A lot can change in 50 years, especially when it comes to our beauty habits. Case in point: fall 2012 is all about dark eyebrows and wine-coloured lips; back in the autumn of 1972, au natural was the thing that was "in."

But that's not all that's changed, say Tammy Smitham, vice-president of communications and corporate affairs, and Grace Falvao-Nunes, beauty boutique manager, from Shoppers Drug Mart. Over the five decades Shoppers has been in business, experts at the company have been able to see first-hand how our habits -- from what we buy to how products are made -- have changed.

What do we buy more of? Which items do we avoid completely? What are we using less of and how are products designed differently?

We got Smitham and Falvao-Nunes' to spill their beauty knowledge beans. (Be sure to check out some of the fun activities the company is holding to celebrate their 50 years of business!)

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  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Tammy:</strong> Nail Polish. The emergence of nails as the hottest fashion accessory is a trend of recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. <strong>Grace:</strong> Before you just had older women wearing nail polish -- now everyone is wearing it. It's super, over-the-top popular!

  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> Sunscreen has become so important for people. They have seen the effects the sun can have on their skin and their health.

  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> We are using more multi-tasking products -- items that have multiple benefits, like foundation with SPF, lip gloss with plumping properties and BB Creams which sometimes offer up to eight skin benefits in one product.

  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Tammy:</strong> Lash enhancers, such as treatments and new mascara formulas. Fake lashes are also becoming more and more popular -- items like Rapidlash didn't exist decades ago. <strong>Grace:</strong> Lash Fusion -- when it launched -- was a huge hit with our customers. We ordered 200 units and sold out immediately. It really works.

  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Tammy:</strong> Anti-aging and wrinkle-fighting products: this category continues to grow with both women and men as a disproportionate percentage of Canadians is ageing (they're trying to preserve and protect their skin). Consumers are more interested in products with clinically-proven ingredients and there's been a tremendous amount of innovation in this category.

  • What Products Are We Using More Of?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> Men's skin care has become increasingly popular. There's so much more selection now for men -- it used to just be Biotherm; now there's Clarins, Lab Series, Etival Homme and many more.

  • What Are We Using Less Of?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> In general we aren't using less of anything. In fact, we're using more of everything. One example of where we've seen some shift is the reduction of harmful ingredients like Parabens. There are also people looking for products which are "free" of something -- alcohol-free, gluten-free, oil-free and others.

  • <strong>Tammy:</strong> We expect more from our products given our busy lifestyles, hence the increased popularity and demand for multi-taskers that do more than one job, like BalĂ©a 3-in-1 facial wipes that tone, cleanse and moisturize. <strong>Grace:</strong> We also expect miracles from the products we use. Given all of the technology that exists, customers want products that reverse the aging process. Nobody wants to age and everyone wants to stay and look young. The newest anti-aging creams promise that to people.

  • How Has Our Taste In Products Changed?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> With respect to fragrance, in the past, there were a few scents that were very popular -- you could walk into a room and every woman smelled like Calvin Klein Eternity. Now, women don't want to smell the same as everyone else. They want their own individual fragrance.

  • How Has Our Taste In Products Changed?

    <strong>Tammy:</strong> We want the world to come to us. Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix now offer more international exclusives than ever before. 'Only at Shoppers' lines include GOSH Cosmetics, Boots No7, Soap & Glory, Nip + Fab, Sally Hershberger, Yes to Carrots, to name a few. <strong>Grace:</strong> We want more selection and choice and we want it now.

  • Do We Still Love The Same Shade Of Lipstick?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> When I first started in the business, women had three different lipstick shades -- a red, an orange and a pink. Now women have many, many different shades in their cosmetic bag, from mattes to sheer to shimmer and from berry to plum to nude. And women aren't just focused on lipstick anymore. Lip glosses have become as popular as lipstick. We're also seeing a resurgence of lip colour with the vintage trend. The "lady look" is coming back.

  • What Beauty Elements Are The Same As 50 Years Ago?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> Technology and design may change, but black eye-liner as a staple never goes out of style and eye-liner has become a category in and of itself.

  • What Beauty Elements Are The Same As 50 Years Ago?

    <strong>Grace:</strong> The importance of skin care. We may know more about how skin ages and changes, and use technology to a greater extent to develop new products, but the importance of the basics has not changed: cleanse, tone and moisturize. Customers consider the environmental effects on their skin and realize how important a regime like this is.

  • What Beauty Elements Are The Same As 50 Years Ago?

    <strong>Tammy:</strong> We still want to look and feel fabulous! There's nothing like a new lipstick shade to give you a little pick me up!