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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From the Vintage Vault (Urban Decay edition)

With all the excitement over the new Urban Decay palettes, I thought I'd do a Vintage Vault post specifically devoted to all of my vintage UD products. Unfortunately, I no longer have my original Urban Decay nail polishes (does anyone remember those bottles with the extremely wide mouths?? They sort of looked like Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear bottles). Anyway, I did manage to dig up some other goodies that I remember purchasing in the days before Sephora (well, before Sephora was in practically every mall in America).

In the late 90s, the only place I could find Urban Decay was in a tiny little display at my local Nordstrom. And it wasn't even a counter where you could walk up and talk to someone about the products--the products were on a little shelf at the end of the cosmetics department and if you had a question, you had to go find someone and they usually didn't know the answer. Can you imagine? One tiny little place to get Urban Decay in all of San Diego. Boy have things changed.

First up, let's take a look at what an Urban Decay eyeshadow single looks like today:

Urban Decay eyeshadow single in Midnight Cowboy, circa 2010

Now I'd like to show you what the ORIGINAL Urban Decay eyeshadow singles looked like:

Urban Decay eyeshadow single in Acid Rain, circa 1997

As you can see, the packaging comes in two pieces, a lid and a pan, and there is no raised or embossed detail on the lid. It's just black paint on a silver package. Granted, this eyeshadow has seen better days--it rolled around in my makeup bags, purses, suitcases, boxes, bathroom counters, etc. so it's got some serious wear at this point.

I actually thought UD had discontinued Acid Rain a long time ago, but after looking at the site, it seems it has only recently been discontinued and there are still a few of them left for purchase. I think I need to buy this again before it's gone forever! It would kind of be neat to own one of the first Acid Rain singles ever made, and also one of the last.

After several years with the above design, UD eyeshadow singles then upgraded to this design:

Urban Decay eyeshadow single in Mildew, circa 2003(?)

I'm guessing on the timeframe here so I may be off by a year or two. But anyway, as you can see, the original package has been enhanced with a raised design. But it's still a two-piece tin, and I'm trying to remember when they changed to the hinged lid you see today. Does anyone remember?

And I can't believe it but I actually still had the box fox this shadow:

Mildew is still very much a part of the core collection and they've even made it available as a 24/7 Eyeliner.

But before UD upgraded to the packaging above, they released a collection of eyeshadows called Potholes. And I still have one!

Urban Decay West Side Highway from the Potholes Collection, circa 1998

Designed to look like subway tokens, I'm having a hard time remembering the other shades in this collection, or exactly when it was released, but I think UD released the Potholes Collection around 1998.

West Side Highway was a gorgeous reddish brown shimmer and I remember wearing this a lot on my crease, as well as to line my eyes.

Next up are a few BOXES for older UD products (I no longer have the actual products and I don't know why I still have the boxes but I do!):

Left: Urban Decay Lip Gunk in Hotpants (circa 2003)
Right: Urban Decay Lipstick in Road Stripe (circa 1997)

As you can see, the evolution of UD packaging went from very minimalist "plain brown wrapper" to a silver, more cutting-edge design aesthetic, and now it's purple/lavender based.

Hotpants is a great shade and I think it's still available in Lip Gunk as well as Lipstick form. Sadly, Road Stripe, which was my very first EYESHADOW purchase, was also available in lipstick form but it has long-since been discontinued. For those that don't remember, Road Stripe was a shimmery white that flashed icy violet with a tinge of pink. I love love loved Road Stripe as an eyeshadow AND a lipstick back in the late 90s.

And finally, I want to show you this temporary tattoo kit that I remember purchasing around 1997-1998:

Urban Decay Body Jewelry, circa 1998

As you can see if you enlarge this photo, I purchased this at Nordstrom (remember, this was the ONLY place to buy UD at the time) and it retailed for $11.00. Now, let me explain that, unlike today, you couldn't just walk into any drugstore, Hot Topic, etc. and buy temporary tattoos. They were pretty hard to come by, and it was even harder to find them in cute designs. So when UD came out with this set, I remember that I had to have it. I vaguely remember that I wanted to put that vine design on my inner forearm to try and impress some idiot guy at a bar (not my finest moment, I assure you) and I also seem to remember that it worked. He thought it was a real tattoo and was impressed that little ol' me would get a tattoo on my forearm. But then I ended up telling him it was fake (well, he'd eventually find out anyway, right?) and things just fell apart after that. Thank GOODNESS because that guy was a jerk. ANYWAY, sorry for the stroll down G's memory lane of "The 1990's Bar Scene", but that's why I paid $11 for fake tattoos. Oh, the things you do in your twenties--especially when you're at bars!

