Cosmetic Illusions

less romantic in their possibilitiesRecently, I wandered into one of those shops in the mall filled with smelly soaps, vanilla-flavored shampoos, and gift baskets for the bath. Before I knew it, thirty dollars had been charged to my credit card, and I was the bewildered owner of foot care products unknown to me before that day. I feel particularly ashamed to have spent four dollars for a two-ounce bottle of peppermint foot lotion. It was so bad, my big bottle of regular lotion mocked me when I got home.

I turn this week, then, to Dr. W. W. Bauer’s informative book Health, Hygiene and Hooey. Although it was written in the 1930s, it is surprisingly appropriate for today. As for me, I’m going to try to heed the good doctor’s advice and be more cautious. As long as I stay away from the foot lotion displays, I should be fine.

1938: Cosmetic Illusions

To paint the cosmetic picture in broad stokes, it is necessary merely to remember a few facts. There are so many cosmetic preparations that no agency has yet been established which has analyzed and classified all of them. Even if such an agency existed, there would be nothing to prevent the manufacturer from changing the formula overnight. The principal cosmetics used for make-up are quite safe for use on the normal skin ~ including creams, powders, rouges, lipsticks, eyebrow pencils, eyeshadow and mascara. Deodorants are safe. Most soaps are quite safe, though less romantic in their possibilities than claimed. Depilatory creams, skin peels, freckle creams, deep-pore cleansers or wrinkle creams, are best left alone because they will not do what is claimed for them, and may do harm. Hair dyes may or may not be safe, depending on what they contain and how they are used.

When in doubt about any cosmetic, stop its use until a doctor can be consulted. And consider the statement attributed to a cosmetic manufacturer who is reported to have said to a gathering of his business associates:

‘Remember, we do not sell merchandise; we sell illusion.’

Source: Bauer, W. W. Health, Hygiene and Hooey. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1938.
~ pp. 102-103 ~