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The History of Beauty

Archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of cosmetics (makeup) being used in Egypt dating back to the fourth millennium BC. They found ancient artifacts of eye makeup and objects used for the application of scented unguents.

Bobby Pins
Bobby pins were first introduced to America in 1916.

Illustration: Face powder makeup in compact case with application brushMax Factor Make-up
Born Max Faktor in Lodz, Poland during the 1870s, Max Factor became the father of modern make-up. With 10 children, the Factor parents could not afford formal education for their children, so at the age of eight Max was placed in apprenticeship to a dentist-pharmacist. Years of mixing potions instilled in him a fascination with the human form. Factor opened his own shop in a suburb of Moscow, selling hand-made rouges, creams, fragrances, and wigs. A traveling theatrical troupe wore Factor's make-up while performing for Russian nobility, and the door to fame and fortune opened wide. The Russian nobility appointed Factor the official cosmetic expert for the royal family and the Imperial Russian Grand Opera.

In 1904, Factor and his family came to America. He had a fresh start in St. Louis at the 1904 World's Fair, selling his rouges and creams, and operating under the name given to him at Ellis Island, Max Factor. But he had stars in his eyes. Factor envisioned movie actors and actresses needing make-up and wigs. He moved his family to Los Angeles in 1908. In 1914, Factor created a make-up specifically for movie-actors that, unlike theatrical make-up, would not crack or cake. Soon movie stars were filing through Max Factor's make-up studio, eager to sample the "flexible greasepaint" while producers sought Factor's human hair wigs. He allowed the wigs to be rented to the producers of old westerns on the condition that his sons were given parts as extras. The boys would keep an eye on the expensive wigs. Max Factor introduced cosmetics to the public in the 1920s, insisting that every girl could look like a movie star by using Max Factor® make-up.

Cotton Swabs - Leo Gerstenzang and Q-tips
Cotton swabs or Q-Tips ® were invented in 1923 by a Polish-born American named Leo Gerstenzang who founded the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company to market his new invention. Q-tips was not the first name Gertenzang used, Baby Gays was. In 1926, Baby Gays was expanded to Q-Tips Baby Gays, and later the Baby Gays part of the name was dropped. The Q in Q tip stands for quality, and tips refers to the cotton ends.

The original formulation for Mum deodorant was invented in 1888, by an unknown inventor from Philadelphia. Generally recognized as being the first ever product to prevent odor, the inventor promptly trademarked his invention and distributed it through his nurse under the name of "Mum." In the late 1940s Helen Barnett Diserens joined the Mum production team. A suggestion by a colleague inspired Helen to develop an underarm deodorant based on the same principle as a newfangled invention called the 'ball point' pen. This new type of deodorant applicator was tested in the USA in 1952, and marketed under the name of Ban Roll-On. The first anti-perspirant aerosol deodorant was launched in 1965.

Hair - Related

Hair Brushes
Brushes were used as early as 2,500,000 years ago in the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain and Périgord in France. The brushes were used to apply pigment to the cave walls. Brushes were later adapted and used for hair grooming.

The History of Fuller Brush
On a cold, crisp New Year's Day in 1906, Alfred C. Fuller, a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Nova Scotia, began an enterprise that has become known worldwide as the Fuller Brush Company. Working from a bench located between the furnace and the coal bin in the basement of his sister's New England home, young Fuller was determined to create "...the best products of their kind in the world."

Camel's-hair brushes are not made of camel's hair. They are named after the inventor, Mr. Camel.

African American, Lyda D. Newman patented a new and improved brush on November 15, 1898.