Anyway, one last thing I'd like to point out is that even back in the day, UD was very vocal about recycling and not animal testing (as you can see on this package), which is pretty darn cool.

That's it for this edition of From the Vintage Vault. Do you remember some of these vintage UD products? Do you still own anything from back in the day? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. This is awesome, thanks for sharing! Acid Rain was my first Urban Decay shadow too :)

  2. great post! I loved seeing how the packaging changed over time ;o)

  3. I am amazed that you have all these old makeup from years and years ago and even have the box it came in!!!

    It's really cool to see how the packaging have evolved through the years.

  4. This is so neat, thanks for even sharing your bar stories! :)
    I don't own any UD, but it's cool to see how much packaging has changed.

  5. i still have a nub of my first urban decay product, the amazing "frostbite" lipstick. it was blue. really really blue. circa 1996. in a plain silver tube. i remember being SO CONFUSED when ud became a mainsteam line...throughout my formative years it was the super awesome thing all the goth and punk kids lusted after but no one could ever afford. still can't, but i get my fix now and then. :)

  6. This was so cool! I love all these Vintage Vault posts! :D

  7. Very interesting post! I really like their older packaging. I also have a pot of Acid Rain, it's a great lid color.

  8. I had stray dog eye shadow in the old tin but it got all rusty and I couldn't open it! LOL.

  9. Great post! I have that exact same pot of mildew.. this post was like a walk down memory lane lol. it's great to see how much Urban Decay has evolved to this day and that they are still constantly revamping and releasing great products =)

  10. after reading your vintage posts, i do not feel like emptying or throwing out a single cosmetic of mine :)

  11. I loved their lip gunk! I got hooked on one of those shades and have been looking for something similar ever since- I can't remember the name but it was bright fuchsia-pink with a blue duochrome effect and actual blue glitter. Also, remember the little metal face case palettes?

    1. that sounds super cute! did you remember the name of it or ever find something similar??

  12. You. Are. Awesome.

    i can't believe you kept the boxes too! this post is great!

  13. I really love the aesthetic of the old UD packaging. I know times change, and blah blah blah, but the packaging from the 90's -- to me -- echoes the brand's edginess more than its current day packaging.

  14. Oh man, I still have so many old Urban Decay products from around 2000-2003 before they changed the packaging to what it currently is, including old lipsticks, the 2nd incarnation of the eyeshadow packaging, and yes, those old nail polishes! Actually, I may have gotten rid of the nail polishes... I had X and Gash! My favorite of their lipsticks were Chronic and Jezebel, and I think they're still rattling in the back of a drawer somewhere. I wonder if they would poison me if I tried wearing them again...? Thanks for sharing your old goodies! I am feeling inspired to find some of my old favorites and put together a post like yours!

  15. What a great post! I miss all the old Urban Decay, although I only started buying it once it was at Sephora. I had this blue hair gel that came in a twist-up bottle, some of those old nailpolishes with a hexagon top for the brush, and Lip Gunk in Kiss (smelled like Cherry-Coke!) I feel like the brand is no longer the same now.

  16. I remember buying that tattoo set and thinking how odd it was to have these tissue paper sheets with ink on them and not knowing what to do. I thought I was suppose to wipe my skin with alcohol and then press the paper. Little did I know I had to soak the paper in alcohol. Bazooka Joe did not prepare me for that.

  17. do you remember a vintage shadow from around 2000 that was a soft shimmer peacock blue (not teal) that had silver glitter in it?? i cannot remember the name so i'm having a hard time trying to search for it so that i can find a similar shade it looked similar the this (except the glitter is silver)


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