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The Weirdest Origin Stories We’ve Heard in the Beauty World


In the summer of 1853, a hot tempered chef was manning the kitchen at a chic resort. A dinner guest found the chef’s French fries too thick for his liking and sent the plate back to the kitchen. In an effort to one up the persnickety customer, the chef sliced the potatoes paper-thin. And eureka! America’s favorite salty, snack—duh! the potato chip—was born. 

Unexpected discovery of a seriously great thing, right? Like our favorite crunchy fix, these four beauty products have surprising (and totally awesome!) beginnings. 

Benefit’s Benetint 

Take a peek inside any beauty editor’s makeup bag and you’ll probably find a much-loved bottle of this classic cheek and lip stain. And it’s not hard to see why it’s a universal favorite: Just a few swipes of this rose-hued liquid gives you a seriously pretty flush that lasts for hours. Do you know about the cheeky—dare we say slightly racy—origins of Benetint? In 1977, an exotic dancer visited Benefit co-founders Jean and Jane Ford in their San Francisco shop with a serious makeup request: she needed a product that would liven up her um, nipples, with a touch of color and last all night through long performances. The sisters’ solution? Crafting a rouge-hued stain by steaming rose petals in their kitchen. The lush tint was so effective, it soon became a hit with women throughout the city, and it went on to become one of Benefit’s most beloved products.

Dr. Lipp’s Original Nipple Balm for Lips

Originally created for new mothers facing sore nipples from breastfeeding, Dr. Lipp’s ultra hydrating formula quickly earned a rep as the ultimate multipurpose balm among savvy London makeup artists. Packed with all-natural ingredients, it repairs rough, flaky lips and smoothes dry skin patches. Best of all, this versatile lip balm and gloss also heals cuticles, split ends, sunburns, and even diaper rash.

Body Drench’s Quick Tan Gradual Self Tanning Lotion

Body Drench’s original moisturizer was designed to help women recovering from mastectomies by soothing sensitive skin around the surgical areas so they could comfortably wear bras again. The healing formula was such a runaway success that Body Drench started creating more products with its signature blend of natural emollients, botanical extracts, and nourishing vitamins. Thirty years later, the brand is one of the most popular skincare providers for spa professionals and salon-goers alike, and can be found in over 40 countries. We’re particularly partial to the glow-inducing powers of their of their Quick Tan Gradual Self Tanning Lotion. Like a topnotch daily moisturizer, it sinks in immediately and calms dryness. Plus, the formula includes a scent-free sunless tanner that lets you gradually build up a convincing bronze hue. 

Algenist Firming & Lifting Cream

In 2003, a team of talented biotech scientists from San Francisco met to develop a renewable energy source using microalgae. To their surprise, they discovered that a compound surrounding the microalgae was capable of regenerating and protecting living cells. Soon after, this firming everyday cream was created harnessing that power. Algenist’s proprietary combination of microalgae-based ingredients works to rebuild your skin’s structure by increasing the production of the three essential proteins that diminish as we age: elastin, collagen, and proteoglycans. The result is radiant, younger looking skin.

Do you know of any products that have shamazing backstories? Share them with us in the comments below! 


A little wary to try the products above but really curious? You can find these miracle workers, or ones just like them, in a Birchbox. Here’s how you can become a subscriber.

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