The history of cosmetics goes back at least 6,000 years to ancient civilizations like Egypt, where women and men alike applied homemade moisturizers to their skin and ladies darkened their eyes and lashes with kohl. Use of cosmetics over the millennia varied significantly between cultures and often reflected cultural values. For example, European aristocracy valued pale skin as an indication that the individual did not have to work outdoors. Powders and face paints were used to create this effect.
It wasn’t until the 1900s that women in the U.S. began to wear makeup regularly and even then purchasing cosmetics could be difficult, as cosmetics were still associated with individuals of bad repute. Ladies would have to visit theatrical supply stores if they wanted purchase eyebrow pencils, rouge and lipstick, and at least one state legislature proposed a bill that would have restricted makeup use to only those women who had entered middle age.
Eventually, of course, daily cosmetic use became socially acceptable and is now a multibillion-dollar industry. Here are some interesting facts about the cosmetics niche in the U.S.
Did you know annual cosmetics sales in the U.S. are over $56 billion? In addition, the U.S. cosmetics industry employs over 56,000 people.
Did you know the first commercial nail polish in the U.S. was introduced in 1903? It was called Nailustre.
Did you know Maybelline, known for its Great Lash mascara in its signature pink and green tube, got its start with a cake mascara in 1917? This was applied with a flat brush. The spiral brush began to be used in 1937 for mascara application.
Did you know the American Medical Association began weighing in on cosmetic advertising claims in the mid-1900s? In 1937, the AMA issued a statement that no cosmetic could be considered “non-allergic” and that cosmetic manufacturers should not use this kind of language on their products.
Did you know cosmetics rank third in market share for the U.S. beauty industry, accounting for 14.6 percent of market share? Hair care has the largest share, at 24 percent, while skin care is a close second with 23.7 percent.