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An Industry of Progress, Part I

By: Mario Montalvo
Posted: September 29, 2011, from the October 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
1920s makeup look

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Harriet Hubbard Ayer. Ayer was a highly regarded cosmetic entrepreneur and a journalist during the second half of the 19th century. She became famous for having initiated one of the first full-fledged cosmetic companies in the United States. Her career as a journalist commenced in 1896 when she was hired by the New York World to write and edit its new weekly woman’s section. It was Ayer who inaugurated the beauty industry and women’s acceptance of cosmetic products, changing grooming habits forever. This was the beginning of a new identity for women as consumers who advertisers wanted to court.

Hazel Bishop. Bishop envisioned a smudge-proof, long-lasting lipstick that wouldn’t smear on clothing or cups. In 1950, she acquired some capital and began to manufacture long-lasting lipsticks that proved to be an enormous hit. Lord & Taylor, an upscale department store on Fifth Avenue in New York, sold out in one day.

Dorothy Gray. She started her career as a treatment girl for Elizabeth Arden before opening her own salon in 1916. Gray’s message was focused toward the mature American woman who had the means and time to devote to treatments and cosmetics available in her salons, mainly those focusing on reducing the visible signs of aging. Her basic principle of good skin care was based on providing good skin circulation.

Richard Hudnut. Recognized as one of the first Americans to reach international success in cosmetic manufacturing, Hudnut’s company had offices in Paris and New York. Although his fortune had been built around cosmetics and beauty products, he preferred to be known as a perfumer. Hudnut’s beauty products were among the first to be sold in department stores, an indication of their appeal to a more affluent and sophisticated clientele.

Charles Jundt. After taking over the salon in the New York City Ritz Hotel in 1916 (later known as the Ritz Carlton), Jundt founded his own cosmetics company in 1919, and in 1926, began marketing beauty products under the name Charles of the Ritz. The Charles of the Ritz Experience included a cleansing, followed by a careful and thorough examination to determine the client’s skin classification to maximize the complexion’s optimum points, and bring forth a new skin radiance and perfect balance. Although this service was provided free of charge, it rarely failed that the client wanted to purchase all of the products that made her new look possible.

The CIDESCO influence