Balsam. Lemon. Unscented. Natural.
Friends, welcome to the world of early Seventies advertising!
I found this copy of Seventeen from March 1973 at the flea market this morning for just a dollar, and for the ads alone, it's worth every cent. I had forgotten how much the 1970's were about being natural, especially for women. Every product is enhanced with balsam (what is balsam anyway?) or an "herbal essence" -- "the fresh essence of mysterious green herbs and enchanted flowers." (I actually used to shampoo my hair with "Body on Tap" shampoo, which was apparently made with beer, though not enough to get a buzz.)
In nearly every ad, you see abundant references to nature.
The paradox of this "back-to-nature" era was that most of the clothes were dacron polyester and in some of the most unnatural colors and patterns ever.
But the beauty ideal was looking natural, acting natural, and smelling natural. Or unscented. Or like balsam.
|A natural woman, more or less.|
This was, remember, the age of unisex, of bell bottom pants and crocheted beanies (let's not talk about the frosted eye shadows -- some things just don't fit the argument). This was the sexual revolution. There was definitely a flirty, sexy vibe in the air -- or at least in the offices of ad copywriters on Madison Avenue.
It was also the decade of some of the weirdest shoes ever. How many of you wore these?
There really was something refreshingly back-to-earth about the 70's. But the clothes are probably off-gassing in some landfill somewhere -- and deservedly so.
You can see more photos from my March, 1973 issue of Seventeen here.
Readers, does any of this ring a bell? Do you remember all the "back-to-nature" products of the 70's? (Earth shoes, anyone?)
If you're too young to have lived through it, does all of this just seem really weird? (I'm too close to it.)
Do you agree that today, whatever the zeitgeist may be, it's not the 70's idea of natural -- which was, ultimately, synthetic and maybe a little cynical, for all the genuine awareness of things like environmentalism that marks the era.
Is there anything you miss from the 70's beauty ideal -- or from the 70's themselves?
Jump in, flower girls (and boys)!