Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perfect Vintage Powder

I mentioned in one of my posts about lip rouge that I once had a dream to start a cosmetic company.  Since I started making lip rouges, I have gained an interest in possibly making other vintage-inspired cosmetics, as well, like blushes and powdered foundations.  The dream I once had has returned!

To me, the ideal loose face powder is Coty's Airspun.  First introduced in 1935, Coty's Airspun is still available at the average drugstores and supermarkets, and is as close as you'll get to the "real deal" vintage powder.  Three things that make it special to me:

1) It is so SOFT!  Apparently, this is because of the micro-fine, "air-spun" fibers.  This was done with a special milling process using very fast cold air which reduced the particles to micron sizes.

2) Unlike many modern powders, it has a WARMTH to its hue.  Have you ever heard of the 1930s foundations that had an apricot tone?  Coty's Airpun has it!  I'm fair-complected and so many products are either too light for me, or are just the right tone except for too much brown hue that makes my skin look a bit dirty.  The light apricot undertone of Coty's gives my skin a warm glow.

3) Possibly the best point, it is PERFUMED!  The scent isn't like a lot of the cheap smells one finds in cosmetics; it's a very ladylike fragrance that is light and powdery.  One sniff makes me feel nearly as if I've traveled back in time, and is very nostalgic, as it reminds me of my grandmother.

The point?  I would love to make a powder as wonderful as this.  Naturally, this is a HUGE goal I am imposing upon myself, by why should I settle to make anything of lesser quality?  So, I've been researching Coty's Airspun, and found a few other reasons to try to make my own wonderful powder.  Main reason: the ingredients of Coty's Airspun are not the greatest.  Some are quite frightening, like imidazolidinyl urea.  Not only can I not pronounce this, but have found that it is an "antimicrobial preservative" which contains a formaldehyde releaser.  That is just what it sounds like: a compound which slowly releases formaldehyde over time.  Formaldehyde is for embalming--it's for the dead!  I don't want that while I'm alive and healthy!

Another thing, talc.  Talc is amazing for absorbing moisture, but unfortunately has a questionable particle structure (sharp edges), and the micron-size in Coty's Airspun could actually aid in clogging your pores.  What else is great at clogging pores?  Mineral oil.  And Coty's Airspun has it, as well as synthetic dyes, and parabens, which may or may not contribute to breast cancer, and may or may not affect hormones.  (My theory: if the FDA isn't sure, if they need more conclusive evidence why is it used in skin-care products?)

"Beauty...born in a Cyclone."  Something I was previously unaware of, Coty's "Air-Spun" used to be available in FOUR different perfumed versions.  The first you see, perfumed with the Coty fragrance "L'Origan," is the only one still available.  The other fragrances were, left-to-right, "L'Aimant," "Paris," and "Emeraude."  How neat!  Advertisement, 1939.  

My version would by no means be perfect.  The iron oxides I use are lab created (yes, iron oxides occur in nature, but often with arsenic, mercury, and lead with them.  The safe alternative is a lab-created, man-made version of the natural phenomenon).  I have no "cyclone" machine to grind particles down to micron sizes.  However, mine will be paraben-free, free of synthetic dyes, NO mineral oil, no talc, and absolutely NONE of that scary imidazolidinyl urea stuff.  It WOULD have friendlier ingredients for your skin, jojoba oil instead of mineral oil, AND--the best part!--IT WOULD BE PERFUMED!  A skin-friendly powder without losing the vintage flair and feel?  Is it possible?!

...I am going to find out.  :)


  1. My Mom always had Coty powder sitting on the counter in her bathroom. I loved the scent of it too:)

    Good luck in creating your powder!