Jul 13, 2012

1930s Vintage Maybelline Cake Mascara!

I've been wanting a vintage cake mascara for soooo long! When I found this one on E-Bay, for only thirteen dollars, I had to buy it. It's in pretty good condition for being used. All of the other vintage cake mascaras that I've come across have been either way over-priced, or in horrible condition. Some were even over-priced and in horrible condition! I'm so happy that I finally found one in good condition, and for a great price. 

This is the outside packaging. It kind of reminds me of a box of matches, because of the way that it opens. The top easily slides off, revealing the cake inside. 

The Packaging Reads:
Maybelline Mascara 
Harmless, Tear Proof, Will not smart the eyes
Maybelline Co. Distr. Chicago, U.S.A. 

It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but the end of the brush reads Maybelline. You can also see remnants of the word Maybelline on the cake itself. It is more visible in person. I did some research and found that the formula was made of a mixture of sodium stearate soap and pigments, extruded into strips, stamped and dried. The cake was applied with the small brush,  which would have been wet before rubbed into the cake. 

In 1932, Maybelline started using the word "mascara" instead of "eyelash darkener".  I believe that this mascara is probably from 1932-1939.  I noticed that my box here is different than many of the other boxes depicted in many of the Maybelline ads. The ones in the ads were made of metal, and mine is cardboard. In September of 1932, a special 10-cent package of Maybelline cake mascara was sold in drugstores, and described as "purse-sized". I believe that's what I have here, because the 10-cent promotion popularized the cake mascara, and then larger, more elaborate boxes were sold. If only the price was listed on the box, I would know for sure. Nevertheless, it's still a cool piece of makeup history that I'm happy to own. 

Here is an ad that focuses on the cake mascara itself! See how there is a latch at the bottom of the box? That is the 75-cent version that came out after the 10-cent version. There are a few other ads that also feature the mascara in the metal case. 

Maybelline is one of my favorite drugstore brands, and I've always been interested in their history, well makeup history in general! I hope that I'll be adding more pieces like this to my collection. I wish there was some sort of makeup history museum.. anyway, I hope you found this post interesting! 

If you would like to read more about Maybelline history check out the links below:
-Maybelline Timeline
-Maybelline Wiki
-Video on Maybelline History
-How Maybelline Began


  1. A few months ago, Walgreens (I am assuming all of them) had takeaway booklets of Maybelline's history. Did you happen to pick it up? I still have mine. Nothing spectacular, but neat none the less.

  2. I just found a Maybelline brown mascara with brush in good condition in a red cardboard box very siminlar to the one you have posted here. Do you have any idea of it's value if any?

    1. I have never seen any of these go for more than $25, so I really wouldn't know the value, but I'm guessing around that price range!

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  3. This is absolutely amazing. All of those ads are so beautiful and classy!

  4. Love this! Check out Besame Cosmetics- they make a vintage reproduction cake mascara, it's even in nearly identical packaging! If you'd like one you can actually use :)

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