Testing Vintage: White Shoulders Powder

I dream of the day where I have my own home with a private boudoir room which I can spend some time primping and pampering myself. In my head, I am wearing a long and luscious pink gown, fluffy mule slippers and I am powdering my self with something beautiful and luxurious. I was indulging my fantasy online with a bit of online window shopping and I came across a product I had completely forgotten about, White Shoulders perfumed powder.

Created by the New York-based company Evyan in 1939, the White Shoulders scent was one of the first created by this company and is still very popular today. The scent was released around 1943-49 (dates varied depending on the source) and is available in perfume, cologne and bath powder; I picked up the bath powder as it looked like a great little addition to my fantasy boudoir. White Shoulder’s is a classically light, floral and powdery scent which has been described as “a classic floral based on aldehydes, white flowers (gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, lilac, lily and orris) and complex final notes (amber, benzoin, musk, civet and oak moss). It’s exquisitely feminine, soft and light which makes it perfect for evenings and the springtime.

  • Top notes: neroli, aldehydes, leafy green notes, peach, bergamot
  • Middle notes: tuberose, clove bud, gardenia, lily of the valley, lilac, narcissus, jasmine, orris, rose
  • Base notes: sandalwood, civet, oakmoss, amber, benzoin, musk.

There wasn’t a lot of information about the company itself but I did find out it was founded by Austrian Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff and his British born wife, Evelyn Diane Westall, who was also known as Lady Evyan. Together they wanted to challenge the French perfume industry with the launch of their new line, Evyan in New York. The baron was a very well educated chemist who was deeply in love with his wife which is why he named his company after her. The goal of Evyan was to create a perfume for American women without pretentious connections to France; the company made sure to keep all manufacturing, design and creation within America including the sourcing of ingredients and the bottle design and manufacturing. This proved quite a successful endeavour as during WW2, there was a push for patriotism and Americans were wanting to spend their dollars at home. To this day, White Shoulders is considered one of the most iconic and classic American fragrances.

Although I am reviewing the bath powder, I did want to tell you a bit about the perfume itself as it’s very iconic and a great vintage item that can still be purchased today. The perfume, and the bath powder, comes in a lovely pink box adorned with golden cursive writing and a logo of a women bust done in a cameo style. I like to think that this is a stylised image of Evelyn Diane Westall but I do think it’s interesting her bosoms are present. It makes her look like a Greek goddess, almost like a marble statue o something romantic like that. Today, the bottle features a long rectangular glass bottle where the golden coloured perfume can be seen. Embedded into the glass is the same logo bust. The lid is golden and clicks on tightly.

Vintage White Shoulders Ad. Source.
Vintage White Shoulders Ad.Source.
Vintage White Shoulders Ad. Source.
Vintage White Shoulders Ad. Source.

In 1947, an advertisement for the perfume read, “To Keep the Exciting Shadow of Romance Ever Over Your White Shoulders”. The advert also made mention that the perfume was housed in etched bottles encased in lace and satin bandboxes; the powder and other products with this fragrance also could be purchased in these fancy boxes and can still be found today with some lucky internet hunting. The boxes are generally covered in peachy pink rayon and chantilly lace which was specially designed for White Shoulders. The lace motif was a direct homage to Lady Evyan’s signature off the shoulder lace evening gowns and her collection of heirloom laces.

Upon its release, White Shoulder’s became very popular and it’s ultimate success became a shining beacon for other American companies who now saw they could compete against the French market. According to this blog, White Shoulders was originally sold by the company Hartnell, an early name for Exyan. Evyan also traded under the name of Evelyn Westall Company of New York but the company also used the name Estall. Elizabeth Arden later released White Shoulders under her own name. In 1988, the perfume was sold by Parfums International Ltd but the perfume has since been reformulated a few times; the scent has attempted to remain as close to the original so it’s still a great purchase for those wanting a true vintage scent. As far as I could tell, White Shoulders was the only perfume created by the company.

Now, that I went on a historical tangent, it’s time to actually review today’s product, White Shoulders Bath Powder. Bath powders, also known as a dusting powder or beauty powder is designed to be applied to the body using a powder puff after a shower or bath. The powder leaves a thin silk-like film on the skin which makes the skin feel and look smooth and of course, smell amazing. The powder can also be used to freshen yourself up if you are feeling sweaty or sticky. Upon application, you can continue to get dressed for your day or evening, but you can also apply a spray of perfume onto the skin. The perfume will last longer on your skin because of the powder layer underneath it so it’s recommended if you are going out for the evening or really wanting to pamper yourself and feel extra glamorous. It would be easy to presume that by applying the White Shoulders perfume, both scents would work together and linger on the skin for a while. White Shoulders Bath Powder also has a bit of a shimmer to it which makes it perfect for going out somewhere special in the evening. The powder itself has a pearlescent colour to it and disappears very quickly so you don’t need to worry about looking like Casper the ghost.

Miss MonMon tests White Shoulders Bath Powder
Miss MonMon tests White Shoulders Bath Powder
Miss MonMon tests White Shoulders Bath Powder

I’ve been using the bath powder for nearly a month and have been really enjoying it. I am finding that it all feels very luxurious to pamper myself with pretty powders after an evening bath. It’s a great way of adding some self-care into my evening routine. I use the powder about 2-3 times a week just so I don’t waste it but amidst the lockdown, it’s been nice to treat myself a bit more in ways that don’t include snacking. At first, I was worried that it would make my skin dry out but I was pleasantly surprised that it just made my skin feel soft and luscious. I asked those in the house what they thought of the scent and besides my partner saying I smell like a fancy grandmother, other responses have been positive.

Personally, although it does smell very vintage and I do know of grandmothers who have used White Shoulders, I do see this fragrance being lovely for a younger crowd as well. I know scents are very subjective but I personally really like how delicate and floral this scent is. Sure it reminds me of grandmothers but there’s nothing wrong with that. I am tempted to purchase the perfume for myself as I’ve loved the powder. I will definitely continue using this powder; it was such a great pick me up for very stressful days and I love how the packaging looks. Fun Note: it has recently come to light that Lucille Ball used White Shoulders Bath Powder. An unfinished box of the powder went up for auction in 2010; the item came from her vanity and was in excellent condition. Source and Image here.

Ingredients: Talc, Silica, Calcium Carbonate, Parfum/Fragrance, Kaolin, Silk Powder/Serica/Poudre De Soie, Mica, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Salicylate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide 9CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947).

From a quick Google search, I found out that White Shoulders is pretty easy to find. For those in the states, it is available at Walgreens for around $12. I purchased mine for around $18 online and it arrived really quick and ready to use. I hope you found this little vintage item interesting and perhaps are tempted to try a bath powder for yourself. I hope to bring you more in this series soon.


Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. This page contains affiliate links/codes which aids in funding future reviews.

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