The desire for beauty has been around since the dawn of time. We have seen the definition of beauty fluctuate over time and in different cultures, but the basic concept and desire for beauty has always been there. It is innate to the human condition. We desire beauty, not in just in our image but in the world around us. We continually waiver back and forth between how to value it and how much emphasis to put on it. In the early 1900s makeup was associated with vanity―even prostitution. Today we don’t even think twice about simple beauty practices, like applying lipstick.
History continues to reveal to us the cycle of this desperate need for beauty to have a place of importance. Over the years our beliefs about beauty―how to express it, who gets to partake in it and what it says about
people―have also changed. There have been many instrumental people who have played a role in the growth of our understanding, resulting in the
accessibility of cosmetics and the services we are privy to today.
The use of makeup was now not only accepted but also welcomed as a form of self-expression and femininity
Women like Elizabeth Arden, who shifted the concept of beauty in her time as she stressed helping woman learn to apply makeup properly. Thus, paving the way for cosmetics to take on a different tone within society. We should also recognize Helena Rubinstein, Arden’s rival and another major player in molding the industry into what it is today through recreating the formula to face cream and teaching women the “rules” of beauty. By the end of the decade, the women’s cosmetic industry had completely transformed. “The use of makeup was now not only accepted but also welcomed as a form of self-expression and femininity.”
We have a way of positioning beauty as solely a vain pursuit. And, no doubt, it can be. However, there is power in being able to express yourself and the beauty that resides inside of you. One thing remains throughout
it all―our desire to cultivate beauty. How are you cultivating beauty in the life you lead? What is the story you are telling through your unique image?
Fallon, Breana, et al. “1920s Makeup Starts the Cosmetics Industry-