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

Recent Stories

Primrose House


Around 1920, a group of businessmen from Lowell, Massachusetts approached Helen Woodward about setting up a cosmetic company.

Soap and Water


Although all beauty culturists agreed that skin cleansing was the basis for a flawless complexion, views differed about whether or not to use soap.

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.


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.

Rose Laird list and six others added 30th August 2015.

New scans

Primrose House: Here Dwells Youth

Added: 30th August 2015

Trust Dorothy Gray

Added: 19th August 2015

Story Updates

Cosmetics Timeline

Updated: 30th August 2015

Company Timeline

Updated: 30th August 2015

Face Moulding

Updated: 30th August 2015

Arden Screen and Stage Make-up

Updated: 11th August 2015

Iontophoresis and Desincrustation

Updated: 6th August 2015

Chemical Depilatories

Updated: 21st July 2015

Cosmetic Stockings

Updated: 8th July 2015

Vapourisers (Steamers & Atomisers)

Updated: 5th July 2015


Popular Stories

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