Hopelessly Devoted To Beauty Products, 1988

Those of you who know me know that I am a beauty product devotee; in the spirit of this blog, I would even go so far as to say that I am hopelessly devoted to beauty products. I become so enamoured with a particular product that I even panic, a little, when I think that one day this might be discontinued. Do you know what I mean? When I find the perfect skin cream/ lipstick shade/ thermal hair protectant it’s all I can do NOT to stock up on it so I have enough for the rest of my life – think Elaine Benes with the “sponge.”

What I need to remember is that as time goes by, my beauty product needs change. For example, recently I realized I have to retire my deep, rich shades of lipstick because they are making me look like a hookerish clown. Sadly, I now have four completely unused lipsticks in my cupboard, because I was stocking up. I recall a similar thing happening back in high school when I wore nothing but Revlon’s Love That Red until I started university and realized that colour no longer suited me or my style.

The moral of this story is that there is no need to stock up on beauty supplies, because your beauty needs WILL change with time. These are the items that I could not live without, back in 1988.

Salon Selectives

This line of hair products made me feel like I had arrived. The fruity scent, the extra-super-strong hold that kept my four inch high bangs in place, the mousse that put the special spring into my spiral permed curls. I went through a bottle of hairspray every two weeks, so devoted was I to that agonizingly high-maintenance hair of the late 1980s. My friends and I all kept travel-sized bottles in our lockers, for emergency touch-ups throughout the day. I lived in Calgary, city of high winds, and keeping that extra-special curly hair with giant teased bangs intact was a great deal of work. Not to mention the winters; no one would dare put a hat on over that teased mass. We used earmuffs instead, the adjustable band inevitably getting painfully tangled in our hair in all that cold wind.


Image from xovain.com

Side note: girls with hairspray bottles in hand was such a common sight at my school that many smuggled in alcohol to school dances in washed-out (I HOPE) hairspray bottles. For the record, I was not one of those girls. No teacher would think of checking the contents of a Salon Selectives or Aussie Sprunch Spray bottle, so groups would surreptitiously pass the bottle around. Meanwhile, gaggles of girls would be congregating in the washrooms to a) fix their hair, b) gossip about who was dancing with whom and whose behaviour warranted snubbing/ mean girl behaviour, or c) cry. Crying in the washroom at junior high school dances: a proud tradition.

Remember Aussie Sprunch Spray? That was also heavily utilized in my circle. The whole world was obsessed with everything from Down Under back then, including the hairspray and the fizzy Koala-themed flavoured water, not to mention INXS.

Kissing Potion

Kissing Potion was so goopy and drippy that I’m sure no guy wanted to kiss any girl wearing it. I’ve learned over my lifetime that men, in general, do not like to get lip products on their faces. Although, back then, maybe the guys weren’t so choosy about it. I don’t know, in any case, I loved wearing Kissing Potion. I loved all the flavours, and I loved how it went on like a roll-on deodorant.


Image from beautybanter.com

Secret Roll-On Deodorant

Speaking of roll-on deodorants, wasn’t that weird? Why would you put something so wet under your arms? The tag line for Secret was, as you will recall, Strong Enough For A Man – But Made For A Woman. Some might be outraged at this, but honestly, guys do smell more than women, so there is something to it. What I chiefly remember about this deodorant is that it would sting when I put it on, it would be wet so I couldn’t immediately put my shirt on, and it smelled very sweet, like a cross between baby powder and sweet peas.


Image from EBay. GOOD LORD SOMEONE IS SELLING OLD SCHOOL DEODORANT ON EBAY. This means someone has stockpiled more than I have. Perhaps I should EBay my old lipsticks.


Love’s Baby Soft

I remember getting this for Christmas and thinking that dreams do come true. I loved this although the advertising was a little suspect…


Image from fastcocreate.com



Hannah would like me to mention Exclamation! perfume, which was incredibly popular back in the day. Sadly, I never had it although my girlfriends did. Allison remembers Body Shop perfumes in various fruit scents like Mango and Peach. Why did we want to smell edible? I don’t know, but we all slathered on vanilla perfume in the early nineties, leaving a trail of teenage boys who really, really wanted some chocolate chip cookies in our wake. And that is not a euphemism.

The Body Shop

Those who came of age after 1995 will never know what a cultural phenomenon The Body Shop was. Suddenly, we were all activists with our “Against Animal Testing” t-shirts and our fair-trade Satsuma Bubble Bath. I clearly recall shopping at the location that is a ten-minute walk from where I am right this moment. I would save up all my babysitting money to buy some treasured item like White Musk Body Wash, and I would covet those little baskets of goodies at Christmastime. How exciting it was to get Peppermint Foot Cream, Raspberry Ripple Bubble Bath, and a strawberry-scented glycerin soap! These items were so exotic back then; so far removed from the usual beauty items purchased at Zellers after school.


