiques.
14. Chanel No. 5
Age: 96 years old
You aren’t surprised to see this one here. Chanel No. 5 is still one of the bestselling perfumes in the world even though it was launched nearly an entire century ago. Its complex symphony of scents marked a daring departure from single-note fragrances which were in trend during the 1920s when it was created.
According to Fragrantica, the top notes are composed of aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang, the heart of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and iris, while the base is created of vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli.
Chanel No. 5 is available for SGD 158 onwards for 50 ml at Chanel counters and boutiques.
15. Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9
Age: 96 years old
Born in 1897, Dr Erno Laszlo completed his studies in skin pathology by the late 1910s. In 1921, he created Phormula 3-1 to treat acute acne for Hungary’s Princess Stephanie. Phormula 3-9 is an evolution of the collection that began in the 1920s.
Dr Laszlo even created Phormula 3-8 in 1943 specifically for Marilyn Monroe, for a scar on her stomach. Other famous clients include Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Grace Kelly.
Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Repair Cream retails for SGD 420 on Sephora.
16. Nivea Creme
Age: 106 years old
In 1911, two doctors came together to create the world’s first stable oil-in-water-based cream that could be replicated for mass production. Nivea Creme was born. Its formula has been tweaked only in minor ways to keep up with latest scientific advances, but otherwise has remained largely the same since its inception.
It came originally in a beige tin with flowery design, but in 1925, this was changed to a blue tin with simple white lettering on it – the same design that is still a familiar sight in our drugstores today!
Nivea Creme retails for SGD 2 for 60 ml and SGD 5.45 for 250 ml at leading drugstores, and on Lazada.
Launched in the 1800s or earlier (!!!)
17. Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence
Age: 120 years old
Shiseido seems to be around forever – and it pretty much has: the brand originated from Japan in the mid-1800s. Shiseido launched the Eudermine Lotion in 1897 for softening and moisturising, and it is still available today as one of the brand’s most classic products.
The Eudermine Revitalizing Essence is perfumed with the scent of peonies after a rainfall, and evokes a sense of flower petals to complement the softness of the skin after using the lotion.
Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence retails for SGD 75 for 125 ml on Tangs online.
18. Smith’s Rosebud Salve
Age: 125 years old
Created by druggist G. F. Smith in 1892, Smith’s Rosebud Salve was first formulated in order to treat minor skin irritations. When the salve that he had created became a local sensation, Smith went on to begin a mail order business for the product.
Today, it’s still used as an all-purpose product. Smith’s Rosebud Salve is said to be able to remove eye makeup, soften nail cuticles, soothe sunburnt skin, moisturise dry skin, and even fight hair frizz.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve retails at SGD 18 (for either tin or tube) at Sephora.
19. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush
Age: 154 years old
You didn’t think that a drugstore brand like Bourjois literally invented powdered blush, did you? Dubbed affectionately as “the little round pot”, their blush concoction was first mixed in 1863 and you can still find it in drugstores today.
The pressed blush will transform into an ultra-fine pressed powder when it is brushed onto the skin, allowing for it to blend like a dream. The blush is also faintly scented with rose powder. The pot contains a built-in mirror and a brush for touch-ups on-the-go.