If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not adverse to buying shit on a whim, and when it comes to haircare and skin stuff, there’s not a lot I won’t purchase. This is largely why I own a goodly selection of completely useless crap, as well as half of the contents of Lush.
However, I have now found myself in possession of a small and yet very useful selection of cheap and cheerful products that I now wouldn’t be without, but that I highly suspect most people have never heard of, as they’re not widely marketed and nor do they seem to have a particularly big following.
So, within this blog post I’m going to share some of my favourite old fashioned, cheap and effective products that I think are worth a couple of quid of anyone’s money.
Diary of a Vintage Girl’s blog post on vintage skincare is also a good read, and includes Pears Soap, something I remember from my childhood but had totally forgotten about until I read her entry!
Never heard of it? I found a pot of this highly dated-looking weird goo at my mother’s house, and was convinced she’d dug it out the crap that is stored there from my late grandparent’s house, as my grandpa was a pharmacist whose own drug store traded up until the early 1980’s.
It is so weird and old fashioned looking that I was sure I’d have seen it somewhere before if it was still available for sale.
Smith’s Cremolia is made for or by Boots, and can only be found there- and yes, even the smallest of stores stock it, on the bottom shelf of the hand creams, lotions and potions sections.
It is essentially marketed as a hand cream, although I have read online reviews of many people also using it as a face cream, and lots of comments about how it is wonderful for even very sensitive skin, such as this detailed post by Hello Terri Lowe.
Its consistency is difficult to describe accurately, falling somewhere between a runny cream, a serum, a gel and glue. It smells slightly of citronella, and costs £1.29.
Why do I love it? It is sooo cheap, makes for a very good hand cream, and actually, seems to repel biting bugs due to the citronella smell. I even used it as a curl serum once when I ran out of my usual products, and it did the job admirably, although it was a bit sticky. I strongly suspect it would be worth a go if you’re working a tousled look or want to slick back the long part of a partial buzz cut.
Paletta/Schwarzkopf Touch of Silver
I first came across this when I was about 19, in one of those tiny, independent chemists that are so rarely to be found still trading today. Touch of Silver is a range, rather than one product, and includes mousse in the smallest container I have ever seen, toners for blonde and grey hair, hair spray, a scented spray that reeks of old-lady violets, and a blue shampoo. All of these things are targeted at grannies with grey/silver hair or colour rinses, but I still find all of these products very cool, and swore by the mousse when I had reddy-blonde hair that was apt to turn brassy.
None of the products in the range cost more than a couple of quid, and the mousse is the best I have ever used; it is lilac-toned, and helps to tone down brassiness in blonde hair and highlight purple and blue hair colours. The shampoo is thick and inky, again designed to tone down brassy hair and refresh the colour of blue shades. The toner I have not used, but if you’re thinking of dying your hair grey in accordance with the latest granny hair trend, this would be my pick.
All of the Paletta products will in fact work well with granny hair, and all hair of blue/purple shades too.
More hair tips and recommended products, including how to do vintage rag curls, can be found here.
Cold cream used to be a dressing table staple of every woman in the UK, but this product, while still widely sold today, is largely considered to be old-fashioned, and has very much fallen out of favour with younger peeps who are constantly being bombarded with marketing for BB creams, stuff with peptides, and other fancy-sounding shit that probably does nowt.
Cold cream comes in various brands, many of which cost just a couple of quid each, and fulfils a multitude of roles from cleanser to moisturiser to lip balm to make-up remover to face mask, depending on how you use it. It is also highly effective at helping to scrape off pan stick, and heavy, thick mascaras, which is why I reckon it deserves a place on every Goth’s dressing table.
It’s thick and has a texture a little like E45 cream, and so it can pose rather the culture shock to younger people used to light, runny moisturisers; but it is worth getting a jar if only to experiment with, as it has so many potential uses you’re sure to find the right one for you!
Refinery 29 is also a big fan of cold cream, and suggests a range of other vintage and retro products too.