A Gallery of Vintage Cosmetics and Beauty Product Ads Featuring the Biggest Stars of Old Hollywood

Posted on June 17, 2020

An EXTRAVAGANZA of Old Hollywood Beauty!

The tradition of leading female movie stars being used to hawk beauty products is as old as Hollywood itself. Every time some up-and-comer lands herself a fat Lancome or Cover Girl contract today, she should silently thank these gals for paving the way – for a whole lot less money. As glamorously fabulous as these ads are, most of the women in them didn’t see huge truckloads of money come their way for the use of their face. Some of them even appeared in cosmetics ads as part of their studio contract. The benefit to them was less about remuneration and more about having their faces and hair described in the most glowing terms possible in some of the most popular magazines of the day. You can also thank these ads for being the main driver in the normalization of makeup products in the first half of the 20th Century. Prior to the explosion of Hollywood and its assembly line production of symmetrical, clear-skinned, high-cheekboned beauty avatars, a fully made-up face wasn’t considered a daily necessity for middle class women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Also: everyone’s white, of course (except Merle Oberon but she spent her life obscuring her background). And judging by these ads, they sure did love their face powder back in the day.







[Photo Credit: Pinterest]

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