To whiten hands and skin

ADvent Calendar Day 21 The juxtaposition of ‘harmless’ and ‘arsenic’ is quite amusing, but the manufacturer’s assertions about the product’s safety were more believable than they might now appear. In the 1890s, the fashion for arsenic as a cosmetic led vendors to cash in on the poison’s reputation for creating …

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Madame Fox’s Life for the Hair

ADvent Calendar Day 13 ‘Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new’. The advertisers of Madame Fox’s Life for the Hair quoted from 2 Corinthians as they sought to usher in ‘a new epoch in the treatment of the hair and scalp.’ The product was advertised in Britain …

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The Dolly Dimpler

ADvent Calendar Day 6 Designed to create adorable dimples where there were none before, devices like this appeared in the 1920s. Evangeline Isabella Gilbert of Rochester, NY, filed a patent in 1921 (not granted until 1926) for a dimple-producer that involved two pointed knobs fitted to a spring bow that …

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10 Victorian products for Movember

As more than a million people across the world spend this month growing moustaches to raise awareness of – and funds for – Movember’s men’s health projects, here are a few 19th-century products to help them along the way.   1. Latreille’s Excelsior Lotion Advertised in the 1870s by John Latreille, originally …

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The most uncanny look

 IRRESISTIBLE EYES MAY BE HAD BY TRANSPLANTING THE HAIR. a story from The Dundee Courier, 6 July 1899 If your eyes are unattractive you may make them irresistible by transplanting the hair. Transplanted eyelashes and eyebrows are the latest things in the way of personal adornment. There are specialists who make …

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Bailey’s Rubber Complexion Brush

  A harmless alternative to the arsenical preparations then in vogue for improving the complexion, Bailey’s rubber brush was intended to improve the circulation, clear the pores and allow the blood to free itself of impurities. Charles J Bailey of Newton, Massachusetts, invented the product in 1887, immediately patenting it …

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No More Baldheads, No More Dandruff

Whether they promised to cover a bald head with a mop of curls, to rejuvenate greying locks or to produce manly whiskers on the smoothest of chins, hair-related products appear in numerous Victorian and Edwardian adverts. There was a huge choice of potions, lotions, devices and even pills for bringing …

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Curlypet

Australian Women’s Weekly, 17 Jan 1962 . Although I focus on medical advertising here at The Quack Doctor, I do like to feature the occasional beauty product when it catches my eye. I stumbled on this mid-20th-century Australian hair lotion while failing to find something else I was looking for. …

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Terradermalax – a skin laxative

Source: The Pittsburgh Press, 11 March 1923 . . Why, when a woman is 30, do her blushes no longer show? How does a skin grow dull and unlovely while the eyes are still clear and sparkling? Science has learned the reason, and – glorious news! – a painless, pleasant …

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