Image from thebodyshop.com


Kissing Koolers

This was the more colourful, less glossy cousin to Kissing Potion, and I loved them too. I probably bought them at Zellers, and I remember very painstakingly choosing which flavour best suited who I was. Ah, the teen years, it’s all about finding yourself and figuring out who you are, and who I am is a person who loves lip products.


Image from lipglossiping.com


Great Lash Mascara

Here’s the thing about Maybelline: they really know how to appeal to the teen market. Not only were they responsible for Kissing Koolers and Kissing Potion, they also sold – and still sell – arguably one of the best mascaras out there, Great Lash. I don’t even think they’ve changed the packaging much since 1988, but I always, always wore Great Lash in Very Black. These days I wear Maybelline’s The Falsies, but I have a special place in my heart for Great Lash.


Image from Maybelline.com


After all, I didn’t just wake up in the morning looking like this – it took effort!



14 thoughts on “Hopelessly Devoted To Beauty Products, 1988

  1. Oh my goodness! That Love’s Baby Soft was so popular and I cannot believe the ads were sooooooo pervy. Ick! What the hell were they selling?!?

    Was Salon Selectives the one that smelled like apples? Because I had/have a friend who smelled like apples in High School. She was pretty dedicated to her bangs, too.

    I was very much a Pert Plus girl. Umm… guess what you can still buy and maybe I did or maybe I didn’t just last week!!! 😀

    Great post!


  2. Love’s Baby Soft – oh the memories. I was going to mention Exclamation perfume too…my best friend wore it. Oh those teased bangs and permed hair…I distinctly remember using the hair dryer to blow the hair back, pushing down on the hairspray nozzle for a good 30 seconds while it adhered to the blowing hair…good times. The closest Body Shop was in Halifax when I was in high school so I can remember you were the coolest kid if you gave Body Shop products as birthday gifts to your friends. My favourite soap was Lily Milk but they discontinued it pretty early on. Sigh.


  3. Oh, the hair flashback I just had. I only used the Salon Selectives shampoo and conditioner–for my hairspray needs, I was a Rave Ultra Hold girl. I had some Love’s Baby Soft but quickly got over the baby powder scent and moved on to Exclamation!, Liz Claiborne perfume in the triangular bottle, and finally (the height of sophistication) White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor.

    I always THINK I need to hoard beauty products, then forget to but extra and am dismayed when they almost inevitably get discontinued. Fortunately I can usually find a substitute (there are a million types of pinky-nude lip products.) I don’t have a great mascara. I need to go back to Great Lash, but I think I should try another brand first–maybe L’Oreal Voluminous? I don’t wear mascara every day because I have never found any that doesn’t smudge under my eyes and make me look like a raccoon.


  4. I was in college when you were in middle school, but I do remember the mile-high bangs of the late 80s. When I was a t.a. at the University of Iowa in 1989, my students’ hair used to astound me. I always wondered how they managed to get it to do that. (I’d just graduated from a lefty liberal arts college with a very different aesthetic.)
    I also remember that Body Shop peppermint foot cream. I loved that stuff. We moved to DC in 91 and there was a Body Shop in Georgetown (upscale DC neighborhood). I also liked the passionfruit face wash. I haven’t been there in ages. I wonder if it’s still there.


  5. OMG, Nicole, this post is fantastic and I’m sorry I keep forgetting to put us on my blogroll and blanking on the fact that it’s Thursday. Did they stop making Pert Plus? I’m sure I’d still be using it if they hadn’t. And Aussie sprunch spray – my boyfriend liked the way it made my hair smell, so once he sprayed it in the air and tried to smell it and almost died. My best friend in high school wore Gloria Vanderbilt, and she’d spray it in the air and walk through it because that’s what her older cousin did – I always thought it kind of made her look like a tool, but I refrained from comment. I just realized that almost all of my lipsticks are ten years old or more, so I bought some new ones at Loblaws and felt like a kid at Christmas – not that any of them will recapture the thrill of my first Plum Frost from Avon.


  6. Goddamn! The memories! I got Love’s baby soft for Christmas one year. I remember dousing myself in it and watching Knight Rider. Glorious. I loved Body Shop too! Those soaps! The lip balms! The Dewberry perfume. I wore that for years. It was actually perfume oil…ugh. I had completely forgotten about the Kissing Koolers but I had them. We used to say we had pork chop grease lips when we wore it…and yet we wore it anyway. Weird. I remember Salon Selectives. I also remember when my Mum bought hair mousse for the first time. She went to s fancy salon so it was expensive but it actually came in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. It was revolutionary.
    I have to admit – I’m having a renewed love affair with the Body Shop. The satsuma is stillol as refreshing as ever and they now have peppermint foot rescue and it’s amazing. I’m saying no to the glycerin soap, though and I’m not even going to look for Dewberry perfume.


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