Bésame Cosmetics has been tripling its annual revenue by focusing on design, craftsmanship, and showpiece packaging inspired by vintage glamour.
Frustrated with what was available in terms of sophistication, glamour, and quality, Hernandez decided to create a modern line that translated the style and craftsmanship of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. It was a time when cosmetics were designed to be glamorous and even the packaging was considered an elegantly made showpiece.
Hernandez, who was born in Buenos Aires and raised in the Bronx, spent five years and poured $1 million of her own money into creating Bésame—Spanish for "kiss me"—from scratch, half of which was used just on researching period makeup and container designs. She came up with a palette of modern cosmetic formulations that were lighter in texture and without some of the harmful original ingredients like lead, based on old recipes from archival books as well as the remnants of vintage cosmetics that she discovered in antique stores. Using period samples, including her grandmother's collection of antique compacts and lipstick tubes, Hernandez designed Bésame's vintage-inspired packaging. "I wanted the products to bring back memories of the people that lived in that period," she says. "I wanted to bring back the best of the beginning of the makeup industry."WEB GLOSS.
At Bésame, the gorgeous, richly pigmented colors—like noir red and peacock blue—are reproduced from the old silver screen and are housed in gold lacquer packaging embossed with chrysanthemum detailing. The custom double-sided-tip lipsticks come in pinky-size bullet-shaped metal containers, the rouges have red velvet puffs, and the makeup sets come in slim, gilded cigarette cases.