January 27, 2010

Musings of the Day: This Could Be Your Grandmother’s Makeup

It’s been so long since we muse’d together! I thought I’d do a fun Musings today!


Which brands on the market right now aren’t appealing to your youthful good nature? You know, the ones that aren’t so fun packaging wise, kinda a bit too mature, perhaps..a little granny-ish?


I used to think Avon was kinda grandma style makeup but I honestly love it now. I also get the older, mature vibe from Estee Lauder only because the packaging isn’t as fun as some of the products. Mmm trying to think of more….I think that’s about it for me.

How about you?

Any brands that just dull your taste because of packaging or colors?

Something that reminds you that this could be your grandmother’s makeup?

Share ’em!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


  • Jodie

    I agree with Avon and Estee Lauder, even though EL has a lot of great products. Also I avoided the Revlon displays for the longest time because it didn’t appeal to me at all. OH, and Boots 7 as well. Chanel still looks awesome tho heh

    • the Muse

      jodie gotta say revlon def is a turn off and boots god..I really like some of boots uk LE stuff but damn packaging is horrible. It’s not so much mature but just boring!
      Chanel I adore but packaging is a bit..simple?

    • the Muse

      nunu agreed on all except clarins 😀 it’s my baby! haha I’ve come to appreciate the red and mirror compacts!

  • Hailee

    Bare essentials! They have their cute moments, but ehhh…I don’t like spending that much on eyeshadow if it’s not so cute!!

    Yet somehow I love the simple proffesional look of MAC. I may be biased haha!

    • the Muse

      that’s a new one hailee! 🙂 we haven’t heard BE yet. I don’t mind the packaging although a tad uneventful in my cases I def don’t feel it’s too mature 😀

      I love mac so I do tend to try to overlook the meh packaging! sometimes I’m so floored by products I even forget how boring it is!

    • the Muse

      hey sarah agreed! I never tried ea but the packaging is a bit mature could be why I skip it 😛

  • MissTat

    Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, and… yes… Bobbi Brown. I find Bobbi Brown’s makeup SO boring!

    • the Muse

      NO MISSTAT NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! *sobs at your feet* NOT BOBBI! lol but I get it, I was there one time! I always hated BB and than I started exploring now and I’m an addict! but ado packaging on BB isn’t so exciting 😛

  • Marcy

    Arden! Arden! Arden! Lol. Not so much packaging, just the whole vibe is grandma like. (which I mentioned in your other post) Lauder is too, to a point, but maybe it’s just the target of their skincare market, I don’t mind their makeup.
    Actually I also used to get a pretty ‘old’ vibe from YSL – I don’t like the gold overload – but I think I am getting better with them now.

    • the Muse

      hey marcy arden DEF has the bigger vote here! :_D YSL yes kinda I agree actually, the gold goes so far as being very mature and a little on the meh side! Must agree! a few comments above was a comment about chanel too…sometimes we overlook the brands b/c we love them so much but some posher brands def have to do a little something extra with the packaging 🙂

  • Melissa

    Hey muse- i was a counter manager for EL many moons ago. It was a short lived job but I did learn the market to over 40 targeting over 55 ideally. While they will sell to anyone quite often the skin care and colors are created with the matue woman in mind. They attempt to wean young ladies from Clinique to Mac or Estee and eventually back to Clinque

    • the Muse

      hey melissa! Not surprising that it’s geared towards a more mature frame of mind. I dunno if they really gain the MAC market though…..maybe!? but seems unlikely dontcha think?

      • Melissa

        I think that Mac targets teen to late 20’s but a lot of ladies never really leave it even if they branch into more age targeted brands. I mean who doesn’t love a good Mac release?

  • aretha

    Ditto on Avon and Estee lauder, esp Estee. There is something about that brand that makes it feel old especially the packaging. My friend even went to the extent of saying Chanel but I think Chanel is alright. Right? 😀

    • the Muse

      lol aretha we only say chanel is alright b/c we dearly love it..kinda like saying mac is ok but really we know, deep down inside, the packaging on both stinks! HAHA! 😀

  • MC

    Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, and Clinique have always had the “Granny make up” vibe to me. I guess it’s because my grandma used to use all 3 brands…but the packaging..while I know is supposed to read as “timeless” just scream “Old lady” to me.

