Happy 50th Bonne Bell Lip Smackers!


Everyone near and far, of all ages gather around; THEE Bonne Bell Lip Smacker turns 50 years old! That's over five decades, half a century of the world's favorite flavored lip gloss gracing our lips with so many authentically made flavors and many magical memories. How did a lip pomade originally created for active, outdoor enthusiasts become the world's favorite flavored lip gloss, you ask? If you’ve ever tried a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker the answer is easy.

The first ever Bonne Bell Lip Smackers logo

The first ever Bonne Bell Lip Smackers logo used on marketing such as displays, etc. Check out the stunning very first display here! The logo is so retro-groovy. ❤

The first ever Lip Smacker logo up close

In 1973, Jess A. Bell, 2nd generation and CEO of the time (also important to note- brother to thee Bonne Bell) created the first flavored lip gloss ever, Lip-Smacker. Story goes that he along with his wife Julie and their four kids were on a ski trip and while they were using their famous Weatherproofer pomade while hitting the slopes, Jess himself thought it would be much more fun and interesting if they had a fragrant, flavored like product to use. He called up his chemists back in Ohio on that very same trip and asked them to create some samples with flavors. That's when the very first flavor, the Strawberry Lip-Smacker was born, the first ever flavor on Bonne Bell's decades long roster of nearly perfect and meticulously made flavors. After liking the formula it was time to make more flavors and wrap it up in the perfect packaging. 

1974 Snippet with Julie Bell and Australian tennis star Lesley Hunt discussing products. Lesley Hunt (right) is holding the very first design of the Strawberry Lip Smacker. 🍓❤

While the Bonne Bell team was working on other various launches, Jess and the R&D team were hard at work looking at various packaging samples from their then recently launched Skin Musk fragrance. As they had been looking for a tube to do a solid fragrance stick in, they found what became to be the iconic jumbo, "Biggy" size. Low and behold, the jumbo sized tube with a screw-top cap turned out to be the perfect packaging to house the new Lip-Smackin' sensation. The tubes were heavy, resilient and felt incredibly luxurious to hold, it's no wonder we needed all of the flavors. 

The very first editions had white tubes with color matching graphics, cap and twist nozzle. The flavor was actually listed on the cap and on the bottom of the twist nozzle, how groovy is that?! This is changed by late 1974 when the flavor name was added to the side of the tubes. Shortly after this change the name "Lip-Smackers" on the tube changed to just "Lip-Smacker" by 1975. Bonne Bell Canada kept the "Lip-Smackers" name on the tube a little longer. Before the minor change though there were a handful of new Lip-Smacker flavors created after the first three. Orange Chocolate, Wild Raspberry, Passion Fruit also launched with the first edition design. 

First edition tops of caps with the beautiful BB initials and flavor name.

Bottoms of the tubes detailing flavors along with the famous "Lakewood, O. 44107"

But first, after Strawberry was perfected, Green Apple and Lemon were created to launch alongside one another as the first Lip-Smackin' trifecta of lip love.  The very first Bonne Bell Lip-Smackers started shipping out to stores in May of 1973 for a June launch, and quickly became an instant sensation and innovation to the cosmetics industry. While scented lipstick predates this, they were only scented and it was typically with a floral fragrance. Fruits, beverages, fanciful desserts and candies, etcs. were unheard of before this. Bonne Bell trail-blazed this and are to thank and worship really if you have a lip product with an addicting scent/flavor which most on the market have now. 

By the mid 70's Lip-Smackers were very accessible and sold everywhere from the most famous department stores, to your hometown drugstores and all the five-and-dimes. They were typically displayed behind the Bonne Bell cosmetics counter but also had standing displays and even jars for stores that did not have a counter. Some stores offered testers as well so you could smell away and pick your favorite flavors! Lip-Smackers were also available in many countries by the late 1970's. 

Lip-Smackers launched and took over the US with another new innovative product from Bonne Bell called Thirst Quenchers. Thirst Quenchers were a hydrating facial gel moisturizer with scent-sational aromas to match. While they didn't quite catch on as quickly as Lip Smackers did they were still very much ahead of their time. We'll get more into Thirst Quenchers in another post.

Lip Smackin' facts:

  • Strawberry was the first Lip Smacker flavor created and was actually a fragrance. 

  • Bonne Bell Lip Smackers officially hit the market on June 25th, 1973 to commemorate the original Bonne Bell founders birthday, Jesse Grover Bell, which was June 25th, 1890. More about it here.

  • The very first edition of Lip Smackers contained .45 oz. in the jumbo-sized "Biggy" tube but quickly changed to the standard .60 oz. The Biggy size tubes were a first in the world of beauty. 

