1970s mail-order cosmetics - company name?
January 3, 2017 10:28 AM   Subscribe

In the 1970s there were ads in the back of magazines like Teen or Seventeen for a company that sold lip gloss and I think eye shadow etc., only by mail. The lip gloss came in cute little tubs, and I think they had a logo that had something to do with ladybugs, bumblebees, or butterflies. In middle school I became something like a sales rep and sold the items to my friends in order to get a discount for myself or perhaps free products. It was definitely not a big company like Avon or Mary Kay. Does this ring a bell for anyone? My sister and I are going crazy trying to remember!
posted by wisekaren to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (68 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think that might have been Cosmetique - who are still around!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:32 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

No, that doesn't sound familiar. I think it was much "cutesier," appealing to tweens/teens.
posted by wisekaren at 10:34 AM on January 3, 2017

Was it Village Lip Lickers? It looks like they may have been lip gloss only, though.
posted by chocotaco at 10:36 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

It wasn't "Burt's Bees", was it? I do not think they were around that early but could be wrong.
posted by mermayd at 10:37 AM on January 3, 2017

Nope, neither of those. The lip gloss came in tiny adorable round pots.
posted by wisekaren at 10:44 AM on January 3, 2017

ARGH. This rings the vaguest possible bell and I am sure it will keep me up tonight. If I remember more I will let you know.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm almost positive that was called Butterfly Cosmetics. It was a monthly thing, like a record club, but for makeup. Alas, I can't seem to find any reference to it on the web.
posted by holborne at 10:48 AM on January 3, 2017

Nope, that's not it either! I'm sure I will recognize the name when I see it....
posted by wisekaren at 10:53 AM on January 3, 2017

It wasn't Rachel Perry, was it?
posted by Mystical Listicle at 11:38 AM on January 3, 2017

posted by wisekaren at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2017

If you have high school friends on Facebook, post there and ask. It's weird what snippets of life are remembered, and maybe they can help.
posted by raisingsand at 11:53 AM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sounds like Yardley to me.
posted by all about eevee at 11:55 AM on January 3, 2017

The lip glosses came in little pots and were called Pots of Gloss, and the lipsticks were called Yardley Lip Licks and Yardley Lip Slickers.
posted by all about eevee at 12:00 PM on January 3, 2017

And there were Yardley Mixis Finger Mix Eyeshadows. Whether or not this is the right answer for you, thanks for the trip down vintage makeup lane.
posted by all about eevee at 12:03 PM on January 3, 2017

Wasn't Yardley! It was a tiny outfit.
posted by wisekaren at 12:24 PM on January 3, 2017

I was probably the only person who bought them! ;) I remember they actually called me on the phone (a big deal back then!) to ask me how I was so successful at selling.
posted by wisekaren at 12:26 PM on January 3, 2017

Maybe the RealGirl line by Tussy? It had a butterfly.
posted by all about eevee at 12:31 PM on January 3, 2017

No. I have the letter "D" on the brain....
posted by wisekaren at 12:34 PM on January 3, 2017

I *so* remember the ads you are talking about! They were smallish, usually black-and-white, and in the back pages of 'Teen magazine. I seem to recall the logo (and perhaps tiny pots of lip gloss and eyeshadow packages) featuring what looked like a line-drawn ladybug with huge eyes. I'm now on a mission to find this company...
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:36 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh my God, I know the exact ladybug you are talking about but I cannot remember the name of this company. I am a woman on a mission now.
posted by all about eevee at 12:42 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I believe it was 'Butterfly Collection".
posted by marimeko at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2017

Merle Norman? Man, I feel old.
posted by strelitzia at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Can you narrow down the 1970s to a specific couple of years? I am going to look through old issues of Teen and Seventeen magazine.
posted by all about eevee at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2017

It was not Butterfly Collection or Merle Norman.

I think it would have been around 1975-ish, give or take?
posted by wisekaren at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2017

Perhaps some of these images that come up on Pinterest searches for 1970s makeup pots and 1970s makeup teens will ring a bell.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:59 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't see it, but WOW do those ads bring back memories!
posted by wisekaren at 5:07 PM on January 3, 2017

Could it have been Mary Quant?
posted by dustkee at 5:13 PM on January 3, 2017

No, it wasn't a well-known name.
posted by wisekaren at 5:36 PM on January 3, 2017

posted by Aha moment at 6:48 PM on January 3, 2017

The other way to go about this is to find old copies of Teen or Seventeen and look through the ads. Maybe archive.org has digitized copies, or your local library.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 6:57 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Napoleonic has my same idea... Are any of those old magazines available scanned in anywhere?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:06 PM on January 3, 2017

Wow. This isn't a winner but MAN. Amazing time capsule!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:30 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow is right—that brings back such memories!
(And no, not Dura-gloss.)
posted by wisekaren at 4:45 AM on January 4, 2017

There aren't many digitized copies on archives.org, but I am going to go through my issues from '75 and will check back in.
posted by all about eevee at 5:15 AM on January 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

Srsly this is all I care about right now since January is the cruelest month and I need a reason to keep keepin' on.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:26 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm loving everyone's enthusiasm!
I keep thinking it's something cutesy very like "Doodle Bug," but I could well be wrong....
(Does everyone also remember Bonne Bell—I used to clean my face with Ten-O-Six every day! And remember Love's Baby Soft and Love's Fresh Lemon! And Long 'n' Silky conditioner, then Short 'n' Sassy.)
posted by wisekaren at 6:46 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

And big fat Lip Smackers in a candy cane container every Christmas!

And Body on Tap!

[cue 70's spiral]
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:01 AM on January 4, 2017

I spent hours last night searching and couldn't find anything, but there's an amazing treasure trove of nostalgia on Pinterest that was really fun to go through!