    • the Muse

      LOL I can understand the timeless vibe MC and a tradition of sorts but yes…totally to mature 🙂

  • Marina

    Agree with Estee Lauder…I feel the same about Lancome too. I don’t know…I just like edgy packaging…I usually fall for gimmicks haha

  • Mollie

    Hm… I think, for me, it would have to be Sonia Kashuk (packaging) and Laura Mercier (also because of packaging). It’s not the products! Just the way they present stuff.

    • the Muse

      hey mollie the target SK range or the regular? I find the target one is just a tad neutral and not really exciting not so much mature. LM yes for sure, again not mature but boring as heck! It’s def not the products as they are great just the packaging sigh!

      • Mollie

        Yep, Tar-jay’s SK line. I guess you’re right. They just bore me, they’re not exactly “mature.” LOL. Boring doesn’t have to equal old. Haha.

        • the Muse

          hehe true mollie. It’s jut really plain packaging for the SK line at Target. I don’t mind that one so much but some stuff really borderlines boring ;p

  • Kristina

    Elizabeth Arden has always struck me as grandma-ish. I bought some retro packaged 8 hour something or other once, but that’s the only product I think I’ve ever gotten.

  • Comrade_Garlic

    Laura Mercier just looks so boring, even though I like the line.

    Urban Decay (I know I’m in the minority) just reminds me of that auntie who likes to look way younger than she really is. Just trying too hard. But I still like it.

    GloMinerals falls into the Laura Mericer trap. Some really nice items in some really boring packaging.

    • the Muse

      agreed 100% comrade LM is a great brands but gah the packaging!

      LOL god I got a mental image of UD just now and that was kinda fitting LOL!

      Glominerals I had to google, never heard of the brand before…not so much mature but kinda boring!?

  • Becky

    Estee Lauder, I definitely agree with…probably Clarins..I am 21 and I have never looked twice at it and most of the time, and maybe Lancome…except for their juicy tubes.

    • the Muse

      becky def EL and lancome! They have some great stuff but the sad lack of packaging sometimes does make folk just pass it by!

  • Lisa Kate

    Estee Lauder was the first thing to come to mind! Then Mary Kay…everything just has that “grandma” feel to it! And Clinique…not sure why, I think that green packaging they used to have (and maybe still do? And that Raisin lipstick they ALWAYS give out??)

    • the Muse

      lisa I just don’t get it from mary kay, it’s the pink, it blinds me 😀 clinique not so much mature but more not fun? LOL oh gosh yes…raisin is a nice shade but true it’s ALWAYS in the GWP haha!

  • jackieg02

    I always thing of Merle Norman as “grandma.” Nothing looks fun, but the products are very nice. I actually used to wear it, because thats what my mother used to wear. I am thinking about going back to their foundation when I use up what I have here.

    • the Muse

      jackie I had to google MN I’ve never heard of the brand! but def mature!

  • Vanessa

    I totally agree on Estee Lauder! Elizabeth Arden, and sometimes L’Oreal’s regular line seem kinda old when I think about it (maybe it’s all that gold…lol)

    • the Muse

      oh yes Vanessa agreed L’Oreal does kinda have a certain mature look! 😛 agreed!

  • Ashley

    Elizabeth Arden & Clarins! Sometimes Shiseido too… I find Shiseido also smells a little granny like =(

    • the Muse

      oh ashley talking about smelling granny-like, Etude House is way guilty of that!

    • the Muse

      hey donna I kinda dig the pinkness of Mary Kay! 😀 but EL yes 🙁 I like their products but the packaging is a little to mature for me 🙁

    • the Muse

      kris I had to google merle norman, never heard of it 😀 yup def has an old feel!

  • fembot

    Estee Lauder fo sho! I can honestly say I’ve never perused their counters. I just can’t get past the gaudy gold packaging. It feels a little 80s.

    • the Muse

      lol fembot! It does have a retro feel! 😀 I love EL as they make some great stuff but the packaging needs a serious revamp!

  • Daituf

    Definitely Estee Lauder for me too!
    Yeah…can’t think of any other ones either…

    • the Muse

      hey daituf where ya been? 😀 hope all is well!

