Bourjois celebrates 150 years

The history of BOURJOIS is a narrative of Beauty and the desire to enhance the Beauty regime of women, through the decades and also of France and is capital, Paris. BOURJOIS tells the story of an evolving society, accompanying and enchanting generations of women. For 150 years now, the Color, Joy, Complicity, and Authenticity of a unique expertise remain at the heart of a Brand that knows and loves women…


Bourjois made its first appearance in 1863 in the theatre district located on the Grands Boulevards of Paris.
Its creator, the actor Joseph-Albert PONSIN, produced make-up for the actresses of stage in his apartment. His first creations were thick, waxy grease paint sticks in different colours, and named after then famous theatre characters such as Jaloux (Jealous), Vieillard (Old Man), Amoureux (Lover)… and Roméo !
A beauty visionary and cosmetologist, PONSIN quickly expanded his range of makeup… always seeking a better quality and variety.
In 1868, Alexandre-Napoléon BOURJOIS, co-manager of the Brand, took over and expanded its development, his name appearing on products for the theatre, such as the Rouge Fin or Rouge Rosette Brune.


It was Monsieur Bourjois who went on to develop the Company, giving it an international and mass-market dimension.
In 1879, BOURJOIS moved from the theatre world into the world of cities. It was an era which conjures up memories of the French Cancan, the Folies Bergères, as well as famous landmarks and monuments… all Parisian, of course!
The title Theatre Supplier appearing on the little round pots of face powder gave way to: Special Manufacturer of Feminine Beauty Products.
The Java Rice Powder designed for lightening complexions was immediately embraced by women, with 2 million boxes being purchased annually around the world.
The 1898 BOURJOIS catalogue featured over 700 items, not only face powder and make-up but also Fragrances, Toilet Waters, Perfumed Extracts for handkerchiefs, Hair Lotions.
Products were exported worldwide, and often won medals at international exhibitions, for their quality and creativity.


In the Twenties, BOURJOIS was already present in 120 countries including the huge market of the United States, which had long been asking for a perfume. In 1928 it arrived… and was called Evening in Paris! This was the first affordable, luxury perfume which targeted women the world over.
Created by Ernest BEAUX, the famous perfumer, it was marketed a year later in France as Soir de Paris. Carnation, jasmine, iris, Provence rose, vetiver and sandalwood gave it a fl oral, spicy fragrance combined with a warm, provocative, woody background note.

● The distinctiveness, originality and strength of Soir de Paris were due to the fact that apart from being a perfume, it was an image, a universe unto itself, and a world easily adaptable beyond borders and in other cultures.


From the past to the present, the little round pots contain the BOURJOIS pastel blushes and eye shadows representing the Brand’s universe. These fun and chic little round pots full of French joie de vivre, are the symbol of BOURJOIS.

In 1912, the famous Pastel Blushes were created. The manufacturing process was revolutionary: a mixture of powder and water, was shaped and placed in round moulds, dried and then, polished by hand before being put into little round pots of printed cardboard. There were a variety of shades and effects, adapted to individual personalities, desires, styles and fashion preferences.

A cult product: 6 million round pots are now sold every year around the globe…


Bourjois chose the young and elegant Parisian woman as its icon.

An imaginary muse, BABETTE, accompanied the beginning of female emancipation during the Roaring Twenties.

With her “tomboy” look, and exuding joy, humour and elegant flirtation, this independent Parisian recounted her exciting adventures in fashion magazines

On certain posters in 1924, one could read “Thanks to her perfume, and her pastel blush and eye-shadows, she can guide all women on the paths of seduction.”

Today, BOURJOIS, creator of colours and fashion, remains an essential Brand for Parisians and all women.


Simplifying beauty and easing the beauty regime for women through innovation and refinement are the main aims of BOURJOIS.

From the end of the 19th century, “mini” formats combined quality and elegant designs, anticipating the concept of women-on-the-go… (mini push-up lipsticks, mini powder compacts containing swan duvet powder puffs, etc.)

A very practical make-up kit, known as the Ladies’ Friend was created in 1897. It came in the form of a small, midnight blue cylinder-shaped case, and contained a lipstick, powder and puffs, as well as kohl for the eyes.  
 The BOURJOIS collections of today are mini nail enamels, round pots with a mirror and an integrated brush, double-brush mascaras etc. These products continue to assist women who use the latest make-up techniques, without constraint and with pleasure.

BOURJOIS has a colour palette of more than 360 shades and creates over 100 new and ingenious products every year.

This post is written, edited & compiled by Ayat Seif Elnasr & Dina Achraf

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