I have been watching The Victorian Pharmacy on SBS recently: a period documentary that brings the lotions and potions and cure-alls of the burgeoning pharmacy industry in Victorian England back to life through a ‘training’ program that sees a trio of modern-day adults learning the fine details of the trade as it was practiced back then, complete with Victorian costumes, tools, ingredients and architecture. The television series reminds me of one of one of my favourite ever destinations as a child – Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria. Most of my Australian readers would know Ballarat was the Victorian epicentre of the 18th Century Gold Rush and that Sovereign Hill is a substantial ‘town’ recreated in the likeness of the original Gold Rush Ballarat, complete with saloons, a bowling alleys, a school, gold diggings, and one of the original underground gold mines in the area, which is still accessible.
Fellow lifelong beauty aficionados may not be surprised that my favourite place within Sovereign Hill, even at the tender age of seven, was the pharmacy. I loved the delicate scents, the petite glass bottles and milky jars, the dainty ribbons and cottons and pastille colours. I still have a perfume I bought from the pharmacy as a child. I did not purchase this little perfume when I first saw it but several years later and in hindsight I suspect the perfume was one of the first ever items on my lifelong beauty wishlist, along with Yardley April Violets, which I happily acquired when I was about 10 or 11 years old.
As an adult there are many beauty products I have coveted over a long time but when I think about each of them, I realise I still have only obtained some. My lifelong beauty wishlist is a work in progress; here is an update:
1. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I love Clarins and I love highlighter products so this has been on my wishlist for a few years. I did not however purchase it until last year and now it is a staple in my beauty wardrobe.
2. Clarins Makeup Fix Make-Up Spray. This is a new addition to my wishlist, added the moment this product was released (in 2010 I think). I’ve not tried it yet though.
7. Nars Blush in Orgasm. Another feted product which is now a regular go-to for me. I love Nars blushes and this was the first one I ever bought. It remains my favourite as it instantly warms the skin in a pretty, happy way and works with pretty much any lip or eye colour.
8. Payot Creme No. 2. I think I have wanted to try this since I was about 20. At the time I was emerging from several years of adolescent cystic acne, which in itself had healed but in its wake left me with skin that was crazy irritated and red. I used many sensitive skin treatments in the years that followed but this coveted product has not yet made its way into my bathroom.
9. Jurlique Calendula Cream. This was another sensitive-type item added to my wishlist in my early 20s; perhaps even as a teen. I first purchased it in a health food shop on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, as a university student, and still love the custard yellow colour and unique herbal scent.
10. MooGoo Milk Wash. While I am a little put off by buying products with large cows emblazoned on the bottles, I have heard heaps of good things about this Australian line’s cleansers and moisturisers. I have only tried the Skin Milk Udder Cream, which I loved and used as a body moisturiser.
11. Creme de la Mer. Who has not had this indulgent moisturiser on their wishlist at some point? I confess I am now the happy owner of a sample pot, gifted by a wise friend. I have only used it three times and very sparingly to avoid my combination-oily skin becoming occluded by the pasty texture. Small amounts of this blend strangely well though and while I woke up with oily skin (not uncommon even with a light moisturiser) I have not yet broken out.
12. Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser. Several porcelain-skinned people I know would defend this cleanser to the end. I have always wanted to try it.
13. Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream. I seem to be doing well as this is another product I have ticked off my wishlist. I first heard about it in 2006 but did not buy a tube until 2009. Such a lovely cleanser that is unparalleled on the market.
14. Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream. I have not however tried this Dr. H. item, despite my love affair for rosy beauty products.
15. Mario Badescu. There are actually a few items on my wishlist from this seductively simple line and of all of them I have only tried the alchemic-sounding Silver Powder. The other products on my to-try list include the Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Carnation and Rice Cleanser, Azulene Calming Mask and the Healing Cream.
16. Clinique Super City Block. I was again in my early 20s (my formative years in beauty education it seems) when I first purchased this product, after deciding that my skin was better suited to a physical sunscreen rather than a chemical. I ended up using this popular titanium dioxide sunscreen for many years.
17. Guerlain Meteorites. I still have not tried this exquisitely packaged cult product. If the beauty fairy is listening…
18. Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm. I love oily cleansers and this one came to my attention in 2008. Alas it is still a dream for me – for the moment at least.
19. Ella Bache Creme Tomate. A product claiming to cater for both oily and sensitised skin is very rare. I have desired this since I was a teenager – Ella Bache was one of the only ‘high-end’ salon brands available in the town near my childhood farm.
20. Eve Lom Cleanser. Another long-time cult product which is still waiting patiently for me to bite the bullet.
21. Korres Milk Proteins Cleansers. I love milk-based beauty products and have loved all of the Korres products I’ve used so far. But the Milk Proteins cleansing range – 3 in 1 Cleansing Emulsion, Foaming Cream Cleanser and cleansing wipes – still eludes me.
22. Priori Coffeeberry range. This is brand new to my wishlist, after a divine salon facial featuring these products left me with smooth, rested skin that actually looked presentable sans makeup.
23. SKII Facial Treatment Essence. I have long admired Cate Blanchett and mysterious Japanese beauty products and when I got my first ‘real’ job (i.e. post-university and not in a cafe, shop or restaurant) I hightailed it to David Jones and bought a bottle of this wonder product. I have repurchased a few times and also love the cleansing oil.
24. Sodashi Clay Cleanser with Lime. In 2009 I treated my mother and myself to facials and massages at BodhiJ in Perth. The salon uses Fremantle super spa line Sodashi and the products – and results – were divine. I am yet to purchase anything myself though.
25. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat. I cannot remember when I first purchased this but it is such a gorgeous product that really adds light (without shimmer, shine, glitter or sheen) to the face.
Gosh, now I want to buy everything on this list!
What is on your lifelong beauty wishlist? How many items have you ticked off the list? And how old were you when you put the first ever item on your list?
*Top image by style great Norman Parkinson.