      EL for shiz. love the line not the packaging sadly 🙁

      • Daituf

        Omg! You noticed I’ve been gone!
        I’m so touched T___T
        I’ve been feelin under the weather:(
        Still reading all your posts… just not commenting as much 😛
        I wonder if the grandma image for EL is intentional… coz they put gorgeous young models on their ads, but make them look 50 years old…
        Maybe they think grandmas are rich, and therefore their target market? o__O

        • the Muse

          of course I did daituf 🙂 *hugs* aw sorry to hear. It’s the weather. So cold lately! or at least it is here hehe! Thanks for reading 😀 LOL! could be 😀 could be you never know haha!

  • dangster

    Hehe, I also associate Avon and Estee Lauder as “older woman” makeup brands as well.

    Other brands that I think of as “old” include Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay, and to a certain extent, Lancome (with the exception of their Juicy Tubes).

    • the Muse

      some extent lancome as well dangster, Understand that! Love the brand, love many of their products, but yea for sure old ladyish! 😀

      I don’t get that from mary kay those I kinda dig the pink but agreed on all else 🙂

  • Bevi

    Good post. 🙂 I always think of Elizabeth Arden being a bit old, though I still use one of their products. The packaging is definitely aimed at a more, ahem, mature lady. And I agree about Estee Lauder.

  • Anitacska

    Well, my grandmother never woke make up in her life, lol, and my mum doesn’t much, but I have to say that Estee Lauder’s packaging is a bit grandmother-ish to me. I like EL products and still buy them despite this, but yeah, the packaging is a bit meh. Also the green Clinique packaging, although not so grannie-ish, still really ugly.

    • the Muse

      anita your mum sounds like mine she doesn’t wear makeup at all! I like EL too but the packaging is damn mature 🙁 oh yes clinique for sure! Not cute 🙁

    • the Muse

      ricci I kinda dig the pink packaging on Mary Kay for some reason! 😀 but it reminds me of Breast Cancer Awareness for some reason haha must be all the pink!

  • gio

    I used to think Olay seemed kinda old but now I love it, they have some great moisturizers. I agree about Estee Lauder too, their packaging is too boring and, well, mature for me.

    • the Muse

      oh gio that’s true, olay has that old vibe although it’s, improve with age as of lately 😀 EL I love but packaging needs a revamp sadly!

  • maureen

    ha! definitely EL. why do i get this vibe? because, uh, my grandma DOES wear EL! and elizabeth arden, clinique… revlon and l’oreal’s packaging definitely makes me want to barf. i don’t think i’ve ever owned anything revlon…can’t get over the appearances!

    • the Muse

      LOL Maureen! So you have PROOF haha! revlon no likey must agree the packaging isn’t only old but a tad boring!

  • Lisa

    I’d say Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Avon, Mary Kay, Clarins and Revlon. I’d say they typically have boring packaging, not too exciting products and they tend to market to the older crowd so it really doesn’t help their image. I’ve used some from each line, but I don’t ever go back for more much. There’s no spark in our relationships. haha

    • the Muse

      lisa must agree not so much mature but sometimes downright boring 🙁 but I gotta disagree sometimes EL has some stunners 😀 so does Lancome. LOL lacks the spark eh? For me it’s mostly meh packaging wise 🙂

  • Marilyn

    Girls – at almost 49 (gulp) I might be your mother or your grandmother’s age! EL had older packaging back in 1982 when I was 21 – but don’t let it stop you from trying their products. Their Lucidity powder is the best – and I’ve been using it since I bought it at the Emporium in San Francisco in 1982. (Moment of Silence for the long gone Emporium…okay, done!) It’s good stuff – and yes, at 49, I STILL think the packaging looks old! But then again, my grandmother was a cab driver and bartender during the war, and the packaging was probably too old for her! Great post as always, Muse! 🙂 *creaks away and looks for choppers*

