Teen Beauty Brands: Where Are They Now?

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The first Monday of February is a bleak one indeed, and not least because it brings with it the stunning news that Bonne Bell, parent brand of our beloved Lip Smacker lip glosses, is biting the dust. Or at least being shuttered and sold to a competitor.

In my tween years, Lip Smackers were the true gateway drug to lip gloss and all that lay beyond. I looked forward to yearly Yuletide replenishment of their Dr. Pepper variety first and foremost, while minor flavors like Cotton Candy and Pink Lemonade were inevitably lost or traded away. By the time high school rolled around, the Vanilla Frosting Lip Sparkler was de rigueur, at least in suburban New Jersey. Today, just thinking about the way it smelled triggers my gag reflex, but boy, was I happy to unwrap a tube of this sparkly gunk at age 14. Let's all pour out some Dr. Pepper for Bonne Bell's efforts. They may be going, but they won't be forgotten.

Happily, not all brands we once loved are lost. Some live on in new incarnations, while others continue to carry the mantle they worked hard to make great. Here’s a look at some cherished throwback beauty labels then and now.

Freeman

When I was a tween, my drugstore-patrolling partner-in-crime, Katie, had a stash of Freeman products that I coveted mightily. The company was probably best known for their Elmer’s-like Feeling Beautiful Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask that would adhere to any trace of facial fuzz and foot care products that came in squishy foot-shaped tubes. The fresh-scented Bare Foot Softening Foot Lotion in Invigorating Peppermint & Plum was a prized holiday acquisition of mine circa 1997.

Where are they now?

Freeman has actually been around since 1976 and their products are still easy to find today in drugstores and pharmacies. Current offerings are marketed under a variety of brand labels including c.Booth, Feeling Beautiful, Bare Foot, and the Psssst! dry shampoo line. Expect product releases in the coming months, including a new line of Bare Foot Butter Creams (body creams with scents inspired by farmers market produce) and the Forever Feeling Beautiful line, a collection of anti-aging treatment masks.

From the source

“Our client is as multi-hyphenated as the benefits of our products,” says Jill Freeman Bucksbaum of Freeman Beauty. “She craves what’s natural but knows that skin-care technology can do wonders for her skin. She’s into creating her own routine and wants products she can mix and match on a daily basis to keep up with her ever-evolving skin.”

Manic Panic

Though as a dark-haired and a somewhat risk-adverse eldest child, I never went through a rebellious hair phase. I always wanted to and kind of wish I had. I’d wistfully read about celebrity dye trends in Seventeen, where Manic Panic was always the product of choice. Such cool names like Electric Banana, Mystic Heather and Enchanted Forest with such punk packaging. Everything about the brand screamed ‘New York City club kid,’ which for a kid in suburban New Jersey was about as cool as you could get.

Where are they now?

The ultra-cool punk mavens/sisters behind Manic Panic, Tish and Snooky Bellomo, continue to revolutionize the alternative beauty market from their Long Island City headquarters. This was a banner year for the brand—it won awards from Nylon magazine and PETA, who named their Mixer/Pastel-izer the best cruelty-free hair product of the year. Stars including Rihanna and Jemima Kirke have been seen sporting Manic Panic-dyed hair. Tish and Snooky are currently developing a line of vegan formula shampoos and conditioners to complement their hair colors and are excited about the 2014 opening of Manic Panic Color Asylum at Revolver Salon, a licensed salon in Times Square specializing in rainbow locks (with hopes to expand as a national chain). Beyond hair products, their Glamnation Cosmetics line recently launched Lethal Lips Cross Gloss, a line of creamy, boldly pigmented lipsticks and lipglosses.

From the source

“The ideal Manic Panic user could be someone who is fashion conscious and wants to get the same looks that celebrities and models wear…the ideal Manic Panic user might also be teenagers who want to express themselves in a way that makes them stand out from the crowd. The ideal Manic Panic user may be an older person who want to add a little excitement to his/her look,” explain Tish and Snooky. “In other words, the ideal Manic Panic user his anybody and everybody. We get tons of fan mail saying, ‘I dyed my hair with Manic Panic and you would believe the attention and the compliments I get—it has changed my life!’ There is nothing better than knowing that you bring joy into peoples’ lives.”

Bath & Body Works

The most pervasive stocking stuffer, teen birthday, and graduation gift of the last two decades—I cannot count how many times I would find myself happily opening trios of their travel-sized products (lotion, shower gel, and body spray) in Sun-Ripened Raspberry [discontinued] or the ever-mysterious Plumeria. During high school though, I found the occasional visit to a Bath & Body Works shop to be more than a little intimidating, like a premonition of Apple stores to come—they were manic, uniformed mayhem. Too many deals and too few sinks.

Where are they now?

These days, I happen to live very close to a freestanding Bath & Body Works, which I avoid mostly to avoid scent-induced headaches. With the arrival of seasonal placards at the storefront and my sudden need to visit for article research, I can report that their holiday business seems as thriving as ever, and the current fragrance catalog is expansive enough to send customers into a fugue state. Almost every antibacterial hand gel I picked up had at least three descriptors attached to it: Cherry Almond Shortbread, Winter Citrus Wreath, Vanilla Berry Sorbet, etc. The atmosphere, thankfully, was much more relaxed than I remembered. I was left to peruse in peace, and 5-for-1 deal options were only introduced to me once I reached the register. FYI, the brand is set to launch a new fragrance— Love & Sunshine—on February 9th , in time for Valentine’s Day.

From the source

“Bath & Body works is the ultimate playground for fragrance lovers,” says Soyoung Kang, the Vice President of Brand Development at Bath & Body Works. “A customer who visits our store or website is bound to find the perfect fragrance to accessorize any mood, occasion, or even fashion statement! From cozy to chic, flirty to fresh-picked, there are literally hundreds of fragrances to explore.”

—Lauren Maas

Photographed by Ben Jurgensen.