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Module 1: History of Cosmetics

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Max Faktor emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1904 and by 1908, had changed his name to Max Factor. He moved to Los Angeles and began producing and selling his makeup line. It was very popular because it didn’t cake on the skin or crack. Many movie stars used it, because it worked so well under the studio lights which were hot. By the 1920’s, the cosmetics industry was growing and the expenditure for advertising rose dramatically. In 1927, it was around $390,000 and rose to $3.2 million by 1930. Tube mascara made its way into the mainstream in the 1950’s. During the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the second-wave of feminism swept across the United States. The feminists pushed for women to give up on anything that allowed them to be objectified by men. They worked to persuade women to stop using makeup and dressing up in a way that appealed to men. However, instead of pushing women to stop wearing makeup, they pushed them to continue it, because they feared that if they didn’t wear makeup, they would be seen as radical or ugly. They believed that it was socially important to wear makeup. They were using makeup to become more appealing in their workplaces. It was used to get themselves ahead in the workplace and also made them feel better. They were more confident and it helped them fit in better in a place where they were consistently told that they were inferior. It gave them the edge that they needed, to be taken more seriously. In the 1980’s makeup changed from hardly showing, to the heavy “cat-eyes” look, using heavy blush and eye shadows. The issue of makeup is still debated among feminists today. However, they believe that women should have the right to either wear makeup or decide not to, without feeling inferior. There is the factor that the cosmetics industry portrays a negative message, saying that women need to hide their imperfections or need to be fixed. They are concerned with younger women wearing makeup and the messages that they are sending the younger generations. They fear that it causes them to be sexualized too soon. When women are wearing makeup, it is harder for them to let their imperfections stand in the way of doing things. For example, a student gets a zit the day before the big auditions for the school play. This student can decide not to participate in fear that this zit will be noticeable and make them look ugly. However, if they use some concealer and foundation, they will not worry about the zit and instead concentrate on nailing the audition. Most of the time, younger adults experience the largest number of outbreaks. By utilizing makeup, they are able to hide their imperfections so that it doesn't make them feel inferior. They're not judged by these imperfections and begin to believe in themselves. Later on in life, they likely won’t associate the makeup with this feeling of acceptance. They will simply believe that they really are worth the attention and admiration of others. Today, there is a common misperception that men do not like women who wear makeup, because they see them as being fake. The British Parliament passed a law in 1770 that made wearing makeup a crime and synonymous with witchcraft. They noted how men were enchanted by a fake perception of what women represented. However, these days, there are just as many men that prefer woman to wear makeup, as those who do not wish them to. Studies have shown that women wearing makeup in a social setting, are more likely to be approached by men than those who are not wearing makeup. Men today are utilizing makeup more than in the past. Concealers and foundations that hide imperfections are appealing to more men today. It is a unisex operation that benefits some men, especially those in the public eye, as much as women. However, there is no clear evidence that most men will utilize makeup as much as women.