  • Lip Smackers only came in the standard .60 oz. Biggy size until 1977 when Lil’ Smackeroos were introduced that later became the standard .14 oz. size. 

  • Bonne Bell Lip Smackers were the world's first flavored lip gloss not lip balm that the current owners of the brand claim. Lip Smackers were always marketed as a lip gloss stick all the way up until 2015. While Lip Smackers had many moisturizing benefits of a lip balm, it also gave lips the high sheen of a lip gloss while some flavors offered tints, shimmer and glitter.  

  • While scented lipsticks go back deep into cosmetics history, they were traditionally perfumed with only powdery florals. Bonne Bell was the first to add flavor paired with exciting aromas to lip gloss. At the time very few companies offered little-to-no variety with basic scents and no flavor.

  • Bonne Bell was the very first cosmetics company to co-brand a major partnership, with Dr Pepper in 1975. It turned out to be one of their best-selling Lip Smacker flavors for decades. This was their first of many successful cobranded partnerships that brought true, authentic flavors to life. 

  • If Bonne Bell chemists couldn’t nail a flavor perfectly they’d scrap the idea until they came up with the most authentic interpretation. 

Here are some fun phone wallpapers...

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers quickly became a cultural icon and continued to grow to be a global sensation through the decades while launching hundreds of unique and authentic flavors only ever done by Bonne Bell. Though Bonne Bell and Lip Smackers were already household names by the 90's, Bonne Bell cultivated and grew the Lip Smacker brand into its own sector in the 90's, Smackers, and offered many iconic products from fragrance, bath and body products, nail care and even expanded into face cosmetics that proved the brand to be a then powerhouse. 

Flash forward snippet from Bonne Bell's website circa 1996 comparing the then design to the original.

There will never be another product like a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker. It's incredibly impressive a world renowned, globally recognized, culturally captivating product like Lip Smackers were from a 2nd Generation, family-owned cosmetics brand located in Lakewood, Ohio. Generations grew up with Bonne Bell Lip Smackers up until 2015 when the 3rd Generation Bell family sold both Bonne Bell and Lip Smackers to a less than worthy company. While the "Lip Smacker" name is still around it's just that, a name. The DNA that generations of people fell in love with was gone almost immediately after the brands were sold off. Many not realizing the magic of Lip Smackers was because of Bonne Bell. So technically the Bonne Bell Lip Smacker didn't make it to 50, 42 if you're counting, but they’re worth celebrating in just sheer existence. The blood, sweat and tears of a family-owned business along with love, care and the magic of science made Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.  Lip Smackers have often been imitated but never ever duplicated since they first came around, because so many companies never had what it took nor understood the magic. It's more simple than it seems, if it says Dr Pepper on the label it needs to smell and taste exactly like Dr Pepper. Paired with an effective, moisturizing formula plus some tint, shine and beautiful Biggy sizes and you've got yourself an iconic, decades long best-seller. The Bell family still owns and operates Formula 10.0.6 in their 4th Generation and we can only hope they give us a 2.0 one day with their decades worth of knowledge. Until then it remains that there is nothing on the market today that checks all the marks Bonne Bell Lip Smackers did. 

Perhaps it’s because Bonne Bell Lip Smackers lived beside us all of our lives and held our hands, or lips rather, through our first kisses, through our school dances, through heartache, through our first introductions to cosmetics, through some of the best decades of music and through all the good and bad of childhood to adulthood. I know it might just be a silly lip gloss/balm to some but Bonne Bell Lip Smackers always felt like home, especially after leaving home and longing for old times. Popping or twisting off a cap and breathing in the sweet smell and taste of memories. Maybe you only had one favorite flavor or needed them all, that brought you sunshine and carried you through the trials of life. Some may say it’s blinded by nostalgia but Bonne Bell Lip Smackers were the real deal, the sizes, the colors and the most authentic flavors I’ve ever smelled reinterpreted. That’s why it always made waiting for the next new flavor(s) so hard. And why letting go is even harder. 

*Please cite www.TheOzofLipSmackerLand.com when reposting ANY content or images.


  1. Dr Pepper was the BEST lip smacker. I’m still mourning the end of the flavor. Please bring it back!!!

  2. I collected a basket of the Aspire Bonne Bell varieties before the big change. Had a giant bag full of biggies (even a DP biggie) and small ones. A quarter of them melted during a move and the other have recently “turned.” My first flavor, with the string, was peach. I could only find a small one of that one, of course, before the switchover in 2015.

    I’m sad about Dr Pepper. I was just telling a friend about it, since she asked me what color of lipstick I was wearing in a photo. She won’t get to try it now.


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