There were many, many bad things about middle school -- bullies, big hair, pegged jeans, mall food courts. But there were also some things that didn't suck.
These are the beauty products that bring me back. One whiff of Love's Baby Soft and I'm outside the Sno-Shack on a Friday in August, my mom just dropped me off, and 9:30 seems far away and very late.
I'd break out that Maybelline compact, put a little powder on my nose, apply some Mary Kay pink frosted lip gloss, and I was good to go. Sometimes I went to the movies, sometimes I went to McDonald's, but no matter where I went, I went in style because, hey, it was the early '90s and that was how we rolled.
As you can see from the photo at left, my efforts to be gorgeous were wildly successful. The eye makeup in particular was clearly something I did just right. Totally subtle, right?
Here is a list of 10 products I remember most fondly, some of which I still use today.
- Love's Baby Soft: This reminds me of my early days of liking boys. My friend Krissy assured me that "all boys love the smell of baby powder," and so I spent a lot of time wearing this perfume, along with its friends Exclamation, Electric Youth, and the whole line of Designer Imposters.
- Bonne Bell's Lip Smackers: Dr. Pepper, baby! I still have about 20 tubes of this stuff: three in the diaper bag, one in the pocket, one in all my coat pockets. The perfect balance between color, taste, and gloss. A truly perfect beauty product now and forever.
- Herbal Essences Shampoo: I remember a friend once telling me she knew when I had been in a room because it smelled like my hair for hours. Yep, that was Herbal Essences. Better than perfume it was. Even now that I'm older and can afford expensive salon formulas, I still give it a sniff every time I'm in CVS.
- Vanilla Fields: The other scent of my childhood, this one was a little sweeter and a little sexier. I thought it drove boys wild. Not sure if that was the perfume or the 13-year-old hormones.
- Noxzema: I cannot possibly remember middle school without remembering so many nights with this cold cream on my face. I have no idea if it actually kept my face clear, but it sure did make me feel like a big fancy grown-up.
- Aussie sprunch spray: Apparently they changed the formula since 1992, but you can still get the classic online. A cross between grapes and something chemical, it was a smell that always brings me back.
- Sun-In: Every summer, I would get some oil, a book, and a bottle of sun-in. I sprayed my hair again and again with that stuff. So what if it made it orange and not blonde? It still looked summery. And that, after all, was the point.
- Salon Selectives: I loved this shampoo. I have no idea why it was discontinued, but this stuff rocked my world for many years.
- Sea Breeze Astringent: I would use a buff-puff full of Noxzema, follow it up with this stuff, and then cover it with Clearasil. When I think of the way I tortured my skin, well, I think I deserve every wrinkle that is coming over the next couple decades.
- Jean Nate after-bath splash: I always felt so Marilyn Monroe when I used this stuff. Is it possible I had better hygiene when I was 12? Yes, yes it is.
- BONUS: Caboodles: #11 isn't really a beauty product so much as the holder for all the beauty products. No one ever told me why this was superior to a makeup bag. No one needed to. That gigantic plastic tub held all of my beauty secrets (and the remnants of past ones). I so wish I had it now. A time capsule of my wayward youth.
What are some of your favorite middle school beauty products?
Image via Sasha Brown-Worsham