Saturday, April 20, 2013


Oh how I wanted that London look.

Yardley’s Heartbreaker eye compact: “It may be little, but it makes big eyes.” And unfortunately, it fetches a big price, too!

Yes, this vintage makeup sold for over $257 in a recent eBay auction. From the late 60’s, the little compact is “no bigger than your thumb”, and features a mirror, an “eyelighter” to highlight eyes, English eyeliner and eye shadow. With its cute mod, striped packaging, bidders flocked for a chance to own this old store stock.

“My buyers are people who were teens in the late 60’s” said eBay seller Bewitched1981. “People want to have things they had when they were young. It represents a milestone in their lives. Most had to earn money babysitting to purchase these items because parents just didn’t give them money. Many tell me of their memories these pieces represent. I’m just glad I have it to put up for auction.”

Yardley “Slicker” lip polishes and “Glimmerick” eye paint can go for high auction prices as well. After seeing a video for Glimmerick, YouTube viewer anthinmoonme commented that she wished Yardley would come out with this makeup again.

“It had such a nice effect,” she said. “I wore the sky blue with pink as a highlighter. I thought I was soooo cool! I remember the Slicker Dolly’s lipsticks, too. I loved the Yardley commercials. I always wanted to grow up to be mod and English!”

The world’s oldest cosmetics company, Yardley is indeed English and perhaps best known for its lavender scents. It was established in 1770 and was a major producer of soap and perfumery. It moved to London’s Bond Street in 1910, received its first Royal Warrant in 1921 and today holds two Royal Warrants, supplying soaps to the Queen and the Queen Mother. Formerly geared to mature women, in the 60’s Yardley marketed their makeup to teens, cashing in on the British swinging London craze. With colorful packaging and fun, mod advertisements, it was a hit!

 “The British invasion indeed,” said Suzinne Barrett, another YouTube viewer. “I remember just lusting after Yardley cosmetics and their wonderful packaging in my local Macy’s in the Bronx. I also have a strong memory of Yardley’s ‘Pot o’ Gloss.’ I had a bunch of those pots. And I liked Yardley’s Cellophanes makeup. It had wonderful and colorful packaging.”

About 14 or 15 years old before she started wearing much makeup, Suzinne also was a fan of Love cosmetics and their signature lemon scent. Their ads featured a famous Donovan tune playing in the background.

“Talk about the indelible memory the music gives us. I just recently listened to Donovan’s ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven’ and instantly remembered the Love’s lemon commercial. I was obsessed with Love Cosmetics and also Yardley,” Suzinne wrote on the message board for a Love’s commercial.

Love cosmetics were introduced by Menley and James Laboratories in 1969 and under the direction of Mary Wells, their bath products and makeup, with their psychedelic packaging, were marketed to the young trendsetters throughout the 70s. Ali McGraw, a photographer’s assistant at the time, represented the brand. Products included the popular Eau de Love fragrance, fresh lemon cleanser, lipsticks called “lovesticks”, eyeliners called “loveshines”, powder and mascara. 

YouTuber Bluenazz (his real name is Craig), was brought to the Love’s commercial by the music, too.

“Wear Your Love Like Heaven is a favorite song of mine,” said Craig. “But I also remember the commercial and the mysterious blonde girl. I was an impressionable teenager when the commercial was out and it really caught my attention. I didn’t use Love or Yardley cosmetics. I’m a guy but I was definitely an Anglophile. I’m 60 but sometimes still feel like a teenager.”

“Another fab vintage English brand was Mary Quant,” adds Suzinne. “I purchased her cologne, Havoc, with the complimentary nail polish for my girlfriend for Christmas in the late 70’s. It had very cool packaging as well. I didn’t hold onto anything and I have no particular opinion about today’s makeup. It’s a lot more pricey and a lot less fun.”

Yes, these days Yardley is back to its more conservative image, selling fragrance and bath and body products. You can still find their soap here in America, and I bought a tube of lavender hand cream online. But as far as their groovy cosmetics, they are a thing of the past.

I honestly don’t recall if I had any Yardley cosmetics in my youth or not. I still have a half-used bottle of Love Baby Soft pink cologne from the mid 70’s. And I have a vivid memory of meticulously applying frosty white lipstick of some kind while in junior high, which would have been in the late 60’s and early 70’s, right around the time of those commercials. Was it an actual Yardley “Slicker”? I’ll never know. I was a bit too young to fully participate in the late 60’s mod scene. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are people like Selena, a YouTube viewer who is only 16 and was not even alive back then.

 “I just have an interest in makeup, so vintage makeup really caught my eye,” she said. “If Yardley brought back some of their products, I would definitely buy.”

Kathy Bencsik echoes her feelings.

“Oh I loved the packaging!” she wrote on the Heartbreaker video. “Someone bring it back!”

Oh well, so much for the London look. I guess I’ll have to settle for my usual frumpy look. Not that I would actually use any of this vintage makeup if I found it, since it’s probably too old to be safe. But it sure is fun to view the pictures and videos of these vintage cosmetics, and watch the auctions, even if I can’t afford them. And Yardley, if you’re reading this: bring them back!

To see commercials and pictures of this makeup and more, visit the links below:


Unknown said...

Nice job Cindy and crazy collection of dolls.


Honey said...

I wish they would come out with the compact with the eyeliner, shadow and cover. I loved the look. So wide eyed. Need more than ever now. LOL

Honey said...

The memories.

Retro Kimmer said...


Anonymous said...

What did the Yardley Slickers smell like? Did all the colors have the same scent?

Cindybin said...

I don't know what the Yardley slickers smell like or if all the colors have the same scents. If anybody knows feel free to comment here!

Anonymous said...

All Yardley Slickers and lipsticks from the mid 60s to the mid 70s (the London Look Creme lipsticks, the lipsticks from the Poetry Collection, and the Cellophane lipsticks) did have the same scent. The exception to this were the Slicker "Lip Licks" which were made with special flavors/scents such as Candied Apple, Cocoa, Fluffy Pink Frosting, Root Beer, Lemonade, Cinnamon, etc....which smelled like their names.

Unknown said...

I have three Yardley 1969 crème lipsticks in the blue-purple pastel striped metal tubes, and a Good Night Slicker in an opaque white plastic with pink and orange stripes keychain (this one has scrollwork above and below the stripes), and one Good Morning Slicker, which has a clear top that's also striped in pink and orange but no scroll art, only stripes.

The three metal tube lipsticks and the plastic keychain slicker all have the same floral scent; but the Good Morning Slicker's scent resembles the 1960's Max Factor translucent crème lipstick scent, which is more perfume-y with slight spice.

The lipsticks' labels say they were made in N.Y. USA (but the third tube, "Pink Cow", is missing its sticker---) and the Good Morning which smells different says Atlanta, GA.

So the ingredients may have varied slightly depending on the availability in the manufacturing plants at the time.

Trying to describe the Yardley scent is like describing the flavor of watermelon. You know what it is but it is unique to itself. It reminds me slightly of Pond's cold cream scent (remember that stuff? :) but more floral.