Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Electric slide

My friend Ann was inspired by the Lip Smackers post to reminisce about the 1980s lip balm that came in little tins with sliding covers. If she's remembering the same one I am, and I'm almost sure she is, it was probably Lip Lickers by Village Bath.

They had a very old-fashioned design, with elaborate fruits and flowers and whatnot, and were in little gold tins with the coolest little sliding tops. (If you're a child of the 1980s, you're almost certainly picturing them now, aren't you?) For some reason, it was almost irresistible to dig into the balm and kind of create a tunnel in the goo. Very cool, and the sliding top was a neat innovation. I think green apple was one of the flavors that I remember having.

So, of course I had to research and determine if this wonderful fragment of the 1980s was still around, because that's what I do. It looks like Village Bath was based right near where we grew up, in Minnetonka, MN. It looks like it was bought by Minnetonka Brands, for which this page links to a URL that is dead.

People are selling some Lip Lickers on eBay but the design and flavors are not exactly what I remember, though the tins sure look familiar. The ones I remember were much more vintagey designed. I'd love to see an image of one like I remember, but even Google Images strikes out.

However, these folks also remember the sliding lip-balm tins fondly, so fondly, in fact, that they are now making their own balm and selling it in sliding tins. Very cool! And this site also sells lip balm in a tin, and their tin looks a lot like Ye Olde Lip Lickers.

33 comments:

Martha said...

I have a ton of lip gloss and a lot of the newer ones are in the sliding tins. So it must be making a comeback :)

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I actually did have one of those tins. Cherry Cola. I got it in my stocking at Christmas, and I distinctly remember it because it was the year I hung around with one of my cool older cousins and we went up in my aunt's hot air balloon. I remember keeping the lip balm in the pocket of my new coat and getting it out several times that day because I liked the taste of it so much. I think it may actually have been the beginning of my obsessive lip balm-ing.

Finding My New Normal said...

I LOVED those. My favorites were bubble gum and vanilla. I totally forgot about them until this post. Thanks!

A. L. said...

I remember them having two flavors. You slid the top in one direction and uncovered one flavor, then slid the top the opposite direction for another one. I remember one being grape something. I think they were my favorite thing ever.

Steph said...

I definitely remeber eating some coconut/pineapple flavored lip lickers. i can still taste it now....ew.

Anonymous said...

oh my god! I just remembered how I had a bubble gum flavored one! It was my favorite...was so sad when I ran out..I had totally forgotten it until this post!

Shannon said...

Wow, what a memory jolt! I can't recall any specific flavors but I do also recall making a hole in the middle of mine! I can see them now. . .

lilmisssmartypants said...

mmmmmmmm! green apple, orange, and my fave-- fruit punch! sadly, the tins on e-bay don't appear to be the original? the tinte sliders are closer to what i remember. love!

K said...

AL, the lip lickers w/two flavors were the bigger tins. There were also smaller tins with just one flavor. Man, I so loved these...I agree w/whoever said it was the birth of a lifelong lip balm obsession.

Judi said...

I remember LOVING them, but also that they smelled really weird. This was around 1982. Am I crazy?

Anonymous said...

I think my mom actually still has a tin of that stuff in her car.

Kaijsa said...

I always had strawberry lip lickers tins . I can still remember the smell.

Kris said...

i actually googled to see if they were still around! all i remembered was the gold slide tin with the fancy writing and fab flavors.... i had a ton! single and double flavors! i wish i still had them! they have sliders at world market (check-out) and the body shop. i just wish they still carried those specific ones
:(

ProudTexasWoman said...

I still have my bubble-gum one (and somewhere I'm pretty sure I have another one). My husband is not from the States and canNOT understand my nostalgia -- being a man just adds to the incomprehension. The tin itself has gotten pretty icky-looking, but the balm itself smells as good as ever. Not gonna use it, I suppose -- so hygiene freaks needn't write to warn me -- but hard to toss it out.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, i have a tin sitting here in front of me, my mom brought it back from the states for me. but it's running out- where am i gonna find a new one?:(
i am going to U.S in while can we still buy them? i amm praying.
P.S they smell awesome- to anyone out there who has never smelt a lip lickers, you have not lived.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm I remember the smell exactly of the peach one. I've never found that smell replicated anywhere. I still have an (unfortunately) empty tin. I think it's a watermelon/ice duo.

Anonymous said...

I found you today because of my search for the old Lip Licker's of my youth.I couldn't even remember the name...I started my search with "lip gloss box" and went from there. Root beer was my favorite. I loved to open and close the tin over and over to hear the cool clicking sound. I was 9 when I got my first one (peach)...it was my first foray into womanhood...soon after came nail polish. I never abandoned my love for the cool vintage-looking lip tins. I think it's time fir Village Bath to make a come back the way Lip Smackers did (that's a whole different discussion).

Anonymous said...

OMG - I have been trying to remember the name of those for YEARS - I LOVED those! Thank you soooo much!

Succubus said...

OMG I also have an obsession with lip balms now because of the almighty Lip Lickers!!! No one understands. An endless quest for ANYTHING close to them! If you're listening out there PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring them back for an annivesary or for an encore, even if just for a short while!!! And if you have an old one laying around, hold on to it for dear life!!

Anonymous said...

The Village company still exists and they made the lip lickers in the '70s and early 80's! I emailed them requesting that they please remake them! They sounded interested!! There may be hope that these little tins will make a comeback!! www.thevillagecompany.com

Anonymous said...

I love those vintage tins too! Check Ebay now under vintage lip licker or vintage village lip lickers they are the real deal! Not the new ones. I'm hunting down some of the old favorites like the double up two flavor tins, strawberry banana, cherry cola, pinapple coconut. I even remember the single tins of, grape, green apple, peach, watermelon, orange juice. They may be old but it sure does bring back some wonderful memories! Thanks for the memories.
Carrie

squirrelchick said...

