40 Years of Beauty

W‘s Beauty Director, Jane Larkworthy, counts down four decades of ground-breaking beauty moments.


Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo: Originally without the “s” at the end of its name, Clairol Herbal Essence was launched via a cartoon commercial depicting an Eve type of woman in a garden of earthly delights, emphasizing luscious hair and a fresh floral scent with nary an orgasm reference to be heard.


Great Lash Mascara: Over 40 years later, the pink and green tube is universally known the mascara. ($6.50,


Yves Saint Laurent Opium: Mon dieu! A fragrance named after a drug! Aptly dubbed, it turned out, since women became seriously addicted to the French designer’s scent that broke all the rules and was in a class by itself. ($85,


Calvin Klein Obsession: Eight years after Opium debuted, the “NOTICE ME!” olfactory gang really took over in the Eighties. Other members included Giorgio Beverly Hills and Dior’s Poison. ($28,


Botulinum Toxin (aka Botox): Canada-based dermatologists Alastair and Jean Carruthers discovered that treating patients with blepharospasm, a condition involving uncontrollable eye blinking and spasming, with a diluted solution of botulinum toxin, the lines around their foreheads were erased. It turns out many, many more people suffer from hating their frown lines than from blepharospasm.


MAC Russian Red Lipstick: Another Canadian import, the vast beauty line was first embraced by makeup artists. Then Madonna started wearing this shade, and that certainly helped put it on the beauty map. ($15,


Frizz Ease: Perhaps the biggest hairstyling breakthrough since the perm, Brit hairdresser John Frieda’s silicone based serum turned blow-drying into a much easier task for many. ($10,


Angel by Thierry Mugler: The Nineties own NOTICE ME scent. 20 years later, this cotton-candy smelling fragrance continues to elicit mighty powerful opinions. You either love it or you hate it.


Nars Cosmetics: Makeup artist Francois Nars debuted his eponymous makeup line with a dozen lipsticks, including shades that are still hot today, like Jungle Red and Honolulu Honey. ($24,


Chanel Nail Colour: The sleepy category of manicures didn’t know what hit it when Chanel introduced a super-dark plum polish that, for all intents and purposes, looked nearly black on nails. Originally created for Chanel’s Fall/Winter 1994 show, it hit counters the following Spring. Since then, it’s been the brand’s top selling color. ($26,


Bliss Spa: Founder Marcia Kilgore single-handedly changed the way we regard spas by dusting off the word and making facials and massages cool and hip and downright fun.


Eyelash extensions: Arguably, J. Lo started this trend (remember the mink ones makeup artist Scott Barnes made for her??), and it’s still hot more than ten years later as an appointment with Kiehl’s own star lash extender Soul Lee is still a tough one to nab. No worries. Mac makes over 23 varieties of at-home ones. ($16,


Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish: The gourmand scent craze hit new—and clever—heights when Fresh introduced this delicious smelling scrub that left skin unbelievably soft and smelling rather (subtly) tasty. ($65,


Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel: New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross had been treating patients to his combination peels of alpha-hydroxy and salicylic acid peels which removed surface dead skin cells and helped fight acne. After deafening demands for a version they could do themselves, Gross created this at-home peel, which launched his product line.


Crest Whitening Strips: On the heels of the professional whitening craze, Crest figured out a way to make teeth look brighter at home in a painless and invisible way.


Bumble and bumble Surf Spray: Even far from the shores, the ability to turn your hair into looking as though you’d just stepped out of the ocean drew major waves. We mean RAVES. ($24,


Hair Straightening: Whatever you called it—Brazilian, Japanese, Keratin—the notion that you could get your frizzy waves turned into Aniston-like locks was evidently worth the hours-long, often fume-filled process.


Clarisonic: Developed on the science of the oscillating toothbrush, this gentle yet thorough cleansing device has become as essential to the skin care regimen as moisturizer. ($195,


Tom Ford Black Orchid: Ford’s first foray into the world of beauty proved that the designer was as adept at creating scents women loved as much as clothing. Five years later, he would wow us again with a full-blown cosmetics line. ($105,


Latisse: The happy accident of a glaucoma drug’s side effects resulted in this new drug which made eyelashes remarkably longer and fuller within weeks. Whose lashes you callin’ stubby?