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Thin Lizzy: A foundation, a blush, a contour, an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a best friend 
 (Image: Archi Banal)
Thin Lizzy: A foundation, a blush, a contour, an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a best friend (Image: Archi Banal)

Pop CultureOctober 26, 2023

Remember when Thin Lizzy promised a makeup miracle?

Thin Lizzy: A foundation, a blush, a contour, an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a best friend 
 (Image: Archi Banal)
Thin Lizzy: A foundation, a blush, a contour, an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a best friend (Image: Archi Banal)

Celebrating the little blue powder compact tucked away in every New Zealand makeup bag in the mid 2000s. 

First published in 2019.

You’re at a house party. You’re not quite drunk but tipsy enough to feel emboldened to look through the bathroom cabinet after your pee break. Behind the Korean face masks, Revlon ColourStay foundation, next to the antihistamines and Mario Badescu facial spray, lies a small blue compact and big fluffy brush, carefully and intentionally hidden.

Here lies the biggest secret of every modern New Zealand woman.

You want to know why your host looks so radiant in the middle of winter? You want to know why they’re so tanned and glowing when it’s 6 degrees outside? The secret is this: the Thin Lizzy 6-in-1 Compact. “No way!” You exclaim, “Jordan has such good taste. They would never stoop to buying Thin Lizzy?” 

Sorry to burst your bubble, but every person in this god green country has probably buffed on a few layers of Thin Lizzy – or its older counterpart Natural Glow – in their lifetime, including you. It is arguably the best makeup you ever used. But what’s so good about Thin Lizzy and Natural Glow you ask? Find out after this ad break. 

Everyone remembers their first time. Maybe you saw the infomercials back when it was Natural Glow and found yourself hypnotised by Suzanne Paul’s accent. Maybe you were walking through Farmers and a promo woman offered to do your makeup at a Thin Lizzy pop-up. Maybe you were at your friend’s house watching them get ready and decided to test the thousands of luminous spheres on your own pallid skin. 

Whichever way you tried it, the results were clear. You looked amazing. The infomercial was not lying and that spoken word poetry commercial break really sold it. 

How could a single powder compact make your skin look like you just stepped off a Coromandel beach, high off happiness and adrenaline after seeing Six60 perform? Even through your dark days of self-loathing and mental exhaustion, slapping on a bit of Thin Lizzy gave the effect that you put in some effort when really it was barely none at all. 

It all seemed too easy. A few swipes of the 6-in-1 powder on your face and you were ready to hit the university pub crawl. Use it on your arms, legs and décolletage. Because it was a night out, you added a bit more to your cheeks as a blush and contour. Sure, you looked amazing, but at the same time it felt like you were cheating somehow. Was makeup supposed to be this easy? 

The icon

You could use it as a face foundation, a blush, a contour, an eye shadow, a lip colour and a body bronzer. It replaced six makeup items with one easy compact. But using it didn’t seem right as you got older – you were becoming an adult, you thought you should be putting in more work with this kind of thing, like everyone else seemed to be. You put your Thin Lizzy away in its paisley patterned metal tin and promised yourself you’d use a real liquid foundation one day. 

Thin Lizzy and Natural Glow were the gateway drug to “real makeup”. Sure, the powder made you look good but you wanted to wear real foundation – that’s what all the hot people in Girlfriend magazine were doing. No one was wearing a 6-in-1 powder at the school ball, were they? Could you even turn up to a job interview not wearing foundation? There must be a reason why makeup bags are made so big: the world is telling you that you need all these products to achieve “the look”. One small 6-in-1 compact can’t possibly be enough to do that.

After weeks of finally psyching yourself up, you headed to the department store to pick out a Maybelline foundation. Then, overwhelmed by the colour options, you tried on a few testers under the fluorescent shop lights. “Close enough,” you thought. 

You were wrong. 

As you smear the liquid foundation on you face you can’t understand why it isn’t just magically disappearing on your skin. It matched in the shop, so why isn’t it matching now at home?! It looks yellow, patchy and dry. Your chin is a different colour to your forehead, the dry skin around your nose is exaggerated with beige cornflake-like bits. It’s so hard, why is it so hard? Looking at your pancake face in the mirror you begin to regret the $30 you spent on the foundation and the $40 you spent on the blending sponge. It just soaked it all up. 

You wipe it all off with a wet wipe, several wet wipes, shocked at how much foundation people seem to put on their face every single day. 

Your ride is coming in less than 20 minutes and you still haven’t even got dressed. You reach for your favourite Thin Lizzy compact; small and smooth, it fits perfectly in your hand, a tell-tale peak of stainless steel in the middle – you’ve used this powder a lot because you love it. It’s reliable, it’s easy and it looks great on you. 

You rub your fluffy brush over the powder, taping off the excess, and, with an expert hand, you dust the 6-in-1 over your face. You add more to the cheeks for blush and sculpt out some cheek bones. You dust a little harder over the eyelids and cover the rest of your arms and legs with it too. You mix some of the powder with some lipgloss and, with the obligatory smack of the lips, you inspect yourself in the mirror. You’re beautiful, you’re gorgeous. You look like Rachel Hunter. 

You pop the compact into your bag with the brush in case you need to do any touch ups later. 

Everyone has secrets – your credit card debt, your inappropriate work crush, the state of your mental health. 

You don’t have to admit it out loud but you do have to admit to yourself: Thin Lizzy is the best makeup you’ve ever used. 

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