Vintage Cosmetics Mini Review: Astral Cream

by - 09:00


A couple of months ago I started using Astral Cream to moisturise. I spotted a perfectly handbag-sized tub and threw it in my basket more or less on a whim, but it's become a really essential thing for me to carry around.

Part of the initial attraction for me was the display in the shop - advertising that the product had not changed since it came on the market in 1953. Anything with vintage credentials usually catches my eye, and I really enjoy trying out the products to see what they're like. This goes especially if the formulation hasn't changed in over 60 years as with Astral! 

As far as the formulation goes, Astral Original is a thick, almost spongy-feeling cream. For my skin this is perfect as I find lighter lotions don't moisturise my skin properly and disappear almost as soon as I have applied them. The cream has a pleasant "old-fashioned cosmetics" scent that I really enjoy, although it might be a little strong for some people who are sensitive to this kind of scent. In addition, if you have especially sensitive skin, you may find an unscented moisturiser better for your skin. According to the Astral website, the scent is unique to Astral and has also remained unchanged throughout the product's history.

Astral is a barrier cream, meaning that it helps to keep moisture from leaving your skin. The moisturising effect comes from the glycerin in the cream while the barrier effect is achieved using lanolin which is extracted from sheep's wool. It is possible to be both sensitive and allergic to lanolin, so that's worth bearing in mind if you do have especially sensitive skin (or a known lanolin sensitivity). If you suspect you may have an allergy to lanolin, you can have a patch test done to confirm.


Anyway, I have the 50ml tub (because it was handbag sized) which is currently retailing at Superdrug for £1.29. A 200ml tub and a 500ml tub are also available, so I might buy a larger tub to refill my small one as I currently use this most when I'm out and about.

Since Astral has been sold since 1953, I of course also looked up some of the old adverts. I have included a couple here that I was able to embed from the Astral Facebook page but I highly recommend Googling to find some others. There are plenty available to view, and some of them are absolute beauties. I also really like the adverts for Astral soap, which sadly isn't available to buy any more.

Having done some reading around online, it appears that Astral has been suffering from some image problems. I have seen it being described as having a "fuddy-duddy" or "old-fashioned" image, which apparently is leading some people to believe that it is in some way not suitable for use by anyone below the age of retirement. Well, I'm more than aware that I'm preaching to the choir here but if a product has been working for over 60 years then surely "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"! I know not everyone is going to purposefully seek out products that have been available since the 1940s or 50s in the way I have been known to do, but equally I don't see why longevity of a brand should be offputting. Perhaps I'm in the minority in not caring about having fashionable moisturisers (why is that even a concern??) but if using Astral means I'll look as good as well-known fan of the brand Joanna Lumley when I get to her age - well then, sign me up! 


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  1. Thank you for the "potted" history of Astral (sorry, weak pun). My mother used it and I use it - I'm no spring chicken but I look (apparently) 20 years younger than I am, so I'm a big fan. Another goodie to look into is Anne French Deep Cleansing Milk - it too is fabulous. Outstrips all the other milks that cost four times the price.