Bourjois Powder Compacts & Heritage

Bourjois Powder Compacts & Heritage

In 1863 the cosmetic firm Bourjois was established on the great boulevards of Paris in the theatre district.  

During this era France was the world's second leading economic power. The famous actor Joseph-Albert Ponsin prepared perfumes and makeup for his fellow actors. Initially these formulations were created in his own home.

Some of the first products were waxy makeup crayons especially made for actors. Memorable names of his creations are “Jealous“ &  “Lovesick“.

As he became more proficient at cosmetology people sang his praises and the demand grew far beyond that of actors. The tagline “ Supplier for the Theatre “ was replaced by “Special Manufacturer of Products for Feminine Beauty.“

In 1868 Monsieur Ponsin engaged Alexandre-Napoléon Bourjois to the run the company and the brand became internationally known.

Ladies who desired whiter skin purchased Bourjois Java rice powder. This product was launched in 1879 and was also designed to soften the skin. It was so successful in France that it was marketed all over the world. Packages for this line were printed in five different languages.

In 1891 a factory was built at Pantin. In 1897 it is recorded that Bourjois sold two million boxes of Java rice powder worldwide.

In 1928 Bourjois launched the perfume Soir de Paris. It was designed by Ernest Beaux. The scent has been described as floral and spicy. Midnight blue was the colour theme for this range and the midnight blue bottles are highly collectible.

In America the name was translated to “ Evening in Paris “ and is was a huge success. This range was noted for being priced to make is affordable to middle classes. This hugely inventive company produced presentation sets which catered to all different price ranges.

You can find out more on the history behind this revered vintage powder compact brand in our bespoke fact packs that are supplied with every order from The Vintage Compact Shop - shop Bourjois here.