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.
Beauty products launched in the 1990s
Chanel Rouge Noir / Vamp
Chanel Le Vernis in 018 Rouge Noir and 018 Vamp
Debuting at the 1994 Paris Fashion Week, Chanel Rouge Noir quickly became an overnight hit when it was seen on the nails of Chanel models. The stunning deep red colour was so popular that people were lining up on the pavements on the day of its launch, with waiting lists stretching for as long as six to 12 months.
It raked in USD 1 million in its first year of launch, and things only got crazier after actress Uma Thurman wore it in the cult classic movie, Pulp Fiction, and Queen of Pop Madonna wore it in her music video for Take A Bow.
Chanel abruptly discontinued Rouge Noir in the 1990s, and it has since become an almost mystical and legendary product from the past.
In 2003, the product returned to the USA under the new name “Vamp”. It was, however, in a visibly different shade from the original Rouge Noir (see image above).
Nonetheless, this shade remains one of the most coveted ones around and has been copied by other brands.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Rouge Noir
The original shade (or at least one by the same name) looks to be back in the stockists.
Retails for S$42 and available at all Chanel Beauty boutiques and counters.
2. YSL Beauty Touche Eclat
This highlighter pen was first introduced in the early 1990s and one is reportedly sold every 10 seconds. This highlighter-meets-concealer has become a holy grail that makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts swear by and since then YSL Beauty has even introduced a foundation by the name of Le Teint Touche Eclat, inspired by the well-loved formula.
This can be used at the undereye area, on top of your concealer or alone, to brighten up the eye area. Alternatively, you can choose a shade close to your skin tone to apply onto fine lines and wrinkles to smooth out their appearance. As a highlighter, apply it on the high points of your face to accentuate your features.
YSL Beauty Touche Eclat
This iconic product has always been a bestseller and has stayed available on the market since its launch. It is available in seven shades.
Retails for S$62 and available at all YSL Beauty boutiques and counters, as well as Tangs online.
Beauty products launched between 1970s and 1980s
3. La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream
Skin Caviar Luxe Cream is the first product that La Prairie launched in its iconic Caviar collection. Marketed as a luxury moisturiser with anti-ageing benefits, caviar – as its name suggests – is the main ingredient used to deliver its skincare goodness.
The collection expanded over the years to include eye gel, foundations, sleeping masks, lifting serums, and even loose powders and concealers.
Skin Caviar Luxe Cream
This indulgent cream now comes in two sizes – 100ml and 50ml – as well as a sheer cream rendition for those who prefers a lighter finish.
This is to be used after cleansing and toning.
Retails for S$1,420 for 100ml or S$800 for 50ml and available at all La Prairie counters, as well as Tangs online.
4. Clarins Double Serum
Clarins has been offering their unique two-serums-in-one vision since mid-1980s, with its philosophy that it can be help achieve the best results possible for different visible signs of ageing. Although this was first launched more than three decades ago, the brand has been constantly upgrading its formula in order to remain at the forefront of anti-ageing solutions.
Clarins Double Serum
The latest version of this iconic product is enriched with 20+1 plant extracts and has a hydrolipidic and biomimetic double formula.
This unique combination stimulates five vital functions: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, regeneration, and protection.
Retails for S$170 at Clarins boutiques and counters.
5. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
The product was first launched as the Night Repair Cellular Recovery Complex, which promises to boost the renewal process of skin cells as you sleep. In 1991, almost a decade later, it evolved to the Advanced Night Repair that we know of today.
This holy grail has also gone through several upgrades over the years to make sure it keeps up with new skincare needs of women today.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
The latest version of the Advanced Night Repair was introduced this year and is now enriched with Chronolux Power Signal Technology to address the appearance of signs of ageing caused by environmental aggressors of modern life.
It has also been repackaged in a new glass bottle that is recyclable.
Retails for S$224 at all Estee Lauder boutiques and counters, as well as Sephora.
6. Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain
Benefit Cosmetics may be best known for their brow products and brow waxing service now, but their very first product is actually the Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain more than 40 years ago.
The brand was started by twin 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.