    • the Muse

      awww marilyn! You’re as young or as old as you want to be 😀 besides 49 is NOT old 🙂 I agree. EL does have mature packaging but they make some damn fine product. shows you can’t judge a book by it’s cover! I never tried the Lucidity powder best hit up EL 😀 I loved your story…you know my father owns a taxi/limo company so interesting to hear this is what your grandmother did! GASP! How incredible! Is she still alive? 🙂

      aw shucks thanks! *hugs*

  • suz

    AVON has to be the worst for me…they have cute packing at times…but they never grab my attention..*said it before* as long as a product works for me…then no matter what age group is suppose to be for…I get it..and honestly…I like a lot of cosmetics and products geared towards older women b/c they have ingredients in them..that can improve or help with keeping my skin beautiful/young…ahahahaha…and sometimes the cosmetics are marketed to make older women look younger and more radiant! Packaging is not a must for me..but the way I see it…packaging only matters if you want people to see how pretty they look and what you have in your collection..even if product sucks :/

    *this is just my opinion…*

  • Chelsea

    Like everyone else, I think Elizabeth Arden is way granny. Estee Lauder and Lancome give me a “mature” vibe, but it’s not old lady in the way EA is. EL actually has some great offerings, but their packaging is in serious need of an upgrade.

    • the Muse

      chelsea seems the majority vote here 😀 I agree. LOVE some of EL’s stuff but they need to rethink packaging but than again I kinda sorta understand where they are coming from with it, as it’s kinda traditional in some aspects ya know?

  • Bonnie

    Agreed on most listed above, although Lancome has never seemed old-ladyish to me at all. Muse, I’m surprised you’ve never heard of Merle Norman. Maybe it is a Southern thing? Their stores are all over the South still!

    To the old-lady brand list I would add: Max Factor!

    I think these brands all need to take a cue from Olay. Talk about not only revamping an image but also adding new awesome, modern products. Although I liked old-school Oil of Olay too, back in the day. 🙂 But their anti-aging creams and mositurizing sunscreens are pretty awes for what you get for the price!

    • the Muse

      bonnie not at all hun…no idea who or what MN was until I googled lol! 😀

      ohhh yes on max factor lol! If you’d old enough maybe you remember it 16 or so years ago when they had that BAD blue packaging ugh!

      I see an evolution lately in not only Olay but many drugstore brands and I LIKE what I see! It could gain my $$ if it keeps up like this!

  • pinkcrow

    Estee Lauder
    Merle Norman
    Helena Rubenstein
    Coty (but love the Erte powder box)
    Il Makiage
    Avon (hate all the cheesy non-cosmetic stuff in the catalogs)
    Mary Kay
    Almay (zzzzzz)
    Bobbi Brown (boring and expensive to boot)
    The Shiseido that gets sold in the U.S. (but all their marquee brands are the shizz, go figure)

    • the Muse

      pinkcrow yup, yup, yup yup yup! haha! Agreeing on all! OH and almay=snooze fest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG no not bb! I love BB 😀

      I really don’t understand how shisedio can’t realize the potential of bring it’s sub brands to the US why god why!!!!!!!!!

      • pinkcrow

        Indeed. I’ll have my pal in Hawaii wish for it at the Shinto temple near her house.

        • the Muse

          pinkcrow lol awesome 😀 we can use all the prayers we can get so it arrives :-D!!!!!!!

  • Rebecca

    Elizabeth Arden.. also, anything that is meant for “anti aging” and a lot of treatments just scream 50+ to me lol

    • the Muse

      hehe rebecca EA is SUCH a popular vote 😀 ha we should have actually did a poll! 🙂 and the award for granny makeup goes too…!

  • PinkyKathy

    Def Estee Lauder, the packaging and the model look very mature. They have lots of great stuff though. I love their skincare line and perfume. ^_^ Chanel is kind a mature as well, but when young gals use it, they look good.

    • the Muse

      agreed kathy not fab packaging but good stuff 😀 Chanel is so great but the packaging is kinda standard black…I’d love a little fun thrown in but I guess than it wouldn’t be as elegant 🙂

  • Ashe

    I’m with pinkcrow- Almay! Boring boring blah boring packaging 🙁

    Mary Kay, too, but I love it…I think though at first glance, it’s like “Oh, you have to order from a catalogue, that’s retro” but they have great colors!

    I like packaging that catches my eye…oo, shiny…

    • the Muse

      ashe agreed 😛 I like the packaging on Mary kay TOBH 😀 I like the pink 😀

      shiny, sparkly, 😀 anything cute!

