The Illusion of Beauty – Cosmetics Through The Years

young lady looking pretty in car

The Illusion of Beauty – Cosmetics Through The Years

Let’s have some fun today.. How about a little bit of background about cosmetics and how we are still sold on

“The illusion of Beauty”

Now for a little history behind how the cosmetic companies of today can still sell us youth in a jar, anti-aging beauty products, all based on the idea that we the buyers are willing to pay top dollar to keep our youth a little longer.

*Did you know that during the Depression that cosmetics sales increased not decreased?*

I love old books, I really do! Sometimes they can offer interesting beauty tips, aides and even warnings about beauty products as far back as in this case, the year 1934.

The book is called SKIN DEEP The Truth About Beauty Aids – Safe and Harmful by M.C. Phillips of Consumer’s Research dated 1934 and it was at that time Eighth Printing!
There was a book that was printed because in the summer of 1927, a book was published entitled “Your Money’s Worth”.
This book, which constituted a study in the waste of the consumer’s dollar. It seems that when that book was published the authors are swamped with requests for more information. (They wrote letters?? What
are those?)

You read the SKIN DEEP book, they talk about how they take apart products to showcase what they have in them that is so bad. Remember ever reading about how Queen Elizabeth worth white foundation made from lead? Those kind of warnings.. They even got a beauty ad pulled from a magazine!

I have a feeling that this might be the beginnings of the Consumer’s Report magazine still in publication today.
What beauty warnings do that they state was issues? The idea, that cosmetics are all that we needed to be beautiful.
“Selling the Illusion”
The cosmetic outfit of the average woman twenty-five years ago (early 1900’s) consisted almost of a can of talcum powder, a bottle of hand softener, usually glycerine, tragacanth and rose water. (Take about boring, I carry more than that just in my purse!)
Here is the really fun part!

“The idea of wearing rouge, lipstick, nail polish, or any of the other cosmetics commonly used today definitely classed a woman as “fast” if not completely declassee. ” Oh boy are we all in trouble now) 😀 My my how things have changed.

But that all changed, when moral customs, when enterprising manufacturers and advertising agencies soon found that it was profitable to encourage women to follow Cleopatra rather than Penelope. (Who was she I got no clue)

Now I love this! Whether it be rouge, lipstick, cold cream, or turtle oil cream, you get the impression that all a woman has to do is invest in five or six essential cosmetics. She will in short order acquire the lure of of an oriental houri plus the finish of a Hollywood actress. (Yes Please, I will buy where it is that will turn me into a actress!)
Ever heard this crazy quote?

“She will not only be able to retain her husband’s affection but will probably need a police at the door to fight off admirers”?

The wording came about in 1934! These are extravagant claims that had no basis in fact. OH PLEASE, yet the women of that time were sold on the ideas.

Red nail polish was one of those beauty items that once belong to fast women. No housewife would ever been seen wearing it.

Here is the best part:
A general manager of one of the foremost advertised lines is quoted as saying:

“We do not sell merchandise in the it is sold by the toothpick manufacturer. We sell a service to woman, we sell a *belief* in the efficacy of mysterious liquids and grains.

Remove confidence from this and the cleverest chemical amalgam, the most powerful advertising campaign, the best system of merchandise, becomes *valueless*.

Even today, we are sold on what may happen when we spend 100’s on beauty products in the hope we will look as good as the ad in the magazine, online, on TV.
The beginnings of how we sold, started as far back as 1900’s.

We can thank ad agencies as far back the early 1900’s to make us feel bad about how we look, how much we weight, how healthy our hair isn’t.

Funny how things change but the real fact is, nothing has changed.

In fact, how we are sold on the idea that beauty products, we turn into the woman in the magazine. So that really hasn’t changed that much.
beautiful lady with a rose

Even today with the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry  full of beauty products just about everything, we are still sold on ”The Illusion of Beauty”
If you are interested in reading more about the history of beauty there is a book called Hope in a Jar: The making of American Culture that came out in 1998 that talks more about how this all came about.
We aren’t even going to start on how much all that beauty is costing us the consumers.

That’s it for today.. what your thoughts about beauty and how it is thought of in today’s world? Are we still being sold on that a bit of paint will make everything better? OH wait.. we are.. lol

Owner & creator of Overall Beauty Minerals - vegan mineral makeup line. Beauty blogger, writer of articles about pretty much anything to do with beauty, with product reviews. Lover of guinea pigs, supporter of no-kill shelters for small animals.
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