Stories from the history and science of cosmetics, skin care and early Beauty Culture.

Recent Stories

Patent Medicines and Cosmetics


The cosmetic industry, perhaps more than any other, capitalised on the advertising expertise developed to sell patent medicines.

Face Moulding


Some facial treatments were said to mould the contours of the face in the same way that a sculptor would use their hands to fashion a clay bust.

Avocado Oil


Avocados were a food source for the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans who also applied the oil-rich fruit pulp as a skin treatment.

Marie Earle


Marie Earle operated salons in Liverpool and Manchester well before opening L’Institut de Marie Earle in Paris in 1909.

Day and Night Creams


In the early twentieth century some cosmetic companies had only two creams in their skin-care range, a day cream and a night cream.

Max Factor Factory


In 1946 the Max Factor company set about converting an old radar factory in West Howe, Bournemouth into a plant for manufacturing cosmetics.

Colour Matching


Maintaining consistency of colour between different batches of make-up was a perennial problem for early cosmetic firms.

Lipstick Wars


The ‘Lipstick Wars’ of the 1950s were started when Hazel Bishop began a national campaign to sell its Long Lasting Lipstick in the United States.


Booklets Project

A list of booklets published by cosmetic companies in the first half or so of the twentieth century with scans of some items.

Houbigant list and three others added 4th August 2015.

New scans

1912 Cyclax. The Cultivation and Preservation of Natural Beauty

Added: 4th August 2015

1917 Max Factor and Company

Added: 26th July 2015

Story Updates

Chemical Depilatories

Updated: 21st July 2015

Cosmetic Stockings

Updated: 8th July 2015

Vapourisers (Steamers & Atomisers)

Updated: 5th July 2015

Cosmetics Timeline

Updated: 1st July 2015

Company Timeline

Updated: 1st July 2015

Facial Irons

Updated: 30th May 2015 (major)

Cake Mascara

Updated: 26th June 2015

Liquid and Cream Mascara

Updated: 26th June 2015


Popular Stories

  1. Vanishing Creams
  2. Iontophoresis and Desincrustation
  3. Pan-Cake Make-up
  4. Cold Creams
  5. Hazeline Snow
  6. Straps, Bandages and Tapes
  7. What is a cosmetic?
  8. Early Movie Make-up
  9. High Frequency
  10. Petrolatum/Petroleum Jelly

Contact Me

I am based in Perth, Western Australia. You can contact me by Email or follow me on Twitter to receive information about new stories and updates. I am always keen to hear from others interested in this area. Thanks to everyone who has already been in touch.