Friday 31 January 2014

A Special Lipstick

Long, long ago, when I was a little girl, every lady I knew had a lipstick.  She might not own another piece of makeup but she wouldn't dream of going out without lipstick on. ~

In the 1940's, when my mom came of age, the war effort put petroleum products in short supply.  A lipstick was a luxury and every bit of the tube was used.  Women carried that habit into the more affluent 50's. I remember seeing my mom run a toothpick around the inside of the holder to get the last bits of it out.

Some lucky ladies had special lipstick cases.  This vintage holder, complete with tiny mirror is available at Jewelry 4  It's silver plated and listed for $63. ~

Do any of you remember when lipsticks had slides instead of turning the bottom?  Should I admit that I do? You could buy refills to put in your own holder in the 40's and 50's.

A visit to the cosmetic counter in the big city department stores or small town drug stores was an important undertaking.  You were choosing your signature colour, the only one you would have in most cases. Your shade being discontinued was considered a disaster! ~

Post war prosperity and advertising that ensured us we all should have more and more of everything, seemed to make the precious lipstick just another throwaway item cluttering up the vanity. ~

We had every colour under the sun and tossed them away half used.  The cosmetic counter became a place that only showcased the most expensive brands.

This Christmas, I fell back in love with a single lipstick.  Knowing that all the regular brands are full of high levels of toxic heavy metals like lead, aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickle and titanium, I wanted to give my daughters a natural, safe lipstick.  You can read about the issues involved in using non organic lipsticks here.

At a farmer's market I met a woman who makes her own line of natural cosmetics.  She had just started making lipstick.  Knowing both of my daughters wore red lipstick, we worked together on creating a colour that was the shade favoured by stars of the silver screen during the war years.  I can also give her a sample of a favourite lipstick and she will duplicate the colour.  The best surprise was finding it only cost me $10 for a natural, customised tube!

I wrapped the gifts with a note telling my daughters that the only other person in the world that had that exact shade was their sister. ~

I just may find them each a pretty, vintage lipstick case for the next special occasion.

Giving an everyday item some of the importance that my mom used to give it made me truly happy.  I think it is an attitude I'll adopt for all the things I'll purchase now.

Half the fun will be choosing my signature colour!

For those of you who have asked for contact info on Laura Lee Organics, the lady who made my lipsticks, she can be reached by email at
She will ship to you by mail.  If you want a custom colour, you can mail her a sample of the lipstick you want duplicated.

I'm sharing this with:  The HomeAcre HopFeathered Nest FridayWhat's It Wednesday


  1. Maureen,

    What an interesting post! I'd heard about all the issues regarding mass produced lipstick, (mass produced anything, actually!), and it's scary! What a wonderful idea this woman had; I hope she does well with her product. The one-of-a-kind lipstick shade as a gift is indeed, very special and I'm sure your daughters were very grateful and look pretty in this hue. I, too, will not leave the house for the city without my lipstick (and eyeliner). The older I get, the less make up I wear, and only put on the basics, so as not to completely blend into the walls!


  2. You find the most amazing retailers Maureen !!!
    ( btw - I can't remember the brand but you CAN get a slider lipstick - but it costs a month's mortgage payment lol )
    What a fabulous idea for a Christmas gift - customized lipstick - who'd have thought?
    Well besides you!

  3. This was very interesting Maureen. I knew mass lipsticks had bad stuff in them...wasn't there whale oil or something in them too? yuck. I'm one of those weird women that absolutely abhors the texture of lipstick on my lips, so it does make me feel better that I wasn't soaking up all the chemicals involved and I'm happy there's an alternative if I ever get a hankering to wear it! I think it's a lovely idea to pick up the cases for the lipsticks....sweet! xo wendy

  4. What a fantastic gift idea! $10 is a steal, I love the vintage case too I hope you find a couple for your girls. I have big lips I only wear very neutral shades but in my teens and early twenties I was all about bright red or pink.

    1. Don't hide your lips - just look at the huge number of movie stars that revel in their full lips!

  5. Just before I read your new post I was thinking of getting one of these when we go to the market today. Getting one for sure now.

  6. I might not remember the push slide, but I was never a lipstick wearer. My mom however, wore it all the days of her life.

  7. I have never once thought about the effect of my lipstick on me. What a jolt. When you go to market this week, do you think you could get the contact information for your gal? (or is she a gem you'll want to hold close to your chest, lol). I love this idea as my lipstick colour has been discontinued and I've been doing the equivalent of the toothpick method to get the last drops of colour out of my last tube.

  8. I remember the slide lipsticks as well as the little samples the Avon lady would bring with her in her kit. My mother had a fit when her favorite color was discontinued (something by Revlon I believe). I had my own favorite shade that was discontinued. I've found something close...but it will have to do. What a deal for the personalized colors, Maureen! Enjoy picking out your perfect shade.

  9. What a great post, Maureen! I don't wear lipstick very much, only when I go out, say to church or shopping, which is only twice a week. I can make a tube last a year or more! I do remember the slide tubes too. It's nice to know that there are healthier and safer alternatives out there.

  10. Interesting! I no longer wear lipstick, but wear lip balm. I hope to make my own someday.

  11. What an interesting post and a great gift! I have never worn lipstick. It makes my lips itch. Hmmmmmm. Now I need to go read the other article and I'm guessing I know why.

  12. Great information Maureen. I need to pay more attention to the lipstick I choose.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  13. Maureen,
    Hello! love this post. Wanted to come by, started a blog in December. Slow start.... Glad you are still here... Have a great week.

  14. I love this post! I do I do have and so glad I saved one of those sliders. As we say here in Texas...big lips...all a girl needs!

  15. I've never been much of a lipstick wearer, but my Mum sure was! I remember she always had a huge collection. I love watching her putting on make-up and getting ready to go out when I was a kid.

  16. I loved every word of this post! The images and information were just fantastic!

  17. What a fun story! I'm enchanted by the vintage lipstick tubes and so cool that you created your own non toxic shade of lipsticks for them! That's really special! I have a shade i want matched, i think i will contact her!


  18. Get OUT! I just tried buying the only color lipstick I like on me and Kohls doesn't seem to carry it anymore. At least not at my location. How cool would that be to get a natural lipstick in that color!!


  19. Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop!

  20. I remember the little lever on the side of the lipstick tube, of course I was to young to wear it so it had to be my mother's or her friends. Hope your are keeping warm!

  21. Great post! With so many colors out there isn't it amazing we all still have trouble finding just our color. Love the antique lipstick holders.
    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  22. How fun to get a customized lipstick color! I love that idea! I never knew lipsticks used to have a slide and I'm in love with that idea, too! I will be keeping an eye out for one the next time I'm at an antique store!

  23. Loved this post. I loved seeing those vintage photos too. What a glamorous time that must have been. I really believe I was born during the wrong era. Those lipstick containers are divine. I love that you found such a sweet, personal gift for your daughters. I love that they share the same shade and no one else has that shade. You are a treasure.

  24. I remember my mother rolling up her lipstick, I don't remember a slide version, but yes, I think she wore it always. Things were definitely more glamorous then !
    I love that you created such individual presents for your daughters Maureen, I'm sure they were chuffed to bits/as pleased as punch/ very very happy !