So, being in a bit of a vintage makeup mood lately, I decided to try out a vintage loose powder compact. I decided that to try one out, I would get a very inexpensive one on eBay first, because I wanted to see how they work and if I could stand to use one at all. I got a 50s model Stratton (a UK brand) on eBay. It’s a bit beat up on the outside, but it seals perfectly, the hinges work great, and everything is in perfect working order. It was only $5.00 with free shipping, so I wouldn’t be out much if it was too much of a pain in the ass to use.
Well, isn’t that cute?
Stratton made compacts for decades, starting around the 1930s on up to around the 1990s. In this blog post, there is some handy information on how to date a vintage Stratton. It appears mine was made in the 1950s.
So, the self-opening inner lid version of these compacts were made from 1948 onward. I have to say, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Or, maybe I’m just easily amused. 🙂 Tilt the lid of the compact nice and far back and the inner lid springs open. It’s the most satisfying sound.
Under the inner lid is the powder well where you put your loose powder. You place a powder sifter over it, which presses the powder down. The sifter fits tightly in place and keeps the powder from coming out. The sifter is a fine mesh fabric which only lets a bit of powder through onto your puff or brush. Your powder puff is very flat and fits on top of the inner lid; however this compact didn’t have the puff and modern puffs are too thick to fit inside vintage compacts. There is only one manufacturer I know of, but I intend to use a portable kabuki with this compact. The sifter in this compact was in great shape and easy to clean up with an antibacterial brush cleanser.
I cleaned a spoon with alcohol and filled the compact with MAC Set Powder in Invisible, which I have been using for many years.
Press the sifter into place and close the inner lid, and your powder is pressed and secure.
I’ve found that I actually like using loose powder with a mesh sifter better than straight out of a powder jar. Instead of getting either no powder, or a metric f-ton of powder on your brush, you get a perfect, finely distributed amount of powder on the brush, and a perfectly distributed amount of powder on the face. It’s really pretty brilliant!
This compact doesn’t leak when I tap it on my hand, but I am going to keep it on my vanity just in case. Compact manufacturers started making “convertible” compacts around the 50s that also held pressed powders and I think I will look for one of those for carrying with me, as there are just a few types of powder still made that fit those (two types being Rimmel Stay Matte and Estee Lauder Lucidity). I am a bit nervous about spilling my precious Set Powder in my Coach bag (even if it was a cheap outlet bag, LOL)! So I am looking around for a steal on a pressed powder compact now.
Do you have any refillable cosmetics items? I really think with people more concerned about “going green,” this should be something companies should start bringing back. At least companies like MAC are encouraging recycling, I guess. What do you think?