Cosmetics in the USSR: what our mothers and grandmothers used for makeup

Fashion 2023

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Cosmetics in the USSR: what our mothers and grandmothers used for makeup
Cosmetics in the USSR: what our mothers and grandmothers used for makeup

Cosmetics used by our mothers in Soviet times were not distinguished by either quality or variety. But despite this, they somehow looked great, having managed to make up their eyelashes with "Leningrad" mascara and lips with Polish lipstick. We definitely have a lot to learn!

Mom's cosmetics: 10 products from the Soviet past
Mom's cosmetics: 10 products from the Soviet past

If perfumery in the 70s and 80s could still be chosen from something, then with cosmetics things were much more tense. Almost all the girls used the same means - we offer a little nostalgia and remember which ones.

Soviet cosmetics

Macara for eyebrows and eyelashes "Neva Cosmetics"

The same "Leningrad" mascara, which our mothers managed to dye their eyelashes, was in every girl's cosmetic arsenal. In the package, reminiscent of a matchbox, there was, in fact, the mascara itself in solid form and a small brush for application. To begin with, it was necessary to rub the brush well on the mascara, and then wet it a little with water. Already painted eyelashes often had to be carefully separated with a needle so that they did not look stuck together. Of course, there was no talk of any volume and twisting, but women somehow managed to make up so that the makeup looked pretty decent.

Ballet Foundation

The first foundation in the USSR was launched by the Svoboda factory in 1881. The tool was, to put it mildly, imperfect. We would call this tone “harsh” - it lay down with a dense film, the skin under it did not breathe, no one even dreamed of any lightness of the texture. Perhaps, it is precisely for this reason that it is not necessary to talk about the special success of the product - it is only for the most daring and inventive. And yet, for lack of a better one, women masked their shortcomings precisely with Ballet.


This coveted Estee Lauder product was purchased, of course, from speculators and for a lot of money - there were no American rouges in the free sale (until the first brand store in Moscow opened in the late 80s). This circumstance, as you may have guessed, did not stop anyone - giving half the salary for blush is easy! What would you do for beauty? At the same time, there was not much variety in shades, most often a rich pink color was sold, which is not for everyone. By the way, many women who didn’t get Estee Lauder blush even then guessed to paint their lips and cheeks with the same lipstick - a well-known technique of modern makeup artists.


Powder Lancome sometimes managed to buy "legally" in the store "Beryozka" after a couple of hours in line. In general, this tool was quite acceptable - just a light matte powder without any "troubles", just to remove the shine and lightly powder the nose. By the way, when the powder itself ran out, few people threw away the packaging - where else can you get such a convenient folding mirror to put in your bag?

RUBY ROSE shadows

Many people remember the palettes of shadows of various shades of the Polish brand Ruby Rose - they were mother-of-pearl, applied terribly and rolled, but what a choice of color! Such a palette would be the envy of even the brand M. A. C. Often, girls bought the entire set for one or two suitable shades, because it was impossible to find other more or less high-quality eyeshadows.

PUPA lipstick

Pupa lipstick, which had a very indirect relationship to the Pupa Milano brand, was especially successful, simply because Polish fakes were sold to women. Be that as it may, this lipstick was almost a favorite cosmetic product in Soviet times. Its main advantage is a rich shade, for which lipstick was appreciated.


In the era of scarcity, Louis Philippe mascara was the most desired gift - of course, because you can not spit on it and not wet it with water, like the usual "Leningradskaya"! And even then it is not necessary to separate the eyelashes with a needle! Moreover, the mascara had the usual tube format for us. In fact, there was nothing special about it, but compared to what had been used before, Louis Philippe was about luxury. Here you have a rich black shade and a brush with curling bristles - a dream!

Precious Hairspray

Let's face it, "Adorable" wasn't cute at all. But you need to somehow fix the curls after sleeping “on curlers”, so … This varnish really fixed, so much so that the curls could last for three days. There were, of course, disadvantages: stickiness, the effect of "plastic hair" and a very specific smell. “Charm” was especially useful in the 80s, when voluminous hairstyles and bangs came into fashion. They were literally “set” with varnish - it is difficult to find another exact word to denote the laying process. By the way, "Charm" is still on sale, but the quality of the product has been noticeably improved.


The limit of dreams, for which it is not a pity to give any money - Christian Dior lipstick, which some girls still managed to get. Of course, it could not be compared with its Polish counterparts (although fakes appeared among the black marketers rather quickly). Your mother will surely remember this lipstick in a blue and gold case, which was a symbol of true beauty luxury.

KIKI nail polish

In the mid-80s, bright Kiki nail polishes appeared in completely wild colors - just in the fashion of that time. It cannot be said that, apart from the palette, these funds had any advantages. Of course, there was no question of applying varnish to the base or using a top coat - no one knew about these manicure rules, which today seem obvious to us. The quality of these varnishes did not differ, they quickly chipped off, but with their help it was possible to complete any daring image in the style of the 80s with their help. Based on materials from

What Soviet-era cosmetics do you remember?

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