This is now one of Benefit Cosmetics’ most beloved products, though probably not for the same purpose for which it was originally created for. The brand has also spun off more lip and cheek stain shades such as Chachatint, Gogotint, Lovetint, and Posietint.
Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain
This rose-tinted stain can still be found easily at every Benefit Cosmetics retailer and is loved for its convenient applicator that delivers precision, that it can be used on both the cheeks and lips, and for the longevity of the formula.
Retails for S$31. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.
7. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
We all know that Maybelline almost never disappoints with its mascaras, but here’s a fun fact: the brand was actually one of the first mascara producers in the world.
Its founder, together with his sister Mabel, created mascara by mixing coal dust with Vaseline to form a thick, black mixture that was used to coat Mabel’s eyelashes so they appear longer and more voluminous. The concoction was then marketed and sold, and eventually evolved into the brand Maybelline (a combination of Mabel and Vaseline).
The Ultra Lash Mascara was introduced in 1960s before being taken over by the Great Lash Mascara in 1971. This is one of the oldest Maybelline products you can still find on the shelves today, but unfortunately it’s not available in Singapore.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
As an alternative, consider the new Lash Sensational Mascara that delivers a “fan-effect” to your lashes. This is thanks to its patented fanning brush that has 10 layers of bristles to coat your lashes from all sides.
Retails for S$21.90. Click on the links below for latest prices (discounted at the time of writing).
Beauty products launched between 1950s and 1960s
8. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
The very first cleansing oil in Japan was created by Shu Uemura by founder Shu Uemura. Since then, the product has achieved legendary cult status in the Japanese beauty industry and throughout the world.
More than half a century later, the brand continues to lead the game of cleansing oils, and has since launched an entire line of cleansing oils that cater to different skin needs.
shu uemura ultime8∞ sublime beauty cleansing oil
The brand has since launched several cleansing oils and the current bestseller is the ultime8∞ sublime beauty cleansing oil, which is infused with precious Japanese tsubaki oil.
This offers effective cleansing without stripping skin of its natural moisture, and can remove all impurities and stubborn makeup.
At the same time, it nourishes and protects skin so that skin is left feeling moisturised, soft, and smooth.
Retails for S$165 for 450ml, S$65 for 150ml, and S$19 for 50ml.
9. Sulwhasoo ABC Ginseng Cream
Korean luxury brand Sulwhasoo marked its origins from its iconic ABC Ginseng Cream, an anti-ageing cream infused with Korean ginseng.
The original bestseller has gone through several iterations. Besides releasing new packaging, Sulwhasoo has also been constantly been updating its Ginsenomics (the study of ginseng) to upgrade the product’s formula.
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX
This addresses signs of ageing while revitalising your skin. Suitable for all skin type, the moisturiser offers a rich, hydrated finish to nourish skin. You may also love the subtle yet full-bodied scent of ginseng roots in the product.
A lighter version is available if you prefer a lighter finish.
Retails for S$298 at all Sulwhasoo boutiques and counters, as well as Sephora.
10. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
Kiehl’s has been around since 1851, making it one of the oldest brands that is still very well-loved today.
The brand started out as a pharmacy in New York and it was in the 1960s that they first released their now-iconic bestseller, the Calendula toner.
Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
This toner is mild and helps reduce skin irritation. 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.
The brand is celebrating its 170th with a commemorative bottle of this product (and other bestsellers). Check out our article to find out more.
Retails for S$59 at all Kiehl’s boutiques and its e-store.
Beauty products launched between 1900s and 1950s
11. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This cult-favourite cleanser was originally called the Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, invented by a pharmacist in 1947, and has since become the famous Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser we know of today.
This product was initially only available at selected pharmacies but as it gained steam, more dermatologists and healthcare professionals began recommending it to patients with sensitive skin.
Though the name has changed, the original formula hasn’t, so you can get exactly what had worked since the launch of the brand in the product you buy now.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This gentle, soap-free cleanser has been loved by people with sensitive, eczema-prone, and rosacea-prone skin. It offers a mild formula that moisturises without clogging pores.