Some questions:
Was this makeup only direct sales? Could you only buy it via a sales rep, or was it mail-order OR sales rep?
Was this company only geared to teen girls?
What region of the country were you in when you sold these? Any memories of whether they were a west or east coast company?
posted by vivzan at 7:01 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

It was available only by direct sale. I believe the ad had you send for a catalog, then you ordered from there. It was definitely just for tweens/teens. I grew up outside of Boston and have no idea where the company was located!
posted by wisekaren at 7:09 AM on January 4, 2017

Flame Glo is another name that I haven't seen come up yet. I grew up in the same area as you at about the same time and my sister and I are going nuts trying to figure this out. Mary Quant doesn't fit some of your criteria but it was mail order makeup.
posted by jessamyn at 7:30 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

It was such a big deal in those days to order something through the mail! My mom would write a check for us and we would pay her back with our babysitting money. Then a PACKAGE would arrive—such excitement!
posted by wisekaren at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

DuBarry had a teen line called "Playthings." I'm still researching whether it was sold via direct order, but since you think the company started with a D, I'm throwing this out there early.

Playthings ad 1, Playthings ad 2
posted by vivzan at 8:11 AM on January 4, 2017

Not DuBarry.
posted by wisekaren at 9:51 AM on January 4, 2017

Now I'm going to be thinking about the cosmetics of my formative years - Flame Glo! That brings me back!

Long shot, but I remember a line of cosmetics that very briefly came out called "Kiss And Love Me" marketed as one of the first upscale makeup lines targeted at teens. (And having what must have been the silliest brand name ever.) When I did a search, about all I could find was this Pinterest post. Could that be it?

Very much enjoying this trip down memory lane!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:54 PM on January 4, 2017

Nope, not that either!
posted by wisekaren at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2017

Vaguely winglike and I don't think it was mail order, but right time period: Tinkerbell?
posted by jessamyn at 1:31 PM on January 4, 2017

No, I'm almost positive it was a ladybug. Definitely not Tinkerbell!
posted by wisekaren at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2017

I'm still searching the recesses of my mind (before I actually start searching through the piles of bankers boxes in my basement for my old issues of 'Teen magazine) for this product. In the meantime, mentions of Body on Tap and such led me to this nostalgic piece that y'all might enjoy.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:47 PM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm going to my childhood home next week, and I still have a small stack of late 1970s-era Teen and Seventeen magazines. I'll try to check.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:50 PM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

If there's still no resolution, how about reaching out to this woman I found while doing this search, Marilyn, who blogs and wrote this about the Bonne Bell sample boxes:

"Since I was an avid teen fashion magazine reader, I was especially engrossed by the advertisements. I loved when companies had special mail-in offers -so enticing! Of course you had to mail in the clipped coupon with your 50 cents or one dollar, and then wait five weeks for delivery; there was a lot of waiting around with resigned anticipation. Definitely not much instant gratification back then. But when the samples finally arrived it was fantastic!"

Seems like she has to remember your mail-order company, right?! Here's her email address that I got listed on the blog: marilyn@finnfemme.com. If you do reach out to her, please come and let us know the results.
posted by vivzan at 6:14 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I will send her an email right now! Thanks!
posted by wisekaren at 8:47 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Please report back, if you would!
posted by holborne at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2017

There was something called "World of Beauty Club" with Beauty Profile Stamps

That probably isn't it- I hope the answer is found soon!
posted by Kobayashi Maru at 1:00 PM on January 5, 2017

No, it wasn't a club.
I sent that email—let's see if she comes through! I'll definitely let you all know.
posted by wisekaren at 2:13 PM on January 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

A month later, and I'm terribly curious. Did you hear back?
posted by instamatic at 1:18 PM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

yes- me too!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:14 AM on February 7, 2017

Me three!
posted by all about eevee at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Me four!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:25 PM on February 8, 2017

Haven't heard a thing! Sigh. Anyone else have an idea?
posted by wisekaren at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2017

I posted on FB—not a nibble! :( If anyone else wants to post a link to this question on their own FB page, feel free!
posted by wisekaren at 4:57 AM on May 1, 2017

Wouldnposting somewhere makeup focused like Makeup Alley possibly help? I haven't spent much time there in forever, so it may skew too young to help, but maybe?
posted by instamatic at 2:47 AM on May 3, 2017

I have a button from this company. I don't know how to work google image search, tho. And it might not even be anywhere anyway. Posted a link to the picture on my Pinterest, but where is it now?

posted by Gemgrrl at 8:14 PM on July 19, 2017

Thanks, Instamatic—I somehow didn't get notified that you'd responded. I have never heard of Makeup Alley, but I will take a look!

Meanwhile, Gemgrrl sent me the link to her Pinterest, and I took a screenshot, but I can't figure out how to share it here—any ideas? In any event, I do believe the little critter on it is the one! She thinks perhaps the company was called Love Bug, and that just might have been it!
posted by wisekaren at 5:36 AM on July 20, 2017

You can upload it to imgur for free and post the link here.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:53 AM on July 20, 2017

OK, thanks! Here it is:
posted by wisekaren at 6:12 PM on July 20, 2017

I have a business Facebook page & I just posted my little pic of the button, which I boosted to a VERY specific audience: women in the USA between the ages of 53 & 64. I'm out 15 bucks on this experiment, so I'm really hoping someone out there can put our collective minds to rest!
posted by Gemgrrl at 3:17 PM on July 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks—fingers crossed!
posted by wisekaren at 6:05 AM on August 3, 2017

Final update from the OP:
Many thanks to a reader who solved the mystery! The company was Chelsea, based in Scituate Harbor, Mass.

posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:11 AM on March 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

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