Jane Vanroe on collecting vintage powder compacts and compact mirrors. You can find Jane's designs at www.vanroe.com and on Amazon in the EU & USA
If your vintage powder compact has a 67mm inside diameter it is almost certainly for pressed refills. (If it hasn’t, please see my post “How to refill / replace powder in a compact”). Some ‘convertible’ compacts may also have a sifter and/or metal ring to hold a sifter in place. These are designed to be used with either powder. Simply store the sifter away if you’d prefer to use yours with pressed refills.
I find the best choice for pressed refill is Max Factor Creme Puff. Creme Puff was created by Mr Max Factor Jr. in the 1950s as the very first ‘creme’ powder. The formula has hardly changed since 1953. Max Factor don’t glue their Creme Puff refills into their plastic cases, as they know many older ladies still prefer to use the refill with a compact.
Max Factor Creme Puff is a classic high coverage powder, which can also be used as a powder foundation. Its smell is either highly evocative, or a little off-putting, depending on your perspective. Creme Puff is from the time of your compact, where makeup was expected to be glamorously fragranced. If you prefer a lighter scented product, Max Factor produce bronzers in the 67mm size. Creme Puff is widely available in UK chemists, and via Amazon in the UK and USA.
Another 67mm refill found here in the UK is Rimmel’s Stay Matte. Unfortunately this is glued into it’s plastic box. You can jimmy it out using heat and some creative use with a nail file, but do not blame me if this goes awry! If you use Stay Matte already, have a play with an old refill. If not, try Max Factor Creme Puff instead.
Estee Lauder Lucidity refills were available at 67mm until recently, but these are becoming harder to find. Estee’s compacts seem to be becoming smaller, following the trend of brands like Bourgois, Lancome, MAC, Benefit and Clinique. These stock a 59mm size. One idea for these refills is to make a card insert for your compact. Cut thin card exactly the same diameter as your compact. Wedge this into the base of your compact, then secure the slightly smaller powder pan onto the card with a dab of glue. Self-adhesive foam pads also work well, but never glue these directly onto your compact. Use a card insert as before.
Taken from my new ebook ‘Collecting Compact Mirrors & Powder Compacts’.