Histories Mysteries: a beauty perspective

29 Dec

Why hasn’t the History Channel come out with a documentary on the development of the cosmetic industry?  Clearly someone’s interested in this stuff if it’s a 14 billion dollar industry.  Yup. FOURTEEN BILLION.

Cosmetics have been used since Ancient History, and because one of my life goals is to be on Cash Cab (which is kind of like Jeopardy, but in a cab), I thought I’d investigate the industry a little bit.

In Ancient Times…

women would add rouge to their faces by grinding minerals into a powdered form and applying them to their face. They used things like slate as a mirror (vanity has a name… and it is: cave-woman?). They also used various minerals to adorn their eyes (think Cleopatra), and add pigment to their hair (ahhhh! greys!).

Word Origins

aesthëtikos – (should be an e with a bar over it… wordpress doesn’t have that character) The origin of aesthetic is Greek, and means perceptible to the senses.

sanitas per aquas – Latin phrase which the word spa may be an acronym for.  The term spa was first adopted

in 1326 in Belgium.

American Evolutions

1910:  Canadian-born Florence Nightingale Graham (related to the pioneer of Nursing?) takes on

the pseudonym Elizabeth Grady and opens her first salon, named The Red Door.

1937: Studies show 50% teenager girls argue with parents over wearing red lipstick (ohhhh the times have changed! I think I argued with my mother about blue hair). 

1946: Estée Lauder starts her first company with a jar of skin cream.  And the revolutionary marketing phrase

“Free Gift With Purchase”

came to be a favorite phrase in every woman’s vocabulary.

1968: Skin care is introduced in the department store.

1970:  Oil of Olay becomes a household name.  (Please stop buying this product.  It’s expensive and doesn’t work! (Refer to Step 2: Spend wisely.)

In Times of Depression…

Red Lipstick sales have always skyrocketed during tough times in American history.  In 1929, during the Great Depression, women were buying lipstick to make the day a little brighter.  This occurred again at the start of World War II.  Recently, sales surged again post- 9/11.  This theory of sales is referred to as the “lipstick index.”  Pretty interesting!

2002:  Botox is FDA approved.  Probably the best thing to ever happen to women besides red lipstick.

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2 Responses to “Histories Mysteries: a beauty perspective”

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