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Cosmetic History – Milestones of the Last Century

The discovery of the art of photography and film, in particular, provided the impetus for a surge in cosmetics. As viewers saw images of famous people with flawless complexions and strong sex appeal, a woman’s beauty standards began to change. Cosmetics have become a means to beautify the physical appearance.

During the 1920s, cosmetic history increased rapidly. Between the years 1927 and 1930, radio advertising expenses increased from $300,000 to $3.2 million. At first, many women’s magazines rejected ads for cosmetics. However, near the end of the 1920s, cosmetics had progressed and cosmetics advertising in magazines became one of the largest revenue-generating resources of the magazine industry.

Here is a brief chronological overview of cosmetics from 1900 to 2010:

1900: Annie Turnbo, a black businesswoman, begins selling hair conditioners, hair treatments, as well as harmless hair straightening and hair growth products door to door.

1904: From Lodz, Poland, Max Factors moves to the United States, and 4 years later to the state of Los Angeles, where it sells makeup for movie celebrities that does not crack or cake.

1909: Eugene Schueller, a French chemist, creates the first harmless commercial hair dye. In 1910, his company was called L’Oreal.

1905: Sarah McWilliams begins selling hair products door-to-door. After marrying Charles J. Walker, she was recognized as Madame CJ Walker and joined her business in Indianapolis in 1911.

1909 – Cosmetologist Elizabeth Hubbard and Florence Graham open a shop on Fifth Avenue in New York City. After a while, Florence Graham changes the name of the store from her to Elizabeth Arden.

1914: Maybelline has been discovered by TJ Williams. The Maybelline cosmetics company specializes in mascara.

1922: The hairpin was invented to control or treat short or bobbed hair.

1932: Charles Lackman, a supplier of nail polishes, and Joseph and Charles Revson, distributors of nail polishes, discover Revlon. Revlon is a cosmetics company that sells nail polishes in a wide range of colors.

1932 – A New York chemist named Lawrence Gelb brings home a hair dye product that goes through the hair shaft. He also starts a business called Clairol. In 1950, he started Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath, a one-step hair coloring product.

1933: A fresh new wave riding technique is introduced, using chemicals, requiring no machinery or electricity.

1935 – The famous Max Factor made Pancake makeup, initially developed to look natural on tint film.

1941: Aerosols aren’t really tested, paving the way for hairspray.

1944: Benjamin Green, a Miami Beach pharmacist, develops sunscreen to protect the skin of soldiers in the South Pacific.

1958: Mascara wands appear, eliminating the need to apply mascara with a brush.

1961: Noxema starts Cover Girl cosmetics, one of the first brands for sale in grocery stores and aimed at teenagers.

1963: For the first time in the history of cosmetics, Revlon offers its first powder blush.

The next four decades of cosmetic history can be summarized as follows:

1970s: A softer look came into vogue with eyeliners and painted-on lashes that saw sales drop. White highlighters and soft eyeshadows were popular.

1980s – Anti-aging, skin care, and beauty (therapy) treatments were the fashion trends that evolved with emphasis placed on tanning and the cancer link.

1990s: Touch© by Yves St. Laurent was launched and became the item to have as part of the cosmetic regimen.

2000 to 2010: History will make this the decade of certified organic and/or natural cosmetics. A period in which many companies around the world will launch safe and toxic-free products, but the United States will be left behind.

Regulations will be developed worldwide to certify that cosmetic products are organic and/or natural, but through strong lobbying in Washington, DC, the US Cosmetic Industry will fight legislation to eliminate toxic ingredients in cosmetics. , claiming that their products are perfectly safe. Ultimately, when the history of cosmetics is studied in the future, it will show that the industry put revenue and profit before the health benefits of consumers.

Certifying bodies will emerge, mostly from other countries, and although each one will use different criteria, in the end they will have provided the consumer with safe and toxic-free cosmetic products. The hope is that the $50 billion US cosmetics industry will somehow be encouraged to do the same.

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