Charming Vintage Lipstick Holders: Value, Identification, & Styles

Nothing adds vintage charm to your vanity table like these sweet lipstick holders from the past.

Published May 14, 2024
Vintage Stratton Lipstick Holder and Mirror, Made in England, Circa 1950s

We know putting on your makeup is a pretty big deal, but back in the 1940s and 1950s, it was an entire production. You've seen the dressing tables from that era, but you may not have seen one of the many items these pieces of furniture held: the vintage lipstick holder. A small tray or holder with space for one or more tubes of lipstick, these knick-knacks came in all kinds of styles.

Today, vintage lipstick holders are also quite valuable with some of the high-end examples selling for hundreds of dollars. Whether you have one and are wondering what it's worth or are thinking of adding one of these charming makeup organizers to your collection, it's really fun to look at all the different styles.

How to Identify a Vintage Lipstick Holder

Antique stores are full of those items that you look at and kind of wonder what they might have been for, and lipstick holders fall into this category. They're not always easy to identify. Here's how to spot one next time you're shopping:

  • Many lipstick holders are designed to sit on a surface (like that makeup vanity or dressing table we talked about). They won't fall over or roll away if you put them down on something.
  • A few holders were meant to go in your purse. They're often the shape of a tube of lipstick, but some also fold up like a compact.
  • Vintage holders intended to sit on the vanity have one or more round holes that will hold a tube of lipstick upright for easy access. The holes are about the size of a tube of lipstick.
  • Some are really just a decorative holder for a single tube, so they don't always have to have multiple holes.
  • Many examples have mirrors as part of the design.
  • It's common to see these in novelty shapes like animals, people, and other figurative designs.
Quick Tip

It's actually pretty easy to tell a vintage lipstick holder from a modern one. These aren't items that are faked all that often, and there isn't a lot of modern demand for them. If you see one that looks older, it probably is.

Related: Vintage Vanity Sets - A Look at the Elegant Essentials

Styles of Lipstick Holders and What They're Worth

While they all had the same job of holding tubes of lipstick, vintage displays did it in a lot of different ways. You'll see all kinds of styles, but they tend to fall into a few categories.

Vanity-Top Lipstick Holders

Vintage Flower Girl Lipstick Holder

The classic lipstick display has a novelty design or a pretty shape with an integrated mirror. They sit on the vanity, so they usually have a broad base with a few holes for lipsticks. The center often shows a figure like a woman, animal, or cherub. When it comes to value, these can be worth a lot if they're charming and kitschy. For instance, a vintage ceramic pixie lipstick holder by Josef Originals sold for $190.

Purse Lipstick Holders

Vintage Stratton Lipstick Holder

If you needed to carry a single tube of lipstick in your purse but wanted a classier alternative to just tossing the tube in there (and potentially messing up the lining of your bag), you used a purse holder. They sometimes included a mirror to make it easier to apply your lipstick. They can be valuable, but they generally sell for under $100. A sterling silver single-tube vintage lipstick holder with a mirror sold for about $90.

Single-Tube Novelty Lipstick Holders

Collectible Revlon doll Couturines 1960

Not all single-tube lipstick holders were meant to go in your purse. In fact, some were meant to show off just one tube of lipstick on your vanity or anywhere else you wanted to put it. The novelty designs were super cute. One of the most valuable vintage lipstick holders is the Revlon Counturines Lipstick Doll Case. This holder was made in the early 1960s and features a mannequin with a fur hat and cape. It holds a single tube of lipstick. These can be worth hundreds, and one sold on eBay for $500.

Lipstick Holder Carousels

Capodimonte ceramic musical carousel

One of the most valuable styles is the vintage lipstick holder carousel. These pieces were made for display and had lots of little doors or compartments for holding tubes of lipstick. Many were made of onyx and other stones, but you'll also see them with mirrored sides or made of find porcelain. One by Italian porcelain house Capodimonte had elaborate decorations of cherubs and sold for almost $350.

Quick Tip

Like any vintage item, condition is a big deal with lipstick holders. The design should be clear and sharp with no broken pieces or major damage, and it should still function to display lipstick.

Vintage Makeup Displays That Work Just as Well Today

Whether you collect vanity-top displays or just love makeup items from the past, vintage lipstick holders are adorable and lovely. Even better, they work just as well today to store your lipstick as they did decades ago.

Charming Vintage Lipstick Holders: Value, Identification, & Styles