The single most important thing about a makeup or beauty product is the quality of the product. Then value for money. But after that, we reach the issue of packaging.
Those are all core components I take into account when I review a product, in addition to some other aspects of it as well. Naturally, I thought it could be worth drawing attention to some brands that excel at the packaging aspect of beauty products. As this is a part of my Retro Essentials series, the focus will be on products that would look good on a vintage vanity. Products that are of course of a good quality, but also ones that you might reach for for your vintage looks and that will help bring a vintage feel to your makeup table/wherever you do your makeup.
As my room is currently a mess, you won’t see any photos of how I actually keep my makeup. Because the answer to that question is ‘disorganised’. However, when I do go on a cleaning and decorating spree once in a blue moon, these are some of the items I like to display.
Here’s the full set of products from my personal collection that I’ll be discussing.
You may spot a few familiar things in here. Firstly, the Guerlain lipstick I won’t shut up about. Secondly, the MAC eyeliner pot. Thirdly, the Bettie Page lipstick holder. Fourthly, the massive hair flower in the background. And lastly, the Besame lipstick in the front. Yes, I know it’s supposed to have an accent, but I haven’t mastered this new keyboard yet, so bear with me.
Out of all of those Western items, only Besame goes out of their way to recreate vintage packaging. Their products strive for historical authenticity and you can find their website here. If you want consistency across your display, then I’d suggest going with this brand since their entire product range is tailored to look vintage. In terms of product quality, I have literally only tried the lipstick shown in this picture but found it to be of a truly good quality. A very good option for those of you who enjoy matte lipsticks and want something a bit cheaper than MAC.
In terms of the packaging of this product… Metal is a good start since a lot of the 1930’s and 1940’s lipsticks came in metal casings. It’s also a lot prettier than most plastic covers. Even if you go for a cheaper brand like Loreal, opt for their metal packaging if you want to use it for decorative purposes. Red and gold are classic colours, I’m more of a silver person myself but this does look good. I love the shape of this lipstick, this is a very easy shape to work with. The box it came in uses vintage style prints and the same extravagant colours.
I’ve said enough about Guerlain, but a brief summary is metal and elegant as fuck.
Lipstick cases were pretty common back in the day and if you want to show tribute to one of the classic pinup icons, this Bettie Page case is a good modern option. I included it because not everyone who is into vintage and pinup is into the sweet side of it but lean more towards an edgier style. But yeah, lipstick cases are a good way to keep your modern but plastic covered lipsticks close at hand without ruining the decor.
The little eyeliner pot from MAC is included as an example of products that use a combination of glass and plastic. Again, plastic was nowhere near as common back in the day as it is today so try to minimise its appearance. Few modern products from budget or midrange brands use full glass or metal covers, so this is a good compromise.
The hair flower is there because I like to keep some of my favourite hair flowers nearby and because they are extremely pretty. It’s a quick way to up the elegance of most vanities straight away.
Now, here’s some of my Korean products. As you know, I love a lot of Korean products for their extraordinary quality per dollar.
In the upper left corner is a compact cushion highlighter from Laneige, which is a mid to upper range brand in terms of quality and price. They tend to use very sleek white packaging with metal details. The polished surface and the metal that is so reflective signals timeless elegance. As with the MAC product, it’s a good way to unite the past and the present. In general, compacts were a very common form of packaging and powders and cremes were more popular than liquid products. This is a good way to get away from the modern plastic tubes and sticks.
The blue item is a trio of eyeshadows from Clio, another of my favourite brands. Again, it’s in the form of a compact which is in line with a lot of vintage packaging. Despite being all plastic, the vintage inspired print on the top makes it a good selection for vintage inspired decoration. There’s several different variations of this packaging and they come with several different prints.
The chocolate bar in the upper right corner is from Etude House and it actually contains a pretty small eyeshadow duo that is chocolate inspired. Etude House does a lot of cute packaging that isn’t necessarily vintage. However, it was really common to use paper or cardboard packaging back in the day, so this particular one is still in line with the theme. Plus it is elegant and adorable at the same time.
The other circular compact is a cushion foundation from Holika Holika. Same thing as with the Laneige highlighter really, compacts were common and shiny plastic looks like the exclusive pearl or stone packaging that came with some of the permanent containers that would be refilled with product rather than replaced. Cushion foundations are my favourite kind of foundation because they are extremely practical (all of them contain mirrors and applicators, not to mention that they sell refills rather than forcing their customers to repurchase the entire thing), contain high SPF (30-50), and are very easy to use. It’s a modern version of the compact from days past. Check them out, I heard Lancome is about to release a western version of them.
The dark item is an eyebrow palette. It’s an example of modern packaging that still manages to have a vintage tone to it. Just as an example to show that modern items can look vintage even when they don’t try.
Here below is a toner from SkinFood, the same brand that did the eyebrow palette. It’s a glass bottle and the toner contains gold flakes. It’s extravagant beyond words and is one of the most decorative products I own. It’s beautiful. A lot of SkinFood’s products have this same elegant kind of packaging and a lot of their makeup falls into the ‘sweet rose’ category. I’d truly recommend having a look at some of their products as they also tend to be very good. Their face scrubs are legendary.
A brand that I didn’t include any items from but that has some really adorable vintage inspired items is the Balm, which doesn’t really need an introduction.