Popular Cosmetics That Changed the World

Popular Cosmetics That Changed the World

Popular Cosmetics That Changed the World


Cleopatra knew that beauty is power and set trends for winged eyeliner even as she redefined Egyptian politics. Makeup has always reflected society’s values and standards, but sometimes a product comes along that shakes up an era. Let’s explore the popular cosmetics that changed the world.

Max Factor’s X-Rated


In 1932, Max Factor’s lip gloss hit the market. He invented it for silent movie stars so they could sparkle onscreen despite black-and-white limitations. The original formula was such a hit that it wasn’t retired until 2003.

Lash Lure


Even if you believe beauty is pain, most prefer not to die from it. This form of hair dye for eyelashes contained a toxic chemical that killed one woman and left many others blind. Congress stepped up with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938 to regulate makeup.

Coty Powder


It became the height of glamour to dust your face with a powder puff. The packaging of this classic hasn’t changed much. Now you don’t have to shine unless you want to.

Tangee Lipstick


This company’s marketing used the war effort to drum up sales with advertising copy that suggested we were partly fighting for “the precious right of women to be feminine and lovely.” Tangee is still in production today because it goes on clear and then develops to suit any complexion.

Maybelline’s Great Lash


The company offered the first mascara that came with its own brush and was one of the first to be water-based for easier removal. Makeup artists consider this inexpensive drug-store staple to be on par with luxury brands.

Benefit’s Benetint


Two sisters invented Benetint for a San Francisco exotic dancer who wanted nipple rouge. Now used on lips and cheeks, its natural flushing effect mimics the centuries-old technique of pinching your cheeks for color.

Chanel’s Vamp


Champions such as Madonna popularized deep red and black shades of nail polish and lipstick, with Uma Thurman wearing it in “Pulp Fiction.” Before that, dark shades were reserved for goth enthusiasts and vampires.

Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits


It’s alarming to see a celebrity famous for surgically enhanced lips selling lipstick, but this line has earned its place as one of the most popular cosmetics that changed the world. It established social media as an advertising behemoth. And since new lip kits sold out immediately, they created a demand for hard-to-get cult products.


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