Western cosmetics became widespread in the global economy in the second half of the twentieth century. Corporations like Unilever and Ponds established subsidiaries, contracted with local import firms, and sold beauty preparations in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. American manufacturers marketed cosmetics in a difficult balancing act, appealing to universal ideals of beauty, promoting the American style of actresses and models, and nodding to national and cultural differences. Avon's success in the international arena depended on native sales agents who understood local customs and concerns even as they projected the image of American beauty, lifestyles, and values. By the 1990s, "Avon calling" could be heard around the world, including post-communist and developing countries.
By the twenty-first century, cosmetics manufacturers had invested heavily in scientific research, working closely with chemists and dermatologists. These new "cosmeceuticals" went beyond the hypoallergenic products available since the 1930s and included creams and ointments containing such ingredients as Retin A, which appears to reduce the effects of aging and improves the skin. These products have increasingly blurred the lines between cosmetics, drugs, and medical specialties. The post-World War II baby-boom generation has fueled the growth of anti-aging research and product development, a trend that is expected to continue.
An important development in cosmetics is the partially successful effort to sell cosmetics to men, beyond the traditional grooming products like aftershave and cologne. Both mass manufacturers and some high-end firms, including Helena Rubinstein, tried unsuccessfully to sell cosmetics to men earlier in the twentieth century. Since 1980, however, a significant number of urban professional men and gay men have begun to use moisturizer, exfoliating liquids, and even bronzers to improve their appearance. Although often similar to women's cosmetics, these products are usually segregated in a separate men's counter in retail stores and appear with different brand names and packaging. Young men in such music and dance subcultures as heavy metal and goth will often wear colorful makeup as performers and audience members. Most makeup remains so deeply associated with femininity and effeminacy, however, that very few men choose to use it in everyday business and social life, and those who do seek a "natural" look.
See also Appearance; Cosmetics, Non-Western. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Allen, Margaret. Selling Dreams: Inside the Beauty Business. New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. Banner, Lois. American Beauty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
De Castlebajac, Kate. The Face of the Century: 100 Years of Makeup and Style. New York: Rizzoli International, 1995. Gunn, Fenja. The Artificial Face: A History of Cosmetics. London:
David and Charles, 1973. Koehn, Nancy. "Estee Lauder: Self-Definition and the Modern Cosmetics Market." In Beauty and Business: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America. Edited by Philip Scran-ton, 217-251. New York: Routledge, 2001. Manko, Katina L. "A Depression-Proof Business Strategy: The California Perfume Company's Motivational Literature." In Beauty and Business: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America. Edited by Philip Scranton, 142-168. New York: Routledge, 2001. Peiss, Kathy. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998. Smith, Virginia. "The Popularisation of Medical Knowledge: The Case of Cosmetics." Society for the Social History of Medicine Bulletin 36 (1986): 12-15. Vinikas, Vincent. Soft Soap, Hard Sell: American Hygiene in an Age of Advertisement. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1992.
Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. New York: William Morrow, 1991.
COSTUME DESIGNER Costume design as a profession is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Until the end of the nineteenth century, costumes for popular entertainments were assembled piecemeal, either by the director, the actor-manager or by the patron. Repertory companies were the norm in the nineteenth century, and it made sense for a company to maintain a stock of costumes that could be used in multiple productions. Individual actors, working with more than one company, might travel with their own costumes—a practice that continues in the twenty-first century among opera singers.
Exceptions to the piecemeal approach include entertainments devised by artists during the Renaissance and the court masques designed by Inigo Jones in seventeenth-century England, but both are rare examples of a unified vision.
The end of the nineteenth century saw a shift from companies of actors performing a rotating repertoire of plays to stand-alone productions with actors hired specifically for each role. With actors moving from show to show, it didn't make economic sense for producers to maintain a large wardrobe inventory. Simultaneously, a heightened interest in realism called for specialists with the ability to reproduce accurately clothing of the past. Enter the designer.
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