Hair Spray
The concept of an aerosol originated as early as 1790, when self pressurized carbonated beverages were introduced in France. In 1837, an early soda siphon incorporating a valve was invented by a man called Perpigna. In 1899, inventors Helbling and Pertsch patented aerosols pressurized using methyl and ethyl chloride as propellants. On November 23rd, 1927, Erik Rotheim of Norway patented the first aerosol can and valve that could hold and dispense products and propellant systems. This was the forerunner of the modern aerosol can and valve. During World War II the US government funded research into a portable way for service men to spray malaria carrying bugs, and the modern aerosol can was created. Two Department of Agriculture researchers, Lyle David Goodhue and W. N. Sullivan, developed a small aerosol can pressurized by a liquefied gas (a fluorocarbon) in 1943. It was their design that made products like hair spray possible, along with the work of one other inventor named Robert H. Abplanal. In 1953 Abplanal invented a crimp-on valve "for dispensing gases under pressure." This put the manufacture of aerosol spray can products into high gear as Abplanal had created the first clog-free valve for spray cans. Abplanal also invented the "Aquasol" or "pump spray" which uses water-soluble hydrocarbons as propellants. Subsequently it was realized that the fluorocarbons in aerosol cans damaged the ozone layer.
Source - "The Aerosol Can--Origins and Workings"

Illustration: Electric hair blowdryerHair Styling

  • The very first hair dryers were vacuum cleaners adapted for drying hair. Alexandre Godefoy invented the first electric hair dryer in 1890.
  • Thermo hair curlers were invented by African American inventor Solomon Harper in 1930.
  • The pressing/curling iron was patented by Theora Stephens on October 21, 1980.
  • Charles Nestle invented the first perm machine in the early 1900s. Early permanent wave machines used electricity and various liquids to perm hair and were difficult to use.
  • Marjorie Stewart Joyner invented an improved and safer permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to stay set for days.
  • Madame Walker was a St. Louis washerwoman turned entrepreneur, who in 1905 invented a method to soften and smooth black women's hair.
  • Walter H. Sammons received a patent (US patent #1,362,823) for a comb.
  • According to Damien Cave, Technology columnist, "Rick Hunt, a San Diego carpenter, invented the Flowbee in the late 1980s after marveling at an industrial vacuum's ability to suck sawdust from his hair." The Flowbee is a do-it-yourself home haircutting invention.
  • History of Hair Dressing/Styling Hairdressing is the art of arranging the hair or otherwise modifying its natural state. Closely related to headgear, hairdressing has been an important part of the dress of both men and women since antiquity and, like dress, serves a number of functions.
  • Hair History
Hair Dye
The founder of L'Oreal, French chemist Eugene Schueller, invented the first synthetic hair dye in 1907. He named his new hair dye product "Aureole".
Hair Dyes

Baldness Treatment
On February 13, 1979, Charles Chidsey received a patent for a treatment for male baldness. U.S. Patent 4,139,619 was issued on February 13, 1979. Chidsey was working for the Upjohn Company.

Illustration: Lipstick ready to apply to the lipsLipstick
After a long series of home experiments, Hazel Bishop perfected a lipstick in 1949 that stayed on the lips longer than any other product then available.

Nails and The History of Nail Polish
Nail polish can be traced back to at least 3000 BC when it originated in China. The Chinese found ways to use gum arabic, egg whites, gelatin, and bees wax to create varnishes and lacquers for the nails. The Egyptians would use henna to stain their fingernails. In China, as well as in Egypt, color represented social class. During the Chou Dynasty, circa 600 BC, gold and silver were the royal colors. Later, royalty starting wearing black or red nail color. Lower ranking women were only permitted to wear pale tones. Wearing royal colors without being royalty was punished by death. Modern nail polish is a actually a variation of car paint.
Nail Polish Names

In 1914, a skin cream was invented by Baltimore pharmacist George Bunting. The name of the skin cream "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy" was changed to Noxema after a customer swore that the cream had "knocked out his eczema."

Sunscreen/Tanning Lotions

  • In the early 1930's, South Australian chemist, HA Milton Blake, experimented to produce a sunburn cream.
  • The founder of L'Oreal, chemist Eugene Schueller, invented the first sunscreen in 1936.
  • In 1944, Florida pharmacist, Benjamin Green invented a suntan cream in his kitchen that became "Coppertone Suntan Cream."
  • In 1980, Coppertone developed the first UVA/UVB sunscreen.
Look under cotton swabs above.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline petroleum jelly was patented on May 14, 1878.

Suggested Reading
The History of Perfume
Razors and the History of Shaving
The History of Soap and Detergents
Home Innovations
History of Cosmetics
A Colorful History of Makeup and Cosmetics
Compacts from 1933