  • jonnie

    Definitely Estee Lauder. I have the holiday ’08 shimmer jewel compact or whatever it’s called, and even that just seems so… old and heavy and oppressive. The big fat gold compact, that is, not the actual product. Although thinking about it, the actual product is not so much shimmery as I had hoped… probably something I’d love to wear as a shimmery highlight when I’m 55. 😛 I wonder if I’ll still have it hanging around then?

    • the Muse

      hey jonnie I have it too, I agree disagree, it’s one of the few items that I don’t get the mature vibe from 😀

      LOL when I’m 55 I hope to still be loving makeup as much 🙂

  • Maggie

    First, let me say that old-lady-ish is not an insult. I know plenty of grandmas that are stylish and elegant.

    That said, there are some brands that obviously skew towards an older, more established demographic. EL and Lancome are the department store biggies in that respect. (Though I think EL comes across as somewhat more elegant to me.)

    YSL, Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier also strike me as having more mature appeal, though somewhat more edgy than EL and Lancome simply because they are harder to find and have the cachet of being associated with the fashion/makeup artist industry.

    For lower-end brands, Revlon, Mary Kay and Avon aren’t necessarily ‘old-lady’ to me, just dated and boring. (Though honestly, few drugstore brands aren’t.)

    Clinique isn’t particularly ‘old’ just bloody boring.

    Clarins definitely feels like it appeals to an older clientele, but it also strongly reminds me of living with a beloved relative when I was a child in France – she was an aesthetician, and the epitome of class and glamour to my five-year-old eyes. So yes, older, but French and classy.

    • the Muse

      hi maggie it’s def not an insult just a kinda fun way to describe makeup that’s a tad more mature a joke of sorts. But of course there are plenty of ladies, sophia loren for one, who are incredibly stylish, chic, and elegant.

      I agree some brands do edge towards a more established, mature clientele but that doesn’t make them any less boring packaging wise for me.

      Where are you living might I ask? As YSL, BB, LM are all readily available here and not at all hard to find???

      Revlon I don’t get older from but def boring, agree with you. Mary Kay and Avon the less of the evils. Again Clinique agreed not old at all but more boring.

      Clarins I feel isn’t boring or older packaging wise but I could be bias since I love the brand so much. 🙂

  • mayrei

    Merle Norman, Mary Kay, sometimes Avon… Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden. Clinique doesn’t feel old lady-ish to me either, just boring. Clarins never struck me as old lady-ish, but maybe that’s because I actually use it. lol.

    • the Muse

      mayrei def don’t feel clinique as being mature but just a tad boring! Clarins def not old lady lol I’m bias 😀 love Clarins 😀

  • pris

    Not make-up, but….Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid. My grandmother used it daily. You know what though? Her skin was flawless!

    • the Muse

      hey pris 🙂 I hear ya this does kinda remind me of a more mature makeup but so great it works so well for her 🙂 good moisturizer def preserves the skin and obviously this helped her through the years 🙂

    • the Muse

      mmmm good question willow. Stila, Urban Decay, Majorca Majolica or anything Japanese really, hmmmm on some levels mac screams youth but not packaging wise 🙂

  • scamps

    Nothing seems too blue-haired to me. I like some packaging a little more than others, but that alone isn’t necessarily a huge deciding factor. If anything, I’d love to try some of the older brands that they sell on the Vermont Country Store website, like Tangee.

    Some fragrances do seem fairly dated to me, though – White Shoulders, Sunflowers(I love it anyways), White Diamonds, and especially Jean Nate.

    • the Muse

      hey scamps! Tangee has always been a little too meh for me but who knows could be amazing!

      I agree on the fragrances! that’s for sures!

  • Gia

    Laura Mercier just seems boring and old. Armani makeup and Avon seem to be on the line btwn old and young.

    I used to think Clarins but them my aunt gave me some of her old makeup and i fell in love with it. Plus I cannot live without their body scrub! It’s the best i swear!

    I LOVE Estee Lauder and Lancome, my first makeup experiences were in department stores when i would hang around the makeup counters before I knew what Sephora was. Lancome used to have awesome Hair Mascaras when i was 13! and I had Estee Lauder do my makeup for prom when i was 18.