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Thursday, November 12, 2015

L'eggs, L'aura & L'erin

Somewhere suspiciously next the ubiquitous L'eggs pantyhose display stand in any supermarket of the early '80 was the L'erin cosmetics stand.

Most people already figured this was a natural place to put the makeup. But for L'eggs, it was uniquely important; They owned L'erin.

L'eggs is a product of underwear conglomerate Hanes. They were introduced in 1969 with their famous plastic egg containers, which had zillions of uses (some women would keep jewelry in them, some people made arts and crafts out of them. In fact, some people bought them just for the big plastic egg containers, which sadly, they have long since phased out.)

Seeing an complimentary advantage to their very successful pantyhose line, in 1980, L'eggs created the L'aura cosmetics line.


L'aura was the original name for L'erin. But everybody got it mixed up with that big French cosmetic conglomerate, L'Oreal. It was quickly renamed L'erin.

But L'erin cosmetics as a product? Well, the verdict wasn't good.

First, most women were used to the idea of makeup being a distinctly personal art. They wanted something glamourous and luxurious. And all other cosmetic companies were working overtime to accommodate this image.

But L'erin just wasn't that. At all. L'erin's commercial tag line for it's first few years was "Put Your Face On And Forget It". Which sounds like something their dads would say when he needed to use the bathroom.

L'erin was trying to be simpler and more practical, aiming for the young, active woman who wanted less drama and fuss in their makeup kits. But being sold primarily in supermarkets and discount stores (this wasn't exactly Estee Lauder), the cosmetically savvy ladies just weren't impressed. They viewed L'erin as cheap and chintzy.

And it was. The makeup quality itself was also notorious, as millions of raccoon-eyed girls staring back from their '80s high school yearbooks can testify. The mascara was clumpy right out of the bottle, the eyeliner and eye shadow ran under hot lights or in the hot sun. By this time, boys were getting into makeup (the Duran Duran thing and the first wave of glam metal had hit) and I remember girls experimenting on us with their once-used L'erin cosmetics....And then laughing their butts off when we walked outside on a hot day.

The eternal price of trying to be cool (Sigh!)

L'erin lasted until 1984. It was sold in 1983 by Consolidated Foods (now Sara Lee) to another makeup company and after a few attempts to resuscitate the brand, L'erin was discontinued. 


  1. I was there throughout the L'erin experiment. It was great fun and the management team was top notch. The cosmetics were better than the article suggests as my wife continued to use her stash for years after the company was sold.

  2. The lipstick was pretty decent . I wish I still had two L'erin lipsticks : Dusty Rose and Rose of Araby. Actually, much of my lipstick buys through the years have been attempts to buy 'twins' of those two. Very nice color and texture.


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