Not Just a Pretty Face
Beauty standards of the late 19th and early 20th century evolved dramatically. Throughout most of the 19th century, makeup was considered vulgar and the ideal appearance was one of natural beauty. With a lack of commercial products available, women often made and shared their own recipes for cosmetics and health remedies. Some women were able to patent and sell their homemade products, creating their own businesses – by women, for women.
By the 1920s, makeup had become acceptable and fashionable, primarily due to the influence of Hollywood. Women, who were at the forefront of the beauty industry, were able to capitalize on this trend. However, with limited access to funding, education, and distribution they had to create new techniques to market and sell their products. These pioneering methods enabled them to reach customers in every corner of the country, including rural Delmarva.