Retails for S$39.50 for 1 litre. Click on the link below to check for latest prices (discounted at the time of writing).
12. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Created by founder, Elizabeth Arden herself, this was the first product to bear her name as its brand. It consists of petrolatum, salicylic acid, and vitamin E as an antioxidant.
If you’re wondering about its name, this is because a customer has reportedly went to Arden to tell her how the cream had healed her son’s scraped knees in just eight hours after application.
Today, this is used as an anti-ageing cream globally and the brand has spun off more products that are inspired by its original formula, including lip balm, sunscreen, hand cream, and body treatment.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant The Original
While this is typically used as a moisturiser, it is really a multitasker that does everything from soothing dry skin to comforting burns, scrapes and abrasions.
Available at all Elizabeth Arden counters (click on link below to check for store locations) and at Lookfantastic for S$50.50.
13. Chanel N°5
You probably aren’t surprised to see this one here. Even though it was launched an entire century ago, Chanel N°5 remains one of the bestselling perfumes in the world. Its complex symphony of scents marked a daring departure from single-note fragrances that were in trend in the 1920s when the fragrance was created.
Wonder why it’s named “No. 5”?
Legend has it that when Coco Chanel was presented with samples numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24, she chose the fifth vial.
She reportedly said that she presented her dress collections on the fifth of May (the fifth month of the year) so she suggested to keep the sample’s “number five” name as it was, believing that it would bring good luck.
This timeless fragrance has top notes of aldehydes and bergamot, heart notes of jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley, and a base of vetiver and sandalwood.
The legendary fragrance is also recognisable by its iconic, minimalist bottle.
Retails for S$253 for 100ml or S$176 for 50ml.
14. Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9
Formulated by Dr. Erno Laszlo who completed his studies in skin pathology in the late 1910s, this was used to treat acute acne for Princess Stephanie of Hungary.
Dr. Laszlo later also created Phormula 3-8 specifically for legendary American actress Marilyn Monroe in 1943 to treat a scar on her stomach.
His other famous clients include Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Grace Kelly.
Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Repair Cream
This cream offers superior hydration and has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to renew skin cells so your complexion can look renewed and more youthful.
Retails for S$420. Click on the link below to check for promotions.
15. Nivea Creme
This product is the creation of two doctors who came together to create the world’s first stable oil-in-water-based cream that could be replicated for mass production.
Its formula has been tweaked in minor ways in the last century 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, it was changed to a blue tin with white lettering on it – the same design that you’ll find a familiar sight in our drugstores today!
This multi-purpose cream helps heal dry skin and is also great for red, irritated skin and to soothe rashes.
Despite its rich creamy texture, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it absorbs quickly.
Retails for S$5.45. Click on the links below for updated prices (discounted at the time of writing).
Beauty products launched in the 1800s
16. Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence
The Japanese brand launched this product in the 1890s for softening and moisturising skin, and this is still one of the brand’s most iconic products today.
The essence is perfumed with the scent of peonies after a rainfall and evokes a sense of flower petals to complement the sensation of softness of skin after using the lotion.
17. Smith’s Rosebud Salve
First created by G. F. Smith to treat minor skin irritations, this product began as a mail-order business that you can’t find in stores.
Today, it’s still used as an all-purpose product, and is said to be able to remove eye makeup, soften nail cuticles, soothe sunburns, moisturise dry skin, and even fight hair frizz.
Smith's Rosebud Salve
The multi-purpose balm was available at Sephora a few years ago but seems to be no longer carried by the retailer. You can still find a few merchants carrying it on platforms like Shopee.
Retails for S$24 (at one of the Shopee’s merchants).
18. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush
DId you know that Bourjois was the brand that invented powdered blush? This was first mixed in the 1860s and you can still find it today.
Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush
The pressed blush transforms into an ultra-fine pressed powder when brushed onto skin, allowing it to be blended like a dream.
It is also faintly scented with rose powder and comes with a nifty built-in mirror and a brush for easy on-the-go touch-ups.
Retails for S$20.90. Click on the link below to check for latest price (discounted at the time of writing).
Featured image from Hip2Save.