7 Decades of Treasure By Lucy Santos

With her second guest post, Lucy Santos takes us through the beauties of the past!

7 Decades of Treasure1910s – Eye-Lash-Ine


This US eyelash remedy was registered on 20 June 1916 by Dr. F. Formaneck Co of Chicago, Illinois.

The directions instruct the user to bathe their eyelids for ten minutes in warm water before “applying Eye-Lash-Ine to the edges of the eyelids with the finger tip, rubbing or massaging the eyelids at the same time”.

Retailing for 50 cents, it was released around the same time Maybell Laboratories produced their Lash-Brow-Ine, another eyelash growth promoter, and the first product released by the company that eventually became the giant, Maybelline.


1920s – The Tweaker

The Tweaker

The Tweaker was one of the new innovative products that came out of the 1920’s new focus on the body beautiful and, in particular, the new and growing need for women to remove unwanted hair – a “need” which increased as hemlines grew shorter and sports, dancing and visits to the beach became more popular.

Introduced in 1927 by the Tweaker Manufacturing Company of Chicago it sold for $3.50 and advertising stated:

Your daintiness demands arms and legs free from unsightly hairs. When you mingle with the happy summer throng at the beaches.. whenever you “go formal”.. every time you wear a pair of gossamer chiffon hose… you are conscious of the importance of taking every precaution against embarrassment. Your happiness, your peace of mind depends so much on this one thing.”

Despite looking more like a weapon of torture this “pleasing method” promised a new freedom for women that could be kept up in just a minute or two of each day. The Tweaker itself came in a box with rubber bands which were to be stretched across between the front and rear posts of the instrument .Then “take hold of the Tweaker with your thumb and forefinger, as you would a pair of scissors. Open and close it a few times quickly” and remove your unwanted hair. Simple, no?


1930s – Tho-Radia


After radium was discovered in 1898 it was greeted with great enthusiasm by both the medical world and, a bit later, the consumer world. Initial reports indicated that the effects of radium were miraculous and soon it was being prescribed for a variety of conditions including impotence, ulcers, arthritis, high blood pressure and cancer. Newspapers compared its magic to the golden healthful rays of the sun and its use quickly spread to consumer products to such an extent that it has been estimated that between 1914 and 1945 over 200,000 products containing (or said to contain) radium were produced.

Tho-Radia was launched in March 1933 in Paris and the line initially consisted of powder, creams, soaps and toothpaste before expanding to include rouge, lipsticks and perfumes during the 1940s.

The original Poudre Tho-Radia formulation contained thorium, radium and titanium and was marketed for the prevention of, amongst other things, sunburn, herpes and as a deodorant.

The company behind Tho-Radia ceased trading in 1962.

Tho-Radia Ad

1940s  – Evening in Paris

Evening in Paris

After making great strides during the 1920s and the 1930s the cosmetic industry was heavily reduced in size during the period after the declaration of war in 1939. In June 1940 the Limitation of Supplies Act (Misc) Order cut production of consumer goods and there were also mass shortages of many essential items – such as alcohol, petroleum and packing materials. This lead to utility packaging being introduced.

Utility packaging saw the cardboard boxes being used instead of metal compacts, cardboard tubes instead of metal lipstick cases. In some cases companies were unable to supply products at all and urged their customers to use makeup sparingly.

To make up for this shortfall women experimented with all sorts of household products to get the same effect – such as using cold tea to stain the legs to simulate stockings and rubbing beetroot on their lips to stain them a red colour.

1950s – Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

What is the American girl made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice? Not since the days of the Gibson Girl! There’s a new American beauty…. she’s tease and temptress, siren and gamin, dynamic and demure. Men find her slightly, delightfully baffling. Sometimes a little maddening. Yet they admit she’s easily the most exciting woman in the world! She’s the 1952 American beauty with a foolproof formula for melting a male! She’s the ‘Fire and Ice girl”. (Are you?)

Fire and Ice, a shade of lipstick and nail polish, was launched by Revlon in 1952 with a two page spread of model Dorian Leigh. Playing on the duality of women the campaign was backed up by “Fire and Ice Beauty Contests” all over the US. A tongue in cheek questionnaire was designed by the company. If you could answer ‘yes’ to over 8 of the 15 questions then you were a ‘Fire and Ice Woman’.

Have you ever danced with your shoes off?
Did you ever wish on a new moon?
Do you bluish when you find yourself flirting?
When a recipe calls for one dash of bitters, do you think it is better with two?
Do you secretly hope the next man you meet will be a psychiatrist?
Do you sometimes feel that other women resent you?
Have you ever wanted to wear an ankle bracelet?
Do sables excite you, even on other women?
Do you love to look up at a man?
Do you face crowded parties with panic – then wind up having a wonderful time?
Does gypsy music make you sad?

1960s – The Sophisti-Cat

Sophisti-CatMax Factor introduced the Sophisti-Cat to its perfume line in the mid 1960s as a decorative holder for several varieties of perfume including Hypnotique, Exuberance, Primitif, Jonquille or Golden Woods. The cat clasped a vial of perfume between its paws and had beautiful rhinestone eyes as well as either bright feathers, jewelled collar or a ribbon. The cat could be black, bright yellow, aqua blue, lavender or pink.

Sophisti-Cat Perfume

1970s – Lip Smackers

Bonne Belle

Bonne Bell were founded in 1927 by Jesse G. Bell and they introduced their first Lip Smacker, a strawberry flavour, in 1973. Other fruity flavours followed as well as partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola.

For many young girls they were their first experience of wearing any sort of lip stick – an initiation into the ritual – but they were designed to soften the lips and give them a glossy sheen rather than colour them.  Still available today  I can highly recommend the cherry coke flavour.

Lucy Santos tweets and writes as Glamourologist and is fascinated by the intriguing history of cosmetics, make up and style. Her newest venture is as one of The Historical Sauces, a group of gals devoted to bringing a sprinkling of glamour to the world through our pop up reading room, dressing up box and a variety of workshops on retro beauty, vintage fashion and everyday glamour.





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