They also had a breath spray called "Tongue Twisters." I had a lemon one and a mint one. I just remember they were very sweet. Also had lots of the single balm tins and several double tins. Unfortunately I think my mother threw them all away when I moved out. I actually looked for them recently with no luck. I have emailed the company asking if they ever considered bringing them back, maybe just for a limited time or something. Would buy every flavor. What a great memory from the 80's. I remember also there was a commercial for them. Came on after Dance Fever on Saturday nights in the early 80's. The jingle was "Give your lips a kick-Lip Lickers!" Anyone remember that?

larissa said...

Yes! For sure you can find them on ebay from time to time, right now there are like 6 available. Pricey! A double mint chocolate went for over 300! I just bought a peach and a strawberry, all original, from minnetonka minnesota (used) for 30, and a brand new peach for 100. Worth every penny, but unfortunatly not useable. Oh well, they are still fantastic finds, if your spouse wont kill you before you have time to enjoy them!

Anonymous said...

I just emailed them too!! I pointed out that other companies copy their original packaging design and charge 15 dollars a tin- I said think of all the money you could be making!

Anonymous said...

www.thevillagecompany.com is NOT the original make of Lip Lickers. That was Village Bath Products. The Village Company says right on their site they've been in business for 30 years. Not long enough to have made the Lip Lickers of the 70's.

Anonymous said...

I just found a full mint original Spearmint Village Lip Lickers dated 1978 on eBay. It was in a lot of other vintage items and had a very blurry picture. But I recognized that tin and won the lot for $7.99!

Mary said...

I just found a tin in some of my childhood momentos-I have been looking for these for years! Is anyone aware of any still made that isn't from 1979? There are some on ebay for over $50, but they look like the original balm, and I don't want to try 30 yr. old balm! There were small and large tins, the small had one flavor, the larger had one or two flavors, and they were the yummiest ever! I miss them terribly!

Nova Crutchman said...

The internet is an amazing thing. I also have been thinking about these little tins for years. I couldn't remember the name. I did remember the gold tin and fancy old fashioned lettering. My favorite flavor was watermelon. I do remember the big double ones also.
Boy do I wish I had kept a couple of those!

Good memories,

Nova

Lisa said...

Village Bath Products and the Village Company IS the SAME company. I spoke with the marketing company, Village Bath Products was their grandfather company and after several mergers, Village Company is what exists today. Also they have no intention of remaking the Lip Lickers

Anonymous said...

What a total trip !

I've still got a Peach one from 1978. I never would have imagined that anybody else would be crazy about these, let alone remember them. I bought mine from "The Company", in Oakridge Mall in San Jose, CA. I loved all the Village Bath stuff ! I know you probably did too ! Both sides of the tin are dug into of course but there is still like half left and it still smells relatively good, and "No", I have no intention of of using it ! I'd sell mine, but the nostaglia's got me too... I held onto mine hoping that they would remake these too. Pretty weird that if all these woman are all dreamy about it that they wouldn't remake it. What about all of the candy from our youth. Somebody was cool enough to bring that back to us ! Oh Well...

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad others remember Village, and that I'm not crazy. I remember buying a whole bath set in Peach as a pollyanna gift for a classmate, and she loved it. I remember I wished I could keep it for myself!! I think I bought it at Spencer Gifts in my local mall in Springfield, PA.

The Village products in the 70s had Victorian lettering and styling to them that really appealed to me, even though I loved modern things too. Locally, we had an ice cream parlor at the same time called The Village Porch - no connection other than that it celebrated the Victoria era as well - and had all kinds of Vintage photos and ads on the walls...posters with Gibson Girls and old metal Coca-Cola signs. I just loved that place. I guess Victoriana was hot then.

Does anyone also remember Rachel Perry lipgloss? That was huge around the same time, and their ads were in every magazine. But I was heavy into Bonne Bell Lipsmackers. Glad to see they are still around. They've done partnerships now with almost every candy company, but back in the day I think it was a big deal that they just had Dr. Pepper-flavored lip smackers. Dr. Pepper's ad campaigns were huge and everyone knew the song, so Dr. Pepper was on everyone's lips in several ways: the drink, the song, and of course, the lip gloss.

Besides my Dr. Pepper, I had a giant strawberry Lip Smacker. Don't recall if I ever got to the bottom of it!! I still get just as excited when I see Lipsmackers today as I was back then.

Vanilla said...

I always bought them at Hallmark stores in Texas circa 1977!

Joel LeGrande said...

I was one of the two graphic designers who worked on the tin designs. Sadly, I left them for what seemed at the time a better opportunity. They were a great company in their diversity of products. When we changed our name to Minnetonka, Inc. is was to look like a much more diversified company as we gained product lines. One was Calvin Klein Cosmetics we purchased from him. He retained creative overview, but one product that became real famous that i designed the logo for was Obsession. Too bad I wasn't a freelancer at the time. I could have retired by the early 90's. I designed the logo in 1979 after Bob Taylor (President) came to me to see if I could come up with logo ideas for the brand, because Calvin wasn't excited about the New York effort he had been getting. It really didn't mean anything at the time, because it was at the product's inception without any correlating advertising. Yes I sure miss those days. 3 of us over lunch went to a local flower shop in Chaska, MN and just after we walked in the door the owner asked us if we worked at Minnetonka, Inc. We asked how he knew, and he said the smells from our clothes were so strong, he just knew. As time went by our art department grew with a plethora of great talent, who eventually all had to go our separate ways. It was a private company which eventually went public. Thanks for bringing back the great memories.
Joel LeGrande
Ashland, OR